HC Deb 24 July 1941 vol 373 cc1062-3
66. Mr. Garro Jones

asked the Minister of Information what precautions have been taken to prevent the publication of useful information to the enemy in technical books, guide books to industries, such as the Blue Book of Electrical Industries, of 895 pages, just published, and other non-periodical new publications, such as maps and route guides?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Information (Mr. Thurtle)

A circular was sent to the publishers of trade directories on 12th November, 1940, drawing attention to the necessity for great care in the compilation of such reference books in war-time, and since that date the great majority of such books have been submitted for censorship before publication. The Blue Book of Electrical Industries, which is an annual publication, was already being submitted for censorship before the circular was sent out. Since October, 1939, attention has been drawn, through the medium of the Press and various associations, to the necessity for care in the publication of maps and guide books. Over 600 maps and guide books have been submitted for censorship before publication.

Mr. Garro Jones

Is it the case that only those publishers who think fit to do so need submit their proposed publications to censorship; and does it not follow that if any ill purpose is intended, there will be no such submission? Is my hon. Friend aware that very useful maps and route guides, in large and small scales, are now being published in book form and put on sale all over the country?

Mr. Thurtle

There is a general censorship rule in operation. This is the basis of it: As to trade directories, only information already published before the war in similar publications is permitted in regard to industrial undertakings employed or capable of being employed in war production, and only the head office address is allowed to be given; as to maps, no further information than appeared in the last pre-war on sale edition of the Ordnance Survey; as to guide books, only such information as had already been published before the war.