HC Deb 21 March 1960 vol 620 cc25-6
38. Mrs. Castle

asked the Minister of Health to what extent National Health Service psychiatrists are made available to the Services, the police, or the security authorities, for purposes of interrogation or brain-washing.

The Minister of Health (Mr. Derek Walker-Smith)

No such arrangements have ever been made.

Mrs. Castle

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that Dr. Kennedy, who does National Health Service work, has declared that he has no complaint against the content of the report of his speech in the Observer, in which he stated that a technique of brainwashing was developed in Britain during the war and was used to extract confessions? In view of the conflict between his remarks and the assurance given by the Prime Minister last week, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman, in order to allay public anxiety, now call on Dr. Kennedy to make a public statement declaring unequivocally what he said and what he intended to say?

Mr. Walker-Smith

It is quite clear what Professor Kennedy did not say. He did not say that these techniques had ever been used in this country. In fact, the material contained in Professor Kennedy's discourse had been previously published in journals available in this country, and perhaps, if the hon. Lady has not already done so, she could study the article in the Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry for August, 1956.

Mr. K. Robinson

Would the Minister not agree that the processes described in Professor Kennedy's lecture, which are even questionable when used for therapeutic purposes, would be regarded as wholly unethical by the medical profession generally when used for purposes of interrogation?

Mr. Walker-Smith

Yes, I have no doubt that that is so, as the hon. Gentleman has said. The position has been made quite clear in the statements of my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for War on 9th March.

Mr. S. Silverman

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman not aware that there are now in this country a number of people who claim that these experiments or methods were practised upon them in this country during the war, and does he not consider that the Prime Minister must have been very grievously misinformed in the statement which he made to the House the other day?

Mr. Walker-Smith

No, I am not so aware. I do not so think. This question refers to the National Health Service, which did not come into being until 1948.

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