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mi6On this page you can find a selection of documents from the National Archives on British approaches to covert activity. Some are accessible through the website of the National Archives itself, either free or for a small payment. Those that are not freely accessible can be recognised by this symbol (£) after the title. Clicking the title will redirect you to the right page.

A large selection of the documents however has been collected from the National Archives to be displayed for the first time in a publicly accessible manner. This gives students, scholars and others alike a direct insight into Britain's secret state and deniable interventions overseas between 1945 and 1968. Click the document title to view in PDF.

Browse all the documents in the table or enter a keyword in the search bar below

File Keywords
CAB 121/305, 'Future SOE Activity – Letter from Foreign Office to Chiefs of Staff Secretary', 4 December 1945, CoS(45)680
Special Operations Executive SOE Secret Intelligence Service SIS peace War bureaucracy
CAB 130/138, Foreign Office, 'Working Group on Anglo-American Cooperation: Progress of Anglo-American Interdependence: Annex A – Security of Working Group Procedure', GEN 617/4, 10 March 1959
bureaucracy United States middle east southeast asia
CAB 130/147, Foreign Office, 'Interdependence: Annex B – Progress of Working Groups', briefing for the Prime Minister, 4 June 1958
bureaucracy United States middle east southeast asia
CAB 130/20, 'Propaganda to Jews in Europe', GEN.180/4, 2 June 1947
propaganda Palestine Secret Intelligence Service SIS
CAB 132/2, 'Anti-Communist Activities in Europe', AC(M)(50)1, 15 December 1950
Special Operations Eastern Europe Secret Intelligence Service SIS Cold War Political Warfare
CAB 134/2, 'Anti-Communist Activities in Europe', AC(M)(50)2, 22 December 1950
Cold War Eastern Europe Secret Intelligence Service SIS Political Warfare Special Operations
CAB 134/2, 'The Work of the Official Committee on Communism (Overseas)', AC(M)(51)4, 23 June 1951
Cold War Eastern Europe Political Warfare SIS Secret Intelligence Service Special Operations
CAB 134/2543, Functions of the Committee – Note by the Secretaries, Annex: 'Memorandum for the Chiefs of Staff, the Counter Subversion Committee', SV(64)3, 14 February 1964
bureaucracy Counter-Subversion Political Warfare propaganda
CAB 134/3, 'Anti-Communist Measures in the Far East', Memorandum by the Overseas Planning Section, AC(O)(50)37, 15 August 1950
Cold War Communism China Political Warfare southeast asia
CAB 134/3, 'Planning Staff for Cold War Activities', AC(O)(50)35, 19 July 1950. + Attached – Draft Letter to Heads of Missions'
bureaucracy Cold War Political Warfare Communism
CAB 134/3, 'The "Cold War" in South East Asia', AC(O)(50)39, 15 August 1950
Cold War Communism China southeast asia Political Warfare
CAB 134/3, 'The "Cold War" in the Far East', AC(O)(50)31, 19 July 1950
Cold War Communism China southeast asia Political Warfare
CAB 134/53, 'Cabinet Committee on Communism: Revised Draft Report', C(49)13, 11 July 1949
Cold War Eastern Europe Communism Political Warfare
CAB 134/53, 'Foreign Office Information activities with Special Reference to Anti-Communist Propaganda', C(49)3, 31 May 1949
Information Research Department IRD Cold War Communism Eastern Europe
CAB 163/6, Victor Cavendish-Bentinck and Denis Capel Dunn, 'The Intelligence Machine – report to the Joint Intelligence Sub-Committee', 10 January 1945
Secret Intelligence Service SIS Special Operations Executive SOE bureaucracy Joint Intelligence Committee JIC peace
CAB 165/408, P. Rogers, 'Note for the record: Counter Subversion Committee', 10 October 1966.
