HC Deb 23 March 1999 vol 328 cc142-3W
Mr. John D. Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the following documents relating to the Government Codes and Cypher School's work in the Second World War will be released to the Public Record Office: the history or histories of(a) Hut 8 or German naval machine systems by C. H. O. S. Alexander, (b) the organisation and evolution of British naval sigint, by F. L. Birch, (c) the organisation and uses of naval special sigint, (d) the handling of naval special intelligence, (e) German naval signals intelligence, by Miss M. E. Storey, (f) Hut 6 and (g) 15K cryptography (Abwehr machine cyphers); and if he will make a statement. [75133]

Mr. Robin Cook

GCHQ maintains a document review unit which handles the release to the Public Record Office of potentially sensitive material, including the work of the Government Codes and Cypher School. GCHQ has been able to identify all the documents referred to except: "The organisation and uses of naval special sigint", "15K cryptography (Abwehr machine cyphers)" and "The German Navy's use of Special Intelligence by McMahon". The other documents referred to by the right hon. Member have been considered for release in the past but contained information the disclosure of which at the time would have been damaging to national security, and have, for that reason, not been released.

A version of the "History of hut 8 by A. A. Mahon" has been released in the United States.

Documents are reviewed in the light of the degree of public interest in their release, and of advice from the PRO. I have asked that the documents in question be reviewed before the end of the year. I will write to the right hon. Member when the review is complete.