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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 Titlesort descending Begins Ends Date of release Any docs withheld? File classification Pages
PREM19/2697 Germany (Prime Minister's meetings with Chancellor Helmut Kohl and the Turkish Prime Minister in Germany) (Part 7) Begins: 1987 Jul 1 Ends: 1989 Feb 24 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30
PREM19/1765 Germany (Prime Minister's meetings with Chancellor Helmut Kohl) (Part 15) Begins: 1983 Nov 11 Ends: 1986 May 28 Date of release: 2015 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 276
PREM19/471 Germany (Prime Minister's meetings with Chancellor Schmidt in Bonn, November 1980 and November 1981: Anglo-German Summits) (Part 2) Begins: 1980 Jun 4 Ends: 1981 Nov 18 Date of release: 2011 Dec 30 File classification: Top Secret Pages: 338
PREM19/766 Germany (Prime Minister's meetings with Chancellor Schmidt in Bonn, November 1981) (Part 3) Begins: 1982 Oct 2 Ends: 1982 Nov 19 Date of release: 2012 Dec 28 File classification: Secret Pages: 68
PREM19/1036 Germany (Prime Minister's visits to Germany: meetings with Chancellor Helmut Kohl) (Part 4) Begins: 1982 Oct 28 Ends: 1983 Oct 26 Date of release: 2013 Aug 1 File classification: Secret Pages: 226
PREM19/768 Germany (Removal of the limitations on Federal German naval shipbuilding and armaments) Begins: 1980 Jul 11 Ends: 1982 Sep 6 Date of release: 2012 Dec 28 File classification: Secret Pages: 23
PREM19/767 Germany (Visit of Dr Ernst Albrecht, Minister-President of Lower Saxony: call on the Prime Minister) Begins: 1980 May 14 Ends: 1980 Jul 11 Date of release: 2012 Dec 28 File classification: Confidential Pages: 24
PREM19/472 Germany (Visit to UK by Chancellor Schmidt, March 1980: Anglo-German Summit) (Part 2) Begins: 1979 Aug 13 Ends: 1981 Apr 17 Date of release: 2012 Feb 22 File classification: Secret Pages: 229
PREM19/1035 Germany (Visit to UK by Helmut Kohl, leader of the opposition, January 1982) Begins: 1981 Aug 19 Ends: 1982 Jan 27 Date of release: 2013 Aug 1 File classification: Confidential Pages: 82
PREM19/3007 Germany (Visits by Chancellor Helmut Kohl to the UK) (Part 10) Begins: 1986 Nov 20 Ends: 1990 Mar 30 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30
PREM19/2698 Germany (Visits to the UK by Governing Mayors of Berlin: Dietrich Stobb, Richard von Weizsacker, Eberhard Diepgen and Walter Momper) Begins: 1979 Mar 2 Ends: 1989 May 4 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30
PREM19/473 Ghana (Visit to UK by President Limann, May 1981: meeting with Prime Minister) Begins: 1980 Oct 21 Ends: 1981 Jun 2 Date of release: 2011 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 155
PREM19/1766 Gibraltar (Policy towards Gibraltar: discussions with Spanish under Lisbon and Brussels Agreements) (Part 5) Begins: 1984 Apr 6 Ends: 1986 Oct 24 Date of release: 2014 Dec 30
PREM19/769 Gibraltar (Policy) (Part 1) Begins: 1979 Jul 19 Ends: 1982 Jan 20 Date of release: 2012 Dec 28 File classification: Confidential Pages: 162
PREM19/770 Gibraltar (Policy) (Part 2) Begins: 1982 Feb 11 Ends: 1982 Oct 28 Date of release: 2012 Dec 28 Any docs withheld? 2 File classification: Secret Pages: 189

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