UK Government spent $600,000 public money to keep Lord Mountbatten’s diary secret

A section of Lord Mountbatten’s diary is still kept away from people’s eyes for allegedly maintaining the overseas relationships with India and Pakistan.

British author Andrew Lownie has challenged the UK government to release the remaining confidential diaries and correspondence for the public. Clara Hamer, representing the author told that according to his diary, Lord Mountbatten met the head of the Boundary Commission to demarcate the India-Pakistan border, British judge Sir Cyril Radcliffe, and its secretary on July 12, 1947.

It raised suspicions about the role of Lord Mountbatten in the India-Pakistan partition as the last viceroy of India.

The suspicions were raised by a British author before the First-Tier Tribunal (Information Rights), which is hearing a case on whether the UK should disclose the remaining confidential diaries and correspondence of Lord and Lady Mountbatten, as per the media reports.

Deliberate redaction of the documents

Hamer wanted to know that the particular information, which hinted at Mountbatten’s role in Indian independence and Indo-Pak division, was deliberately red-pencilled by the government when Lownie sought to release the documents under the Freedom of Information clause.

She also questioned the expurgation of Mountbatten’s diary’s entry from the Indian pre-independence week — August 6, 1947. The author further alleged that the documents were expurgated to maintain the current relationship with the sub-continent. The confidential Mountbatten dairies are currently at the Broadlands Archive of the University of Southampton.

They have bought the diaries from the family for 2.8 million pounds to make them public in 2011. The money was spent from public exchequer. But later, the University of Southampton referred some of it to the cabinet. 

However, in 2019, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) had ruled in favour of the author and ordered the release of the entire Broadlands Archive. Notably, the archive contained letters exchanged between Nehru and Lady Mountbatten. Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Prime Minister of the newly independent India.

The cost of keeping a secret: $800,000

The UK government is currently bearing 600,000 pounds (around $800,000) for fighting the author in the court and protecting the secrecy of the documents — Diaries of Lord Mountbatten and his wife, Lady Mountbatten, and few correspondences.

The government is trying to bury the papers to maintain the relationship with India and Pakistan and the royal family’s reputation. Lord Mountbatten was the great-grandson of Queen Victoria and joined the royal navy like his peers.

He held the realms of the navy during World War II and played various roles during British Raj in India. The Mountbatten treasured trove is full of history and a lot of scandals.

Back to top button