A Man and an Institution: Sir Maurice Hankey, the Cabinet by John F. Naylor

By John F. Naylor

The talk surrounding the booklet of Richard Crossman's cupboard Diaries (1975) dropped at the fore opposing recommendations of 'open' and 'closed' executive inside of Britain's unfastened society. whereas a stability has for the instant been struck in regards to the secrecy of cupboard complaints, a historic query is still: via what approach, and with what effects, has authentic secrecy come to envelop the practices of contemporary cupboard executive? This e-book tackles that key query, drawing upon a uniquely wide variety of reliable and personal papers to check the old improvement of the cupboard place of work, the custodian of cupboard secrecy. proven by means of Lloyd George within the administrative chaos of 1916, the cupboard Secretariat - because it was once first identified - emerged because the crucial enterprise for the administration of cupboard company, operating heavily with the top Minister himself. In Sir Maurice Hankey's twenty-two-year time period as cupboard secretary, he presided over the institutionalisation of the Secretariat as an workplace loose from partisan taint and he in my opinion served all Britain's inter-war major Ministers as confidant and influential consultant.

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Clearly it took its point of departure from Hankey's proposed' Draft Rules of Procedure,' drawn up for the War Cabinet and subsequently discussed by that body. 105 The record-keeping function is clear, but the communication of decisions is every bit as important; as well, the reverse flow of information to the War Cabinet was provided for. Another crucial fact of information-gathering was secured through the appearance before the War Cabinet of ministers and military leaders; in this regard Carson provided a contemporary impression of how the new system functioned: On the Agenda paper (of some 15 items) there was a rough time-table as an indication to the ministers and others concerned of the time when their presence might be required, though of course the indication was far from precise and, though the War Cabinet worked very hard (straight on from about 1130 to about 7:30 daily), they could not depend on getting through the whole of the agenda.

The Hothouse Diaries) have shown them to be incomplete accounts of Cabinet discussions - the premier's own interests or faulty recollection may intrude. Although particular specimens of 'the Prime Minister's letter' are interesting and useful, the genre communicates only a limited understanding of the dynamic of nineteenth-century Cabinet government. And of course it served no useful purpose so far as the Cabinet itself was concerned: the result of the lack of any official record had often been either ignorance or confusion, comprising a pattern attested to by a wide variety of ministerial frustrations.

Balfour, agreed to the reconstitution of the committee, and a re-organized Committee of Imperial Defence emerged in late 1902; it differed from its predecessor in its regular meetings and limited membership - the Prime Minister, the First Lord, the Secretary of State for War, and their four military advisers, which met at the premier's summons and as his own committee. 75 Pressures for more formal structure of CID activities came from the report on military re-organization returned by the Esher Committee in December of that year; they recommended the appointment of a civilian secretary and a full-time stafif to consider all aspects of national and imperial defence on a continuing basis.

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