By John F. Naylor

The debate surrounding the booklet of Richard Crossman's cupboard Diaries (1975) dropped at the fore opposing techniques 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 ancient query is still: by way of what strategy, and with what effects, has legitimate secrecy come to envelop the practices of contemporary cupboard executive? This e-book tackles that key query, drawing upon a uniquely wide variety of professional and personal papers to check the historic improvement of the cupboard workplace, the custodian of cupboard secrecy. tested through Lloyd George within the administrative chaos of 1916, the cupboard Secretariat - because it used to be first identified - emerged because the relevant organisation for the administration of cupboard company, operating heavily with the major 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 place of work unfastened from partisan taint and he for my part served all Britain's inter-war leading Ministers as confidant and influential consultant.

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Additional resources for A Man and an Institution: Sir Maurice Hankey, the Cabinet Secretariat and the Custody of Cabinet Secrecy

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162 However, Hankey acknowledged one exception to the precept that the views of individual War Cabinet ministers ought not be recorded: if he spoke upon a certain topic as an expert - he gave the diplomatic example of Curzon on India - then his views were recorded. ' 163 The Cabinet Secretary pointed as well to the use of the minutes as the means of informing the head of a concerned department of the War Cabinet's decision. Thus a concise resume of the arguments which lead to a decision served important informational needs, but fuller minutes would reveal the individual positions of War Cabinet ministers and could lead to invidious pressures emanating from the departments; in contrast, the resume protected the Cabinet's collective responsibility and eliminated any susceptibility to individual posturing for the record.

96 At that time Hankey had not shied from lobbying on his own behalf, showing the same detailed preparation which was to characterize his secretarial labors. Haldane had been asked to interview the candidates, and he pressed Hankey on the question of his age and relatively junior rank; according to Hankey, he replied to the War Secretary that 'at my age he was a Q. C. 98 There is little question that Hankey made his mark upon the ministers with whom he came into contact: Asquith did not hesitate to name him Secretary to the War Council, formed in November 1914.

Hankey used a very selective historical approach for one contemporary purpose: 'Their existence disposes of the argument which followed the institution of the Cabinet Minutes by Mr. Lloyd George that this was such an outrage to tradition as to make Mr. '46 While Hankey sought remote institutional precedent for the work of his Secretariat, he was unaware that records of Cabinet discussions far closer in style to those minutes which he kept had been maintained, albeit for private purposes, by several ministers in the era of Gladstone and Disraeli.

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