CAB 163, War Cabinet, Ministry of Defence, and Cabinet Office: Central Intelligence Machinery: Joint Intelligence Sub-Committee, later Committee: Secretariat: Files, 1939-1985

The records in this series which have been included in this resource cover the period 1939-1953.

The early papers in this series relate to Operation Torch, the Anglo-American invasion of French North Africa during the North African Campaign of the Second World War which started on November 8, 1942. The collection is a rich source of intelligence and situation reports including a series of intercepted and decoded wireless messages transmitted by German forces. Other material relates to the Eastern front and the exchange of intelligence information with the Soviet Union.

The later files in this series are concerned with the administration, structure, and functions of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) in the post-war period and the circulation of intelligence reports within government. One of the most significant reports produced in this period was a review of intelligence conducted by Air Chief Marshall Sir Douglas Evill, which is found in CAB 163/7. The conclusions of the report were mixed, for while Evill found the JIC product “indispensable” for military planning, he felt that the JIC was too large and unwieldy a body to properly supervise the collation and direction of British intelligence.[1] The report also argued that, with the advent of atomic weapons and the jet engine, scientific intelligence was particularly weak and should be reorganized with a first-rate scientist at its head. These shortcomings eventually led to the creation of the Directorate of Scientific Intelligence in 1950.

This series also contains a few files of the Joint Intelligence Committee Secretariat relating to the organization of the intelligence staffs during and after the Second World War, intelligence support to particular operations, and the disposal of sensitive documentation found among those papers of Sir Winston Churchill that subsequently accrued to record series PREM 3.


Dr. Stephen Twigge, Head of Modern Collections, The National Archives, UK

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