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George Orwell

Volume 408: debated on Thursday 3 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many documents have been withheld from the file at the Public Record Office known as FO 1110/189 regarding a meeting between the Information Research Department of the Foreign Office and George Orwell; for what reason each of these documents has been withheld: and if he will release the documents to the Public Record Office. [123017]

One document has been withheld from FO 1110/189. It has been cleared for release and should be available at The National Archives in August. The document in question is the original of the list, published by the Guardian on 21 June, containing names of 38 alleged crypto-communists sent to the FCO by George Orwell in 1949. It was withheld from release in 1996 partly to respect the confidentiality under which it was given in 1949 and partly because a number of those named were still alive.