Churchill created the Special Operations Executive in 1940
The head of Britain's wartime Special Operations Executive urged Winston Churchill to keep the secret agency going in peacetime.
Files released by the National Archives show that Lord Selborne felt it could still help with "the Russian menace".
And he wrote that allowing the Foreign Office to take control of it, as they wanted to do, would be like "putting an abbess in charge of a brothel".
The SOE had more than 2,000 agents expert in subversion and sabotage.
Many were trained assassins who had organised resistance groups across Europe, and run financial and black propaganda operations.
As World War II drew to a close, the question of what to do with the SOE grew increasingly urgent.
The Foreign Office wanted to take control of it, merging it with the Secret Intelligence Service.
This, Lord Selborne argued, was "madness".
The files show that he repeatedly urged Churchill to keep the agency going. In May 1945, he insisted it could still play a key role in dealing with Russia and the "smouldering volcanoes" of the Middle East.
Churchill, who had created the SOE in 1940, deferred the decision.
"Let someone else settle this," reads his note in the files. Another scribble adds "after the election".
In the end, Churchill lost that election and his successor, Clement Attlee, closed the SOE down.