Catalogue description Records of Trade and International Concerns

Details of Division within MAF
Reference: Division within MAF
Title: Records of Trade and International Concerns

Records of the External Relations Division and earlier material relating to international affairs and trade.

The records relate to:

  • Agricultural attach├ęs at embassies, high commissions and the United Nations: MAF 290.
  • CAP Support: Reform of CAP and Community: MAF 477.
  • CAP Scheme Policy (CSM series): MAF 789.
  • Common Agricultural Policy Schemes and Related Policy: Registered files (CPD prefix) MAF 777 and (CSM prefix) MAF 789.
  • European Community Free Food Scheme: MAF 692.
  • European free trade areas: MAF 322.
  • European Union food and agriculture policies: MAF 247, MAF 379 and MAF 444.
  • Food trade economics: MAF 333.
  • Foreign travel: MAF 314.
  • General Agreement Tariffs and Trade (GAT series): MAF 608.
  • General trade relations and international affairs: MAF 40, MAF 276, MAF 349, and MAF 473.
  • Governmental and non-governmental organisations, conferences and committees: MAF 334.
  • North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO): MAF 297.
  • Overseas visitors and trainees: MAF 310.
  • Possible Devolution of Scotland and Wales following Autumn Referendum: Registered files (DVU prefix): MAF 664.
  • UN food and agriculture policies: MAF 252 and MAF 352.
  • United Nations (EIUN series): MAF 737.

Date: 1919-2014
Related material:

While the External Relations Division has overall responsibility for matters with international implications, nearly all other divisions of the ministry work on aspects relating to international relations, and related records will be found among the files for those areas.

Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, 2001-

Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, European Recovery Programme and Trade Policy Division, 1949-1953

Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, General Division, European Recovery Programme (Marshall Aid) Branch, 1948-1949

Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, International Affairs and Trade Policy Division, 1953-1955

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, European Community Division II, 1980-1994

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, European Union Division II, 1994-2000

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, External Relations Division, 1955-1956

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, External Relations Division, 1982-1988

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, External Relations Division I, 1956-1982

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, External Relations Division II, 1956-1982

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, External Relations Division III, 1962-1973

Physical description: 26 series
Administrative / biographical background:

International Relations, 1889-1945

The early interest of the Board of Agriculture in the field of external relations covered aspects of international co-operation in research, information and the control of plant and animal diseases. Close links were maintained with the International Institute of Agriculture, founded in 1909. After the First World War the ministry became involved in the agricultural aspects of various international and imperial conferences and the work of the League of Nations agricultural committees. The adoption of protective policies in the 1930s for agriculture increased the significance of international relations in the ministry's work. At this stage, however, no separate division was established to deal with these matters, questions being dealt with ad hoc by the branch or division involved, working where necessary with the Foreign Office or the Board of Trade.

International Relations, 1945-

In 1948 a European Recovery Programme (Marshall Aid) Branch was established in the General Division to handle the ministry's activities in relation to this plan, and in 1949 it was established as a separate European Recovery Programme and Trade Policy Division. In 1953, following the ending of Marshall Aid, the division was renamed the International Affairs and Trade Policy Division. The division handled all aspects of the ministry's relations with foreign countries and international organisations. In 1956, following the merger with the Ministry of Food, the division was renamed the External Relations Division, although it was quickly divided into two separate divisions. External Relations Division I dealt with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), import/export policy and commodities policy, duty relief, quotas, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the various United Nations food organisations, and food aid issues. External Relations Division II dealt with relations with other countries and with the European Economic Community (except for 1961-1963 and from 1972 onwards), and from 1976 with export promotion. Responsibility for co-ordinating United Kingdom relations with the Food and Agriculture Organisation passed from Division I of the ministry to the new Ministry of Overseas Development in January 1965.

In 1982 the two divisions were combined to form a single External Relations Division. In 1988 the division was again split in two. An External Trade Policy Division (from 1991 the Trade Policy and Tropical Foods Division) handled the ministry's relations with GATT, the European Free Trade Area, OECD, the United Nations, and European Community agricultural relations with non-EC states. An External Relations and Trade Promotions Division dealt with the UK's bilateral relations with non-EC states, food aid matters, and trade promotion and support for UK food exporting companies. In 1990, this division was split further, External Relations and Trade Promotions Division I performing these functions for non-communist countries, while Division II dealt with Sino-Soviet bloc states, and liaison with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Overseas Development Administration. When the two divisions were re-unified in 1992, the separate special Soviet bloc unit was retained until 1994 when its work was absorbed into the main body of the division. In 1995 the division was renamed International Relations and Export Promotion Division.

Relations with the European Community, 1961-

External Relations Division III was established in 1961-1963 to deal with agricultural aspects of the United Kingdom's entry negotiations with the European Economic Community. When the United Kingdom eventually joined the community in 1972, the European Economic Community Divisions I and II were formed. Division I dealt with general co-ordination of the Ministry's relations, liaison with the United Kingdom permanent representative, and monetary questions, while Division II handled legal and parliamentary aspects and bilateral relations with other community states. As the community developed, each division gained responsibilities, Division I becoming responsible for liaison with the Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce, and input to the Common Agricultural Policy, while Division II handled the European Regional Development Fund and questions relating to enlargement of the community.

In 1983 a Division III was created, to handle the annual review of agriculture (previously dealt with in Division I), liaison with the Home Office on questions relating to the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, state aids to agriculture, and relations with OECD. The division was abolished in 1984, and its functions distributed amongst Division I and II. Matters relating to the creation of a single internal market for the community, community surplus food schemes and the Channel Tunnel were dealt with by Division II. The nomenclature of these divisions changed with that of the community, European Economic Community Divisions becoming European Community Divisions in 1980, becoming in turn European Union Divisions in 1994. In April 1996, following a brief reversion to the title 'European Community', the Division II was re-named European Union Division II. At the same time a new CAP Schemes Management Division was created to replace part of the Regional Services Division, and deal with the UK's policy on the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS, commonly known as the Common Agricultural Policy or CAP), as well as dealing with European Community fraud and control issues.

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