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Project to explore political role of Archbishops of York from 1304–1405

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 07:29

Today we launch ‘The Northern Way’, an innovative research project investigating the political role of the Archbishops of York from 1304–1405.

With funding of almost £1 million from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the 33-month project will be managed in collaboration with the University of York, with the support of the Chapter of York Minster. A true project of discovery, historians and archivists will explore records generated by and from the Archbishops of York to investigate their role in one of the most turbulent periods in British history.

The project has two complementary strands. The principle aim is to make the key records of spiritual governance more digitally accessible, searchable and free. This will be achieved through the digital indexing of archbishops registers held at the Borthwick Institute for Archives, the University of York, and at regional and national archives. These registers will also be linked to new evidence taken from the many ecclesiastical records held at The National Archives.

Another ambition is to explore the tension between the archbishops’ spiritual and political leadership during a century of instability, warfare and famine. This includes focusing on the individual roles of northern archbishops as confidants of English royals and senior officials.

Co-Investigator of the project, Dr Paul Dryburgh, Principal Records Specialist at The National Archives, said:

‘The records held at The National Archives are an important piece of the puzzle in understanding this tension. Throughout the fourteenth century successive archbishops of York held key roles within royal government. They worked closely alongside individual kings and were supported by their clerks, many of whom came to Westminster from across the northern diocese. In many ways they can be described as a true northern powerhouse.’

To find out more and to see how you can get involved, visit the project website and Twitter feed (@tnorthernway), the Borthwick Institute for Archives website and look out for posts on The National Archives’ blog.

The post Project to explore political role of Archbishops of York from 1304–1405 appeared first on The National Archives.

Book your place at our pre-modern Ireland symposium, 21–23 March

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 05:52

On 21–23 March this year, The National Archives will host Dominus Hibernie/Rex Hiberniae: pre-modern Ireland, 1200–1801. Over three days at this major, international symposium eminent historians will discuss their research on six centuries of Irish history.

During this period, institutions, policies and attitudes developed to enable the crown to tackle the challenges of governing Ireland and its inhabitants. The records which such processes generated are voluminous and afford rich, multi-faceted insights into the administration of pre-modern Ireland, its political and legal culture, its geography, environment, society, economy and trade.

Conference organiser Dr Neil Johnston, Early Modern Records Specialist at The National Archives said:

‘In bringing together historians of medieval and early modern Ireland, this symposium aims to facilitate discussion of continuity and change across six centuries of Irish history by putting into sharper focus the collections with relevance to pre-modern Ireland at The National Archives. This is an opportunity not to be missed.’

The symposium will be opened by Jeff James, CEO and Keeper of The National Archives and Adrian O’Neill, Ambassador of Ireland to the United Kingdom with keynote addresses given by:

  • Professor Robin Frame (Durham University)
  • Professor Patricia Palmer (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
  • Professor David Hayton (Queen’s University Belfast)

Full conference and day tickets are available. Prices start at £30.

View the programme and book your place

The post Book your place at our pre-modern Ireland symposium, 21–23 March appeared first on The National Archives.

Book now for Gerald Aylmer Seminar 2019: Digital and the Archive

Fri, 01/18/2019 - 05:46

We are pleased to announce that registration is now open for this year’s Gerald Aylmer Seminar, which will be hosted at The National Archives.

Jointly convened by the Institute of Historical Research, the Royal Historical Society and The National Archives, the event will take place on 22 February 2019.

This year’s seminar will focus on the theme of ‘Digital and the Archive’. Speakers will consider the impact of digital technology on archives and historical research. The event will be a chance to raise and debate digital problems, and discuss how the academic and archive sectors can address these issues together.

The event will bring together speakers from both the archives and higher education sectors. The keynote conversation will be led by Alice Prochaska (former head librarian at Yale University and Principal of Somerville College, Oxford), Jane Winters (School of Advanced Studies, University of London) and John Sheridan (The National Archives).

The event is free to attend but registration in advance is required. Book your place.

Follow the conversation on social media #Aylmer19

The post Book now for Gerald Aylmer Seminar 2019: Digital and the Archive appeared first on The National Archives.

Allocation of papers accepted in lieu of tax

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 08:53

Part of the archive of the Northamptonshire estates of the Dukes of Grafton has been accepted in lieu of tax by the government.

Notable material includes accounts, correspondence, deeds, estate maps, architectural drawings, and manorial records from the 17th to the 20th centuries.

Any library, record office or institution in the United Kingdom interested in acquiring the papers should contact Philip Gale, Head of Standards and Improvement, Archives Sector Development, The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU (email asd@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk) for further particulars in the first instance.

Applications for allocation of this material must be received in writing at the same address by Friday, 22 February 2019.

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Prime Minister’s office files (PREM) – 1994

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 20:00
Pakistan Internal situation: military aid to Pakistan; death of President Zia; part 1

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4335

Date range: 17 October 1979 – 15 July 1993

This file covers the political situation in Pakistan. It contains correspondence relating to the 1979 riots in Islamabad and the sack of the American Embassy; military aid to Pakistan in 1980; the sale of frigates to Pakistan in 1982 (including letters exchanged between Margaret Thatcher and President Zia); the Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir in 1985 and the explosion of an ammunition depot near Islamabad in 1988.

It also contains correspondence relating to the death of President Zia in a plane crash in August 1988, the inquiry investigating the cause of the crash and Geoffrey Howe’s assessment of the situation after attending the funeral; the election of Benazir Bhutto in 1988; the election of Nawaz Sharif in 1990 and his fall and reinstatement in 1993; the rapidly deteriorating situation in Kashmir.

Poland UK/Polish relations: internal situation; economic assistance; part 13

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4346

Date range: 7 June 1991 – 29 November 1993

This file begins with the resignation of the Polish Prime Minister Jan Bielecki and the appointment of his successor Jan Olszewski. Later parts of the file cover the appointment of subsequent Prime Ministers Hanna Suchocka and Waldemar Pawlak. The main body of the file deals with concerns over the deteriorating health situation in Poland with reported shortages of drugs and medical supplies and the creation of a Stabilisation Fund to assist the Polish economy. The file closes with an exchange of letters between President Lech Walesa and Prime Minister John Major detailing the repatriation of General Sikorski’s body to Poland.

Prime Minister Prime Minister’s meetings with the Board of Deputies of British Jews

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4361

Date range: 12 October 1979 – 25 March 1993

This file contains a record of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s various meetings with the Board of Deputies of British Jews and associated individuals. The file discusses the Prime Minister’s visit to Moscow with concern expressed about Jewish emigration from Russia to Israel and the fate of Soviet ‘refuseniks’. Other issues discussed include government relations with the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, the role of religious schools and the rise of extreme right-wing organisations.

Prime Minister’s meeting with Bill Walker MP to discuss the Potato Marketing Board and Scheme, 21 January 1993

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4369

Date range: 11 January 1992 – 22 January 1993

This file relates to the Prime Minister meeting Bill Walker, MP for Tayside North, regarding the possibility of the winding up of the Potato Marketing Board and Scheme which supported UK potato producers. Walker was concerned that the closing of the board would impact potato producers in his constituency, a large part of its economy. Included are briefings for the Prime Minister as to the positive impact on the UK potato industry the closing of the Board might have.

Prime Minister’s Meeting with Rupert Murdoch

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4389 (PDF, 9.8 MB)

Date range: 17 August 1993 – 03 September 1993

This file details the briefings and thoughts behind a meeting between Prime Minister John Major and Rupert Murdoch on 19 August 1993. It was felt the editorial lines taken by News International’s UK news were unfavourable to the PM; however, there was no clear indication that Rupert Murdoch was aware of what the papers were publishing. Murdoch held a celebration at the Banqueting House, London on 1 September 1993 to announce the launch of new SKY TV channels.

Policy Unit Seminar, 3 November 1993: includes correspondence for Chequers Day, 21 January 1994

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4405

Date range: 4 August 1993 – 21 January 1994

This file relates to an away day for the Number 10 Policy Unit on 21 January 1994 and the preliminary discussions and arrangements for its schedule and content. The away day included a ‘stocktaking’ discussion of current policies, with a particular focus on the ‘Back to Basics’ initiative; a presentation and discussion on policy gaps; discussions on ‘unfinished business’, including the welfare state and reform of the public sector; and ‘delivering the message’. Included in the file are summaries of the day including the discussions and the Prime Minister’s input. Also included are action points from an earlier away day in August 1993, and a letter from William Chapman, Private Secretary Home Affairs, criticising the policy unit’s ‘vacuum’ of ideas and suggesting it might pursue a libertarian agenda.

