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Chair: Dr Amanda Chisholm, Senior Lecturer in Security Studies / Researcher in Gender and Security

Speaker: David Schaefer, PhD candidate and Research Assistant, Department of War Studies


This presentation offers the first historical account of the ‘Five Eyes’ network in early Cold War Asia, as it transformed from a wartime patchwork of liaison relationships into a Western intelligence alliance against the Sino-Soviet powers. The Five Eyes is recognised today as a unique expression of international cooperation in signals intelligence (Sigint), but scholarly understanding of this partnership suffers from an unbalanced treatment of its historical origins and its global evolution in the post-1945 period.

Existing accounts of Sigint focus on the intimate coordiation of American, British, and Canadian resources in the North Atlantic and Europe, but this comprises just one node in what would gradually become a multilateral arrangement spanning every region of the world by the mid-1950s. This presentation details new archival insights into the haphazard extension of ‘Five Eyes’ cooperation into East and South-East Asia, and offers a new interpretation of the Korean War as a catalyst for Western intelligence cooperation in the Cold War. 



David is a PhD candidate in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, where he works as the Administrator of the King’s Intelligence and Security Group. He previously worked as a Junior Research Fellow at Ormond College in the University of Melbourne, and a Research Associate at Asialink Diplomacy. He is also the co-author, with the late Michael Herman, of the forthcoming Intelligence Power in Practice, which will be published by Edinburgh University Press.

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