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MT's official files as Prime Minister, 1979-90

MT's official files as PM can be read on this site as they are released, in full and free to all - the confidential files originally stored at No.10, the core record of her premiership.

The files have been copied at the British National Archives (TNA) at Kew in London and can be downloaded precisely as they appear in the reading room.

We are doing something more to help people make sense of this mass of information. The files are subject-based, logically enough, but that system makes it difficult to reconstruct the flow of paper across the Prime Minister’s desk at any point in time, depriving us of a sense of context and cross-winds, some of them overwhelming.

To combat this effect we are uploading a large selection of the most important documents from these files – thousands in total - to our powerful site database. You can search and sort by date, subject and other parameters, getting as close as anyone can now get to reconstructing the Prime Minister’s daily "Red Boxes", the rich diet of foreign and domestic policy papers submitted to her by the No.10 Private Office.

List and links to the PM’s files

Below are links to the downloadable files in numerical order. The subject terms are those used in the original filing system.

An average file has around 200 pages.

You can read here an account of how filing worked at No.10, and the system for archiving MT’s Prime Ministerial papers, both of which had their quirks.

Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Private Office files, 1979-1989

1979-89: Chancellor’s Private Office files [links to hundreds of digitised files from the Chancellorships of Sir Geoffrey Howe and Nigel Lawson]

Engagement Diaries

An alternative way through the material is to read MT’s engagement diaries, jumping day to day.

The engagement diaries link directly to relevant documents in the site database, so this is a good way to recover the perspective from the Red Box.

File name Title Begins Ends Date of releasesort descending Any docs withheld? File classification Pages
PREM19/2499 Security (RAF fixed telecommunications system) Begins: 1988 Mar 29 Ends: 1988 Jul 21 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Retained Sec 3.4
PREM19/359 Security (Intelligence liaison) Begins: 1980 Jul 28 Ends: 1980 Aug 4 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Unknown
PREM19/686 Defence (Intelligence gathering operations) (Part 1) Begins: 1979 May 8 Ends: 1982 Oct 6 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Retained Sec 3.4
PREM19/2393 Posts and Telecommunications (Study by the Official Group on Telecommunications on withstanding a telecommunications strike; industrial action at British Telecom (BT)) Begins: 1982 Jan 11 Ends: 1987 Mar 3 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Temporarily retained by Department
PREM19/2542 Soviet Union (UK/Soviet relations; internal situation) (Part 10) Begins: 1988 Jan 1 Ends: 1988 Jun 29 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Temporarily retained by Department
PREM19/2500 Security (Reform of Official Secrets Act: proposed Protection of Official Information Bill; enforcing the duty of confidentiality) (Part 1) Begins: 1979 May 4 Ends: 1987 Oct 30 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Retained Sec 3.4
PREM19/361 Security (Case of Miss Lamble) Begins: 1979 Dec 7 Ends: 1980 Jan 4 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Unknown
PREM19/363 Security (Policy on interception) (Part 1) Begins: 1979 Jun 7 Ends: 1980 Mar 19 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Unknown
PREM19/2394 Prime Minister (Mark Thatcher and the Omanis: other allegations against Mark Thatcher) Begins: 1984 Jan 1 Ends: 1988 Nov 9 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Closed for 40 years
PREM19/2543 Soviet Union (Relations between the Soviet Union and India) Begins: 1987 Jun 10 Ends: 1987 Jun 17 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Retained Sec 3.4
PREM19/2501 Security (White Paper on Reform of Section 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911: proposed Protection of Official Information Bill; enforcing the duty of confidentiality) (Part 2) Begins: 1987 Nov 3 Ends: 1988 Jul 19 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Retained Sec 3.4
PREM19/2502 Security (Security and protection of the Prime Minister) (Part 2) Begins: 1986 Feb 3 Ends: 1987 Jan 26 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Retained Sec 3.4
PREM19/364 Security (Policy on interception) (Part 2) Begins: 1980 Mar 21 Ends: 1980 Apr 11 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Unknown
PREM19/2395 Prime Minister (Cementation contract: Mark Thatcher and the Omanis) (Part 1) Begins: 1981 May 4 Ends: 1988 Mar 9 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Closed for 65 years
PREM19/2545 Soviet Union (Visits to UK by President Gorbachev) (Part 1) Begins: 1987 Nov 20 Ends: 1988 Oct 30 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Temporarily retained by Department

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