Former Prime Ministers Lady Thatcher: part 1

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4408 (PDF, 33.3 MB)

Date range: 9 April 1991 – 20 April 1993

This file mainly consists of reports from diplomats and other officials concerning Lady Thatcher’s visits abroad – accounts of meetings with national leaders, and drafts of speeches. On 30 July 1992 Lady Thatcher writes a very powerful handwritten letter to Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd about the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, covering a typed letter on the same subject; she also writes on this matter to Prime Minister John Major.

Qatar UK/Qatar relations: internal situation; part 1

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4409

Date range: 15 February 1982 – 14 December 1993

This file contains correspondence relating to Geoffrey Howe’s visit to Qatar in April 1989; the Prime Minister’s meeting with the Amir in October 1989; the gas fields of Qatar and trade opportunities in 1993; the visit to Qatar by the Minister for Energy Tim Eggar in May 1993.

Royal Family Prime Minister’s Audiences of The Queen: part 5

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4411

Date range: 10 September 1993 – 14 December 1993

This file begins with notes on upcoming visits of the Australian Prime Minister and the Japanese Emperor. Also within the file is correspondence on proposed dates for the Prime Minister’s audiences with the Queen and audience briefs for meetings into December.

40th Anniversary of The Queen’s Accession to the Throne: includes 30th Anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4412 (PDF, 23.3 MB)

Date range: 10 February 1983 – 4 August 1993

This file begins with a note from 1983 about whether the Prime Minister should take part in a BBC documentary about the Queen’s constitutional role. The file then moves to 1990 and correspondence about arrangements to mark the 40th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne. Included in the file are publications created to mark the occasion and publicise events. Correspondence from January 1992 concerns civic honours to celebrate the anniversary including the possible candidates for city status and a Lord Mayorship. Later the file moves to discuss arrangements for the Prime Minister’s dinner for the Queen and a prizes scheme for Higher and Further Education.

Regional policy Review of regional policy: Enterprise Zones; part 11

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4413

Date range: 10 January 1993 – 30 April 1993

This file begins in early 1993 with correspondence about the acquisition of land owned by central government particularly in relation to the South East and the East Thames Corridor. Within the file there is also correspondence and briefing notes about regional offices and a single urban budget, the Cardiff Bay area re-development and a proposed City Pride scheme.

Review of regional policy: Enterprise Zones; part 12

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4414

Date range: 6 May 1993 – 16 September 1993

This file picks up on regional and urban policy in May 1993 in particular the Assisted Areas Map Review including correspondence and associated maps on the topic. Within the file there are also discussions around City Ministers, a paper on the value for money of regional and urban policies, and press statements. From July 1993 the Rural Challenge, and proposals to aid rural areas, are discussed in addition to the other projects and policy areas.

Russia UK/Russian relations: internal situation; policy towards the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS); part 5. Part 1 of 2.

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4420/1

Date range: 6 January 1993 – 29 March 1993

This file covers UK/Russian relations and the internal situation in Russia as well as the policy to be adopted towards the CIS. It contains correspondence relating to the constitutional crisis in Russia and the IX Congress, including a brief note on electoral legitimacy and the text (in Russian) of the conclusions of the Russian Constitutional Court; the organisation of an early G7 Summit in April; American views on structural reform in and macro-economic help to Russia; the possibility of creating a restructuring fund; the use of NATO infrastructure to re-house Russian military.

It also contains a happy birthday message from Yeltsin to John Major and a technical note on the Direct Speech Line, a secure speech line for telephone conversations between the British Prime Minister and the President of the Russian Federation.

UK/Russian relations: internal situation; policy towards the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS); part 5. Part 2 of 2.

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4420/2

Date range: 6 January 1993 – 29 March 1993

This file contains correspondence relating to the reintroduction of price controls; humanitarian crises in the former Soviet Union; aid for Russia, including exchanges of correspondence between John Major and Bill Clinton; the January 1993 CIS summit; the Extraordinary VIII Congress; the meeting in Hong Kong between G7 Sherpas/deputies and Fyodorov, the Russian Prime Minister and Finance Minister on 14 March 1993, including the whole of Fyodorov’s presentation. It also contains a note on ‘economic transformation in Russia after the fall of Gaidar’; a note by Douglas Hurd on the policy to be adopted towards Russia.

UK/Russian relations: internal situation; policy towards the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS); part 6

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4421

Date range: 1 April 1993 – 27 July 1993

This file contains correspondence relating to the political situation and constitutional crisis in Russia, and notably the April referendum on confidence in Boris Yeltsin, socio-economic policies and early elections. It also contains correspondence relating to economic assistance to Russia, including: G7 meetings, free trade, the EC/Russia partnership and cooperation agreement, and the American proposal for a privatisation and restructuring Fund for Russia.

UK/Russian relations: internal situation; policy towards the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS); part 7

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4422

Date range: 2 August 1993 – 29 October 1993

This file contains correspondence relating to the political situation and constitutional crisis in Russia, including Yeltsin’s call for parliamentary elections, a preliminary survey of likely contenders, and Yeltsin’s appeal to the citizens of Russia as well as the text of the Presidential Decree on the State of Emergency in Moscow. This file also covers cooperation with Russia in Space; a verbal attack on Lady Thatcher by Khasbulatov, the Speaker of the Supreme Soviet; the Secure Speech Link between the Kremlin and No 10; military resettlement assistance; and the dismissal of the Russian Ambassador to London.

Scotland Allegations of Conspiracy to Pervert the Course of Justice. Report by William Nimmo-Smith and James Friel

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4423

Date range: 14 January 1993 – 22 January 1993

On 26 January 1993 a report by William Nimmo-Smith QC and James Friel was published as a Return to an Address of the House. The report was of an inquiry which examined allegations contained in a leaked police document that decisions in certain criminal cases in Scotland had been taken for improper reasons. Namely, to prevent disclosure of information which would identify certain individuals as homosexuals who were in senior legal positions. The report found no evidence to uphold these allegations. The file contains correspondence between the Lord Advocate’s Chambers and Number 10 regarding when and how the report would be published.

Seychelles UK/Seychelles relations: internal situation; part 1

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4439

Date range: 28 June 1979 – 9 September 1993

This file relates to the UK’s diplomatic relationship with the Republic of the Seychelles under the Thatcher and Major ministries. The file opens with France-Albert René’s election as president of Seychelles in 1979. He had come to power in a coup in 1977, but was subsequently elected under a one-party system where he was the only candidate. Also included in the file are discussions about the Soviet influence in the Seychelles, the conviction and death sentencing of British mercenaries for their involvement in a 1981 coup against René’s regime, and a letter from exiled former president James Mancham to the Prime Minister in 1984 requesting assistance for exiled opposition groups. Further papers and correspondence in the file relate to the details of René’s 1985 visit to the UK and his meeting with Thatcher; the 1985 assassination of Seychelles opposition figure Gérard Hoarau in his home in London and the tapping of his telephones by Seychellois elements; René’s 1986 claim that the UK, French and US governments had colluded in plots to overthrow his government; and details of the Seychelles’ transition to multi-party democracy in 1992-1993, including Mancham’s return to the islands and his requests to Major for political support in his bid for election.

South Africa Visits of South African President, F W de Klerk: part 2

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4452

Date range: 28 February 1990 – 30 September 1993

This file records the meetings of President F W de Klerk with the British Prime Ministers, Margaret Thatcher and John Major. It covers the period following the release of Nelson Mandela in February 1990 to the period before the first fully democratic election in South Africa in April 1994. Included are notes on the annual meetings (May 1990, April 1991, February 1992, November 1992, September 1993). There are regular reports from the British High Commission in Pretoria which reveal concerns about escalating violence in South Africa, and de Klerk’s view of Mandela and his status with South Africans. The file shows de Klerk’s opinion that Mandela was losing authority to other African leaders, such as the Zulu leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Major and de Klerk appear to have established a rapport over their shared interest in cricket and rugby.

