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3 October 2005 releases

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Catalogue ref. Date Description
Records of the Ministry of Defence
DEFE 13/1117 1971 Northern Ireland: methods of interrogation disclosed in Compton Report request by George Cunningham MP to see an electronic noise machine

 

 

The British Government's Road to the European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg, 1972:  George Cunningham wrote to Lord Carrington requesting the opportunity to see and hear the electronic noise-making machine used in support of the "interrogation in-depth" carried out in Northern Ireland in the special interrogation unit set up for the British Army to interrogate IRA republican paramilitaries.

DEFE 13/1118 1972 Northern Ireland: enquiry by George Cunningham MP into technologies involved in 'interrogation in depth'

 

 

The Road to Strasbourg, 1972, Part 2:  George Cunningham, M.P. wrote thanking the Prime Minister, Edward Heath, for the banning of the five techniques described in the Parker report.  These included being forced to stand on toes balanced on fingers against the wall for hours on end; hooding; deprivation of sleep; semi-starvation and exposure to noise.  Although the five techniques described would no longer be used, given the continued use of the term "interrogation in-depth" there was some doubt as to what techniques would be used in support.

Records of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
FCO 53/400 1974 Proposals for extradition or expulsion of Ronald Biggs, 'Great Train Robber', from Brazil to UK

 

 

Catalogues the attempts by Scotland Yard to have Ronnie Biggs brought back to the UK in the 1970's from Brazil. Concern is expressed over Inspector Jack Slipper's profile as a liability by some Foreign Office staff. FCO 53/401 includes a letter passed to Scotland Yard by a Sergeant Martin (RAF) who wrote to Biggs asking him to autograph a £10 note to his already extensive collection, which included Richard Nixon, Shirley Temple and Winston Churchill and many more famous names.

FCO 53/401 1974 Proposals for extradition or expulsion of Ronald Biggs, 'Great Train Robber', from Brazil to UK

 

 

Catalogues the attempts by Scotland Yard to have Ronnie Biggs brought back to the UK in the 1970's from Brazil. Concern is expressed over Inspector Jack Slipper's profile as a liability by some Foreign Office staff. FCO 53/401 includes a letter passed to Scotland Yard by a Sergeant Martin (RAF) who wrote to Biggs asking him to autograph a £10 note to his already extensive collection, which included Richard Nixon, Shirley Temple and Winston Churchill and many more famous names.

Records of the Home Office concerning supervision of the internal affairs of Great Britain, with particular emphasis on law, order and regulation
HO 45/962 1974-1977 BBC Radio: John Tydeman and others

 

 

Correspondence from BBC Radio's Supply Department to The Committee on The Future of Broadcasting discussing the impact of generic broadcasting on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4. A paper entitled 'The Need for a New Structure in Radio Programming' sets out a remit for each of the BBC's main radio stations. Radio 1 would include 'hard hitting journalism and some modern serious music', Radio 2 should feature more 'Johann Strauss and 'pop' classics' whilst Radio 4 should not be concerned with the numbers of 'mere hearers'.

HO 45/23627 1936-1949 WAR: Press Censorship: establishment of Ministry of Information

 

 

Details the creation and workings of the wartime Ministry of Information. It explains how the Ministry of Information would take precedence over other departments in matters of information and propaganda, how they would name new wartime departments and the precise guidelines issued for the reporting of dramatic events such as air raids. 

HO 45/23691 1940-1941 WAR: Octavius Sabini, alias Darby Sabini, alias Frederick Handley, notorious racecourse gangster and racketeer: internment

 

 

Details of the arrest and detention of Octavius Sabini, alias Darby Sabibi, alias Frank Handley, a leading member of the notorious 'Sabini gang'. The gang terrorised race courses and dog tracks during the 1920s through a series of blackmail, extortion and protection 'rackets' which levied a toll on bookmakers and racecourses and greyhound stadiums and clubs.

 

Sabini was arrested at Hove dog track and subsequently interned under Defence Regulation 18B in April 1940. The file contains numerous letters and testimonials to his good character and his work for numerous charities.  It also contains various memoranda and letters giving the rather different view of his character held by the Metropolitan Police and the Security Service (MI5). They had him detained because they believed him to be a 'dangerous gangster and racketeer of the worst type' with fascist sympathies who was 'liable to lead internal insurrections against this country' at the behest of an occupying power.

 

The file also contains contrasting reports from the local chief constable who felt Sabini's criminal activities were now largely in the past having been suppressed some 20 years previously by the local police. The chief constable also cast doubt on MI5's belief that Sabini had fascist sympathies because in his opinion, 'his brain could not possibly function in his direction.'

 

Sabini's detention appears to have been prolonged because of confusion over his identity caused by his profusion of aliases and his nationality (he was British, not Italian).

HO 144/19972 1935 DISTURBANCES: Silver Jubilee of H.M. King George V and Queen Mary: communist propaganda, activities and demonstrations

 

 

The Daily Worker dubbed the Royal Family's £5,000 banquet, celebrating the Silver Jubilee, "Royal Squandermania". The file contains newspaper clippings, police reports and statements from the two men accused of inciting a protest outside the Guildhall where the dinner was taking place.

