HC Deb 11 February 1947 vol 433 cc183-4
17. Mr. Zilliacus

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that a U.S. news agency, on 30th October, concluded a telegram on the subject of Anglo-U.S. standardisation of arms, exchange of military information and joint defence arrangements, with a service message to the editor, giving the name of a War Office public relations officer as a source the correspondent had consulted; and whether he has investigated this matter and will make a statement.

Mr. Bellenger

I am aware that a message on this subject was sent with a service message that included the name of a War Office Public Relations Officer as one of a number of sources consulted. I have investigated the matter and am satisfied that the statements contained in the message on the subjects mentioned were not made by the officer in question or by anyone else in my Department, as I have so informed my hon. Friend by letter.

Mr. Zilliacus

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the "other sources" mentioned in this telegram were authoritative military circles, as he himself said in reply to my Question on 17th December; that "authoritative circles" is a conventional phrase in journalism to describe an official source that cannot be quoted publicly; and that the private service message indicated the War Office public relations officer in question as the source named as "authoritative military circles" in the body of the despatch?

Mr. Bellenger

No, Sir, that is not quite the correct interpretation of the matter. I have gone into this matter in close detail, and I can once again assure my hon. Friend that the authoritative sources were not in my Department.