UK/South Africa relations: internal situation; part 28

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4453

Date range: 5 March 1990 – 15 October 1993

The file covers the period leading up to the South African general election of 1994. It begins with notes on a telephone conversation between Nelson Mandela and Prime Minister John Major in November 1992, during which they discussed problems posed by Buthelezi’s Inkatha, bilateral talks between the ANC and the South African government, the formation of an interim government and the possibility of lifting international sanctions. It includes a report of the Commonwealth Observer Mission to South Africa on political violence during 1992 and notes on the assassination of the South African Communist Party Secretary General Chris Hani on 10 April 1993 and consequent rioting. Other topics covered include the troubled relations between Buthelezi’s Inkatha and the ANC, the trial of Winnie Mandela for kidnapping and assault, and the possible sales of ships to the South African navy. It includes the South African government’s proposals on a Charter of Fundamental Rights, draft constitution, letters from Mandela and de Klerk and a note of congratulation from John Major to Mandela on his 75th birthday.

Visits to UK by Nelson Mandela: meetings and conversations with Prime Minister and other politicians

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4454 (PDF, 54.0 MB)

Date range: 5 March 1990 – 15 October 1993

Begins with notes of meetings of the British Ambassador to South Africa, Robin Renwick, with Nelson Mandela prior to his meeting with Margaret Thatcher in July 1990 and following his release from prison in February. These outline British concerns with the ANC’s commitment to armed struggle. The file includes a speech by Mandela to the Confederation of British Industry, in which he outlined the need for the redistribution of wealth and economic problems in South Africa. It continues with detailed notes of meetings with Margaret Thatcher (July 1990) and John Major (April 1991, May 1993 and October 1993). Topics covered include continuing political violence, investment and the lifting of sanctions and the problems posed by regionalism and the formation of the Freedom Alliance by Mangosuthu Buthelezi and other regional leaders.

Sport Britain’s sporting achievements: review of sport 1987-1988: review of sports policy

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4458 (PDF, 28.9 MB)

Date range: 11 February 1987 – 25 March 1993

This file highlights the government’s sports policy and its relationship with various governing bodies. It contains the text of telegrams from the Prime Minister to the England cricket team following their victory in the World Series Cup and the England rugby team to mark their 1991 Grand Slam in the Five Nations Championship. The file also contains details of the reception given to the England football team at Downing Street following the 1990 World Cup including speaking notes and profiles of the players and officials. Plans to re-organise the Sports Council of Great Britain and the failed attempt to increase business sponsorship of sporting events due to the Treasury’s refusal to fund the scheme, known as ‘Sportsmatch,’ are also covered.

Transport East London river crossing

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4477

Date range: 1 May 1984 – 7 July 1993

The bulk of this file concerns the need to build additional capacity into east London river crossings, particularly the tunnels and bridge at Dartford. It includes details of the discussion over private finance for new infrastructure, and the transfer of responsibility for the Dartford crossings into private hands. Part of the file deals with proposals by seven private sector groups to build and run a new crossing at Dartford, while a report breaks down the individual benefits and shortfalls of these schemes. Highlights include the call to provide ‘additional work for the construction industry particularly the hard pressed civil engineering side – at no cost to public funds’, and the argument forwarded by the Department of Trade and Industry, which favoured a bridge scheme as it would support British steel interests and preserve specialist skills in the country. In much less detail the file also discusses the east London River Crossing plans, and their ultimate abandonment due to the need to preserve Oxleas Wood.

Treasury Private Finance Initiative: part 1

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4483

Date range: 1 November 1992 – 28 October 1993

This file begins with correspondence regarding measures to encourage private finance in the upcoming Autumn Statement. Proposed joint ventures are discussed within the file as well as the wording in relevant passages of the statement. The file continues into 1993 with regular progress reports by the Secretary of State for Transport and the Chancellor on the Private Finance Initiative and specific projects including Crossrail.

Turkey Internal situation: European aid to Turkey; part 1

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4490

Date range: 10 May 1979 – 28 August 1993

This file covers UK/Turkey relations and EEC aid to Turkey. It contains correspondence relating to an interdepartmental paper on aid to Turkey dated May 1979; the 1980 military coup; the 1983 parliamentary election; the 1988 PKK attack; the 1989 and 1993 presidential election; the 1991 general election; arms sales to Turkey; and the growing position of Turkey as a regional Power.

It also contains correspondence relating to natural disasters in Turkey in 1983, 1988, 1991 and 1992.

USA United States foreign policy: USA/European relations; part 4

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4495

Date range: 25 April 1990 – 24 May 1993

This file covers a variety of issues affecting the US-European relationship including policy towards South Africa, China, Bosnia, the Middle East and the visit to Washington of the Russian President, Boris Yeltsin.

Internal political situation: 1992 Presidential election campaign; part 4

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4496 (PDF, 170.6 MB)

Date range: 7 March 1991 – 28 May 1993

This file concerns the 1992 US Presidential election race and contains various despatches from the UK Ambassador to Washington Sir Robin Renwick on the conduct of the election and the main candidates. The Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton is described by Renwick as the most impressive of the Democratic Party’s candidates but was considered vulnerable to questions about his private life. The file contains the text of a congratulatory message from the Prime Minister to President elect Clinton following his victory and Clinton’s response. The file also covers press speculation that Clinton had previously applied for British citizenship and the subsequent search of Home Office files.

Prime Minister’s visits to USA: part 12

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4497

Date range: 4 February 1992 – 19 February 1993

This file covers Prime Minister John Major’s visit to the United States and his meeting with President George H W Bush in December 1992. The agenda for the meeting covers topics including Somalia, Hong Kong, trade, Russia and Yugoslavia. In relation to Russia, there was concern that hard line figures would soon take power from Yeltsin and that economic support was in western interests. The discussions on Yugoslavia covered the implementation of a ‘no fly’ zone and western preparations should the crisis escalate.

Prime Minister’s visit to USA, 23-25 February 1993: part 13.

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4498

Date range: 19 February 1993 – 04 March 1993

This file covers Prime Minister John Major’s visit to the United States and his meeting with President Bill Clinton in February 1993. The agenda for the meeting includes trade relations (GATT, Airbus and Land Rover), Northern Ireland including the possible appointment of a peace envoy and a fact-finding mission to the province. Events in Russia, Iraq and Yugoslavia are also covered. The file contains the President’s verbal confirmation to renew the nuclear agreements in operation between the two countries. The stated aim of the visit was to establish a good personal relationship with the new President and be seen by others to have done so.

UK/US relations: part 10

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4499 (PDF, 102.3 MB)

Date range: 3 September 1992 – 24 May 1993

This file covers Anglo-American relations. It begins with an account of the visit to the UK of General Colin Powell, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, in September 1992. The discussions centre on Yugoslavia and fears that over one million deaths could occur over winter. The file also includes an exchange of letters between Major and Clinton with the Prime Minister apologising to the President for reports that the Home Office had conducted enquiries into Clinton’s past during his student days at Oxford. The file contains a record of telephone conversations between the Prime Minister and the President on 19 January and 10 February and their determination to establish a War Crimes Tribunal to investigate alleged atrocities in Yugoslavia. The file concludes with details of a possible assassination attempted against former President George H W Bush following the capture and interrogation of a terrorist cell in Kuwait. The US responded by launching a cruise missile attack on an Iraqi intelligence building in Baghdad.

Yugoslavia Internal situation: UK/Yugoslavia relations: part 20

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4510 (PDF, 136.4 MB)

Date range: 1 May 1993 – 18 May 1993

This file contains correspondence between the UK and US on the Bosnian conflict and a discussion of various objectives for the region. Also included are FCO telegrams to various embassies and also reports of the Prime Minister’s bilateral meetings with the French Prime Minister. There is a discussion of the implementation of the Vance/Owen Plan.

Internal situation: UK/Yugoslavia relations: part 23

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4513 (PDF, 69.3 MB)

1 July 1993 – 31 July 1993

This file contains the FCO’s views on US proposals to call a North Atlantic Council meeting to reach common ground within NATO to support air strikes in Bosnia to reign back the Serb forces.

Zimbabwe Internal situation: UK/Zimbabwe relations; Prime Minister’s meetings with Mr Mugabe; part 5

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4518

Date range: 24 March 1987 – 28 September 1993

This file deals with the British government’s relations with Robert Mugabe. It includes notes of Mugabe’s meetings with John Major (November 1991, May 1992, November 1992). Topics include land redistribution, British aid, drought in southern Africa during 1992, Mandela, war in Angola and Mozambique and Zimbabwe’s relations with Libya following the Lockerbie bombing. The file includes correspondence from Mugabe as Chairman of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries on the burden of foreign debt, congratulations on his election as President in 1987, and independence celebrations. There are condolences from the Prime Minister on the death of Sally Mugabe in 1991. There is some discussion of the perceived movement towards a one-party state. There is a brief report on Leader of the Opposition Neil Kinnock’s visit. He and his assistants were diverted to the wrong airport and briefly held under armed guard.

