MR GODSON: Good morning. Thank you all for coming. We like to put on a great show for you here at Policy Exchange, and I think you’d agree that we couldn’t do better than these two leading world figures at this – and particularly at this particular moment. It couldn’t be a better time. We hadn’t planned how well timed it would be when we originally started.
SECRETARY POMPEO: I did; I planned it. (Laughter.)
MR GODSON: But it ended up that way, and we are delighted to be able to welcome them here, and then go to – we’re going to have a conversation for the first part, and then we’re going to move in the latter half to a question-and-answer session. The usual Policy Exchange house rule: No question too outrageous, and just have to state your name and organization first.
So thank you both. You’re here on the day before Brexit goes live, is weaponized, as it were, to use a term of art. The question which I have for you is that this administration so different in supporting the democratic will of the British people to go for Brexit. All previous U.S. administrations were militant supporters of European integration. Why the change?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I don’t want to speak to the previous administrations. I’ll leave them to defend their views. Our view has been, with respect to the United Kingdom, the sovereign will of the people should get you all to the right place. We have great confidence in if you stare at our foreign policy broadly, we have enormous faith in the people when they’re duly elected, when they have the opportunity for free and fair elections, to get it right for their country in the same way that we do in the United States. I think that’s the fundamental difference. It’s a deep confidence in the people of the United Kingdom to deliver. And the fact that they’ll hold their leaders accountable, they’ll get it right, they’ll make mistakes, but through the democratic process they will deliver security and prosperity and wealth, and a – and opportunity for the people of the United Kingdom.
So our administration has said god speed, good luck, work your way through this. We’ve watched. We’re happy. I wanted to be here on the day that Brexit took place. The prime minister and Dom said, “Hey, how about a day before? It’s going to be a little hectic.” (Laughter.) And so I am thrilled that you all are hosting me here today. We had a great visit last night. I’m looking forward to my conversation with the prime minister later this afternoon as well.
MR GODSON: Dominic obviously one of the preeminent supporters of Brexit in the Conservative Party in the Commons. What does the shift of U.S. policy, this different approach from the historic post-war support for integration, really how does it help Brexit?
FOREIGN SECRETARY RAAB: I guess the first thing is a respect for the fact that we’ve taken a democratic, sovereign decision, and we’ve done that on its own terms and on its own merits. But it’s great to have. I mean, I think Brexit was partly for the UK about having a measure of self-confidence and ambition, and a sense of pursuing the UK interest and self-belief. And to have our American friends say, do you know what? We both respect that and we support that, that’s fantastic. And we have been talking about all the things that we’ve got in common – trade, the security cooperation – and but I think we should have a bit of can-do spirit as we go into this. We need to bring the country together. We need to bring other countries together, but having the U.S. So look, it’s all fine by us, and do you know what? There’s a great opportunity for a free trade deal. It’s great.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Can I say one more thing on this? The previous administration took a view that if the United Kingdom made this decision they’d be at the back of the line. We intend to put the United Kingdom at the front of the line. This is a historic relationship between our two countries. Save for that moment we busted away a couple hundred years ago, it’s been fantastic. (Laughter.) And I mean that.
And you talked about it on a trade deal, in economics. We already have. We were just out at a company here in the United Kingdom that started in North Carolina and now has a huge operation here in the United Kingdom. The trade relationships – we share so much, right? It’s about property rights. We talked about why it was here. The answer was the rule of law, talented human capital, and democracy are the things that bring people to do great things together. And our two nations share that, and it’s why we intend to continue to take the relationship, which we think is in a fantastic place today, and put it in an even better place in the weeks and months and years ahead.
FOREIGN SECRETARY RAAB: Amen.
MR GODSON: And in terms of managing the relationship now, there’s all the positives that you’ve talked about, but there are also the issues of Huawei, Iran, which we all know about, where perhaps not all the time (inaudible). How do you two, in terms of the two of you, managing that? How do you manage that approach? How do you mitigate risk, to use a term of art?
SECRETARY POMPEO: You want to go first? Dom, you want to go first? (Laughter.) I’m happy to go first.
FOREIGN SECRETARY RAAB: I think, look, my experience, private life, professional work, and diplomacy is with the strongest friends you have the candid conversations, and you have the maturity and the bandwidth to deal with the creases that come along the way and the challenges. Mike and I both have got the confidence in the relationship and I think in each other to be able to speak candidly with each other where we disagree. This isn’t anything new. If you look back to Churchill/Roosevelt, Thatcher/Reagan, it wasn’t all a bed of roses. But actually, if you’ve got a deep friendship and you genuinely have a special relationship, you work your way through those issues.
SECRETARY POMPEO: I’d add only this. You all know this in every part of your life; it’s certainly been mine. I was a small business owner before I lost my mind and ran for Congress 10 years ago. The truth is you call – it’s your best friends you call up and say, “What the heck are you doing,” right? It’s your best friends you call up and say, “Hey, I’m really concerned that you’re thinking about doing X, Y, or Z.” You can’t have those conversations without a deep relationship. Because if you have them with people you don’t have that type of relationship with, you risk the relationship.
