Prime Minister’s office files (PREM) – 1992

In this release


Use of Government Car Service; part 2

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3232
Date range: 1989-1991

This file relates to the use of the Government Car Service (GCS) and Number 10 Cars by Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major, their spouses, Number 10 Private Office staff, as well as use of government cars by ministers and their private offices.

It contains discussions of whether certain ministers should be allocated an official Jaguar instead of a Rover, as well as papers comprehensively reviewing the costs of GCS and rules for its use by Ministers and Private Office staff. The file also contains a minute dated 26 November 1990 detailing the GCS arrangements for Thatcher’s resignation at Buckingham Palace and her as yet undecided successor’s journey to meet with the Queen. Also included are memos relating to John and Norma Major’s use of GCS cars for Conservative Party business.

This file has been digitised.


Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), Harare, Zimbabwe; part 19

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3239
Date range: 1991

This file contains correspondence, briefings and notes relating to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), held in Harare in October 1991. It also contains the records of sessions and statements, of bilateral meetings (including Major’s lunch with Nelson Mandela and his meeting with President Vassiliou), and the Commonwealth Declaration. The file also contains correspondence relating to the Special Commonwealth Mission to South Africa, the Australian Program of Assistance for Development of Economic Planning Capacity in South Africa, technical assistance for Namibia, and the Nigerian proposal for a Commonwealth development bank.

This file has been digitised.


Internal situation: Iraq/Iran relations; Iraqi/Iranian/Syrian relations; threat to oil supplies from the Gulf; the Kurdish problem; part 14

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3401
Date range: 1991

This file contains correspondence relating to Operation Haven, the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, and the possible deployment of a coalition deterrent force in Turkey. It also contains correspondence on nuclear inspections, the legal issues surrounding an American armed attack on Iraqi nuclear facilities, and Rolf Ekéus’ report. This file also covers the humanitarian crisis and clashes between the Kurds and Iraqi military units in northern Iraq.

This file has been digitised.

Soviet Union

Contacts with and calls by Soviet ambassadors; part 1

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3548
Date range: 1979-1991

The file provides details on relations between the UK government and the Soviet Embassy throughout the 1980s. It covers a number of meetings of both the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary with the various Soviet ambassadors. Issues raised in the course of these discussions include arms reduction, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Chernobyl, the 1988 Party Conference, and the perestroika and glasnost reforms.

Prime Minister’s visit to the Soviet Union; part 5

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3552
Date range: 1990-1991

The file relates to Major’s visit to Moscow on 4-5 March 1991, but includes considerable wider debate on Anglo-Soviet relations. In particular the file addresses British concerns regarding the Baltic crisis, questions over the Know-How Fund and how it might be used, and concerns within the British Embassy in Moscow and the Foreign Office over the rise of right wing politics in the Soviet Union.

Prime Minister’s visit to the Soviet Union; part 6

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3553
Date range: 1991

The file relates to Major’s visit to the Soviet Union in September 1991 and contains discussion of a wide range of issues in Anglo-Soviet relations. The file does not contain information on the August 1991 coup itself, but does have details of its effects, particularly with regard to the relations between Soviet and Russian institutions (and Gorbachev and Yeltsin personally) and issues over the Soviet debt.

Soviet and Cuban intervention in Central America and Third World; part 1

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3554
Date range: 1981-1991

The file includes a paper on the political situation in Central America in February 1981, and a discussion of US policy including Washington’s ‘Caribbean Basin initiative’. Also included are details of Soviet policy towards the Asian Pacific region and relations with specific countries. FCO correspondence in relation to Gorbachev’s first visit to Havana, Cuba, in March 1989 is also included.

This file has been digitised.

Internal situation: relations with UK; part 19

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3556
Date range: 1990-1991

The file charts Anglo-Soviet relations. The situation in the Baltic republics and the Soviet crackdown are of specific concern and the file includes communications with leaders from the Baltic republics. It also addresses the wider issue of the rise of the republics within the USSR more generally and the effect this was having on the central structures. Within this context, there is discussion of the resignation of Eduard Shevardnadze, and the rise of the political right inside the Soviet Union.

