How Lose Embarrassing Records


‘He handed me the file. Inside was a sheet of paper which read as follows:

‘This file contains the complete set of papers, except for:

(a) a number of secret documents
(b) a few others which are part of still active files
(c) some correspondence lost in the floods of 1967
(d) some records which went astray in the move to London
(e) other records which went astray when the War Office was incorporated into the Ministry of Defence
(f) the normal withdrawal of papers whose publication could give grounds for an action for libel or breach of confidence or cause embarrassment to friendly governments.’

[1967 was, in one sense, a very bad winter. From the Civil Service point of view it was a very good one. All sorts of embarrassing records were lost – Ed.]

– Lynn J., Jay A. 1981. The Complete Yes Minister London, Great Britain: BBC Books (1991) p. 513