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Re: For your eyes only

Posted by Joe on January 15, 2009 at 19:35

In Reply to: For your eyes only posted by Dave35 on January 15, 2009 at 15:57:

: Obviously the phrase For Your Eyes Only was popularised by the Ian Fleming book, but does anyone know how long the phrase (or the shortened version 'Eyes Only') was in use before this, in its original secret intelligence sense?

Obviously the phrase For Your Eyes Only was popularised by the Ian Fleming book, but does anyone know how long the phrase (or the shortened version 'Eyes Only') was in use before this, in its original secret intelligence sense?

In the "secret intelligence sense" it dates certainly from WWII, the 1940's and American. .

It is and was never an official classification for documents of a sensitive nature.

It is an informal routing notation that came from well love letters and such in poetry and literature. There are examples of letters between famous people that used such to say a certain official or person only read the letter.

The administrative security classifications such as "For Army (or Navy, or Air
Force) Eyes Only" -this is noted in a discussion of the terms.

Markings other than "Top Secret," "Secret," or "Confidential," such as "For
Official Use Only," "Limited Official Use" or "Eyes Only," shall not be used ...


"Personal and Top Secret for the eyes only of the President from Harriman" is an example of the many applications where one's name is noted.

The Memoirs of Cordell Hull‎ - Page 201
by Cordell Hull, Andrew Henry Thomas Berding - History - 1948 - 1804 pages
CH Occasionally a memorandum came from the White House with this note: Memo for
the Secretary of State: For your eyes only. FDR With the use of a couple of ...

So, it was never an official classification, it is also sort of such as if any letter or document is so sensitive that it would be hand delivered.

A sealed document addressed say: "Top Secret" To General Eisenhower SHAPE HQ from George Marshall, COS would go to the SHAPE HQ in London and only be handled by whomever Ike authorized to see such. This is why we have couriers and such.

My own recollection would be that I saw many documents, orders, reports address as "Top Secret" then a list of who it was being sent to: Commander 101st Airborne Division, HQ" or that and such as ADC Assistant Division CO, G1, G2, etc..

Besides if they actually said "Eyes Only" do you think the General would have the foggiest idea how to decode such? Access to such coded material is another hierarchy of classified material handling. Suspect that it would be suitable for say the betting pool on the Army-Navy football game,  :-)

"Please eat after reading"