This is a department of the British government responsible for promoting the interests of the United Kingdom overseas. The FCO, also known just as Foreign Office, was created in 1968. Its current budget equals £1.5 billion. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office occupies a building which originally provided premises for four separate government departments.
The FCO was formed from the merger of the short-lived Commonwealth Office and the Foreign Office. Due to increasing numbers of staff, the offices became cramped and much of the fine Victorian interior was covered over – especially after World War II. In the 1960s, demolition was proposed, as part of major redevelopment plan for the area drawn up by architect Sir Leslie Martin. With a new sense of the building’s historical value, it underwent a 17-year, £100 million restoration process, completed in 1997. The FCO’s management structure has sometimes been critisized. It is said that the FCO could feasibly cut 1200 jobs, or at least £48 million could be saved annually.