§ Mr. Speaker
Order. Before I call the Attorney-General to move the Motion which stands in the names of the Prime Minister and some of his right hon. Friends, I have to announce that I have selected the Amendment which stands in the names of the Leader of the Opposition and some of his right hon. Friends
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls (Peterborough)
On a point of order. My point is based on ample precedents that in a debate such as the one we are about to embark on, when the conduct of a Minister is involved, that Minister should speak at the opening of the debate. In this case, the Prime Minister is involved. There are ample precedents to show that the Minister concerned should open the debate so that the House, in the ensuing debate, can examine the explanations given by the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Speaker
There may be precedents for what the hon. Member has said, but there are precedents, even in the experience of the present Speaker, for the opposite course to be taken.
§ 4.18 p.m.
§ The Attorney-General
I beg to move,That this House approves the White Paper on the D Notice System, Command Paper No. 3312, notes the Report of the Committee of Privy Councillors appointed to inquire into D Notice matters and the evidence attached thereto, Command Paper No. 3309, welcomes Her Majesty's Government's acceptance of all of the recommendations in that Report bearing on the D Notice system, and, conscious of the need to provide adequate protection for the nation's secrets while safeguarding the freedom and independence of the Press, endorses Her Majesty's Government's expressed intention to discuss with the Press measures designed to maintain and strengthen the D Notice system.The events which have occasioned this Motion, as the House knows, spring from the publication in the Daily Express on Tuesday, 21st February, of the article by Mr. Chapman Pincher on cable vetting. That incident occasioned the appointment of the Radcliffe Committee, the publication of its Report, the further report of the White Paper, and the train of events which have led up to today's Motion. It has raised issues of the greatest 1973 importance to the national interest. There should be no misunderstanding about this. What is at issue is not the mere interpretation of two D Notices, or the conduct of an individual journalist and his newspaper, or even of the Government and the Prime Minister. It is the fundamental question of the nation's security and how, in a free and democratic—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—how in a free and democratic society, it can be preserved.
The need to protect our country's secrets and our nation's means of self-preservation is as great now in these uneasy days as it has ever been. So, also, is the need to maintain them with the minimum of interference with the freedom of the Press. The balance is not easy to maintain, but I submit that there is no doubt that by the publication of this article on 21st February the balance weighed heavily against the national interest.
As I have said, we are involved today in a question of national security. This necessarily means that a full explanation and discussion of the whole of the background story will not be possible, as I am sure that the House will appreciate. It was, indeed, with this consideration in mind that the Radcliffe Committee itself prepared a special annexe, which, in accordance with its recommendation, the Government did not publish, and that certain deletions were made from the published evidence. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition has confirmed that these deletions were necessary.
As a result of this necessity, the Government cannot, without committing a further breach of security for which there could be no justification, spell out the reasons for the importance that they attach to the suppression of the Daily Express story by the use of the D Notice procedure and the full extent of the damage which could result, and, indeed, has resulted, from these disclosures.
It was only after the most careful consideration of the matter, in the light of all the advice they received and the information they obtained from those charged with responsibility in this field, that the Government recorded in the White Paper,… that the effect on national security of that publication has been to cause damage, potentially grave, the consequences of which cannot even now be fully assessed.1974 Appreciating the gravity of the issue, the Government regarded it as essential to arrange for the closest examination of the causes of this breach of security. Accordingly, the Radcliffe Committee was appointed. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, in his statement to the House on Tuesday, 13th June, has already expressed his gratitude to the Radcliffe Committee for the great care and thoroughness with which it has examined a very complex subject.
Having received the Report, the Government had to decide how best to give effect to the lessons which could be learnt from it. It was decided that the Government's views on the conclusions and recommendations of the Radcliffe Committee and the action which the Government proposed in implementation could best be expressed in a White Paper. Much has been said about the apparent differences between the conclusions and recommendations in the Report and the views set out in the White Paper. But close examination of the two documents will show that, although, of course, there are differences, those differences, which I shall consider in a moment, are more apparent than real.
The conclusions and recommendations of the Committee are set out in paragraph 81 of the Report. The great majority of them are accepted by the Government. The valuable recommendations relating, in particular, to the constitution of the Services, Press and Broadcasting Committee, the status of the Secretary of the Committee, the need to improve the D Notice system, the withholding from publication of D Notices themselves and the desirability of rewriting them in order to clarify their applications—all these the Government accept.
The Government also note that the very first finding of the Radcliffe Committee is:No new practice has been introduced in recent years in the procedure for the interception of telegrams which departs from the practices previously observed.This is a finding which answers the main attack of the Daily Express article on the Government. But there are matters on which the Radcliffe Committee's conclusions differ from those drawn by the Government. This is really the issue 1975 raised in paragraph 13 of the Report which asks:
On the first of these questions, the Radcliffe Committee concluded that the article was
- (1) Is this article an inaccurate account of the facts with which it purports to deal?
- (2) Is it a breach of any one or more of the 'D' notices?
- (3) Is it contrary to anything that can be called the procedure or conventions of the 'D' notice system?"… not inaccurate in any sense that could expose it to hostile criticism on that score.For their part, the Government take the view that the sensational treatment of the article and its inaccuracy of detail did combine to create, and were intended to create, a grossly false impression.
The clear implication of the article was that no individual, no private firm and no organisation was safe from intrusive and unjustifiable prying by an irresponsible and autocratic Government. Accusations against the Government that they are involved in…'Big Brother' intrusions into privacy …"—I have quoted those words from the article itself—are, of course, the common coinage of certain commentators. But such politically motivated accusations cannot be left unanswered when, as in this case, they breach long-standing security activities, which are, in fact, closely controlled and confined.
Further, the implication in the article of 21st February and the more direct suggestion in the article of 22nd February—that routine checking of cables is a recent innovation—indicates that what was really involved in the Daily Express article was not a solicitude for the public interest, but a straightforward political attack on the Government. In fact, all these activities in question are longstanding and subject to close supervision.
As I have said, the Radcliffe Committee reported thatNo new practice has been introduced in recent years which departs from the practices previously observed. We have ascertained that the instructions that determine which telegrams are to be put aside by the sorters for inspecting are directed to the interests of security and of certain wider intelligence purposes which concern this country's international relations. In fact, only a small 1976 percentage of the total telegrams handled is put aside in this way.
§ Mr. F. J. Bellenger (Bassetlaw)
Is my right hon. and learned Friend now saying that the cable vetting is only for the purposes of security?
§ The Attorney-General
I am saying what is quoted in the Radcliffe Report and what is stated there very clearly is that the inspections are carried out and are directed solely—if my right hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Bellenger) wants me to repeat it—… to the interests of security and of certain wider intelligence purposes which concern this country's international relations.That is the finding of the Radcliffe Committee after its full investigation of the matter. But the Daily Express article of 21st February was prefaced by the statement that the… Cable Vetting Sensation … was disclosed last night.This was, of course, quite untrue. The story had been in the hands of the Daily Mail for nearly a week—since the previous Tuesday. It had been known to the Daily Express since the previous Thursday. The purpose of this particular inaccuracy, I suppose, was to make the cable vetting disclosure seem more sensational or to produce the impression of a great "scoop".
When one turns to the issue of whether there was a breach of one or more of the D Notices, this, as I see it, is the position: On this point, the conclusions of the Committee were, in respect of the D Notice of 27th April, 1956, that the question whether the article was in breach of the notice was not a questionthat admits of a simple answer based on a mere reading of the words of the notice itself.The words in the D Notice relate tosecret intelligence or counter intelligence methods and activities in the United Kingdom".In paragraph 53 of its Report, the Committee found:It is difficult to see, from a mere reading of the words, how they can fail to be apt for the present purpose".My right hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General and I have considered the construction of this notice. For what it may be worth, we have formed no doubt that, on its true interpretation, the notice did apply to the cable vetting story 1977 published by the Daily Express. Indeed, I do not think that the Committee really dissented from that view. The point which it has made is that, in practice, a narrower interpretation of the D Notice has prevailed.
§ Mr. Anthony Barber (Altrincham and Sale)
Will the Attorney-General read out paragraph 60? It is only two lines.
§ The Attorney-General
Yes, of course; I shall read out whatever is thought helpful to the House.
Paragraph 60 states:We conclude, therefore, that it would not be right to say that the article amounted to a breach of the D notices".This is the very point I am dealing with. [Laughter.] Perhaps I should not, as an old campaigner, have fallen to so easy a trick and been trapped by that one. But, if it gave the right hon. Gentleman any pleasure, he can have it. He will need it before the end of this debate.
I was saying, when I was so unhelpfully interrupted, that the Committee itself does not really dissent from the view that the words of the D Notice apply to the vetting story. But the point which it has made—it is a matter of importance which the House must consider—is that, in practice, a narrower interpretation of the D Notice has prevailed. All those officially responsible in this matter, save, perhaps, Colonel Lohan himself, who at all material times, unfortunately, kept his reservations to himself—all those with responsibility, the officials in the Foreign Office, the Ministry of Defence and the security services who are aware of the secret background to the subject matter of the story, and, indeed, a section of the Press itself, think that this D Notice does apply to the story in question.
Obviously, it is most unsatisfactory that there should be uncertainty on this question of interpretation. This is why the Committee emphasises—and the Government agree—the desirability of rewriting the D Notice of April, 1956, as a whole. The Committee adds—I refer the right hon. Gentleman to paragraph 57—It is possible that its current operation"—that is, of the D Notice—gives less protection to intelligence methods and activities than the agencies responsible can fairly require. It is not altogether satisfactory to rely on silence only when the story touches particular cases and persons', because it is 1978 often impossible for those behind the scenes to know in time"—
§ The Attorney-General
I have every intention of putting this accurately, because it is very important. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] The Committee says:It is not altogether satisfactory to rely on silence only when the story touches 'particular cases and persons', because it is often impossible for those not behind the scenes"—
§ The Attorney-General
Very well. Hon. Members have made the point.… it is often impossible for those not behind the scenes to know in time whether the story they print does trench upon this restriction or not.This is the importance of the matter.That requires a knowledge of the whole secret operation; and although, if he is alive to the possibility, an editor may be able to obtain assistance from prior consultation with the Secretary, it is too much to expect that in such cases the security services should be ready to pass out information as to what is really going on.Then, as to the D Notice of October, 1961, again, all those bearing responsibility for these matters on the official side thought that the reference tointerception of foreign communications or secret intelligence purposesin the D Notice covered cable vetting.
§ Mr. Emlyn Hooson (Montgomery)
The nub of these matters in the Committee's findings is that there is an implied conclusion not only that there was a narrow interpretation, but that it was acquiesced in by the Government. There was no protest by the Government about the narrow interpretation.
§ The Attorney-General
That is not so at all. There was no acquiescence by the Government in the narrow interpretation, and it is the discovery that this narrow interpretation exists to the point of rendering the protection of security dangerously ineffective which has given rise to the anxiety which led to the 1979 trouble which the Government have taken in this matter.
As I see it, the position is this. The Government fully appreciate, as the White Paper shows, the reasons why, on the interpretation placed by the Press on the D Notices, the Radcliffe Committee found that there was no breach. The Committee says that the Press have come, over the course of time, to adopt limited interpretations which now inhibit the application of the D Notices to the activities involved, and it points to—
§ The Attorney-General
It is page 25, paragraph 81.
The Committee points to the desirability of rewriting the Notice of 27th April, 1956, to clarify its application and—this may be of interest to the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson)—it suggests thatsome wider restriction would be justified".
§ The Attorney-General
It starts on page 25 and proceeds to page 26. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I cannot for the moment find the reference. The marginal reference which I have been given for the purpose of my notes is, I am sorry to say, inaccurate. It will be checked in a moment or two.
