|December 5, 2006
The Honorable Condoleeza Rice
Re: Doggett Amendment Compliance
Dear Secretary Rice,
As you know, the "Doggett Amendment" prohibits key government agencies from promoting the sale of tobacco products overseas, or working to reduce other countries' non-discriminatory tobacco control regulations. (1)
In this context, we write to inquire about reports that the U.S. Ambassador to Thailand, Ralph Boyce, in August 2006 coordinated a meeting of U.S. industry representatives, including Philip Morris representatives, with the Thai Health Minister. The reported purpose of the meeting was protest existing advertising restrictions on cigarettes. According to Thai media accounts, the tobacco industry representatives demanded that cigarettes not be subjected to more severe advertising restrictions than other forms of tobacco, such as cigars and pipes. (2)
We are concerned that this meeting may have contravened the spirit and perhaps the letter of the Doggett Amendment.
We request that you provide us an account of what occurred at the August meeting, who attended, and what messages were communicated by Ambassador Boyce and tobacco industry attendees about public health-based advertising restrictions. We request as well that you provide us with your understanding of whether this meeting complied with the Doggett Amendment. We also request that you inform us of any other meetings with foreign governments that U.S. government representatives have attended over the last six years in conjunction with tobacco industry representatives.
We would appreciate receiving your response by January 30, 2007. If you have any questions, please contact Rep. Doggett's office at 202-225-4865.
Henry Waxman, Ranking Member Lloyd Doggett, Member
(2) Arthit Khwankhom, "Tobacco giants meet Pinij," The Nation
(Thailand), August 25, 2006