HO 144/21964 1935-1944 Ireland: Northern Ireland disturbances: relations between Protestants and Catholics

 

 

Includes material on friction between and harassment of Catholics by Protestants.  Gangs of Protestant "Rowdies" harassed and attacked Catholic delegates and observers leaving the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, 1935.

HO 144/21975 1939-1944 WAR: Prevention and punishment of careless talk

 

 

Debate over whether penalties for careless talk were a deterrent. Includes correspondence about different levels of criminality of the offence (e.g. civil servants and military personnel can receive a maximum of 7 years in prison, considerably more than for civilians), lists of rules for different persons regarding the offence and documents on the press campaign to stamp out careless talk.

HO 144/22430 1934-1936 PUBLICATIONS: Indecent literature: various causes and correspondence

 

 

Objections to various publications including 'A Single Woman and Her Emotional Problem' calling for the book to be suppressed on grounds that it condones homosexuality on the part of single women.

Records of the Lord Chancellor's Office and of various legal commissions and committees
LCO 20/1268 1975 The Eugenics Society

 

 

Submissions to the Royal Commission on Civil Liability and Compensation for Personal Injury by the Eugenics Society. The Eugenics society theorised that under the terms set out by the Royal Commission sub-committee on ante-natal injury, parents who have children with genetic diseases and disorders could be liable for negligence.

Records created or inherited by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Departments, and of related bodies
MAF 250/268 1964-1971 Defence planning: Bakeries

 

 

The Ministry of Agriculture's food research branch was making contingency plans of how to supply food to the civilian population in the event of another outbreak of war. They divided the country into regions and assigned local bakers, suppliers and farmers as Deputy Regional Bread Officers. The file includes job descriptions of the officers' duties while in the three-year post.

Records of the Metropolitan Police Office
MEPO 2/8918 1950-1953 Question of civilian morale and behaviour under atomic bombing: Home Office conference with senior Metropolitan Police Officers

 

 

An extensive questionnaire was sent to various police branches in London and Birmingham in an attempt to discover how the population would behave following nuclear fallout. The aim was to statistically forecast how many people would stay in private or public shelters, how long the movement to those shelters would take, and what the casualty rate would be. Throughout the various meetings there is a continual debate about the role of public information and publicity - How much does the public need to know and would the new information influence behaviour during an attack?

Records created or inherited by the Prison Commission and Home Office Prison Department
PCOM 8/185 1924 Uniform pattern for all prisons

 

 

Discusses alleged defects with the execution apparatus at Winchester prison. Includes a report sent to Prisons official, Mr Farewell, on how to improve the apparatus to ensure that the condemned do not hit their back off the gallows when the trap door is opened.

Records created and inherited by HM Treasury
T 1/12144/10767 1915-1918 Post Office. Misses Kate Reilly and Susan Reilly, women clerks, Comptroller and Accountant General's Office, Dublin: resignations while mentally deranged: pensions request

 

 

A case of two twin sisters who worked in the General Post Office in Dublin until their resignations in 1909 and were considered to be deranged. Evidence included having dried bread and milk in an alley, which Treasury considered to be "nothing more than a reasonable fondness for the open air life". Request for payment of pension refused on grounds of lack on evidence, remunerative evasions.

T 319/2625 1965-1975 Broadcasting proceedings of House of Commons

 

 

During discussion on the possible broadcasting of Parliament in the 1960s (28 October 1966): Treasury official raised possible objections on grounds of "attracting to the House of Commons an undesirable kind of member, the man or woman who is a natural television 'performer' but not much else".

T 319/2929 1974-1975 Scottish devolution and North Sea oil including economics of Scottish independence

 

 

Two files dealing with the economic aspects of North Sea Oil and whether Scotland could claim independence and rely on the oil even for a short period to keep their economy going. Suggestions that the Scottish Pound would need to be devalued by about 25%. Deals also with countering the appeal of the Scottish National Party. 23 April 1975 the question of where to draw the boundary between Scotland and England was raised as it is not a straight boundary and Scotland might lose in the water boundaries in south-west border region. Suggestion that Scotland could receive an inflow of currency as people might use Scotland as a safe haven in financially difficult times. Document T 319/2930 indicated (30 May 1975) that Scotland might benefit from leaving the Union and becoming independent.

T 319/2930 1974-1975 Scottish devolution and North Sea oil including economics of Scottish independence

 

 

Two files dealing with the economic aspects of North Sea Oil and whether Scotland could claim independence and rely on the oil even for a short period to keep their economy going. Suggestions that the Scottish Pound would need to be devalued by about 25%. Deals also with countering the appeal of the Scottish National Party. 23 April 1975 the question of where to draw the boundary between Scotland and England was raised as it is not a straight boundary and Scotland might lose in the water boundaries in south-west border region. Suggestion that Scotland could receive an inflow of currency as people might use Scotland as a safe haven in financially difficult times. Document T 319/2930 indicated (30 May 1975) that Scotland might benefit from leaving the Union and becoming independent.