LONDON Jan 22 A group of British academics is
calling on the British government to be open about its past by
releasing 1.2 million secret files which date back over 150
years and relate the country's foreign policy.
Twenty-seven high-profile academics have put their names to
a letter sent to Foreign Secretary William Hague which asks him
to detail the files the government holds and how it plans to
release the cache of documents.
"The writing of full and impartial accounts of the Cold War,
Britain's colonial past, and other key subjects depends on
access to all the available records," said the academics, who
include Richard Evans, a professor of history at the University
"While the GCHQ story tells us that the government has
wholly unexpected capacities to unearth information about its
own citizens, the right of citizens to investigate UK foreign
and colonial policy over the last 150 years and more is clearly
The group, who are all fellows of the British Academy, said
in a letter to the Guardian that they had written to Foreign
Secretary Hague on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Stephen Addison)