Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office


  1.  The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has prepared this Memorandum for the House of Commons Select Committee enquiry into relations between the United Kingdom and the United States, and the implications of US foreign policy for United Kingdom interests. British Trade International is submitting a separate Memorandum on trade promotion and investment issues[1]. The Committee will be receiving other evidence, written and oral, both before and after their planned visit to the USA.

  2.  The maintenance of a strong transatlantic relationship has been one of the cornerstones of British foreign policy since the Second World War. Successive British governments have sought to promote the security and prosperity of the UK and advance its global interests by establishing a close European relationship while maintaining a strong link to the United States. The tone and emphasis of this approach has differed over the decades. But the overall aims have remained constant and have continued into the post-Cold War era.

  3.  The events of 11 September 2001 have highlighted the strength of the British-US relationship. The US - Administration and people alike - are grateful for the solidarity shown by the British. The habit of working closely together, particularly in the security and foreign policy fields, has paid dividends to both parties. Each partner has a good instinct for the thinking and likely reactions of the other; the personal links are well-established. Well before the terrorist attacks, the Prime Minister had made clear the high priority he attached to the relationship with the new President and his Administration. His visit to Washington in February, followed by President Bush's visit to the UK in July, provided opportunities to work through many of the important issues which have now become central to the coalition against terrorism. With our EU, NATO and other allies, Britain and the US are looking closely at the wider implications of confronting the terrorist challenge to our common values. This challenge has given the kaleidoscope of international relations a vigorous shake, as we consider together the longer-term transformation of relationships with Russia and with China, as well as potential re-alignments in South Asia and elsewhere.

  4.  Any British or indeed European government has to recognise the predominant role of the United States in international affairs. It is the world's largest economy. It has the resources, both human and physical, to maintain a technological lead over all other countries for an indefinite period. It also has unrivalled military power and political influence across the globe. It is a key member of the global system of multilateral institutions.

  5.  Part of the attraction to each other is that the UK and the US share a similar outlook based in part on shared democratic values and principles, as well as a common interest in the maintenance of international peace and order. This is under-pinned by personal, business and social links that go well beyond foreign policy concerns. For example, the US is the largest investor in the UK (as the UK is the largest investor in the US). But in the areas of concern to the Committee, it is fair to say that the UK and US have a close and probably unique relationship over a wide range of subjects. This does not mean however that the UK and the US always agree, or that British governments therefore defer to the US. While US administrations welcome staunch support, they also welcome a frank relationship with a friend and ally.

  6.  Even with the closer rapport since 11 September, the Government does not and cannot take for granted the long-term health of the UK-US bilateral relationship or the broader transatlantic one. The United States has a complex political system and foreign policy-making process. This requires not just good high level access but a broad range of contacts across various levels of the Administration. It means taking into account the important role of Congress and the increased overlap between domestic and international affairs. It requires the ability to influence the powerful lobby groups, some of whose interests or outlook may be opposed to those of the UK. It means being able to deal directly with the powerful US media and having a presence at State level not just to promote British commercial links but to influence public opinion and opinion-formers throughout the US. With an eye to the longer-term, it also requires an understanding of the increasingly multicultural nature of US society.

  7.  In short, the British-US relationship goes far wider than the traditional co-operation over foreign policy and in the political, military and intelligence fields. There are almost no areas of public policy with which UK posts in the US do not deal. They embrace all aspects of the relationship from public health to trade policy, from transport to immigration and civil liberties, from aid policy to financial services and banking, from welfare to education, from drugs control to policing. The response to the events of 11 September 2001 has emphatically underlined the importance of each strand in strengthening the single rope of the overall relationship. But the focus of this Memorandum remains on foreign policy.


  8.  Our objectives are:—

        i.  To work with the US and others to defeat terrorism world-wide.

       ii.  To ensure, in working for a secure United Kingdom within a more stable and peaceful world, that the US is supportive of UK security objectives, including policies towards Northern Ireland, enlargement and modernisation of NATO, the European Security and Defence Policy, Russia, the Balkans, Middle East problems and UN Security Council expansion; and that Missile Defence is pursued in a way which protects UK interests and minimises divisions within NATO.

      iii.  To enhance the competitiveness of companies in the UK by sales to, and investment in, the US and by attracting a high level of quality direct investment from the US.

      iv.  In seeking increased UK prosperity through a strengthened international economic order, to maintain US support for a new, broad-based, liberalising Trade Round; to prevent trade disputes between the EU and the US damaging the wider relationship; to agree more liberal air services arrangements with the US; to minimise the effect of new US legislation affecting UK financial sector interests; to improve co-operation on competition issues; to secure a new Double Taxation Agreement; and to promote UK business in energy, environmental and other technologies, not least through increased co-operation and technology partnerships with the US.

      v.  In working for a strong international community and hence improved quality of life world-wide, to secure US policies supportive of UK bilateral and multilateral action to promote democracy, good governance, good health, human rights and the rule of law, and to counter the illegal narcotics trade; to work with the US for action on climate change, environmental integrity and sustainable development; and to secure moratoria on the death penalty in US States.

      vi.  To influence decisions and actions which affect UK interests through use of modern information and communications technology; to facilitate exchanges at all levels (senior Ministers to students); and to provide authoritative and comprehensive information to UK Government Departments, Devolved Administrations and other public and private bodies in the UK on developments in the US relevant to their work and interests by effective reporting, analysis, exchanges and partnerships.

