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Identity statement

Reference code(s)
GB0099 KCLMA MFF 13-14
DOCUMENTS ON BRITISH POLICY OVERSEAS: Series 1, volume 4, and Series 2, volume 2
1945-1946, 1950
Level of description
collection level
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
29 microfiche


Name of creator(s)

Official and semi-official missions, branches, and committees of the British Government, Dec 1945-Jun 1950

Administrative / Biographical history

The collection includes microfilmed copies of documents relating to British foreign policy, 1945-1950. The decision to publish a collection of documents of British policy overseas was announced in 1973 by the then Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Sir Alec (Alexander Frederick) Douglas-Home. This new collection was to include the most important documents in the archives of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in two series covering foreign policy in the periods 1945-1950 and 1950-1955 respectively. Principally covered in this publication of documents are instructions sent by His Majesty's Mission abroad in execution of policy, by their reports of business transacted with foreign governments, and by records of negotiations and discussions at home and abroad. Also included are the semi-official correspondence and memoranda which developed following World War Two from Missions abroad and their briefs for the Secretary of State. The decision to publish a collection of British diplomatic documents was in accordance with previous practice in not seeking to cover by documentary publication the conduct of foreign policy during war. Chronological coverage begins with the Potsdam Conference and its preliminary meetings, Jul 1945, and continues through the early phases of the Cold War. The second series in the publication reveals the difficulties of the British Government in its policy towards Western European integration, the Soviet Union, the United States, and its shrinking colonial empire, 1950- 1955. This series began with the French initiative in launching the Schuman Plan, which sought to establish a European steel and coal controlling organisation, and continued on with documents which reflect Cold War British relations with Europe, the United States, the Far East, and its colonies throughout the world.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Her Majesty's Stationary Office via Professor Lawrence Freedman, Department of War Studies, King's College London

Content & structure

Scope and content

Documents on British Policy Overseas, Series 1, Volume 4, and, Series 2 Volume 2, are microfilmed copies of documents relating to British foreign policy, 1945-1950. Part of a larger collection encompassing British foreign policy, 1945-1955, the microfiche in this collection relate specifically to Anglo-American relations, Dec 1945- Jun 1950. This collection is in two sections. The first includes documents relating to the establishment of an Anglo- American Cold War strategy; the exchange of atomic information and technology between the US and Britain; the use of British mainland and colonial bases by US armed forces; and the allocation of American funds to Britain as part of the European Recovery Program. The second section relates specifically to Anglo-American strategic and defence conferences which took place in London, Jan-Jun 1950. Documents concern the exchange of nuclear technology between the two powers; British and American political and military support to nations wishing to prevent communist insurrection; US involvement in the Middle East; the security of British and American sectors in the Federal Republic of Germany; British and American relations with Western European nations; and the strengthening of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

System of arrangement

This collection consists of two sections, which are arranged chronologically therein. Many of the documents in the collection have corresponding reference numbers from the Public Record Office series FO, PREM, and CAB. Finally, in accordance with the Parliamentary announcement in 1973, the editors of the collection have had the freedom in the selection and arrangement of the documents.

Conditions of access & use

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies may be printed off the microfilm for research purposes and are charged at the cost to the Centre. Enquiries concerning the copyright of the original material should be addressed to Her Majesty's Stationary Office

Language/scripts of material


Finding aids

This Summary Guide. Published version of the collection also available, Roger Bullen and M E Pelly (eds.), Documents on British Policy Overseas (Her Majesty's Stationary Office, London, 1984-1987).

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals
King's College London College Archives



Compiled Oct 1999

Description control

Rules or conventions

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

This catalogue is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. This catalogue may be updated from time to time in order to reflect additional material and/or new understandings of the material.

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  • Alliances
  • Central government
  • Collectivism
  • Colonial countries
  • Communism
  • Decolonization
  • Diplomacy
  • East West relations
  • Foreign relations
  • Government
  • Government departments
  • International conflicts
  • International instruments
  • International law
  • International relations
  • Military engineering
  • Military equipment
  • Nuclear warfare
  • Nuclear weapons
  • Political doctrines
  • Political systems
  • Public administration
  • War
  • Warfare
  • Wars (events)
  • Weapons
  • World War Two (1939-1945)
  • World wars (events)

Personal names

  • Home, Alexander Frederick, Douglas-, 1903-1995, Baron Home of the Hirsel, statesman

Corporate names

  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • NATO, North Atlantic Treaty Organization
  • Potsdam Conference, Jul-Aug 1945


  • Americas
  • Caribbean
  • China, East Asia
  • France
  • Germany
  • London, England
  • Middle East
  • USA, North America
  • USSR, Eastern Europe

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