Agriculture Quarantine for pets: rabies control; part 1

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4525

Date range: 4 August 1992 – 2 August 1994

This file begins with correspondence about regulations surrounding the quarantine of pets and the possibility of EU guidance on the matter. Within the file there are briefing notes on the threat of rabies, UK controls compared with the rest of Europe and the implications of the UK reducing quarantine periods. Other correspondence within the file relates to the practicalities of introducing vaccinations if quarantine arrangements were to alter.

Aerospace Westland Helicopters: part 8

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4560 (PDF, 28.3 MB)

Date range: 22 January 1990 – 4 February 1994

This file includes discussion on the RAF need for additional support helicopters and correspondence with the Westland Group. Also included are letters to the Prime Minister from various MPs on the subject.

Afghanistan UK/Afghanistan relations: internal situation; part 8

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4561

Date range: 6 April 1988 – 15 June 1994

This file contains correspondence relating to the 1988 Proximity Talks and Geneva Agreement; Soviet withdrawal and the issue of positive symmetry; Soviet policy options regarding Afghanistan; the British aims regarding Afghanistan and an FCO note dated 16 June 1988; Soviet prisoners of war; direct talks between the Mujahedeen and the Soviets; a synopsis of the Soviet proposals on the Afghan settlement dated 20 February 1990;  elections in 1992; help towards the reconstruction of Afghanistan; and peace negotiations in 1993.

It also covers contingency plans for improving the security of the British Embassy in Kabul in 1989. It also contains a note dated 28 August 1990, highlighting the growing extremism and Islamic fanaticism of some resistance groups.

Baltic States UK relations with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania: Baltic gold; part 1

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4571

Date range: 10 January 1992 – 25 March 1994

This file details the return of gold to the Baltic States that had been deposited in the UK in the 1930s. The gold was held in trust by the Bank of England following annexation of the Baltic States by the Soviet Union under the terms of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and subsequent occupation by Nazi Germany. In 1951, to prevent the Soviet Union claiming ownership of the gold, the Board of Trade vested the gold to the Custodian of Enemy Property. The gold, valued at £90 million, was returned to the Baltic States following the UK’s recognition of their independence in 1991. The remainder of the file discusses economic and military assistance to the Baltic States.

Bahrain UK/Bahraini relations: part 2

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4573

Date range: 11 September 1987 – 19 December 1994

This file contains correspondence relating to UK-Bahraini relations. It covers: the visit of the Crown Prince of Bahrain in 1987; defence relations with Bahrain; the Secretary of State’s visit to Bahrain in 1989; the Alba Power station in 1990; and the Defence Cooperation Office in 1991. It also contains correspondence relating to private visits to London by Shaikh Khalifa, the Prime Minister of Bahrain, and to the health of the Amir of Bahrain, including contingency condolences messages from the Prime Minister.

Cambodia UK/Cambodian relations: internal situation; part 2

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4585

Date range: 19 December 1988 – 31 October 1994

This file concerns British relations with Cambodia and contains a letter from Neil Kinnock, Leader of the Opposition, to Margaret Thatcher expressing his concern over allegations that British soldiers were providing military training to members of the Khmer Rouge. The file details the evolution of government policy that did not rule out working with elements of the Khmer Rouge providing Pol Pot and his immediate circle were removed from power following a comprehensive political settlement in Cambodia. The file details the involvement of Her Majesty’s Government in providing military training to the armed forces of the Cambodian non-communist resistance. It also provides details of British involvement in UN peacekeeping operations and a number of reports on the kidnapping and murder of British and other western hostages by the Khmer Rouge.

Cars Use of official cars: part 1

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4587 (PDF, 33.2 MB)

Date range: 10 May 1979 – 23 December 1994

This file relates to the provision of cars made available through the Government Car Service (GCS) to ministers and non-ministers. It opens in 1979 with the Prime Minister approving the use of GCS cars by former prime ministers and the leader of the opposition. Also included are letters between Marcia Falkender and the Prime Minister regarding the provision of GCS vehicles to Harold Wilson, the extension of the GCS provision to Lord Home in 1987 after he sprained his knee, Neil Kinnock’s request for a bigger engine Rover due to his frequent motorway travel; and 1994 discussions over proposals to tax the ‘non-official’ use of GCS cars by officials (including the Prime Minister) and how this cost could be defrayed without political embarrassment.

Chile UK/Chilean relations: internal situation; policy on arms sales; part 2

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4588

Date range: 13 March 1986 – 25 May 1994

This file concerns UK relations with Chile between 1986 and 1994. Up until Chile’s transition to democracy with the election of Patricio Aylwin as President in 1991, the file principally concerns successive statements made by the UK and US government and the European Community regarding human rights abuses conducted by the Pinochet regime, as well as discussions between the Foreign and Prime Minister’s offices regarding UK support for UN General Assembly motions censuring Chile. Also included are details of visits to Chile by Garel-Jones MP (Government Whip, 1986) and Alan Clark MP (Minister for Trade, 1987). After Aylwin’s election the file mainly consists of briefings regarding the President’s visit to the UK in 1991, including discussions on trade and the reopening of arms sales. Also included are details of Alan Clark, Minister for Defence Procurement, visiting Chile in 1992, and papers relating to the government’s official response to Eduardo Frei’s election to the Presidency in 1993.

China UK/Chinese relations: part 7

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4589

Date range: 2 March 1993 – 24 October 1994

This file contains discussion on Lord Howe’s report on human rights in China, the future status of Hong Kong, Chinese nuclear testing and reports covering the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. The file also contains the text of the diplomatic credentials provided to the UK’s new Ambassador to China, Sir Leonard Appleyard.

Commonwealth of Independent States Policy towards the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS): part 2

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4590 (PDF, 39.0 MB)

Date range: 26 June 1992 – 28 January 1994

This file mostly contains correspondence relating to the political crisis in Azerbaijan, visits to the UK by politicians from CIS countries, background notes on CIS countries, and the Aral Sea environmental situation. It also contains the Third Secretary in Moscow’s account of the arrival in Russia of the horse presented to John Major by the President of Turkmenistan and the subsequent difficulties to send the horse to Britain.

Policy towards the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS): part 3

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4591 (PDF, 82.3 MB)

Date range: 1 February 1992 – 25 May 1994

This file includes trade and economic aspects of the relationship between the UK and the CIS countries, including the provision of Export Credit Guarantee Department cover and licencing steel imports. Arrangements for a trade delegation to the region led by the UK Minister for Energy and visits to the UK by the presidents of Kazakhstan, Armenia and Azerbaijan are covered in detail. There are also accounts of the situation in Crimea and the attitudes of Ukraine and Russia towards this region. Also included is the Prime Minister’s letter of thanks to the President of Turkmenistan for the gift of a stallion (see also PREM 19/4590).

Policy towards the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS): part 4

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4592

Date range: 1 June 1994 – 28 November 1994

This file focuses on international economic assistance and security assurances to Ukraine following the election of President Kuchma.  Nuclear safety and Ukraine’s accession to the Non-Proliferation Treaty are covered in detail. There is also correspondence about the agreement between Azerbaijan and a consortium of western oil companies led by BP. Opposition to President Aliev and peace-keeping initiatives in Nagorno-Karabakh and Georgia/Abkhazia are touched on and there is also reaction to the election of President Lukashenko in Belarus.

Policy towards the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS): part 5

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4593 (PDF, 27.8 MB)

Date range: 1 December 1994 – 30 December 1994

This file opens with a letter to Number 10 from the Ministry of Defence about the horse gifted to the Prime Minister by the President of Turkmenistan including consideration of commercial arrangements in relation to any offspring. The rest of the file mainly relates to Ukraine, including international economic assistance; security assurances; and accession to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  Papers relating to the meeting between the Prime Minister and President Kuchma in Budapest are also included.

Cuba UK/Cuban relations: part 1

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4598 (PDF, 41.1 MB)

Date range: 25 January 1980 – 22 August 1994

This file contains correspondence relating to UK-Cuban relations and reports on Fidel Castro’s speeches. It also includes papers to the Prime Minister regarding a private visit to Cuba by Edward Heath in 1985.

