Follow up open letter about FCO 141- the ‘migrated archives’

Dr Valerie Johnson
Director of Research & Collections
The National Archives

25 August 2022

Dear Dr Johnson,

Open Letter about FCO 141 – the ‘migrated archives’

Thank you for your letter of 5 August 2022 responding to my letter of 14 July 2022. We are
pleased to hear that significant internal resource is being dedicated to the testing of the FCO
141 series and appreciate the further communication which was issued on 2 August.

We are pleased that public communication about the status of these records has improved
•considerably since the initial period of their withdrawal, and we trust that open and timely
statements will continue to be made. Such information is of great importance to researchers
waiting to access the records.

The outcome of these investigations is also of importance to the sector more widely. It is with
this in mind that we would like to return to our questions not addressed by your response:
whether insecticide has only been detected in the bound volumes and whether it is only the
records of particular colonies which are affected.

It has come to our attention that other institutions have material within their collections
similarly treated with insecticide. This suggests that it is likely that there are more collections,
in the UK and beyond, holding material that may have been similarly treated. We ask that
TNA commits to sharing the methodology it has used to test the records, analyse the results
and devise safe handling guidance as soon as possible so that other libraries and archives can
benefit from lessons. learnt during this exercise and ensure the safety of their staff and users.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Lucy McCann

cc Mr Jeff James, Chief Executive Officer and Keeper, The National Archives, Kew

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