HC Deb 18 October 1950 vol 478 cc2037-8
41. Mr. Keeling

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps he has taken to counter the widespread distribution in West Africa, at far below the cost of production, of a Soviet news booklet which states that the war in Korea was the result of an attack by South Korean troops on the territory of North Korea.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Fullest information about the Korean war has been made available to Nigeria in many different forms by the official information services, and the true facts have been given wide publicity through those newspapers with the largest circulations—the official newspaper "Nigeria Review" (circulation 40,000), the Hausa and English newspapers published by the Gaskiya Corporation (circulation 26,000) and the "Nigerian Daily Times" (circulation 25,000). In addition, events in Korea have been covered in newsreels and in broadcasts, including re-broadcasts of B.B.C. transmissions by the local re-diffusion stations.

Mr. Keeling

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that this booklet, if not legally seditious, certainly has a seditious motive, and is he aware that even the "Daily Mirror" has said, "Stop this at once"? Is he not going to do anything about this booklet?

Mr. Griffiths

I think the best way to combat it is by the way we are doing it.

Mr. Awbery

Is it not a fact that there seems to be a difference of opinion within the Opposition about the expenditure of money for propaganda? In Question No. 8 there is opposition to the expenditure of money for this purpose, and now, in Question No. 41, the Opposition want to expend more on propaganda in the Colonies.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

As the matter is far too serious to be dismissed in the rather foolish way of the last supplementary question, is it not a fact that a permanent booklet is more likely to have a greater effect on the population than the daily issue of a newspaper, and should not some steps be taken to counter that booklet in similar form or prohibit the booklet itself?

Mr. Griffiths

I have indicated the steps we are taking to combat this booklet and all other forms of propaganda. I am satisfied that the methods we are pursuing are the best.