Below are extracts from Mr Major’s doorstep answers to the media at Warrenpoint on 22nd February 1991, at around 12.30pm.
“We have been in touch with our allies this morning. We have discussed what the Iraqis have had to say. I have spoken to the President. We have co-ordinated our response to what they have had to say and on behalf of the allies the President will make that public at some stage later this afternoon.”
[Prime Minister confirmed he had just spoken to President Bush, but couldn’t provide further details]
“We were discussing what the response should be to the apparent offer that may have been made and that will become apparent later on this afternoon and President Bush will announce it.”
[Prime Minister asked if British people were prepared for horrors of war]
“I think the whole world knows that we have done everything we possibly could, by we I mean the allies collectively, firstly to persuade him to withdraw peaceably very shortly after he first invaded in August; there have been repeated options for him to withdraw over the past 5 or 6 months; nothing that could have been done has not been done, that could have persuaded him to withdraw and end this matter peaceably.
“The responsibility for the conflict is in Iraq and there is absolutely no doubt whatever about that. I believe people are well aware of what has happened in Iraq. They are well aware of the principles which are at stake, although nobody wants a large land conflict, if it is avoidable. They understand very well that it may be necessary if he doesn’t obey the Security Council Resolutions.”
“It is not a question of conscience on the issue. Everyone has tried to avoid a conflict. Saddam Hussein could have avoided conflict. He could have obeyed the Security Council Resolutions and withdrawn. He still has that option.”