HC Deb 15 July 1964 vol 698 cc1178-9
9. Mr. Thorpe

asked the Secretary of Defence what instructions have been issued to the Admiralty Library with regard to the book "The Fleet that Faced Both Ways", by Anthony Heck-stall Smith.

Mr. Hay

None, Sir.

Mr. Thorpe

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Admiralty Library, on the publication of this book last autumn, refused to buy a single copy, and will he, therefore, look into the matter again? Does the hon. Gentleman not agree that this is a serious work of naval history, and is he aware that the author was refused permission to read signals by the Admiralty but obtained it immediately and readily from another source? Could it be, perhaps, that there has been some pique on the part of the Admiralty, or is it considered that officers and ratings are not capable of judging reading matter for themselves?

Mr. Hay

I said in my Answer that we have given no instructions to the Library about this book. Copies have been purchased for the Admiralty Library, another copy for the Royal Naval Staff College at Greenwich, and another for the education centre at Singapore. The question of classified information is an entirely different matter. To answer the Question on the Order Paper, no instructions have been given to the Library.

Sir Richard Glyn

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that the whole political future of the Liberal Party depends on the delicate art of facing both ways and give this suggestion such consideration as it is worth?

Mr. Speaker

The future of the Liberal Party is not to be found in the Admiralty Library.