Catalogue description Records of Various Second World War Departments

Details of Division within FO
Reference: Division within FO
Title: Records of Various Second World War Departments

Records of Second World War departments and missions relating to special wartime needs:

  • The records of the Consular (War) later Prisoners of War Department are in FO 916.
  • A small number of the Political Intelligence Department's records are among those of the Political Warfare Executive in FO 898.
  • Records of the British mission to the French National Committee are in FO 892; Records dealing with the welfare of French nationals following the fall of France are in FO 1055.
  • Records of the office of the United Kingdom representative with the French Committee of National Liberation; political liaison officer with the United States Forces in the United Kingdom and North Africa; and minister resident at Allied Forces Headquarters in Algiers are in FO 660.
  • Records of the minister of state resident in the Middle East are in FO 921.

Date: 1938-1973
Related material:

For records of the minister resident for supply in Washington see AVIA 38

For a collection of papers relating to the detention of Rudolph Hess as a prisoner of war, 1941-1945, see FO 1093

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 13 series
Administrative / biographical background:

In September 1941 General de Gaulle set up the French National Committee in London, and this was recognised by Britain as representing Free French interests. A British mission was appointed to the committee to deal with diplomatic, legal, economic and military questions. The committee was recognised by the United States in July 1942. After the allied occupation of North Africa a separate French authority was established in Algiers, but in June 1943 this merged with the French National Committee to become the French Committee of National Liberation. This was based in Algiers until France itself was liberated.

During the Second World War special ministers responsible to the War Cabinet were appointed to reside in places overseas, charged with relieving military commanders of political responsibilities, co-ordinating the activities of the different British authorities, liaising with representatives of allied governments and taking emergency decisions on the spot. There were at various times a minister of state resident in the Middle East and ministers resident in Singapore, West Africa and at Allied Forces Headquarters in Algiers. There was also a minister resident for supply in Washington from November 1942.

The minister resident at Allied Force Headquarters in Algiers was appointed in December 1942, to provide a political element at a military headquarters where the command was American. From 1943 to 1944 he was also responsible for contacts with the French Committee of National Liberation at Algiers before the appointment of a special United Kingdom representative to the committee early in the latter year.

Have you found an error with this catalogue description?

Help with your research