This relationship is not at risk by having Dom call me up and say, “Hey, I saw you guys were thinking about X or Y or Z,” or one of the hundreds of issues where our two nations interact and work together, and say, “Hey, I hope you’ll think about doing something different,” or, “Have you considered something?” And that is valued when it comes from a partner and a friend, and it’s easy to do. And it doesn’t mean we’ll all – the dial will stop in the same place for each of us on every issue. That’s impossible to imagine in a relationship as deep and complex as that between the United States and the United Kingdom. But it’s powerful when I know that I have a colleague sitting across the table or across the ocean where I can pick up the phone and say, “Hey, here’s how America sees it. Let’s work our way through this together.”
MR GODSON: And in terms of where you come together, we talk a lot – there’s been a lot of public discussion about defense, intelligence, and so on, cultural ties. What – since you have become foreign secretary, what’s sort of been the sharp end of the – not the sharp end so much, but just the learning curve? What that you didn’t realize the full extent of, for example, like prevention of terrorism, intelligence sharing to stop terrorist attacks?
FOREIGN SECRETARY RAAB: In terms of learning curve, I think, look, when you take on the role of secretary of state, there’s a lot of (inaudible), you see the sharp end. You understand really in a practical way the way that we cooperate. I think it teaches you the depth of the relationship, also the depth of the Five Eyes relationship, which we both want to nurture and cherish. So you just see it in a more granular level.
If anything, it’s affirmed my instincts about how important the relationship is. As Mike said, good friends don’t always agree on everything, but you work your way through all those issues. And the sea of things that we do agree on overwhelms the occasional drop of disagreement. And again, that’s the strength of the relationship.
And on security in particular, I mean, we just – the values and the strategic objectives, in my experience, the overlap is overwhelming, as occasionally the creases are about precisely the means to the end. But I haven’t really seen anything where fundamentally we disagree in terms of the strategic objectives, and that’s because the values are so similar.
SECRETARY POMPEO: I had a chance to see the security piece of this, or a slice of it at least, up close and personal when I was the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. I worked closely with Andrew Parker with his team. I can’t recall if you disclose who your head of M16 is, so I shan’t. (Laughter.) I shan’t say his name.
FOREIGN SECRETARY RAAB: We do, yeah.
SECRETARY POMPEO: You do now? Okay, well, fair enough. I saw the excellent work the GCHQ did alongside our security folks in the communications space. We had operations we were running together. We had joint objectives that we worked together. We made sure that our systems were protected together. We took down terror attacks together. We – the United States did great work in sharing information that’s reduced the risk here in the United Kingdom from terror. We’re doing it even as we all sit here today, right back at it. The United Kingdom passes us things that they know and learn in places all across the world where they have deep, historic relationships, too. The value of that that’s shared between the United States and the United Kingdom is enormous. And no matter what the rub is on any given day, I had the chance to see the tremendous value to the American people from having that close, tight-knit, wide-open relationship. It’s very, very powerful.
MR GODSON: In terms of threat in the world today, when you look at great power competition, the sort of talk once again, your history has not come to an end. Rise of China – how does the Special Relation change in the context, from your point of view, in the context of new world threats of China, Russia, and so on? Perhaps not so new.
SECRETARY POMPEO: So I’ll speak to this a little bit from the American perspective and our recent history on this. For the last now coming on 20 years, we spent an awful lot of time staring at the counterterrorism problem. Post 9/11, we developed systems, processes, capabilities, tools to reduce the risk to the West and in particular to our own country from terrorism. I just talked about that work that we do together. It is phenomenal, extraordinary. The risk of terrorism in the world is lower today because of the good work we did in the United States, because of the remarkable work that happened here in the United Kingdom, and many partners who share our value set and know the risk from terror.
But times move on. And while we still have to be enormously vigilant about terror, there’s still challenges all across the world. The Chinese Communist Party presents the central threat of our times. It is an enormous economy to which the American economy is deeply tied. There is huge opportunity for us to do really great, creative, innovative business work between our two countries. But the Chinese Communist Party, under President Xi, has made clear that they have an agenda that is not always consistent with the very values that Dominic and I have been speaking about this morning.
And so whether it’s at the World Trade Organization, or whether it’s in how we handle infrastructure and technology, or it’s how we ensure that we have the military capabilities and how we manage diplomatically the set of relationships between our two countries, we have to collectively – the West – ensure that the next century is governed by these Western democratic principles. And that will take a concerted effort not just by the United States but by all of those who love freedom and cherish democracy and the rule of law to ensure that that remains the predominant model for the world for the next century.
MR GODSON: You’ve spoken about China. Anything more to say on Russia and Iran?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So where to begin? (Laughter.) Sure. Look, we – I’m headed to Ukraine from here, where we’ll talk to our team on the ground there, where we’re on the edge of the European frontier, talk about how we can provide continuing support to the Ukrainian people from the aggressions that Russia has undertaken over the past handful of years. We’re mindful of that. We’re trying to find places we work with the Russians. I worked alongside my Russian intelligence counterparts doing counterterrorism. We did some good work together, but the space there was significantly more limited. And so we have to be mindful this is a nuclear-capable nation, and we have to make sure that as we think about these things, as we are beginning to enter conversations about the next generation of arms control agreements, that we’re mindful how to deliver security and safety to Europe and to the world.
