Christopher Mayhew

From Wikispooks
Revision as of 19:02, 19 January 2015 by Robin (talk | contribs) (job and dates)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Person.png Christopher MayhewRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(propagandist, politician)
Born12 June 1915
Died7 January 1997 (Age 81)
Founder ofInformation Research Department

Christopher Paget Mayhew was a politician, broadcaster and writer. During his time at the [[Foreign Office], he supervised the creation the Information Research Department.

In his autobiography Denis Healey writes:

Chris Mayhew was one of the few socialists at Oxford in my time who never joined the Communist Party. He had been in the clandestine unit, Phantom, during the war, with Norman Reddaway, who became his private secretary and later head of the Foreign Office's so called Information Research Department...Two decades later he was my Navy Minister, and resigned over my decision to phase out the aircraft carriers, afterwards leaving the Labour Party and becoming a Liberal. [1]

Creation of IRD

In 1948 Mayhew was instrumental in the creation of the Information Research Department. IRD was not created openly with the knowing support of the Labour Cabinet. Rather the author of the paper which went to cabinet - Mayhew - was a Labour right winger and cold warrior. Mayhew dissembled to the cabinet about the purpose and function of the IRD by claiming that it was to be a 'third force' campaign, understood as policy intended by the left to be independent of both the US and the USSR. According to Mayhew himself:

I thought it was necessary to present the whole campaign in a positive way, in a way which Dick Crossman and Michael Foot would find it hard to oppose. And they were calling for a Third Force... so I recommended in the original paper I put to Bevin that we call it a Third force propaganda campaign.[2]

As Mayhew himself noted 'the turning point' was the speech of George Marshall the US secretary of State in June 1947. From 'the middle of 1947 onwards, decisions were taken towards uniting the free world, at the expense of widening the gap with the Communist world... our immediate objective changed, from "one world" to "one free world"'.[3]

[[Display born on::12 June 1915| ]][[Display died on::7 January 1997| ]]

80 pounds thermometer.png
As of 5 May 2021, our Patrons are giving £80/month, which is 4/5 of our webhosting bill. If you appreciate our efforts, please help keep this site running by donating or spreading the word about our Patreon page.


  1. Denis Healey, The Time of My Life (London: Penguin, 1989) p.106
  2. Paul Lashmar and James Oliver, (1998) Britain's Secret Propaganda War: Foreign Office and the Cold War, 1948-77, Stroud, Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing, p27.
  3. Lashmar and Oliver, Op cit. p. 28