Defence Allegations against Mark Thatcher

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4603 (PDF, 15.1 MB)

Date range: 30 September 1994 – 10 November 1994

This file contains allegations against Mark Thatcher, son of former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, which first surfaced in May 1989 in an anonymous letter to Jeff Rooker MP, of the Public Accounts Committee. The letter detailed Mark Thatcher’s alleged involvement in an arms procurement deal with Saudi Arabia. Documents in the file state that these allegations were investigated by the appropriate authorities at that time and lacked credibility. This file covers the re-surfacing of the same issues in October 1994 by Tam Dalyell MP who passed two documents appearing to be from the same source to Ministry of Defence officials. The documents alleged that Mark Thatcher was somehow connected to and profited from a delayed decision on the supply of engines for Black Hawk helicopters – a contract for which UK and US companies were in keen competition. A letter from the MoD to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office outlining the allegations dismisses them as wild and unsubstantiated and a robust response is made in Parliament by the Minister of Defence Procurement, Roger Freeman, stating that no commissions were paid and no middlemen were involved. In further correspondence on the matter John Major adheres to the same government line taken in 1989. Margaret Thatcher issued a statement on 10 October 1984 to say she was absolutely satisfied that the contract was properly negotiated.

US bases in the UK: part 1

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4613 (PDF, 32.5 MB)

Date range: 18 June 1980 – 20 December 1994

This file concerns proposals for the wartime basing of B52 bombers at RAF Fairford and arrangements for the use of US bases in an emergency. The file discusses the alleged refusal of Prime Minister Edward Heath to allow US forces to use bases in the United Kingdom in support of Israeli forces during the Yom Kippur War in 1973.  The remainder of the file deals with the repercussions following the US attack against Libya in April 1986 led by a strike force of F-111 bombers based in the United Kingdom. The file ends with the announcement of the closure of US bases in Europe. Particular concern was expressed at the potential closure of RAF Alconbury that was located in the Prime Minister’s own constituency of Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire.

Downing Street Information technology: part 4

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4621

Date range: 18 July 1986 – 8 November 1994

This file primarily concerns the development of a new IT system for Number 10 Downing Street. There is discussion of the importance of keeping up with technological advances by embracing the growing popularity of the internet, following the lead of the Clinton/Gore administration in the US which had made use of it as a tool to engage with the public. The file also covers the controversy generated by the Inland Revenue contracting out their IT services to the commercial sector; the two companies shortlisted were both American-owned and there was public concern over the possibility of taxpayers’ personal information being handled overseas.

Environmental affairs Environmental policy: climate change programme; part 29

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4632

Date range: 2 December 1993 – 31 January 1994

At the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, in June 1992, the UK signed up to the Framework Convention of Climate Change. This file deals with the programme on the environment and climate change under John Gummer as Secretary of State for the Environment. It includes discussion and comments on the draft UK Strategy for Sustainable Development and the decision to ratify the Climate Change Convention and Biodiversity Convention. It includes discussion of targets for the reduction of emissions and the likely effect of this on the economy, as well as measures for controlling contaminated land. The file continues with details of the OECD Environmental Performance Review of the United Kingdom, merging Countryside Commission with English Nature and policy on dumping of radioactive waste at sea. A further policy paper on an approach to trade and environment in multilateral negotiations and the launch of UK post-Rio documents on sustainable development, biodiversity, climate change and forestry is also included.

European policy Enlargement of European Community: applications of Portugal and Spain; possible application from Turkey; accession of Greece; part 4. Part 1 of 2.

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4649/1 (PDF, 68.7 MB)

Date range: 7 June 1993 – 23 March 1994

This file relates to the European enlargement. It mostly contains correspondence relating to Britain’s position towards the enlargement and the Qualified Majority Voting (QMV) issue, including official discussions with the Germans, the possibility of dividing up the Treaty with different blocking minorities applying in different areas, and the possibility of delaying the decision on QMV. It also covers cod fishing in Norwegian waters, and foreign press coverage of the British position.

Enlargement of European Community: applications of Portugal and Spain; possible application from Turkey; accession of Greece; part 4. Part 2 of 2.

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4649/2 (PDF, 76.2 MB)

Date range: 7 June 1993 – 23 March 1994

This file contains correspondence relating to the relations between the European Community and Hungary and Turkey; the negotiations with Austria; meetings on the enlargement; public opinion in Norway; and the QMV issue. It also covers the institutional aspects of the Enlargement and the possibility of setting up a ‘Committee of wise men’ to consider institutional change.

Aligning of summertime dates in the Community: part 2

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4666

Date range: 29 October 1992 – 21 December 1994

This file concerns the Single/Double Summer Time (SDST) debate and opens with a letter to Michael Heseltine from Peter Levene of the Efficiency Unit expressing the advantages in trade and competitiveness of a standard time with Europe. Of particular importance was the alignment of lunch and the timing of flights on the continent. The effect the move would have on Scotland was a sticking point where, in Stornoway, the sun would not rise until after 10am on 1 January. Other potential issues raised included detrimental effects on the agricultural and construction sectors, road accident figures, the establishment of an even greater time gap with the US, and the prospect of the initiative being blamed on the EU (and therefore fuelling scepticism). Despite the agreement for a full economic study of the potential impact of SDST, there remained considerable division within government over its perceived merits.

Foreign policy United Nations Law of the Sea Convention [UNCLOS]

Catalogue reference: PREM19/4676

Date range: 21 January 1985 – 12 July 1994

In June 1981, the UK announced its intention to extend the territorial sea to 12 miles. By 1985, the government was looking to implement that decision. There was correspondence between various government departments regarding the possible impact of this extension of territorial waters to the Isle of Man and fisheries jurisdiction. By 1990, the extension to the Isle of Man’s territorial waters was agreed with the wording agreed in 1991. Also in 1990, there was discussion about the issues relating to the deep seabed mining provisions of the convention which were preventing the UK from signing. The file has various pieces of correspondence between the Prime Minister, the United Nations Secretary General and leaders from Germany and the USA.

Government machinery Government Machinery: Standards of Conduct in Public Life

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4701 (PDF, 70.1 MB)

Date range: 21 October 1994 – 23 December 1994

This file covers the three month period when Prime Minister John Major was establishing an independent body to advise him on standards in public life. Its task was to examine general concerns about standards of conduct of public office holders including their appointment, financial and commercial arrangements. The file includes the announcement of the Standing Committee, the appointment of the Chair, Lord Nolan, as well as deliberations on members drawn from the main opposition parties, civil service, business, academia and trade unions. Appointments were then made by the Prime Minister. The general scope of the committee’s work was considered and a paper produced examining initial issues and questions. The committee was responsible for looking at general standards and safeguards.

Histories Policy on commemorations of World War One and Two: part 2

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4708

Date range: 5 January 1994 – 13 April 1994

This file contains correspondence relating to the 50th anniversary of D-Day. It covers: the work of the D-Day Steering Group and the apparent fragmentation of the planning effort for the Commemoration; various ideas to mark the anniversary; the relations between the two responsible Ministers, Lord Cranborne and Mr Sproat; security arrangements; the possible representation of the Russian government; the VIP guest list. It also contains correspondence relating to a farewell ceremony for Allied Forces in Germany.

Policy on commemorations of World War One and Two: part 3

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4709

Date range: 5 April 1994 – 27 May 1994

This file contains correspondence relating to marking the 50th anniversary of D-Day. It covers: the meeting of the European Parliament to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Second World War; sponsorship by political parties; briefings on the commemoration; adverse press coverage; the planned civilian events and the objections of the veterans; the Hyde Park D-Day event; and the question of the Russian participation in the D-Day commemorations. It also contains the full programme of events, and the menu for the dinner to be held at the Guildhall, Portsmouth, on 4 June 1994.

Policy on commemorations of World War One and Two: part 4. Part 1 of 2

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4710/1

Date range: 1 June 1994 – 31 December 1994

This file concerns the arrangements for events to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of World War Two. Correspondence towards the beginning of the file suggests that the Prime Minister was not keen to participate in a VE/VJ Day launch event planned for January 1995, following widespread public criticism of the proposed programme of events for the D-Day 50th anniversary for being insufficiently solemn in tone. The later part of the file turns to discussion over which heads of state should be invited to VE/VJ Day events, and correspondence between the Ministry of Defence and the Prime Minister’s Office including a ‘post-mortem’ of the D-Day anniversary events.

