The Cabinet Papers banner

Glossary - F

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | 0-100

F111 strike aircraft

A controversial and costly American medium-range strategic bomber, reconnaissance and tactical strike aircraft in the 1960s. It pioneered variable geometry wings, afterburning turbo-fan engines, and terrain-following radar for low-level, high speed flights. Development problems restricted its use. It was officially retired in 1998.


A union or grouping of self-governing bodies or countries that come together voluntarily to be stronger than the parts.

Federation of Malaysia, The

Formed from a series of British colonies known as British Malaya. Created in 1946, they were reorganised as the Federation of Malaya, which was recognised as an independent nation in 1957. Singapore, Sarawak, British North Borneo and the Federation of Malaya then joined together to form Malaysia in September 1963.

Fidel Castro

First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba. Revolutionary leader who overthrew the Batista regime in 1959 and came to power. In the face of acute US hostility to Cuba's left-wing regime, Fidel Castro became increasingly dependent on the Soviet Union for trade and for weapons. In 2008 he resigned due to illness and the National Assembly elected his brother, Raúl Castro, as President of Cuba. Fidel Castro remains First Secretary of the Communist Party.

First Lord of the Admiralty

Head of the Board of Naval Commissioners and, since 1806, a civilian and member of the Cabinet. The professional head of the Navy was known as the First Sea Lord. When the Board of the Admiralty was amalgamated into the Ministry of Defence in 1964 the post ceased to exist

First Sea Lord

Title given to the professional head of the Royal Navy. Appointed by the Ministry of Defence, he is also the Chief of Naval Staff. In rotation with the representatives of the army and air force he serves as head of all British Armed Forces.

First Secretary of State

An honorific intermittently-used title within British government. It implies seniority over other Secretaries of State but has no specific powers or authority. The title is preferred by some to the alternative Deputy Prime Minister, which could imply a right of succession if the Prime Minister died or resigned.

fiscal policy

Government policy that attempts to influence the level of demand in the economy through government spending and taxation, rather than through interest rates and the money supply. The New Deal in the US during 1930s is a perfect example of trying to stimulate the economy through increasing government spending.

Flags of Convenience

Flown by ships registered in a different country from the nationality of the owner. The country of registration determines the laws under which the ships are required to operate. Since the 1950s this has been associated with less rigorous regulation of manning levels, wages and working conditions.

Fleet Air

Set up in January 1914 as the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) to protect shipping and defend the UK from air attack, it was merged with the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) in 1918, before re-emerging as the Fleet Air Arm in 1924. It expanded rapidly in the Second World War, and in the 1960s was increasingly equipped with helicopters as well as aircraft

floating exchange rates

When currency is set by the foreign-exchange market through supply and demand for that currency relative to other currencies. Floating exchange rates change freely and are determined by trading. This is the exact opposite of a 'fixed rate', where a government promises to maintain a fixed value for that currency

Florence Horsbrugh

Conservative politician and first conservative female cabinet minister as Minister for Education between 1951-1954. She had a life-long interest in social welfare issues and was responsible for the Adoption of Children (Regulation) Act of 1939. Delegate to the Council of Europe between 1955-1960. Made a life peer in 1959

Formosa Straits

Sea separating mainland China from Formosa (Taiwan)

Forties Field

Largest oilfield ever discovered in the North Sea. Found in the 1960s and has produced continuously since 1975

Four Courts

The Republic of Ireland's main courts building. Situated in Dublin

Francisco Franco

Spanish Head of State from 1939-1975. Led the nationalists in the civil war against the elected left-wing government between 1936-1939. Established a Fascist regime. Kept Spain out of the Second World War, claiming the country was too devastated after the Civil War. Named Juan Carlos, grandson of the last Spanish king, as his successor

Frank Cousins

Trade union leader and Labour politician who served as General Secretary of the Transport & General Workers' Union and a member of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) General Council between 1956-1969. Twice President of the International Transport Workers' Federation, he was also Minister of Technology in Harold Wilson's Labour Government between 1964-1966

Frederick Leith-Ross, Sir

Chief economic advisor to the Government. Treasury economist and civil servant sent to the US in 1933 to discuss the settlement of Britain's war debt (the First World War) to the US. Played a key role at the Ministry of Economic Warfare during the Second World War