HC Deb 15 November 1916 vol 87 c776
43. Mr. ASHLEY

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he can now state why a letter written last month and addressed to the prisoners-of-war branch of the Red Cross, Geneva, was stopped by the Censor and returned to the sender, in view of the fact that the writer only asked that inquiries should be made about his son, who had been wounded in France on 16th August?


A statement has been prepared explaining the necessity for the action taken in this and similar cases, and a copy will be sent to my hon. Friend. It is not possible within the limits of an answer to a question to make clear the processes by which the enemy obtain and make use of fragments of information, but I am assured that the letter in question contained information which would be of value to the enemy.


How could anyone's letter saying that his son was reported wounded two months before and asking whether he was a prisoner of war give any information of value to the enemy?


I say that I will send my hon. Friend a statement to explain.


Could that statement be made available to the House, because there are several other instances, and it is extremely difficult to know how to advise friends who ask what inquiries they can make without giving information of advantage to the enemy?


I will certainly consider that. I do not see any reason why a copy should not be made available to hon. Members.