HC Deb 28 March 1923 vol 162 c469

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the article appearing in the "Nation and Athenæum," of 3rd March, purporting to be the draft of an official note addressed to the French Ambassador in February last; whether he can state if the document is authentic; and whether, if it is not, he proposes to take any action in the matter and to prevent the publication of such things in future?

Captain BENN

On a point of Order. May I draw your attention, Mr. Speaker, to the fact that this question purports to be a, quotation from the Press? Is it not a fact that questions are not to be used for the purpose of verifying or otherwise, statements in the Press?


Not at all It is perfectly wrong.


I do not see any quotations here.


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative; as to the second part, the article bears its character upon its face, namely, that it is obviously a fabricated document of a would-be facetious nature. As to the third part, it is not in the power of His Majesty's Government to prevent such publication. It is only possible to rely upon the good sense of editors to refrain from publishing papers under a guise which, as is evident from the question of the hon. Member, as well as from the false impression which in this case has been created in the Press of foreign countries, is Fable to lead to embarrassing misunderstanding and therefore to be deprecated.