Letter: Tsar secrets

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Tsar secrets

Sir: What is the Foreign Office up to in trumpeting the release of "top secret" documents on the fate of the Romanovs (report, 23 July)?

All the "newly declassified" documents quoted in your article, and in a similar Times piece, were familiar to me. Tom Mangold and I obtained them at the Public Record Office as long ago as 1971, and used them for a BBC documentary and an investigative book, The File on the Tsar. Copies have been sitting in my loft ever since.

At the same time, however, we learned that British intelligence had been involved - with the connivance of King George V - in attempts to rescue the Russian Imperial Family. In 1974, one file on such operations certainly existed. The then Under-Secretary of State, Sir Anthony Royle, told us he had perused the Naval Intelligence dossier on a mission designed to bring the family out. He could not reveal its contents, he said, because he was bound not to by the Official Secrets Act.

If we really now live in an era of open government, how about letting us see that file, Mr Cook?


Cappoquin, Co Waterford, Ireland