Cablegate: Uk Country Clearance Is Granted to National Drug Control Policy Director John P. Walters and Staff


DE RUEHLO #2242/01 2480833
O 040833Z SEP 08

C O N F I D E N T I A L LONDON 002242

SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/02/2018 TAGS: OTRA UK


Classified By: JIM MCDONALD, Reason: 1.4 (d)

1. Embassy London is pleased to grant country clearance to National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director John P. Walters and staff to visit London o/a September 5-13, 2008 for participation in bilateral meetings with the UK government.

2.----------------- Visit officer ----------------- XXXXXXXXXXXX

3. Confirmed reservations are held for Walters and staff at: The Hyatt Regency Churchill, located at 30 Portman Square, London W1A 4ZX. The telephone number is (44)(0)20 7486-5800 and the fax number is (44)(0)20 7486-1255. (Note: the zero in parentheses (0) is required when dialing in the UK.)

4. Hotel Check-In: Please note that the check-in time at all London hotels is 1400. Early check-in can be requested but can only be guaranteed if the room is reserved and paid for from the night prior to arrival. Check-out time is generally 1200. Please also note that the hotel will require a credit card on check-in. Travelers may, of course, pay on departure with cash. Travelers should NOT exchange money at the hotel, as the much less favorable rate of exchange may push the room rate over London's per diem.

5. Changes/Cancellation of Reservations: Any changes to hotel reservations MUST be made 48 hours in advance of arrival. Changes made after that time may incur a night,s lodging charge. Please make all changes through your Visit Officer and not direct with the hotel.

6. Accommodation Exchange: ATMs are widely available in London and accept most major US ATM cards. ATM and credit card transactions obtain the best available exchange rates. Please exercise normal precautions (i.e. concealing PIN number) when using ATMs. Exchange services are available from well-known firms at the airports and train stations. In addition, the U.S. Embassy cashier is prepared to exchange U.S. dollars for Pounds Sterling (BPS) during their office hours for official TDYers for limited amounts. U.S. citizen direct-hire TDYers may cash personal checks; all others should bring cash or traveler,s checks.

7. For up-to-date information regarding health concerns visit the internet at

8. Security Clearance: If confirmation of the level of traveler's security clearance was not contained in the original country clearance request, please send it via cable to facilitate unescorted access to the Embassy as required by 12 FAM 443.3.

9. Security Information for the United Kingdom: Our current threat assessment indicates there are no known direct immediate security problems that would affect travel to mainland UK. Travelers planning to stay longer than 30 days are required to schedule a security briefing with the RSO. For additional threat assessment information regarding the United Kingdom and/or Europe, you may contact DS/ITA in the State Department at (202) 663-0787. -- Aviation security: Travelers are advised to check with transportation security authorities to obtain current aviation security information. -- Terrorism. The United Kingdom is stable and modern, but shares with the rest of the world an increased threat of terrorist incidents of international origin, as was shown with the bombing attack in London July 7, 2005. Visitors are reminded to remain vigilant with regard to their personal security and to exercise caution at all times. The British Home Secretary has urged its citizens to be alert and vigilant by, for example, keeping an eye out for suspect packages or people acting suspiciously at Underground and railway stations and airports, and reporting anything suspicious to the appropriate authorities by contacting the free anti-terrorist telephone hotline on 0800-789-321. Travelers should regularly monitor the Department,s internet web site at where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement can be found. In addition, if visitors notice any suspicious activity or have any security concerns, the embassy Regional Security Officer (RSO) should be notified as soon as possible. From time to time during periods of heightened threat of terrorism, the UK government deems it necessary to raise levels of security activity. Heightened activity may include the use of troops, who remain at all times under the control of the police and are part of long-standing contingency plans. Military personnel and equipment may be deployed at airports and other transportation links, or other public locations. For more information about UK safety initiatives, consult the UK Civil Contingencies Secretariat website at Political demonstrations are well policed and, except at times in Northern Ireland, generally orderly. Although the political situation in Northern Ireland has dramatically improved since the signing of the Good Friday Agreements in 1998, incidents of terrorist violence have, nevertheless, occurred in the past few years. Within Northern Ireland, flash-points for sectarian confrontations still exist, but they are generally removed from areas where tourists congregate. Sporadic incidents of street violence often erupt during the summer marching season around the July 12 public holiday. As a result, American citizens traveling in Northern Ireland have experienced delays and disruption. -- Street Crime: London, like other urban centers, has a certain amount of street crime. Although on the increase, violent criminal confrontations and the use of firearms are relatively rare in the UK. Burglars and pickpockets are very active and visitors are encouraged to safeguard their valuables and not carry large amounts of cash or unneeded credit cards. Visitors should be particularly careful on crowded streets, in entertainment areas, in department stores, restaurants, or on crowded public transportation. Travelers are specifically warned not to leave valuables in hotel rooms, regardless of the stature of the hotel. Recently there has been a measurable increase in street crimes involving the theft of cell phones. Visitors should avoid as much as possible using cell phones on the streets or in other public places. The police and other emergency services in the UK are excellent. The nationwide telephone number to summon emergency assistance is 999.

10. London Airport Arrival Information: -- Heathrow Airport: The best way to get from Heathrow to Central London is to take the Heathrow Express train. It leaves every fifteen minutes from all Heathrow terminals. Travel time is fifteen minutes to London's Paddington Station. Service operates from 0510 to 2347 daily. The cost is 14.50 pounds one-way if ticket is purchased from a kiosk prior to boarding, or 16.50 pounds when purchased aboard the train. Paddington Station is about a ten-minute taxi ride to central London. Taxi (black) cab service is also available from Heathrow to central London and the fare ranges from 60-100 pounds, but could exceed that, depending on traffic conditions. (Prices as of March, 2006)

11. Embassy London looks forward to your visit. Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX

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