Policy on commemorations of World War One and Two: part 4. Part 2 of 2

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4710/2

Date range: 1 June 1994 – 31 December 1994

This file is made up of briefing documents for the Prime Minister for several events taking place in June 1994 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings, including a service of remembrance at Bayeux War Cemetery and an international ceremony at Omaha beach. As well as itineraries and seating plans for each event there are comprehensive conversation points and personality notes for the various attendees; the Prime Minister is advised to avoid asking President Mitterrand about his health, as he had an operation for prostate cancer.

Home affairs

Obscenity legislation (video nasties): includes meetings with Mary Whitehouse; part 3

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4713

Date range: 11 October 1993 – 24 June 1994

This file begins with continued correspondence about child pornography, obscenity and criticisms of the test of obscenity within the Obscene Publications Act, 1959. The file also contains discussion of violence on television as well as video controls and classifications. Towards the end of the file there are comments on the press coverage of a Home Office announcement regarding video nasties.

Obscenity legislation: censorship; part 4

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4714

Date range: 11 July 1994 – 23 December 1994

This file begins with correspondence related to violence on television in the summer of 1994. Also included in the file is a defensive briefing for the Prime Minister in advance of his meeting with Mary Whitehouse as well as correspondence with legal experts about proposed legislation. The file then moves to discuss the government’s position on blasphemy laws and a case brought before the European Commission of Human Rights. The file also contains a Home Office paper on curbing obscenity and a report on violence on independent television.

Behaviour of British football fans abroad: football hooliganism; Football Spectators Bill; Taylor Report on the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster; part 9

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4732 (PDF, 22.7 MB)

Date range: 1 February 1990 – 23 June 1994

This file contains correspondence on the Taylor report into the Hillsborough disaster. There are reports of hooliganism at matches during a May Bank Holiday and also correspondence relating to the reintegration of English clubs into European competitions after their ban. There is also discussion on re-examining the requirement for all-seater stadia in the Football League.

Gypsy site policy: new age travellers; reform of the Caravan Sites Act 1968

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4733 (PDF, 41.4 MB)

Date range: 10 January 1992 – 8 November 1994

This file contains correspondence between ministers, policy papers and memos regarding the government’s policy and proposed legislative program relating to Gypsies, travellers, New Age Travellers (NATs) and ravers. There is a large amount of correspondence and policy papers concerning the Department of the Environment’s 1992 proposals to remove the obligation of local authorities to provide caravan sites for Travellers and how to make this work politically and logistically. Also included are papers relating to proposals for cracking down on ‘illegal camping’ by the reform of the 1968 Caravan Sites Act. The file also contains papers from August 1992 onwards concerning government policy towards NATs and ravers, including how the government might ‘crack down’ on benefit payments to NATs, and enhance police powers to deal with raves after the large-scale gathering at Castlemorton Common. Particular reference is made to a gathering of c.5-7,000 NATs and ravers in Newton, Powys in August 1992.

Homosexual rights in Great Britain and Europe; part 1

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4734 (PDF, 50.9 MB)

Date range: 21 May 1984 – 15 December 1994

The file begins with some papers relating to a Private Peer’s Bill in the House of Lords tabled by Lord Halsbury in 1986 ‘for the purpose of restraining local authorities from promoting homosexuality’. Although this bill failed, a similar measure – Clause 28, an amendment to the 1988 Local Government Bill, became law in May 1988. The file then moves on to 1991: the context is John Major’s announcement in July that the ban on gay men and lesbians working for the British Diplomatic Service would be lifted. The file contains correspondence between the actor Sir Ian McKellen and John Major leading up to a meeting between them on 24 September, at which McKellen, on behalf of the Stonewall Group, outlined the main areas of discrimination and inequality in relation to lesbians and gay men. Major promises to carefully consider McKellen’s points and to discuss further with colleagues. Further papers are focused on the issue of reducing the age of consent for homosexuals which had been fixed at 21 since 1967.

Identity cards

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4735 (PDF, 90.2 MB)

Date range: 15 June 1993 – 31 December 1994

This file concerns discussions over the potential introduction of identity cards. The Home Office was asked to look into the subject but was warned not to allow details to leak. John Major intended to justify the proposal in support of fighting crime and cracking down on social security fraud, rather than tackling illegal immigration. The smart card research included consultations on the new photocard driving licences, which it was thought might present a useful pilot for the technology. The file includes a Home Office report, The Case for National Identity Cards, which although highlighted various positive outcomes, also warned that their introduction might be seen as over-regulatory and potentially unpopular. Other criticisms included their potential to encourage racial discrimination and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s fear they might weaken the UK’s position on frontier controls (at that time being debated in the European Court).

Race relations: part 3

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4745

Date range: 14 July 1993 – 23 December 1994

The file begins with a policy paper on ethnic minorities, outlining the need for inclusion. It continues with the Commission for Racial Equality’s (CRE) second review of the Race Relations Act 1976, with recommendations and government responses. Much of the file concerns government views on racial equality and market testing in response to the Commission for Racial Equality’s recommendation that private contractors should abide by the CRE Code of Practice. Also included is a letter outlining the use of deception by the National Front in booking Hatfield House for its annual general meeting. Further correspondence concerns a private members bill to enable the Commission for Racial Equality to accept legally binding undertakings from private companies. The file ends with a note on the Consultative Commission on Racism and Xenophobia and proposals for amendments to the EU Treaty.

Women: part 5

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4750

Date range: 8 October 1993 – 7 December 1994

The first part of the file is concerned with setting targets for women and ethnic minorities to hold public appointments and the various views across government departments. The latter part of the file holds correspondence related to the launch of the Fair Play for Women: Regional Initiative which was a joint project between government and the Equal Opportunities Commission aiming to boost opportunities for women. Throughout the file, there are quarterly returns to the ministerial sub-committee on women’s issues which detail progress.

Iraq Imprisonment of British citizens in Iraq: part 3

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4764

Date range: 4 February 1993 – 3 January 1994

This file contains correspondence relating to the detention of Paul Ride, Michael Wainwright and Simon Dunn, all charged with illegal entry into Iraq. It covers: arrangements for the Director-General of the British Red Cross to accompany their families to Iraq and a report on the visit; the procedures to provide the prisoners with basic provisions; discussions between Boutros-Ghali and the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister in Geneva in June 1993; the diplomatic help received from Russia; Stephen Howarth’s visit to Iraq; and Sir Edward Heath’s mission to Baghdad to secure the prisoners’ release.

Ireland Situation in Northern Ireland; part 39

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4773

Date range: 16 December 1993 – 25 January 1994

This two-part file provides details of Sinn Féin’s exchanges with the British government including a full record of exchanges between October 1990 and November 1993. These were later published and a copy placed in the House of Commons Library. The file contains discussions concerning a visa application to the United States by Gerry Adams and the possibility of lifting the broadcast ban covering members of Sinn Féin. The file incudes the Irish reaction to the Downing Street Declaration and contains a series of open letters from Adams to John Major and an exchange of letters between John Major and the Irish Prime Minister Albert Reynolds. The file ends with a report on the Prime Minister’s meeting with John Hume, leader of the SDLP, and his concern over a potential split in the IRA between urban Provisionals who wanted an end to violence and rural areas where the ‘defender’ tradition still held sway.

Situation in Northern Ireland; part 40

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4774

Date range: 24 January 1994 – 31 January 1994

This file concerns the application for a US visa by Gerry Adams to attend a conference in New York in January 1994. The US authorities were prepared to grant a visa on the understanding that Adams gave a statement renouncing violence and his willingness to work for peace on the basis of the Joint Declaration issued on 15 December 1993 by John Major and his Irish counterpart Albert Reynolds. Adams rejected these conditions on the basis that his position in the republican movement would be untenable if he complied with the US request. A limited entry visa was eventually granted resulting in a draft letter from the Prime Minister to President Bill Clinton strongly disagreeing with the decision that was widely seen as a victory for the republican movement. The file ends with a letter from Major to Reynolds drawing attention to the fact that there had been two car bombs in London since the US decision to admit Adams and that Sinn Féin could only be treated as a democratic party when it started acting like a democratic party.

Situation in Northern Ireland; part 41

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4775

Date range: 1 February 1994 – 11 February 1994

This file contains press reaction following Adams’ visit to the United States which was greeted with dismay in Downing Street. It also contains an account of a telephone conversation between John Major and President Clinton in which the President took full responsibility for the decision. The file ends with reports that Adams was considering a future visit to Australia.