§ Mr. Heath
This is a very important point. The Attorney-General has said that the conclusion of the Radcliffe Committee was that this interpretation was held by the Press. In fact, the Radcliffe Committee says that this interpretation was held, and it does not limit it to the Press. The point which the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery was making is closely relevant here, because that interpretation was held by the Services, Press and Broadcasting Committee. It was held by that Committee as a whole, so that it is not a question of the Press holding one view and the Government another. Surely the point is that the Government did not realise and 1980 officials did not realise that the Services, Press and Broadcasting Committee held this view.
§ Mr. Hooson
The reference which the right hon. and learned Gentleman is looking for is paragraph 81(4) on page 26, which says, in the second sentence:Nevertheless, a narrower interpretation of this 'D' notice has prevailed in practice …
§ The Attorney-General
There is no doubt that, in this matter, differences of view exist and need to be rectified about the application of these Notices. That is why the process of redrafting is essential and why the Government accept without question the recommendation of the Committee in that regard. But, as I have said, all those who were concerned and with long experience in this field of activity in the Foreign Office, the Ministry of Defence and the security services, were all satisfied that the D Notices applied to this particular story and had no doubts whatsoever about the matter.
One point is abundantly clear from the evidence which was given to the Committee. At the time when the Prime Minister made his statement to the House on 21st February, all the advice available to him from officials of the Foreign Office, the Ministry of Defence and the security services was that the D Notices did apply to this article. As I have said, the Committee has found in paragraph 53 of its Report that it was prima facie, the correct view, and in the opinion of those responsible for these matters of security it was the correct view.
Accordingly, there can be no substance in the charge that the Prime Minister deliberately misled the House on 21st February when he said that there wasa clear breach of the two D Notices".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st February, 1967; Vol. 741, c. 1432.]Nor can there be any substance in the further charge that he knowingly misled the House in saying that the Daily Express had been warned repeatedly that it would be contravening the notices.
The instructions given to Colonel Lohan by those responsible, which Colonel Lohan accepted, were that publishing would be in breach of the Notices and, when he made his statement on 21st February, the Prime Minister had no reason to suppose 1981 that Colonel Lohan had not carried out the instructions which had been given to him. Indeed, all the information available to the Prime Minister was to the effect that he had carried out the instructions. Colonel Lohan himself was under the impression that he had conveyed those instructions adequately to Mr. Pincher and, before he went off to his home in Charing on the Monday evening, he thought that he was holding the position. I hope, therefore, that in the light of these facts, the House will reject totally the personal attack which has been made on the Prime Minister's integrity.
It is quite fundamental to the D Notice system that, if an editor indicates that he does not accept that the D Notice applies to a story, the Government should be given enough time to make representations. In this case, however, that opportunity was denied to the Government. Although the decision to publish was reached in the editorial conference on Monday shortly after six-o'clock, that decision was not communicated to Colonel Lohan until about 9.40 in the evening. By then, the presses for the Glasgow Edition of the Daily Express were rolling and, when Colonel Lohan spoke to the night editor, he was told that he had no authority to stop the story and that Glasgow had gone to press.
The House will recollect that Mr. Pincher had given his word after the Monday lunch to let Colonel Lohan—his "old personal friend", as he describes him—know the result of his talk with the editor. When Colonel Lohan spoke to Mr. Pincher at 6.30 that evening, he was not told by him that the editor had decided to publish. On the contrary, as the Report puts it:Colonel Lohan was thus left with the impression that the issue of publication was still open.When Colonel Lohan had spoken to the Foreign Office that afternoon, he reported that… he thought all was going to be well and that Mr. Chapman Pincher—he thought he had convinced Mr. Chapman Pincher—would advise his editor in this sense and he would let Colonel Lohan know what the result was.It is also clear from the Foreign Office memorandum which is reproduced as Appendix VI to the Report that Colonel 1982 Lohan was confident that he would have enough warning from Mr. Chapman Pincher to allow him to take action with the editor if there was a possibility of the story being published.
Colonel Lohan reported in a similar sense at seven o'clock in the evening to Sir James Dunnett, the Chairman of the Services, Press and Broadcasting Committee, and the result was that all concerned thought that the matter was in hand.
§ The Attorney-General
This is an important part of the story which I intend to pursue. By the time that Colonel Lohan got to know, two and a half hours later, of the intention to publish, it was too late to do anything about it.
There followed a series of telephone exchanges between the representatives of the Government and the Press which, reading the Report, give one the sense of tragi-comedy. At 12.45 a.m., for instance, the editor of the Daily Express decided that he should accept the view that his story contravened the D Notices and, accordingly, he gave instructions that the story should be taken out. Five minutes later, he was told that The Times and the Daily Mail were publishing. This was after The Times had learned of the earlier edition of the Express and after Colonel Lohan had told the Daily Mail that, as the Daily Express was publishing, it could go ahead. Accordingly, the editor of the Express countermanded his order and decided to continue publishing the story.
The significance of all this is that, if Mr. Pincher had informed Colonel Lohan as soon as possible after the decision to publish had been taken, as he had promised, the officials and Ministers concerned would have been able to clear up the misunderstanding between themselves and the editorial staff of the Daily Express in sufficient time to prevent the publication.
Part of the misunderstanding which arose between the Government and the Press on this occasion arose at the very outset of the story, on the Thursday before publication, when Mr. Pincher first spoke to Colonel Lohan about it.
1983 According to Colonel Lohan, that conversation lasted a few seconds. Colonel Lohan's recollection is that Mr. Pincher referred only to Post Office telegrams. Mr. Pincher says that he told him the whole story. It is one of the many conflicts in their evidence.
The finding of the Committee is thatColonel Lohan saw no significance in the story as it was put to him and replied to Mr. Pincher that there was no 'D' notice which applied to such a story.This was where the misunderstanding began. It was, unfortunately, aggravated by the fact that Colonel Lohan never told any official that he had said this to Mr. Pincher on the Thursday.
In his second article on the 22nd February Mr. Pincher stated:Yesterday, after Mr. Wilson's statement"—this was the Prime Minister's statement in the House—Colonel Lohan confirmed what he told me previously—that though he requested non-publication of the information, the D Notices referred to by the Premier did not apply.As to this conversation between Colonel Lohan and Mr. Pincher, again there is a sharp conflict of evidence. Mr. Pincher describes what he said to Colonel Lohan as follows:But you said when I rang you on Thursday that the D Notices do not apply,and added that Colonel Lohan agreed that they did not apply. Mr. Pincher was then asked by his counsel:When you say he agreed, what exactly do you recollect his saying?and Mr. Pincher replied:I said, 'Didn't you say that they did not apply?' and he said, 'Yes' and I said, 'Do you still say so?' and he said, 'Yes'. This was on the Thursday ruling.Colonel Lohan, on the other hand, recalls the conversation in this way. He was asked by the Chairman:Now I think we can pass to what happened after the Prime Minister had made a reference to this in the House, because there was an exchange then between you and Mr. Pincher and I think Mr. Marks later. What happened then?".He replied:About 4.35 or thereabouts, after the Prime Minister had made his remarks, Pincher asked me if I knew what they were, and I said, 'No, read them to me'. He read them to me, and I waited for five seconds while what he said sank in. Then he said, 'We do not want to go on calling one another names; did you or 1984 did you not say that these D notices'—and this is the first time that he used the word—'were relevant? Did you or did you not say these D notices had no relevance?'. I said 'Harry, you know jolly well what I said; I said, "Let us put them aside so we can get on with the argument". 'There was some more exchange about what that meant.The Chairman then said:Try to remember everything … that passedand Colonel Lohan's reply was:May I start again by saying he used for the first time the words, that I had agreed they were not relevant. Then he said:'But look, when I telephoned you on the Thursday did you not agree then that there were no D notices?' I said, 'Yes, willingly, because the story you gave me then was about G.P.O. cables being collected by the Ministry of Defence; there were no D notices and you said you would come back to me. 'He agreed.The Committee of Inquiry—and I do not blame it; there were so many conflicts of evidence to be dealt with—did not deal with this, but if Colonel Lohan is correct the House may think that the statement in the Daily Express on 22nd February was highly misleading.—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] If the record which I have read had been studied by hon. Gentlemen, I venture to think that they would have come to the same conclusion.
May I, in conclusion, comment on the suggestion which has been made in some quarters that it is without precedent for a Government to publish a White Paper setting out their own conclusions on a Report which they have commissioned, particularly when these conclusions go beyond what is in the Report. On this matter, I can do no better than quote the Attorney-General of a previous Administration of which the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition was a member.
On 28th July, 1959 the then Attorney-General said—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] It is worth hearing; it is of some interest, He said:I have seen it suggested in various quarters that the Government, having appointed a Commission such as this, presided over by a distinguished High Court judge, are under a duty to accept all that the Commission says. That really is not right. It is, of course, the duty of every Government to give careful consideration to the report of any commission they appoint, but no Government, by appointing a commission or committee, either pledge themselves, or are bound, to accept all its conclusions or criticisms or recommendations if any 1985 are made."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th July, 1959; Vol. 610, c. 318.]The House will recollect that the Devlin Report to which that speech referred was made in 1959, when Dr. Banda and other African leaders in Nyasaland were locked up under emergency powers. The Government published a White Paper justifying their detention on the ground that they had entered into a plot to massacre all the leading Europeans in Nyasaland. A very high-powered Commission of Inquiry, headed by Lord Devlin, was sent to Nyasaland. In view of the alleged danger of intimidation, all the evidence was taken in secret. The Commission made a most thorough investigation. It heard the evidence of more than 1,000 witnesses, and in its Report it completely disposed of the massacre plot, and dismissed it as entirely without foundation.
What happened? Did the Government of the day accept the findings? Not for a moment. They published what purported to be a despatch from the Governor—and it would be surprising if Ministers had no hand in it—justifying the allegations which the Commission had rejected. They then moved and carried in the House of Commons a Motion accepting only those parts of the Report which suited them and rejecting the remainder. Not one Tory Member protested. Not one Tory Member voted against it, or even abstained.
I give this for what it may be worth to the Opposition. It is quite true that the Motion moved by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer was in identical terms to the one proposed by the Opposition today. No doubt that is where they have got it from. They have to find inspiration somewhere.
But the two cases, of course, differ quire fundamentally, and let me point the differences. In 1959, Parliament had before it only the Report of the Commission, and none of the evidence. Moreover, in that case the Commission was dealing solely with questions of fact. In the present case nearly all the evidence has been published, and the House is in a good position to judge for itself the matters in issue. Moreover, we are dealing here with questions of opinion as to the proper interpretation of D Notices; not merely with questions of fact, but largely with interpretations and inferences from the facts.
1986 These are matters upon which it is perfectly legitimate for the Government, in view of the direct responsibility which they bear for national security, to express, as they have done, their own conclusions. That responsibility in this critical field, which they alone can bear, they can transfer to no one, and accordingly I invite the House to give its full support to the Motion.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Anthony Barber (Altrincham and Sale)
I beg to move, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:accepts the Report of the Committee of Privy Councillors appointed to inquire into D Notice matters (Command Paper No. 3309)".I start by expressing my thanks to Lord Radcliffe and his colleagues for the admirably lucid Report which they made at the invitation of the Prime Minister. Their task was not an easy one but they discharged it, as one would expect, without fear or favour. Very important—from the point of view of the Press and Parliament—they were able to condense their Report into only 28 pages, although it was based on evidence which runs to more than 250 pages.
I wish that I could also pay tribute to the Government's White Paper, but for reasons which I shall adduce I fear that I cannot. What purports to be a White Paper directed to the maintenance of national security turns out to be a document the overriding purpose of which is to establish the infallibility of the Prime Minister against all the evidence and contrary to the findings of the Radcliffe Committee.
