The important thing about this is that the Foreign Office has – as usual – its own agenda and does not follow political instructions as it should do. This is near treasonable behaviour; it is certainly disgraceful.
We excoriate Blair for lying to get his own party on side to take us to war but there are many who think the decision was right – for the wrong published reasons The Foreign Office is living up to its reputation of being the office for foreigners.
Foreign Office 'worked to undermine Blair'
By Toby Harnden
Foreign Office officials worked to undermine Tony Blair's pro-American policies at the United Nations because they had been "infected" by French and German views, according to the former United States ambassador to the UN.
The charge that British diplomats acted to frustrate the Prime Minister's policies were made on the eve of Mr Blair's farewell visit to Washington by John Bolton, a leading Bush administration hawk who stepped down from his UN post in December.
Mr Bolton, who has been criticised privately by British diplomats as an abrasive unilateralist who showed contempt for the UN, singled out Jeremy Greenstock, the British ambassador to the UN in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, and his successor Sir Emyr Jones Parry, who is still in the post.
"Greenstock was a lot of the problem," he said.
British diplomats, Mr Bolton said, were vehemently opposed to much of what Mr Blair wanted to do. "On Iraq in particular, they didn't like it. It reflected the increasingly Eurocentric view of the Foreign Office, where they're just not as Atlanticist as they used to be.
"This is probably the biggest split between the Foreign Office and the British people as a whole, who remain basically at least somewhat Eurosceptic."
Foreign Office officials were more willing to listen to their European counterparts. "They're very Brussels-oriented and they were hearing from the Germans, the French and whatnot about their opposition and I think it infected them."
President George W Bush had been bedevilled by a similar problem with American diplomats who had wanted John Kerry, his Democratic opponent, to prevail in the 2004 election, he claimed.
"The day after the election in 2004, you could've hung the State Department cafeteria in black crepe," he said. "But today, they're very happy."
On the recent six-party agreement with North Korea over its nuclear programme, he said, "it's 180 degrees from what the President said at the beginning of the administration" when the policy urged by the State Department had been rejected.
"I ascribe it to the persistence of the bureaucracy. Here we are in 2007, doing exactly what they wanted to on January 20, 2001, the day Bush was inaugurated."
Mr Bolton was full of praise for Mr Blair's steadfast support of Mr Bush over Iraq and the war on terror. "The idea that somehow he's a poodle or second-class citizen - nobody in this administration has thought that. Nobody.
"People had a lot of respect for him, even when we disagreed on issues like the environmental questions, for example.
"The difference is that he was determined to co-operate to achieve success, whereas some others, like [Jacques] Chirac [the outgoing French president], were just obstructionists.
"They wanted to show they weren't Americans. Well congratulations, they succeeded. But are we more secure because of that? I don't think so."