Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Letter to Dr Denis MacShane, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, from the Chairman of the Committee

  Thank you for appearing before the Committee last Thursday. We found your evidence on the Green Paper very useful and, as I mentioned in the session, the Committee intends to produce its Report on Private Military Companies before the August deadline for submissions.

  In writing that Report, we would be greatly assisted to receive further evidence, the need for which arises from last week's exchanges. I hope that, to enable us to meet your deadline, you will be able to provide answers to the following points not later than Tuesday 2 July.

  First, the Committee wishes to receive a list of all current contracts between (1) the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, (2) the Ministry of Defence, (3) the Department for International Development, and (a) private military companies, (b) private security companies for activities outside the United Kingdom. In respect of each contract, the Committee wishes to know (i) the name of the company, (ii) the country in which the company is operating under the contract, (iii) the type of work on which the company has been engaged under the contract, (iv) approximate expenditure from public funds on the contract in the last financial year for which figures are available, (v) the duration of the contract and its value over its full life.

  Second, the Committee appreciates that the table at Annex A of the Green Paper originates from a non-Governmental source, but I would be grateful if you would provide such further information as is available to you on the following points, which we touched on in the course of the oral evidence session: (1) which Government is referred to in the entry on page 35 relating to Sierra Leone and Sandline International in 1996; and (2) in respect of which of the entries in relation to Sierra Leone for which the "Recruited by" column is blank was the company listed in the "Mercenaries involved" column acting under contract to the United Kingdom Government? It would also help the Committee if you were to clarify any other ambiguities which appear to you to occur in or arise from the table.

  I would have thought that answers to these questions should be available "off the shelf", but in the event that they cannot be answered as fully as the Committee would wish before 2 July, I would prefer to receive then such information as is available, rather than await a full reply which would arrive too late to be of any use to the Committee.

  I am copying this letter to Bruce George and to Tony Baldry.

Donald Anderson MP

Chairman of the Committee

18 June 2002

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