§ Mr. Parker
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether, in view of the release of records containing Enigma/Ultra material to the Public Record Office, he has received any representations from former members of organisations concerned with the production and use of this material seeking authority to acknowledge the nature of their work.829W
§ Dr. Owen
, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 16th December 1977; Vol. 941, c. 481], gave the following information:
The release of Enigma/Ultra records to the Public Record Office has understandably caused those who worked on or used this material and who have maintained the undertakings of reticence which they gave at the time to ask where they now stand.
Amongst the records of the war-time Service Intelligence Directorates which the Government, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Records Act, have released to the Public Record Office are those based on intercepted radio messages of the enemy armed forces which no longer require security protection. The availability of the records which have been released in this way will enable a better historical judgment to be made of the part that intelligence played in the conduct of the war. Those who gave the undertakings of reticence to which I have referred are now absolved from them to the limited extent that they may now disclose the fact that they worked on or used material based on intercepted radio messages of the enemy armed forces. They may, for example, acknowledge having worked as interceptors, cypher breakers, distributors or users of this material, and may reveal what they know of the use made of it in the conduct of the war.
Other information, including details of the methods by which this material was obtained, has not been made available to the Public Record Office, the records in question having been retained with the approval of the Lord Chancellor in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Public Records Act. It remains subject to the undertakings and to the Official Secrets Acts and may not be disclosed. Those in any doubt should, therefore, satisfy themselves beforehand that any disclosure which they have it in mind to make does not go beyond information contained in the records released to the Public Record Office.
Those who worked on or used material based on these intercepted messages and who contemplate any book, article, lecture or other form of publication drawing on information obtained in the course of their official duties remain under the 830W normal obligation to consult their former Departments—now Foreign and Commonwealth Office or Ministry of Defence as appropriate.
As the Prime Minister told the hon. Member for Melton (Mr. Latham) on 30th November, the preparation of an Official History of Intelligence in World War II is well advanced. If it is published the principles governing the extent of permitted disclosure embodied in the guidance above will apply also in relation to the Official History.