  The official resources available to promote UK interests and achieve these objectives within the US are outlined in Annex A[2].




  9.  The key issues facing both the UK and the US in October 2001 are the fight against terrorism and the associated need to build a global consensus to defeat it. The events of 11 September 2001 were attacks on the whole international community. The very public, enduring and unequivocal commitment taken by the UK to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Americans has had a huge impact in the United States, both with the American people at large and with the Administration and Congress. Co-operation is close at all levels, both in defining policy and in its execution.

  10.  The US Administration's continuing support over the Northern Ireland peace process is welcomed and appreciated by the UK and Irish Governments. There was widespread US condemnation of Republican links with the FARC guerrillas in Colombia. Since 11 September, public criticism in the US of the IRA for its reluctance to decommission arms has deepened. RIRA has been proscribed. (Over 22,000 employees, representing 21% of Northern Ireland's manufacturing workforce, work for North American manufacturers, whose total investment is over £1.5b. There are some 100 US wholly or partly-owned companies in Northern Ireland.)


  11.  NATO remains the bedrock of the UK's national defence. The Bush Administration has made clear its strong commitment to NATO and to continuing engagement in Europe. The Prime Minister and President Bush said in their joint statement at Camp David on 23 February: "We affirm that NATO will remain the essential foundation of transatlantic security".

  12.  NATO has determined that the terrorist attacks on the US on 11 September 2001 bring into play the mutual defence guarantee in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. This is the first use of Article 5 in NATO history and is the strongest possible signal of Alliance solidarity in dealing with the new threat from terrorism. The NAC has agreed a series of measures to provide practical NATO support to Allies undertaking military operations against terrorism.

  13.  Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has adapted to face new challenges. A new Strategic Concept was agreed at the Washington Summit in 1999. In its new crisis management role, NATO has done much to bring stability to the Balkans. NATO-led peacekeeping missions remain essential to stability in Bosnia and Kosovo. NATO troops have made a major contribution to implementation of the political settlement in Macedonia.

  14.  NATO has built links across the old Cold War divide. It has welcomed Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic as members and built new strategic relationships with Russia and Ukraine. Through the Euro Atlantic Partnership Council and the Partnership for Peace programme it has established security links to other states in the Euro-Atlantic area. The NATO Summit in Prague in November 2002 will take this evolution a step further. At the meeting of NATO Leaders with President Bush in June 2001, leaders agreed that they expected to issue further invitations to join the alliance at Prague.

  15.  Decisions on enlargement will be based on the criteria agreed at the Washington Summit in 1999. The Alliance expects to extend invitations to nations willing and able to assume the responsibilities of membership, as NATO determines that their inclusion would serve the overall political and strategic interests of the Alliance and enhance overall European security and stability. It is not yet clear which of the aspirant states will be invited: all have more to do to reach Alliance standards. The UK is providing bilateral assistance with their Membership Action Plans.

European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP)

  16.  Both the previous and present US Administrations have voiced support for the development of a European Security and Defence Policy. As President Bush and the Prime Minister said at Camp David: "We support efforts of NATO's European Members and other European nations to assume greater responsibility for crisis management in Europe by strengthening NATO's capabilities and developing the ability to manage crises when NATO as a whole chooses not to engage. In this regard, the United States welcomes the European Union's European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) intended to make Europe a stronger, more capable partner in deterring and managing crises affecting the security of the Transatlantic community." ESDP will strengthen transatlantic relations by improving European nations' capabilities for effective crisis management operations.

Missile Defence

  17.  At the beginning of his Presidency, President Bush initiated a review of Missile Defence options as part of a wider review of US defence policy. In a speech delivered at the National Defence University on 1 May 2001, he set out the US's intention to develop limited missile defences designed to counter limited threats from states of concern. These defences are to form one part of an overall strategy, which will encompass non-proliferation, counter-proliferation and deterrence, designed to address the changing post cold-war security environment in which Russia is no longer an enemy but where there is a growing risk from the proliferation of missiles and weapons of mass destruction.

  18.  The US Administration has made no decisions on the type of missile defence systems that will be deployed. It does however intend to research, test and develop a variety of capabilities including land, sea and air-based systems to assess which are the most effective. Currently the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty prohibits the testing, development and deployment of sea-based, air-based, space-based or mobile land based ABM systems or components or the deployment of a national defence system. The Administration has made clear that it is committed to working with Russia to create a new strategic framework, which would accommodate US missile defence proposals. Following a meeting between Presidents Bush and Putin at Genoa in July 2001, both sides have engaged in intensive discussions, which are continuing. The US Administration's proposed research and development programme for 2002 includes the development of additional test facilities for the Pacific Test Range at Fort Greely, Alaska, and two tests involving the use of radar systems. The US Administration is currently assessing the compatibility of these tests with the ABM Treaty.

  19.  The Government shares US concerns about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and missile technology and agrees on the need to counter these developments. The Government also values a stable strategic relationship between the US and Russia. The UK welcomes and encourages the ongoing consultations between both countries and hopes these will lead to an agreed way ahead which promotes strategic stability. The UK is also encouraged by President Bush and President Putin's desire, as part of an agreed way ahead, to make progress towards substantial reductions in their respective nuclear arsenals.