And then with respect to the Islamic Republic of Iran, they remain the world’s largest state sponsor of terror. Sadly, that has not changed. We are convinced that the work that the United States has done to put enormous pressure on their economy has reduced their capability to harm people right here in the United Kingdom. The Islamic Republic of Iran has conducted assassination campaigns throughout Europe. We think they have less resources and less money to do that today. We know what happens in Lebanese Hizballah and in Syria, all the humanitarian disaster that it is, largely fomented by the leadership from the Islamic Republic of Iran. We think denying them money and wealth is the right way to go to force them to make difficult decisions so that, in fact, the Iranian people get their opportunity, they get their opportunity to change the nature and behavior of that regime that has so poorly served the 80 million people that live inside of Iran.
FOREIGN SECRETARY RAAB: Which in particular?
MR GODSON: All three. I’m greedy. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY POMPEO: You’ll need some time.
MR GODSON: I want to eat my cake and have it. (Laughter.)
FOREIGN SECRETARY RAAB: The thing about the threats and the matrix of threats is that they include the terror threat, the technological piece – cyber crime has obviously totally changed the nature of the kind of defenses that we need to put in place – and you’ve still got some existing state actor threats. We’ve also got the challenges of epidemics, pandemics, and obviously we’re seeing in relation to China the challenge of dealing with those.
In relation – and they’re all different, so I don’t want to give a trite answer. But in relation to the challenging countries, whether it’s Russia, Iran, or any other, the bottom line is – and I think we agree on this – I think actually the – our North American friends agree with this, I think our European friends agree with this, not always on the means, and I’m not trying to brush over the creases. But with a country like Iran, and you look at the treatment on the nuclear issue, or the destabilizing activities, or indeed the treatment of dual nationals, we have seen Iran step further and further away from the norms of the international community, and they must be held to account for that.
Equally, at the same time, whether it’s Russia or China, we want to see and encourage and to take the confidence-building measures back to being respectable members of the international community. Quite the judgment call on how you tune the response. Again, that’s a finely balanced call. But on that basic assessment, actually I think not only what we’re talking about, Mike and I, but our European friends, the objective must be the same, to try and get back some adherence to the rules-based international system.
With Iran it’s a huge challenge, but it is with Russia, and there are elements to the relationship with China which are difficult as well. And we can’t shrink from that.
MR GODSON: In the context of Iran, you’ve previously talked in public about systematic noncompliance of the Iranians. There was a famous discussion during the Cold War in the United States and beyond about, “After verification, what?” In other words, after you’ve discovered that the Soviets have cheated on arms control agreements, what do you do and how do you then – just applying that same sort of question, which obviously you’ve given a lot of thought to in your present role. Just wondering, once we discover they’re cheating and they’re doing, how do we ensure greater compellence?
FOREIGN SECRETARY RAAB: Look, you’ve got the JCPOA. There are different views that we have on it, but it’s the only deal in town at the moment. Our approach in the paradigm I just used is to hold them to account for that noncompliance. It’s why the E3 has triggered the dispute resolution mechanism. We want to say to Iran we are calling you out. Equally, as I said before, we want them to come back to compliance. And as the prime minister has said, we’re also open to – whether it’s the initiative that the president has taken, Biarritz last summer, and President Macron has talked about this, there is clearly a case for more ambitious, more wide-ranging rapprochement with Iran.
But this comes down – and we’re talking about all of the approaches that we take. This comes down to a decision by the regime in Tehran. Does it want to take the steps to respect international law and to come back into the community of nations? And it can only demonstrate that by its behavior – on the nuclear issue, on supporting terrorism, and frankly, on the appalling treatment of dual nationals – U.S., British dual nationals – and many others. And we can’t make that choice for the regime in Tehran. What we can do is hold them to account every step of the way.
MR GODSON: And Boris has talked about the Trump deal on Iran.
FOREIGN SECRETARY RAAB: Absolutely. We – the flag is not so much what matters. I mean, we agree with our American friends on the ambition to have something which doesn’t just shore up and deal with the undoubted defects of the JCPOA – it’s time-limited – but also deals with all those other issues – the sponsoring of terrorism, the use of proxies to destabilize the region from Lebanon to Syria to Iraq, and frankly, a whole range of other issues, dual nationals as well.
So we’d be – we absolutely would like to see – but frankly, it’s until Iran is willing and the hardliners around the regime and the supreme leader are willing to make that choice, it’s merely an offer that’s coming from one side. But I don’t think there is a huge difference between Europeans and the Americans on wanting to see Iran accept those responsibilities and come to a broader rapprochement and a broader deal.
The question is, frankly, whether there is the bandwidth, the political will, in Tehran to do that. And so far, it’s just not there.
MR GODSON: What would a Trump deal look like?