Internal situation: relations with UK; part 21

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3558
Date range: 1991

The file begins with an account of Norman Lamont’s visit to the Soviet Union in August 1991 and his views on the Soviet economy. It soon switches to focus on the attempted coup against Gorbachev which took place in mid-August, providing a detailed account of the reaction of the UK government, its engagement with figures including Gorbachev and Yeltsin and discussions with other powers.

This file has been digitised.

Internal situation: relations with UK; part 22

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3559
Date range: 1991

The file covers the period immediately following the attempted coup against Gorbachev. It contains reaction to this event and the fallout from it. It discusses the fracturing of the Soviet Union with the declarations of independence by the Baltic republics, and Moldova and the weakening of the central Soviet structures. Resulting from this, the file contains British discussion of key issues including the security of the Soviet nuclear arsenal, and potential support for the Soviet Union in the form of debt relief, food aid, the Know-How fund and other technical assistance.

Internal situation: relations with UK; part 23

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3560
Date range: 1991

The file covers response and reaction to the gradual breakdown of central Soviet structures through October 1991. It contains considerable correspondence in relation to potential aid for the Soviet Union and means of supporting the economic transformation of the country. It also covers the visits to the UK of President Landsbergis (Lithuania) and President Nursultan Nazarbayev (Kazakhstan) and debates over the recognition of the independence of a number of the republics.

Internal situation: relations with UK; part 24

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3561
Date range: 1991

This file contains further correspondence regarding aid for the Soviet economy, and the question of Soviet debt. It also has some discussion on the issue of Baltic gold – the bullion left in UK banks in the annexation of the Baltic states in 1940 and sold by the UK government in the 1960s.

Internal situation: relations with UK; part 25

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3562
Date range: 1991

This file covers the final disintegration of the Soviet Union. It contains reaction to Ukrainian independence and the resignation of Gorbachev. Key issues discussed within the file also include the question of Soviet debt, the security of the Soviet nuclear arsenal and the diplomatic recognition of the new republics.

This file has been digitised.


Internal situation/relations

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3617
Date range: 1992

This file relates to the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia’s attitude. It includes: a letter from Major to Alija Izetbegovic, the President of Bosnia-Herzegovina, formally recognising the country as independent and sovereign; a letter from the Turkish President, Turgut Özal, dated 17 April 1992, drawing attention to the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and in particular the impact on civilians, together with Major’s reply. It also contains a summary of the American position.


Broadcasting policy: television licence fees; finances and policy of the BBC; world television news; part 12

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3618
Date range: 1990-1992

This file contains papers on religious broadcasting and a discussion on broadcasting impartiality. Also included is a discussion on the Licence Fee and the potential decriminalisation of non-payment. The bulk of the file is then taken up with early drafts of a consultation document titled: ‘The future of the BBC: An agenda for debate’ as the corporation’s Charter was due to expire in 1996.

This file has been digitised.

Broadcasting policy: part 13

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3619
Date range: 1992

This file continues the debate about the future of the BBC. Further drafts of a consultation document are included along with various comments on their contents. Areas for discussion include what kind of programmes the BBC should broadcast, how the BBC could be paid for, the Licence Fee, possible advertising or sponsorship, and how the BBC could keep in touch with its audience. There is also discussion in relation to what the BBC offers Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in terms of programming.

This file has been digitised.


Location of Cabinet meetings

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3622
Date range: 1992

This file contains only two pages. On 10 January 1992 Richard Lloyd Jones of the Welsh Office writes to Andrew Turnbull, Principal Private Secretary, No.10, stating that the Welsh Secretary has asked for advice on possible locations for a meeting of the Cabinet in Wales. Cardiff Castle and Dyffryn House are suggested. Turnbull replies on 17 January and suggests that Lloyd Jones speaks to Robin Butler, the Cabinet Secretary, as a first step.