  20.  Plans for the ground-based national missile defence system proposed by President Clinton envisaged use of facilities at RAF Menwith Hill and RAF Fylingdales as elements of the missile defence architecture. This would require the agreement of the UK Government. President Bush has not yet decided how he will seek to proceed with the deployment of missile defences. It is therefore too early to say whether a role for facilities in the UK might be envisaged. The UK will continue to engage closely with the US on these issues as a close ally with common strategic interests.

Conventional Arms Control

  21.  US policy on conventional arms control issues continues that of the previous administration. UK views coincide with those of the US on the importance of adherence to the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty and the Vienna Document 1999. The UK co-ordinates closely with the US in NATO on the implementation of these regimes. The US is also working constructively in the review process of the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects. The UK has regular discussions with US officials on this Convention, and has co-sponsored the US draft Protocol on Anti-Vehicle Mines.


  22.  The UK and the US have traditionally co-operated extremely closely to counter the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and their delivery systems. We are both members of all the key non-proliferation treaties (the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention), and are leading participants in the major multilateral export control regimes (the Nuclear Suppliers' Group and Zangger Committee, the Australia Group, and the Missile Technology Control Regime). Bilaterally, we work together in developing and deploying practical measures to deter, check and where possible roll back proliferation programmes of concern.

  23.  At their meeting at Camp David in February 2001, the Prime Minister and President Bush reiterated their intention to maintain this close co-operation:

        "We recognise the existence of a common threat stemming from the growing proliferation of WMD and increasingly sophisticated missiles for their delivery. . . We need to obstruct and deter these new threats with a strategy that encompasses both offensive and defensive systems, continues nuclear arms reductions where possible, and strengthens WMD and missile proliferation controls and counter-proliferation measures."

  24.  Since then, senior US officials have repeatedly emphasised in bilateral contacts the importance they place on continuing to work closely with the UK and other allies in this field. We have agreed that we should review our non-proliferation toolbox, with a view to making better use of current instruments for countering the spread of WMD and missiles, including strengthening the international conventions and export control regimes; taking collective action where effective to bring pressure on proliferators and their suppliers; and, where possible, co-operating against specific cases of sensitive technology supply to proliferation programmes.

  25.  US officials have described the key points of US non-proliferation policy as including:

    —  stronger non-proliferation, arms control and export control regimes, including strengthening the international organisations which underpin some of the multilateral treaties, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The US has played a major part in the development by members of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) of a draft International Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation;

    —  co-operative action to address the potential proliferation threat posed by sensitive nuclear and chemical materials and technology in the states of the former Soviet Union. The US continues to be the largest financial contributor to the collective international effort to address this problem. While US programmes are currently under review, Administration officials have made clear that they continue to put a high priority on this objective;

    —  targeted strategies to address specific programmes of concern, for example in North Korea, where the UK welcomed the conclusion of the US policy review which endorsed maintenance of the Clinton Administration's Agreed Framework and renewed bilateral engagement with the North Korean Government.

  26.  In all these areas, the UK shares US objectives. There is an intensive programme of contacts, both bilaterally and in NATO, the G8 and the P5. In addition, close UK/US defence co-operation enables us to share expertise in training and equipping our forces to meet the WMD threat.

Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)

  27.  The CTBT, successor to the Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963, was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in New York on 10 September 1996. It was immediately signed by 71 states, including the five Nuclear Weapons States: the UK, US, France, Russia and China.

  28.  In order for the Treaty to enter into force 44 named states must sign and ratify the Treaty. Thirty-one, among them the UK, France and Russia, have ratified but 13 named states have not yet done so. These include the US and China, as well as India, Pakistan and North Korea who are not even signatories. The UK is active in the Preparatory Committee which works for the Treaty's entry into force, including by building an international monitoring system (IMS) to detect tests, and through the negotiation of an On-Site Inspection Manual.

  29.  In 1999, the US Senate rejected ratification of the CTBT. The current US Administration has stated that it has no plans to resubmit the CTBT for ratification, but that it intends to maintain the moratorium on nuclear testing which has been in place since 1992. On 21 August 2001, the US announced that it would restrict its financial contribution to the CTBT Preparatory Committee to support the establishment of the IMS: a reduction of some 20 per cent. The US remains the single largest contributor to the CTBT Preparatory Committee.

  30.  The EU is on record as regretting the reduction in US contributions. Together with our partners, we continue to discuss the CTBT with the US Administration and urge a renewal of US support of the Treaty.

Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC)

  31.  The BTWC, which came into force in 1975, bans the development, testing, production and stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons, but has no effective provisions to verify compliance. Since 1995 an Ad Hoc Group of States Parties (now 143) has been meeting in Geneva to consider measures to strengthen the Convention through the conclusion of a verification protocol. The UK has played a leading role in these negotiations.

  32.  On 25 July 2001, the US stated that in their assessment the Protocol would not improve the international community's ability to verify BTWC compliance and would put US national security and confidential business information at risk. In making this announcement, the US emphasised their support for the Convention and their continued wish to strengthen it with robust and workable measures.

  33.  The UK has made clear that our own assessment is different. Constructive discussion of possible practical proposals to underpin the BTWC continues.

Small Arms and Light Weapons

  34.  The UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, held in New York from 9-20 July 2001, adopted a Programme of Action that sets out national, regional and global initiatives to stem the flow of small arms to the developing world. The Programme of Action commits states politically to put in place inter alia, export control mechanisms, measures to ensure the tracability of small arms, control brokers and destroy surplus weapons. It encourages regional moratoria on the manufacture and transfer of small arms and legally binding regional agreements to eradicate the illicit trade in them. There will be a Review Conference in 2006.

