March 2012

Request:

'I would like to request any information which refers to or is a record of conversations between Edward VIII and the Duke of York (later George VI) that were accessed by MI5 through the use of  phone tapping between 1934 and 1952. I would also like to know if any information gathered by phone tapping concerning Edward VIII or the Duke of York (later George VI) was passed on to the government of the day between 1934 and 1952.'

Outcome:

Neither confirm nor deny

Response:

Thank you for your information request of 6 February 2012: 

'I would like to request any information which refers to or is a record of conversations between Edward VIII and the Duke of York (later George VI) that were accessed by MI5 through the use of phone tapping between 1934 and 1952. I would also like to know if any information gathered by phone tapping concerning Edward VIII or the Duke of York (later George VI) was passed on to the government of the day between 1934 and 1952'

This request has been handled under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.  The FOI Act (section 1) gives you the right to know whether we hold the information you want and to have it communicated to you, subject to any exemptions which may apply.

In this case exemptions are applicable - section 23 (5) and section 24(2):

Section 23 (5)
The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with section (1) (1) (a) would involve the disclosure of any information (whether or not already recorded) which was directly or indirectly supplied to the public authority by, or relates to, any of the bodies specified in subsection (3).

Section 24(2)
The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, exemption from section 1(1)(a) is required for the purpose of safeguarding national security.

We have considered this carefully and determined that it is not in the public interest to confirm or deny whether we hold the information. The reason for applying the principle of 'neither confirm nor deny' under these exemptions, section 23 (5) and section 24 (2), is because by confirming or denying whether The National Archives holds such a category of information could in itself disclose sensitive or damaging information.

Therefore, these exemptions apply because it is important that our response under the FOI Act does not allow any deduction as to whether or not there is any involvement by a section 23 body.

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request or the decision which has been reached, you have the right to ask for an internal review. Internal review requests must be submitted within two months of the date of this response and should be addressed to:

The Quality Manager
Public Services Development Unit
The National Archives
Kew
Richmond
Surrey
TW9 4DU
complaints@nationalarchives.gov.uk

Please mark your complaint clearly. You have the right to ask the Information Commissioner (ICO) to investigate any aspect of your complaint. However, please note that the ICO is likely to expect internal complaints procedures to have been exhausted before beginning his investigation.