§ Mr. Robin Cook
[holding answer 14 May 1998]: No formal investigations have been launched since 2 May 1997 by officials of the FCO without my knowledge. In the case of the alleged breach of the arms embargo on 617W Sierra Leone, officials acted perfectly properly in referring allegations to Customs and Excise. It is general practice for allegations and information about potential breaches of arms embargoes or UK export controls to be reviewed in the Restricted Enforcement Unit, as that case was, without Ministers being consulted. The decision on whether it merited investigation was for HM Customs and Excise, not the FCO.