The arrangement of the papers requires some explanation. The original system of filing had been partly by subjects, partly chronological. For example, the files on Foreign Affairs include Series A, where papers on one subject, sometimes extending over several years, are assembled in one file; and Series B, where a single file for one year may encompass half-a-dozen unrelated subjects. Trade had been similarly treated, though in this case it has proved possible to integrate the two systems in a single, roughly chronological, series. India is a chronological series, but the subject series Imperial also contains files devoted to India and there is further material elsewhere, e.g. in the series Dominions and Colonies. Lines of demarcation between files are often hazy, and there is much overlapping. Despite these hazards for the user, it would have been neither practicable nor desirable when sorting to make fundamental changes in the original arrangement, which remains essentially unaltered. But some tidying-up in detail was unavoidable: for example, the section of Letters was found in disorder; some regrouping had, in a few cases, to be undertaken where two subjects had been confused, e.g. League of Nations and League of Nations Union; many files and papers were found out of place and had to be fitted into what seemed appropriate positions, which sometimes involved the creation of additional files; and numbers needed to be allotted to some series previously unnumbered. Finally, to make the subject basis of the whole collection clearer, related series have been brought together under a few broad groupings - Home Affairs, Empire Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Letters, Personal, Speeches - which did not previously exist.
While the papers still lay unbound in folders and filing-boxes in the University Library, an overall system of numbering was introduced to make reference easier, and each subject group or series was allotted a number (e.g. D.4.8, F.7). In most cases there is also a file title, such as League of Nations 2. As these references still appear on the old file covers (now bound in), and show the structure of the collection, they have been included in the handlist. But now that all the papers are bound into volumes, it is sufficient when ordering or quoting material to cite the volume number, and the folio within the volume.
At an early stage of sorting in the Library it had been agreed that documents marked as the property of H.M. Government should be sent back to the Cabinet Office. Such documents were therefore extracted and filed separately, in anticipation of their removal. But subsequently it was decided that, with the few exceptions already noted, they should remain with the collection while being subject to the "fifty-year rule" which at that time (1955) regulated access to similar documents in the Public Records. Later still, the substitution of the "thirty-year rule" and a review of the items in question led to a gradual removal of the restrictions on all of them. As, however, it was by then too late - since binding was already well under way - to restore most of them to their original places in the files, they appear at the end of the list in a section of Papers Withdrawn.
Letters from members of the Royal Family, correspondence with royal Private Secretaries, and documents relating to the Abdication crisis of 1936 were also extracted and filed separately. These all remain subject to restrictions, details of which are given in the list.
ARRANGEMENT OF COLLECTION
1-89 D. HOME AFFAIRS
1-2 D.1. Defence, etc.
3-10 D.2. Finance, etc.
11-34 D.3. Labour, Trade, etc.
35-63 D.4. Political and Party Affairs
64-5 D.5. Local Affairs and Miscellaneous
66-89 D.6. Deputations
90-107 E. EMPIRE AFFAIRS
90-5 E.1. "Imperial", i.e. Miscellaneous Dominion and Colonial Affairs
96-7 E.2. Dominions and Colonies
98 E.3. Dominions and Colonies: Trade
99-101 E.4. Ireland
102-7 E.5. India
108-34 F. FOREIGN AFFAIRS
108-13 F.1. Foreign Affairs Series A
114-24 F.2. Foreign Affairs Series B
125-8 F.3. Reparations
129 F.4. Disarmament
130-1 F.5. Naval Conferences
132 F.6. League of Nations
133 F.7. League of Nations Union
134 F.8. "Peace Letter"
135-78 L. LETTERS
135-58 L.1. Letters of Congratulation, etc.
159-75 L.2. Letters: General Files
176-8 L.3. "The Royal Box"
179-81 P. PERSONAL
179 P.1. Chequers
180-1 P.2. Freedoms and Honorary Degrees
182-228 S. SPEECHES
182-205 S.1. Briefs and Drafts for Speeches, etc.
205 S.2. Oddments and Fragments
205-13 S.3. Speeches
214 S.4. Canadian Tour
215 S.5. Press Cuttings (Miscellaneous)
216-28 S.6. Press Cuttings (Main Series)
229-33 X. PAPERS WITHDRAWN