HC Deb 05 February 1941 vol 368 c924
27. Major Neven-Spence

asked the Minister of Information whether he is aware that great distress was caused to many relatives of the crew of the "Empress of Australia" by the publication in the newspapers on 27th January of information, emanating from the Tropical Radio Station, Florida, which proved to be entirely without foundation; that publication of news of this kind leads to great inconvenience and loss of time in the shipping office concerned through having to answer many hundreds of telephone calls; and will he undertake to ensure in future that no information concerning the loss of a ship is published until the Admiralty has confirmed the loss and has had time to inform the relatives?

Mr. Cooper

I am fully alive to the distress that may be caused to the relatives of crews by the publication in newspapers of foreign reports of loss or damage suffered by British merchant vessels; and not long ago a request was circulated to all editors by the Ministry of Information asking them not to publish such reports. This request has been widely, but not, I regret to say, universally observed. Conversations are proceeding with the object of making an arrangement that will be satisfactory to all concerned.