The Authorised History of British Defence Economic Intelligence : A Cold War in Whitehall, 1929-90 book cover
1st Edition

The Authorised History of British Defence Economic Intelligence
A Cold War in Whitehall, 1929-90

ISBN 9780367480486
Published January 14, 2020 by Routledge
410 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations

USD $49.95

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Book Description

This book is the first history of UK economic intelligence and offers a new perspective on the evolution of Britain's national intelligence machinery and how it worked during the Cold War.

British economic intelligence has a longer pedigree than the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) and was the vanguard of intelligence coordination in Whitehall, yet it remains a missing field in intelligence studies. This book is the first history of this core government capability and shows how central it was to the post-war evolution of Whitehall's national intelligence machinery. It places special emphasis on the Joint Intelligence Bureau and Defence Intelligence Staff - two vital organisations in the Ministry of Defence underpinning the whole Whitehall intelligence edifice, but almost totally ignored by historians.

Intelligence in Whitehall was not conducted in a parallel universe. This contrasts with the conventional wisdom which accepts the uniqueness of intelligence as a government activity and is symbolised by the historical profile of the JIC. The study draws on the official archives to show that the mantra of the existence of a semi-autonomous UK intelligence community cannot be sustained against the historical evidence of government departments using the machinery of government to advance their traditional priorities. Rivalries within and between agencies and departments, and their determination to resist any central encroachment on their authority, emasculated a truly professional multi-skilled capability in Whitehall at the very moment when it was needed to address emerging global economic issues.

This book will be of much interest to students of British government and politics, intelligence studies, defence studies, security studies and international relations in general.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Economics and Intelligence History

Part One - Prelude

1. A New Field of Intelligence

2. Rival Concepts

Part Two - The War Years

3. Enemy Branch

4. Planning for the Future

5. The Origins of the Joint Intelligence Bureau

Part Three - The Golden Age

6. The Changing Post-War Intelligence Architecture

7. The Joint Intelligence Bureau and Whitehall

8. Creating the Defence Intelligence Staff

9. Economic Intelligence for the Ministry of Defence 1946-91

10. Economic Intelligence for Whitehall 1946-68

Part Four - Marking Time

11. The British Way of Economic Intelligence

12. The Top Table

13. The Fate of the Directorate of Economic Intelligence



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Formerly an intelligence analyst at the Defence Intelligence Staff, Secret Intelligence Service, and Cabinet Office, Peter Davies has a PhD in History from Queen Mary, University of London and is currently affiliated to Drew University, NJ, USA.


'An authoritative study of the history of economic intelligence in the UK has been long overdue and this book fills the void. Peter Davies was a professional colleague of mine for many years and an excellent intelligence analyst. In particular his first-hand experience during the Cold War has enabled him to produce a definitive depiction of the work of the Directorate of Economic Intelligence in the Defence Intelligence Staff. His scrupulous research shows how much depended on profound understanding of the economic underpinnings of the Soviet and Warsaw Pact regimes, including their weapons production programmes. Here DEI analysts were usually the first to spot new systems under development. The book is essential reading for any student of British economic history in general and Cold War intelligence in particular.'--John N. L. Morrison, Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence 1995-99

'Fills a yawning gap in British intelligence history.'--Michael Herman, former senior officer GCHQ Cheltenham, Founder Director Oxford Intelligence Group

'Peter Davies has done what he set out to do - to shed light on the "Dark Matter" of the economic side of defence intelligence in Whitehall, especially during the first Cold War. He combines the rigour of the scholar with the gimlet eye of the insider.'--Professor Peter Hennessy, Queen Mary, University of London