3 January 2004 releases

January 2004

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Catalogue ref. Date Description
Princess Margaret
PREM 11/1565 1955-56 Royal Family (HRH Princess Margaret)



Possibility of marriage to Group Captain Townsend:


Discussion of relevance of Royal Marriage Act 1772 (and whether it applies to her)


Discussion of who would have to approve (The Queen, Parliament, Commonwealth Parliaments)


Summary of procedure and drafts of statements should she decide to marry - in which she recognises difficulty with the Act and renounces the right of succession for herself and any children


Ends with despatch from Roger Makins in USA about US reactions to her decision not to marry

PREM 11/4428 1963 Private visit of HRH Princess Margaret

and Lord Snowdon to Greece as guests of Mr Stavros Niarchos. The Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, agrees but says it will not be popular.

Earl Mountbatten (Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean)
PREM 11/339 1953 Admiral Mountbatten's

courtesy visit to Turkey: Prime Minister's query about report that Ahmet Emin Yalman, a Turkish journalist, was aboard aircraft carrier Theseus as guest of Lord Mountbatten. Question of whether his wife, Edwina, should accompany him in light of "Mau Mau Incident" (unwise comment she is said to have made at Buckingham Palace, but denies). In the event visit is a success, partly due to Edwina.

PREM 11/340 1952-53 Decision to omit Egypt from itinerary of visits

made by Lord Mountbatten as C-in-C Mediterranean during fleet's summer cruise: Lord Mountbatten reminded of undesirability of becoming involved in political matters, and harm which could result from Lady Mountbatten's frequent visits to India. Includes letter to PM from Oliver Lyttelton describing the "Mau Mau" remark which he said was made in conversation with him and Nehru. It implied that the savagery in Kenya was committed by the British as well as the Mau Mau.

Tax of famous people - Winston Churchill's royalties
IR 40/12833 1924-53 Rt Hon W S Churchill:

tax liabilities on royalties; deed of settlement and agreements concerning works and copyrights.


Personified as "AB" in an informal exchange with "PJG" over proceeds from lectures abroad, 1931


Question of his entitlement to publish while Chancellor of the Exchequer


Various deals to write and arrangements with Inland Revenue on tax liability


Copy of Settlement of his "records and memoranda" in a trust

Estate Duty Accounts files
IR 59/696 1928 Emmeline Pankhurst:

suffragette leader, died 1928.Very slim file that shows her cash and household goods amounted to £86 5s 6d, that she owed £31 4s to her draper and her funeral expenses were £100. Estate value "nil". Attested by Christabel Pankhurst, daughter, executor and fellow campaigner.

IR 59/680 1927-28 Jerome Klapka Jerome,

author of Three Men in a Boat.


Wrangle over whether duty was payable on insurance policies taken out by his wife. Her side has counsel's opinion saying Crown case is bad but Crown dig in and collect in the end.


Rights in plays, books, etc. £2,771 12s 3d


Includes an inventory of his house, 41 Belsize Park, Hampstead, including Laszlo's portrait of JKJ

Lord Hailsham
LCO 33/39 1953 Hailsham, Viscount: application for silk.

Lord Hailsham applies to be made Queen's Counsel. Now he is no longer a Minister he wants to be a leading counsel, rather than a junior, to give him more time for work in the Lords.

Sir Roy Welensky - honours
DO 161/206 1956-63 Privy Counsellorship for Sir Roy Welensky,

Prime Minister of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, and further award in Order of St Michael and St George. Question whether he should be made a Privy Counsellor. Difficulties first of the time he has been PM, then of precedence (Nkrumah of Ghana and the political problem with him is discussed). In the end he was promoted to GCMG.

"Tiny" Rowland
DO 189/22 1961-63 Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland:

development of petroleum industry. 3 extracts replaced. HM government keeping their eye on Rowland's (abortive) efforts to raise money for a pipeline.

Sub-Lieut. David Bingham case
DEFE 68/227 1971-73 Security: individual cases;


Sub-Lieutenant David James Bingham, spy.


Indicates the documents Bingham passed to Russians - including NATO plans


Some background on wife's role - suggestion that her extravagance made him sell secrets - she volunteered him as a spy to the Russians


PM feels that official submission to the Security Commission understated the damage done and is "a whitewash"


Possibility that he passed over more than he admitted

DEFE 24/533 1971-73 Sub Lt (SD) D J Bingham RN;

Rather similar to the above but goes into greater detail about the information passed and damage.Letters to other countries' armed forces saying the documents available to them have been compromised (One extract has been retained).

Special Operations Executive Personnel Files
HS 9/1331/7 1941-45 Arthur William SCLATER - born 11.11.1909,

commander of Shetland base and operator of the "Shetland Bus" (small fishing boats communicating for intelligence purposes with Norway). File also shows that his wife worked for SOE.

