Letter to the Chair from the Minister
of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Thank you for your letter of 27 April to the
former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.
You asked why correspondence from the Foreign
Office to the Quadripartite Committee was marked "In confidence"
and whether in hindsight the FCO would be willing to allow the
removal of the markings, to allow the Committee to publish the
With regards to the Israel letter of April 19,
the "In confidence" markings were applied in error.
The FCO, together with the MoD and DTI removed all language that
might have been subject to classification, and therefore I am
happy for the markings to be removed and the letter published.
Regarding the 27 October 2005 letter from Chris
Stanton to the Clerk of the Quadripartite Committee on exports
to Iraq, we need to consult wider OGDs on what can and what cannot
be released. Until that time, we would recommend that the letter
be reclassified from "in Confidence" to Restricted-Commercial.
With reference to the letter of February 8,
the in-confidence classification refers to commercially sensitive
information. Therefore, this information should not be put in
the public domain.
After discussion on this issue, it has been
decided that any information that is not for public disclosure
will now be marked as either "RestrictedCommercial"
or "Restricted" which are formal Government security
markings. We will aim to provide as much information as possible
to the Committee as unclassified. You will however understand
that it is impossible to make all information released to the
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office us determined
be to as open and transparent as possible with the Quadripartite
Committee. However, we are also aware of our responsibilities
in ensuring responsible UK trade and maintaining commercial confidence