This series contains the surviving records produced by Special Operations Executive headquarters sections supporting the work of the various country sections that ran active operations behind enemy lines, and also the private office papers of Lord Selborne who, from February 1942 as Minister of Economic Warfare, was the minister responsible for the work of SOE.
The headquarters files deal with administration, finance, personnel matters, policy and planning and political relations.
Subjects covered in this series include: minutes of various SOE committees, including the SOE Council and weekly progress reports to the SOE Executive Committee; general and operational policy and planning matters; SOE relations with United States organisations and activities in the Americas, including recruitment of agents; matters relating to airborne communications with agents in the field (supply drops and agent delivery and collection) and naval operations in support of SOE work; liaison with the regular armed services and government departments; the operation of clandestine communication lines into enemy-occupied Europe; honours and awards for SOE agents and the termination of agents' employment and contracts (known as 'liquidations'); SOE finances; security of communications with agents in the field and general security matters; recruitment and training; post-operation evaluations; SOE relations with other government departments; and histories of SOE operations and sections.
Lord Selborne's papers include files of correspondence with other ministers, officials and military personnel, with SOE agents and with various governments in exile.
There are also some records relating to the organisation of SOE and the symbols used to denote sections and individual officers and other aides-memoires created by post-war SOE advisers, and a small collection of specimen forged documents made by SOE for the use of agents in the field.