Cabinet Office files (CAB)

In this release

Cabinet minutes

CAB 128 – All files in the CAB 128 (Cabinet minutes) series have been digitised as part of the Cabinet Papers project.

Cabinet memoranda

CAB 129All files in the CAB 129 (Cabinet memoranda) series have been digitised as part of the Cabinet Papers project.

Cabinet Secretary’s Miscellaneous Papers

Matters relating to the Royal Household, 1940-1966

Catalogue reference: CAB 301/179

This file begins in 1940 with correspondence about the position of Financial Secretary to the King. Later in the file there is correspondence about the remuneration of domestic and clerical staff in the Royal Household, appointments to the household and nominations for the positions of Honorary Physician to the King. A 1953 memorandum about the publication of captured German documents relating the activities of the Duke of Windsor in Spain and Portugal in 1940 is also included in the file.

Replacement of Sir Roger Hollis as Director General of Security Service by Martin Furnival Jones (MI5), 1965

Catalogue reference: CAB 301/231

This file documents the discussions within the Cabinet Office and high levels of the civil service on the replacement for Sir Roger Hollis, when he wanted to retire at the end of 1965. It contains the recommendations by Hollis and Sir Charles Cunningham, a letter of application from Sir John Prendergast, and some candid views on the suitability of Chief Constable of Lancashire Police Eric St Johnstone. There is also some indication of initial political opposition to the appointment of an internal candidate. This was overcome, with Furnival Jones being appointed Director General, and Hollis’ other suggestion, Anthony Simkins, appointed Deputy Director General.

Inquiry into the case of W J C Vassall, a clerical officer in the Admiralty, who had been recruited by the Russian Intelligence Services and related matters (Radcliffe Tribunal), 1962-1963

Catalogue reference: CAB 301/265 to CAB 301/267

CAB 301/265 Contains the report of the Radcliffe Tribunal into the Vassall case, with some manuscript annotations. CAB 301/266 contains a list of witnesses who came before the tribunal. It also has snippets of evidence from the inquiry, mostly relating to Vassall’s time in Moscow. CAB 301/267 begins with a copy of a note from Hollis to Brook containing information from a defector [Anatoli Golitsyn] in Washington pointing to the existence of a spy in the Admiralty. It then goes on to discuss questions of when certain information came to light in the context of the necessity of Lord Normanbrook making a statement to the Radcliffe Tribunal.

Correspondence between the Security Service and Sir Burke Trend, Cabinet Secretary, concerning letters allegedly sent by and to W J C Vassall, a clerical officer in the Admiralty, had been recruited by the Russian Intelligence Services, 1966

Catalogue reference: CAB 301/268

Contains correspondence regarding an anonymous letter sent to the Daily Mirror which enclosed letters to Bernard Mulholland, and three letters purportedly from Vassall. The correspondence was concerning the Russian Intelligence Service apparently having a list of homosexuals working in the British Government.

The disappearance of Harold Adrian Russell Philby, former member of the Foreign Service, 1963

Catalogue reference: CAB 301/269

This file documents the response of the British government to the disappearance of Kim Philby from Beirut, with particular reference to the approach to be taken with the media, and the likely fall out from the events.

John Cairncross, former member of the Foreign Service: confession to spying

Catalogue reference: CAB 301/270

The file is concerned with the political reaction to John Caincross’ confession in February 1964. It contains details of the high level discussions which took place regarding how the government should react, whether or not it would be possible to bring Cairncross to trial, and whether the US government should be pressed to deport him.

Contacts between Mr Stephen Ward and members of the government, including John Profumo, and the Civil Service, 1961-1963

Catalogue reference: CAB 301/271

The file begins with a record of the conversation between Sir Burke Trend and John Profumo in August 1961 in which Trend warned Profumo of the links between Ward and Soviet spy Ivanov, which led to Profumo breaking off his affair with Christine Keeler. It documents the concerns held by those at the centre of government regarding Ward prior to the breaking of the Profumo affair scandal. It also highlights the concern in the civil service at the time of Ward’s trial around the potential connections between him and senior figures political and bureaucratic figures.

Handling of records related to Lord Denning’s investigation into Profumo and other enquiries including the Romer Enquiry, 1963-1965

Catalogue reference: CAB 301/272

This file covers the debate which took place over what to do with the records produced by the set of enquiries which took place in the early 1960s into various security matters. The greatest issues arose with the evidence which was given to Lord Denning’s investigation on the understanding that it would remain private.

Unacceptable activities by Soviet officials, 1964-1965

Catalogue reference: CAB 301/273

The file begins with Soviet claims that two of their Embassy officials had been harassed by British intelligence operatives seeking to recruit them. This is followed by a British counterclaim that two Russian Embassy employees had been caught engaged in espionage activity, and the demand that they be withdrawn. At least one official was then reposted by the Soviets, and the file switches to discuss the leakage of information on this issue to the press.

Exchanges between Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister and President Kennedy, 1961-1962

Catalogue reference: CAB 301/297

This file relates to correspondence between the British Prime Minister and the US President on the international situation, especially East-West relations.