By Mark Curtis
I am about to publish on this site hundreds of UK declassified documents and articles on British foreign policy towards various countries. This will be the first time such a collection has been brought together online.
The declassified documents, mainly from the UK’s National Archives, reveal British policy-makers actual concerns and priorities from the 1940s until the present day, from the ‘horse’s mouth’, as it were: these files are often revelatory and provide an antidote to the often misleading and false mainstream media (and academic) coverage of Britain’s past and present foreign policies.
The documents include my collections of files, accumulated over many years and used as a basis for several books, on episodes such as the UK’s covert war in Yemen in the 1960s, the UK’s support for the Pinochet coup in Chile, the UK’s ‘constitutional coup’ in Guyana, the covert wars in Indonesia in the 1950s, the UK’s backing for wars against the Iraqi Kurds in the 1960s, the coup in Oman in 1970, support for the Idi Amin takeover in Uganda and many others policies since 1945.
But the collection also brings together many other declassified documents by listing dozens of media articles that have been written on the release of declassified files over the years. It also points to some US document releases from the US National Security Archive.
This collection is a beginning. It provides a snapshot only of the true history of British foreign policy since 1945. There are many more tasks that need to be done.
One is that many other declassified documents and articles that are online somewhere need to be added, including those from the Thatcher era in the 1980s and those from more recent policies, for example from the Wikileaks site.
Another task is to include present-day material gathered from Freedom of Information requests.Eventually, I would like this project to be systematically submitting FOI requests to garner more information about current UK policies (which currently few are doing).
Furthermore, there is much more research that needs to be done physically at the National Archives in London to uncover more episodes in UK foreign policy: the media, and mainstream academia, has covered only a snapshot of what is already available at the National Archives.