Gallantry awards
HO 286/10 1952-53 PC Derek Raymond HARPER, awarded George Medal

PCs James Hudson EARLE and Stanley Harold James PAVEY, Leading Fireman William John GERMAN and Edward DENSCOMBE, awarded British Empire Medal. Awards for gallantry in Lynmouth flood disaster.

HO 286/36 1953 Civilian gallantry awards:

Reice LEMING, awarded George Medal. George Medal to USAF Airman for gallantry in East Anglian flood disaster.

Captain Kidd's Treasure - fraud
MEPO 2/9166 1951 Captain Kidd's Treasure in the China Seas:


Attempts to raise money to finance expeditions to search for Captain Kidd's Treasure in the China Seas. Two cases of attempted fraud:


Cecil Jackson-Craig petitioned several people asking them to put up money for an expedition to find the treasure of Capt. Kidd, pirate, executed 1701


Discoveries Ltd set up a company to make another expedition for the same goal and based on the same documents (which an expert declares false)

Secrecy in Ordnance Survey Maps
OS 1/526 1948-53 Committee on Secrecy in OS Maps.

Rules for inclusion/omission in OS maps of details and names of such things as government buildings, telecommunications, petroleum, gas, water and military installations, food dumps, transport infrastructure, etc.

Falkland Islands and British Antarctica
PREM 11/330 1952-53 Report on threat to Falkland Islands from Argentina

and proposal to send British infantry; question of withdrawing frigate HMS Bigbury Bay and decision that it should remain in Falklands. Churchill orders British infantry to be sent secretly to the Falklands, and a frigate to cruise there, as a deterrent against possible Argentine action.

CO 1024/26 1953-54 UK Policy in the Antarctic -Soundings of Argentinians as to whether they were prepared to discuss Antarctic claims. Argentinians produced "ingenious" suggestion that they might be allowed to open bases provided they were 15 miles away from British ones. This was not acceptable to the UK since it did not address sovereignty issue.
CO 1024/33 1951-53 Activities of Argentina and Chile in Falkland Islands:

UK military action involving HMS Snipe on Deception Island. Naval, military and diplomatic measures as a result of setting up of Argentine base on Deception Island.

CO 1024/34 1951-53 Activities of Argentina and Chile in Falkland Islands (including Deception Island):

and rescue of Argentines at Marguerite Bay. Peron pushes for hegemony in South America and the Antarctic.

CO 1024/35 1951-53 Argentinian and Chilean installations in Falkland Islands:

Argentine air force base on Dundee Island and huts on Deception Island. Argentine base destroyed by the British. Argentine propaganda booklet (in French), question of whether Britain should also produce a booklet.

CO 1024/38-39 1951-53 Proposed Argentinian air base on Dundee Island, Falkland Islands.

"Firm opinion" of Governor (on CO 1024/39) that Argentinians intended to acquire Dundee Island as an air base as far back as 1950-51.

FO 371/103143 1953 British naval commitments and arrangements

in the Antarctic and Falkland Islands area. Movements of ships. Plans in the event of Argentine action.

FO 371/103166 1953 Argentine activities in Antarctica:

air task force; attempt to establish a base in Dundee Island. Replaced extract: Chilean policy in Antarctic. Report from Santiago of secret approach government to let the matter of Antarctic incidents drop "if we could give them even a small loophole to save their face".

FO 371/103168 1953 Half Moon Island:

Argentine plan for establishing bases at Half Moon Island and proposed British bases in the Antarctic to deter Argentina. With maps.

FO 371/103169 1953 Chilean standstill proposals for a modus vivendi in Antarctica.

Chile's proposed "Standstill" agreement between 8 nations concerned in Antarctic (UK, USA, France, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Chile).

Extensive pilfering of valuables from Krupp Estate during British Occupation
FO 1013/2009 1952-53 Losses at Krupp Estate, Villa Hugel, Essen,

Federal Republic of Germany, formerly occupied by Allied forces and Control Commission for Germany. Painstaking tracking down of a long list of furniture, carpets and hangings, clothes, wine etc. "liberated" by named British occupation personnel.

FO 1013/2024 1953 Deficiences at Krupp Estate,

Hugel Villa, Essen, Federal Republic of Germany, formerly occupied by Allied forces and Control Commission for Germany (CGG): final report.

Chemical and biological weapons
DEFE 13/440 1962 Chemical warfare.

