HC Deb 08 May 1941 vol 371 cc972-3
44. Mr. David Adams

asked the Minister of Information whether he is aware of adverse effects upon opinion in the United States of America resulting from the Government's refusal to publish data showing the loss in transit, by enemy action, of war supplies from America; and whether he will make a statement on this subject in the near future?

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

My right hon. Friend is well aware of the considerations to which the hon. Member refers, and he is anxious to release as much information as possible on this and other aspects of the Battle of the Atlantic. It must however be borne in mind that information which is of interest to our friends in America may be of assistance to our enemies in Europe.

Mr. Adams

Is the Minister aware of the comments on this subject of journals in America which are very. favourable to our cause?

Mr. Granville

In view of recent speeches by American leaders, may I ask if this is not the kind of information which would have diplomatic advantage if it were given to America; and, further, will the Minister take into consideration that unless his Department does give this information to America, the American Press and people will be placed at the mercy of Dr. Goebbels' propaganda department?

Mr. Nicolson

That consideration is constantly borne in mind, but it is also most important not to give the enemy precise facts on matters in regard to which at present they can only make the wildest guesses.

Mr. Mander

Did not the Lord Privy Seal, in reply to a Question put down by me last week, say it was the intention of the Government in future to give fuller information, and is he going to carry out that promise?

Mr. Nicolson

Certainly, not full, but fuller information.