07 April 2011

Wikileaks releases diplomatic cables on UK position during EU-US air negotiations

The Telegraph has published a confidential diplomatic cable from the US Embassy in London dated 4 February 2010 concerning the UK position with respect to the second set of air services negotiations between the European Commission and the United States (see previous post). An earlier related unclassified cable dated 11 March 2009 was also released. Both cables were obtained via Wikileaks.

Issues to feature include the restrictive US position on foreign ownership of airlines and anti-trust immunity for oneworld alliance members (this was subsequently granted - see previous post).

The Guardian carried a report dated 14 February 2011 on the two leaked cables.

While there can be little doubt that for the academic community Wikileaks is providing a valuable source of current history and for the news media plenty to write about, much of what is released shows US diplomats very professionally going about their work. Some of the disclosures have already been damaging, and not just to US interests. It also no doubt leaves many people who deal with US diplomats (including me) wondering how free and frank one can be in conversation. This can only be to the detriment of better international understanding. When it comes to foreign relations I for one think that there are communications that should legitimately not be dropped into the public arena.

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