Although we have listened with interest to the case which the Attorney-General was instructed to deploy, I understand that the Paymaster-General—whom we are pleased to see here in his accustomed place at the end of the Front Bench—with his special responsibilities for national security and party political tactics, was largely responsible for the thinking behind this White Paper. I am only sorry that the Prime Minister did not see fit to invite him to take at any rate some small part in this debate.
As for the Prime Minister's case, the Prime Minister, like the Daily Express, is at the very centre of this controversy, and everyone naturally assumed that he would open the debate.
§ Mr. Barber
I will tell him. Because then my right hon. Friend the Leader of the opposition would then have had an opportunity to comment on what the Prime Minister had to say. But the one thing that the Prime Minister is not under any circumstances going to risk is a speech in this debate by a single Member of Parliament after he has spoken.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Eric Fletcher)
Order. The hon. Member must resume his seat unless the right hon. Gentleman gives way.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I have said that the hon. Member must resume his seat unless the right hon. Gentleman gives way.
§ Mr. Barber
I will willingly give way to the Prime Minister or the Attorney-General. I conclude this observation by saying that the right hon. Gentleman's decision speaks for itself.
The issues on which the House has to take a view are clear, and they stem from the terms of reference selected by the Prime Minister himself for the Radcliffe Committee. Those terms of reference fall into two parts. I want to remind the House of the terms of reference, because they are very important. They are quite brief, and are as follows:to examine the circumstances surrounding the publication of an article in the Daily Express on 21st February entitled 'Cable Vetting Sensation' in relation to the 'D' notice system".That is the first part of the terms of reference. The second leg reads as follows:and to consider what improvements, if any, are required in that system in order to maintain it as a voluntary system based on mutual trust and confidence between the Government and Press in the interests alike of the freedom of the Press and of the security of the State".I propose to deal only briefly with the second part of the terms of reference—that part concerned with improvements to the system. The reason why I do not intend to dwell on this aspect is that the Radcliffe Committee reached the conclusion that 1988There is not much in the way of alteration that could usefully be recommended for the 'D' notice system".I hope that it will be accepted on both sides of the House that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the system. As the Radcliffe Report put it, on page 20:what was emphasised to us by a number of witnesses was that, despite its imperfections, it has worked effectively for a considerable number of years, and, so far as we could learn, its working has not been the cause of any substantial dissatisfaction to those who are party to it. This is a striking fact when it it recalled that we are speaking of a free Press which is alive to the importance of asserting its independence of Government control. It indicates a sense of responsibility and an editorial care that are very much to the credit of all concerned, and we do not think that they should go unrecorded in any Report that deals with the system.That is an impartial and very considerable tribute to the British Press. The Prime Minister is now toying with the idea of changing to a procedure involving what he calls a court of appeal or some form of arbitration procedure. This idea was rejected by the Radcliffe Committee, and rightly so. What is needed is not some sort of court of appeal but the avoidance of the administrative incompetence which occurred in this case. I deal only briefly with this aspect, but I would like to say that the objection to the so-called court of appeal or a Privy Councillor on top of the existing D Notice Committee is that if his verdict is not to be binding it will be a useless additional step but if, on the other hand, his verdict is to be binding, it will completely destroy the voluntary basis on which the present system is founded.
The important point is that the existing system has hitherto worked well, and I do not believe that there would be any difficulties about the implementation of the comparatively minor reforms recommended by the Radcliffe Committee. In any event, as I understand it the Government have already said, in the Motion, that they accept these reforms. Therefore, the conclusion that I draw is that the second head of the Radcliffe Committee's terms of reference, concerned with the system and its improvement, does not give rise to any basic problem which cannot reasonably easily be resolved.
The central issue with which this debate is concerned and for which the 1989 Prime Minister is answerable stems from the first part of the terms of reference which, I repeat, were settled by the Prime Minister himself—namely, the circumstances surrounding the publication of the Daily Express article. Here the Prime Minister has behaved in a manner which quite rightly has evoked universal condemnation. What the right hon. Gentleman has succeeded in doing is to combine an arrogant conviction in his own infallibility with political bungling and stupidity of the highest order, as I shall show.
Yet all the odium that has been heaped on the Prime Minister could have been avoided by his uttering one simple sentence—"I made a mistake". That is all he needed to say. Let me remind the House of the salient and undeniable facts which the Attorney-General inadvertently failed to highlight. On the morning of 21st February Mr. Chapman Pincher's article was published in the Daily Express. On the afternoon of the same day the Prime Minister described the article as "sensationalised and inaccurate". Then he added:What I am concerned with today is a clear breach of two D Notices."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st February, 1967; Vol. 741, c. 1432.]On the following day—22nd February—the Daily Express published a second article by Mr. Chapman Pincher, in which he asserted that the Prime Minister's statement was completely untrue. On the third day—23rd February—the Prime Minister again made a statement in the House. But, with that deviousness of which the Prime Minister is a past master, he started to shift his ground. He now declared that the Express article—…wac a breach of the long-standing D notice convention…Later, he said that it… was a breach of the whole D notice procedure".It was on that occasion that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition proposed that three Privy Councillors should forthwith investigate the matter and report to the House, but at that stage the Prime Minister was not prepared to risk any such investigation. Instead, he told the House that it was:… a matter for the Services, Press and Broadcasting Committee …"—[OFFICIAL RE- 1990 PORT, 23rd February, 1967; Vol. 741, c. 1975, 1978, 1977.]In fact, of course, as we know, the matter was never considered by that Committee and the Prime Minister was, at the end of the day, compelled to accept my right hon. Friend's proposal. That was on 23rd February.
It was on 28th February that the Prime Minister formally announced to the House the setting up of the Radcliffe Committee, and he used certain words which have been referred to in the Press and which I will repeat. I was astonished, incidentally, that, in what purported to be an objective account of all these matters, the right hon. and learned Gentleman did not remind the House of these words. The Prime Minister told the House of Commons:What the Government are seeking to do … is to appoint a Committee … and to rely on their judgment on all of these very difficult problem."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th February. 1967; Vol. 742, c. 276–7].That is what the right hon. Gentleman said.
The Attorney-General told us only a few minutes ago that this, of course, was a very different inquiry from a previous one to which he referred, because, he said. the previous inquiry was concerned with facts, whereas this one was concerned to a considerable extent with what he called "opinions". Well, opinions are very analogous to forming judgments. The Prime Minister realised this, and he said not, "We will rely on their findings of fact", but, "We will rely on their judgment of all these very difficult problems."
That was the position on 28th February and, of course, by that time, the right hon. Gentleman, entirely by his own unaided efforts, had managed to get himself well and truly into the mire. But the right hon. Gentleman was yet to make one more fatal error of judgment. He has never been renowned for his humility, but finally, when he was faced with the Radcliffe Report on the Daily Express article, he quite simply rejected all three main findings. Let me put the matter succinctly.
The first issue. Before the inquiry, the Prime Minister described the Express article as "inaccurate"; the independent inquiry found—these were the words which, with a little assistance from me, 1991 the right hon. and learned Gentleman quoted:It was not inaccurate in any sense that could expose it to hostile criticism on that score.The Prime Minister's comment on that finding is contained in the White Paper:The Government remain of the view … that the article was inaccurate …The second issue. Before the inquiry, the Prime Minister described the Express article as aclear breach of two D notices".The independent inquiry found:… it would not be right to say that the article amounted to a breach of the 'D' notices.The right hon. Gentleman's comment on that finding is contained in the White Paper:… the Government remain of the view that the article was one which fell within the ambit of the 'D' notices …Similarly, on the third issue, about D notice conventions and procedure.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman made an extraordinary statement, that there are differences—I took down his words—but that "those differences are more apparent than real". But, of course, the three issues on which the Government's view is diametrically opposed to the view of the Radcliffe Committee are, in the words of the Radcliffe Report,the three principal issues …which they had to resolve under the first head of their terms of reference. Indeed, the heading in the Government's own White Paper is: "The three main issues". How on earth can the right hon. and learned Gentleman pretend that the differences are more apparent than real?
Of course, I entirely agree with the right hon. and learned Gentleman when he says—he is absolutely right—that there will be occasions when the Government disagree with some finding of a Committee of Inquiry, but, so far as the Daily Express article is concerned, there are only three main findings. For the right hon. Gentleman to disagree on one of those findings might be tolerable, but I must say that to reject all three really evinces a degree of overwhelming conceit which is almost incredible.
1992 Also, of course, in addition to this, it was the Prime Minister himself who volunteered the assurance that he would rely on the judgment of the Committee on all these matters. I must say that things have come to a pretty pass when the right hon. Gentleman treats his assurances to the House of Commons with the same contempt as election pledges.
On the main question, whether the article constituted a breach of the D notices, the right hon. Gentleman now tries to wriggle out of his difficulty by explaining his rejection of the Radcliffe conclusion on the grounds that he is taking account of… the actual working of the system" and in full knowledge of 'the activities in question' …But, of course, this is a completely bogus argument, for the very simple reason that the Radcliffe Committee also took these aspects into account.
If the right hon. Gentleman doubts my words, let me quote those of the Report:It is necessary, therefore, to approach this question with a regard for the views of those concerned with the actual working of the system …So they took that into account and, of course, the Radcliffe Committee were told all about the activities in question.
However, it would be quite wrong to assume, on this main issue, that the Prime Minister is merely rejecting the findings of the Radcliffe Committee. The right hon. Gentleman clings to his original accusation against the evidence of the overwhelming majority of editors. Mr. Lee Howard, the Editor of the Daily Mirror, who, incidentally, was a member of the D Notices Committee and has therefore had considerable experience of these matters, said that the article was not within the D Notices. But the Prime Minister rejects his view. Mr. Maurice Green, who used to be Deputy Editor of The Times and is now Editor of the Daily Telegraph, said that the article was not within the D Notices. But the Prime Minister rejects his view. Mr. Edward Pickering, Editor of the Daily Express from 1956 to 1961, said that the article was not within the D Notices. But the Prime Minister rejects his view. The Times concluded that the article was not within the D Notices, but 1993 the Prime Minister rejects its view. The Observer concluded that the article was not within the D Notices, but the Prime Minister rejects their view. Finally, the New Statesman concluded that the article was not within the D Notices, but the Prime Minister rejects its view.
Even the Secretary of the Services, Press and Broadcasting Committee… regarded it as quite inadmissible to say that the …article constituted any clear breach of 'D' notices …The Attorney-General said that it was unfortunate that the Secretary, Colonel Lohan, took that view, but this was the very man who was responsible for giving the interpretation of the D Notice to the Press—
§ The Attorney-General
What I said was that it was very unfortunate that he did not indicate that view to anyone else who was concerned.
§ Mr. Barber
I am bound to say that, if the right hon. and learned Gentleman is querying the substance of what I said, I hope that he is not saying that it does not really matter whether Colonel Lohan held that view or not, because this is of vital concern when one is considering not the Prime Minister's position but the position of the Daily Express. But it was the Daily Express, and Mr. Chapman Pincher in particular, who were having dealings with Colonel Lohan—a man who himself took the view that the article was not covered by the D Notices.
§ The Attorney-General
The right hon. Gentleman has been good enough to catalogue the opinions of journalists on this matter. Would he please read the last sentence of paragraph 52?
§ Mr. Barber
I imagine that this is the sentence in which two gentleman of the Daily Mail disagreed with this view. [HON. MEMBERS: "Read it."] The Attorney-General has referred to the sentence in which Mr. Brittenden and Mr. MacPherson said that… they would have taken a contrary viewIf the right hon. and learned Gentleman had been listening carefully to what I had said—and I was careful in phrasing my words—he would have heard me refer to the "overwhelming majority". If that is the best the Attorney-General can do against the number of newspapers 1994 I have quoted, then, to use his words in return, he is welcome to any satisfaction that he gets out of it.