SECRETARY POMPEO: We have laid out pretty clearly what our expectations are. They’re very close to what Dominic described. I think our end-state objectives between the United States and the United Kingdom are very close. We call it the 12 points. I’ve heard some say they’re outrageous. I’d ask anyone in the audience to go look at any of the 12 and say, “Which one do you think would be okay if Norway did it?” (Laughter.) These are fundamental elements of what nations do to participate in the community of nations, right? You don’t hold hostage citizens from other countries. You don’t commit terror and assassination campaigns. You don’t continue to sponsor proxy forces throughout a region designed solely to destabilize, and the idea that if it’s destabilized around me, my country will be safer. This is old school ludicrous.
And so the things that we’re shooting for – and we’ve talked about the nuclear file an awful lot – the things that we’re shooting for between our two countries are the same. The rough outlines of the deal, the basic deal points, are well known to every Iranian leader. They have been clearly and crisply communicated to them, so there’s no doubt what the expectations are and what it would look like were we to come to agreement.
There are also things that the Iranians could just choose to do – no need to negotiate, just do them. Just stop underwriting Hizballah around the world, not only in Lebanon and Syria but in South America, Lebanese elements in Western nations as well. It’s a global campaign underwritten by the Iranians. Stop fomenting terror in Afghanistan. Stop providing Iraqi Shia militias with high-end weapon systems that can launch missiles into 5 percent of the world’s global energy supply. Stop taking ships off the seas in the strait of – these are things that no deal is required. Just do them. Their nation would be safer, and we’d be closer to getting the outcomes that Dominic and I so desperately hope the Iranian leadership – and if they won’t choose it, we hope the Iranian people will force them to choose to get Iran to a place where it can rejoin this community of nations.
MR GODSON: Looking more widely, what role should the Special Relationship now post-Brexit play vis-a-vis Europe? We’ve got Macron saying NATO is brain dead, many of the traditional structures are – that’s the conventional wisdom in certain quarters. How do you see that play?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Look, I hope the United Kingdom remains a close partner with both the United States and the EU. It’s – we do this around the world. They are not exclusive relationships. They can have a – the United Kingdom can, and I am confident will, have a close relationship with the EU as well. I’m sure there’ll be friction between the United Kingdom and the EU, just as there is from time to time with the United States. But I hope this relationship is one where we will work together. We’ll work together in all the places that matter – on human rights issues around the world. I would fully expect the United States, the United Kingdom to work closely together on the important issues of the day as they relate to what are the trading arrangements going to be. We’ve talked about trying to get our free trade agreement done. It’s important for our two nations. It’s really important, because it can set a model for what the standards ought to look like inside of these trading relationships as others see them. We ought to be able to put together the gold standard for what a bilateral trading arrangement ought to look like, what agreements we ought to enter into.
So there’s enormous opportunity. That trading arrangement won’t eliminate the trade arrangement between the United Kingdom and the EU. It just simply won’t be the case in the same way the United Kingdom will trade with Japan and with Australia and countries all across the world, and the way the United States will do the same. The Special Relationship means that when we get to the hardest issues at the end of the day, we are deeply aware of the shared values of our peoples, and we are going to use that as the motive force for us to go out in the world and do good for our people, and do good – be a force for good all around the world as well.
FOREIGN SECRETARY RAAB: Yeah, like I agree with all of that. The reality is if you look at what, as the we leave the EU, a global Britain would look like, if there’s three prongs, if you like, to it – sure, we want a second phase relationship with the EU which is strong and fruitful and works for both sides. We – I think, as we showed the E3 cooperation on Iran and triggering the DRM, that relationship is going to be very important. The trade relationship’s important. The second bit of it is being a global champion for liberal free trade, and we’re really excited about working with the Americans on it. So that’s one aspect, but also we’re going to be trading with countries across particularly the Asian Pacific and the Anglosphere. And then there’s the bit of global Britain which is about us being a force for good in the world. And there, whether it’s from championing freedom of religion, which is something – freedom of religion and belief – something that we both share, through to Magnitsky sanctions, there’s just a whole range of things where we’ll constantly find that our values and our strategic interest draw us closer and closer together. And that’s exciting.
MR GODSON: And what else could we do, like, visa-free travel, those sort of things to keep the —
FOREIGN SECRETARY RAAB: Well, I don’t want to preempt the work – (laughter) – that Rob Lighthizer and Liz Truss are going to do on the trade arrangements. But look, we want to see – we talk about the Special Relationship. What really matters is the peoples. We’ve just been down to Tech Nation. We talked to Epic Games. A classic example of where you couldn’t tell the Americans from the Brits. What you could see was this wonderful fusion of technology and innovation, and people making a lot of money. The culture of the place was amazing. That’s the kind of thing we want to promote. And yeah, of course that includes looking carefully about people-to-people travel.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah. And an important part of this, as this relationship is, reducing the friction between these kinds of things, whether it’s the friction of the ease of travel, it’s the ease of exchange and confidence in information system, it’s the ease of our students going to schools in each other’s countries and the cross-generation of knowledge that will flow from that, whether it’s tariff barriers, we want to put – all of the places where friction happens across sovereign boundaries, we want to protect those boundaries. We owe that to our people to do. But once we’ve done that, once we’ve protected (inaudible), we want to lower every barrier towards the free flow of information, talent, capital, all the things that promote wealth and prosperity. Those – and security. Those are the things that if we do this well together, that’s what will be special and unique about the relationship after the United Kingdom finishes its process of departure from the EU.
