MoD permanent secretary sent ‘sensitive’ guidance to head of defence sales

By Frederika Whitehead | 26 June 2012

Exaro publishes the UK government directive that set down guidelines on “agency fees” in overseas defence sales.

Sir Frank Cooper, as permanent secretary of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), issued the confidential directive, which has since been declassified. It was sent in 1976 to Sir Lester Suffield, then head of the MoD’s Defence Sales Organisation.

It gave “special guidance” on the “difficult and sensitive area” of “special commissions and the employment of agents” in overseas defence sales. Commissions should not exceed the “normal level for the area”, Cooper wrote.

His directive stated that it had been approved by the defence secretary in Jim Callaghan’s Labour government, Roy Mason.

The correspondence between Cooper and Suffield leaves the MoD facing questions over its knowledge about irregular payments linked to the Sangcom project, a huge programme to overhaul the Saudi Arabian national guard’s communications systems.

Download no longer available.

Exaro also publishes Suffield’s reply to the directive.

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