HC Deb 19 October 1915 vol 74 cc1596-7
26. Mr. BRYCE

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether there have lately been issued for the guidance of newspaper correspondents with our Armies in Flanders and France instructions to the effect that current events must not be mentioned in detail until after such events have been made public in the Commander-in-Chief's dispatches; only general mention of the fighting can be made, and nothing outside the official communiqués is to be touched upon; that matters of controversial or political interest must be excluded; that praise or censure is to be left to the Commander-in-Chief; that mention of any formation by name is prohibited, including such items as the New Army, Territorials, etc., also names of units or individuals; that the articles of war correspondents must be confined to topographical descriptions and gene ralities; and that detailed information obtained by war correspondents can be used only when permission is given, and the time of publication will vary according to circumstances; and, if so, will he say whether these instructions have been issued at the instance of the War Office or of the military authorities in the field; whether any protests against the instructions have been made by the newspapers concerned or their correspondents; and whether any, some, or all of them have in consequence withdrawn from the Front?


Reference to General Headquarters shows that no new instructions have lately been issued over and above those contained in the official regulations for Press correspondents, but further inquiry is being made into the matter. I should be surprised to learn that any newspaper correspondents have returned from the Front since I have been informed that they were given an exceptionally good opportunity of witnessing a battle only a week ago.


Does the right hon. Gentleman not know that Mr. Frederick Palmer, who is the only American correspondent at the Front, has gone back to America in disgust at these regulations?


He must have been under a misapprehension, because there have been no new regulations.