HC Deb 27 February 1919 vol 112 c1953

asked the Prime Minister when the Censorship will be removed on commercial telegrams between this country and neutral and Allied countries not adjacent to enemy countries; whether he is aware that the present delays in the delivery of telegrams seriously affects British merchants in international commerce; that business formerly done between India and South America is passing into the hands of Japanese and American houses, because telegrams can be sent viâ New York in about forty-eight hours, whilst owing to the action of the Censor telegrams sent from South America to London merchants and transmitted to India take eight to tea days and the same for replies; and that, under these circumstances, international trade is being driven from British control to foreign control?


My right hon. Friend has asked me to answer this question. The Government is very desirous of abolishing the Censorship as soon as it is possible to do so, but it is essential that it should be maintained for the present. The serious delays in the delivery of telegrams do not arise mainly from censorship, but from congestion of traffic owing to interruptions of cable and other causes independent of censorship. In so far as telegrams between India and South America may reach their destination more expeditiously viâ the United States than viâ London, this also is due to the same cause, as shown by the fact that such traffic is equally subject to censorship by whichever route it is forwarded.