Extract replaced: Report by Joint Planning Staff sees no advantage in biological warfare and recommends:


Equipment with lethal and (when available) incapacitating chemical warfare capability


War Office sponsor joint investigation into tactical role of chemical warfare in global war

Possible military action in Laos
DO 169/151 1962-63 Possible military action in South East Asia in event of failure of negotiations on Laos.

Development of SEATO Plan 5 for action in Laos if its government is not sympathetic. Some problems of communication with USA (which had unilateral plans)(Some redactions have been made from the file).

DO 196/129 1962-63 Pakistan foreign policy.


Extracts replaced:


Comments on S K Dehlavi, Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs; his speech "a lamentable effort but....in keeping with his general performance." "Indo-Pakistan relations are not going to be handled with any breadth of vision or real understanding so long as he is the official head of the Ministry"


Danger of Pakistan leaving the Western alliance and to feel so provoked as to make common cause with the Chinese


Question of Kashmir - Pakistan might just take it


If Pakistan were to leave SEATO and CENTO it might precipitate nuclear war. "The Pakistanis are sufficiently foolish to be used by the Chinese to attack India"

Chinese/Indian relations
DO 196/171 1962 Chinese-Indian border dispute:

Not all extracts have been replaced. Those that have are a 21 page despatch from High Commission Delhi - Chinese invasion has been a shock to India. Has made them reassess their position in the world "in an artificial atmosphere of their own creation" (Nehru speech). British interpretation that this relates to India's non-alignment , reliance on Afro-Asian friends and Soviet Union, the "double standard" and belittlement of friendship with USA. Nehru still likely to be main obstruction to development of new, realistic policy.

Recruitment of Gurkhas
PREM 11/4379 1962-63 (Nepal) Future of Gurkha brigade:



Prime Minister saw Field Marshals Harding and Slim, 4 December 1962; part 2.


Lord Slim and other senior Army officers seek to meet PM about proposed reductions in numbers of Gurkhas in British Army. Good paper giving short history of British use of Gurkhas, dependence of Nepal on income from their soldiers, possibility of Nepal looking to China if Britain withdraws this income


Statement on file that there would be no further use for Gurkas after 1965


Reductions not effected in the event (but later they were)

DEFE 7/1923 1962-63 Agreement with government of Nepal regarding employment of Gurkhas



Extract replaced: note on General Walker's visit to Nepal, "the loyalty of the British Gurkhas to the King of Nepal is contrasted with the alleged republican indoctrination of Gurkhas serving in the Indian Army"


Extract replaced: Nepalese now stated to be "emotionally inclined towards discontinuation of recruitment" because of possible unfavourable international complications and because it is derogatory to national pride that Nepalese should earn their livelihood in foreign service

WO 193/992 1951-53 Influence of India in Nepal

including the possibility that India might seek to absorb Nepal. Need to maintain Gurkha recruitment. Desirability of a single recruiting base in Nepal made possible by air trooping.

FO 371/106875 1953 Recruitment of Gurkhas to British Army



Agreement on recruitment bases (kept secret from UN though they shouldn't be)


Recruitment of Gurkhas for Burmese Army


Air trooping of recruits from Nepal (kept secret from India and Nepal)


Possibility that India might cancel transit rights though their territory if they knew of air trooping

Boycott of Coronation by PM of Malta
PREM 11/475 1953 Dr Borg-Olivier



New arrangement for Malta's representation at Coronation to enable Prime Minister, Dr Borg-Olivier, to attend:


Dr Borg Olivier objected to the precedence proposed for him at the Coronation - he wanted parity with the PMs of Southern Rhodesia and Northern Ireland 


Churchill's suggestion of an accommodation with him in view of the island's holding the George Cross is accepted


Churchill: "if after all the trouble we have taken he threatens to go back to Malta we should help in every way...On no account let the Queen be burdened with any aspects of it."

Mines in Corfu Channel: damage to HM ships
ADM 116/5759 1946-53 Corfu Channel Incident:

correspondence and papers relating to claim against Albanian government. Damage to HM ships Saumarez and Volage (seeking to rescue Saumarez) by striking mines in the Corfu Channel.

Jordan: Arab League
WO 32/17582 1950-53 Jordan: strategic requirements



Note from King Abdullah suggesting reinforcement of Arab Legion in case of war against Turkey and Iran - suspicion of Egypt, Syria and Iraq "communistic quarters"


Britain's aim to reassure Iraq and Jordan that we are prepared to meet our obligations in joint defence of their countries


Assessment by General Glubb (commander of Arab Legion) of situation on assassination of King - involvement of Mufti in assassination

Pitcairn Island
CO 1023/194 1952-53 Pitcairn Group:

general administration including immigration policies. "Bounty" mutineers' descendants in small community (130 people). Squabbles, personalities, lobbying of Mr & Mrs Mobberley (missionaries).