One of the less obvious things that we do here at the Archives Centre, is look after the British Diplomatic Oral History Programme(BDOHP for short).
Not, on the face of it, what you would expect to find at Churchill Archives Centre, this online collection of transcribed interviews with former diplomats is actually one of our most heavily used collections, after the Churchill and Thatcher Papers.
The BDOHP began life in the mid 1990s, created by Malcolm McBain, himself a former member of the Foreign Service, and since then over 130 interviews with the people who actually implemented British foreign policy on the ground from the 1960s onward, have been added to it, and are available on our website.
Some of my own particular favourites include the interview with Sir John Weston, then a lowly member of the embassy in Peking on his first overseas posting, describing a mass attack on the embassy in 1967, in which it was burned to the ground. Or there is the dramatic account from Sir Robert Wade-Gery, then Deputy Cabinet Secretary, of the decision taken by the Cabinet to sink the Belgrano during the Falklands War.
Unfortunately, the BDOHP has had to stop doing new interviews (though this will hopefully be a temporary hiatus), due to lack of funding, but it remains an amazing resource for the study of recent foreign policy.