HC Deb 09 October 1945 vol 414 cc32-3
77. General Sir George Jeffreys

asked the Minister of Information why no official information has been given to the people of this country regarding the extent of their contribution to the Allied victory as compared with that of the U.S.A.; and why the facts and figures, as given by Lord Keynes, were only made known in this country as the result of a leakage to an American newspaper.

Mr. E. J. Williams

The hon. and gallant Member will recall the Command Paper entitled "Statistics Relating to the War Effort of the United Kingdom" which was issued last November and which gave full information as to the extent of this country's contribution to the Allied victory. More recently further information has been made available about manpower, casualties and war production, and it is hoped to issue very shortly figures showing the wartime expansion of individual fighting services and various auxiliary services. The great contribution made by this country to the Allied war effort is self-evident from these statistics and His Majesty's Government have no wish to make unilateral statements comparing this effort with that of any of our Allies. The symposium of figures to which the hon. and gallant Member refers in the latter part of his question was not prepared for publication but only to assist in the official discussions which are taking place in Washington.

Sir G. Jeffreys

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether this information when it was prepared, was not intended for publication? Was it not of the very greatest importance to the people of this country as well as to the people of the United States? Why has his Department, which exists for the purpose of conveying information, not given this information to the public at an earlier date?

Mr. Williams

I think, if my hon. and gallant Friend will read the Command Paper referred to, he will realise that most of the information that was published in this country was then printed. The other things in the leakage to which he refers were not for public presentation at all.

Commander Marsden

Is it not the case that although this information may be available to the Minister of Information in the United States, there is no machinery at all for its distribution, and it never gets through to the people of the United States?

Sir Ronald Ross

Will the Minister give some information about the various actions—naval, military and air—in which our Forces have been engaged, as security is of far less importance now; and would not this be preferable to having the papers full of atrocity stories?