The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1995Prime Minister (1990-1997)

Mr Major’s Press Statement on Nuclear Testing – 10 November 1995

Below is the text of Mr Major’s press statement on nuclear testing, issued on 10th November 1995.



The Prime Minister made clear in the Heads of Government Meeting that the United Kingdom could not associate itself with the fifth paragraph of the statement on Disarmament.

The fifth paragraph reads:

“Heads of Government noted the widespread anger caused by the current programmes of nuclear weapon tests. The overwhelming majority of Heads of Government condemned this continued nuclear testing which was inconsistent with the undertaking given by the nuclear weapons states to exercise utmost restraint so as not to affect the ongoing negotiations for the conclusion of the CTBT in 1996. These Heads of Government urged the immediate cessation of such testing.”

In the British Government’s view, this paragraph is both factually inaccurate and seriously misrepresents an important subject.

The British Government’s position, which the Prime Minister has explained to the Heads of Government Meeting, is that:

– nuclear deterrence has preserved security and stability over the past half-century.

– Those who hold responsibility, as acknowledged nuclear powers, for maintaining the deterrent have a duty to ensure the safety and reliability of their weapons.

– There is a continuing threat of proliferation.

– Until security can be assured by other means, and the threat of proliferation removed, it is essential to maintain effective nuclear deterrence. The existing nuclear powers should take the decisions necessary to achieve this.

– Britain, as a nuclear power in the Commonwealth and one of the architects of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, understands public concern about nuclear testing and is actively working for the conclusion in 1996 of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.