  35.  US officials had often stated their concern at the problems posed by small arms in fuelling conflicts, particularly in Africa and other parts of the developing world. Although the US participated in preparations for the UN Conference, including the two preparatory meetings and an intergovernmental seminar organised by the UK at Lancaster House in February, they made clear their problems with the emerging draft Programme of Action.

  36.  The US initially opposed the holding of a Review Conference in 2006. They and some other countries also opposed an EU initiative to encourage restrictions on the supply of small arms and light weapons to non-State actors, and tighter regulation of civilian possession of such weapons. The UK, our EU Partners and others were unable to persuade the US to agree to the inclusion of these aspects.

  37.  There is much substance in the Programme of Action, putting the issue of small arms and light weapons firmly on the UN agenda. (It was followed by a Security Council Presidential statement on the subject on 31 August 2001.) The UK will continue to work, both nationally and with the EU and OSCE, to combat excessive numbers of small arms. At the Conference, the UK announced the commitment of £19.5 million for practical projects.

  38.  The US has lifted the "ad referendum" reserve it had placed on the Programme of Action at the adoption meeting and has stated it is `strongly committed' to its universal implementation. The Programme includes the development of an international instrument on marking and tracing and work towards tackling illicit brokering. The UK will continue to press the US for greater flexibility in the longer term on key issues such as civilian possession and non-State actors.


  39.  The UK and US are both committed to implementation of the reforms proposed by Ambassador Brahimi in his August 2000 United Nations Report, in particular those on improvements in the UN's early warning and rapid deployment capabilities. The US shares the UK concern to ensure value for money from UN peacekeeping operations, and is also working with selected troop contributors on improving readiness for deployment to UN operations.


Security Council Reform

  40.  The US shares the UK desire to see the UN Security Council reformed and its effectiveness and legitimacy enhanced. We both support the creation of new permanent seats for Germany and Japan, and the addition of permanent seats for developing countries (one each from Africa, Asia and Latin America/Caribbean). Our opinions differ on the size of an enlarged Council. The then US Permanent Representative to the UN, Richard Holbrooke, announced in April 2000 that the US could consider expanding the Council slightly beyond 21 members. The UK believes that enlargement to 24 would provide a good balance between retaining effectiveness and ensuring adequate geographical representation.

Security Council Counter Terrorism Committee

  41.  The UK works closely with the US on all aspects of Counter Terrorism. As Chair of the Counter Terrorism Committee of the Security Council, the UK is spearheading a comprehensive effort to root out terrorism around the world. The US, along with all other members of the Security Council, has welcomed the progress that the Committee has made under UK chairmanship and given the Committee their full support.

UN Budget

  42.  The UK welcomes recent progress on the question of US arrears to the UN. The Helms-Biden package of Congressional legislation had linked this to certain UN reforms. A first tranche of $100 million has now been paid; the second tranche ($582 million) should be paid around 9 November 2001 following the outcome of the negotiation in the UN General Assembly in December 2000 when the US achieved a reduction in their contribution to UN budgets. However, some attempts have been made in Congress to attach a rider to the legislation releasing the second tranche, calling for immunity from prosecution in the International Criminal Court (ICC) of US service personnel involved in peacekeeping operations. The US Administration is trying to resolve this issue. President Clinton signed the ICC Statute in December 2000 but there is currently no prospect of US ratification.

UN Commission on Human Rights

  43.  The US unexpectedly lost its seat at the UN Commission on Human Rights (CHR) at elections in New York in May 2001. Voting is by secret ballot on a geographical basis: the US was standing against France, Sweden and Austria for three available places. The US authorities made clear after the elections that the outcome would not affect their general policy towards human rights. They have not yet announced if they plan to stand for re-election next year, but if/when they do, the UK will do what it can to help. It is in all our interests to have the US as a member of this important human rights body. US non-membership risks undermining the Commission's credibility and works against our shared aim to promote human rights. Meanwhile, the US can still exert significant influence at the CHR as a non-member.

Human Rights

  44.  We have a broad measure of agreement on a range of human rights issues, both on key countries of concern, and on thematic issues such as democracy and torture. There are differences of approach, notably over Cuba, but so far we have been able to find a large degree of common ground. We maintain a regular dialogue on those issues on which the US policy differs from that of the UK/EU, for example on the death penalty.

  45.  The US has not ratified the UN convention on the Rights of the Child or the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women. It is UK policy to encourage all states to ratify the six core UN human rights treaties, which also comprise the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention Against Torture and the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination.


  46.  The 2001 G7/G8 summit in Genoa agreed to work up an Action Plan for Africa, and on the launch with the UN Secretary-General of a Global Health Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria; and on the establishment of a task force to explore new ways of pushing towards the Dakar goals on education, notably universal primary education by 2015. The G7/G8 is a valuable forum for working on potentially contentious issues such as trade or climate change.

Climate Change

  47.  The UK Government regretted the decision of the US Administration to reject the Kyoto Protocol earlier this year. The US is responsible for roughly 25 per cent of global emissions, and there can be no lasting solution without US involvement. Under the Kyoto Protocol, the US would have undertaken to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 7 per cent below 1990 levels by 2008-2012. On current trends US emissions are projected to be about 30 per cent above 1990 levels in 2010.

