Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Written Evidence

Further supplementary memorandum from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office



  1.   What assessments were made of the production of chemicals—chlorine, phenol and phosgene needed to supply Iraq's industry?

  As indicated in the September dossier, Iraq was able to produce chlorine, phenol and phosgene. While there are legitimate uses for the chemicals, they also could be used in the production of chemical agents.

  2.   Was there any assessment made of surplus production or diversion of production to the military for their use in WMD?

  Part of UNSCOM's role was to monitor Iraq's dual use production capability. Between the departure of UNSCOM and the arrival of UNMOVIC, it was not possible to monitor on the ground either production or diversion activity. The Iraqi 2002 Declaration failed to provide the information necessary to confirm and reconcile Iraq's imports of chemicals, indigenous production and overall consumption.

  3.   Has any assessment been made of the quantities of these chemicals that would be needed to produce the sort of stocks of WMD that would have been sufficient to allow the Iraqi Army to mount a sustainable and credible military action against an attack from coalition forces. If there was what sort of quantities are we talking about?

  A variety of assessments on Iraq's WMD programmes were carried out by the Government. The quantities of WMD required to achieve an effect would depend on the scenario under which it was employed. Even a small quantity of WMD, used in a focused strike against key military targets could have impaired the effectiveness of Allied operations.

  4.   Was there an assessment made that that gave a view on the degrees of threat posed by Iraq's WMD capability to coalition forces? Were the scientific community involved in making those assessments? Did the Cabinet Committee agree with the assessments made by the scientific community or their contribution?

  The threat to Coalition forces from WMD was assessed. Government departments have access to both their own scientific experts and the wider scientific community. The views of these experts were taken into account.

  5.   Have inspections and testing been launched since the conflict at Tarmiyah and other new plants? If so, what progress has been made and what has been found? When are the full results expected? Did the UN inspectors visit Tarmiyah in the months immediately before the conflict? If so, what did they find?

  Tarmiyah was a nuclear research establishment prior to 1991; the infrastructure was destroyed by the IAEA and the site taken over for industrial chemical research. Now known as the Ibn Sina Research Centre, it was included in the September dossier on account of concerns over its research capabilities into chemical warfare and missile fuel. The site was visited by UNMOVIC and the inspectors discovered that Iraq had restarted research into the preparation of UDMH, a prohibited missile fuel. UNMOVIC believed that this could have been an element in a prohibited missile development programme.


  6.   How far are we from granting immunity to scientists?

  It is clearly important that Iraqis with information on concealed WMD programmes should not be deterred from coming forward. We are discussing with our coalition partners a range of possible measures which could encourage them to do so. Immunity from prosecution is just one possible option.


  7.   Is there any truth in the fact that it (the September dossier) was sent back six or seven times to the intelligence community to be rewritten?

  Between the decision to produce a dossier for public consumption and the final published version, the dossier was continually updated as new intelligence was received and comments incorporated. Individual sections were the subject of discussions between officials in different departments and the intelligence agencies and were incorporated, updated or removed as the intelligence picture developed. It is therefore impossible to say how many formal drafts the document went through, however during September it was circulated to JIC members on two occasions. As the Foreign Secretary said in his evidence, the process was an iterative one.


  8.   Did we give our nuclear intelligence to Dr EI-Baradei?

  The British government co-operated fully with both UNMOVIC and the IAEA. Intelligence was passed to the Head of the IAEA Iraq action team and his staff.

Secretary of State

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

26 June 2003

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