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21 February 2005 releases - page 1 of 2

February 2005

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Catalogue ref. Date Description
BA 17/848 1972-1973 Inter-departmental Working Party on the Demolition of the Admiralty Citadel



A series of inter-departmental memos about relocating government departments to a new building. The committee discussing departmental relocations was unaware that their building also housed one of the government security agencies.

BA 27/503 1963-1974 Pensions to former Prime Ministers under Ministers of the Crown Act 1937



Details about the pension arrangements for former Prime Minister Harold Macmillian and Leader of the Opposition Alec Douglas Home. The file contains personal correspondence from Macmillian seeking clarification on the pension arrangements.

CAB 164/1224 1973 Review of the Official Secrets Act 1972 and evidence submitted to the Franks Committee



This file contains briefing notes about the Franks Committee and the anticipated follow-up legislation, including details on classification levels for documents and drafts from the working group on the Franks report.

CAB 184/191 1971-1974 Economic prospects for Concorde



This file reveals considerable scepticism within government about the viability of Concorde, with Michael Heseltine (then Minister for Aerospace) reportedly describing it as "a hopeless project". Despite an internal report concluding that there was "no economic case for proceeding with the aircraft", with overall costs projected at £1 billion (1970s prices), the government decided to press ahead. The primary factors which influenced this decision are revealed to be the actions the French might take if the project were cancelled, such as blocking Britain's EEC ratification or suing the British government to recover the cost of French investment in the aircraft. Concerns about job losses and industrial unrest also played a part in the decision to continue.

Other reports in this file discuss engine noise, a design flaw that would result in 100% mortality in the event of Concorde making a crash landing on water, and stratospheric pollution, where it was deemed that "Concorde will not fry people on earth by destroying ozone". The various methods of subsidising/underwriting BOAC's purchase of Concorde aircraft are also discussed.

CAB 184/202 1973-1974 The electric car



This details a joint research project between British Rail and Ford to develop a sodium sulphur battery to power trains. The possibility of expanding the research to include battery-powered road transport, specifically buses and light goods vehicles is also discussed in some detail.

CAB 184/203 1974 The newspaper industry



Contains Lord Rothschild's secret account of the national newspaper industry in 1974. He predicted that The Times would merge with the Financial Times and The Mail with The Express. Unimpressed that unskilled union electricians were earning £100 per day, he advises that the union should be weakened.

CO 968/690 1957-1959 Review of Cyprus emergency plans



Personal correspondence from MPs and military advisors about the status of the "Lesson's Learned" report about the Cyprus Emergency of 1955-1958.

FCO 12/92 1970 Vetting of manuscripts of Harold Macmillan



Some dissenting opinions are expressed about Macmillan's manuscripts in this file. Whilst the former Prime Minister accepted some changes he was 'loathed' to give up passages about espionage episodes during his premiership. Denis Greenhill (Senior Foreign Office official) considered that the whole style of the manuscript 'will do us and its author no good'.