  48.  The Government continues to believe that the Kyoto Protocol provides the best available framework for tackling climate change. UK policy has therefore been to ensure that the Protocol survives US withdrawal while making it clear to the US that we want them to remain engaged in international efforts to reduce emissions. The UK has been involved in intense efforts in Washington, Brussels and other capitals to promote these objectives. We agreed at the EU/US summit in Gothenburg in June 2001 to "disagree on the Kyoto Protocol but . . . to work together in all relevant fora to address climate change".

  49.  The US did not attempt to block progress made on the rules for implementing Kyoto at the climate talks in Bonn in July 2001. The Government hopes that the agreement in Bonn will pave the way for ratification and entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol next year. The UK will continue to work with our EU partners towards that goal.

  50.  UK policy is to encourage the US to re-engage with the Kyoto process in the medium to longer term. The UK will stress the need to take serious domestic action to reduce emissions and will continue to emphasise the economic benefits of moving towards a low-carbon economy. The involvement of US business and science is crucial to the development of innovative technological and market solutions to the problem of climate change. The Government will maintain regular contact with the US Administration at all levels and seek so to manage policy differences as to ensure that climate change does not become an unnecessary source of transatlantic tension.


  51.  President Bush's National Energy Policy was published in May 2001. It set out various recommendations for increasing supplies and improving infrastructure and conservation. With rising dependence on imported energy there was an emphasis on strengthening global alliances and making energy security a priority of US trade and foreign policy. Many of these recommendations cover areas where the UK too is active. Examples include boosting dialogue with oil producers, improving international oil market data and transparency, promoting foreign investment into the oil sectors in the Middle East and North Africa, helping Asia improve its own oil security, boosting support for renewable energy and deepening energy discussions with Russia.


  52.  The UK wants to see a new Round of world trade talks launched at the Fourth Ministerial Meeting of the WTO this November. The US shares this goal and in a joint statement at the June EU/US Summit at Gothenburg this year, the EU and US stated

        "We are committed to launching an ambitious new round of multilateral trade negotiations at the WTO Ministerial Meeting . . . The new round must . . . address the needs and priorities of developing countries, demonstrate that the trading system can respond to the concerns of civil society, and promote sustainable development. . ."


  53.  The North American Free Trade Agreement has successfully increased trade flows between the US, Canada and Mexico. Unlike the EU, this is not a customs union and trade terms with third countries continue to be agreed bilaterally. Therefore the EU has different terms of trade with each of the three NAFTA members. Ties are strongest with Mexico, due to the EU/Mexico Free Trade Agreement, under which 96 per cent of EU/Mexico trade will be liberalised. The government is energetically promoting the opportunities for UK trade and investment which this Agreement and Mexico's rapidly growing prosperity represent (see para 95). Trade relations with the US and Canada are on a Most Favoured Nation basis.


  54.  Due for completion in 2005, the Free Trade Area of the Americas would create a 34-nation free trade area encompassing the whole of the Western Hemisphere (with the exception of Cuba). It would create a market of 800 million people, and (according to its supporters) $11.5 trillion in goods and services a year. Heads of Government from participating countries last met formally to discuss FTAA at the `Summit of the Americas' in Quebec in April 2001. If it goes ahead, the agreement would extend the North American Free Trade Area southwards to include the other key Latin American markets (Brazil, Argentina and Chile). Though the UK does not object to regional free trade agreements, they should not divert attention away from the WTO or erect higher trade barriers with the rest of the world.

Air Services

  55.  The UK is working with the US for liberalisation of air services arrangements. After the events of 11 September, the Prime Minister re-affirmed to President Bush the UK's commitment to seeking to secure a new air services deal by the end of this year.



  56.  UK and US policies towards Russia are similar. Both acknowledge the importance of maintaining dialogue with Russia. Our approach is one of critical engagement: support where Russia is moving in the right direction, but frank talking too. The Prime Minister has personally invested considerable time in developing relations with Russia, and was the first Western leader to engage with President Putin, and met him five times in 2000.

  57.  The Bush Administration came to office questioning the privileged attention it believed Russia had enjoyed under President Clinton. The early part of 2001 saw the expulsion of Russian spies from Washington following the Hanssen spy affair, and confrontational rhetoric on both sides over missile defence and proliferation. The first meeting of the two presidents at Ljubljana on 16 June went well and has led to continued dialogue. At the G8 Summit in Genoa in July they made the link between missile defence and reductions in offensive weapons which has formed the basis for an intense series of high level contacts on strategic issues. The dialogue has broadened out into other areas: the US Treasury and Commerce Secretaries visited Moscow in July and expressed support for economic reform, WTO accession and greater commercial contact. The two presidents met a third time on 21 October at the APEC Summit in Shanghai.

  58.  Russia's support for the international coalition against terrorism, following the 11 September attacks on the US, has been welcomed by both the US and the UK, and has heightened recognition on all sides for the need for close cooperation with Russia. On 24 September President Putin said Russian support would include active intelligence-co-operation, opening Russian airspace to humanitarian flights, participation in search and rescue operations if required, and increased Russian help to the Northern Alliance. This response marks further progress towards Russia working with us on the basis of shared aims.


  59.  US/China relations went through a difficult period in the first half of 2001. In particular the EP-3 aircraft incident, the US's provision of an enhanced package of arms sales for Taiwan, US plans for missile defence (which China opposes), and the detention by the Chinese authorities of US-based academics on charges of spying, all put a strain on relations. These developments also took place against a backdrop of an increase in attention being paid in the US to China's increasing economic and political weight and to concerns in some quarters in the US about China's possible emergence as the US's main strategic competitor. The US is China's largest export market and a major source of foreign investment in China. The US has agreed to China's WTO entry.

