In This Review

Know Your Enemy: How the Joint Intelligence Committee Saw the World
Know Your Enemy: How the Joint Intelligence Committee Saw the World
By Percy Cradock
John Murray, 2002, 351 pp
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The British government did not invent committees, but one might be excused for thinking it had. Few committees have exercised as much influence as the Joint Intelligence Committee, the senior analytical group of British intelligence founded in 1936. Cradock, an old-style Foreign Office mandarin who entered the service from Cambridge University almost half a century ago, played a large and controversial role in the retrocession of Hong Kong to China. Having chaired the jic for seven years and done a fair amount of archival digging, he is well placed to comment on its achievements, even if he is naturally disposed to celebrate them more than others might. Still, this account is interesting and thoughtful, focused primarily on the period from World War II through the late 1960s, the latest point at which declassified documents are readily available. The author's discussion of the relationship between intelligence estimates and policymaking is particularly well done.