§ 19. Mr. SNELL
asked the Minister of Health whether Colonel Harrison, a permanent official of the Ministry of Health, was acting under instructions when, at the recent Congress of the Royal Institute of Public Health, held at Brighton, he prevented Dr. Wansey Bayley, the honorary secretary of the Society for the Prevention of Venereal Diseases, from quoting evidence which was given before the Trevethin Committee, on the ground that such evidence was confidential; whether this evidence was, in fact, confidential; and will he undertake that permanent officials of his Department, except when acting under his instructions, will not prevent valuable information on important health subjects from being given to the public by competent medical men?
No instructions in this matter were given to the officer referred to. As regards the second part of the question, I am informed that no pledge was given to witnesses before the Trevethin Committee that their evidence would be regarded as confidential and not published, but the evidence has not been published and was not available to members of the congress, and its chair- 1520 man ruled that quotations from such evidence would be out of order. I am unable to accept the implication conveyed in the last part of the question.