Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Letter to the Clerk of the Committee from the Head of the Parliamentary Relations and Devolution Department, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 18 October 2002


  In my letter of 23 July, I enclosed a copy of the telegram Michael Jay issued on 18 February 2002. We have since considered with British Trade International whether further guidance should be provided to Posts to ensure they are aware of and follow the guidelines already in place.

  As Sir John Stanley acknowledged at the evidence session with the Committee, general guidelines from London cannot cover all eventualities. They provide a framework. If there are grounds for concern or areas of uncertainty, however, only consultation with London can establish whether it would be appropriate to give official support having regard for UK commercial, economic and foreign policy interests. For this reason, Ministers have concluded that additional guidance would not materially help our Posts. The existing guidelines (of which I enclose a copy[24]) and Michael Jay's telegram provide clear advice to Posts—crucially that, if in any doubt, they should consult London direct for advice.

Parliamentary Relations & Devolution Department

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

18 October 2002

24   See Annex A. Back

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