HC Deb 07 October 1942 vol 383 cc1204-5
38. Mr. Driberg

asked the Minister of Information how many copies are distributed weekly of the periodical "The Spiritual Issues of the War"; how many of these are distributed at home and how many overseas; whether he is aware that the issue dated 1st October devoted one of its four pages to a report of the Arch bishops' Albert Hall meeting, which had already been fully reported throughout the free world by press and radio; and whether he will take steps to improve the selection and presentation of the items in this periodical?

Mr. Bracken

This leaflet consists of four small pages; 6,410 copies are distributed weekly in the British Isles and 4,630 are sent overseas. It is, I am told, a small but acceptable index of the activities of the Protestant Churches. Perhaps the best way of dealing with my hon. Friend's suggestions as to how it can be improved is to repeat Dr. Johnson's saying: That what is obvious is not always known and what is known is not always present.

Mr. Driberg

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many of those who receive this periodical regard it as so unreadable and undynamic as to be an almost complete waste of paper?

Mr. Bracken

They can always return it to the many other persons who desire to read it.

Major Petherick

If it is a Government publication, is there any reason why it should be used to propagate the views of the Archbishop of Canterbury?

Mr. Bracken

Any paper that attempts to be an index of current religious speeches or sermons must of necessity include speeches made by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.

Mr. Austin Hopkinson

What had the speech of the Archbishop of Canterbury to do with spiritual issues?