Prime Minister John Major of Britain hailed his troops as heroes Wednesday and said they would be going home as soon as possible.

Major, on a daylong visit to the emirate, also said it was unlikely Britain would contribute soldiers to any standing army in the Persian Gulf."If there is a standing army it is overwhelmingly likely to be an Arab army," he told reporters in Kuwait City.

Major was the first head of an allied government to visit Kuwait since Iraqi troops were forced out of the emirate last week.

He traveled there against the advice of some military aides who said law and order in the emirate had not been sufficiently restored.

Major visited soldiers of the 1st Armored Division. At one point, he got up on a Challenger tank.

"You have all become folk heroes," he told them. "Bless you all for doing it. You have done an absolutely fabulous job."