HC Deb 16 July 1941 vol 373 cc581-3
21. Major Milner

asked the Minister of Information what recent instructions or guidance he has received from the Foreign Office as to the line to be adopted in propaganda broadcasts to enemy countries; and whether such instructions may be placed in the Library or otherwise made available for the information of Members?

Mr. Cooper

Co-operation between Government Departments would obviously become impossible if all inter-Departmental communications were to be made public. The answer to the second part of the Question is therefore in the negative.

Major Milner

Is not my right hon. Friend aware that the Lord President of the Council indicated in the Debate on propaganda recently that the Foreign Office would in future indicate the target at which the Ministry of Information had to aim, and ought not the House to be informed what that target is?

Mr. Cooper

No, Sir; I do not agree with the hon. and gallant Member. The Foreign Office and the Ministry have consultations on this matter. The foreign policy with regard to the different countries is directed by the Foreign Office, and they give indications from time to time of the line which should be taken with regard to foreign policy, but those indications could not possibly be published.

22. Major Milner

asked the Minister of Information whether translations of broadcast propaganda to enemy and other countries and of leaflet or other propaganda matter used in the same countries can be placed in the Library or otherwise made available for the information of Members?

Mr. Cooper

No, Sir.

Major Milner

Would it not be possible for the Minister to place a selection from these propaganda broadcasts in the Library, so that Members might have an opportunity of reading them? What objection could there be to that?

Mr. Cooper

The propaganda broadcasts made by the B.B.C. can be listened to and taken down by anybody, and no doubt the B.B.C. would be prepared to furnish the hon. and gallant Member with copies of any particular one in which he was interested. With regard to other propaganda, such as leaflets, that is not a matter which would be suitable for public discussion.

Major Milner

Is not the Minister aware that he would be able to avoid a good many Questions of the sort which he has been answering with regard to propaganda to particular countries, if there could be placed in the Library a selection of all propaganda material, which obviously it is impossible for hon. Members to have translated in all cases? It would be very convenient if such a selection could be made available.

Mr. Cooper

I should be quite ready to consider the possibility of having a short selection each week of translations from these foreign languages.

Mr. G. Strauss

As we can listen to the propaganda which goes out from the B.B.C., why should we not be able to see the propaganda which goes out in leaflets?

Mr. Pickthorn

Is there any reason why the Minister should not place in the Library at least a list of the people who give these overseas broadcasts either in English or in foreign languages?

23. Major Milner

asked the Minister of Information who is the official of his Ministry now in charge of propaganda to enemy countries; and what are his qualifications for the position?

Mr. Cooper

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the Answer I have just given in reply to the hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. Liddall).

Mr. Liddall

Is not the best propaganda the broadcasts by Mr. Sefton Delmer?