§ 42. Captain PETER MACDONALD
asked the Home Secretary whether he will make inquiries into the accusation that officials of Scotland Yard prepared a forgery of the Russian newspaper "Pravda" and imported type for this purpose?
§ Mr. SHORT
The incident on which these statements appear to be based 25 occurred more than 10 years ago and was dealt with by the then Home Secretary in reply to a Parliamentary question on the 3rd March, 1921. Briefly, the reply was to the effect that there was no collaboration by the police in the production of the imitation "Pravda," for which certain Russians in this country were responsible, but that the Director of Intelligence assisted them to the extent of arranging for the removal of the English printer's name from the news-sheets and for their being forwarded to an address in one of the countries bordering on Russia.
§ Mr. SHORT
It would be well if I read the actual reply given at the time. This reply was given by the then Home Secretary, Mr. Shortt:The matter is one of which I had no knowledge until a day or two ago. I find on inquiry that the facts are these. In Russia no newspapers are allowed except the official organs of the Soviet Government, which give a wholly false and misleading account of affairs and opinion in this and other foreign countries. Some Russians in this country were anxious to supply their fellow countrymen with a true statement of the facts, and the only way they could do this was by printing in this country and circulating in Russia an imitation of the official 'Pravda,' the only paper allowed by the Soviet Government to circulate to the public. They communicated in this matter with the Director of Intelligence, and he assisted them to the extent of arranging for the removal of the English printer's name from the news-sheets and for their being forwarded to an address in one of the countries bordering on Russia. This was all that he did. I think his action was indiscreet, and had he referred to me I would not have sanctioned it; but it should be clearly understood that the paper was not propagandist except in so far as a statement of the true facts is propaganda, that there was no collaboration by the police in its production, and that no public money was expended."—[OFFICIAL, REPORT, 3rd March, 1921; cols. 2043–4. Vol. 138.]