  60.  As in the case of Russia, China's response to the terrorist attacks has significantly altered the tone of the relationship with the US. China is in an important position. It is a P5 member, a close supporter of Pakistan, and has been the leading promoter of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation to discuss security in Central Asia. China has expressed support for the international response, while stressing the importance of the role of the UN, and the need for any response to be targeted and avoid civilian casualties. President Bush's meeting with President Jiang at the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation Forum Summit in Shanghai in October was marked by both sides stressing their wish to build constructive relations. A meeting of the stalled US/China bilateral human rights dialogue has gone ahead, and military contacts have been resumed. This visit followed an increase in the number of senior level visits, with Secretary Powell and Treasury Secretary O'Neil visiting Beijing over the summer. Underlying tensions, including over Taiwan, remain but Chinese support, despite its traditional misgivings about military intervention, has put these into a new, more constructive, framework.


  61.  The US/Japan Security Alliance is the cornerstone of Japan's foreign policy, and has been reinforced by President Bush and Prime Minister Koizumi. We share with the US a vital interest in seeing successful economic structural reform and a return to growth in Japan; and welcome Japan's more active international role. In response to the terrorist outrages on 11 September, Japan has offered to deploy naval assets to the Indian Ocean and plans legislation to enable it to offer logistical support to US forces engaged in anti-terrorist operations.

Korean Peninsula

  62.  The UK and the US share a common interest in enhanced stability on the Korean Peninsula. The EU supports the process of reconciliation between the two Koreas and continues to press North Korea (DPRK) to adopt a responsible attitude towards nuclear and ballistic missile proliferation.

  63.  Following the North-South summit in June 2000, and the DPRK confirming to the US its moratorium on long-range missile flight testing and its renunciation of terrorism, the UK opened diplomatic relations with North Korea on 12 December 2000. Our new Embassy was formally opened on 30 July 2001. Our aim is to support North-South dialogue, help open up the country to contacts with the outside world, and improve the North Korean record on proliferation and human rights issues.

  64.  Without US engagement, there can be no progress in direct talks between North and South. The unique role of the US derives both from its military presence on the Korean peninsula and from its political and economic engagement. On taking office, President Bush announced a review of policy towards the DPRK. The North Korean reaction was hostile. The DPRK suspended all contacts with the South and threatened to abandon the 1994 Agreed Framework and the moratorium on missile tests.

  65.  The US review concluded in June 2001 that contacts with the DPRK should continue and that the emphasis should be on implementation of the Agreed Framework, verifiable constraints on the DPRK's missile programmes, a ban on its missile exports, and conventional force reductions. Shortly afterwards the EU and US agreed that inter-Korean dialogue and cooperation, non-proliferation and human rights would remain issues of vital importance for further progress in developing ties with North Korea.

  66.  Inter-Korean talks at Ministerial level resumed in September 2001, and registered progress on a number of issues. But to date the DPRK has not formally responded to the US proposals. The DPRK issued an unprecedented public condemnation of the September 2001 terrorist outrages in the United States. It remains in the UK interest to see US-DPRK contacts resume, and we have urged the DPRK to respond positively.

The Balkans

  67.  Since the Dayton Agreement on Bosnia in 1995, cooperation between the US and the Europeans has been much more effective and close on both the political development and the military sides. The examples of SFOR (Bosnia) and KFOR (Kosovo) show this. Non-US contributions make up the bulk of the forces, but there is full American participation, properly channelled through NATO.

  68.  The special representatives of the US (Pardew) and the EU (Leotard) in Skopje have worked together to achieve and then secure implementation of the Framework Agreement ending the fighting in Macedonia in August 2001. The US have supported the subsequent NATO operations.

  69.  The US has also taken a keen interest in regional co-operation and dialogue, notably within the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, set up by the Sarajevo summit in summer 1999.

Middle East Peace Process

  70.  The US and UK share similar overall aims on the Middle East Peace Process. Our aim is a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement based on United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the principle of `land for peace', security for Israel within recognised borders, and an end to occupation.

  71.  The Government is making every effort both to avert the worsening of the current crisis and to make progress towards a negotiated settlement. The key is full and early implementation of the recommendations of the Mitchell Committee, which set out a road back to the negotiating table. Our efforts are closely co-ordinated with those of EU partners and with the US. The High Representative (Solana), who travels regularly to the region to pursue EU policy and help the parties make progress, is in frequent contact with US colleagues.

  72.  Our resolve to pursue peace efforts has been further strengthened by the terrorist attacks in the US on 11 September. We believe that the effort to counter terrorism has to be accompanied by parallel, sustained efforts to reinvigorate the search for peace in the Middle East. The dispute between Israel and her Arab neighbours remains the most destabilising issue in the region, and will fuel terrorism as long as it remains unresolved. Like the US, we have urged the parties to seize the opportunity now to rebuild the peace process.

