Leaked Memo Reveals Blair's 'Deal In Blood' With
Bush Over Iraq War
Leaked White House memo shows former Prime Minister's support for
war at summit with U.S. President in 2002
Bombshell document shows Blair preparing to act as spin doctor for
Bush, who was told 'the UK will follow our lead'
Publicly, Blair still claimed to be looking for diplomatic solution
- in direct contrast to email revelations
New light was shed on Bush-Blair relations by material disclosed by
Hillary Clinton at the order of the U.S. courts
By William Lowther In Washington and Glen Owen for
The Mail on Sunday
October 17, 2015 "Information
Clearing House" - "Daily
Mail" - A bombshell White House memo has
revealed for the first time details of the ‘deal in blood’ forged by
Tony Blair and George Bush over the Iraq War.
The sensational leak shows that Blair had given an unqualified
pledge to sign up to the conflict a year before the invasion
It flies in the face of the Prime Minister’s public claims at the
time that he was seeking a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
He told voters: ‘We’re not proposing military action’ – in direct
contrast to what the secret email now reveals.
Scroll down to read the documents in full
The classified document also discloses that Blair agreed to act as a
glorified spin doctor for the President by presenting ‘public
affairs lines’ to convince a sceptical public that Saddam had
Weapons of Mass Destruction – when none existed.
In return, the President would flatter Blair’s ego and give the
impression that Britain was not America’s poodle but an equal
partner in the ‘special relationship’.
The damning memo, from Secretary of State Colin Powell to President
George Bush, was written on March 28, 2002, a week before Bush’s
famous summit with Blair at his Crawford ranch in Texas.
In it, Powell tells Bush that Blair ‘will be with us’ on military
action. Powell assures the President: ‘The UK will follow our lead’.
The disclosure is certain to lead for calls for Sir John Chilcot to
reopen his inquiry into the Iraq War if, as is believed, he has not
seen the Powell memo.
A second explosive memo from the same cache also reveals how Bush
used ‘spies’ in the Labour Party to help him to manipulate British
public opinion in favour of the war.
The documents, obtained by The Mail on Sunday, are part of a batch
of secret emails held on the private server of Democratic
presidential candidate Hillary Clinton which U,S. courts have forced
her to reveal.
Former Tory Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: ‘The memos prove
in explicit terms what many of us have believed all along: Tony
Blair effectively agreed to act as a frontman for American foreign
policy in advance of any decision by the House of Commons or the
‘He was happy to launder George Bush’s policy on Iraq and
sub-contract British foreign policy to another country without
having the remotest ability to have any real influence over it. And
in return for what?
'For George Bush pretending Blair was a player on the world stage to
impress voters in the UK when the Americans didn’t even believe it
Davis was backed by a senior diplomat with close knowledge of
Blair-Bush relations who said: ‘This memo shows beyond doubt for the
first time Blair was committed to the Iraq War before he even set
foot in Crawford.
'And it shows how the Americans planned to make Blair look an equal
partner in the special relationship to bolster his position in the
Blair’s spokesman insisted last night that Powell’s memo was
‘consistent with what he was saying publicly at the time’.
The former Prime Minister has always hotly denied the claim that the
two men signed a deal ‘in blood’ at Crawford to embark on the war,
which started on March 20, 2003.
The Powell document, headed ‘Secret... Memorandum for the
President’, lifts the lid on how Blair and Bush secretly plotted the
war behind closed doors at Crawford.
Powell says to Bush: ‘He will present to you the strategic, tactical
and public affairs lines that he believes will strengthen global
support for our common cause,’ adding that Blair has the
presentational skills to ‘make a credible public case on current
Iraqi threats to international peace’.
Five months after the summit, Downing Street produced the notorious
‘45 minutes from doom’ dossier on Saddam Hussein’s supposed Weapons
of Mass Destruction. After Saddam was toppled, the dossier’s claims
were exposed as bogus.
Nowhere in the memo is a diplomatic route suggested as the preferred
Instead, Powell says that Blair will also advise on how to ‘handle
calls’ for the ‘blessing’ of the United Nations Security Council,
and to ‘demonstrate that we have thought through “the day after” ’ –
in other words, made adequate provision for a post-Saddam Iraq.
Critics of the war say that the lack of post-conflict planning has
contributed to the loss of more than 100,000 lives since the
invasion – and a power vacuum which has contributed to the rise of
Islamic State terrorism.
Significantly, Powell warns Bush that Blair has hit ‘domestic
turbulence’ for being ‘too pro-U.S. in foreign and security policy,
too arrogant and “presidential” ’, which Powell points out is ‘not a
compliment in the British context’.
