HC Deb 22 July 1941 vol 373 cc761-2
1. Mr. Granville

asked the Undersecretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he will consider the setting up of an Empire Advisory Council in London and the suggestion for the formation of branches in the Dominion capitals, and invite the co-operation of prominent Dominion journalists, publicists and war correspondents to discuss such questions as the dissemination of news, propaganda, films, wireless talks and co-operation on these subjects with the United States of America?

The Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs (Mr. Shakespeare)

His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom are fully alive to the importance of co-operation with the Dominions on all matters of publicity. Close contact is maintained for this purpose both at the Dominions Office and at the Ministry of Information with official publicity representatives of the Dominion Governments, and also with representatives of the Dominion Press both individually and through the medium of the Empire Press Union". Similar machinery exists overseas. It is not apparent that there is any demand for the additional machinery suggested by my hon. Friend.

Mr. Granville

In view of the part the Dominions are playing in the Middle East and in other theatres of war, does not the Under-Secretary think it would strengthen the working of his Department if he had the fullest co-operation of the representatives of the whole of the British Commonwealth?

Mr. Shakespeare

I do not suggest for a moment that the machinery cannot be improved, but I can assure my hon. Friend that there is daily, almost hourly, contact between all the publicity officers of the Departments concerned. I think on the whole the Empire Service, which is a 24-hour continuous service of news and features, is very well done.

Mr. Granville

Will the Under-Secretary give his attention to complaints which have been coming from some Dominions about the paucity of news being received there?

Sir Patrick Hannon

Has the Under-Secretary received any requests from the Dominion Governments stating that the present position could be substantially improved?

Mr. Shakespeare

No, Sir.