Select Committee on Public Administration Written Evidence

Letter to Rt Hon Dr David Owen MP from Sir Robin Butler KCB CVO, Secretary of the Cabinet and Head of the Home Civil Service

  Thank you for your letter of 10 May enclosing some chapters of your autobiography. These clearly need to be very carefully checked and I have put that in hand. I will try to meet your deadline but it is a tight one and I have to ask you—especially following my recent experience with Bernard Ingham!—not to give this section to the printers until you have had my comments on the security aspects.

  You will of course know that the Radcliffe Report recommended that all memoirs by former Ministers should be shown to me so that I can advise whether they comply with the guidelines set out in the 1974 Radcliffe Report, namely that they do not:

    (a)  contravene the requirements of national security;

    (b)  injure the country's international relations; or

    (c)  undermine confidence in relationships within Government.

  I hope that you will be willing to let me see the other sections of your book which cover your time as a Minister. I believe that, contrary to the constant dripping away fostered by the media, it is important that Ministerial memoirs uphold the Radcliffe principles but, as other memoirs writers will confirm, I do try to comment in a constructive, and not a destructive, way.

14 May 1991

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2006
Prepared 25 July 2006