Counter-Subversion bureaucracy Political Warfare propaganda
CAB 21/2750, 'Proposed Activities Behind the Iron Curtain' (Third Revise), AC(O)(50)52, November 1950
Cold War Eastern Europe Secret Intelligence Service SIS Political Warfare Special Operations
CAB 21/5003, Brook, 'Note for Record', 28 February 1955
Cold War Eastern Europe Political Warfare SIS Secret Intelligence Service Special Operations
CAB 21/5003, Cliffe to Brook, Attached: Brief for Prime Minister ahead of AC(M) meeting, 20 December 1950
Cold War Eastern Europe Secret Intelligence Service SIS Political Warfare Special Operations
CAB 21/5003, G. Young to N. Brook, 'AC(O) and AC(M)', 31 January 1955
Cold War Eastern Europe Political Warfare SIS Secret Intelligence Service Special Operations
CAB 21/5379, 'Counter Subversion Committee: Terms of Reference and Operational Procedures', October 1963
bureaucracy Counter-Subversion Political Warfare propaganda
CAB 301/118, Compton to Brook, 'Secret Service Reserve Funds', 21 May 1958
Secret Intelligence Service SIS bureaucracy funding Special Operations
CAB 301/118, Compton to Lloyd, 'Secret Vote: Special Operations', 29 April 1957
Secret Intelligence Service SIS bureaucracy funding Special Operations
CAB 301/118, Compton, 'Secret Vote: Reserves', 17 January 1957
Secret Intelligence Service SIS bureaucracy funding Special Operations
CAB 301/118, Dean to Compton, 18 July 1957
Secret Intelligence Service SIS bureaucracy funding Special Operations
CAB 301/118, Wade-Gery to Compton, 25 October 1957
Secret Intelligence Service SIS bureaucracy funding Special Operations
CAB 301/133, C, 'Comments by C on the Report by Sir Horace Seymour on his Enquiry into the Secret Intelligence Service', 9 July 1952
bureaucracy Secret Intelligence Service SIS Special Operations Cold War
CAB 301/133, Seymour, 'The Secret Intelligence Service: Report of Enquiry by Sir Horace Seymour', June 1952
bureaucracy Secret Intelligence Service SIS Special Operations Cold War
CAB 301/148, Foreign Secretary, 'Annex A: Possible Reaction of the Soviet Union to the United States Policy on Syria in Areas other than the Middle East' Undated, 1957
middle east syria Special Operations United States
CAB 301/148, Foreign Secretary, 'Annex B: Possible Reactions of the Soviet Union in the Middle East Area to United States Policy on Syria', undated, 1957
middle east syria Special Operations United States
CAB 301/17, Brook, 'The Secret Intelligence and Security Services', March 1951 (£)
bureaucracy SIS Secret Intelligence Service Special Operations
CAB 301/48, Bland Committee, 'Future Organisation of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS): The Bland Report', 12 October 1944 (£)
SIS Secret Intelligence Service SOE Special Operations Executive bureaucracy War peace
CAB 301/53, Selborne, 'The Future of Special Operations', 22 May 1945, Annex to: 'copy of letter dated 22 May 1945 from Minister of Economic Warfare to Secretary, Chiefs of Staff Committee, 27 May 1945, COS(45)360(O)
Special Operations Executive SOE Secret Intelligence Service SIS War peace bureaucracy
CAB 81/80, 'Illegal Immigration into Palestine', LCS(47)5, 8 July 1947
propaganda Palestine Secret Intelligence Service SIS London Controlling Section Special Operations
CO 1035/116, 'Cold War – Countering Covert Aggression', CoS(55)262, 12 October 1955
Cold War Eastern Europe Secret Intelligence Service SIS Special Operations Counter-Subversion Decolonization
DEFE 11/377, Drew, 'Deception Organisation in the Far East, CoS(51)127, 7 March 1951
bureaucracy military Deception Decolonization
DEFE 13/404, 'Aden and the Federation: Ministerial Meeting held at No.10 Downing Street at 11.30 am on Wednesday, November 25, 1964'. + Annex A – Memorandum by the Joint Action Committee'
Special Operations Aden Decolonization Joint Action Committee egypt yemen
DEFE 13/570, 'Note from Foreign Secretary to Prime Minister', 11 September 1964
Special Operations yemen Aden egypt Decolonization Joint Action Committee
DEFE 28/1, 'Directorate of Forward Plans', 10 May 1966.
Deception bureaucracy
DEFE 28/1, Ward to Air Marshall William Elliott, Attached: '"Deception" Organisation', 20 February 1950
Deception military bureaucracy War
DEFE 28/145, 'Review of the Activities of the Counter Subversion Committee, 1961-1964'
bureaucracy Counter-Subversion Political Warfare propaganda
DEFE 28/146, Directorate for Forward Plans, 'Counter-Subversion Structure: Annex D – Interdepartmental Review Committee', 27 July 1966
Deception Counter-Subversion bureaucracy Political Warfare propaganda
DEFE 28/151, Counter Subversion Committee, 'The Counter Subversion Questionnaire', CSC/Q/15/62, 19 October 1962
bureaucracy Counter-Subversion Political Warfare propaganda
DEFE 28/151, 'Counter-Subversion: Introduction', Annex to JP(62)94(D)(Flimsy), Undated but likely late 1962.