Conservative Party

1992 Election Manifesto Proposals

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3636
Date range: 1992

This file contains draft manifesto proposals for the Conservative Party in the 1992 parliamentary election. The draft manifesto is expansive and organised under four themes: choice and accountability; wealth creation and ownership; opportunity; and responsibility. Included in the file are redrafts of some sections, discussions of the Conservative positions on defence in comparison to opposition parties, and summarised minutes of discussions between the Prime Minister and Cabinet members of the manifesto.

This file has been digitised.


Visit to UK by President Havel and the Czech Prime Minister and Foreign Minister

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3638
Date range: 1990-1992

This file details the visit of Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel to the UK in March 1990. The discussions centre on the extension of the Know-How Fund to Czechoslovakia and practical support to establish democratic structures and a market economy. A respected human rights advocate, concern was expressed that Havel did not have a clear grasp of economic reality. The file also details Thatcher’s meetings with Foreign Minister Jiri Dienstbien and Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus. The meetings detail British alarm at the strong neutralist views expressed by the Czech delegation and the prospect of the country dividing into a Slovak and Czech Republic.


Chernobyl: Soviet nuclear accident; part 1

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3656
Date range: 1986-1992

This file describes the government’s response to the Chernobyl nuclear accident. The file highlights the delay in release of information from the Soviet authorities and the adverse impact of the accident on public opinion at home. The incident was described by Lord Marshall, the Chairman of the Central Electricity Generation Board as the biggest disaster in the nuclear industry to date. The file details the measures implemented by British authorities to monitor the safety of milk and the water supply, together with advice given to British travellers to Eastern Europe. It concludes with a review of the Civil Contingencies Unit and the implementation of a new National Contingency Plan. The file also contains an account of the accident and the response of the Russian authorities from Sir Brian Cartledge, British Ambassador to the Soviet Union.

This file has been digitised.

Thames riverboat disaster: The Marchioness; part 1

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3658
Date range: 1989-1992

This file relates to the sinking of the pleasure steamer Marchioness after it collided with the dredger Bowbelle near Canon Street Railway Bridge on the River Thames on the night of 20 August 1989. Fifty-one people aboard the Marchioness drowned in this disaster. This file includes briefings from the Metropolitan Police during the incident; letters of condolence sent to Thatcher from international heads of state (along with Thatcher’s replies); details of policy responses by the Department of Transport after the disaster; and some details of the setting up and delivery of the 1992 Hayes Report into the matter.

This file has been digitised.

Downing Street

Access to papers by members of the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit: organisation and function of the Policy Unit; relations with Central Policy Review Staff (CPRS); part 2

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3659
Date range: 1987-1992

David Willetts, formerly in the Policy Unit, submits a paper on the role of the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit for checking. On 10/11/88 Bernard Ingham, Chief Press Secretary, writes to Nigel Wicks, Principal Private Secretary, No.10. Ingham is concerned at discovering that the Independent newspaper (which did not attend No 10’s collective briefings) often talked to the Policy Unit. He receives reassurances from Prof Brian Griffiths, Head of the Policy Unit, who agreed that members of the Policy Unit should not speak to the press. However, this issue surfaces again in February 1989.

Economic policy

1992 budget: part 21

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3663
Date range: 1991-1992

In late November 1991 the date of the budget is discussed in relation to the date of the next General Election. The file includes a memorandum by adviser AG Tyrie titled ‘Policy and the Election’ addressed to the PM; briefing notes for, and accounts of, the bilateral meetings between the PM and the Chancellor; and papers concerning budgetary reform – bringing tax and spending decisions together. The decision to establish a National Lottery is mentioned on 13 February 1992.

1992 budget: part 22

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3664
Date range: 1992

This file includes consideration of a draft white paper on budgetary reform, and various drafts of the budget speech to be made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Norman Lamont.

