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MFAT Releases Previously Restricted Files

MFAT releases files in annual restricted file review

Correspondence from the New Zealand public on international issues such as nuclear ship visits and the Vietnam War are among nearly 2400 files being released for public access under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s ongoing review of restricted files.

The majority of files in this year’s release date from the 1950s through to the 1980s. Many of the files have already been transferred to Archives New Zealand and some are scheduled for transfer in coming months.

Material being released covers a wide range of subjects, including:

Vietnam – public representations re NZ involvement in the war (1965-73) NZ’s position on a peace settlement with Germany (1940-47) Rhodesia – public representations (1965-72), sanctions (1970) Air New Zealand’s (TEAL) early relationship with Qantas (1959-64) Atomic energy research for peaceful use and military uses (1958-75) Letters from the public regarding nuclear ship visits (1975-76, 1985-86) Department of Island Territories files, including those on Public Service Commissioners’ visit reports to the Cook Islands, and records concerning the selection and appointment of Resident Agents, “native” police and school teachers in the 1920s International Law of the Sea issues such as foreign vessels fishing in NZ waters (1960s-70s) Enforcement of the United Nations Charter (1940s-70s) Among the files are included records from the Ministry’s posts in Apia, Beijing, Brussels, Canberra, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, London, New York, Rarotonga, Saigon and Tokyo.

As in previous years, files reviewed and cleared during the previous 12 months are released in early August. Rather than release files after a fixed time period (eg. 30 years), the Ministry reviews and releases closed files as soon as practicable, subject to resources and international document release conventions.

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