MR GODSON: We’ve of course – both countries now have new space forces coming into being that can work with each other, as urged by Policy Exchange in our path-breaking pamphlets. I had to say that. (Laughter.)
On the subject of Policy Exchange – Dominic and I have talked about it before, Tom Tugendhat’s work for us, I think he’s in the audience here today, pushed the whole issue of lawfare on British troops. It’s been in successive conservative manifestos about protecting our forces from litigation. David Petraeus said on the Policy Exchange platform that it would – if this sort of went further, this would potentially make the U.S. less compatible with the U.S. legal regime for fighting wars. I was interested in your reflection on that, because it’s an area of considerable consensus in this society. It’s been vindicated by successive election victories. Just interested in your —
FOREIGN SECRETARY RAAB: Well, we pride ourselves on the professionalism of our armed forces, and we’ve never said that there shouldn’t be accountability for wrongdoing. What we don’t want to see is spurious, vexatious, or frankly protracted legal proceedings taken against veterans who served their country, have been willing to sacrifice their lives. And you have decades-old cases brought against them on either thin evidence or without the chance to vindicate themselves at an earlier stage.
The reality is I think there’s an eminently practical solution to this, and Penny Mordaunt and I, when we were first ministers in 2015 – she was at the MOD, I was that the MOJ – we came up with a proposal on this. So – and there are various – whether it’s time limits, whether it’s having proper availing yourself of the margin of appreciation of the ECHR, all of these things I think are doable. And I think those that do serve their country ought to have that protection, though we probably should dust off some of those proposals, and I think it’s great the prime minister, with the majority we’ve got now, wants to get that settled.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Can I – one thought on this set of issues that’s tangentially related. We now have third party international courts putting at risk our people, the ICC in particular. I’m all about making sure that wrongdoing by a soldier, sailor, an airman, a Marine, someone in the Space Force, should be held accountable and responsible. Each nation has a responsibility to do that. I think democratic countries do that the best. We have processes and systems to do that. But importantly, if there are going to be transnational court systems, countries have to subject themselves to that jurisdiction. It must be the case that nations and their soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, cannot be – cannot have every organization out there who decides after 5 or 10 or 20 years that there was some wrongdoing, that some tribunal somewhere in the world, which the sovereign nation did not provide consent to, has now got their people subject to it. That seems wrong to me. I think we should all work together in every international institution to make sure that this central idea of nations and sovereignty and consent is upheld all across the world as we think about how these tribunals, who often do great work in protecting human rights around the world – they must do so with the consent of the sovereign countries.
MR GODSON: On to Huawei. The – so much is in the detail on all of this. And just picking up on the earlier thought, we’re having systematic noncompliance in respect to the Iranians – if there’s systematic noncompliance by the Chinese, what next? How to handle that?
SECRETARY POMPEO: You mean with – broadly, or with respect to telecommunications and infrastructure?
MR GODSON: In the first instance, that, then more broadly.
SECRETARY POMPEO: So our view is fundamentally this: When you have a Chinese state-sponsored company deeply tied to the Chinese Communist Party to permit the private information of your citizens or the national security information of your citizens to transit a network that the Chinese Communist Party has the legal mandate to obtain creates risk, and it’s why we’ve been talking about this with the United Kingdom for so long. They’ve now come up with a model they think provides the adequate protection for their citizens. We will continue to work down this path.
We – there’s a long history in the United States too. We’ve got an awful lot of work to do as well. We have to make sure that our systems are guided and bounded by the central ideas of freedom and transparency and security for our systems too. This isn’t about any one company. This is about a model that the Chinese Communist Party has where they place requirements on these businesses that say thou shalt do, and there’s not only a legal requirement but there’s deep financial investment. You have senior leaders in these companies that are tied to the Chinese Communist Party. We think that – it’s not about a technical back door. They have the front door. And so we want to make sure that when we’re thinking about how we’re going to structure our networks that we get it right.
The second piece of this is we all have to work together to make sure that we develop not only for next month or next year a sound set of alternatives that deliver best-in-class technology to every one of our citizens and our democracy – I’m confident that we will get there. In many places, I think we are there already, but we have to do that. As I travel and talk about Chinese telecommunications infrastructure in Africa and in Asia, the world is waking up to this risk. When I heard some of these countries say it’s free, I remind them that free things almost always have a cost, and sometimes that cost can be an individual’s security. And we just need to make sure we understand it, we understand the systems we’re – we are evaluating exactly what the United Kingdom’s decision was on Tuesday of this week, and I am very confident that our two nations will find a way to work together to resolve this difference and deliver on behalf of our two people world-class, secure technology and infrastructure.
FOREIGN SECRETARY RAAB: So we’ve taken our decision – a huge amount – three years’ worth of analysis, technical security analysis went into it. We think we have a targeted approach and protects our security, protects our relationship with our closest intelligence allies, Five Eyes. And I think that – I totally agree with the point Mike made, and the one thing we’ve been clear about is there was clearly also an – market failure here, which we, as a government, as a country, take some responsibility for. We ought to be looking to replace, in the future, high-risk vendors with high-trust vendors.
