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Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 14th July 2004 - page 109 / 216





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with its disarmament obligations. The Attorney General has also told us that, in order to assist him in reaching a concluded view of the proper interpretation of the resolution, he also spoke to Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and in February 2003 met members of the US Administration who as co-sponsors of the Resolution had detailed knowledge of the negotiation of the resolution.

  • 378.

    The Attorney General informed the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff (Mr Powell), his Foreign Policy Adviser (Sir David Manning) and Baroness Morgan of his view of the legal position at a meeting on 28 February 2003. The Prime Minister’s office subsequently asked the Attorney General to put those views in writing, which he did in a formal minute to the Prime Minister on 7 March 2003.

  • 379.

    We have received an account from the Attorney General of that advice, and have read it. It was based on the legal interpretation of relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and negotiating history in the United Nations, and not on WMD-related intelligence. It did, however, require the Prime Minister, in the absence of a further United Nations Security Council resolution, to be satisfied that there were strong factual grounds for concluding that Iraq had failed to take the final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions of the Security Council and that it was possible to demonstrate hard evidence of non-compliance and non-co-operation with the requirements of Security Council Resolution 1441, so as to justify the conclusion that Iraq was in further material breach of its obligations.

  • 380.

    On the basis of the Attorney General’s advice, the Government drew up its military campaign objectives (set out at Annex C) which made it clear that the Government’s overall objective for the military campaign was to bring about Iraq’s disarmament in accordance with its obligations under the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and that the obstacle to achieving this was the then current Iraqi regime, supported by the security forces under its control. The Government therefore concluded that military action was necessary to remove the Iraqi regime from power, in order to secure compliance by Iraq with its disarmament obligations. The Attorney General confirmed to us his view that, while the assessment that it was necessary to remove the current regime to enforce compliance with its disarmament obligations was not for him, he saw no reason to regard this as being other than a proper and reasonable political and military assessment for the Government to make.

  • 381.

    The Attorney General decided that it was in the interests of public servants, both military and civil, who would have to carry through any decision to take military action that a statement should be made in clear and simple terms as to his view of the legal position. The Attorney General informed Lord Falconer and Baroness Morgan at a meeting on 13 March of his clear view that it was lawful under Resolution 1441 to use force without a further United Nations Security Council resolution.

  • 382.

    The Legal Secretary to the Law Officers informed the Legal Adviser to the Ministry of Defence on 14 March of the Attorney General’s view, the Legal Adviser to the Ministry of Defence having written to the Legal Secretary on 12 March asking for confirmation of the legal position in order that the Chief of the Defence Staff could issue the order to commit armed forces to military action.


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