§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
asked the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether, since it appears from General Roberts' letter of April 18th, and otherwise, that officers of the Army in Afghanistan have been acting as special correspondents of the "Times," "Daily Telegraph," "Standard," and other papers, and that this is contrary to the Regulations for the government of the Army (as stated by the Secretary of State for War), he can say if the Government of India have relaxed those Regulations in respect of officers serving under them; if so, whether all officers in the Field are allowed to act as special correspondents, and to receive pay for doing so, or only particular officers specially permitted so to act; whether officers so acting are free to write as they choose on their own responsibilities, or their communications are subject to the control and approval of the commanding officer; and, in case he cannot completely answer these Questions, whether he will inquire from India?
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
Sir, the "Bengal Army Regulations" follow the "Queen's Regulations" in forbidding the publication of military information, but only where the publication of such information would be prejudicial to the interests of the Public Service. Paragraph 517 runs— 1175Commanding officers are to use their utmost vigilance to prevent the officers, non-commissioned officers, and men publishing information relative to the numbers, movements, or operations of troops, or any military details that may be prejudicial to the interests of the public service; and any officer or soldier will he held personally responsible for reports of this kind which he may make without special permission, or for placing the information beyond his control so that it finds its way into unauthorized hands.Within the scope of the Regulation thus limited, and under the responsibility thus imposed on him, doubtless an officer may communicate information. Whether for such literary work they receive pay or not is a matter with which the Secretary of State for India has no concern, and whether the officer commanding the troops considers it needful to exercise control over the communications which leave his camp, must depend on the nature of the duty on which the troops are employed, and the peculiar circumstances in each case, and must be left to his discretion. To lay down any general rule in such cases, without regard to the circumstances, would be to fetter the discretion of commanding officers in away which would be prejudicial to the Public Service.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
asked, Whether the "Bengal Regulations" were applicable to the Regular regiments serving in India?