HC Deb 26 April 1966 vol 727 cc529-30
35. Dame Irene Ward

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on what date the book on the Special Operations Executive in France is to be published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office; on what date review copies were sent to the newspapers; and on what date complimentary copies will be sent to those who played a part in its publication.

Mr. M. Stewart

"S.O.E. in France" is to be published on the 28th of April by Her Majesty's Stationery Office. Review copies were sent to the newspapers in the second week of April. Complimentary copies will be sent out the day before publication.

Dame Irene Ward

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the general public do not agree with a person being able to ring up people involved in the book before the latter have had an opportunity of reading what is in the book? Does not he agree that it is an inefficient system of public relations that has allowed such an unhappy situation to develop?

Mr. Stewart

No, I do not. It is an almost universal practice with the publication of books that review copies and complimentary copies are sent out on the dates I mentioned.

Lord Balniel

Does the Foreign Secretary recollect that some time ago he gave an undertaking that all those who took part in the special operations covered by the book would be given an opportunity of commenting privately before publication? Was that undertaking implemented?

Mr. Stewart

I must say that I do not recollect that. I should want to consider that supplementary question further.