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Lange's secret papers reveal USA's bully tactics15 January
The Americans threatened to spy on New Zealand if it
did not back down on its anti-nuclear policy, former Prime
Minister David Lange's private papers show.
The papers also include a top-secret
report by New Zealand's electronic spy agency that casts new
light on the NZ-US intelligence relationship after the
anti-nuclear policy and breakdown of Anzus.
It also shows that New Zealand was spying
on the United Nations and many countries, including Japan,
France and Pacific nations.
The Sunday Star-Times was given
permission by Archives NZ -after it gained Cabinet approval -
to view the documents, which were kept secret until Lange's
death in August.
Among them is a letter from former
minister David Caygill, written on March 21, 1986, in which he
describes a lunch with United States ambassador Paul
"The ambassador asked me if I realised
what was at stake in the dispute between the two countries,"
"I asked him what he meant. He replied
trust. I asked him what he meant by that and he said that
until now the USA, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand had
had a unique relationship. `We have not spied on each other.
If you go ahead with your policies we will not be able to
"I took the clear implication from his
remarks that if our relationship with the US deteriorated
further, then the US would no longer feel any inhibition in
conducting intelligence gathering operations against us."
Caygill writes that the ambassador said
the head of the CIA was also concerned. He had considered what
action should be taken, and had asked whether he should get
tough with New Zealand.
The ambassador also told Caygill Lange
had upset the US further when, in response to threats that the
flow of intelligence from the US would be cut off, he replied
"that would give more time to do the crossword".
In another letter a fortnight later,
Lange's chief of staff, John Henderson, said he also lunched
with the ambassador, who raised the same issues "and it was
difficult not to reach the same conclusions as Caygill
"When I asked him directly whether he was
saying that if there was a breakdown in our relations, the US
would conduct intelligence operations against us he said he
did not know," Henderson writes.
"The fact that the ambassador raised it
with both of us shows that he meant to get the message across
and it certainly warrants our serious concern."
Also contained in Lange's papers is the
1985-86 annual report of the Government Communications
Security Bureau, the government's electronic spying agency,
which is marked "top secret" and "umbra" - the highest
security classification given to intelligence documents.
It shows that while the intelligence flow
to New Zealand from the US dropped after the anti-nuclear
policy, the GCSB maintained significant links with American
GCSB director Colin Hanson describes the
relationship as "a mixed state of official cautiousness and
private cordiality", and the volume of overseas intelligence
reports increased by 33% on the previous year.
Intelligence expert Nicky Hager said the
GCSB report was the most secret and revealing intelligence
document to reach the New Zealand public.
"Internationally, documents like this
come to light maybe once a decade and there will be great
interest in this from researchers in the US and other
countries. Although it is 20 years old, it gives huge insights
into New Zealand's intelligence operations and relationships,
particularly with the US in that critical period."
The report lists the countries and
agencies on which New Zealand was spying. They include targets
that have never been officially acknowledged, including UN
diplomatic communications, Argentine naval intelligence,
Egypt, Japan, the Philippines, Pacific Island nations, France,
Vietnam, the Soviets, North Korea, East Germany, Laotia and
Its response to the Rainbow Warrior
bombing and the Mikhail Lermontov sinking, names of its
officers, staff numbers, training, activities with
intelligence agencies from other countries, security planning,
equipment, techniques and budgets are revealed.
Hager said it was a severe breach of
security that the report had gone astray from the GCSB. Marked
number 1 of 16 copies, the report should have gone back to
GCSB after Lange finished reading it.
The Sunday Star-Times found it inside a
brown envelope marked "prime ministers office", with "TOP
SECRET PRIME MINISTER" handwritten on it, and the name of
Gerald Hensley, head of the Prime Minister's department.
The envelope was in a large cardbox box -
one of about a dozen boxes and files - containing Lange
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