Confidential Print consists of complete or extract copies of selected correspondence and other papers issued or received by the Foreign Office. Individual prints contain varying numbers of documents; ranging from single items to substantial compilations; which deal with the affairs of particular countries or subjects.
FO 881 consists of a virtually complete set of confidential prints.
The nature of these documents also varies considerably, although particular volumes generally contain some or all of the following types: dispatches from British diplomatic missions, Foreign Office instructions and memoranda, political, economic and other reports generated by diplomatic missions abroad, by the Foreign Office's own departments or by other departments of the British Government, proceedings of foreign legislative bodies and memoranda transmitted by foreign embassies in Britain, proceedings and resolutions of ambassadorial and other diplomatic conferences, protocols and ratified treaties, proceedings and reports of international bodies and reports from home and foreign news media relating to political affairs. Individual volumes are also divided into chapters on occasion, each chapter dealing with a specified topic or event.
Confidential print was intended for circulation internally within the Foreign Office and to the monarch, the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, other government departments and diplomatic missions abroad and was printed for the convenience of users.
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