And actually, that’s one of the reasons why Mike and I went down to look at Tech Nation and Epic Games, because that’s an area where there’s a clear, huge opportunity for cooperation not just in the free trade investment commercial sphere, but actually in the security infrastructure sphere. And technology changes rapidly. I mean, we talk about 5G; it’s going to be here for a period. What is the greater challenge for us is as the ongoing technological innovations happen and the evolution happens is that we think a bit more smartly and strategically – at the UK, but also, I think, with our Five Eyes friends, and in particular the U.S. – about how we build up a stronger diversification of players in this space, particularly around tech companies that feed into our telecom systems. And that’s a challenge we’ve been very honest about.
MR GODSON: Thank you. Okay, opening it up to questions now. And do I – just trying to – I’m sorry if I’ll have to disappoint anyone.
James Landale, BBC.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Dean said no question was too outrageous. Do not and try and test that proposition. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Well, I’ll do my —
FOREIGN SECRETARY RAAB: You got the right guy. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: I’ll do my best. James Landale, BBC. Secretary Pompeo, first of all, now that the UK has agreed to give Huawei some access to its 5G network, is the U.S. going to make good on its threat to review its intelligence-sharing relationship with the United Kingdom? Is the risk of Huawei really worth endangering the Five Eyes relationship?
Secondly, on the Harry Dunn case, can you just explain to us in the English audience, what is it about the Special Relationship —
MR GODSON: Just – can we answer the first question?
QUESTION: No, no, no. No, forgive me. What is – what is it about the Special Relationship that allows a U.S. citizen to run over and kill a young English boy and evade justice?
And Foreign Secretary, if I may, can you just give us an update on the government’s response to the Coronavirus? When is the British evacuation plane going to return? And can you give a response to the UK nationals who are frustrated —
SECRETARY POMPEO: See?
QUESTION: — by the UK Government’s response? Thank you very much.
FOREIGN SECERTARY RAAB: Sure.
SECRETARY POMPEO: So let me try and take your question – I’ll try and take your questions in reverse order.
This was an enormous tragedy. An American had an accident here. The United States is terribly sorry for the tragedy that took place, the loss of a British citizen’s life. It was horrible. We’re doing everything we can to make that right. We’re doing so in a way that I think protects the important relationship between the two countries as well. We’ll continue to work on this. Dominic raised this with me yesterday when we spoke. I think he raised it with me each time we’ve spoken since this has happened. We’ll continue to work our way through to try and get a good resolution, a resolution that reflects the tragedy that took place that day.
With respect to information and the Five Eyes relationship, that relationship is deep, it is strong, it will remain. With respect to American information, we, as I said in – when I responded to a question on Huawei earlier – we will never permit American national security information to go across a network that we don’t have trust and confidence in. That’s the standard. It’s the standard whether it’s a Microsoft system, it’s the standard whether it’s a Ericsson Nokia system, it’s a standard if it is a Chinese system.
And so what we will work with our UK counterparts on – and I know the Australians, the New Zealands, the Canadians, all the elements of the Five Eyes will work together on this to ensure that these systems are sufficiently secure, that they’re going to deliver the outcomes that we need them to deliver, and that we have a – only a level of risk that we find tolerable inside of those systems. And we will ensure that we protect American information to that standard.
FOREIGN SECRETARY RAAB: Well, on the Wuhan situation, we’ve been working tirelessly, the foreign office working with the department of health, have been working flat out, 24/7, to try and make sure that we can identify British nationals in Wuhan, get them to a muster point, and then get a flight, a charter flight, in and out. We’re hopeful now that we’ll be able to do that this evening.
But of course, this depends on the decisions taken by the Chinese Government. I spoke to the Chinese foreign minister on Monday. We’re working those through, and we think, we hope now, that that will happen later this evening. But we – I can guarantee and reassure people that are out there, their families that are here, that we’re doing everything we can around the clock to make that happen.
MR GODSON: Next question. Lady there in the row. Christina.
QUESTION: Thank you. Thank you, gentlemen. Not to be too predictable, but to follow up to some of my BBC colleague’s questions, Mr. Secretary, on the plane, you mentioned —
MR GODSON: Could you state your name and organization?
QUESTION: Sorry, apologies. Christina Ruffini, CBS News. On the plane, you talked about – you thought that the UK still had time possibly to reconsider its decision with Huawei and 5G. In your discussions, have you gotten any – any assurances or any implications that you think that is – that is happening? And are you concerned, as someone who’s lobbied for this in many of the countries we’ve been, that if the UK sticks with this decision, other nations will follow suit?
And Mr. Raab, speaking of the case of Harry Dunn, I’m wondering, in your discussion, has this had any kind of implications on the future of diplomatic immunity agreements with the U.S. or extradition between your two countries? Thank you.
SECRETARY POMPEO: So tell me what your first question – what’s the question?
QUESTION: Have you gotten any assurances —
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah.
QUESTION: — from your colleague – sorry, your counterpart —
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah.
