MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been given to the statement, telegraphed by Reuter's correspondent in Constantinople and published in the Press, that Sir Philip Currie, Her Majesty's Ambassador at Constantinople, has received letters from Mr. C. N. E. Eliot recently sent to Thessaly to report on affairs there, and giving the substance of those letters; whether Her Majesty's Government have yet received copies of the letters in question; and, if not, when they expect to receive them; who communicated to the newspaper correspondent the substance of Mr. Eliot's reports; whether Her Majesty's Government have any information showing whether those reports were communicated by Mr. Eliot to any other person than Sir Philip Currie; and, if so, to what other person; and whether 973 Her Majesty's Government propose to take any steps to prevent in the future the publication in the Press of public documents before they have been communicated to Parliament?
The statement alluded to gives only the briefest outline of what are alleged to be Mr. Eliot's Reports. These have not yet been received here, but, if they have reached Constantinople, will no doubt be forwarded at once. We do not know whether the letters have been shown to anybody or whether they are public or private documents. The brief announcement in the Press cannot be said to amount to publication of them, nor does there seem to be any objection to the facts being made public, as they appear to correct exaggerated rumours.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many of the statements made by the newspaper correspondents, apparently on the information of the Ambassador, are directly at variance with the truth?
I decline to admit either of the assertions contained in the hon. Gentleman's Question. In the first place, there cannot be "many" statements attributed to the Ambassador, because the telegraphed summary sent to the newspapers only occupies eight or nine lines of The Times; and in the second place, so far as our information goes, none of the statements are in direct contravention of the truth.