Powell also reveals that the splits in Blair’s Cabinet were deeper
than was realised: he says that apart from Foreign Secretary Jack
Straw and Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon, ‘Blair’s Cabinet shows signs
of division, and the British public are unconvinced that military
action is warranted now’.
Powell says that although Blair will ‘stick with us on the big
issues’, he wants to minimise the ‘political price’ he would have to
pay: ‘His voters will look for signs that Britain and America are
truly equity partners in the special relationship.’
The President certainly did his best to flatter Blair’s ego during
the Crawford summit, where he was the first world leader to be
invited into Bush’s sanctuary for two nights.
Tony and Cherie Blair stayed in the guesthouse close to the main
residence with their daughter Kathryn and Cherie’s mother, Gale
Booth. Bush took the highly unusual step of inviting Blair to sit in
on his daily CIA briefing, and drove the Prime Minister around in a
Mystery has long surrounded what was discussed at Crawford as
advisers were kept out of a key meeting between the two men.
Sir Christopher Meyer, who was present in Crawford as Britain’s
Ambassador to the U.S., told Chilcot that his exclusion meant he was
‘not entirely clear to this day... what degree of convergence was,
if you like, signed in blood at the Crawford ranch’.
But in public comments during his time at Crawford, Blair denied
that Britain was on an unstoppable path to war.
‘This is a matter for considering all the options’, he said. ‘We’re
not proposing military action at this point in time’.
During his appearance before the Chilcot inquiry in January 2010,
Blair denied that he had struck a secret deal with Bush at Crawford
to overthrow Saddam. Blair said the two men had agreed on the need
to confront the Iraqi dictator, but insisted they did not get into
‘The one thing I was not doing was dissembling in that position,’ he
‘The position was not a covert position, it was an open position.
This isn’t about a lie or a conspiracy or a deceit or a deception.
It’s a decision. What I was saying... was “We are going to be with
you in confronting and dealing with this threat.” ’
Pressed on what he thought Mr Bush took from their meeting, he said
the President had realised Britain would support military action if
the diplomatic route had been exhausted.
In his memoirs, Blair again said it was ‘a myth’ he had signed a
promise ‘in blood’ to go to war, insisting: ‘I made no such
Critics who claimed that Mr Blair acted as the ‘poodle’ of the US
will point to a reference in Mr Powell’s memo to the fact Mr Blair
‘readily committed to deploy 1,700 commandos’ to Afghanistan ‘even
though his experts warn that British forces are overstretched’.
The decision made the previous October in the wake of the September
11 attacks led to widespread concern that the UK was entering an
open-ended commitment to a bloody conflict in Afghanistan – a
concern many critics now say was well-founded.
Mr Powell’s memo goes on to say that a recent move by the U.S. to
protect its steel industry with tariffs, which had damaged UK
exports, was a ‘bitter blow’ for Blair, but he was prepared to
‘insulate our broader relationship from this and other trade
The memo was included in a batch of 30,000 emails which were
received by Mrs Clinton on her private server when she was US
Secretary of State between 2009 and 2013.
Another document included in the email batch is a confidential
briefing for Powell prepared by the U.S. Embassy in London, shortly
before the Crawford summit.
The memo, dated ‘April 02’, includes a detailed assessment of the
effect on Blair’s domestic position if he backs US military action.
The document says: ‘A sizeable number of his [Blair’s] MPs remain at
present opposed to military action against Iraq... some would favor
shifting from a policy of containment of Iraq if they had recent
(and publicly usable) proof that Iraq is developing WMD/missiles...
most seem to want some sort of UN endorsement for military action.
‘Blair’s challenge now is to judge the timing and evolution of
America’s Iraq policy and to bring his party and the British people
'There have been a few speculative pieces in the more feverish press
about Labor [sic] unease re Iraq policy… which have gone on to
identify the beginnings of a challenge to Blair’s leadership of the
'Former Cabinet member Peter Mandelson, still an insider, called it
all "froth". Nonetheless, this is the first time since the 1997
election that such a story is even being printed’.
The paper draws on information given to it by Labour ‘spies’, whose
identities have been hidden.
It states: ‘[name redacted] told us the intention of those feeding
the story is not to bring down Blair but to influence him on the
‘Some MPs would endorse action if they had proof that Iraq has
continued to develop WMD since UN inspectors left.
