§ Mr. Stephen O'Brien
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his Department's policy on producing briefing documents giving information about senior businessman, politicians and other public figures in overseas countries; and if he will place in the Library copies of all such documents. 
§ Mr. Robin Cook
[holding answer 8 June 2000]The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and posts abroad collect a vast amount of information on all subjects, including information about personalities in other countries, in order to provide briefing and assessments for Ministers and officials. Such information is often acquired on a confidential basis and in some cases is subject to statutory restrictions on disclosure. It would not be appropriate, therefore, to make it available as the hon. Member suggests.