  73.  The Prime Minister met President Arafat in London on 15 October and urged him to ensure that the Palestinian Authority made a 100% effort to prevent attacks on Israelis. He reiterated that our goal is peace and justice for the Palestinians, and security and freedom from terrorism for Israelis. He stated that a viable Palestinian state as part of a negotiated and agreed settlement that guarantees peace and security for Israel is the objective. President Arafat reiterated his condemnation of all forms of terrorism, his commitment to the ceasefire and his willingness to engage in negotiations. More recently, the UK has called on the Palestinian Authority to do everything possible to bring to justice those involved in the murder of Israeli Minister Ze'evi, an act we have condemned. We have also urged Israel to act with restraint and to withdraw from Palestinian Authority-controlled areas.

  74.  The US has a vital role to play to help resolve the situation in the Middle East. Its leverage with the parties is an essential element of international efforts. The UK welcomes US efforts. The US, like the UK and others, has made clear its position on unacceptable activities by both Israelis and Palestinians. The US has, for example, condemned both Palestinian suicide bombings and Israeli incursions into Area A (territory under Palestinian Authority control) and has maintained frequent contacts with both parties.


  75.  The UK has worked closely with the US on policy towards Iraq since the latter's invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Both Governments' policies are firmly set within the framework of UN Security Council resolutions. We share the policy objective of re-integrating Iraq into the international community through compliance with UN Security Council resolutions.

  76.  UN Security Council resolution 1284 (1999)—the most recent comprehensive UN resolution on Iraq—supports this aim by offering, for the first time, the suspension of sanctions if Iraq co-operates with the UN arms control body, the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), on weapons inspections. The adoption of this resolution by the Council was the result of a closely co-ordinated UK/US effort in the resolution's preparation and negotiation with the other permanent members of the Council. In the face of Iraq's refusal so far to accept the opportunity offered by SCR1284 or to meet its international obligations under UN resolutions, particularly on disarmament, the UK and the new US administration have worked closely since the beginning of 2001 on a new approach which will continue to contain the threat Iraq poses to its neighbours but also offer increased opportunities for civilian trade. This approach led to the adoption in July by the Council of SCR1352 which endorsed the principles of shared UK/US proposals to liberalise civilian trade with Iraq while maintaining tight controls on its attempts to acquire weaponry, including weapons of mass destruction.

  77.  Despite the Security Council's failure in the face of Russian objections to adopt a resolution specifying the detail of our proposals, we were encouraged by French and Chinese agreement in July to the Goods Review List, a key element of the new approach. In co-operation with the US, the UK is continuing efforts to address the question of dealing with Iraq's WMD and military ambitions, while minimising the impact on the Iraqi people. The UK also continues to urge Iraq to accept the opportunity offered by SCR 1284 to see sanctions lifted.

  78.  Militarily the UK and US have been operating together in the Gulf for more than ten years, with close co-ordination at all levels of the command chain. UK and US aircraft continue to patrol the No Fly Zones over northern and southern Iraq established in 1991 and 1992 respectively, in support of SCR 688, to stop the Iraqi regime from once again using their aircraft in the repression of the Iraqi people. Since January 1999 Iraqi combat aircraft have violated the No Fly Zones more than 250 times. Over the same period, Iraqi air defence units have targeted UK and US aircraft on more than 1800 occasions. When these attacks have compelled us to take action in self-defence against the Iraqi forces, there has been full UK/US consultation. UK and US forces also continue to work closely in their patrolling of the Gulf as part of the multinational Maritime Interdiction Force's effort to deter the smuggling of Iraqi oil on this route.


  79.  The UK shares many US concerns about Iran, including Iran's reported WMD programmes, support for terrorist groups opposed to the MEPP and the human rights situation. However, the UK, and the EU more widely, have adopted a different approach to Iran, favouring constructive engagement, with a view to encouraging the programme of reform advocated by Khatami's government, and to cooperation on areas of mutual interest, such as policy on Iraq, Afghanistan and countering narcotics co-operation. Engagement also allows us to address difficult issues such as WMD, terrorism and human rights. Hence the Foreign Secretary's visit on 25 September, the first such visit since the revolution.

  80.  The UK believes that the growth of trade, and Iran's reintegration into the global economy, would also strengthen the reform process within Iran. Despite the recent extension of the 1996 Iran Libya Sanctions Act (which imposes extraterritorial sanctions on non-US companies which invest over $40 million in Iran or Libya), EU companies continue to invest in the oil industry in Iran, and have obtained or are seeking waivers from the US to do so. The US Administration, notwithstanding its different analysis and approach, recognise the rationale behind overall UK policy towards Iran.


  81.  Following the verdict in the Lockerbie trial, the UK and US have jointly entered into discussions with Libya about satisfying the requirements of the Security Council necessary for the lifting of sanctions (which are currently merely suspended). Details of the discussions remain confidential.

  82.  The Security Council requires Libya to:

    —  prove by its actions that it has renounced terrorism

    —  disclose all it knows of the Lockerbie bombing

    —  accept responsibility for the actions of its officials

    —  pay appropriate compensation.

  These requirements were not fulfilled simply by the surrender of the defendants to the courts or by the trial having come to an end. The convicted defendant, Megrahi, has been given leave to appeal.


  83.  The events of 11 September have focused international attention on Afghanistan. However, even before then the UK had been looking creatively at ways of moving forward on Afghanistan. In July, we co-hosted a UN-sponsored conference, attended by representatives of 20 countries (including the US), where there was broad agreement that the best way to tackle the complex set of inter-related problems associated with Afghanistan was through a comprehensive approach enshrined in a UN Security Council Resolution.

