HC Deb 02 April 1900 vol 81 cc933-4
MR. JOHN ELLIS (Nottinghamshire, Rushcliffe)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether the censorship now established in British South Africa includes in its operation letters or other documents passing in the mails; and, in that case, under what authority, statutory or otherwise, is it exercised.


The censorship is established under the authority of Her Majesty's Government, and, as my hon. friend the Financial Secretary pointed out in a reply to a question put on 8th March,* it is not desirable to make known particulars with regard to the manner in which the censorship is exercised.


May I take it, then, that although a reply was given to me on March 8th as to the authority under *See The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. lxxx., page 371. which the censorship of telegrams is exercised, we are not to have a similar reply in respect of the authority under which the censorship of mails is exercised?


I do not construe the previous reply precisely as the hon. Gentleman does. In the Telegraphic Convention of St. Petersburg, 1875, undoubtedly there are articles which contemplate the censorship of mails during war. I have made a cursory perusal of the Convention of Washington, which is of a much later date, and I can find no such articles. But in any case such articles would only be inserted in anticipation of such action as any Government must take in time of war or rebellion; and anyone who is aggrieved must seek redress in the usual manner.

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