One interesting fact is that in the White Paper—which, I understand, unless there is to be some change later tonight, represents the view of the Prime Minister—it is stated that the Press should normally accept official interpretations of the applicability of D Notices. This is precisely what the Daily Express did, and how the right hon. and learned Gentleman, with his experience of our legal system, could possibly castigate the Daily Express in the light of that is beyond belief. And in the face of all this overwhelming weight of evidence, which convinced the Radcliffe Committee, for the Prime Minister still to adhere to his original slander of the Daily Express and its staff is, frankly, despicable.
What worries me is not that the Prime Minister adheres to a view which he might know to be wrong. What I find really alarming is that he may even believe that the rest of the world is wrong and that it is given to him, and to him alone, to see the true light.
I turn to another aspect of this case which I find, on the evidence, to be profoundly disturbing. It is the strange behaviour of the Foreign Secretary after dinner on the evening of Monday, 20th February. There are two aspects of the Foreign Secretary's behaviour and actions, one pure comic opera—referred to, in passing, by the Attorney-General—and the other a matter of more seriousness. The comic opera part is the conversation which the Foreign Secretary had with Sir Max Aitken, proprietor of the Daily Express, after dinner on the night of publication.
I will sum up what happened. First, the Foreign Secretary thought that he was speaking to Sir Max Aitken at the Daily Express office. In fact, Sir Max was in a telephone box at the Garrick Club. Secondly, the Foreign Secretary thought that the Editor, Mr. Derek Marks, was actually by the side of Sir Max. In fact, he was still at the dinner table. Thirdly, the Foreign Secretary spoke on the assumption that Sir Max knew all about the story. In fact, he had no idea to what the Foreign Secretary was referring. [Interruption.] This is all in the evidence. It is incredible, but true.
1995 Fourthly, the Foreign Secretary thought that Sir Max said that he would kill the story. In fact, Sir Max, to put it mildly, did not see the matter that way, to use the words he used in the evidence. Fifthly, Sir Max is convinced that the Foreign Secretary referred to the Glasgow edition—and Radcliffe agrees with this—but the Foreign Secretary thinks that he did not. All of these misunderstandings occurred during what was, in the Foreign Secretary's own words in the evidence, "A very short conversation."
§ Mr. Barber
The New Statesman observed:Whatever the truth of Mr. George Brown's telephone conversation with Sir Max Aitken, this aspect of the affair hardly places Mr. Brown in a dignified light; and one tiny moral of the whole business is that Foreign Secretaries should not telephone newspaper proprietors late in the evening.I am bound to say that, for this Foreign Secretary, that was very sound advice indeed.
§ Mr. Pannell
The right hon. Gentleman could not have read the evidence, any more than the New Statesman, or that would not have been stated. The whole point of the matter—and obviously I cannot, in an intervention, detail all the events—was that the Foreign Secretary telephoned the Daily Express and the Daily Express office answered him. The Daily Express did not then make him aware of the fact that they were transferring the call to the Garrick Club; and all the way through my right hon. Friend was speaking on the assumption that he was speaking to the Daily Express office. Everything flows from that. In spite of the fun and games which the right hon. Gentleman is having, I trust that he will try to be scrupulously fair about this.
§ Mr. Barber
Who knows? It may well be that the Foreign Secretary was quite clear about his observations and that Sir Max was not. I have merely stated the facts as they are set out.
1996 Let us get on with the strange events of that night. That conversation took place at about 10 o'clock. At 11 p.m. or 11.30 p.m.—and this was the night of publication; the night when, we are told, men's lives were in danger—the Foreign Secretary selected a man who knew absolutely nothing about the case to telephone the Editor, Mr. Derek Marks. The man he selected was Mr. Bill Greig, a highly respected ex-Fleet Street journalist who is known to many of us.
Why did the Foreign Secretary choose him? Mr. Greig did not have a clue of what it was all about. He had no particular position with regard to security. He had never even seen the D Notices. Despite this, he was the man who, at this critical moment, was asked to telephone the Editor of the Daily Express on a matter of vital security involving, so we are now told, men's lives. [Interruption.] If anyone doubts what I am saying, let me quote this simple passage from the Radcliffe Report about the first telephone conversation which Mr. Greig had with the Editor of the Daily Express on that fateful night. This is what Mr. Greig said:My first understanding was that the story in question was a political one and I asked Marks what they were saying about the Foreign Secretary. He expressed great surprise, said there was nothing of any consequence about the Foreign Secretary and that he was puzzled by my inquiry.I will be only too delighted to read more of Mr. Greig's evidence if hon. Members wish me to do so. Mr. Greig was, of course, in an impossible position. To have asked him to undertake this task was sheer incompetence if the matter was as serious as we are now told it was.
There is one rather sordid aspect of all this to which I must draw the attention of the House. [Interruption.] I am willing at any time to give way to the Attorney-General or the Prime Minister if they doubt any of the facts I have given. I have in my notes all the references to these facts and I will willingly provide them if I am asked to do so.
In his evidence, Sir Max Aitken states that he knew nothing about the story when the Foreign Secretary telephoned him at 10 o'clock that night. Several newspaper editors gave evidence to the effect that they would not normally expect their proprietors to know the lead story 1997 prior to publication. But the effect of the Foreign Secretary's evidence is quite simply to call Sir Max Aitken a liar. Bearing in mind that the Foreign Secretary had been dining with a friend, I know quite frankly whom I would believe on this particular conflict of evidence. One might have hoped that at least the Foreign Secretary would have admitted the possibility that at 10 o'clock at night he might conceivably have misunderstood the situation. But no. Sir Max Aitken, according to the Foreign Secretary, lied to the Radcliffe Committee, and that is the end of the matter so far as he is concerned.
I now come to a much more serious aspect of the Foreign Secretary's conduct. It is now being put about by the Prime Minister that the Daily Express disclosure was a danger to men's lives. This aspect was referred to again in somewhat different words by the right hon. and learned Gentleman this afternoon. But if the matter was as serious as that, why on earth did not the Foreign Secretary intervene at an earlier stage? After all, the article was published on the night of Monday, 20th February. But one fact—
§ Mr. Pannell
There is a reason. Again the right hon. Gentleman has not read the evidence. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary was asking his Department about ringing that afternoon and all the pressure of the Department was brought on him to take it through the usual channels, because it relied on the undertaking of Pincher. It was not until later in the evening that it knew that there was an evasion of that. The Foreign Secretary was facing pressure in the afternoon. That is in the evidence.
§ Mr. Barber
I do not agree with the right hon. Gentleman. I shall quote from the evidence in a moment. I was saying that I cannot understand why the Foreign Secretary did not intervene earlier. The article was published on 20th February—the Monday. What the right hon. and learned Gentleman omitted to tell the House was that the Foreign Secretary first heard about the story the previous Friday. Now let us assume, which is not necessarily so, that the Foreign Secretary was right not to intervene at that stage. I accept that this is very likely the case. 1998 It is incredible to me that he did not send for Sir Max Aitken or Mr. Derek Marks earlier on the Monday. After all, the Attorney-General dealt at length with the position at 7 o'clock that evening. He told us the position then. But the Foreign Secretary was told at about 7 o'clock on that evening that it seemed as though the Daily Express might be going to publish. That is what the Foreign Secretary was told at 7 o'clock that evening.
§ Mr. Barber
It is true that at about the same time Colonel Lohan said:I am skating on very thin ice; nevertheless I think I am holding it.That was the point that the right hon. and learned Gentleman had in mind. Col. Lohan said that he was skating on thin ice but thought that he might hold it.
§ Mr. Roebuck rose—
§ Mr. Barber
But the fact is, as appeared in the Report, that the Foreign Secretary was told, and I quote:… that it seemed as though the Express might be going to publish.Even taking that with a pinch of salt, even taking it not quite at its face value as set out in the Report, surely there was enough dubiety about the whole affair for the Foreign Secretary, having heard of it on Friday, to act at that time? I should have thought that that was the only sensible thing to do.
§ Mr. Barber
It is said that his Department was advising to the contrary, but in this House and in our system it is always for Ministers to take the responsibility themselves. We know from Radcliffe that virtually everyone except the Prime Minister and the two gentlemen from the Daily Mail agrees that the D Notices did not apply. But if there were wider security reasons which made suppression of the article desirable in the national interest, does the Prime Minister seriously think that if the Foreign Secretary had sent for either Sir Max Aitken or Mr. Marks and explained the position they would have published that night? The answer, of course, is simply, "No".
§ The Attorney-General rose—
§ Mr. Barber
Is it really likely that either Sir Max Aitken or Mr. Derek Marks would knowingly and deliberately put men's lives at risk? I do not believe that that is so.
§ The Attorney-General
The right hon. Gentleman has invited me to make references to the evidence. Would he now please look at paragraph 44 of the Report which deals with the Foreign Secretary's knowledge and state of mind—[Interruption.] Really! The puerility of the Opposition is too childish for words. If the right hon. Gentleman would like me to read it I shall gladly do so, but perhaps he owes it to the House and my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary to read it himself.
§ Mr. Barber
Certainly I will read it. If I am to read this I shall also quote a highly relevant extract from the Foreign Secretary's evidence. The paragraph beginsAt about 10 o'clock on that evening"—
§ Mr. Barber
Paragraph 44 says:The Foreign Secretary had been informed by his Department on Friday, 17th February, that a story on cable vetting was in the hands of the Daily Express and some other papers, and on the afternoon of Monday, 20th February he had learnt that Colonel Lohan had reported, after his lunch with Mr. Pincher, that he regarded the situation as under control,"—that is true. This is in the afternoon—that he thought that the Express were not going to publish and that if they decided to do so we should have another opportunity'. The Foreign Secretary decided on the basis of that information that he would not try to make a personal intervention at that stage.
§ Mr. Barber
Shall I read the next paragraph in full? I will if the right hon. and learned Gentleman would like me to.
§ Mr. Barber
It says:At about 10 o'clock on that evening the Foreign Secretary was dining at the house of 2000 a friend and there received a telephone message …and so on.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
I think that the House will consult its own dignity if it allows the right hon. Gentleman to continue his speech.
§ Mr. Barber
I was asking the Attorney-General, because it was at his instigation that I quoted the paragraph, what he wishes me to read and how many pages, or whether he wishes me to read.
§ The Attorney-General
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman. He has been most courteous in this matter. I only asked for the first sentence of paragraph 45.
§ Mr. Barber
It says:At about 10 o'clock on that evening the Foreign Secretary was dining at the house of a friend and there received a telephone message from an official at the Foreign Office to the effect that the Daily Express now intended to publish the story and that it was running in the Glasgow edition of that paper.That was at 10 o'clock, and the previous paragraphs refer to what happened in the afternoon. But I was referring to what happened at 7 o'clock that night, before the dinner, and if it is desirable, if there are any doubts in anybody's mind, let me quote the words of the Foreign Secretary under cross-examination. This is what he said at page 123 of the Report:I heard at 7 o'clock on the Monday evening I think—at any rate the evening of the day in question—I heard that it seemed as though the Express might be going to publish.Those are the words of the Foreign Secretary.
But let me come on to the basic question. If there were wider security reasons which made the suppression of the article desirable in the national interest, I ask again, does the right hon. Gentleman think that if the Foreign Secretary, the Prime Minister or anybody else had sent for the proprietor or Mr. Marks they would have published? Of course they would not. The truth is that right up to the time of publication the 2001 Government side operated with singular ineptitude, and it is quite wrong for the Prime Minister or the Foreign Secretary to blame the officials, because the responsibility is theirs. Then when the article was published the right hon. Gentleman decided on the action that we all remember from his statements to the House.
