HC Deb 27 September 1944 vol 403 cc232-3
41. Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

asked the Minister of Information what steps he is taking to make known to the world, including our Allies, the achievements of British troops in every part of the world.

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

The reporting of the exploits of British troops is the task of nearly 700 Allied war correspondents attached either to Supreme Allied Headquarters or to British Forces in Western Europe, Italy, South-East Asia and the Middle East. The Ministry of Information provides numerous services all over the world which supplement the work of these correspondents.

Sir T. Moore

While that is an eminently satisfactory reply, why is it that, in the mass of United States papers reaching this country, it is almost to be gathered that British troops are not in the field at all?

Mr. Thurtle

It may well be that the correspondents supply the necessary material to the papers but the papers are not able to find space for it.

Mr. Astor

Is the Parliamentary Secretary, for instance, satisfied that the American public realise that the great majority of General Montgomery's troops for a very long time were British?

Mr. Thurtle

We are not satisfied with any impression that exists which is an incorrect one, and we do our best to correct those wrong impressions.

Mr. Bellenger

Is it possible that, with this vast army of war correspondents, only a very minute part of their despatches get through because of their hold-up by the military authorities, on grounds which are not security grounds?

Mr. Thurtle

I do not think that there is any ground for that suggestion at all.

Mr. Woodburn

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the Americans are complaining very bitterly that, while their own correspondents are entitled to send free news from the American sector of war, in their view the achievements of the British are hidden by the strictness of the Army, Navy, and Air Force censorship in this country?

Mr. Thurtle

I was not aware of that.

Sir Percy Harris

Will the Parliamentary Secretary treat this matter seriously and follow up the investigation, because it is causing a great deal of concern in this country, and the Ministry of Information is responsible and it cannot get out of its responsibility?

Mr. Thurtle

I would like to assure the right hon. Baronet that the Ministry of Information is very concerned indeed to see that the achievements of the British troops are given full recognition all over the world, and we do our best to that end.