HC Deb 06 December 1939 vol 355 cc632-3
26. Mr. Jagger

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Information what arrangements are made at the present time for sending news and propaganda material to foreign, Dominion and Colonial papers; to what extent this material is sent direct to the papers, or through their London correspondents: and what steps in particular are taken to keep the London correspondents in touch with what is being done so as to ensure no unnecessary overlapping?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Information (Sir Edward Grigg)

As the House is aware, the responsibility for the issue of news rests now not on the Ministry of Information, but on the Government Department concerned. The transmission of news to papers in foreign and Empire countries is effected by newspaper correspondents in London, by news agency messages, or by British official wireless, not by the Ministry. The information for which the Ministry is responsible, including comment on news, is sent by the Ministry to Press Attachés at His Majesty's Embassies or Legations in foreign countries, and placed by them at the disposal of the local Press. In the case of Empire countries, a great deal of material is sent to Government information officers in Colonial territories and in India and Burma, for transmission to the newspapers of those countries, few of which have London correspondents and many of which do not subscribe to a news agency. On a smaller scale, material is also transmitted to Dominion Ministries of Information or their equivalent, for similar use at their discretion. I need scarcely add that the Ministry keeps closely in touch with the London correspondents of foreign and Empire newspapers. With regard to the third part of the question, the danger of overlapping is not great, since the Ministry of Information does not itself transmit news.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Do the Colonial Office and the Dominions Office keep members of their Press departments in the building of the Ministry of Information, as is done by the Foreign Office, the Admiralty, and some other Departments?

Sir E. Grigg

Yes, Sir, they do.