War Cabinet and Cabinet Office: Lord Hankey: Papers
This series consists of correspondence and papers accumulated by Lord Hankey during his career in public service which ended in 1942, although two files extend past this date.
The papers include memoranda and reports (largely prepared by Hankey) prepared for ministers and the Cabinet some of which became Cabinet papers, and correspondence; his engagement diaries 1926 to 1937; accounts of his visit to Dominion countries (South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Canada) 1934 to 1935 and his discussions there on matters of defence; correspondence and papers relating to his work in government during the Second World War including, in particular, a number concerning defence, oil supplies, the fall of the Netherlands, Belgium and France, and supplies to the Allies; and some private and personal correspondence.
PLEASE NOTE: Records within this series are available to download free of charge as part of the Digital Microfilm project.
Subject and chronological
The early files in the collection (CAB 63/1-53) bear the inscription 'Magnum Opus' and there are indications that their contents were partially, at least, indexed
In 1908, Hankey became Assistant Secretary to the Committee of Imperial Defence (CID), and in 1912 he succeeded Sir Charles Ottey as Secretary. During the First World War, the work of the CID diminished rapidly, and Hankey and his Secretariat were successively employed on the work of the War Council, the Dardanelles Committee, and the War Committee. The War Cabinet was established in December 1916, and Hankey was appointed Secretary. After the War Cabinet was dissolved in 1919, Hankey continued to serve as Secretary to both the Cabinet and the CID, until he retired in 1938. From 1923 to 1938 he was also clerk to the Privy Council.
On the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, Hankey accepted the invitation of the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, to join the government as Minister without Portfolio and as a member of the War Cabinet. Utilising his previous experience and background, he was appointed to chair various ad hoc committees concerned with particular aspects of the war, the most notable of these being the Committee on Preventing Oil from Reaching Germany (POG), which met from October 1939 to December 1941.
In May 1940 following Chamberlain's resignation, the new Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, retained Hankey as a minister (Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster), but not as a member of the Cabinet. In July 1941, he became Paymaster General, but he resigned after only nine months and left the government in March 1942. He continued to serve, however, on several governmental committees, including chairing the Scientific Advisory and Engineering Advisory Committees to 1942.
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