HC Deb 22 November 1920 vol 135 cc22-3
31. Rear-Admiral ADAIR

asked the Prime Minister whether the official record of the battle of Jutland, compiled at the Admiralty by Captain Harper, will be published in company with the official reports already promised, so that the public may have an authoritative and intelligible account of the battle; whether, if Captain Harper's compilation is not to be so published, but is to be withheld, he will state whether such withholding of it is due to the recommendation of the Board of Admiralty to that effect; and, if so, what reason the board have assigned for that recommendation?


I have been asked to reply to this question. I beg to refer the hon. and gallant Member to the answers given on the 4th and 8th November, stating what documents will be included in the Jutland Paper, and also that these documents will provide all the material required for an understanding of the strategy prior to and the actual tactics of the battle. The reasons for not publishing Captain Harper's summary of events were given in my reply of the 27th October, and the conclusion there referred to, that a record based on British official evidence only would inevitably present a one-sided version, tending to distort the true facts and create a wrong impression of the battle as a whole, was a conclusion of the Board of Admiralty.

Rear-Admiral ADAIR

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the First Lord of the Admiralty has repeatedly referred to Captain Harper's record and promised that it should be published, and is he aware that the only practical reason for the withholding of this document has been given as this, that it may prejudice the interests of private publishers, and does he think that this paltry reason justifies the promise of the First Lord being dishonoured?


No, the Prime Minister distinctly stated that the private interests of the publisher could not possibly interfere in any way with what was the decision arrived at.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is the whole of this evidence being put at the disposal of the Staff College at Greenwich?


Perhaps the hon. and gallant Gentleman will put a question down on that subject.

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