The right hon. Gentleman has failed conspicuously, and failed because on the three main issues the Radcliffe Report finds against the Prime Minister. While I thought that the Prime Minister's original castigations of the Daily Express were hasty and ill-considered, I can understand, having read what he had in the newspaper, and feeling as he did about it, his making those observations in the heat of the moment, but I cannot understand why after the Radcliffe Report the right hon. Gentleman does not say simply that now with the benefit of hindsight, and while he thinks he was justified at the time in doing what he did—because he was so advised if hon. Members like—he accepts the findings of the Radcliffe Committee. But as the Daily Mirror aptly put it:Once Mr. Wilson has got his teeth into anything except his tongue his refuses to let goSo the right hon. Gentleman set about concocting the White Paper. No doubt he was drafting and redrafting it during the Middle East war. All I can say is that with a Prime Minister who has such perverted priorities, and with a Foreign Secretary whose propensities are becoming ever more widely known, it is little wonder that more and more people are questioning the judgment, the credibility and the integrity of the Government. It was another honourable man who once said:The abuse of greatness is when it disjoins Remorse from power.Even at this late hour, if the Prime Minister were now to rise in his place and say "I made a mistake" the public and every single Member of this House would applaud him. But he is not prepared to do that, and he must suffer the consequences.
§ 5.43 p.m.
§ Mr. E. Shinwell (Easington)
I think the time has come for me to pour a little oil on the troubled waters. There has been a great deal of heat generated, some excitement, irascibility and the like.
2002 It seems to me that the right hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Barber), who is asking the House to approve the Opposition Amendment, which in effect means that the Report of the tribunal is accepted, has another fish to fry and is much more concerned about castigating the Prime Minister than about the need for safeguarding national security.
It may have been noted by those who have read the Report that in the course of the evidence I questioned the motives of the Editor of the Daily Express on more than one occasion. It seems to me that we have to take into account motivation before we come to a proper judgment about what has transpired.
When I listened to my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General I could not help recalling the frequent observations of Mr. Perry Mason in the courts: "Immaterial, incompetent and irrelevant". It was much too legalistic. We are not discussing some legal issue; we are concerned with what actually transpired, and, in particular, during the course of evidence presented to the tribunal. I had to live through it, and so did the right hon. and learned Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd), and those who lived through it know a little more about it than those who have merely read the Report, even more than the Attorney-General or the right hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale.
What was the trouble about? An article appeared in the Daily Express, and the Prime Minister made some observations about it. In the light of the evidence I venture to say that the Prime Minister may not have been fully informed about all that had happened before he made his statement in the House. It may be that the Prime Minister is blameworthy for not having ascertained all the facts, and, in particular, for not having full knowledge of the personalities involved. But he is surely justified because he was concerned—a natural concern shared by all of us—to safeguard national security, so he directed attention to an article which he described as sensational and unnecessary. As a member of the tribunal, I came to the conclusion objectively and quite honestly, without any bias or partisanship, that the article ought not to have been published.
But what we were asked to consider was something quite different. We were 2003 asked to consider whether the article constituted a breach of the D Notice, and we gave a negative reply based on the evidence before us. That is the issue. If the White Paper had not been published, and if the Prime Minister and the Government had relied on the submission of the tribunal's Report, and if it had been accepted by the House, or even noted by the House—not even approved or welcomed by the House—it would have been quite satisfactory, and I do not think there would have been any repercussions.
But the publication of the White Paper and what it contains in an implied rebuke of those who constituted the tribunal seems to me to be wholly unsatisfactory. It is true that the Prime Minister expressed his gratitude to the members of the tribunal, and so did the right hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale, for submitting their Report. However, it is all very well to dissemble one's love, but why kick us downstairs? I did not invite myself to be a member of the tribunal. I have quite enough on my plate—half a dozen problems, half a dozen quarrels. But one certain thing that emerges as a result of the tribunal is that I shall never be asked to serve on another one. Perhaps it is a happy deliverance.
It is almost like a James Bond story, except that in a James Bond story one meets professionals. Here we met amateurs. I am speaking not about members of the Government but about officials who operate on behalf of the Government. I never had a high regard for the Foreign Office at any time. Years ago I had some association with it when I was a member of the Labour Government. I repeat, I never had a high regard for it. I do not care for diplomats anyhow. If they were paid by results they would starve. I regret in a way that these gentlemen, to whom I shall allude not by name but collectively, cannot reply in this House or even outside. But they replied to our questions in the Committee and I formed an assessment consistent with my judgment of the Foreign Office. I do not blame my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary for that.
The right hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale—and I thought that he would do so because it seemed to me to be a 2004 juicy piece, absolutely irresistible—made much of the Foreign Secretary's part. It is true that my right hon. Friend was approached at 7 o'clock on the vital Monday night, the red letter day. He thought that he should intervene. He was told by his officials, "Don't. Let it proceed through the normal channels." Like nearly all Foreign Secretaries, if I am any judge of political history, he accepted the advice of his officials. He told them to go ahead. How did they? They adopted a casual, airy-fairy attitude throughout and that was the cause of the trouble.
There was something more than that. Who are the central personalities, the most important and vital personalities in this affair? Chapman Pincher is one. A man named Lawson came to him and said, "I have a story about cable vetting. I have been watching it go on." Lawson thought that this was novel. He told Pincher about it. He did not want any money for the information—not at that time. Now he has sent a letter to the Editor of the Daily Express demanding £1,000. I give full marks—Derek Marks—for this to the Daily Express; it has decided not to pay.
At any rate, Pincher absorbed the story. He writes sensational stories. That is his job. It is how he earns his living. I do not complain. We all earn our livings in different fashions. He jumped at the story and got in touch with the Ministry of Defence at once, which was the proper thing to do in the circumstances. The Ministry did not think much of it.
Pincher then got in touch with Colonel Lohan. Now Colonel Lohan is a very interesting character. He was the only one among those who gave evidence who really might be incorporated in the next James Bond film—hail-fellow well-met, jolly-good-old-boy stuff. The trouble about him, according to the information in my possession and judging by the evidence submitted to us, was that they did not trust him. That was one of the difficulties. The Foreign Office got hold of the story and began to ask, "What shall we do about it?"
§ Mr. Shinwell
These interruptions break the thread of my discourse.
The Foreign Office officials contacted Colonel Lohan and asked him to see 2005 Chapman Pincher on their behalf. But they could not furnish him with all the information. I understand that this was because he had not been positively vetted. I believe the truth to be—and this is the reason that Colonel Lohan declares that he was positively vetted—that they began to positively vet him and then discovered that, because of the gentleman's characteristics, perhaps they should not go any further. But Colonel Lohan was not entirely to blame, because the Foreign Office officials in their confabulations, when they decided to instruct him, would not have him on the premises.
So Colonel Lohan went to meet Chapman Pincher—where? They went to a very posh restaurant in the West End. In a public restaurant they engaged in conversation on a matter which impinged on our national security. I asked many questions about this, as did the right hon. and learned Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd) and Lord Radcliffe himself. We were told, "It was all right. We went into a corner". What did they discuss? They discussed whether the D Notice applied. It seems that Colonel Lohan was doubtful himself whether it applied. On the evidence as a whole, it is obvious it did not apply. Reading the Report in general, one suspects its applicability but, so far as Colonel Lohan was concerned then, the matter was doubtful. There was uncertainty.
They had lunch at the restaurant and a very good lunch it was. There was a good deal of alcoholic refreshment. Who paid, I am not sure. I assume that it was Pincher, because as a journalist he would have an entertainment allowance and Government officials do not have much. The lunch lasted for two hours. I asked whether they discussed the D Notice. Pincher replied, "Of course not".
Pincher said that Lohan took from his pocket a couple of D Notices and talked to Pincher as an old friend of many years standing but in a cautious fashion, saying that one D Notice did not apply, and the other only marginally, and he would not pursue it. According to Pincher, Colonel Lohan then put them back in his pocket. What, then, did they discuss? They discussed the "basic principles" relating to security. On that issue, Pincher was not quite certain. He 2006 was concerned about a good story, a sensational story. That was the position. That is the way it was done. It should be said—and I say it—that I do not want to disparage Colonel Lohan. On the other hand, he is a strange character.
§ Mr. Shinwell
The hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Eldon Griffiths) is himself a strange character. I have told how Colonel Lohan acted at the lunch.
§ Mr. Eldon Griffiths indicated dissent—
§ Mr. Shinwell
The hon. Gentleman's head will fall off if he goes on like that. There is the evidence. I have told what we heard. That is how Colonel Lohan and Pincher acted. What happened after that? Colonel Lohan believed that Pincher had been persuaded not to proceed and some time afterwards he went home.
§ Lord Balniel (Hertford)
I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman's amusing speech, but I understood him to say that Colonel Lohan was positively vetted and for reasons of his character, or something that was discovered during the vetting, it was stopped. Is that what the right hon. Gentleman said and did he mean it?
§ Mr. Shinwell
The information that I have is that he was not positively vetted. However, can we dismiss that for a moment?
§ Mr. Shinwell
If it will help, but not because the Member opposite asks, I will withdraw that. Why? Because the very fact that the Foreign Office officials did not have him on the premises when they were deciding what action to take is sufficient evidence. It is contained in the evidence and there is no doubt about it. I think in all the circumstances that he was very badly treated. That is why I spoke about amateurs.
What happened? The Editor decided to publish. I put question after question, as will be seen from a perusal of the evidence, to Mr. Derek Marks, the Editor of the Express. I asked, "Are you interested in national security?" Of 2007 course, he replied in the affirmative. One would expect a reputable editor of a reputable paper to be interested in national security. I said, "Have you considered whether the D Notice applied?" "No, I did not consider that." Was there a political motive?
We regard the Express in this matter as not guilty. I would give it the Scottish verdict of not proven. It was difficult to establish that it evaded the D Notice. This is contained in the White Paper and I will read paragraph 26 which relates to the matter:The third issue to which the Radcliffe Committee gave its attention was: 'Is it (the article in question) contrary to anything that can be called the procedure or conventions of the 'D' notice system?' The Government accept that the editorial decision to publish the article was taken with no deliberate intention of evading or defying 'D' Notice procedure or conventions since the editor, according to his evidence, was not made aware, in time to be of value, of the official view that publication would involve a breach of 'D' notices. It is regrettable that this was so. The fact that he was never so informed suggests not so much a defect in the system as a failure on both sides to operate it properly.Therefore, it is impossible to establish that there was an evasion, deliberate or even accidental, of the D Notice procedure. What was obvious was that they were determined to publish an article which nobody can deny was sensational; it was a good story.
What about the other Pressmen? The right hon. Gentleman referred to them and brought them in as evidence. All of them denied that the D Notice applied. There is no question but that they ganged up. It is not a matter of the freedom of the Press. No one will deny the essential need for giving complete freedom to the Press, but when it is a matter of national security and there is some doubt—that is the point, some doubt—about whether the D Notice applied, however slight or however limited, surely a responsible editor would say, "In the circumstances, and in particular because representations have been made by the Government, I will not publish."
It seems to me, with respect, that the Prime Minister was misled about this matter. It can happen. The information furnished to him was limited in character. If he had known about all these matters 2008 and transactions which preceded the statement that he made in the House, he probably would not have made it. However, I can understand the Prime Minister being incensed about this story. Everybody concerned about national security should be troubled about it.
There it is. We treated this matter as objectively as possible. May I say, before sitting down, that an extraordinary rumour was permeating the House yesterday and the day before. Quite a number of my responsible colleagues came to me and said, "It is being rumoured that the reason you signed the Report was because you were annoyed at having lost the chairmanship of the Parliamentary Labour Party". Some of those who said this to me are members of the Parliamentary Labour Party and they will not deny that that is what was said to me. But I wanted to resign last August and also on several occasions thereafter. Does anyone really suggest that one cannot treat a matter of this sort objectively? That is what I did, and no more or less than that.
