Phase I: summary
96. On 5 September 2001, President Bush stated that
America had "no more important relationship in the world"
than that with Mexico.
By 20 September, the President had invited the Prime Minister
to join him at a Joint Session of Congress, where he declared
that "America has no truer friend than Great Britain."
Fears over the future of the "special relationship"
before 11 September were probably exaggerated.
However, the Government's actions in the immediate aftermath of
the attack did much to cement British-US relations at America's
time of crisis.
97. What appear to have established Britain as America's
most trusted ally in the war against terrorism were the actions
taken by the Government to draw together and define a international
coalition against terrorism, publicly and through multilateral
fora. These actions ensured that, by the end of September, Britain
had "a seat at the table" in Washington and ensured
that "the views of the Blair Government are taken seriously".
The Government's articulation of campaign objectives also appears
to have shaped coalition policy, seizing the moment of maximum
support for counter-terrorist action to ensure that global action
was taken to defeat the threat.
98. We believe that the Government's support of the
UN's role in the war against terrorism was particularly important
in these early stages. Without the British initiatives we mention
here, the UN may not have been so central to the war against terrorism.
We are convinced that this war can only be won through sustained
global co-operation. The UN is the only global organisation with
a mandate appropriate to this task. The CTC is an important initiative
and its success so far depends to a great extent on British leadership.
99. We also commend the Government's work towards
establishing international legal grounds, through the United Nations
Security Council, before responding militarily against the threat
of international terrorism. We believe that this focus on establishing
a legal basis for action helped to ensure widespread international
support for the subsequent military action in Afghanistan, and
this holds lessons for future military actions.
100. Britain's leadership in the UN role early in
the campaign may have influenced, at least for a time, the US
Administration's view of the Organisation. On 10 November, President
Bush opened the UN 56th General Assembly debate with a speech
which appeared to show that the Administration saw the value of
the UN in fighting terrorism. The UN, President Bush argued, had
already defined the "most basic obligations in this new conflict,"
in UNSCR 1373.
Though the most important decisions in the conduct of the war
against terrorism continue to be taken in Washington, not New
York, the role of the UN in the global campaign against terrorism
is now clearly established.