Details of secret US-UK 'spying pact' released

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A previously top secret intelligence-sharing agreement between Britain and America is being released to the public for the first time.

Until a few years ago, even the existence of the agreement was not acknowledged by the two governments.

Signed in 1946, it remains the basis for the sharing of intercepted communications between the countries.

Some of the material shared on the Soviet Union in the 1940s is also being released by the National Archives.

During World War II, Britain and America had co-operated closely on so called "signals intelligence" - intercepted communications.

When the war came to an end, the two sides decided to institutionalise that co-operation and establish it in the new context of the emerging Cold War with the Soviet Union.

'Truly global coverage'
As well as revealing the deal itself, the National Archive files lay bare the negotiations which led to its signing on 6 March 1946, and the follow-up agreements throughout the 1950s that were needed to make it operate in practice.

"It's the nuts and bolts of how it works," said Dr Edward Hampshire, principal records specialist at the National Archives.

Details of the agreement are being released simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic following separate Freedom of Information requests to British and American governments....

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