By John F. Naylor
The debate surrounding the booklet of Richard Crossman's cupboard Diaries (1975) delivered to the fore opposing thoughts of 'open' and 'closed' govt inside Britain's loose society. whereas a stability has for the instant been struck about the secrecy of cupboard court cases, a historic query continues to be: through what method, and with what effects, has reputable secrecy come to envelop the practices of contemporary cupboard govt? This publication tackles that key query, drawing upon a uniquely wide selection of reliable and personal papers to check the old improvement of the cupboard workplace, the custodian of cupboard secrecy. validated via Lloyd George within the administrative chaos of 1916, the cupboard Secretariat - because it was once first recognized - emerged because the significant enterprise for the administration of cupboard company, operating heavily with the leading Minister himself. In Sir Maurice Hankey's twenty-two-year time period as cupboard secretary, he presided over the institutionalisation of the Secretariat as an workplace unfastened from partisan taint and he individually served all Britain's inter-war best Ministers as confidant and influential consultant.
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Extra resources for A Man and an Institution: Sir Maurice Hankey, the Cabinet Secretariat and the Custody of Cabinet Secrecy
Until recently, historians had not generally differentiated sufficiently between the two operations; evidence of the actual influence of the 'Garden Suburb' is finally in hand, and its war-time activities have been clarified: its irregular status and ad hoc pursuits are confirmed; the myth of a Milnerite monolith operating in the gardens of No. 143 While 'influence' is difficult to measure, the time for confusing the two operations144 surely is now past. 145 The Committee of Imperial Defence had been quartered in No.
Along with the wealth of experience and range of acquaintances which Hankey acquired in his CID service, the new Secretary shared in its carefully nurtured non-partisan status. Esher played a role in the committee's deliberations under Unionist and Liberal governments, but most of the credit for keeping CID activities at a remove from partisan politics is owed to A. J. 95 Hankey's own training in the Royal Marines had included a keen interest in Intelligence, which helped to qualify him for service at the CID; the attitude of political neutrality acquired there Hankey subsequently cultivated in the Cabinet Secretariat, although Hankey's own neutrality proved less than absolute.
The Hothouse Diaries) have shown them to be incomplete accounts of Cabinet discussions - the premier's own interests or faulty recollection may intrude. Although particular specimens of 'the Prime Minister's letter' are interesting and useful, the genre communicates only a limited understanding of the dynamic of nineteenth-century Cabinet government. And of course it served no useful purpose so far as the Cabinet itself was concerned: the result of the lack of any official record had often been either ignorance or confusion, comprising a pattern attested to by a wide variety of ministerial frustrations.