HC Deb 15 July 1964 vol 698 c1186
21. Mr. Thorpe

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he is aware that the hand-out issued by the public relations officer, on behalf of Headquarters 43rd Wessex Division/District, Sherford Camp, Taunton, relating to Plymouth Army Week, a copy of which has been sent to him by the hon. Member for North Devon, has caused concern to many people who are opposed to racial prejudice of any sort; and what steps he will take to ensure that this type of propaganda is not repeated.

The Minister of Defence for the army (Mr. James Ramsden)

I regret the expression used, which I can see might cause offence. In the context it was certainly not meant as propaganda.

Mr. Thorpe

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that reply, which will do much to correct an unfortunate impression. May I ask him whether any indication has been given which will prevent this sort of thing occurring again?

Mr. Ramsden

I am sure that this is not the sort of thing which will normally occur. I have not seen fit to take action beyond answering the hon. Gentleman, because it is widely accepted that the conduct of all ranks towards foreigners is invariably correct and, indeed, praiseworthy. I think that actions speak a great deal louder than words.

Miss Vickers

Does not my right hon. Friend think that this exercise was an extremely good one? In fact, among the "enemy" were a great many people ' from overseas. No offence was taken locally. This arose only because of propaganda outside the area.

Mr. Ramsden

I am obliged to my hon. Friend.