NEW YORK (AFP) - Dozens of diplomats at the UN missions in New York of Austria, France and Uzbekistan had to be decontaminated Tuesday after letters containing white powder sparked an anthrax scare. The letters were delivered to the United Nations missions late Monday afternoon, said New York Police Department detective John Sweeney. Three letters were sent with white powder but they dont know what the powder is yet, Sweeney said. About 40 people were decontaminated, including 33 from the French mission, he added. Frances UN ambassador, Gerard Araud, said the letters were posted from Texas, but that nothing more was known. The decontamination process including a shower in a specially equipped police truck outside the United Nations lasted until 3:00 am Tuesday, he said. The New York police did their work and did it well, Araud said. There is a 99.99 percent chance that we are talking about a bad joke, but you have to be careful. In 2001 letters containing anthrax killed five people in the United States and spread panic. Since then, police and fire officers have been called out on thousands of occasions to investigate suspicious mailings, the overwhelming majority of them proving to be harmless.