Security Service release: Policy files
Discussions held in 1943 on the future of the Security Service (KV4/448) 27/11/1942 - 16/12/1943
The file consists of a memorandum by Sir David Petrie, Director General, which formed the basis of a submission to the Prime Minister by Duff Cooper, Minister with supervisory responsibility for the Service, urging the creation of a single unified Secret Service. However, the Prime Minister declined to authorise any consideration of future intelligence reorganisation, instead ordering monthly meetings between the heads of the agencies. The meetings did not materialise as prescribed.
The file also discusses ways to attract new recruits to the Service, acknowledging that intelligence officers were not especially well-paid and that well-qualified applicants (graduates with foreign language skills) were likely to seek work in other areas. The file makes the case that effective intelligence work depends upon recruiting highly motivated professional officers and retaining their services even in times of peace, arguing that the Service should be more adequately funded.
File KV4/448 is available to view on Discovery.
Assessment of the security problems of a neutral Eire from report on GIS activities in Eire during the war 1939-1945 (KV4/449) 20/08/1946 -20/07/1948
The file consists of preparatory work for an MI5 paper written for the Commonwealth Relations Office about wartime German exploitation of Irish neutrality, in particular by the Abwehr. The file states that it had been the intention of Lord Rugby, the then British representative for Ireland, to 'use this paper, and others received from the Services, as a stick with which to beat the Irish Government'. The paper discusses German activities in Eire and Irish subjects who may have anti-British sympathies, including the controversial Irish writer Francis Stuart. The file also includes Lord Rugby's preamble on the subject of security in Eire where he writes: 'the occupation of the French coastline by German forces in 1940 intensified the embarrassments imposed upon us by a neutral land-mass lying to our rear in the path of our vital Atlantic lifelines'.
Policy and special procedures for the handling of Top Secret information in connection with the leakage of Cabinet information and investigation of Soviet espionage activities in Australia (KV4/450 - 452) 21/01/1948 - 12/09/1952
These files relate to British action taken to deal with the existence and effects of a high-level penetration of the Australian Public Service by Russian Intelligence during the 1940s. The lead to this spy ring came from VENONA, the ultra-secret joint American-British decryption operation against Russian official cipher traffic. VENONA's secrecy precluded disclosure of its nature to the Australian authorities, while the threat from the spy ring - already shown to have compromised a British Cabinet document - persuaded the Americans to withdraw clearance for release of classified defence, and especially nuclear, information to Australia. The prospect of a possible defence choice between Australia and America prompted drastic action.
The file includes details of a visit by MI5's Director General Percy Sillitoe to Australian Prime Minister Ben Chifley, instigated by the then British Prime Minister Clement Attlee (KV4/456) and correspondence between Attlee and US President Harry Truman (KV4/457 and KV4/458) as well as other measures adopted to persuade the Americans to lift their ban.