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R M Wiseman

Shell UK limited

Shell-Mex House

London WC2R 0XD.

Your Ref:  LSUK 

26 May  2000.

Dear Mr Wiseman, 

Thank you for your letter of the 24 May.  First you will recall that I have previously set-out the following with regards to Shell UK Limited: 

1.      Who, and when, authorised Shell UK Limited, to speak on behalf of Shell Research Limited and or the Shell Group?

2.       At what level was authorisation given? 

3.       Have you made the owners of Shell Research Limited (Royal Dutch Petroleum Company) aware of the position.  If so when, and at what level? 

4.      Have the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company, granted you authority to speak on their behalf concerning these matters. If so when, and at what level was authority given? 

5.     I understand that Shell UK Limited is itself a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. Can you confirm that the UK parent company-The Shell Transport and Trading Company p.l.c.-has been informed of this matter. If so when, and at what level?

You declined an answer, other than a general ‘Shell UK acts for the (UK) Shell Group in Legal/Media matters’.   I now find you are addressing me through Shell International Limited, Legal Services. Why? 

I shall now deal with your points. 

You State: (1)  “Your assertion that in the past people on our side have been untruthful is completely denied and you should not take our current attempt to co-operate as our acceptance of your assertion.”

I take it that this is the Shell Group’s official position. 

You state:  (2)     “I have no idea what you mean by: ‘verifiable undertakings to behave in a responsible manner’.   Please explain.”

                 (3)     “Will the undertaking referred to in 2 have to be given before you hand over evidence even to independent scientists?” 

Points 2 and 3 come together.  As stated I am most concerned that Shell will use my body of evidence, as per 1993/4, to construct another ‘Narrative’, or destroy ‘internal’ evidence, and or otherwise seek a cover up.   In order that matters are ‘above board’, i.e. ‘verified’, the agreed, (Shell would have the absolute right of veto, so no concern as to who will have access) intermediates, would examine and evaluate the body of evidence, having free access, with the appropriate non disclosure undertakings, to the Shell Group.  It will be only correct and proper that I shall be called upon, by 'Shell' and or the appointed personnel, to justify any statement or assertion or piece of evidence, that I have made, submitted or supplied.   

Of course, I will give an unqualified undertaking to respect confidentiality. The appointment of scientific personnel and their ‘free’ access to evidence and its appraisal, would fully meet the “verifiable undertakings to behave in a responsible manner” criteria. Hence, no prior undertakings are required.

You state:  (4)     “Please explain what you mean by “body of evidence as set out ....”.

As I have frequently make clear, I will supply the entire body of my evidence excluding only that forbidden by personal confidentiality undertakings.  I would, if requested, seek to obtain permission to be discharged of the undertakings.  However, as I have given my word, I would be bound to withhold, in all circumstances, if the discharge was unforthcoming.  Rest assured in any case that only a small amount of the evidence is covered by ‘confidentiality undertakings’. 

You State:  (5)  “You told me in our telephone conversation that you will be making a personal claim against the Company. You implied (but later withdrew the suggestion) that settlement of your claim might be a pre-condition to your making your "evidence" available. I assume that there is no question of this being a condition of your offer.”

Your suggestion that I proposed as a pre-condition for handing over my body of evidence  that Shell had to agree a personal settlement with me is ‘inaccurate’. You assert that I later withdrew the suggestion.  This is misleading, for as soon as you asked if it was a pre-condition, you will recall my immediate response- ‘No, I haven’t said that.’.  This is correct.  Again, you will recall asking me if I was saying ‘no evidence without a settlement’, I again replied: ‘No, I haven’t said that.’  I believe I repeated this fact several times. 

You will further recall your response when I asserted; ‘you are trying to trick me, aren’t you Mr. Wiseman?’, you assured me that you were not!  Now I find you are repeating this ‘misconception’ in print. 

I could of course have drawn your attention, both in conversation and letter, to the fact that it was only after I had informed you that I was setting out my pleadings and was about to commence High Court proceedings, that you suddenly alluded to the ‘fact’ that  ‘I had imposed unacceptable conditions for supplying my evidence’.  

You will recall, in Monday’s conversation that you repeatedly demanded, following my informing you of impending High Court writs, that I define what I mean by the term ‘responsible’, having failed to enquire on a single previous occasion, despite having had well in excess of one year to seek such clarification.  

However, I withheld any such response, as I frankly felt this is rather small beer, compared to the real issue. Consequently, following Mr. Mark Moody-Stuart’s letter I replied, despite our conversation, some of which was frankly gratuitously offensive, in the most conciliatory and constructive manner.  I am therefore saddened, I wish I could say surprised, to find Shell responds in such a cynical fashion.  If the purpose is to seek a means of closing communications, please do so in a civilised manner. 

You state that I “still seem to be laying down conditions which we cannot comply with because they (the conditions) are too vague to understand”.   I believe, on reflection that your will see that your use of the term ‘conditions’ is pejorative and unhelpful.  I trust the ‘vagueness’ has now been cleared up. This is a very serious matter, I am seeking to resolve it in a manner that is most appropriate to the wider community, Shell and myself and my family. 

You state:  “The offer in your third paragraph is unacceptable as you are asking us to provide evidence to prove a negative.  This also applies to your suggestion of joint interviews.”

Excuse my bluntness, but this is a wholly inadequate response to serious proposals. Incidentally, your dismissing out of hand of such proposals would appear to be in contradiction with your opening statement-regarding asking Thornton to comment on my proposals, as you seem to have pre-empted any input from Thornton, or elsewhere.

Finally, should any of the points you have raised not now be answered to your satisfaction, please do not hesitate to seek further clarification.  Should Shell, have any suggestions how this ‘impasse’ can be resolved, please communicate them forthwith.  

Yours sincerely,


John Dyer.