Thursday, January 26, 2012

Still Secret U.K. Archives of the Malayan Emergency

The Guardian yesterday had an article called "Batang Kali relatives edge closer to the truth about 'Britain's My Lai massacre'" describing still secret archives relevant to the "Malayan Emergency."  The article notes:
Lawyers representing relatives of 24 unarmed victims who died at Batang Kali, Malaysia, in December 1948 have finally been provided with key Foreign Office correspondence about past investigations and Cabinet Office guidance on when inquiries should be held.
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The Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence have always insisted the villagers were shot while trying to escape detention. The incident has been described by some as the "British My Lai massacre", after the US troop killings in Vietnam
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The Foreign Office has refused, so far, to release any additional documents from its still unreleased colonial-era archive. The depository at Hanslope Park, near Milton Keynes, contains thousands of files not yet handed over to the National Archives.
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On the question of making public the relevant files at the Hanslope Park archives, it said: "The Foreign Office . . . holds 8,800 files from 37 former British administrations, including Malaya. The government plans to make as much of this material as possible available to the wider public, and has confirmed that the files will be reviewed. This review process may take some time."
For more on other colonial records found at Hanslope Park, see this earlier op-ed.