HC Deb 28 October 1943 vol 393 cc363-4
27. Mr. Purbrick

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been drawn to an association called the Bombing Restriction Committee and, as their activities are clearly evidence of their pro-German sympathies, will he take steps to restrict such activities and intern the leaders?

Mr. H. Morrison

I am aware of the existence of this Committee and I have seen specimens of the leaflets issued by them. The scope of their propaganda is very limited and its influence on public opinion is negligible. I have no evidence that their sympathies are pro-German, nor have I any reason to question the sincerity of their motives, which they conceive to be purely humanitarian; and I should not feel justified, as things are, in using emergency powers to prevent them from giving expression to their misguided views.

Mr. Purbrick

Is it not evident that if the policy of not bombing any civilians Germany was carried out, we should not be able to carry through our policy of bombing their war production plants, and thereby our war effort would be absolutely nullified?

Mr. Morrison

I quite follow the argument of my hon. Friend, but in my judgment if people sincerely hold the view that bombing should be abolished or restricted, I cannot see that it is terrible to say so. There is no danger that the bombing will leave off, anyway. I would draw the attention of the House to how often I am condemned for using exceptional powers and how much more often I am pressed to use them.

Mr. Rhys Davies

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the object these people have in mind is to restrict and prevent the bombing of civilians, which is another problem entirely?