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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 namesort descending Title Begins Ends Date of release Any docs withheld? File classification Pages
PREM19/3756 Falkland Islands (Future administration of the Falkland Islands) Begins: 1983 Oct 1 Ends: 1992 Jul 13 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 Any docs withheld? 6 File classification: Top Secret Pages: 275
PREM19/3757 Fishing Industry (EEC Common Fisheries Policy: proposed decommissioning scheme for the UK fishing industry) (Part 6) Begins: 1985 Jul 3 Ends: 1992 Jun 25 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Confidential Pages: 379
PREM19/3758 Foreign Policy (Capital punishment in the Dependent Territories) Begins: 1980 Aug 1 Ends: 1992 Mar 27 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Confidential Pages: 61
PREM19/3759 Foreign Policy (Distribution of FCO telegrams to No. 10 Downing Street) Begins: 1984 Jun 29 Ends: 1992 Jul 24 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Confidential Pages: 32
PREM19/3760 Foreign Policy (East/West relations) (Part 12) Begins: 1990 Aug 7 Ends: 1992 Apr 29 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 Any docs withheld? 4 File classification: Secret Pages: 459
PREM19/3761 Foreign Policy (Future inward and outward State visits: visits by members of the Royal Family) (Part 6) Begins: 1990 Jan 1 Ends: 1992 Jan 31 Date of release: 2032 Jan 1
PREM19/3762 Foreign Policy (Relations with Latin America) Begins: 1982 Jun 2 Ends: 1992 Feb 28 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 Any docs withheld? 1 File classification: Confidential Pages: 141
PREM19/3766 Germany (Visits to the UK by Chancellor Kohl) (Part 11A) Begins: 1990 Apr 2 Ends: 1992 Nov 6 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 Any docs withheld? 1 File classification: Top Secret Pages: 229
PREM19/3768 Germany (Visits to the UK by Franz Josef Strauss and Dr Max Streibl, Ministers-President of Bavaria) Begins: 1980 Feb 7 Ends: 1992 Feb 19 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Confidential Pages: 106
PREM19/3769 Gibraltar (Policy towards Gibraltar) (Part 6) Begins: 1986 Dec 3 Ends: 1992 Mar 16 Date of release: Date of release: 2024 review File classification: Retained under Sec 3:4
PREM19/3776 Government Machinery (Millennium Commission and Millennium Fund) (Part 1) Begins: 1985 May 30 Ends: 1992 Dec 23 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 Any docs withheld? 7 File classification: Confidential Pages: 290
PREM19/3779 Government Machinery (Annual reports on the Government Statistical Service: government economic statistics; launch of Central Statistical Office (CSO) as an executive agency) (Part 3) Begins: 1988 Dec 12 Ends: 1992 Jan 17 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Secret Pages: 341
PREM19/3780 Government Machinery (Special Political Advisers: appointments) (Part 5) Begins: 1989 Sep 4 Ends: 1992 Apr 30 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 Any docs withheld? 26 File classification: Confidential Pages: 344
PREM19/3781 Government Machinery (The tourism industry: Government support for tourism; 'Tourism in the UK: Realising the Potential') (Part 2) Begins: 1990 Jun 30 Ends: 1992 Mar 20 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Confidential Pages: 267
PREM19/3782 Government Machinery (The way forward: the direction of future government policy; medium-term objectives) (Part 2) Begins: 1990 Apr 2 Ends: 1992 Nov 27 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Secret Pages: 359

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