Reuters was paid to help spying: Boxes of documents released at the Public Record Office chart the activities of British intelligence and its network of agents from a century ago. Stephen Ward reports
Friday 16 July 1993
A private letter, signed in July 1894 by Baron H de Reuter, head of the agency, and Sir T H Sanderson, a Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, formally sets out the company's offer to work closely in the gathering and dissemination of news.
He promises, in return for pounds 500 a year, that 'confidential reports from our agents will be compiled . . . all of which will be communicated to the Foreign Office as soon as received.
'The company pledges itself to observe the strictest secrecy in regard to the origin of news communicated by the Foreign Office for publication.'
A later letter points out that British government information could be distributed by Reuters to the United States via the Associated Press.
Foreign Office correspondence makes it clear that Lord Kimberley, the Foreign Secretary in Lord Rosebery's government, had sanctioned the arrangement. He added notes in red ink, signed 'K'.
The agreement continued for five years, paid for by the secret fund, despite the scepticism of civil servants about its value. It was cancelled by Lord Rosebery's successor, Lord Salisbury, in 1898, after unreliable information about the British fleet in Port Arthur was transmitted by the agency.
The close links apparently continued, however. The subscription was renewed for Reuters' North China Agency in 1909, at a cost of pounds 200 per annum, a later file shows. The cost was justified on the basis that it was vital to keep the agency afloat, and in the tense state of international relations, to avoid being reliant on a rival German agency for information on the region.
- 1 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 2 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 3 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 4 George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
- 5 Medina: Saudis take a bulldozer to Islam's history
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
Brother and sister, Christopher Buckner and Timothy Savoy, arrested for 'committing incest after watching 'The Notebook''
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
- < Previous
- Next >
£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Financial Technical Consultant (C++, C#, F...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 3 Teacher Required We are curr...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 5 Primary Teaching positionRands...
£45000 - £69999 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Algo-Develo...