Thousands of documents removed from former British colonies were regarded as a “guilty secret” and hidden, according to a damning internal review by the Foreign Office. The files were discovered earlier this year in connection with a legal case brought by four elderly Kenyans...After The Times revealed last month that 1,500 Mau Mau files had been discovered, William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, announced that 8,800 files from dozens of former colonies had been located. He ordered a full investigation into why such potentially incriminating material had not been released under the Public Records Act, and pledged to open it to the public. “It is my intention to release every part of every paper of interest subject only to legal exemptions,” Mr Hague said in a statement yesterday. The review was carried out by Anthony Cary, former British High Commissioner to Canada...
The “migrated archive” includes files secretly removed before independence from some 37 former colonies, including Cyprus, Aden, Palestine, Nigeria and Malaya because they “might embarrass HMG or other governments”. The files, covering 700 feet of shelving, are in Hanslope Park, the closed Foreign Office archive near Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.
...A tantalising glimpse of the kind of secrets the archive’s documents might reveal is offered by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s internal report...in 2007, staff recorded the presence of five boxes containing “files on the bombing of the King David Hotel” in Palestine. The attack occurred in 1946 when the hotel was the headquarters of both the British Military Command and Criminal Investigation Division.
On July 22, members of the right-wing Zionist paramilitary group Irgun, led by Menachem Begin, who went on to be Prime Minister of Israel twice, planted a bomb in the basement of the main building. Telephone warnings were not heeded and 91 people were killed and 46 wounded.
If one waits long enough, truth will out.