Now this is the dilemma with which I am faced tonight. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues have tabled an Amendment approving the Report. I cannot vote against that. How could I? On the other hand, I cannot vote for a White Paper which disapproves of what I have done. What am I to do? I cannot vote for the other side, because to do so is against my principles! The dilemma is even worse. I am impaled on both horns because I do not have a conscience. I cannot go to the Chief Whip, to the Patronage Secretary, as I am expected to do when I am about to abstain, and say, "Can I be permitted to abstain and not have a black mark put against me?" I cannot do that. Besides, I do not like abstainers and never have done. What can I do? I shall just have to go home.
In spite of the hilarity—the hon. Member for Hertford (Lord Balniel) said that I was making an amusing speech, but that was not my intention, although I appreciate there may be good reason for hilarity in all the circumstances. If the noble Lord had been a member of the Commission he would have made an even more amusing speech. We know how witty he is.
The one essential prerequisite of any decision taken tonight on either side of 2009 the House is that we should be concerned about national security. Are there not circumstances and occasions when we must be on the side of the Government who, like us, are concerned about national security? I am sorry that I cannot vote for the Prime Minister tonight—he will have to forgive me—but I will do so on some other occasion.
§ 6.10 p.m.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd (Wirral)
I came to the House this afternoon without any intention of intervening in the debate, but I have to intervene after the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) has done what he described as pouring oil on certain waters. I am not certain that he did not light one or two fires on which he then proceeded to pour some oil.
I shall not follow the right hon. Member's example and comment on the merits and demerits of the Foreign Office officials, nor on the security rating of Colonel Lohan. Like the right hon. Gentleman, I did not particularly want to be a member of this Committee. It involved the Prime Minister describing me as an elder statesman and thereby ruining my chances of a modest position in the next Administration.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
I want to speak about the D Notice system with which the second part of our Report deals. It has to be remembered that this is a voluntary arrangement, that orders cannot be given. A little of this unfortunate trouble arose from the fact that some officials somewhere thought that they could summon up Colonel Lohan and tell him to go and give orders to the Press that such and such a thing was covered by a D Notice. It must be appreciated that before the Press will accept that, it has to be convinced that a D Notice applies and that it is in the national interest that an item should not be published.
The Secretary of the Committee is the servant of the Committee as a whole, and not the servant of the Government. The system will not work if it is over-strained. Certainly, precision in the notices is to be welcomed—and that is not easy—but it is the way in which they are interpreted which matters. What came out absolutely clearly from the evidence before us was 2010 that the way in which these D Notices have been interpreted did not mean that they could apply to the facts of this case.
With great respect, I warn the Prime Minister against any attempt to over-formalise this system. That would not work. It could not be operated with something like a court of appeal. We considered very carefully whether we should get someone of judicial rank, or a Privy Councillor, to be there on tap all the time to give a verdict, but that would be very difficult, for he would have to be there at any time of the day or night, prepared to give a ruling. For the reasons which we gave, we did not think that that would work.
§ The Prime Minister
We are both addressing ourselves to the same difficult problem. The right hon. and learned Gentleman will recognise my difficulty. Talks are now going on with the editors and I ought not to say what is happening. The Government considered an appeal procedure some time ago and, for the reason which the right hon. and learned Gentleman has given, particularly the time factor, I agree with him that it would probably be the wrong answer in these circumstances.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
I am glad to hear that the Prime Minister is not thinking of that formality. It would be a mistake to depart very much from the way in which the system has been administered in the past, for it has worked pretty well.
What should happen is that if it is thought that a D Notice applies, then that consideration should be put to the newspaper. Similarly, if it is thought that a matter of vital importance and national security is concerned, not covered precisely by a D Notice, the Government should make it quite clear to those in authority in the newspaper that that is their view. I am perfectly certain that if, in this case, notice at a proper level had been given at a reasonable hour to those responsible, saying that this was a matter to which the Government attached great importance, the story would not have been printed.
I can say without offence to officials or Ministers that when one is in office there is a great tendency not to welcome the printing of critical stories. If newspapers always did what Ministers and officials wanted, there would not be much 2011 by way of news about political matters. The newspapers therefore have to be convinced that it is not in the national interest for such a story to be published. If that had been done with the appropriate people at the proper time, this story would not have appeared. I am convinced of the good faith of Mr. Chapman Pincher and Mr. Derek Marks, who thought that this matter would not be covered by the D Notice procedure. We saw the witnesses and we heard the evidence and we came to these conclusions.
Finally, I agreed much more with the right hon. Member for Easington in the course of that investigation than I did when he was making his remarks this afternoon. I believe that our conclusions were right.
§ 6.14 p.m.
§ Mr. Charles Pannell (Leeds, West)
I am sure that the whole House will have heard my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) with great pleasure. He spoke with an octogenarian urbanity which is characterstic of him and with that cool and considered calm which usually characterises all his utterances. But he had had the advantage of hearing the witnesses and of seeing them, while everybody else will have to make his own evaluation on the evidence itself.
I am not very much alarmed that the Prime Minister should be said to have succeeded in getting himself condemned by the whole Press. On occasions, that is no bad thing. As Oscar Wilde once said, once there was the rack; now there is the Press. Of course, the entire Press can be wrong. One can remember that happening on matters of smaller concern, such as when Dr. Bodkin Adams was tried by the Press, and when he was prosecuted by the then Sir Reginald Manningham-Buller and the House joke was that the only thing which saved him was a stiff dose of M and B.
One remembers Mr. Stanley Baldwin fulminating about the many-sidedness of truth when he considered the Press. The last time we had to consider the Press when a Prime Minister did not agree with the Press was the Vassall inquiry, when the then Prime Minister stood firm and two journalists also stood firm and went to prison, and when substantial damages were paid by newspapers following actions by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Hill- 2012 head (Mr. Galbraith) and Lord Carrington against Beaverbrok Papers and Associated Newspapers.
I hope that the House, which is very much a closed assembly, will try to judge this issue by House of Commons standards, sophisticated standards, and not by what my right hon. Friend called the ganging-up of the Press in defence of one of its number publishing a sensationalised story which may have impinged on national security.
Today, we have a stark choice between a Blue Book and a White Paper, but it did not need a White Paper to justify the view which the Prime Minister has taken. As a matter of fact, I think that the White Paper does some harm to the Prime Minister's own case. I do not accept all the arguments. If one goes through all the evidence dispassionately—and I do not say this just because my right hon. Friend has said it—one cannot acquit the Foreign Office of misleading the Foreign Secretary and getting itself into this hopeless mess.
The benefit of evidence sometimes comes in an aside. I ask hon. Members to look at the question on page 188 of the Report, when Mr. Ewart-Biggs, an official in charge of the Permanent Under-Secretary's Department, is speaking about Colonel Lohan. He was asked:Had you met him? Did you know him as a person?He replied:Only on the telephone. I had never met him face to face. I had had dealings with him on the telephone before. The first thing I did after the meeting was to report the situation to the Permanent Under-Secretary and Sir Burke Trend …who is well known to be the Secretary of the Cabinet.
Later, he was asked:That was a thing which I take it Colonel Lohan himself should have advised you on, should he not? He must have been dealing with these people always. I do not know what his view was on that.The reply to that was:Yes. I think we regarded Lohan as a bridge between the Government and the Press. I did not think of myself as telling him exactly what he was going to say to Chapman Pincher.In effect, this man was a sort of lesser breed within the law, obviously not one of the old-boy network.
There is another question to the same official on page 192 of the Report when 2013 my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington asked:And you fully trusted Colonel Lohan to deal with this matter all through?My right hon. Friend did not get a negative or an affirmative. He just got disparagingly:I had no other means.On page 194, my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington asked:What occurs to me is if this is a matter of such seriousness, more appropriate action might have been taken not to leave it in the hands of Colonel Lohan.To that he never got an answer, because the chairman hived off on something else. On page 203, there was this question:But you knew there had been an interdepartmental meeting, did you not?—A. One thing I did know for certain was that M.I.5 have met Ewart-Briggs.That is the official about whom I was talking. Colonel Lohan goes on:I must say I was a little surprised I was not invited to the interdepartmental meeting.How can a responsible official carry on an investigation? He may have looked a comic figure to my hon. Friends. I suppose that I am a natural shop steward. I was one before I came into the House. When I see a man in isolation, such as this man, a figure of fun, I want to know how he got his job in the first place. He has had it for four years; he was promoted when Admiral Thompson collapsed with a stroke. They appointed this man straight away and they have not got rid of him yet. I am told that he was got at a cut price, but that is another thing altogether. That is what happened and this man was put in the job and there have been no failures for four years.
This man was largely isolated. Let us get this perfectly clear. The line-up of this inquiry was Messrs. Pincher, Derek Marks, the editor, and Max Aitken, who were represented by the ex-Solicitor-General the right hon. and learned Member for Epsom (Sir P. Rawlinson). I have been an expert witness in the courts and have earned a few guineas. I know how evidence is concerted, when one has three people together. This is one advocate managing three people. I do not blame him for this, and I make no complaints of the conduct of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, which was no doubt inpeccable. [An HON. MEMBER: "Where 2014 is he?"] He has very properly stayed away. [Interruption.] He has stayed away while I was talking. I did not give him notice of this, and I am not saying anything to his detriment. I am stating the facts.
So we had a very experienced advocate, dealing with the case. The Civil Service establishment do not need any Q.C.s. The Permanent Secretaries are very formidable people, who can be trusted to look after their own interests pretty well. Here I must make it clear that nothing that I say reflects upon the conduct of Sir James Dunnett, who comes out of the inquiry very well. He was not brought into it early enough. Having said that, Colonel Lohan is standing alone, to be cross-examined all the way through by the ex-Solicitor-General. That goes right through the evidence.
One must consider this lone figure, a figure of fun in the Press when he stands on his own here. I will ask the House to be patient with me—
§ Mr. Pannell
The hon. Gentleman yells out "No", but I bow to Mr. Speaker. I do not speak all that often in the House, and I have never spoken for longer than 12 minutes since I was a Minister. That is a fact, because I know that there are many Members who do not get called. However, I will take up a bit of time this afternoon.
If this House stands for nothing else, it stands for some defence of a man standing alone against all the embattled positions of the Civil Service. The great harm of this White Paper is that it is a whitewash operation for the Foreign Office. Someone who really did his homework could get down to the Blue Book and trace it all through, and make the Prime Minister's case without the White Paper.
Another matter of principle is involved here, and some of my hon. Friends are afflicted by the idea of telephone-tapping and cable-vetting. There is nothing that they say about this which I do not share, but it is not the case that I am deploying now. It is a matter for another debate which I hope will arise.
We come now to the Prime Minister. One of the curious things is that he is thought of as a cool and calculating 2015 desiccated economist. He is nothing of the sort. As one who served under him as a Minister, I can say that he is a man of impeccable good manners, who has always shown terrific consideration to his subordinates, as I well know. Everyone knows that every now and again there is something about which he "dives off the deep end". This is the best about him. He does not "dive off the deep end" against people who cannot hit back. He usually "dives off the deep end" on great public issues.
Everyone who has studied him as a character knows this. No one could under-rate his ability. When he made his statement on 21st February it must have been on the basis of a Civil Service and particularly of a Foreign Office assessment. Having read this I happen to know that he should not have made this statement at all. He was wrongly advised to make it, because what was said at the tribual was not then available. There should be either a shake-up or a shake-out in the Foreign Office.
Everyone has referred to precedent on this. I suppose that the Devlin Commission was bound to be raised. There are greater examples than this—there are a whole list. I have selected one because it is historic and will surely be evocative on this side of the House. I refer to the Sankey Commission the Report of which Lloyd George said, in order to avoid a major national strike, he would "adopt in spirit as well as letter." That was a promise made beforehand. About 250 Members of Parliament from the opposite side, who had done well out of the war, 1918 vintage, pressed him on this, and he repudiated it.
