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Cabinet Office: Minister of Defence Secretariat: Records

CAB 120
Cabinet Office: Minister of Defence Secretariat: Records

This series consists of the files of the military secretariat of the Cabinet Office for the period that Churchill and Attlee successively combined the offices of Prime Minister and Minister of Defence. The files reflect the personal direction of the war and its aftermath over the whole range of issues in which the minister involved himself and the machinery through which he operated.

Included are minutes by the Prime Minister, copies and relevant extracts of the Defence, Chiefs of Staff and other committees and sets of personal telegrams exchanged by Churchill and Presidents Roosevelt, Stalin and Inonu and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek, and of telegrams of the British delegations at the war time meetings of allied heads of state.


Chronological within original subject classifications

Related Material:
For papers of the Prime Minister as Minister of Defence see PREM 3
Held by:
The National Archives, Kew
Former references:
in its original department:   Known as the "PM files" within the Cabinet Office and quoted as such in official histories
Legal status:
Public Record
Cabinet Office, Minister of Defence Secretariat, 1940-1945
Physical description:
876 file(s)
Access conditions:
Subject to 30 year closure unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:
Cabinet Office , from 1980
Series is accruing
Administrative / biographical background:

When Churchill became Prime Minister in May 1940, he also assumed the title of Minister of Defence. The scope and powers of this office were not defined, nor was it the subject of special legislation or the creation of a ministry; Churchill required only what he called a 'handling machine' and the military wing of the War Cabinet Secretariat fulfilled this function. Following the general election in 1945, Attlee continued to combine the office of the Minister of Defence with that of Prime Minister and this arrangement continued until December 1946, when A V Alexander was appointed as Minister of Defence.

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