Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Annex 1 (e)

Letter from Hon Peter Caruana QC, Chief Minister, Gibraltar, to Mr David Reddaway CMG MBE, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 29 October 1997

  During our conversation over dinner at the Convent, on the occasion of Mr Henderson's recent visit to Gibraltar, we discussed the Gibraltar Government's position in relation to participation at talks with Spain under the Brussels Agreement. I explained to you that there were two separate aspects to this issue, namely—

    (1)  restoring the record to reflect certain confirmations that I had received from FCO in a letter dated 29 April 1993 signed by the then Minister Tristan Garel Jones which record had been recently distorted; and

    (2)  the nature and status of GOG's participation given our views and manifesto commitments in that respect, ie the "Own Voice and Representation" issue.

  Given that the 10 December has now been fixed as the date for such talks we agreed that it would be helpful if I wrote to you setting out our position.

  In relation to point (1) above I can do no better than enclose herewith a further copy, for your ease of reference, of the entire correspondence relating to the matter, both before and after the letter of 29 April 1993. The issue is crucial because my party's policy of willingness to participate in talks under the Brussels Agreement at all is based and continues to be based, on the assurances contained in the letter of 29 April 1993. Therefore, unless the record is restored to the position as reflected in that letter, the question of terms of participation, ie the Own Voice and Representation issue does not even arise for consideration.

  In relation to the "Own Voice and Representation" issue. I enclose a copy of the page in my Government's manifesto so that you will see what are the operative constraints and parameters. I am willing to be constructive in the search for formulae. To this end I have suggested, and continue to be willing to accept, a formula that places us much in the same position as if we had our own separate representation but without requiring a formal trilateral structure or a ritualistic acceptance by the Spaniards which will not be forthcoming. This is achieved by the "internal arrangements" that apply to a single British delegation comprising separate UK and Gibraltar parts, led by the Foreign Secretary. Whilst I am willing to be constructive and imaginative, I will not accept a formula of participation that does not accord with what is stated in our manifesto and which amounts to bilateralism in substance and form.

  I also enclose a copy of a Gibraltar Government press release that was issued on 26 November 1996. You may find its contents helpful in understanding our position.

  We also agreed that it would be helpful if we settled between ourselves the text of the required letter, before involving Ministers. I have therefore taken the liberty of drafting, and I enclose, a draft of letter that deals with both issues and that would, if agreeable to HMG, issue to me and would enable Gibraltar Government to take part at talks under the Brussels Agreement.

  I look forward to hearing from you.

Peter Caruana

Chief Minister

29 October 1997

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