QUESTION: — that this decision can be reconsidered (inaudible)?
SECRETARY POMPEO: “Colleague” is good. I’ll go with “colleague,” yeah.
These decisions about technology are continuous, right. We put new systems in. Every private company put new systems in. Two, three, five years later, you rip them out and put new systems in. You constantly upgrade software – real time. And so the decision was made on Tuesday, but I am confident as we work together to figure out how to implement that decision that we’ll work to get this right.
We’re – make no mistake, we had an objective. We were trying to make the case, as we have made the case to every country in the world, that we think putting Huawei technology anywhere in your system is very, very difficult to mitigate, and therefore not worth the candle. And we’re going to continue to make sure that we do the right thing for not only our American information to make sure that others, including every nation with which we interact, understands the risk associated with that. And I’m confident that as we move forward together to make sure that the next generation of technology is right and secure and operates under a Western set of values and systems, that we’ll get to the right place.
QUESTION: Are you worried other countries will follow the UK’s lead?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I think every country will make its own sovereign decision just like the United Kingdom did.
FOREIGN SECRETARY RAAB: Look, the – on the Harry Dunn case, look, of course we – there’s two basic objectives here, which is we want to see justice done for the family and we want to make sure it can never happen again and it doesn’t ever happen again. I had a good conversation with Mike about that. We’re going to work on every aspect of that and want to see this get resolved.
And you asked about the extradition treaty. We want to make that work on both sides. It’s usually valuable to both sides and the – we’re committed to it, and so we don’t want to see any weakening of it.
QUESTION: Are you discussing any possible changes on (inaudible) case?
FOREIGN SECRETARY RAAB: We’re talking through all the aspects of it.
MR GODSON: Stuff – other questions? Robert Kilgour.
QUESTION: Robert Kilgour of Dow Investments. I’m asking this question as a simple businessman. From a practical and day-to-day point of view, what changes post-Brexit happening in the Special Relationship do both secretaries of state see happening, if any?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah. So I think the core set of relationships that’s been built up over decades will remain. I do remember as the United Kingdom was pushing through this a couple years ago, there were concerns about financial transactions, making sure that we had the legal systems, all the things that would need to take place when the switch was flipped. I’m confident that that has all now had time to work its way through, so I’m confident that the – that that will happen very, very seamlessly. And I think most of the relationships, most of the commercial relationships, you’ll see happen very seamlessly.
What I’m optimistic about is that there were things that the United Kingdom was required to do as part of being a member of the EU, and they’ll be able to do them differently now. I think that’s fantastic. I think that’s fantastic for the United States. I think it’s fantastic for the United Kingdom. We will be able to reduce.
transaction costs and share in ways that we could not do when the United Kingdom was part of that, and I look forward to working through this. Some of this will be worked out through the free trade agreement. Some of it will be worked out by entrepreneurs just kicking it and getting it right and figuring out how to deliver in this new model. I’m excited about it. I think you’ll stare at this day and this year as we look in the rearview mirror five or ten years from now and you will see the enormous benefits that accrued to both of our nations as a result of this.
MR GODSON: Gentleman there, name and organization, please.
QUESTION: Thank you. John Hudson with The Washington Post. Secretary Pompeo, your critics point out that Iran is now closer to a weapon, a nuclear weapon, than they were when Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal. They also point out that rocket attacks on U.S. personnel in Iraq and Iranian attacks on oil tankers also increased since the withdrawal of the deal.
I’m just wondering, why should U.S. allies like Britain now follow your call to renounce the Iran deal given that U.S. steps thus far haven’t necessarily reduced Iran’s malign influence, but rather increased its aggressive behavior? Thanks.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, well those are the very critics that set Iran on a pathway to a nuclear weapon, if I’m – if I know who you’re thinking about when you say “critics.” They guaranteed a pathway for the Islamic Republic of Iran to have a nuclear weapon and they left Iran as the largest state sponsor of terror, and they created a situation where Iran had all the money it needed to do each of those things. So right back at them.
Here’s the reality: The reality is that while we don’t talk too much about this, we are confident that we understand Iran’s pathway to not only a nuclear program, but a nuclear weapon. We know that they lied as a foundational principle for the JCPOA. We’ve seen that from the documents that the Israelis came up – that is the very foundational ideas, called them the PMD, right. This was the history of the Iranian nuclear program. We know this was a fraud. In fact, I think the previous administration knew it was a fraud when they entered into the agreement, troubling in its own right.
We know this: We know today the Islamic Republic of Iran is having to make some very difficult decisions. They’re having to make decisions about their economy, they’re having to make decisions about which militias to underwrite, and they’re having to make decisions about research and development across a broad range of military and defense activities. We think that’s a good thing. We think fewer dollars in the hands of the ayatollah are a good thing, and we’re urging the globe, the whole world, to join us. This will give the Iranian people the opportunity they need to change the behavior of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is a great nation with an enormous history. We want those people to have a chance to return to that.
QUESTION: So Mr. Foreign Secretary, why not renounce the Iran deal, as your American counterpart suggests?
