Below is the text of Mr Major’s statement on President Bush’s initiative on strategic nuclear weapons, released on Wednesday 29th January 1992.
I warmly welcome President Bush’s latest proposals for strategic arms reductions and I congratulated the President earlier this week on this important and imaginative initiative.
The proposals address the key problems facing us in the strategic arena, namely how to increase global security and stability against the uncertain background of events in the former Soviet Union, and how to reduce the threat of nuclear confrontation.
I very much hope that the CIS leaders will respond positively to this initiative. For my part I will certainly support it in my talks with President Yeltsin on Thursday, 30 January.
The offer of further agreed reductions in strategic missiles deals with the problem of the most destabilising heavy missiles. This is a matter that is outstanding from the START negotiations. We believe it should be immensely reassuring to the Commonwealth States.
The President’s measures are a further step in reversing the process of nuclear competition between the superpowers. The security of the world will be greatly enhanced if President Yeltsin agrees to the elimination of multiple-warhead ICBMs – the most destabilising elements of the old Cold War confrontation. The way will then be open for Russia to move with the United States towards a more stable minimum deterrence increasingly concentrated on submarine forces.
The United Kingdom has always been committed to maintaining only a minimum nuclear deterrent. We announced last Autumn a cut of about half in the number of British sub-strategic weapons. In our view Trident is the minimum strategic deterrent necessary to guarantee this country’s future security.
The greatest danger we face is not the existence of deterrent forces, but the danger of proliferation of nuclear weapons into the hands of other powers in unstable regions of the world. The President’s very welcome initiative addresses this problem squarely and imaginatively.