|Description||The expansion of scientific exchanges with Western Europe was one of the most important initiatives of Thompson's period as Foreign Secretary. In 1965 and 1966 discussions took place within the Royal Society and between the Society and the Council for Scientific Policy, the Department of Education and Science and possible financial supporters. By November 1966 Thompson was able to announce in the 'International Relations' supplement to the Bulletin that the Society had decided to support small specialised European research conferences, short study visits by senior scientists between important centres of research in difference countries, and longer visits by postgraduate workers in both pure and applied science to chosen laboratories. Funding had already been provided by the Wates Foundation and from Pergamon Press through Mr Robert Maxwell and in 1967 further funds were made available by the Ford Foundation.|
In December 1966 the Royal Society called a meeting in London of representatives of academies or equivalent organisations in Western Europe to discuss its proposals, which were immediately and unanimously approved. Grants for study visits and research conferences were made in January 1967 and the first postgraduate fellowships were awarded in March. At about this time the DES placed a substantial sum at the Royal Society's disposal for 1967-1968 provided that balancing arrangements could be made with the other countries concerned. This plan was discussed at a second meeting of national representatives at Bad Godesberg in April and as a result appropriate balancing agreements were negotiated with Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Spain. At a meeting in Amsterdam in November 1967 it was decided to expand the programme by general increases in the 'balancing sums' and at a fourth meeting at the Royal Society in October 1968 all countries in Western Europe became partners.
While arrangements for a European scientific exchange programme were worked out, progress was also being made on scientific interchange with Israel. In 1967 the Royal Society accepted an offer of £8 000 a year for three years from the Hon Marcus Sieff, on behalf of several donors, to promote scientific exchanges with Israel, and after a visit to Israel by Thompson, the Israeli authorities agreed to contribute £2 500. During 1968 very considerable additional sums were raised from private sources to extend the scheme further.
Thompson kept together in a single chronological sequence his very extensive manuscripts relating to the Royal Society's activities in Western Europe and Israel and that arrangement is respected here. The record is particularly full for Thompson's time as Foreign Secretary, 1965-1971, and continues less comprehensively for a further decade. The material includes correspondence, committee papers, progress reports, and Thompson's manuscript notes and drafts.