§ Q192. Mr. Dalyell
To ask the Prime Minister when she expects an announcement to be made on the possible publication of the volume prepared by Professor Sir Michael Howard in the series entitled the "Official History of British Intelligence"; what criteria are being used in determining whether publication can take place; whether publication with appropriate deletions is being considered; on whose authority Sir Michael Howard was commissioned to write his volume; what has been the cost to public funds of work on this volume; and what assessment she has made of the utility and cost-effectiveness of the commissioning of official histories on intelligence matters which are not subsequently published.
§ The Prime Minister
The "Official History of British Intelligence in the Second World War" was commissioned in 1971 by the Government of the day. The right to decide on publication of this history, as with all official histories, rests exclusively with the Government. Four volumes of the "History of British Intelligence" have already been published, volume I in 1979, volume II in 1981, volume III, part I in 1984 and volume III part 2 in 1988. The decision about timing and form of publication of the volume commissioned from Professor Sir Michael Howard, the direct cost of which was in the region of £10,000, will be taken in the light of our best judgment of the national interest.