Exchange rate: exchange control policy; inflow controls; part 4

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3674
Date range: 1989-1992

Contains several memos written by Alan Waters, Economic Adviser to Thatcher in 1989 (dated 13/06 and 19/07) on subjects including ‘intervention and rates’, ‘the exchange rate and monetary policy’, and ‘the causes of the present inflation’.

By August 1990 the question of whether to join the European Rate Mechanism (ERM) is high on the government’s agenda. On 31/08 Brian Griffiths, Head of the Policy Unit, writes to the PM advising against entry in view of the Gulf crisis, but on 03/09 John Major (Chancellor of the Exchequer) advises the PM that: ‘I should be recommending entry at the earliest possible date’. An account of a meeting on 04/09 between the PM, the Chancellor and Treasury officials makes it clear that Thatcher is still not persuaded about the benefits of joining the ERM at this stage [Britain joined the ERM in October 1990]. The file also contains copies of press cuttings dated 1991 concerning the question of whether Britain should continue to stay in the ERM.

Public expenditure and cash limits: part 49. Orderable at item level (Part 1 of 3)

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3686/1
Date range: 1992

There are many references in this file to EDX, which is a Public Expenditure Committee which first met on 17 September 1992, and the file contains a large volume of correspondence about the options for reducing public expenditure. On 23 October Michael Heseltine, President of the Board of Trade, writes to Norman Lamont, Chancellor, advocating a package of proposals to save approximately £15billion a year. Virginia Bottomley, Health Secretary, writes to Michael Portillo, HM Treasury, on 28 October expressing her concerns about the proposals for health expenditure. The Chancellor refers to the breakup of the Soviet Union as part of his rationale for defence cuts (30/10/92). Ministers lobby the Chancellor regarding their settlements, but there appears to be limited room for manoeuvre.

Public expenditure and cash limits: part 49. Orderable at item level (Part 2 of 3)

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3686/2
Date range: 1992

The Cabinet agree a new top-down approach to controlling public expenditure. Handwritten comments by Major (6 August 1992) are evidence of his consensual style: ‘Colleagues must have the opportunity to present their case’. Concerns continue to be expressed about funding arrangements for defence and the health service.

Public expenditure and cash limits: part 49. Orderable at item level (Part 3 of 3)

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3686/3
Date range: 1992

A Treasury background briefing note offers financial projections, looking to 1993-94 and attempts to address difficult questions. The file also includes a memorandum by the Chancellor (23 October 1992) on public expenditure plans from 1993-94 to 1995-96.

Public expenditure and cash limits: part 50

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3687
Date range: 1992

On 2 November 1992 Michael Howard, Secretary of State for the Environment, writes to Michael Portillo, Chief Secretary to the Treasury. A key point is that £20 million is needed for the rough sleepers’ initiative. Concern about the fiscal position continues and a rise on National Insurance contributions is discussed. A memo concerning Capital Spending dated 11 November lists projects. There is a lot of material concerning the autumn statement, and some papers concerning the use of privately raised finance.


Post-election briefing for a new Prime Minister: part 1. Orderable at item level

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3701
Date range: 1992

This document is concerned with the forthcoming 1992 General Election and predominantly contains draft briefs to be provided to the Prime Minister after winning the election. The briefs cover all aspects of foreign and domestic policy and the actions that should be taken when forming a new government. Within the file are draft briefs and plans for either a returning Conservative or a newly elected Labour Prime Minister; including discussions of where a new Prime Minister and his family would reside, and the resulting tax implications.

This file has been digitised.

Foreign policy

Capital punishment in the dependent territories

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3758
Date range: 1980-1992

This file contains correspondence relating to capital punishment in the dependent territories which had retained it after it was abolished in the UK. It covers the difference of views between feelings in the UK and in those territories, the possibility of legislating at Westminster to force dependent territories to adopt policies, and case studies from the 1980s. The file also contains Douglas Hurd’s review of the issue in 1990, and correspondence relating to the Order in Council agreed in 1991.

