Quadripartite Select Committee Written Evidence

Memorandum from the Ministry of Defence

  1.  The Committee has requested a memorandum from the MOD responding to allegations in a memorandum from the Campaign Against the Arms Trade which alleged that the Committee was "seriously misled" by a MOD Memorandum of July 2003.

  2.  The facts given to the Committee in that MOD Memorandum were accurate, both as they related to the practices of the DESO at that time and, from the records we have identified, in relation to practices at earlier times. The MOD rejects any suggestion that it was intended to mislead. The Memorandum addressed specific allegations by the Guardian newspaper and answered the Committee's questions in terms that we continue to believe are accurate. The Department does not have any specific comment on the reported recollections of Lord Gilmour and Lord Healey in respect of their understanding of the way agents were employed, and commissions were paid, at these times, nor on CAAT's interpretation of the documents it quotes in its memorandum.

  3.  The Government takes the control of defence exports, and the behaviour of British companies and individuals involved in this area, very seriously. Staff of the Defence Export Services Organisation are under instruction to report any action which might be a cause for concern in relation to the law of the UK or of the country with which business is being done.

July 2006

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