Future of the secret services

  • Catalogue ref: CAB 301/11
  • Date: 23/03/1943 - 09/03/1945

This file contains papers on the future of the British intelligence establishment after the Second World War. It begins with a minute by Duff Cooper in 1943 on the Future of the Secret Service, and includes correspondence on the post-war prospects for the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and an important Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) report on 'The Intelligence Machine', dated 10 January 1945.

Report of Enquiry by Sir Norman Brook into the Secret Intelligence and Security Services

  • Catalogue ref: CAB 301/17
  • Date: 01/01/1951 - 31/03/1951

The Brook Enquiry was set up by Prime Minister Clement Attlee in 1950, partly as a result of perceived weaknesses in national security revealed by the arrest in 1950 of the atomic spy Klaus Fuchs. The next seven pieces [CAB 301/18-23] contain preparatory papers produced by Brook, with related correspondence, and the minutes and memoranda of the GEN 374 Committee set up in 1951 to consider Brook's recommendations and arrange for their implementation.

Future organisation of Secret Intelligence Service (SIS): the Bland Report

  • Catalogue ref: CAB 301/48
  • Date: 08/10/1944 - 12/10/1944

A copy of the important report prepared by Sir Nevile Bland into the future of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) which was completed in October 1944 and formed the basis for the organisation's postwar existence as an autonomous entity. Bland concluded that SIS 'must always remain under the direction' of the Foreign Secretary and that 'no secret organisation' should be allowed to operate abroad, except under the direction of SIS; effectively sealing the fate of SOE. Bland stated that SIS's main task was 'to obtain by covert means intelligence which it is impossible or undesirable for His Majesty's Government to seek by overt means'.

Hanbury-Williams report on the Special Operations Executive (SOE)

  • Catalogue ref: CAB 301/51
  • Date: 18/06/1942 - 02/07/1942

A copy of the report by John Hanbury-Williams and Edward W. Playfair, produced at the request of the Minister for Economic Warfare to advise 'what improvements, alterations or extensions, if any, in the existing SOE machine are necessary or desirable to enable SOE fully to carry out the duties devolving on it under its charter'. The report conceded that SOE had built up something of a bad name, but considered that it was already improving and that its successes 'amply justify the continuation of the organisation on its present lines'