Informed judgements

June 16, 2000

Karen Gold in her fascinating article on archival secrets ("Pens poised, paper waits", THES, May 19) cited Richard Aldrich as saying that closed bodies of documents are normally unremarkable. It would be nice if we ordinary mortals could check whether this is true, since we lack Professor Aldrich's extraordinary knowledge of the unknown.

Let us see, for instance, more of the documents about Suez, including the "New Doctrine", the British version of the Anglo-American plan to force Egypt to cooperate. Let us also see the documents concerning the Bank of England's refusal of credit facilities to the Spanish Republic in 1936, documents that are closed to the public until 2012. Then, and only then, can we judge whether there is indeed something nasty in the archives.

Will Podmore. London E12.

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