HC Deb 10 July 1902 vol 110 cc1365-6

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether, having regard to the allowance by the Government of the publication of the heliogram sent by Sir Redvers Buller to Sir George White during the siege of Ladysmith, the Government will allow Sir Charles Warren to publish documents relating to Spion Kop, more especially the statement laid by him before the Commander-in-Chief when he was withdrawn from his command in Natal, whose immediate publication Sir Charles Warren solicited in a letter of the 21st April last. And, on what grounds has the permission accorded to Sir Redvers Buller to publish documents relating to the operations in South Africa been withheld from Sir Charles Warren.


No, Sir. There is no similarity between the two cases. Sir Charles Warren made his report on the Spion Kop operations in the usual manner and it was commented upon according to custom by his superior officers. To allow a rejoinder by Sir Charles Warren would be contrary to all precedent and would be utterly subversive of discipline, as a similar course would have to be allowed in the case of any officer aggrieved. Sir Redvers Buller was permitted to publish telegrams which had passed between himself and Sir George White and the home authorities, and which had not previously appeared, because he considered his character was impugned by incorrect versions of these telegrams which had been put before the public. The war being over it was held that these documents could be published without detriment to the public service.


As a matter of fact was not Sir Redvers Buller Sir Charles Warren's superior officer, and if so why should not Sir Charles be allowed to publish his version?