FOREIGN SECRETARY RAAB: We triggered the DRM. We had conversations with our American and European friends about that, and I think that’s important. I certainly agree that there’s been systemic noncompliance by Tehran. But we also want to leverage Iran back into some kind of diplomacy negotiation to get compliance. If the JCPOA can be used for that, then that will be valuable. Equally, as we’ve said before, President Trump, President Macron have talked about a broader rapprochement, a broader deal that would deal with the defects that I don’t think anyone is naive about in relation to the JCPOA. It’s time-limited, for example. But also bringing all the other things, whether it’s the destabilizing activity – we want to see our dual nationals, American dual nationals, Canadian dual nationals, and others – European –released.
And so the door remains open for Iran to start taking the steps and adhering to international law, which could serve its people and bring it out of the political and economic isolation to which it has chosen to take its country down. But that’s the only choice that can be made by Tehran. And frankly, from my point of view, I want to see a strong transatlantic message to the regime as possible. We talk a lot about the shades of opinion between the Europeans and the Americans or the North Americans. Actually, we need to be sending a united message, and I think we increasingly are, that Iran’s breaches of international law cannot be tolerated. But equally at the same time, we’ll hold them to account, there is a door ajar if they’re willing to take the choice to come back to the negotiating table. And that would serve their interests and fundamentally the region’s interests, but also the people of Iran’s interests.
And so we may disagree on some of the means. We haven’t joined maximum pressure, it’s well known. But we have joined the IMSC in terms of the Straits of Hormuz. We agree that Iranian noncompliance in relation to the nuclear issue must be resolved. We – absolutely intolerable for Iran to gain a nuclear weapon, and we are readily calling out Iran on its other human rights abuses, whether it’s domestically or in relation to the treatment of our dual nationals. And I think it’s important that Iran receives as unified and clear a message as possible.
SECRETARY POMPEO: I’d just add one other point. As you think about this, so you drilled down into the Iranian nuclear file, a big important file. The President, for very intentional reasons, the first sentence he said when he gave remarks after the death of Qasem Soleimani, he said Iran will not have a nuclear weapon. But there are also other important elements, too, where we work very closely together. The cooperation between the Gulf states and Israel on this file has been important. The United Kingdom has been a central partner in facilitating that, making that happen. This joint recognition of the central threat of Iran as the core of instability in the Middle East I think is recognized widely now, and it’s recognized in large measure because of the good work the United Kingdom and the United States have done together over the past now two and a half, three years.
MR GODSON: Two more questions. Maybe we’ll take them as a pair. If I can just try and see, does it – Lucy Fisher, The Times.
QUESTION: Hi there. Secretary of State, Foreign Secretary, the same question to both of you, please. Even if Britain is at the front of the line, a full trade agreement doesn’t look possible before the presidential election in November. Are you interested in securing a U.S.-UK sectoral deal by November in order to get things moving? And if so, would that focus on the financial sector, or which other sector?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah. Dom, you want to go first? Go ahead.
FOREIGN SECRETARY RAAB: Look, we’ll – I’m certainly going to let Liz look at the details, but I don’t think we should go into this thinking a deal can’t be done. I’m confident a deal can be done. There’s huge alignment in terms of our economic interests. Of course, there’s going to be difficult issues. The British negotiators are going to be rigorous and robust; we know that the Americans are. But I think we should go into this with some optimism, some ambition, some can-do spirit. And I do think a deal can be done.
SECRETARY POMPEO: I concur. (Laughter.)
MR GODSON: Let’s look – Jason Groves. Daily Mail.
QUESTION: Thank you. Jason Groves from The Daily Mail. Foreign Secretary, you’ll know that there’s been a public outcry over the Harry Dunn case. Can the extradition treaty survive this? Is it under strain?
And Secretary of State, you’ll be aware that a U.S. state attorney this week asked Prince Andrew to cooperate in the FBI investigation to Jeffrey Epstein. Do you support that call? And some people are even suggesting there could be some kind of barter between the two cases. I mean, is that even possible?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I’m sorry, can you repeat the second part of that, please?
QUESTION: The second part – where did you get up to?
SECRETARY POMPEO: (Laughter.) Yeah, so the question is there would be some trade between —
QUESTION: Some people have suggested there could be some kind of bartering between we want Anne Sacoolas, you want Prince Andrew. Is there a deal to be done? (Laughter.)
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, I mean, I can answer that. I am confident each of these cases will be resolved on their relative merits. It’s how – it’s how each of our two systems operate.
FOREIGN SECRETARY RAAB: Yeah, I’d totally agree. There’s no barter with – it’s a rules-based approach, that’s what the treaty does, and we both see the extradition treaty serves both sides. And we want to make it work. And so that’s the approach, and there’s no haggle, and no one’s raised Prince Andrew – frankly, no one’s ever raised that with me as of yet.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes. Now they have. (Laughter.)
FOREIGN SECRETARY RAAB: The Daily Mail has raised it. The good offices of The Daily Mail.
MR GODSON: So thank you, everybody. I think you’ll agree it’s been a great occasion.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you all very much.
FOREIGN SECRETARY RAAB: Thank you. Thanks. (Applause.)