HC Deb 22 January 1941 vol 368 cc184-5
27. Mr. Simmonds (for Captain Sir Ian Fraser)

asked the Postmaster-General whether he will review the facilities for private communications by letter or cable between troops in the Middle East and the Mediterranean generally and their relations at home with a view to minimising the many delays that are now occurring?

The Postmaster-General (Mr. W. S. Morrison)

I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that the mail services to and from the Forces in the Middle East and, the Mediterranean generally are constantly under review, and all possible steps are taken, in collaboration with the Service Departments and the Ministry of Shipping, to ensure that no means of improving the mail services is neglected. As regards cables, arrangements are being made in consultation with the Departments concerned and with Messrs Cable and Wireless, Limited, which should expedite the transmission between this country and the Middle East of telegrams to and from the troops.

Mr. Simmonds

Is it not a fact that the expectations of improvement which have been suggested by my right hon. Friend have not actually been realised? In view of the great importance to the morale of an Expeditionary Force that it should be kept in touch with home, will he again review this matter with the other Departments, in order to see what further improvements can be made?

Mr. Morrison

The matter is under constant review, but my hon. Friend will realise that the possibility of transmitting mails to that region depends upon the military situation. As that changes from day to day, so is the situation kept under review, so that every possible outlet to the troops is taken advantage of.

Viscountess Astor

Will my right hon. Friend also bear in mind that for six or seven months it has taken at least two months, sometimes more, for letters to reach Egypt from here? That does really seem to he excessive.

Mr. Morrison

The Noble Lady will realise that many Departments are involved in this.