This file has been digitised.

Government machinery

Citizen’s Charter: part 8. Orderable at item level (Part 1 of 2)

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3774/1
Date range: 1992

Papers from various government departments give updates on progress with implementing Citizen’s Charter commitments. Common features include name badges, complaints procedures, customer surveys, frameworks of performance indicators and targets. Malcolm Rifkind, Transport Secretary, in a paper erroneously dated 7 January 1991 [should be 7 January 1992] outlines White Paper commitments including improvements to information about roadworks: a proposal to make telephone information points available at motorway service areas (one can see here the initial thinking behind what became known later as the ‘Cones Hotline’). Introductory remarks made by the PM at the Citizen’s Charter seminar on 17 January show Major’s strong commitment to the principles it enshrined.

Citizen’s Charter: part 8. Orderable at item level (Part 2 of 2)

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3774/2
Date range: 1992

This file includes papers about the Charterline telephone service and further material from various government departments recording progress with the implementation of Citizen’s Charter principles. It also contains information about the Citizen’s Charter for Northern Ireland.

Transfer of Ministerial responsibility for zoos and associated matters to Secretary of State for Environment: part 1

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3783
Date range: 1979-1992

This file opens with the transfer of responsibility for zoos to the Secretary of State for Environment. The main bulk of the file, however, is concerned with the financial difficulties of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the future of London Zoo in Regent’s Park. The file details ZSL’s financial difficulties between 1981 and 1992 and debates among ministers over solutions to the problems as well as successive debates over providing ZSL with further ‘interim grants’ to support them, particularly during in 1990 and 1991 when the zoo was close to closure. Also included in the file are details of plans by ZSL’s chairman, Lord Solly Zuckerman, to gain Thatcher’s support for the zoo’s pandas in the hope that this would generate publicity. Zuckerman’s suggestions included Thatcher transporting a loaned male panda to the United States aboard Concorde and her readily accepting donations of pandas during her 1982 visit to China. The file reveals Thatcher’s reluctance to support these initiatives, seemingly due to a superstition about pandas adversely affecting politicians’ luck.

This file has been digitised.

The organisation of the Treasury and Civil Service Department (CSD): the future of CSD; the setting up of a Prime Minister’s Department; changes in the machinery of government; part 8

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3784
Date range: 1990-1992

This is a huge file, reflecting the fact that there was a great deal of activity and fresh thinking regarding changes to the machinery of government at this time. The file includes papers concerning: speculation about a Minister for Art and Culture; a possible expansion of the Office of Arts and Libraries (OAL); ministerial responsibility for London – should there be, to quote from the file, a ‘Mr London’, and a ‘London Forum’ (a new body to speak for London). Other papers concern the case for splitting (a) the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and (b) the Department of Environment; the possibility of a Cabinet Minister for Europe; arrangements for the regulation of financial services and banking supervision; a possible Department of Enterprise; and the merging of the Department of Energy with the DTI.


Official History of Intelligence in World War 2

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3785
Date range: 1980-1992

This file concerns the publication of volumes four and five of the Official History of Intelligence in the Second World War. It details Thatcher’s concern that in the aftermath of the ‘Spycatcher’ book by Peter Wright, publication would stimulate enquires and encourage interest in a subject better not discussed. Publication of the volumes was delayed despite attempts by Sir Michael Howard, the author of Volume five, to address the concerns and speed up the process of publication. The Prime Minister remained sceptical, with the volumes remaining on the shelf for further consideration.

