Academics urge Britain to release secret historical files

by Reuters
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 16:35 GMT

LONDON, Jan 22 (Reuters) - A group of British academics is calling on the British government to be open about its past by releasing 1.2 million secret files which date back over 150 years and relate the country's foreign policy.

Twenty-seven high-profile academics have put their names to a letter sent to Foreign Secretary William Hague which asks him to detail the files the government holds and how it plans to release the cache of documents.

"The writing of full and impartial accounts of the Cold War, Britain's colonial past, and other key subjects depends on access to all the available records," said the academics, who include Richard Evans, a professor of history at the University of Cambridge.

"While the GCHQ story tells us that the government has wholly unexpected capacities to unearth information about its own citizens, the right of citizens to investigate UK foreign and colonial policy over the last 150 years and more is clearly being denied."

The group, who are all fellows of the British Academy, said in a letter to the Guardian that they had written to Foreign Secretary Hague on Wednesday. (Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Stephen Addison)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.