HC Deb 24 June 1941 vol 372 cc929-30
5. General Sir George Jeffreys

asked the Secretary of State for War whether there is any alteration in the date of the publication of Lord Gort's Despatches?

Captain Margesson

Yes, Sir. Since informing my hon. and gallant Friend on 6th May that Lord Gort's Despatches would be published in the middle of June, I have given very anxious and careful consideration to the date on which publication should take place. I have now come to the conclusion that the present is not an opportune moment, and as a consequence publication will be postponed for the time being.

Sir G. Jeffreys

Is my right hon. and gallant Friend aware that no authentic account of these operations has ever been published, and does he not consider that in justice to the troops who were engaged some account of their exploits and feats ought to be published? Is there any special reason why the Despatches should not be published?

Captain Margesson

I did not consider, after very careful consideration, that the present was an opportune moment for the publication of Lord Gort's Despatches, but I quite agree with my hon. and gallant Friend, and when the moment is opportune the Despatches will be published.

Mr. Bellenger

Were not all these considerations taken into account when the right hon. and gallant Gentleman made his original statement that these Despatches would be published? Has the situation so altered in the meantime as to induce him to make the change he has made?

Captain Margesson

Broadly speaking, I think that is so. Every consideration was given to this matter when I made my statement, but times do change, and I have looked into the matter from the broadest aspect.

Mr. Lawson

Is not the Minister aware that a good many people were of the opinion that when he made his statement on the Army Estimates it was premature and dangerous?