I think that it was Winston Churchill, I cannot be certain, but I have had it confirmed by a good source—and I would not quote Lloyd George as an authority on rectitude—who said that any Government had a perfect right to use the best brains in the country and then to ignore them. This is the view, that in the last resort, on national security, the Government must have more information even than they allow to go to the tribunal.
It should not be imagined that the whole of the Press came out against the Government on this. I would refer hon. Members to an article in the Daily Telegraph on 16th June of this year by 2016 Donald McLachlan, who has been the editor of the Sunday Telegraph. He says:However, if Fleet Street thinks of asking Whitehall to show greater trust, then I think Whitehall has the right to ask Fleet Street to show greater discretion. The story which provoked Mr. Wilson to his impetuous accusations was very sensationally presented. The Radcliffe Report says that the facts, such as they were, were not inaccurate. The presentation was to my mind misleading: "This 'big brother' intrusion into privacy." The link-up with telephone-tapping, the suggestion that the Government might be obtaining "advance information of trade negotiations". A story that, in fact, had to do with external intelligence—as is obvious from the evidence given by the Foreign Office was presented as having to do with the misuse by Government of the Security Service. By mixing up espionage and counter-espionage the writer was wide of the mark.That is the best short article that I have read on this and I would recommend it to a great many hon. Members who have been cheering and counter-cheering, but who do not really know much about the evidence. There is a good definition of that. The article continues:All that a D Notice signifies is that a group of senior civil servants, with the job of protecting secrets, has come to an agreement with a group of senior men, whose job is to inform the public, that something is, or likely to be, a secret.It points out that the newspapers have the right, of course, to disregard the advice, but they know that the Government have recourse to the Official Secrets Act. From time to time we indulge in rash upsurges in which we usually cause a terrific commotion over what I think is a minor domestic matter. When I spoke to someone close to me and said to her that I wanted to make a speech on this matter she said, "What is it all about". I said, "D Notices", and she said, "What is a D Notice?". I explained it to her and she said, "It does not seem a subject for grown men".
I want to remind the House of what is done in other countries, because some of my friends look to the left and others look to the right. There are only two systems in the world other than ours by which Governments deal with the Press. Under one there is a total restriction on all matters relevant to defence, and the Government clear all defence matters. This is the practice of the whole of the Communist bloc, and of Italy, South 2017 America and West Germany. That was the reason for the outrage about the Der Spiegel affair.
The second system is the one in the United States, and here the biggest "ballyhoo" prevails. I read an article last week in a Sunday newspaper in which it was said that there are no D Notices or Official Secrets Act in that heavenly country, in the land of freedom. In the United States they boast that they do without D Notices. It puts the matter too simply to say that constitutionally one can print what one likes.
But, in fact, there is a sanction. The sanction is that if, on defence matters, a newspaper does not clear with the White House first, its correspondents will be denied facilities on domestic or defence matters. The slogan there is "Print what you like and you go out of business". If hon. Members want proof of this, I have no doubt that the New York Herald Tribune and Walter Lippmann would confirm it.
I refer the House to a book by Walter Reston called, "Artillery of the Press" and recall John Kennedy's words about Cuba:I wish to God I had not stopped you publishing it.We always refer to the Press in a cosy way as the Fourth Estate of the Realm; it is a bit of a joke; it is always said lightheartedly. But the newspapers in the United States regard themselves as part of government itself, and it is no accident that Douglass Cater has recently written a book called "The Fourth Branch of Government".
Nobody who studies American matters—I am devoted to the United States, since I have been there doubts the high degree of confidentiality between the President and the top newspaper men. They would lose all that patronage if they so much as put in a squeak. They would not need a Colonel Lohan. The British system is a compromise, and, like all compromises, it has a large, grey uncertain area. The curious thing is that what we are discussing has been the only serious breakdown for years. I suppose that it is the price which we pay for flexibility. Those people who do not like D Notices should say which of the other two systems they would prefer.
2018 I come now to the lunch. I want to put another gloss on it instead of the lighthearted gloss put on it by my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington. I am at present trying to put a case for Colonel Lohan. We are talking about security. These are men who had a lunch at least once a month, who were on terms of relationship, who were "Harry" and "Sammy" to each other. The lunch took two hours. It is not remarkable that to get something off they talked about a great many other things than D Notices.
But that was not the slant which my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington put on it. He did go with D Notices in his pocket and, although he originally had been uncertain of that when he telephoned Chapman Pincher, had already been on to the Ministry of Defence. The curious thing that Lohan said to him was, "Ask the Ministry of Defence". He was uncertain himself. He was on his own; nobody would talk to him.
By the way, it is not true that the Foreign Office had not come into it. It had come into it, because the Daily Mail was already in the field. If we want to put this matter on its proper level we have to take the knowledge that Chapman Pincher knew that the Daily Mail had beaten him to the punch and would publish. That is why the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Barber), whose vitriolic asperities I much admire, was less than fair when he played off the Daily Mail as an unimportant issue. It was not. When both newspapers were asked the same thing, the Daily Mail said that if Lohan said that the Government requested something, it was comparable to a D Notice. Chapman Pincher wanted the mechanics of the thing. He wanted a long legalistic argument. But the Daily Mail met the spirit of the argument.
When the House moved on to the Adjournment, I made some remarks about the recent Speaker, because I felt that I had to and not because I wanted to. The right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) was very hoity-toity. I thought that he was a trifle pompous. I have explained this to him. The hon. Gentleman in loyalty to his back benches, made a case to the Front Bench and hoped that during the Recess I would 2019 study these matters. I did study them. I wrote him a letter in which I said that, having looked into the matter and not being an irresponsible person, I would have to stand by it and it was a good job that the Select Committee was not appointed. He said, "Of course, Charlie, I take what you said as true".
I ask hon. Members to take this matter as being a matter between friends at a lunch. It may be that Chapman Pincher paid the bill. It may be that drink was consumed. But this was a relationship in which men met together and lunched once a month. I should have said that that man was very much more powerful than any man at the Foreign Office for putting over the fact that there was something amiss, because he was the bridge, he was the appointed official. The Daily Mail took from him what the Daily Express would not take.
But the matter does not rest there. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Hon. Members are groaning. I cannot help that. My hon. Friends rather approve the speech. Technically, Chapman Pincher had not had D Notices, but he was fascinated by a "scoop". The journalist overcame the friend. That was his nature, for he is an outstanding professional. This runs through all the argument. This is not to attack the integrity of Chapman Pincher, because it comes out that fundamentally he believed that this was something "cooked up" by this Administration. Most troubles in life are not caused by wicked men believing that they are wrong, but by good men passionately believing that they are right. He did not seem to understand that D Notices had been extant in these terms since 1920. That is what he had to get into his mind.
At the end of the long and bitter things said in evidence, Colonel Lohan says, regretfully:I have never known him to go against me, never".What is the use of people prating about D Notices and legalistic matters? When there is trust between men speaking to each other at the highest plane of human discussion, when two people speak without an audience, if we do not accept that we have lost all civilised value. That is my point on this Lohan business.
2020 To enable the argument to be followed, I shall give the page numbers from which I quote. We see on page 7 of the Report, in paragraph 22, that Chapman Pincher was told by the Post Officethat there was some substance in the storybut that it was not for publication. That was a stupid thing for any Government Department to tell a correspondent. That was what set the dog after the scent. The dog saw the rabbit and was away. That chap ought to have his name taken.
In paragraph 28, page 9, Colonel Lohanthought that he had sufficient influence with Mr. Pincher to be able to persuade him on general grounds of national interest that the story was one which ought not to be publishedwhether or not the D Notices applied. That is the point about the issue. Hon. Members should not keep on dragging these confounded pieces of paper into the business. It really does not matter very much at all. One did not need a White Paper to dig this out. It can be found in the Blue Book.
Colonel Lohan did not botherwhether or not the 'D' Notices were so worded as by their own force to make a case for suppression".In effect, he said, "This is the spirit of the thing". As the Foreign Office would not let him into the information, that was all that the poor man could do. A commercial traveller would have been sent into action with more inside information.
On page 8 of the Report, one sees that there was a lack of frankness. When Chapman Pincher telephoned Lohan for the first time, Lohan did not know, and was not told, that Pincher had been in touch with the Ministry of Defence and the Post Office, so Lohan told Pincher to contact the Ministry of Defence. That was 20th February.
Page 10, paragraph 31:Lohan at no time made any explicit admissionthat the issue was unaffected by D Notices. In paragraph 32, Pincher fully understoodthat Colonel Lohan was making an urgent appeal on behalf of the Government".There was no misunderstanding there whatever. Everybody agrees that.
Paragraph 38: Pincher reported to his editor that Lohan had said that no D Notices applied. He reported to his 2021 editor afterwards. In paragraph 39, however, the story was repeated. This is part of the story of the evening of the Daily Express editorial conference, attended by Andrew Edwards, the legal representative, and Messrs. Raybould and Johnson. He misled his editor. This comes out quite clearly.
Derek Marks, whom some of us know slightly, was later to say to Mr. Greig, whom some of us know rather better, that had they been given proper information earlier in the day—paragraph 48—the situation would never have arisen. That is what they said. That, however, was not Lohan's fault. It was because the Foreign Office would not come into the business.
It is fantastic that the only people who got in touch with the Daily Express were the unfortunate Lohan and Greig. Bill Greig has been rather played down by the other side, but he was one of the doyens of the Lobby Correspondents. He may have been expected to speak on rather better terms with Marks, who knew him rather well. Nobody except those two came, and then the Foreign Secretary late at night.
It was unfair to bring in the Foreign Secretary. A cheap laugh can always be raised by referring to the Foreign Secretary in the evening, but that sort of thing could have been said about Winston Churchill in his time. Make no mistake about it, normal reticence is kept in this House. It is part of the craggy figure which we admired. I remember questions of Privilege when the idea has been raised that people, to use Gladstone's famous phrase against Disraeli, drew inspiration from sources denied to Her Majesty's Government. We know this sort of thing. It is wrong, therefore, to start that sort of laugh simply by trying to play it off on the Foreign Secretary.
§ Mr. Stanley Orme (Salford, West)
If we are talking about the Foreign Secretary dining late at night, what was Mr. Derek Marks doing at ten o'clock at the Garrick Club? Had he not been dining?
§ Mr. Pannell
No point can be made about that. Trevor Evans, an eminent journalist, was celebrating his knighthood. The fact is that this was the Press, and when the Foreign Secretary came through to the Daily Express office one has to take the whole of the telephone 2022 conversation. He did not know that he was outside the Daily Express office. That was due to a misunderstanding.
According to paragraph 40, Pincher telephoned Lohan at 6.30 p.m., but did not tell him that a decision to publish had been made by the editor. You have been patient with me, Mr. Speaker, so I will not give a long quotation, but I ask everybody who has a copy of the Report to look at paragraph 40, which ties up the whole of that meeting. It completely dispels the other aspect.
At 9.30, Pincher telephoned Lohan and said, "You have lost". All the way through there was that kind of action. It was another two hours before things went on. Finally, at the end of the day, Mr. Derek Marks, the editor, first mistook the subject under discussion. He withdrew the story. When he heard that it would appear elsewhere, he put it back again. That can be seen in Mr. Greig's evidence. Derek Marks did not accept that there had been any firm promise.
This is a long story and I know that other hon. Members wish to speak. I apologise if I have spoken at undue length. In the cut and thrust of party debate, however, the idea that a man has a reputation at stake is sometimes forgotten. I shall be no party to saving the faces of the Foreign Office. Some of us will keep a very close eye on what happens to this unfortunate man, who, in my opinion, has been shamefully used. He has been made a shocking caricature in the Press and has been put forward as the "fall guy" in all this business.