Home affairs

Animal welfare matters: part 2

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3787
Date range: 1990-1992

This file concerns the government’s policy on animal welfare matters, particularly focusing on regulations regarding animal testing of cosmetics, and the importation of captive birds. The file includes discussions within government over possible changes to European Community (EC) directives concerning the animal testing of cosmetics, which the government perceived as making animal testing more proscriptive in order to ensure EC-wide conformity and reduce barriers to trade. The file details the government’s disquiet with the proposed directive, particularly their concern about public opinion on animal welfare matters, and Major’s opposition to an increased need for animal testing of cosmetics. Also included are discussions of increasing the regulations for importing captive birds to improve welfare standards, as well as general discussions on the importance of animal welfare in general to the public and MPs, and government animal welfare initiatives domestically and in the EC.

Capital punishment: sentencing policy; Criminal Justice Bill; part 5

This file contains policy discussions around criminal justice matters, predominantly during Major’s term as Prime Minister (from 28 November 1990) but also towards the close of Thatcher’s tenure. The first part of the file deals with government concerns over parliamentary business regarding the amendment of criminal justice laws concerning capital punishment, including discussions around a backbench motion by an opposition MP to abolish the death penalty for treason and piracy. Also included are discussions around the set up and remit of a 1990 Royal Commission into Criminal Justice matters, as well as discussions of life sentences, victims’ charters, joyriding and assault on police officers. Further to this, the file includes discussions of policy relating to miscarriage of justice and high profile appeal cases, including the Guildford Four, people convicted for involvement in the Broadwater Farm disturbances, the Bridgewater Four, and Derek Bentley.

This file has been digitised.

Race relations: Vagrancy Act; part 2

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3793
Date range: 1989-1992

This file begins in June 1989 with discussions about how funding is administered under section 11 of the Local Government Act (1966). It also contains correspondence beginning in March 1990 relating to the legal profession and the Race Relations Act (1976). Discussions about how to foster integration and an action plan on racial discrimination is also included within the file.

This file has been digitised.

Review of restrictions on shopping hours and Sunday trading: Shops Act 1950; review of licensing hours; part 2

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3794
Date range: 1986-1992

This file concerns government initiatives to liberalise Sunday trading regulations. Within it there are papers relating to the passage through parliament of the government’s eventually defeated 1986 Shops Bill, including memos discussing disquiet among Conservative MPs and the Church of England over Sunday trading, Home Secretary Douglas Hurd’s correspondence with the opposed Archbishop of York on the matter, and examples of the some 32,000 letters Thatcher received opposed to Sunday trading.

Also included are discussions of Sunday trading in airport shops subsequent to the 1986 Bill’s defeat, correspondence relating to Thatcher’s reluctance to support a 1988 private members bill liberalising Sunday trading to avoid dividing the Conservative Party, and discussions relating to the government’s desire to liberalise alcohol licensing laws.

This file has been digitised.

Women’s National Commission: policy towards women; part 3

Catalogue reference: 1991-1992
Date range: 1991-1992

This file is concerned with the various plans and groups working to further women’s issues. It begins with a discussion of statements made about women’s issues in the press. The file then moves to discuss the plans of various departments to appoint women to public bodies and women’s issues that came out of meetings with businesswomen. It ends with the setting up of sub-committee to tackle the issues raised.


Indian Minister of Finance: meetings with the Prime Minister; part 1

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3803
Date range: 1982-1992

This file contains correspondence relating to the visits of the Indian Minister of Finance, Mukherjee, in September 1982, including briefing notes, a record of the meeting with Thatcher and the record of a conversation between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Mukherjee. It also contains correspondence on the visit of the Indian Finance Minister, Manmohan Singh in September 1992.


Cost of Parliamentary questions: part 1

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3873
Date range: 1982-1992

This file concerns the setting of the ‘trip wire’ disproportionate costs threshold for parliamentary questions – the level of expense involved in preparing a question’s answer which, if exceeded, would see the responsible minister consulted over whether the answer should be prepared. Contained are discussions of raising the threshold due to the increased costs over time of all parliamentary questions, as well as figures detailing the overall and average cost of parliamentary questions.


