A selection of files recently released at The National Archives under the Freedom of Information Act

September 2007

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Catalogue ref. Date Description
Records created or inherited by the Air Ministry, the Royal Air Force and other related bodies
AIR 10/9375 1955 RAF manual of effects of nuclear weaponsThis manual covers the general effects of nuclear explosions, such as the blast, thermal and radioactive effects, and provides graphs and illustrations to demonstrate these effects in the air and at sea. The manual goes on to elaborate on the effects of blasts and radiation on structures, such as buildings and submarines and the adverse effects of thermal radiation exposure to personnel. Criterion for use of nuclear weapons is also provided, that is, the type of explosion or 'burst' appropriate for the target.
Records of the Dominions Office, Colonial Office, Commonwealth and Foreign and Commonwealth Offices, Empire Marketing Board, and related bodies
DO 121/244/1 1934 -1948 Miscellaneous correspondence, mainly from High CommissionersIncludes correspondence from the High Commissioners of South Africa, New Zealand and Canada to the Permanent Under Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, Eric Machtig. Letters cover many diverse subjects including personal reactions to events and circumstances affecting the Commonwealth during World War Two, ranging from the loss of Singapore to debates with H M Treasury for mileage allowances for High Commissioners' cars.
DO 121/244/2 1934 -1948 Miscellaneous correspondence, mainly from High CommissionersContains many invitations for the Permanent Under Secretary of State Machtig, including receptions to celebrate the 1948 London Olympics. Additionally, it contains regular updates from the High Commissioner in Pretoria about movement of diplomatic staff and their families, and recommendations that a successor High Commissioner with the necessary skills would be needed to deal with the complex issues of post-war South Africa.
FCO 90/16 1973-1974 Hess and Spandau PrisonContains minutes of the meetings of the Spandau Prison governors, in addition to correspondence with legal advisers for each of the Four-Power Authorities (UK, USA, France and the Soviet Union). Discussions in this file concentrate on the state of Hess's health and the negotiations between the three western powers and the Soviet governor to allow Hess to receive medical treatment at the British Military Hospital in Berlin. 
FCO 90/17 1974 Hess and Spandau PrisonCovers the application to the European Commission of Human Rights made by Hess's wife, Ilse, that the UK acted unlawfully in detaining Hess for life. The papers illustrating this case give a factual background to Hess's Nazi career, his solo flight to the UK in 1941 and his subsequent arrest, his trial and imprisonment, in addition to draft government observations on Isle Hess's application.
FCO 90/18 1974 Hess and Spandau PrisonMinutes of the governors' meetings reveal disagreement between the western powers and the Soviet Union regarding the prisoner's rights, with particular reference to levels of censorship. The Soviet governor argued that uncensored letters to his wife could be used to construct a propagandist essay. Correspondence about the 'petty' removal of personal photographs from the prisoner's accommodation by Soviet guards, as well as reaction from the prisons' administrators to the publication of a book on Hess's imprisonment by a former American prison governor are also included.
FCO 90/20 1974 Hess and Spandau PrisonContains discussions about an altercation between Hess and a Soviet warder. The western governors raise issues of Soviet policy towards Hess, for example taking away Hess's glasses before lights out, destroying his notebooks, increasing the strictness of censorship and blocking visits by Hess's lawyer.
FCO 90/21 1974 Hess and Spandau PrisonIncludes a letter from a British member of the public to Hess and minutes discussing Hess's health.
FCO 90/22 1974 Hess and SpandauContains copies of the prisoner's daily schedule, divided into fifteen and thirty minute slots. The schedule outlines times for cleaning, exercise and searches by Hess's warders. Also included are action plans in the event of Hess's death.
FCO 17/1514 1971 Demonstrations by students in Iran Contains minutes describing peaceful demonstrations by students at the University of Tehran in protest at the arrest of several medical students, and also some less peaceful protests against the regime of the Shah. Also includes background documents on potential sources of unrest for the youth of Iran under the Shah, such as a very young population, high unemployment and clashes between an 'imported hippy culture' among some students and increasing religiosity among others.
FO 816/204 1974 Occupied TerritoriesIncludes discussions between British and Jordanian officials about the day-to-day administration of the West Bank, including the granting of travel permits to Palestinians. Documents about the Palestinian public's attitude towards the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and a report about a Bill passed by the Israeli Knesset setting out compensation payments to Palestinians for loss of land in 1948/49 are also in this file.
FO 816/205 1974 Palestinian Government in ExileContains correspondence concerning Arab nations' discussions about Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organisation forming a government in exile. Includes reports from meetings between British diplomats and Jordanian ministers about Jordanian-Palestinian relations, including the wish of the Palestinian people to form an independent state, re-settlement plans for Palestinians in Jordan and the build up to negotiations at the Geneva Peace conference.
FO 816/206 1974 Mount of Olives Garden ProjectIn 1974, Anglican interests in Jerusalem were considering purchasing a plot of land on the Mount of Olives in order to create a garden of meditation for Anglicans. The file contains background documents to the scheme.
Records created or inherited by the Medical Research Council
FD 23/706 1959-1960 Radioactivity: Resolution of effects of fall-out and related matters by The National Association of Women's Clubs. Shropshire Federation of Women's InstitutesIncludes a resolution from the 1959 Annual Conference of Women's Clubs expressing concern about the dangers posed to public health by nuclear fall-out from past nuclear explosions. The resolution also requests the government to release statistical data about levels of radioactivity and demands an end to any future tests, both by the UK and the rest of the international community. The file contains replies from the Minister for Science, referring to the scheme run by the Medical Research Council and the Atomic Energy Authority for comprehensively monitoring the levels of radioactivity in food and drink.
FD 23/707 1958-1964 Radioactivity: Radioactive fall-out in Wales - correspondence from the Farmers' Union of Wales and the Prime MinisterIn a letter to the Prime Minister Harold Macmillan MP, the General Secretary of the Farmers' Union of Wales expresses concern about deposits of Strontium 90 and the danger it poses to mountainous and rainy areas. The General Secretary requests more open and publicised communication from the government on the facts surrounding radioactivity. The file includes a draft of a reply by the Prime Minister, as well as for a speech given by the Minister for Welsh Affairs on radioactive fall-out.
Records created or inherited by the Home Office, Ministry of Home Security , and other bodies
HO 144/3576 1920-1924 SEDITION: Colonel Malone, ex-MP, turned communistIncludes a petition from Colonel Malone to the Home Secretary protesting the nature of his imprisonment in Pentonville Prison, which is promptly refused. Notice of the death of the prisoner's mother is followed by officials deciding whether or not to allow him to attend the funeral, given the gravity of his crime. Clippings from various newspapers including The Times and The Daily Mail provide details of his arrest and quotations from the speech that led to his imprisonment for sedition.
Records of the Metropolitan Police Office
MEPO 2/10287 1957-1970 Prostitution: survey of police procedure in Edinburgh and Glasgow, 1958; social effects of the Street Offences Act 1959; correspondence with the Josephine Butler Society, formally Association for Moral and Social Hygiene

 

Contains reports from Chief Superintendents detailing the effects in their districts of the 1959 Street Offences Act following a report in the News of the World that it had driven the problems associated prostitution out of the reach of the police and social workers.  Senior Officers' reports describe a trip to Edinburgh and Glasgow to learn how the police forces of those cities deal with street prostitution and outline the differences between Scottish and English legislation. Correspondence from the Josephine Butler Society to the Metropolitan Police and the Home Office reinforces this view. Lists of prostitutes arrested and fined, along with ages and place of birth are also included.