Providence Committee

on Foreign Relations

The Chatham House Rule reads as follows:

When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are the benefits of using the Rule?
A. It allows people to speak as individuals, and to express views that may not be those of their organizations, and therefore it encourages free discussion. People usually feel more relaxed if they don't have to worry about their reputation or the implications if they are publicly quoted.

Q. How is the Rule enforced?
A. PCFR will take disciplinary action against a member or guest who breaks the Rule; this is likely to mean future exclusion from all institute activities including events and conferences. Although such action is rare, the rigorous implementation of the Rule is crucial to its effectiveness and for PCFR’s reputation as a trusted venue for open and free dialogue.

Q. Can participants in a meeting be named as long as what is said is not attributed?
A. It is important to think about the spirit of the Rule. For example, sometimes speakers need to be named when publicizing the meeting. The Rule is more about the dissemination of the information after the event - nothing should be done to identify, either explicitly or implicitly, who said what.

Q. Can you say within a report what you yourself said at a meeting under the Chatham House Rule?
A. Yes if you wish to do so.

Q. Can a list of attendees at the meeting be published?
A. No - the list of attendees should not be circulated beyond those participating in the meeting.

Q. Can I 'tweet' while at an event under the Chatham House Rule?
A. The Rule can be used effectively on social media sites such as Twitter as long as the person tweeting or messaging reports only what was said at an event and does not identify - directly or indirectly - the speaker or another participant. This consideration should always guide the way in which event information is disseminated - online as well as offline.

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