On the website of Britain’s Consultative Group on Security and Intelligence Records I found the following intriguing item.
Various international agreements concluded since the end of the Second World War, most notably UKUSA, had provided for the exchange of Sigint between the Sigint agencies of the United Kingdom and the countries concerned. GCHQ had avowed the existence of the UKUSA agreement in December 2006 and the date on which it was signed (6 March 1946) but no other details of the agreement had been released. GCHQ were in discussion with their United States counterparts concerning the release of the full text of the UKUSA agreement and some related correspondence in the immediate post-war period. Discussions were also taking place with counterparts over the release of similar agreements.
The Consultative Group took note of the update on UKUSA agreement given by GCHQ and noted that the intention was to combine its release with similar agreements.
UKUSA, of course, was the Cold War continuation of the remarkable World War II signals intelligence cooperation between the US and UK. During that war, the two countries opened up their most sensitive SIGINT secrets (ULTRA, MAGIC, and the cryptologic methods behind them) to each other in a way that was quite unprecedented in history. Except for US-UK cooperation during World War I. But that’s a different story…
All that aside, not only would the release of the UKUSA be a remarkable step but it appears that the UK is considering releasing analogous agreements that it has with other countries. Here’s hoping that Britain’s partners are cooperative.