'C', Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS): special operations

This file concerns the future of special operations after the war, including a draft Directive sent to the Foreign Office by 'C' on 30 January 1946: 'In time of peace all permitted activities abroad will be subject to the approval and control of the Foreign Office'. Special operations would give 'covert support to British national interests' by 'influencing prominent individuals, disbursing subsidies, countering hostile propaganda and by para-military activities as appropriate'. Priority would be given to those countries, including the Middle East, which were 'likely to be overrun in the early stages of a conflict with Russia'. A circular telegram sent to HM Representatives overseas on 26 March 1946 said the Chiefs of Staff had decided SOE should come to an end as a separate organisation. 'In future there will, therefore, be a single Secret Service and 'C''s local representative will be solely responsible in your country'. There are various revised drafts of the Directive, and a paper setting out Menzies' requirements for planning purposes in accordance with it.

Covert propaganda 1948

In January 1948 'C' sent the Foreign Office a paper on 'Special Operations other than clandestine propaganda', suggesting activities that SIS might carry out as 'part of a propaganda campaign or as separate subversive operations against the Russians and Communist Parties'. These included 'framing' diplomats and other officials with planted evidence, penetration of factories and trades unions, sabotaging party meetings with stink bombs, explosive parcels, intimidation, kidnap and even the 'liquidation of selected individuals'. The paper covered other countries threatened by Communism, as well as the Eastern bloc. These proposals led to considerable discussion in the Foreign Office although, as William Hayter pointed out, most of the operations proposed would be contrary to the ministerial ban on subversive operations in satellite countries. The minutes of a meeting recognise that some of the activities may seem 'childish' but would be a 'considerable nuisance to communists'. Other papers include a memo by Sir Norman Brook on Anti-Communist propaganda, produced after a meeting on 12 March 1948 and records of discussions on these issues with the Chiefs of Staff. These deliberations led directly to the establishment of the Foreign Office's Information Research Department (IRD) in 1948.

Relations between the Security Service (MI5) and the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS): memorandum of agreement

This file contains discussions on which agency should operate where in the post-war world. It includes a report on 'Relations between the Secret Service (SIS) and the Security Service' by a cross-agency working party, presented to the Director-General of MI5 and 'C' by Guy Liddell, the Deputy-Director General of MI5, on 29 April. 'C' responded in a letter to Sir Percy Sillitoe of 18 May, broadly accepting the report's conclusions but raising several points, underlining the distinction between the Security Service's remit (Commonwealth and Defence tasks) and SIS's (intelligence about foreign powers). In his reply of 23 May, Sillitoe said he thought 'C' was pressing this point 'a little too far', since the Security Service also needed to collect information about foreign countries, for security planning purposes.

By July, the two Services had reached agreement on a Memorandum of Understanding, which included the objective of ultimately sharing a London headquarters. It also stated that the 'employment of secret agents in foreign countries is the exclusive responsibility of SIS, but the Security Service will not in future be ruled out of direct access to foreign security authorities where this is necessary for the purpose of exchanging information and co-ordinating operations'. There is further minuting on the question of joint accommodation for the Agencies, including a note by Strang of points raised by Bevin, including the statement that 'It is important that 'C' should not be chained to his desk. What can we do to liberate him?'

Soviet Union: future intelligence activities

In a letter to Sir Orme Sargent of 25 June 1948, 'C' referred to the decision taken by Sir Alec Cadogan in 1945 that 'I might try to penetrate the USSR from the outside, provided that I set up no organisation inside the country'. However 'C' noted that since the USSR was 'the ultimate objective of all my operations, the ban on working inside it has become rather a stumbling block'. He asked for the ban to be relaxed, and this was agreed at a meeting on 12 August 1948.  The file also contains examples of political and military intelligence obtained through a conversation with a high-level Soviet official, equivalent in rank to a Colonel-General. Codenamed 'Legris', he provided important intelligence about conditions inside the Soviet Union and the unpopularity of the Soviet regime. He also provided advice on how best to spread anti-Communist propaganda within Russia, including the suggestion that women make news travel fast; what Russian authorities referred to as Saraphan (or pinafore) radio whereby housewives could spread news from city to suburb in a matter of hours.