Straw has just been questioned on precisely the point I made about the huge gap between his evidence and what was said in the contemporary Foreign Office telegrams.
This relates to Security Council Resolution 1441 and what it means. Straw is holding the line that if the Security Council were to meet again “to consider” rather than “to decide”, that meant it was OK to ignore them and invade anyway.
Apart from the logical strangeness of the argument, the committee are suffering from an anglophone blindness that those of us who have negotiated at the UN know to avoid. “To consider” is indeed weaker than “to decide”. But the French language text is equally valid, and the verb there is se prononcer. As in prononcer un jugement – or, in English, to pronounce judgement. The committee should not ignore the other language texts.
I once, incidentally, spent four weeks of my life at a UN Commission arguing on whether to use should, ought to, has to, is to, or must to, in order to convey a duty to register a deep seabed mining concession with the appropriate international authority. That it would be “devoir” in French was agreed on day 1. As it was February in Jamaica it wasn’t a horrible four weeks.