HC Deb 31 October 1944 vol 404 cc612-3
26. Mr. Craik Henderson

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that war correspondents with the British Army on the Continent do not receive the same facilities for the transmission of news that is given to correspondents with the Army of the U.S.A.; and will he take steps to ensure that equal facilities are made available.

Sir J. Grigg

There is a shortage in this country of highly trained operators and of specialized technical equipment. Moreover for the long distance transmissions to the United States the Americans can use frequencies which are not available for transmission to the United Kingdom. The operational traffic necessary to win the battle must have first call on the limited means of communication available. But, in fact, three-quarters of the high speed wireless transmission from our forces in North West Europe and all the high speed teleprinter circuits are used exclusively by the Press. I hope my hon. Friend will agree that in the circumstances this is not an ungenerous allocation.

Mr. Craik Henderson

While I thank my right hon. Friend for his reply, as far as it goes, is he aware of the considerable discontent which is felt with regard to this matter, and of the great importance to this country of getting at least equally rapid transmission of news? Will he do everything possible to hurry it up?

Sir J. Grigg

I entirely agree. There is only one thing to put ahead of that, and that is the rapid transmission of operational orders.