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Cabinet Papers (20th C.)

Several extensive, linked sets of Cabinet Papers of the UK Government are held on microfilm, covering the period 1920-1974. The governments covered include the inter-war cabinets leading up to World War Two, the first Labour government after the war, and the governments of Churchill, Eden, Macmillan, Wilson and Heath. The types of documents included are Cabinet conclusions, memoranda, and related reports.

Part 1 focuses on the period 1920-1939, and contains minutes for 1920-1939 and memoranda for 1928-1939. The documents deal with chaotic inter-war years and shed light on domestic issues such as unemployment and international concerns such as German activity in Europe and relations with the USA.  

Part 2 covers the vitally important war years, 1939-1945, and tracks the war as it progressed across Europe, the Middle East, Far East and Africa.  

Part 3 provides insights into the post-war recovery period of 1945-1951. Included in this set are all the Cabinet minutes and memoranda for the Churchill and Eden Governments, October 1951-January 1957. The documents shed life on the changes the Conservative Government introduced and way in which the administration coped with the global international challenges of the 1950s. There is much material on the process of granting colonial independence, on Anglo-American relations, the National Health Service, industrial disputes and wages policy, economic policy and moves towards European integration. The intricacies of the Suez Crisis in 1956 can also be examined.  

Part 4 is not included in the Collection. Part 5 follows the progress of Harold Wilson's government (1964-1968) and sheds light on issues such as the economic problems, labour relations, immigration, unrest in Northern Ireland, education and housing.

Part 6 provides documents dealing with the last turbulent years of the Wilson government, January 1969-May 1970. There is much material on the economy, defence issues, international relations and the troubles in Northern Ireland. There is also good material on the Divorce Reform Act, the Matrimonial Property Act, the abolition of the death penalty, the free vote on abortion, Concorde and the reorganisation of the National Health Service.  

Part 7 covers the period of June 1970-March 1974, the period of the Heath administration. Topics dealt with in this set includes Britain and Europe, the economy, negotiations regarding Rhodesia, the coal and steel Industries, Concorde, prescription charges, sport and popular culture, Vietnam, Uganda and the Middle East, fuel shortages, pay and price freezes, massive increases in oil prices and the Yom Kippur War, and the Icelandic Fisheries Dispute.

The Macmillan-era Cabinet Papers are available online, covering the years 1957-1963; these contain 30,000 documents from that government's period of office.

Date range: 1920-1974

Significance: Significance in Wales and the United Kingdom

Size: Tens of thousands of documents on 160 microfilm reels.

Language: English

Keywords: Government, politics, history, Britain, Parliament, World War Two.

Notes: The years 1957-1964 are not covered by this collection. See related collections of British Labour Party archives on microfilm covering a similar period over the 20th century. Indexes to 19th century Cabinet papers are also held.