HC Deb 02 June 1943 vol 390 cc194-5
39. Mr. Mander

asked the Minister of Information whether he has now completed his inquiry into the activities of foreign-language newspapers published in this country hostile to the Soviet Government; and whether he will make a statement?

42. Mr. Leslie

asked the Minister of Information whether he is aware that certain Polish newspapers in this country are still quoting German stories about the alleged Smolensk massacres; and whether he will consider stopping the publication of these papers in the interest of unity for the prosecution of the war?

The Minister of Information (Mr. Brendan Bracken)

The inquiry into the activities of foreign language newspapers in this country is nearing completion. Meanwhile, the warning I gave last week will, I hope, inculcate a due sense of responsibility in the minds of their editors. If it does not, I think the Ministry of Information will have the approval of the House in taking drastic action against those who abuse the hospitality of this country by attempting to stir up trouble between members of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Mander

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that these attacks are to some extent still going on and that the cases referred to have nothing to do with those of Allied newspapers?

Mr. Bracken

The papers, I am told, have shown a great improvement, but they are produced in so many languages that it is hard to catch up with their contents. I agree that these papers have no connection with the newspapers so admirably managed by Lord Kemsley, who showed admirable foresight in changing the name of his group.

Mr. Leslie

Does the right hon. Gentleman not agree that the publication of stories of the kind referred to in Question 42 is calculated to create dissension among the Allies and ought to be strictly prohibited?

Mr. Bracken

That is why we have given the warning and why I repeat that it is an abuse of the hospitality of Great Britain if papers indulge in such language.

Mr. John Dugdale

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that 31 is an excessive number of newspapers for the small number of Poles in this country?

Mr. Bracken

I have said before that every time you find a Pole you find a newspaper.