Situation in Northern Ireland; part 42

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4776

Date range: 14 February 1994 – 28 February 1994

This file provides an account of the Prime Minister’s informal meeting with the Irish Taoiseach Albert Reynolds during the course of a rugby international at Twickenham.  The file contains briefing notes and the text of the Prime Minister’s article in The Irish Times. The file ends with reports of the arrest of David Adams, a first cousin of Gerry Adams, who was arrested as part of a gang planning to murder a RUC superintendent on his way to work and the suggestion that the Prime Minister should inform President Clinton of the incident.

Situation in Northern Ireland; part 44

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4778 (PDF, 37.7 MB)

Date range: 5 April 1994 – 29 April 1994

This file contains a letter from Roderic Lyne, Number 10 Private Secretary, to Gerry Adams in response to his two letters of 30 March and 6 April to the Prime Minister calling for direct dialogue with the British government following the announcement of a three-day ceasefire by the IRA. The file also includes a letter from Sinn Féin passed to the British government via the Irish government containing a list of 22 questions that required clarification by the British government. There are also reports on the visit to Washington by the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, Jim Molyneaux and his meetings with Vice President Al Gore and Senator Edward Kennedy. The file ends with the announcement by Hualon, a Taiwanese textile company, that it wished to build a large factory in Northern Ireland and reservations expressed by HM Treasury concerning the cost of government subsidies and the need to secure the consent of the European Commission.

Situation in Northern Ireland; parts 45-50

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4779-4784

Date range: 3 May 1994 – 23 September 1994

These files concern the British government’s stewardship of the Northern Ireland peace process under John Major, largely through materials circulated by his Private Secretary, Roderic Lyne, and briefings provided by the Northern Ireland Office. Much of what is documented comes from discussions between Major and the Irish Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds. Highlights from the files include:

  • 4779, part two: Much of this file concerns the British and Irish government responses to a series of questions allegedly posed by Sinn Féin, seeking clarification on the position and commitments made in the Joint Declaration. The British government refused to engage in any negotiation on the terms agreed with the Irish government, and would not enter into questions about future arrangements in Ireland – something it argued could only be decided through negotiations with democratically mandated parties dedicated exclusively to peaceful political means.
  • 4780: An early item of interest in this file concerns the June 1994 Mull of Kintyre helicopter crash that killed 29 high-ranking RUC and intelligence staff travelling to Scotland for a counter-terrorism conference. Another item of note is a copy of the Report of the Sinn Féin Peace Commission.
  • 4781: Early material touches on paramilitary reactions to the peace process. Towards the front of the file is the reaction to Sinn Féin’s perceived rejection of the Joint Declaration in July 1994 and notes from Major’s meetings with Ian Paisley following the DUP’s submission of their Breaking the Logjam report.
  • 4783: Includes details of the August 1994 Sinn Féin/Provisional IRA ceasefire announcement followed by messages exchanged by John Major and President Clinton, and international reactions to the news forwarded by the FCO. These events were taking place against a background of continued loyalist violence and accusations by Unionists – particularly Ian Paisley – that the British government had made concessions to Sinn Féin.
  • 4784: This file details the continuation of Unionist violence, the potential for a referendum on the future position of Northern Ireland as part of the UK, the European Union Assistance package for Northern Ireland, visits to the US by key Irish figures in the peace process, and the programme of the Belfast Cathedral service of thanksgiving and remembrance for those involved in the Mull of Kintyre helicopter crash.
Situation in Northern Ireland; part 51

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4785

Date range: 24 September 1994 – 12 October 1994

This file covers several issues pertaining to the situation and peace negotiations in Northern Ireland in September and October 1994. Included are papers, correspondence, and other material relating to: the visit of Gerry Adams to the United States, including papers relating to US National Security Advisor Tony Lake’s inclination to provide Adams with meetings with high ranking officials and the government’s disquiet with this, and the subsequent fallout of Adams having a phone conversation with the Vice President. Also included are: discussions around the developing Joint Framework Document, including consultations with the Irish government, Unionist and the Alliance Party; a meeting between John Major and John Alderdice (Alliance Leader); discussions of economic assistance packages for Northern Ireland from the European Union, the US, and HM Treasury; contact between the government and Unionist parties, including details of access to Loyalist prisoners and moves towards a Loyalist ceasefire; discussions of the IRA’s move towards a permanent ceasefire and questions over handing in munitions.

Situation in Northern Ireland; part 52

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4786

Date range: 13 October 1994 – 22 October 1994

This file covers the situation in Northern Ireland for part of October 1994. Included are policy documents, correspondence and other papers relating to: discussions with the US government regarding another visit to the US by Gerry Adams, and the UK government’s desire that Adams will not be able to raise funds while overseas for fear these will be utilised by the IRA; the announcement of the Loyalist ceasefire on 13 October 1994 and the UK government’s move to presume the permanence of the IRA’s ceasefire; ending exclusion orders for Adams, McGuinness and others associated with the conflict; discussions of European Union economic aid packages to Northern Ireland; and details and discussion of the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation hosted by the Republic of Ireland.

Situation in Northern Ireland; part 56. 2 parts

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4790/1

Date range: 7 December 1994 – 30 December 1994

These files cover the situation in Northern Ireland for part of December 1994. Included are policy documents, correspondence and other papers relating to: the possibility of Taiwanese textile firm Hualon opening a factory in Northern Ireland, possible government aid for this and the opposition of the British textile industry; conversations and meetings between the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach regarding the Northern Irish peace process, changes in the Irish government and the Irish government’s meeting with Sinn Féin; report on exploratory dialogues held between the British government and loyalist groups and Sinn Féin, respectively; reaction to the explosive device found in Enniskillen, 18 December, and Sinn Féin and Unionist reaction; the Prime Minister’s meetings with James Molyneaux, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party; concerns about Gerry Adams prospective January 1995 visit to the US; discussions over the Joint Framework Document and its development; and papers regarding the possibility of Sinn Féin achieving parity of esteem with other parties in the peace process and being able to directly engage with UK ministers.

North Korea UK/North Korea relations: internal situation; part 1

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4801 (PDF, 20.4 MB)

Date range: 27 August 1981 – 5 September 1994

This file contains discussion of North Korea’s application to join the United Nations and what that means for the UK as London did not recognise the country. There is also correspondence relating to the death of Kim Il Sung and rise of Kim Jong Il along with a report on other leading personalities in the North Korean leadership.

Labour Party The Labour Party’s strategy and policy: record of taxation; defence policy

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/4803

Date range: 21 November 1983 – 6 October 1994

Among other things this files contains Number 10 Policy Unit observations of the policies of the Labour Party between 1983 and 1994, with reference to Defence policy, public spending commitments, and environmental policy, as well as documents produced by the Conservative governments of this period intended to develop lines to rebut criticisms. Also included are papers relating to Labour’s assumption of the Presidency of the European Council in 1992.

The post Prime Minister’s office files (PREM) – 1994 appeared first on The National Archives.

Prime Minister’s Papers from 1994 released

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 19:03

Today we have released files from the Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet Office, predominantly covering the year of 1994.

The newly released Cabinet Office files (CAB and PREM) shed light on a range of subjects both at home and abroad under John Major’s leadership. In addition to 1994, this release includes some files from the last years of Margaret Thatcher’s government and the transition to Major’s premiership.

The files are available to view in the public reading rooms at The National Archives, Kew. A selection of files have been digitised and can be viewed and downloaded using our catalogue, Discovery.

Domestically, the files cover issues as diverse as the emergence of the Internet as a government communications tool (PREM 19/4621), the Prime Minister’s audiences with the Queen (PREM 19/4411), homosexual rights in Britain (PREM 19/4734), football hooliganism (PREM 19/4732 – PDF, 22.7 MB), sporting achievements (PREM 19/4458 – PDF, 28.9 MB), the use of government cars (PREM 19/4587 – PDF, 33.2 MB), American air bases in the UK (PREM 19/4613 – PDF, 32.5 MB), and the situation in Northern Ireland (PREM 19/4774-4790).

Internationally, there are various files relating to John Major’s work with US President Bill Clinton and wider UK-US relations (PREM 19/4495-4501), UK-Russian relations (PREM 19/4420-4422), Nelson Mandela’s visits to the UK (PREM 19/4454 – PDF, 54.0 MB), the continuing conflict in Yugoslavia (PREM 19/4510 – PDF, 136.4 MB and PREM 19/4513 – PDF, 69.3 MB), and UK government policy towards Europe (PREM 19/4640-4666).

