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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
PREM19/3891 Prime Minister (Briefing for new Prime Minister and spouse) Begins: 1990 Nov 1 Ends: 1992 Feb 5 Date of release: Date of release: Temporarily Retained by Department
PREM19/3892 Prime Minister (Demise of a Prime Minister in office) Begins: 1989 Jan 31 Ends: 1992 Oct 27 Date of release: Date of release: Temporarily Retained by Department
PREM19/3893 Prime Minister (Prime Minister's meetings with the Cabinet Secretary) (Part 1) Begins: 1984 Sep 1 Ends: 1992 Mar 9 Date of release: Date of release: Temporarily Retained by Department
PREM19/3910 Prime Minister's Tours Abroad (Invitations from various organisations in the USA) (Part 3) Begins: 1986 Aug 11 Ends: 1992 Aug 10 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Confidential Pages: 147
PREM19/3912 Qatar (Visits to the UK by the Amir of Qatar) (Part 2) Begins: 1990 Feb 1 Ends: 1992 Feb 10 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 Any docs withheld? 4 File classification: Confidential Pages: 75
PREM19/3917 Royal Family (Marriage and separation of Prince Andrew) Begins: 1986 Mar 1 Ends: 1992 Mar 21 Date of release: Date of release: Temporarily Retained by Department
PREM19/3918 Royal Family (Marriage of Prince of Wales to Lady Diana Spencer) Begins: 1981 Jan 1 Ends: 1992 Jun 24 Date of release: Date of release: Temporarily Retained by Department
PREM19/3919 Royal Family (Marriages and divorces of various members of the Royal Family) Begins: 1988 Mar 23 Ends: 1992 Jun 4 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 Any docs withheld? 1 File classification: Secret Pages: 30
PREM19/3920 Royal Family (Precedence of Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) on Royal visits) Begins: 1982 Dec 9 Ends: 1992 Jul 20 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 Any docs withheld? 7 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 85
PREM19/3929 Saudi Arabia (UK/Saudi relations: internal situation) (Part 5) Begins: 1990 Apr 6 Ends: 1992 Jun 29 Date of release: Date of release: Temporarily Retained by Department
PREM19/3930 Saudi Arabia (Calls on the Prime Minister by the Saudi Ambassador) Begins: 1983 Jun 4 Ends: 1992 Sep 17 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Secret Pages: 54
PREM19/3931 Saudi Arabia (Visits to the UK by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al Faisal)​​​​​​​(Part 16) Begins: 1982 Jun 7 Ends: 1992 Aug 3 Date of release: Date of release: Temporarily Retained by Department
PREM19/3934 Security (Appointment of successors to the Director General of the Secret Intelligence Service and Director General of the Security Service: Prime Minister's visit to the Security Service; Security Service accommodation)(Part 2) Begins: 1990 Jul 1 Ends: 1992 Jul 17 Date of release: Date of release: Retained Under Sec 3.4
PREM19/3936 Security (Intelligence Agencies (MI5 and MI6): meetings, visits, appointments)(Part 2) Begins: 1989 Feb 14 Ends: 1992 Dec 21 Date of release: Date of release: Retained Under Sec 3.4
PREM19/3939 Security (Operational file) Begins: 1990 Mar 15 Ends: 1992 Sep 18 Date of release: Date of release: Retained Under Sec 3.4

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