The Russia Committee of the British Foreign Office: its influence on foreign policy formation in the early Cold War

Stirling, Teresa Anne (2019) The Russia Committee of the British Foreign Office: its influence on foreign policy formation in the early Cold War. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This thesis adds to the historiography on British foreign policy towards the Soviet Union in the early Cold War by closely examining the work of the Russia Committee, a secret organisation within the Foreign Office, in order to assess its influence on the formation of foreign policy in the early Cold War. The research undertaken was based on the scrutiny of the official Foreign Office Archives, of the meetings and papers of the Russia Committee from its inception in March 1946 to the early 1950s, as well as Cabinet papers, private papers of key individuals, diaries and memoirs and relevant secondary historical sources.

It concludes that the Russia Committee was a vital piece in the jigsaw of intelligence provision to the British government on Soviet Communist expansionism, and for a time was the only body collecting and analysing all aspects of Soviet activities. It helped to determine how to deal with the emerging circumstances and tensions. It recognises that policy formation was a joint enterprise on the part of the Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin for most of the years covered, and his Foreign Office advisers and helped Ministers to determine how to deal with the emerging threats. It concludes that the Russia Committee inevitably influenced the decisions taken by Ministers. The inability to prove the extent of that influence does not, it concludes, negate the case for such influence to have occurred. It further concludes that the strong relationship of trust and respect between Bevin and his official advisers aided his strong leadership both as Foreign Secretary and a towering figure of the two Attlee administrations from 1945 onwards.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > History
Subjects: D History > D History (General) > D839 Post-war History, 1945 on
D History > DA History of Great Britain > DA020 England > DA129 By period > DA300 Modern, 1485- > DA566 20th century > DA566.7 Political and diplomatic history
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2019 12:31
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2022 15:48
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/86317

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