  84.  The Taleban refusal to hand over Osama bin Laden and his associates has forced the US-led coalition to take military action in Afghanistan. The UK objective, shared by the US and our coalition partners, is to root out terrorism from Afghanistan and, if as a consequence the Taleban regime falls, to ensure that the successor government is broad-based, representing the interests of all Afghans. We are working closely on strategies for coalition action, the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan and for a representative government. In addressing the humanitarian problems of Afghanistan and its political future, the UK is of the firm view that the UN must take the lead. The UK fully supports the appointment of Lakhdar Brahimi as the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan.

India and Pakistan

  85.  US policy on India/Pakistan is very similar to that of the UK. We share the same objectives and the same interests in regional stability. Since the Kargil conflict in the summer of 1999, we have worked with the US to encourage both India and Pakistan to settle the issues that divide them. Our consistent message has been that this should be pursued by dialogue, and that a lasting peace would bring benefits to the whole region. In addition, we have stressed to Pakistan the need to curb support for militants; and to India the need to address the human rights concerns of Kashmiris.

  86.  This approach has had measured success. India and Pakistan have undertaken a number of initiatives which have served to reduce tension over the last two years. Most recently, Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee invited Pakistan's General Musharraf to talks at Agra in July 2001. Wider regional stability issues, including Indo/Pak relations have been affected by the current crisis. We and the US are encouraging India and Pakistan to show restraint and persevere with their dialogue.

  87.  Following the nuclear tests in May/June 1998, the US imposed sanctions against both India and Pakistan. In light of both countries' support for the international community's action against terrorism, the US has put in place measures to lift the sanctions. This will allow the export of defence equipment and remove restrictions on economic assistance.

  88.  The UK and US have welcomed General Musharraf's support for the international efforts against terrorism. In response, the US has lifted nuclear related sanctions and is looking at the legislation related to sanctions imposed after the coup.

  89.  Musharraf announced a four-phase road map for the transition to democracy on 14 August. This offers the prospect of multi-party elections to the provincial and national assemblies and senate by 12 October 2002. The local bodies elections (union councils) and the district nazim (mayoral) elections were completed on 14 August (Phase 1). The transfer of power to the elected government is scheduled for Phase 4 (October and November 2002). Musharraf has also referred to constitutional changes which will be adopted by "national consensus" after a public debate. We and the US welcomed the timetable for elections, but pointed to the need for clarity on the constitutional aspects of this road map to democracy.

South East Asia

  90.  UK and US interests in South East Asia broadly coincide. The UK is one of the largest investors in the region and has a strong interest in regional security. Our policies are closely converging and there is regular contact with the Americans both in Washington and through our diplomatic missions in the region to ensure that our policies are complementary. These links have been further reinforced since 11 September, and the UK and US are working to influence opinion in SE Asia in favour of effective international action on terrorism.

Overseas Territories and the Caribbean

  91.  The use of the Caribbean region as a drugs trans-shipment route to the US has led to increasing co-operation between the UK Overseas Territories (OT) in the Caribbean and US drugs enforcement authorities operating in the region. The OTs and other Caribbean states rely heavily on the US to provide intelligence and equipment to identify and intercept ship-borne traffic and airdrops. The 1998 US/UK/UK Overseas Territories Agreement concerning Maritime and Aerial Operations to Suppress Illicit Trafficking by Sea in Waters of the Caribbean and Bermuda came into force on 30 October 2000. A Royal Navy Liaison Officer is stationed at the US Joint Inter-Agency Task Force (East) at Key West.

  92.  Financial crime and money laundering remain a cause for concern. In response to US concerns about the use by criminals of the OTs to perpetrate fraud/crime in the US, a joint FBI and UK white-collar crime investigation team was established in 1993 operating from Miami with a mandate to pursue US-related fraud/financial crime cases in the OTs.

  93.  As with drugs, illegal immigrants use the Caribbean Islands and OTs as a conduit to gain access to the US. OT co-operation with the US authorities is being improved.

  94.  Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory, is home to a substantial US Navy Support Facility, under a 1966 bilateral agreement with the US.

Latin America

  95.  Mexico has enjoyed dramatic economic growth since it joined NAFTA in 1993 and its economy has become much more closely tied to the US. The Mexican government were keen to have a balancing free trade agreement with the EU, for which the UK was the strongest protagonist within the EU. The EU/Mexico Agreement came into force in 2000. The Prime Minister visited Mexico in August 2001 and the Government is energetically promoting the opportunities for UK trade and investment which this Agreement and Mexico's rapidly growing prosperity represent.

  96.  The UK supports the Colombian peace process. With EU partners we believe that a solution will involve much more than military means, which alone are unlikely to stop the drug trade, and could simply push coca cultivation deeper into the jungle (or into neighbouring countries).

  97.  The UK shares the US Administration's concern over the economic crisis in Argentina. There are differences between the US approach to Cuba and that of the UK (and EU), which prefers dialogue and engagement. The UK and EU strongly reject the US extraterritorial Helms-Burton legislation which seeks to penalise non-US companies doing business with Cuba.


  98.  The strength of the UK/US relationship has been emphasised dramatically following the attacks of 11 September. This Memorandum sets out many of the areas in which the UK and US work together as a matter both of habit and of necessity. However, it cannot hope to capture the full range of exchanges and debate.

  99.  The FCO welcomes the Committee's continuing interest in the UK/US relationship and looks forward to its Report.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

October 2001

1   See Evidence, pp 96-99. Back

2   See Evidence, pp 29-30. Back

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