Foreign Office Secrets


‘You just said that they were keeping something from me – how do you know if you DON’T KNOW??’
Bernard was beginning to look desperate. ‘I don’t know specifically what, Prime Minister, but I do know that the Foreign Office always keep everything from everybody. It’s normal practice.’
‘So who would know?’ I asked.
Bernard thought for a moment. Then he gave me the full benefit of his education and training. ‘May I just clarify the question? You’re asking who would know what it is that I don’t know and you don’t know but the Foreign Office know that they know that they are keeping from you so that you don’t know but they do know, and all we know there is something we don’t know and we want to know but we don’t know what because we don’t know.’ I just stared at him in silence. ‘Is that it?’ he asked.
I took a deep breath. It was that, or grabbing him by the lapels and shaking him senseless. ‘May I clarify the question?’ I asked. ‘Who knows Foreign Office secrets, apart from the Foreign Office?’
‘Ah, that’s easy,’ said Bernard, ‘only the Kremlin.’

– Lynn J., Jay A. 1986. The Complete Yes Prime Minister London, Great Britain: BBC Books (1989) p. 173-174

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