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Office of the Strand 1 Chairman (British Government Delegation)

Northern Ireland Brooke/Mayhew Talks 1991-1992

In order to adequately reflect the role of the Chairman and his staff in re-drafting documents and controlling the flow of information during bilateral negotiations, we are representing them as a separate committee. In contrast to other Quill negotiations, in these Talks much of the actual work of negotiation and making proposals took place in bilateral meetings between the Chairman and the party delegations. The minutes of these sessions have been preserved in the same format as the minutes of the plenary sessions, and the sessions are modelled from the minutes as separate Committees (British Government/Alliance Bilaterals, etc.). The Chairman would move between these meetings, reporting on the positions of the other delegations and trying to reach accommodation. It is beyond the scope of the current project to model all the internal government meetings which took place during the Talks (although documentation for at least some of them exists in the National Archives), but we can draw on evidence within the sources we are using to show that proposals and agendas for the bilaterals were agreed within the Government team. For example, in a particular round of meetings, the Chairman will open the meeting with a near-identical agenda and summary of the current position of the other parties. To adequately model the fact that the flow of ideas between the delegations was filtered by the Chairman in this way, we have set up a committee called the 'Office of the Chairman' to show the conclusions of each bilateral discussion passing through the Chairman's Office and being redrafted before being passed on to the next delegation.

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