‘More would follow if convinced that Iraq has succeeded in
developing significant WMD capability and the missiles to deliver
'Many more would follow if they see compelling evidence that Iraq
intends and plans to use such weapons. A clear majority would
support military action if Saddam is implicated in the 9/11 attacks
or other egregious acts of terrorism’.
‘Blair has proved an excellent judge of political timing, and he
will need to be especially careful about when to launch a ramped-up
campaign to build support for action against Iraq.
'He will want neither to be too far in front or behind US policy...
if he waits too long, then the keystone of any coalition we wish to
build may not be firmly in place. No doubt these are the
calculations that Blair hopes to firm up when he meets the
A spokesperson for Tony Blair said: ‘This is consistent with what
Blair was saying publicly at the time and with Blair’s evidence
given to the Chilcot Inquiry’.
Neither Mrs Clinton nor Mr Powell replied to requests for comment.
EXPOSÉ - YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Why have these memos come out now?
The U.S. courts have ruled
that 30,000 emails received by Hillary Clinton when she was
U.S. Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013 should be
She may have asked for these
documents to grasp the background to the Iraq War.
What was the Crawford summit?
The meeting between Blair and
Bush at the President’s Texan ranch in April 2002, 11 months
before the outbreak of war. The pair spent long periods
discussing Iraq without their advisers, leading to suspicion
that they privately cut a deal for the conflict.
UK Ambassador Sir Christopher
Meyer said it was impossible to know whether a deal was
‘signed in blood’.
What did Blair say at Crawford?
At the start of the summit,
Mr Blair said: ‘We’re not proposing military action at this
point in time.’
For the whole of 2002, Blair
claimed no decision had been taken and in the run-up to war.
He said that Saddam Hussein could avoid conflict by
co-operating with UN weapons inspectors.
What happened after Crawford?
In September 2002, in an
attempt to prove Saddam was a threat, No 10 falsely claimed
Saddam could deploy biological weapons ‘within 45 minutes’,
and Mr Blair went around the world trying to drum up UN
backing for action against Iraq.
Despite mass anti-war
protests, Britain and America invaded Iraq in March 2003
without the backing of the UN.
Had the allies prepared for ‘the day after’?
The invasion was declared
complete on April 15, 2003. But the reason for war proved
spurious, and Saddam’s removal left a power vacuum filled by
warring factions which some say helped Islamic State rise.
Have the memos been seen by the Chilcot Inquiry?
It is not thought the
£10million, six-year inquiry has asked to see American
memo proves Blair signed up for Iraq even before Americans - comment
by former shadow home secretary David Davis
This is one of the most
astonishing documents I have ever read.
It proves in explicit
terms what many of us have believed all along: Tony Blair
effectively agreed to act as a front man for American foreign policy
in advance of any decision by the House of Commons or the British
He was happy to launder
George Bush’s policy on Iraq and sub-contract British foreign policy
to another country without having the remotest ability to have any
real influence over it.
And in return for what?
For George Bush pretending Blair was a player on the world stage to
impress voters in the UK when the Americans didn’t even believe it
Blair was content to
cynically use Britain’s international reputation for honest dealing
in diplomacy, built up over many years, as a shield against
worldwide opprobrium for Bush’s ill-considered policy.
Judging from this
memorandum, Blair signed up for the Iraq War even before the
Americans themselves did. It beggars belief.
Blair was telling MPs
and voters back home that he was still pursuing a diplomatic
solution while Colin Powell was telling President Bush: ‘Don’t
worry, George, Tony is signed up for the war come what may – he’ll
handle the PR for you, just make him look big in return.’
It should never be
forgotten that a minimum of 120,000 people died as a direct result
of the Iraq War.
What is truly shocking
is the casualness of it all, such as the reference in the memo to
‘the day after’ – meaning the day after Saddam would be toppled.
The offhand tone gives
the game away: it is patently obvious nobody thought about ‘the day
after’ when Bush and Blair met in Crawford.
And they gave it no
more thought right through to the moment ‘the day after’ came about
a year later when Saddam’s statue fell to the ground.
We saw the catastrophic
so-called ‘de-Baathification’ of Iraq, with the country’s entire
civil and military structure dismantled, leading to years of
bloodshed and chaos. It has infected surrounding countries to this
day and created the vacuum into which Islamic State has stepped.
This may well be the
Iraq ‘smoking gun’ we have all been looking for.
In full: The Blair/Bush
White House documents
Pictured below is
the memo from Secretary of State Colin Powell to George W Bush
Part two: This
second, explosive memo, drafted by the U.S. Embassy in London,
reveals how Bush used Labour 'spies' to manipulate British