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Second World War and Cold War intelligence files released:


Hundreds of previously secret files concerning the role of British intelligence in the Second World War and early Cold War have been released.

In 2005, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) released the first tranche of records from the Permanent Under-Secretary’s Department (PUSD), the department responsible for liaising with the UK’s intelligence agencies. A further 463 pieces have now been released into the FO 1093 series, covering the period 1939 to 1951, as well as 17 pieces from 1903 to 1913.

In addition, a collection of more than 100 files from the Cabinet Secretary’s miscellaneous papers are being released for the first time into a new series, CAB 301. The papers, which cover 1936 to 1951, concern the organisation and funding of British intelligence.

A selection of the newly-released files can be viewed online.

Highlights include:

  • assassination priorities ahead of Operation Overlord (D-Day) (FO 1093/292)
  • security matters relating to Wallis Simpson and the abdication of HM King Edward VIII in 1936 (CAB 301/101)
  • details of a British scheme to bribe Spain into keeping out of the Second World War (FO 1093/233 and FO 1093/234)
  • a first-hand account of a drunken wartime meeting between Stalin and Churchill (FO 1093/247)

Read The National Archives’ blog for more revelations from the collection.

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