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The Memorandum of the Greek Government

​​In 1999 a team of Greek experts visited the British Museum in order to examine the extent of the damage done to the surface of the Parthenon Marbles, during the cleaning of 1937-1938. Following this, the British Museum organized an international conference in London ("Cleaning the Parthenon Sculptures", 30 November - 1 December 1999) in order to examine the issues concerning the conservation of the Parthenon Sculptures; the results of the Greek experts' visit to the British Museum were presented among others during this conference.

During the same year, the British Government assigned the Committee on Culture, Media and Sport to consider all the issues relevant to British cultural heritage polices. The Greek request for the return of the Parthenon Marbles was among the examined issues.

In 1999 members of the Select Committee visited Athens and the Acropolis, and saw the area where the New Acropolis Museum will be constructed. After appointing a special task force, the Greek Ministry of Culture sent to the Committee a memorandum concerning the Greek request for the return of the Parthenon Marbles (Memorandum on the Parthenon Marbles submitted by the Government of the Hellenic Republic to the House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport). Moreover, in 2000 relevant oral testimonies from the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, the former Secretary General of the Ministry of Culture and the President of the Melina Mercouri Foundation were presented before the Committee. Later, in July 2000, the Select Committee published its report entitled "Cultural Property: Return and Illicit Trade" (House of Commons, Session 1999-2000, Culture, Media and Sport's Committee, "Cultural Property: Return and Illicit Trade"). The report includes comments by Mr Graham C Greene, Dr Robert Anderson and Mrs Vivian Davies (The British Museum), Mr Donald Toon and Mr Roger Sanbrook (HM Customs and Excise), Ms Isabel Letwin, Mr Hurh Corer and the former Minister of Culture Mr Alan Howarth (Ministry of Culture, Media and Sport). Mr Howarth encouraged the bilateral discussion between Greece and the United Kingdom in view of finding a ground of mutual understanding: "I think there needs to be a closer meeting of minds, a closer mutual understanding of each other's point of view".

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