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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 release Any docs withheld?sort descending File classification Pages
PREM19/1112 Prime Minister (Prime Minister's visit to Falklands, Jan 1983) (Part 1) Begins: 1982 Aug 10 Ends: 1983 Jan 12 Date of release: 2013 Aug 1 Any docs withheld? 3 File classification: Top Secret Pages: 197
PREM19/1368 Royal family (Princess Margaret's proposed visit to China for Royal Ballet performance; Duke of Edinburgh's visit to China as President of World Wildlife Fund (WWF)) Begins: 1982 Aug 5 Ends: 1984 Jan 30 Date of release: 2014 Nov 28 Any docs withheld? 3 File classification: Confidential Pages: 42
PREM19/2829 Royal Family (Royal visit to Brussels, November 1980) Begins: 1980 Jun 27 Ends: 1989 Nov 20 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30 Any docs withheld? 3 File classification: Confidential Pages: 9
PREM19/1760 France (Anglo-French relations) (Part 3) Begins: 1985 Jul 4 Ends: 1986 Oct 23 Date of release: 2014 Dec 30 Any docs withheld? 3 File classification: Top Secret Pages: 204
PREM19/1337 Parliament (Legislative programme) (Part 12) Begins: 1984 Mar 6 Ends: 1984 Sep 26 Date of release: 2014 Jan 3 Any docs withheld? 3 File classification: Confidential Pages: 306
PREM19/1433 Cyprus (Visits to the UK by President Kyprianou: meetings with Prime Minister) (Part 1) Begins: 1979 Dec 10 Ends: 1985 Jan 14 Date of release: 2014 Dec 30 Any docs withheld? 3 File classification: Secret Pages: 386
PREM19/3136 Prime Minister's Tours Abroad (Prime Minister's visit to Aspen, Colorado, USA, August 1990: administrative arrangements) Begins: 1989 Dec 20 Ends: 1990 Oct 2 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 Any docs withheld? 3 File classification: Confidential Pages: 236
PREM19/1273 India (UK/Indian relations) (Part 3) Begins: 1982 Nov 22 Ends: 1984 Feb 27 Date of release: 2014 Jan 3 Any docs withheld? 3 File classification: Top Secret Pages: 288
PREM19/2695 Germany (Anglo-German relations) (Part 4) Begins: 1986 Oct 3 Ends: 1989 Aug 30 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 Any docs withheld? 3 File classification: Secret Pages: 333
PREM19/2425 Prime Minister (Prime Minister's meetings with the World Leadership of Soviet Jewry and the 'Mothers of Freedom') Begins: 1983 Sep 12 Ends: 1987 May 4 Date of release: 2016 Jul 21 Any docs withheld? 3 File classification: Confidential Pages: 70
PREM19/3351 Germany (Anglo-German relations) (Part 6) Begins: 1990 Oct 15 Ends: 1991 Jul 9 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 Any docs withheld? 3 File classification: Secret Pages: 301
PREM19/2440 Prime Minister's Tours Abroad (Prime Minister's visit to European Council meeting in Rhodes, December 1988: administrative arrangements) Begins: 1987 Nov 23 Ends: 1988 Dec 5 Date of release: 2016 Nov 7 Any docs withheld? 3 File classification: Confidential Pages: 50
PREM19/3328 European Policy (Setting up of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) (Part 2) Begins: 1990 Oct 4 Ends: 1991 Apr 11 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 Any docs withheld? 3 File classification: Confidential Pages: 321
PREM19/2189 Government Hospitality (Reception arrangements for official visitors: Guards of Honour in the FCO courtyard. Note: With plans) Begins: 1980 Jan 10 Ends: 1988 Aug 11 Date of release: 2016 Jul 21 Any docs withheld? 3 File classification: Confidential Pages: 120
PREM19/2948 Economic Policy (Prime Minister's bilaterals with the Chancellor of the Exchequer) (Part 3) Begins: 1988 Sep 2 Ends: 1990 Nov 15 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 Any docs withheld? 3 File classification: Secret Pages: 195

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