HC Deb 05 June 1940 vol 361 cc833-4
16. Mr. Thurtle

asked the Minister of Information why his Department continually issues for publication German official communiqués containing false claims of successes of the most extravagant character, as, by giving official approval to the publication of these statements, his Department is assisting in the spreading of false reports, against which action ordinary people are continually being warned?

19. Vice-Admiral Taylor

asked the Minister of Information whether his attention has been called to a communiqué issued by the German high command, and passed for publication on 30th May, on the condition and casualties of the British Forces said to be engaged in the process of evacuation; and whether, in future, he will prevent the circulation of false news in this way?

Mr. Cooper

It has not been the policy of the Ministry of Information to prevent the publication of German official communiqués, the falsity of which has so often been proved that they should now be universally discredited. Any alteration of that policy at the present time might be misinterpreted both in this country and elsewhere.

Mr. Thurtle

If the right hon. Gentleman allows this official communiqué to be published, will he refrain from putting at the top "Passed for publication"?

Mr. Cooper

That matter has been brought to my notice and I have already given orders that "Passed for publication" shall not be affixed to these communiqués, and it has not been for the last two or three days.

Mr. A. C. Reed

Could not my right hon. Friend go further and insist on newspapers and everybody else who publishes these communiqués making it very clear in big letters that this is false information from Germany, because everybody reads it and misses the fact that it is German propaganda?

Mr. Cooper

I do not think the Press can make it plainer than they do—they always make it perfectly plain—that these are German official communiqués.

Mr. John Wilmot

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what public interest is being served by giving wide publicity to German falsehoods?

Mr. Cooper

The question is whether the public interest would be served by preventing German statements reaching the British public. It is the view of the Government—and I think it is a right view—that we should allow the British public to read German lies and to see what lies they tell.

Sir Irving Albery

Does my right hon. Friend think that any useful purpose is served by using the B.B.C. for German propaganda?