Forum: Past Intelligence

Christopher Andrew questions official policy towards the history of British Intelligence.

I had a conversation last year with a Russian historian who regretted the almost total inaccessibility of Soviet (though not Tsarist) archives. 'But', he added 'I'm sure you have problems in England too. For example, if one of your students wanted to gain access to The Times for 1936, would he get permission?' I replied that he would not need permission. But the gap in my Soviet colleague's comprehension of British freedom of information was too wide to bridge in a brief conversation. The Lenin Library in Moscow still offers nothing like the freedom of access enjoyed by Karl Marx in the Reading Room of the British Museum over a century ago.

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