§ 4. Mr. Geoffrey Cooper
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what directions have been issued to Press officers and other officials representative of His Majesty's Government in France, Italy and Greece, to counteract subversive talk and the antagonistic attitude adopted towards the Government by British nationals now in those countries.
No special directive has been issued, but Press officers and representatives are kept fully supplied with current and background information
§ Mr. Cooper
Has my right hon. Friend's attention been called to an article by Alan Moorhead, which appeared in the "Observer" on Sunday, 20th April, regarding damaging talk by his officials abroad, and which appeared to include officials of his Department? Will he have this serious matter investigated?
§ Mr. Godfrey Nicholson
Is it suggested that it is illegal for British nationals abroad, in their private capacity, to hold views critical of His Majesty's Government in this country?
No one suggested that it was an offence to hold views critical or otherwise of this Government, but, clearly, it may be an irregularity if an officer commissioned by His Majesty gives expression to such views.
§ Mr. Nicholson
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Question refers to subversive talk and the antagonistic attitude adopted towards the Government by British nationals? It does not say anything about officers.
The hon. Member will have noted that I was answering a supplementary which was put to me by my hon. Friend the Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. Cooper), who asked me whether my attention had been called to a certain newspaper article.
§ Mr. Nicholson
I thought the right hon. Gentleman was answering the main Question, rather than the supplementary.
§ Major Tufton Beamish
Can the right hon. Gentleman say what steps are being taken to counteract the subversive talk and the antagonistic attitude adopted towards the Government by Socialist Members of Parliament when they travel abroad?