HO 262 - Ministry of Information, Home Intelligence Files.

This series contains the Home Intelligence Division files of the Ministry of Information, 1939–1946. Although originating in the Ministry of Information, these files came into the possession of the Home Office and have therefore been treated as a Home Office series.

The Ministry of Information was formed in 1939, taking over some of the powers of the Home Secretary. Its initial functions were threefold: news and press censorship; home publicity; and overseas publicity in allied and neutral countries. For home publicity, the ministry dealt with the planning of general governmental or interdepartmental information, and provided common services for the public relations activities of other government departments. The Home Intelligence Division was responsible for reporting on public attitudes and morale, and was in close touch with the Intelligence Branch of the Ministry of Home Security, which had itself grown out of the Air Raid Precautions Department of the Home Office, and which continued to depend on the Home Office for legal, establishment, and public relations services.

Key topics covered by the Home Intelligence Division files include reports of meetings of pacifist, communist, and fascist groups in Britain; dangerous publications; anti-Semitic feelings; the apparent causes of pacifism; pro-German propaganda in schools; attitudes towards foreign nationals in Britain; and public attitudes toward the war and post-war reconstruction.

This close relationship between the Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Home Security, and the relationship that each had to the Home Office, may explain why, when the two ministries wound up in 1945–6 and their functions were in part reintegrated into the Home Office, some of the Home Intelligence files remained distinctly Ministry of Information, and some that were possibly expected to be of continuing interest to the Home Office were registered there.

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