Below is the text of Mr Major’s Christmas message to the Falkland Islands, issued on 25th December 1995.
This is the sixth Christmas message I’ve broadcast to the Falkland Islands. It gives me a chance to speak to you about recent events, and to look at the year ahead.
As you know – two months ago – I held the first meeting with the President of Argentina since the 1982 invasion. Let me tell you why. It is because I want a stable and friendly relationship with Argentina. I am in no doubt that would be in all of our interests.
So, after 13 years, it is right to resume contact at the highest level. But that does not – and will not – change your right to be governed under the flag of your own choosing. That is beyond question.
A better relationship with Argentina cannot and will not be at the expense of the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands. There has been no change and no compromise in the British Government’s position. But a more sensible relationship should produce benefits for all concerned, including the Falkland Islands.
That has certainly been true over oil exploration. The launching, in October, of your licensing round opened a new vista for your economy. Thanks to the agreement reached with Argentina beforehand, the Falkland Islands have been able to invite companies to explore for oil unhindered by the threat of outside interference.
For similar reasons, I would like to see closer cooperation with Argentina over fisheries. The fishing industry is vital to your economy. So it is very important to improve conservation of the fishery resources you share with Argentina. Fish, alas, do not pay attention to national boundaries.
I agreed with President Menem to work towards a longer term fisheries agreement, particularly to protect the stocks of squid. I hope that, in the year ahead, we shall be able to achieve this. If so, it would be a most encouraging step forward.
Closer to home, in a few weeks’ time you will once again be welcoming the Princess Royal. I know she is looking forward immensely to her visit. And I am sure she will return, as so many visitors do, with a deep impression of the values and the spirit which have made the Falkland Islanders the people they are.
From a wintry Britain to the Falklands in mid-summer, I wish you all a peaceful Christmas and prosperous New Year.