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Transcript of interview: Gill Bennett, 2019

Reference Code: GBR/0014/DOHP 187

Scope and Contents

From the Fonds:

The programme comprises transcripts of interviews with senior diplomats.


  • Creation: 2019


Conditions Governing Access

From the Fonds:

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.

Material in this collection is open to researchers unless otherwise marked in the catalogue.

Biographical / Historical

Gill Bennett OBE MA FRHistS is a Senior Associate Fellow of RUSI. She was chief historian of the Foreign Office from 1995-2005, and senior editor of its official history of British foreign policy, Documents on British Policy Overseas.

After graduating from Somerville College, University of Oxford, in 1969, Gill joined the Foreign Office in 1972 as a Research Assistant in the Foreign Office Historical Section, working on the official documentary history of British foreign policy, 'Documents on British Foreign Policy 1919-1939' (DBFP). Initially she worked on the inter-war series of documents, and then later moved on to the post-war series, gradually rising through the ranks as an Assistant Editor (1983-85) and ultimately an Editor (1985-90).

After taking a break and having two children, Bennett returned to the Foreign Office's Strategic Planning Unit (1991-92), to help in drawing up the first Foreign Office Information Systems Strategy, then to the North America and Canada Desk's Research and Analysis Department (1992-93). She was then promoted to the Performance Assessment Unit (1993-95), before returning to the historical side as Chief Historian, Records and Historical Department (1995-2005). For the first time, the department now published volumes based on closed material, on Britain and the Soviet Union 1968-72 and Détente 1972-76, while Gill also covered issues including the Nazi Gold, the Zinoviev Letter, the Mitrokhin Archive, the Anglo-Polish Historical Commission and Sir Roger Casement.

Gill took a second break from the Foreign Office in order to take up a Visiting fellowship at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, 2002-03 , to work on her biography of Sir Desmond Morton, 'Churchill’s Man of Mystery: Desmond Morton and the World of Intelligence' (published in 2006); then after returning to her post as Chief Historian for two more years, she became part of the research team working on the official history of the Secret Intelligence Service by Professor Keith Jeffery, published in 2010. Following this she became involved in a range of research projects for various Government departments from 2008 onwards, and was the 2006-07 distinguished visiting fellow lecturer at the Joint Services Command Staff College. Her book, 'Six Moments of Crisis: Inside British Foreign Policy', was published in 2013.


1 file(s)

Language of Materials



Bennett, Gillian, b 1951, historian and civil servant

Finding aid date

2020-01-14 12:12:19.450000+00:00

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 336087