Read a blog post from our Media Manager on this release.

You can also find out more about our previous file releases.

The post Prime Minister’s Papers from 1994 released appeared first on The National Archives.

Changes to our fees

Thu, 12/20/2018 - 08:40

From 1 February 2019, there will be changes to some of the fees we charge.

As a government department providing a public service, we are able to charge for some statutory services (as defined by the Public Records Act ) on a cost recovery basis. The Fees Order, which regulates our fees, has been refreshed from the last calculation which came into effect 1 April 2017. We are maintaining the standard approach in line with the HM Treasury publication, Managing Public Money, to set charges at a level that will recover full costs, ensuring that The National Archives neither profits at the expense of consumers nor makes a loss for taxpayers to subsidise.

There are both price increases and decreases, for example a digital copy up to A3 size goes up by 10p to £1.20. Currently, our research service cost £23.35 per 15 minutes, this will go up by £1.00 however, the charge for a copy of a naturalisation certificate will go down by 25p to £27.15.

As there is no legal requirement for The National Archives to digitise physical public records these services are by definition discretionary. We have therefore removed the following digital surrogate related lines:
• The creation of digital surrogates funded by others (for a commercial return, or to widen access)
• Reprographic charges (Production and Estimation)
• Image Library (Serviced Copies – Colour Photograph)
• Digital Downloads
• Conservation for Digitisation

In addition to, but separate from, the Fees Order changes, we are introducing a  fee for the provision of letters of no evidence of naturalisation, in the same way that we charge for certified copies of naturalisation certificates. They will incur a fee of £27.15 which is regulated to be the cost recovery price (i.e. the cost to The National Archives doing the work).

A full list of fees can be found here

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The National Archives announces Cold War season launching April 2019

Thu, 12/06/2018 - 09:00

The National Archives today announces its 2019 Cold War season, comprising a new exhibition ‘Protect and Survive: Britain’s Cold War Revealed’ and a season of events that will offer a fascinating insight into life in Britain during the turbulent Cold War era.

INF 13/293/10 Keep Our Secrets Secret, Somebody Isn’t Using His Intelligence, 1960s

Opening on 4 April 2019, exactly 70 years since NATO was formed, the programme will mark a series of Cold War milestones and will run until the end of November 2019, the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Mark Dunton, Contemporary Records Specialist at The National Archives and Curator of the exhibition, said: ‘People will have the opportunity to explore our Cold War documents and learn more about this period of secrets and paranoia. The pervasive threat of nuclear war impacted everyday life for millions of people and this thought-provoking exhibition will offer a unique look into political and ideological tensions between the East and West.’

An array of original documents will be on display, including political memos, spy confessions, civil defence posters and even a letter from Winston Churchill to the Queen. These documents will provide visitors with a rare glimpse into the complexities of government operations during this time of infiltration and betrayal.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a programme of high-profile events exploring the Cold War from a multitude of perspectives. Speakers will include Dame Stella Rimington, former Director General of MI5, who will discuss her extraordinary career in government and subsequent success as a writer.

To secure priority booking and be the first to obtain details of the Cold War season, sign up to The National Archives’ mailing list at nationalarchives.gov.uk/coldwar.

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Newly accredited archive services announced

Wed, 12/05/2018 - 04:33

The UK Archive Service Accreditation Partnership today announces that three archive services have been awarded accredited status at a recent Archive Service Accreditation Panel.

HSBC Archives, National Arts Education Archives and Oxford Brookes University Special Collections have achieved the UK national standard for archive services, demonstrating a commitment to management and resourcing, the care of unique collections and the service offer to their entire range of users. The three archive services are the first to achieve Archive Service Accreditation since the refresh of the standard and documentation in June 2018.

Archive Sector Accreditation is supported by a partnership of the Archives and Records Association (UK), Archives and Records Council Wales, National Records of Scotland, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Scottish Council on Archives, The National Archives and the Welsh Government through its Museums, Archives and Libraries Wales division.

See the full list of accredited archive services.

Find out more about Archive Service Accreditation.

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A Year in Archives 2018 launched

Tue, 11/20/2018 - 10:45

Today, The National Archives launches A Year in Archives 2018.

The publication celebrates innovative and exciting work from across the archive sector and copies will be available at the Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities (DCDC) conference, currently taking place in Birmingham.

A Year in Archives explores how archive services have delivered on the themes of the strategic vision, Archives Unlocked. This vision aims to release the full potential of archives by embracing current challenges and opportunities such as openness, impact and digital development.

Dr Valerie Johnson, Director of Research and Collections at The National Archives said:

‘A Year in Archives demonstrates that the archives sector continues to work hard in demonstrating the importance of archives through innovative ways of collecting and making collections accessible, preserving our past for the future.’

This year, six case studies have been selected to feature in the publication, including Amnesty International’s agile response to changing digital technologies and increasing amounts of digital data. Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives has also been recognised for its Women’s Hall project, which explores lesser-known suffrage stories from East London.

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Major Ireland Symposium in March 2019

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 05:36

Today, we announce a major, international symposium ‘Dominus Hibernie / Rex Hiberniae: pre-modern Ireland, 1200-1801’ which will take place from 21-23 March 2019 here at The National Archives.

From the late-twelfth-century conquest to the union of the kingdoms, Ireland was a key constituent element of the dominions of the monarchs of England and Great Britain, their royal title and identity. Over six centuries institutions, policies and attitudes developed to enable the crown to tackle the challenges of governing Ireland and its inhabitants. The records which such processes generated contain rich, insights into the administration of pre-modern Ireland and all areas of its society. As the custodian of government records, The National Archives arguably holds the world’s most important collection of records on the history of pre-modern Ireland. In bringing together historians of medieval and early modern Ireland, this symposium will discuss continuity and change across six centuries of Irish history  and consider the archival context of the collection.

The symposium will be opened by Jeff James, CEO and Keeper of The National Archives and Adrian O’Neill, Ambassador of Ireland to the United Kingdom with keynote addresses given by three exceptional scholars of pre-modern Irish history:

  • Professor Robin Frame, Durham University
  • Professor Patricia Palmer, National University of Ireland, Maynooth
  • Professor David Hayton, Queen’s University Belfast.

For more information and to register please use this link

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Introduction of car parking charges

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 10:16

HLG 131/100 Queues at Oxford Circus underground station, 1960s

The National Archives will implement new charges in our visitor car park on 3 January 2019.

The new controlled car parking will be administered through an ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) system, with visitors paying before departure at a pay point located inside The National Archives building. Charges will apply to all visitor parking. ‘Blue Badge’ holders will continue to be able to park without charge, in designated parking bays. (The ‘Blue Badge’ scheme helps you park closer to your destination if you’re disabled: find out more.)

We have introduced new car park charges for two key reasons. Firstly, we want to ensure that the option to park on site continues to be available for as many of our visitors as possible. By introducing charges, we hope to be able to deter parking unconnected with our organisation so that we can accommodate more of our own visitors.  We have benchmarked our new car park charges with those of comparable heritage and cultural destinations in the local area.

Secondly, we find it difficult to justify offering a free car park in a location where parking is generally offered on a charged-for basis. We have maintained a free car park over many years and through this time, we have been one of few national, cultural organisations to offer this facility without charge. Unfortunately, this comes at a cost to us and we have now reached a point where we need to balance the needs of a minority of visitors who arrive by car against our need to invest in services for the majority who arrive by public transport or use our services online. We will review the impact of the new scheme during its initial period to ensure it meets its objectives and to assess the impact on visitors.

The new parking costs

Up to two hours £2.50 Up to four hours £4.50 Over four hours £7.00

Under this scheme, ‘Blue Badge’ holders will continue to be able to park without charge, in designated parking bays.

How to use our new parking system:

  • Enter the car park by approaching the barrier, which will open automatically. Make a note of your registration plate number before leaving your vehicle
  • After your visit to The National Archives, go to one of our two pay point machines (located in The National Archives’ foyer), and enter your vehicle registration
  • The pay machine will calculate your car parking charge based on registration recognition. Payments can be made by either cash or chip and pin/contactless payment (with a credit or debit card)
  • Return to your vehicle and leave the car park via the exit barrier within 20 minutes of payment

Visitors must pay for parking before leaving the premises and will not be able to exit the car park if they have not done so.

For more information, read our frequently asked questions.

If you have any further questions or feedback about the changes to visitor car parking, please get in touch.

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