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Viewing cable 09LONDON290, S) FCO WELCOMES EXECUTIVE ORDERS ON DETAINEE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09LONDON290 2009-02-03 10:10 2010-11-30 17:05 SECRET Embassy London
VZCZCXRO1559
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV
DE RUEHLO #0290/01 0341016
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 031016Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1260
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 LONDON 000290 

SIPDIS 

STATE FOR S/WCI, L/PM AND EUR/WE/UK 
DOD FOR OFFICE OF DETAINEE AFFAIRS 

EO 12958 DECL: 02/02/2019 
TAGS PTER, KHLS, PREL, PINS, PHUM, KAWK, MOPS, KISL, EUN, 
UK 
SUBJECT: (S) FCO WELCOMES EXECUTIVE ORDERS ON DETAINEE 

POLICY; WILL SHARE UK EXPERIENCE RESETTLING DETAINEES WITH OTHER GOVERNMENTS, BUT NOT TAKE MORE DETAINEES
REF: A. STATE 6516  B. MILLS/RICCI 01/29/09 E-MAIL

Classified By: Political Counselor Richard Mills, Jr. for reasons 1.4 ( B) and (D).

1. (S) Summary. The UK Government “strongly welcomes” the executive orders concerning Guantanamo Bay and U.S. detainee policy, according to Robert Chatterton-Dixon, Head of the Foreign Office’s Counter Terrorism Policy Department. The UK is not willing to resettle any further detainees in the UK -- beyond the two detainees with UK residency ties, Binyam Mohammed and Shaker Amer, that are the subject of current bilateral discussions -- but has offered to share with other European governments the UK’s experience and advice on resettlement of detainees. End summary.

HMG Welcomes the Executive Orders
--------------------------------- 
2. (SBU) Drawing from ref A, PolCouns met with Chatterton-Dixon and senior members of his department on January 29 to discuss UK reaction to the Guantanamo Bay executive orders and UK views on resettlement of Guantanamo detainees. HMG was very pleased with the orders, Chatterton-Dixon stressed, and HMG lawyers are closely reviewing them and their implications for future detainee policy. He acknowledged that there had not been an official HMG statement welcoming the orders, but put that down to the travel schedule of the appropriate ministers. Foreign Office press lines, used in response to press queries, had praised the orders as “a welcome new chapter” and this was “certainly the view across HMG.” Chatterton-Dixon speculated that the orders would be raised the next time the Foreign Secretary addressed the Commons and at the time the Foreign Secretary would make clear the UK’s positive reaction.

Still Difficult Legal Issues Ahead for Both Governments
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
3. (S) Chatterton-Dixon cautioned, however, that there were still serious legal issues ahead for HMG and USG regarding detainee policy. He noted that twelve of the detainees who have returned to the UK have brought a combined action in the UK courts charging named HMG officials with “malfeasance in the use of their public office” because of their involvement in the detainees’ incarceration at Guantanamo Bay. Chatterton-Dixon said that the Home Office, not the Foreign Office, had the lead on this case, but it was likely to raise similar issues concerning access to classified information as had been raised in the Binyam Mohammed case. He noted that the Executive Orders would provide “reassurance” to the Court hearing the Binyam Mohammed case, but that court and others would be looking to the results of the inter-agency panels before concluding that legal and human rights issues raised by the defendants were now moot.

Inter-Agency Panels May Want to Consult with HMG
--------------------------------------------- --- 
4. (S) Polcouns used ref A guidance to respond to questions concerning whether the USG was considering resettling detainees in the United States and the legal authorities under which detainees were now being held. Chatterton-Dixon, although noting that he understood the focus of the inter-agency groups established under the Executive Orders was on U.S. policy and legal authority, suggested that the policy group examining broad U.S. policy on detainee issues still might find it useful to consult with other governments on an international legal regime to govern terrorist combatants.

HMG Will Not Take Any More Detainees
------------------------------------ 
5. (S) Reconfirming a message Prime Minister Brown’ Foreign Policy Advisor had conveyed to Ambassador Tuttle and DCM a few days before (ref B), Chatterton-Dixon told PolCouns that HMG was not willing to take any additional detainees for resettlement in the UK, beyond the two detainees with UK connections that are currently the subject of bilateral discussions -- Binyam Mohammed and Shaker Amer. HMG had already resettled over a dozen detainees and the UK’s available security resources to monitor any additional detainees were already stretched to the limit, he explained. The decision to accept more detainees had been taken at the
LONDON 00000290 002 OF 002
“ministerial level,” he added, and after cabinet discussion, so it was not one that Chatterton-Dixon believed was subject to revision.

6. (S) The question of other EU Member governments accepting detainees was, ultimately, for individual governments to decide in consultation with the USG, Chatterton-Dixon said. He said that HMG was not opposed to the EU discussing what steps it could take to assist individual governments that decide to accept detainees. He understood the next step following the discussion on detainees at the January 26-27 EU GAERC meeting was for EU Ambassadors in Brussels to meet and propose possible steps that could be taken to assist Members which choose to accept detainees, as well as proposals to address the legal issues that were raised concerning the detainees’ possible freedom of movement across EU borders.

HMG Will Share Its Experiences with Other Governments
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
7. (S) HMG has offered to provide other European governments considering resettlement of detainees advice on the UK’s experiences, both legal and security, in resettling detainees. Chatterton-Dixon did not know of any government that had yet taken up the British offer, in part he speculated, because to do so would “show a government’s cards” about its willingness to take detainees. He thought that most governments were still at a point at which they did not want to reveal to other EU capitals their willingness to resettle detainees, waiting to find out if others would step forward first. “I would expect Washington will learn first which countries are willing, before we do.”

8. (SBU) Chatterton-Dixon stressed that HMG appreciates the USG keeping it informed of future developments related to the Executive Orders and the work of the inter-agency panels.
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LEBARON