Counter-Subversion Cold War Decolonization bureaucracy
DEFE 28/189, Drew, 'Deception in Malaya', June 1950
Deception Counterinsurgency military Decolonization
DEFE 28/31, 'Special Operations', Joint Planning Staff, JP(47)118(8) Draft, 10 December 1947
Special Operations Political Warfare Cold War Secret Intelligence Service SIS Eastern Europe Communism
DO 35/6227, Top Secret Submission to the Dodds-Parker Committee by the Information Executive Coordination Executive, 15 November 1956
egypt Political Warfare middle east propaganda
FCO 79/182, 'Information Research Department', Appendix A, 'Evolution of IRD', 1970.
propaganda Political Warfare bureaucracy
FO 1093/375, C, 'The Capabilities of Secret Service in Peace in Support of an Overall Political Plan: Annex A – Details of Clandestine Propaganda Measures Possible in Particular Areas', 20 January 1948 (£)
propaganda Political Warfare Cold War SIS Secret Intelligence Service Eastern Europe Communism Menzies
FO 1093/375, 'Clandestine Support for Anti-Communist Propaganda', 13 February 1948 (£)
Cold War Communism Eastern Europe Political Warfare SIS Secret Intelligence Service
FO 1093/375, Menzies, 'The Capabilities of Secret Service in Peace in Support of an Overall Political Plan: Annex B – Special Operations other than Clandestine Propaganda', 20 January 1948 (£)
Cold War Communism Eastern Europe Menzies Political Warfare SIS Secret Intelligence Service propaganda
FO 1093/375, Norman Brook, 'Anti-Communist Propaganda', March 1948 (£)
Political Warfare Cold War Information Research Department IRD Eastern Europe Communism
FO 1093/452, Menzies to Strang, 4 March 1949.
albania Secret Intelligence Service SIS Permanent Under-Secretary's Department PUSD Liberation Special Operations Valuable
FO 1093/452, 'Notes on Counter Guerrilla Action in Albania', 20 December 1948
Secret Intelligence Service SIS Liberation Special Operations Valuable albania
FO 1093/452, 'Operation Valuable', 26 July 1949
albania Secret Intelligence Service SIS Permanent Under-Secretary's Department PUSD Liberation Special Operations Valuable
FO 1093/452, 'Resistance in Albania', sent to Foreign Office Southern Department, 29 July 1949
albania Secret Intelligence Service SIS Permanent Under-Secretary's Department PUSD Liberation Special Operations Valuable
FO 1093/453, 'Albania', Brief for Bevin by Rumbold, 20 December 1949
Liberation PUSD Permanent Under-Secretary's Department SIS Secret Intelligence Service Special Operations Valuable albania
FO 1093/453, 'Valuable' Foreign Office meeting, 29 November 1949
Liberation PUSD Permanent Under-Secretary's Department SIS Secret Intelligence Service Special Operations Valuable albania
FO 1093/584, Russia Committee, 'Western Measures to Counter Soviet Expansion, Together with some Indication of their Effect', 20 May 1950
Cold War Eastern Europe Political Warfare Communism
FO 1110/1102, Note by Dean, 15 May 1958
Secret Intelligence Service SIS Special Political Action military bureaucracy
FO 1110/1102, 'Psychological Warfare in War – Composition, Organisation, and Functions of SPA: Attached, copy of Minute from Mr J.A. Drew, Ministry of Defence, to Major General R.W. Macleod, Dated 9th May 1958', 12 May 1958
Secret Intelligence Service SIS Special Political Action military bureaucracy
FO 1110/880, Dodds-Parker to Foreign Secretary, 'Propaganda and Political Warfare in the Middle East', 18 October 1956
egypt Political Warfare middle east propaganda
FO 371/100825, Harry Hohler (FO Northern Department), minutes of a meeting held in William Strang's office to discuss the 'sore spots' paper on 22nd February 1952, 1 March 1952
Cold War Eastern Europe Liberation SIS Secret Intelligence Service Soviet Union
FO 371/104562, Ross, 'Persia', 26 February 1953
Boot iran oil Decolonization
FO 371/115954, G. Arthur, 'Iraq and Syria: The Fertile Crescent', 10 October 1955
middle east propaganda Bribery Political Warfare Decolonization
FO 371/125003, 'The Problem of Nationalism', PUSC Final, 21 November 1952
Cold War Decolonization Liberation Counter-Subversion
FO 371/135610, Foreign Office Steering Committee, 'Overseas Planning Committee and Political Intelligence Group', SC(58)6, undated, 1956
bureaucracy Eastern Europe middle east southeast asia Counter-Subversion
FO 371/135615, 'Steering Committee: Points for a Middle East Policy: Part II', SC(58)40(Final), Summer 1958
middle east Political Warfare Decolonization
