HC Deb 21 June 1921 vol 143 cc1063-4
12. Colonel ASHLEY

asked the Secretary of State for War what is the essential work now being carried on by the publicity department of the War Office?

The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Sir Laming Worthington-Evans)

The Information Section of the War Office is responsible for dealing with the very numerous and varied communications on military matters which are received from and through the Press, both lay and professional. My hon. and gallant Friend, who has himself worked in the War Office, does not need to be reminded of the continued interest evinced by the public in Army affairs, and this is reflected in the desire of the Press to obtain prompt and accurate information. I see no likelihood of any abatement of this work while the commitments of the Army are so widespread. The dissemination of information about the Army is likewise an important factor in the solution of the problem of voluntary recruiting. The Information Section is also responsible for the control of all Army advertisements, and their technical knowledge has enabled us to effect considerable economies which more than cover the cost of the staff. I have under consideration proposals designed to reduce the cost of the section without impairing its efficiency, and if my hon. and gallant Friend will put a further question on the Paper in a week or two's time, I shall hope to be able to give him further information.

Colonel ASHLEY

Did not the Army do quite well without a publicity department before the War, and may I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman will not follow the example of the Board of Trade, which has done away with its publicity department, and it really needed it more than the War Office?

Colonel Sir J. GREIG

Had we not before the War very great difficulty in keeping our recruiting up to full strength owing to the absence of such a department?


What is the personnel of the staff engaged on this work?


I must have notice of a detailed question of that sort. In reply to my hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Ashley), I am satisfied that the information department is really saving money and is efficient, but I am looking into it with a view to see if I cannot reduce the expenditure.

Captain GEE

Would the right hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of extending the scope of the publicity department to enlighten the non-commissioned officers and men of the Army as to the revolutionary propaganda that is being carried on in their midst in barracks?