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2 January 2005 releases

Catalogue ref. Date Description
Records of the Ministry of Defence
DEFE 11/289 1953-54 Defence of Falkland Islands area
Records of the Director of Public Prosecutions
DPP 1/92 1929 PARTRIDGE, E H Offence: Obscene publication Sleeveless Errand



Deals with the seizure, under the Obscene Publications Act, of copies of the lesbian novels Sleeveless Errand by Norah C James and The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall.

Records created and inherited by the Foreign Office
FO 1060/547
FO 1060/548
FO 1060/549

1953-1954 Spandau prison


Details the deliberations surrounding the health of two of the Nuremberg prisoners Raeder and Funk as well as the case of the aged Baron von Neurath who had suffered a massive heart attack in 1953. Includes detailed medical reports on several of the prisoners, consideration of Christmas entitlements, burials and arrangements for the disposal of the remains of prisoners in the event of their deaths.

Records of the Metropolitan Police Office
MEPO 2/9602 1954 Alleged police leakage of information to the press in connection with a threatening letter sent to Lady Churchill on 15th March 1954



The file contains a copy of the letter to Lady Churchill at 10 Downing Street, threatening to "shoot her dead" if Britain does not end atrocities in Kenya.

Records of the Prime Minister's Office
PREM 11/680 1953-54 Gibraltar 1954
PREM 11/723 1954 Parliament members



Captain Peter Baker, Conservative MP for South Norfolk, was convicted of 6 fraud charges and sentenced to seven years in 1957. The file mentions Baker's 'chronic alcoholism' as a cause of his financial misdeeds. Includes a letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons W S Morrison expressing profound regret for the embarrassment caused to the House and discussion on the question of whether Baker's seat is automatically vacated.

PREM 11/748 1954 Romania



Discusses the question of the residence of King Michael of Romania. His fate had been of concern to the Prime Minister Winston Churchill who asked his Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden to ensure that the king 'be accorded diplomatic privileges to the utmost possible extent.' The file details the Foreign Office's deliberations surrounding what diplomatic privileges could and could not be accorded to the exiled monarch. It also records Eden's belief that the king should be encouraged to take a job as an airline pilot.

PREM 11/4698 1964 Cyprus 1964



Contains an inward telegram to Commonwealth Relations Office which is interesting from the point of view of preserving British military authority and reputation amongst the Greek-Cypriot population following the arrest of three RAF servicemen who were accused of 'not only gun running on a large scale but...[being] deeply implicated in Turkish underground activities'.

PREM 15/485 1971 Ireland 1971 Aug - 1971 Nov



Deals with the setting up of the Compton Inquiry and the publication of its report.

Records created and inherited by HM Treasury
T 218/390 1954 Report on security at Victoria and Albert Museum 1954



A series of thefts by a museum attendant called Nevin (who sentenced to three years) led to this report. The thefts numbered 2544 but a future stock-take was thought to show that around 5000 objects were missing, although not all were attributable to Nevin. Amongst the discussions were the stopping of the issuing of passes to staff to take objects out of the V&A, and the introduction of random checks on staff to ensure that no objects were being taken out. No stocktaking had taken place for 16 years since the stock-take of 1937.

T 231/1274 1950-54 Stavros Niarchos: provision of finance for shipping fleet; use of money from Paramount Film Service Ltd


Concerns credit and the use of blocked film sterling remittances, which were blocked under the Anglo-US Film Agreement. Niarchos planned to order oil tankers from Vickers-Armstrong, as part of his transport plans. The papers also mention that there was criticism of Paramount who did not spend money on or acquire British films.

T 236/3531 1950-54 South Africa: gold earning arrangements with UK: diamonds



Concerns the disappearance of diamonds sent from South Africa to the UK and ending up in USA through smuggling. This affected 'cheap sterling' and a cost to the Exchequer as well as avoidance of US customs dues. South Africa imposed export restrictions, unless it could be proved that the diamonds were for "local use", i.e. within the UK.

T 236/3781 1946-54 Shell Oil Company: production and sales policy



The Treasury was not over-happy with the suggestion of investment in Brazil, as it could stretch the company from profitable areas.

T 236/4276 1951-1954 Hong Kong: safeguarding of currency reserves



This is effectively a war-planning file, concerning what would happen if the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank needed to be evacuated. Suggestions were made that that reserve currency notes could be towed away by a hulk and sunk (worth about over $250m) in event of an evacuation. It was pointed out that in similar cases the notes floated back to shore. The Bank of England said that no test has yet been carried out on what would happen if notes were blown up and that there were concerns about the effectiveness of destruction by fire.

Records created and inherited by HM Treasury: Papers of Sir Edward (later Lord) Bridges, Permanent Secretary of the Treasury and Head of the Home Civil Service (273 series)
T 273/17 1954 Tate Gallery Enquiry into Activities of Sir John Rothenstein and Mr Le Roux



This is the fourth and final part of a story that left no one in a good light. (The first three parts – T 273/14 to T 273/16 – have already been released and will also be available to view at the press event.) Originally a set of Degas sculptures were to be brought in Paris, but the minutes were imprecise and some bits of information were not fully explained to the trustees (which included Graham Sutherland). The sculptures were said to cost 8 million French francs, but this became 16 million French francs. The export licence value was less than that paid (£14,220 against £18,480).


Bad staff relationships between Sir John Rothenstein and Le Roux (a South African) did not help. Attempts to smooth the relationship failed and at one time it was suggested that both should be sacked. The Treasury at the time was responsible for some museums and galleries. This file contains a 23-page from Sutherland setting out his view, following his resignation as trustee.


One episode in the saga involved actress Zsa Zsa Gabor who was photographed lying across part of one of the sculptures for the film "The Fake", for which Rothenstein accepted responsibility in allowing filming to take place without proper arrangements.

T 273/120 1950-1954 Appointment of senior departmental staff



Concerns the retirement of Sir Hilary Jenkinson as Deputy Keeper at the Public Record Office (PRO), who was thought to be aged 70 in 1952. The view was that Jenkinson "was quite hopeless and should retire", that his leadership "was thoroughly bad" and that the PRO was not grappling with the modern world. Jenkinson's career as Deputy Keeper ended in 1954 and he died in 1961.