FO 371/135615, 'UK Policy Towards the East European Satellites', SC(58)46, 17 October 1958
Secret Intelligence Service SIS Liberation Eastern Europe Cold War Soviet Union
FO 371/146650, HFT Smith, 'The Congo', 28 September 1960
assassination Africa Lumumba
FO 371/1687, Russia Committee Minutes, 25 November 1948
Communism Political Warfare Cold War Eastern Europe
FO 371/180317, Office of the Political Advisor to the Commander-In-Chief (Far East) to Foreign Office, 5 October 1965
Special Operations Indonesia Confrontation Malaysia Decolonization
FO 371/181503, 'British Policy Towards Indonesia', JAC(65)9, February 1965
Special Operations Indonesia Confrontation Malaysia Decolonization Joint Action Committee
FO 371/25002, 'Future Policy Towards Soviet Russia: Annex B, Liberation of the Satellites', PUSC(15)16, 17 January 1952
Cold War Soviet Union Eastern Europe Secret Intelligence Service SIS Liberation
FO 371/56832, Christopher Warner, 'the Soviet Campaign against this Country and our Response to it,' 2 April 1946
Communism propaganda Eastern Europe Political Warfare
FO 371/56885, 'Committee on Policy Towards Russia: Anti-Communist Propaganda', 30 April 1946
Communism propaganda Eastern Europe Political Warfare
FO 371/70272, 'Report of the sub-committee set up to examine the problem of planning in relation to policy towards the Soviet Union and the Soviet Orbit,' RC(25)48, 14 December 1948. + Appendix B: Satellite Contradictions
Political Warfare Cold War Secret Intelligence Service SIS Eastern Europe Communism albania
FO 371/91609, Berthoud, 'Persia', 2 November 1951
Boot iran oil Decolonization
FO 800/437, Memorandum from Strang to Attlee, 5 April 1949.
albania Secret Intelligence Service SIS Permanent Under-Secretary's Department PUSD Liberation Special Operations Valuable
FO 800/437, 'Policy Towards Albania', 21 March 1949
albania Permanent Under-Secretary's Department PUSD Secret Intelligence Service SIS Liberation Special Operations Valuable
FO 800/437, Strang to Attlee, 26 March 1949
albania Permanent Under-Secretary's Department PUSD Secret Intelligence Service SIS Liberation Special Operations Valuable
FO 800/503, 'British Policy towards Soviet Communism', PUSC(31)Final, 28 July 1949
Cold War Eastern Europe Communism Political Warfare
FO 800/653, Makins to Attlee, 'Approach to a new Persian Government', 26 September 1951
Boot iran oil Decolonization
FO 800/813, Eden to Oliver Franks, 'Situation in Persia', 6 August 1952
Boot iran oil Decolonization
FOI 1: Counter-Subversion Machinery and Operations in the 1950s
Counter-Subversion 1950s
FOI 2: the Joint Action Committee and Covert Action in the 1960s
Joint Action Committee covert action
FOI 3: Counter-Subversion and Special Political Action Machinery in the late 1950s
Counter-Subversion political action
PREM 11/1582, Brook to Eden, 21 October 1955
Decolonization Counter-Subversion Political Warfare Colonies middle east southeast asia
PREM 11/1582, Brook, 'Counter-Subversion', Undated, (November - December 1955)
Decolonization Counter-Subversion Political Warfare Colonies middle east southeast asia
PREM 11/1582, Lennox-Boyd to Eden, PM(55)82, 15 November 1955
Decolonization Counter-Subversion Political Warfare Colonies middle east southeast asia
PREM 11/1582, Macmillan to Eden, 19 October 1955
Decolonization Counter-Subversion Political Warfare Colonies middle east southeast asia
PREM 11/2324, 'Propaganda / Counter-Subversion: Note for the Prime Minister', Undated.
bureaucracy Counter-Subversion Political Warfare propaganda
PREM 11/236, Middleton to Foreign Office, 28 July 1952
Boot iran oil Decolonization
PREM 11/2401, 'Aden Protectorate: Proposed Special Operations against the Yemen in Dhala Area', PM(56)79, October 1956
Special Operations Aden yemen military
PREM 11/3666, Douglas-Home to Rusk, 26 February 1962
British Guiana Latin America CIA Central Intelligence Agency
PREM 13/430, Trend to Wilson, 'Malaysia', 23 February 1965
Special Operations Indonesia Confrontation Malaysia Decolonization Joint Action Committee
PREM 8/1365, Brooks to Attlee, 'Meeting of the Ministerial Committee on Communism, 21st December 1950', 20 December 1950
Cold War Eastern Europe Political Warfare SIS Secret Intelligence Service Special Operations
PREM 8/1365, Prime Minister's Office to Cliffe (Secretary of AC(O)), 21 December 1950
Cold War Eastern Europe Political Warfare SIS Secret Intelligence Service Special Operations

 

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