Select Committee on Foreign Affairs First Report


Letter to the Clerk of the Committee from Sir James Adams, Control Risks Group Limited, 30 June 1998

  We spoke on the telephone on 1 June. You very kindly explained to me the interest of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Indonesia in the context of their general examination of Foreign Policy and Human Rights issues. You were also good enough to say that I might write to you to describe the service which the Control Risks Group (CRG) has been offering to business clients—British and international—operating in Indonesia. I am sorry not to have followed this up before but I have been away for much of the intervening period.

  CRG is a British-based international security consultancy with four main areas of activity-political and security assessment (Control Risks Information Services: CRIS), investigation (mainly on behalf of corporate clients), asset protection and crisis response. We have 12 overseas offices and an annual turnover of about £20 million. A majority of the Group's shares are owned by our management and staff. We have no ties to security equipment manufacturers though we work closely with the specialist insurance underwriters at Lloyds. Since our foundation in 1975, we have operated in over 130 countries. We work to the highest ethical standards in strict conformity with the law.

  CRIS—who have an in-house staff of some 20 analysts and editors and a large net-work of stringers overseas—provide a daily on-line service, devoted to the security and political risk situation in 118 countries. This is produced for a long list of corporate clients, and for a few governments and government agencies and international organisations. It is supplemented by telephonic advice which is on a round-the-clock basis in crisis situations (e.g., recently in Indonesia). CRIS also provide commissioned reports for such clients and some published material.

  In the evolving Indonesian operation, our Australian office deployed experienced consultants over several months to advise our clients in Indonesia on the ground, on how best to protect personnel and other assets. Meanwhile our CRIS Asian desk here in London, aided by their stringer in Indonesia, gave political and security risk advice to numerous corporate headquarters by telephone. On 28 May we gave a presentation in the London Chamber of Commerce on the risk to business from the Indonesian crisis, to about 40 important corporate clients. I enclose as background the text of the presentation given by one of our speakers at that event as well as the text of our on-line service on Indonesia as of 30 June.

  Perhaps I might also mention our recent activities in another area of current interest: the role of companies in the field of human rights in general. On 20 April, John Bray, our Principal Research Consultant, gave a presentation on the role of the Internet to the Chatham House conference on "Multinationals and Human Rights". The following day, we organised a "Human Rights Scenario Workshop" at Chatham House, as a follow-up to the main conference. The discussions revolved around a three-part scenario involving an oil company in a fictional country with a questionable human rights record. Some 20 companies, NGOs and diplomatic officials took part. We plan to follow this up with similar exercises—and analysis—both for future conferences and for individual companies.

  If you think that any of the above as regards Indonesia, Human Rights or any other aspect of our services is of interest to members of the Committee, we should be happy to go into more detail. If there is any requirement for British companies to give evidence on Indonesia, e.g., on the likely impact of the current crisis on business there, we should also be very happy to contribute. (We supplied a contribution on India to the Trade and Industry Committee in 1996.)

  For the sake of completeness, I should mention that in January of this year I took the liberty of writing to your Chairman, Mr Donald Anderson MP, to ask if he would like a briefing on our services. I did not receive a reply to that letter, but perhaps it should have been more properly directed to you.

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© Parliamentary copyright 1998
Prepared 21 December 1998