Internal situation/relations: part 1

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3881
Date range: 1980-1992

This file concerns the government’s relationship with Peru, covering a period beginning with Fernando Belaunde Terry’s 1980 re-election to the Presidency after 11 years of military dictatorship up until President Alberto Fujimori’s suspension of Congress in 1992. The file contains details of visits by Peruvian officials to Britain and their meetings with the Prime Minister and other government officials. Also discussed are Peruvian elections, including Terry’s, his successor Alan Garcia Perez’s, and Fujimori’s first election. Also included are details of Thatcher’s meetings with Mario Vargos Llosa, conservative presidential candidate in the 1989 Peruvian elections, and the Major government’s reaction to claims of human rights abuses under Fujimori.

This file has been digitised.

Prime Minister

Prime Minister’s meetings with Margaret Thatcher

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3890
Date range: 1990-1992

Includes a handwritten letter from PM John Major to Margaret Thatcher dated 26 December 1990 referring to the situation in the Gulf and the Community Charge. The file also includes an account of a meeting between Major and Thatcher on 3 January 1991 at the House of Commons, in which they discussed the Gulf, the economy, the Community Charge and health reforms, and a briefing note about a further meeting on 6 February.

This file has been digitised.

Prime Minister’s tours abroad

Prime Minister’s visit to Harare, Zimbabwe for Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), October 1991

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3908
Date range: 1991-1992

This file relates to Major’s visit to Harare for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). It contains briefing notes, plans for travel and accommodation arrangements, Mrs Major’s programme, and bilateral meetings. It also contains correspondence relating to the organisation (on the Prime Minister of Pakistan’s suggestion) of a charity cricket match in Harare. This file also contains a letter from Robert Mugabe to Major dated 11 November 1991.

This file has been digitised.

Royal family

Marriages and divorces of various members of the Royal Family: part 1

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3919
Date range: 1988-1992

This file contains copies of published notices of the Queen’s consent to the marriages of members of the Royal Family.

Precedence of MPs and MEPs on Royal visits: part 1

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3920
Date range: 1982-1992

This file begins with a discussion of the inconsistency in UK members of the European Parliament meeting the Queen when she visits their constituency compared with MPs. The topic is again discussed in June 1991; steps are then taken to ensure that MEPs are included on suggested guest lists for state events. The file then moves to March 1992 and draft guidance for the inclusion on MEPs in royal visits. The guidance is signed off by the Prime Minister and then the Queen in July 1982.


Withdrawal of the Soviet Union from the Los Angeles Olympics, 1984: Yugoslavian withdrawal from the 1992 Olympics; sanctions against Yugoslavia

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3955
Date range: 1984-1992

This file contains UK views on the Soviet Union withdrawal from the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984, following the US-led boycott of the Moscow Games in 1980. Also included are details of Yugoslavia’s withdrawal from the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

This file has been digitised.


Calls on the Prime Minister by the British Ambassador to Washington

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3983
Date range: 1979-1992

This file contains correspondence relating to meetings between the Prime Minister and British Ambassadors in Washington (Sir Nicholas Henderson in 1979, Sir Oliver Wright in 1982, 1984 and 1986, and a request from Sir Robin Renwick in 1992), together with briefing notes. These meetings and notes cover: Anglo-American relations; President Carter’s record and prospects in 1979; American views on the European approach to world affairs and the award of an honorary degree to Margaret Thatcher by Tufts University, Boston, in 1984; anti-Americanism and the possibility of a visit by the Prime Minister to Washington in 1986.

Visits to UK by Richard Nixon

Catalogue reference: PREM 19/3986
Date range: 1980-1992

The file contains correspondence surrounding requests by Richard Nixon for an interview with the British Prime Minister. The first two requests both come through Jonathan Aitken, with the first appearing to be rejected on the advice of the FCO. The final request is from 1992. The file also contains brief correspondence between Thatcher and Nixon over Thatcher’s response to industrial action by railway workers.

This file has been digitised.