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By John F. Naylor

The talk surrounding the e-book of Richard Crossman's cupboard Diaries (1975) delivered to the fore opposing ideas of 'open' and 'closed' executive inside of Britain's loose society. whereas a stability has for the instant been struck about the secrecy of cupboard complaints, a historic query continues to be: via what method, and with what effects, has reliable secrecy come to envelop the practices of contemporary cupboard executive? This e-book tackles that key query, drawing upon a uniquely wide variety of legit and personal papers to ascertain the old improvement of the cupboard place of work, the custodian of cupboard secrecy. tested via Lloyd George within the administrative chaos of 1916, the cupboard Secretariat - because it was once first recognized - emerged because the principal organization for the administration of cupboard enterprise, operating heavily with the best 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 in my view served all Britain's inter-war leading 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

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On the other hand, the CID's positive achievements, especially the collection of what Haldane called 'technical information,' ought not be discounted, because that information contributed to Britain's war readiness: paramount among the CID's contributions was the assembling of the War Book, prepared in 1911-13. It detailed and collated departmental plans for a 'Precautionary Stage' when the outbreak of hostilities seemed likely, specifying actions to be taken by departments at that time in the first stages of war; given the departmentalism of the old order, there is no doubt that the War Book provided the means by which HMG moved with some semblance of lock-step into war in August 1914.

Esher's 1904 re-organization aimed to secure a measure of control over the services, exercised by a Prime Minister's department in the hands of a senior military planner: Sir George Clarke, later Lord Syndenham, attempted to play such a role, but he was frustrated under Unionist and Liberal regimes alike; Clarke's hopes to preside over a ' Department of National Defence' had vanished before he stepped down in 1907. 93 As a relatively junior officer, Hankey thought it essential not to injure the extant relationship between the services and the CID: where men such as Esher, Balfour, and Clarke had been unable to create an independent status for the Committee of Imperial Defence, Hankey did well to work within the limitations posed by prevailing political attitudes and an ascendant departmentalism.

120 As a result, the war of deadly attrition persisted in France and Flanders. Nor could the military orientation of the Cabinet Secretariat ease the acrimonious relationship between the executive and the military authorities in the formulation and execution of war policy. Though the divisive struggle between war committees and the Cabinet had been ended, the debilitating conflict of politicians and soldiers persisted: in fact, relations between the 'frocks' and the 'brasshats' deteriorated throughout 1917.

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