The only thing that I am sorry about—I say this with great respect to the Prime Minister—is that if there had been a bit of patient editing, even as much as I have done, in his office on the Blue Book, a case could have been made without the White Paper.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Easington has had the opportunity to see evidence which I never saw, but I hope that we can finish on this unified note. We are not speaking about defence. We are speaking about security, and about security in a democratic world, not in America and not in Russia. It is not entirely a case for scoring points or sacrificing men at the end of the day to score a political argument.
§ 6.49 p.m.
§ Mr. Nigel Birch (Flint, West)
I think that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell) must have spoken about 40 minutes. To some of us it seemed like a year.
§ Mr. Birch
One thing I entirely agree with the right hon. Gentleman about, and that is the shameful treatment of Colonel Lohan. The Attorney-General treated Colonel Lohan's evidence which he liked as though it was a voice which came from Sinai, but when he disliked it he brushed it aside. I have one or two words more to say about Colonel Lohan in a moment.
This is a very strange Government Motion. It is not in accordance with the traditions of the House to burble on like this. Why did not the Government put down a Motion simply asking the House to approve the White Paper? The answer to that is simply their fears and divided counsel. The Prime Minister himself has shown conspicuous personal prudence in not opening this debate.
There are some lessons to be learned from all this, I think, but the first point I want to make is, how trivial was the incident which started all this off. I do not believe that the Daily Express article had anything whatever to do with security. Is it really to be supposed that foreign Powers and their agents considered that telegrams sent en clair, or in a recognised commercial code are secure? And do they suppose we would not open them? We say, "We tap your telephones and open your letters—but open your cables? Perish the thought. We know we are allowed by Lloyd George's 1920 Bill, but, by Jove, we do not do that."
Of course it had nothing whatever to do with security, and that would have been true even if a special operation was on, but it is perfectly clear from the Radcliffe Report that no special operation was on. And there was no question of lives being in danger. That is a bit of absolute nonsense.
Secondly, it was not a breach of the D Notice system. D Notices were not applied. This brings me to one more word about Colonel Lohan. In the White 2024 Paper there is the statement that he was not cleared to receive top secret information. I gasped when I read that. It was not the mendacity which made me gasp. I expected that. It was the sheer stupidity of it. Could this man have held his job for four years and been a public relations officer to the Ministry of Defence unless he had been cleared? Of course he had been positively vetted, twice, the last time under this Government. So that statement was absolutely untrue, and he has denied it and told the truth.
The quotation I want to make is this. It shows that D Notices were not applied. It comes on page 60 of the Report, and it is in a minute by Colonel Lohan to the Chairman of the D Notices Committee and the date is 22nd February. The date is important, because it was six days before the Radcliffe inquiry was announced and when Colonel Lohan could not have known that it was being set up. He was talking about the troubles he had about being briefed by different people, and he said:The kindest thing I can say is that the briefings were not consistent and could not in any circumstances support the contention that I was asked specifically to tackle the Daily Express and Daily Mail on the basis of the two D Notices …So it is perfectly clear to me that there was no question that a D Notice was ever put to the Daily Express.
The next point is whether the news in the Daily Express was true. If it was true, the paper were absolutely right to print it. Of course it was not news to foreign Governments that their telegrams were looked at, but it was certainly news to the British public that theirs were, too. I think that the Daily Express had a duty to publish it.
The real reason for the Prime Minister's anger is a political one. It may be that is perfectly right. The Daily Express was trying to make a political point he was trying to make a political riposte. It might have been damaging to him politically. The Prime Minister said that it had been going on for 40 years. Well, something which has been going on for 40 years could not be of much importance from the security point of view. But it was certainly a defence against the practice, or the only defence which was available.
2025 People keep on talking about the Prime Minister's statement, but, of course, his accusations were not in a statement, at all: they were in an answer to a supplementary question. The Prime Minister has developed a technique—admired, oddly enough, by some—of making irrelevant attacks during supplementary questions. The question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Shrewsbury (Sir J. Langford-Holt) had nothing to do with the Daily Express. It was put down days before the article was published. The Prime Minister then made his attack, which had nothing to do with the question.
The Prime Minister, I think, increasingly resembles a member of the animal kingdom called—have I got its name here? Yes: a most interesting animal: it is called mephitis hephitica, and a mephitis hephitica is that type of animal which, when frightened or annoyed, emits a bad smell.
I must say that the Prime Minister has been extraordinarily unfortunate in his contests with the judiciary, and if I may push the English vice of understatement to extremes, I think that he has shown some lack of judgment and foresight in these matters. Take the Bank Rate tribunal. Surely it must have been obvious that if he built innuendo on accusation and accusation on innuendo sooner or later there would have to be a tribunal. When there was a tribunal, he must have expected the whole fabric would be exploded completely. As it was. Not only that, he would have to undergo a raking cross-examination. Anyone who wants to understand the Prime Minister ought to read and re-read his cross-examination at the Bank Rate tribunal. He lost reputation because of it.
Then there was the Hardy Spicer case. He may have made a somewhat better judgment there: he got some votes because of that in the election. But it was only necessary for the managing director to have the guts to carry through his action, though efforts were made to intimidate him. They did not succeed. The Prime Minister had to admit through counsel that he had invented the story.
We now come to the present case. Was it really, I wonder, wise to press the thing as he did? As has been pointed 2026 out several times, all he had to do was to accept the Report when produced and then retire behind a smokescreen of security and revising the D Notice system. He has, in fact, retired behind this smokescreen. After all, Lord Radcliffe is the greatest authority on D Notices. It should have been clear that he would find as he did. It was a bad judgment on the Prime Minister's part. I think that the reason why the Committee was appointed was that the Press was angry, the Daily Mirror particularly angry. The Prime Minister always takes a short view. He wanted to sweep the thing under the carpet for the moment, but it ended up badly for him.
As my right hon. Friend has said, the Prime Minister never withdraws, never apologises, whatever he may have done, and the reason for that, I believe, is vanity. Vanity is a mortgage which has to be subtracted from the value of a man, and the Prime Minister is mortgaged up to the hilt.
This vanity can be used by foreign statesmen for their own purposes. Take the last two visits of the Prime Minister to America. As far as President Johnson is concerned, the Prime Minister is, no doubt, a tedious and impotent figure. On the other hand, he can be used; and is being used. The last but one time the Prime Minister went to America, President Johnson, in a speech, compared him with Churchill, Shakespeare, Palmerston and Milton. He lapped it up.
On his last visit, just before the recent war, the President thought that a little more flattery was necessary, but it was obvious that he had scraped the barrel for comparisons. As a result, the Prime Minister was received with a salute of 19 guns, 16 trumpeters, a guard of honour, and the Union Jack flown upside down. I am sure that it must have moved him deeply, and that archetypal memories of the Field of the Cloth of Gold and the arrival of the Queen of Sheba at the Court of King Solomon all floated through his mind.
As a result, the right hon. Gentleman was prepared to sit up on his hind legs and asked to be picked up by the ears. He was picked up by the ears. He allowed himself to be pushed to the front in a purely verbal attempt to break the blockade of the Gulf of Aqaba. As the Israelis knew that it was purely verbal, 2027 it encouraged them to attack and made it inevitable that the Arabs should be against him. Thus, he got the worst of every possible world—
§ Mr. Speaker
I am on a point of order myself. The right hon. Member for Flint, West (Mr. Birch) must link his remarks to the subject which we are debating.
§ Mr. Birch
Mr. Speaker, I have finished my speech and am coming to my peroration. It is this.
I think that the Prime Minister's reference in his speech to the Lobby about men's lives being at stake is disgraceful. It is quite untrue and inconceivably vulgar. His position in the country is deteriorating. His personality is deteriorating. When the time comes for him to be rejected, it will be his all-pervasive vulgarity which will be the main reason for his fall.
§ 7.2 p.m.
§ Mr. Raymond Fletcher (Ilkeston)
I thought that I was in the House of Commons, and not in the Palladium. I propose to address myself to the House and not indulge in character analyses of my political opponents. But let no hon. Member opposite be in any doubt as to my ability to indulge in the kind of character assassination to which we have just listened. This is a serious debate about a serious matter, and I want to try and treat it as such.
To judge from the esoteric references which have passed across the Floor, it might almost seem that we were an American seminar discussing one of the more obscure works of James Joyce and matching paragraph against paragraph and reference against reference. I do not propose to go in detail into the events recorded in the Radcliffe Report, because that has been done sufficiently already. However, the Report itself leaves me in a state of almost total confusion.
Other hon. Members who have spoken appear to know everything. They appear to know what was behind the D Notice. They appear to know why the cables were 2028 being vetted. They appear to know what was in the mind of Chapman Pincher. They appear to know what was in the mind of Colonel Lohan. They even appear to know the more obscure motives of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister.
I am not in that happy, authoritative position. I happen to be an hon. Member who was formerly a defence correspondent, and I have had some association with the D Notice system from the other side of the fence—the Press side, rather than the Government side. I can confirm the thread which runs through both the Report and the White Paper. It is a good system, but it can only work if it is operated by honourable men. There has to be honour on both sides. In some of the incidents recorded in the Radcliffe Report, I do not think that a conspicuous degree of honour was shown by certain representatives of the Press.
I believe that Mr. Chapman Pincher is more concerned to damage the Government Front Bench than to print honest stories. On occasion, I myself want to do damage to that Front Bench. I have published stories which, I hope, have created alarm, despondency and anguish on that Front Bench. One vivid occasion in my mind occurred a month ago when my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister was not very friendly to me, nor I to him, and we had it out. As for conducting a campaign against the Government Front Bench, there are many of us on these benches who know how to handle ourselves in both speech and print.
Mr. Chapman Pincher is a journalist who ignores the ethics of his profession—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I make that accusation. He ignores the ethics of his profession. Otherwise, why did the Daily Mail do the decent thing—
§ Mr. Fletcher
I have said that I happen to have been a defence correspondent. It may be that I am the only former defence correspondent in the House. That does not mean to say that I am an expert on defence matters. A defence correspondent's life is the most dismal life in journalism. Possibly there is no defence correspondent alive today who would not prefer to be a racing correspondent, and that includes me.
2029 Trying to get the background of this story, I interviewed a number of people, one of whom was Mr. Robert Lawson, the man who originated the story in the first place. I will not read any of the comments about Mr. Lawson in Mr. Chapman Pincher's evidence, but I have Mr. Law-son's authority to report to the House details of my interview with him. It was conducted with one of my hon. Friends present who can confirm it. One comment which Mr. Lawson made was that Chapman Pincher has a political axe to grind, and made it quite clear in the course of the interview.
When I asked him about the accuracy of the story, he said that it was "sensationalised". That is the word used by Mr. Robert Lawson, who originally gave the story to another newspaper. When we talk of Press ethics, let us not forget that the Daily Express jumped on a band wagon which had been started by another newspaper. It "pinched" another paper's story. However, that is what Mr. Lawson said. The story was sensationalised, and I think that that entirely confirms the view in the Government White Paper, repeating the view presented to the House by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on a famous or notorious occasion, that the story was sensational and inaccurate.
I have conducted other inquiries, and, like most people in my profession, I have to rely largely on guesswork. Unfortunately, many of our guesses can neither be revealed in print or to this House. That is what the D Notice system is for. It is not about facts or defence secrets, but about intelligent guesses and intelligent evaluations. Everyone who has worked the system knows that that is a fact. However, I can say categorically, using vulgar language, that the second sentence—This 'Big Brother' intrusion into privacy, which ranks with telephone-tapping and the opening of letters, was disclosed last night—is a total lie. I can also say that the suggestion that there was no question of national security involved is also completely off the mark. There was, though perhaps mistakenly.
I hold no brief for the security services. On one rather embittering occasion in my life, I clashed with a member of the security services. I do not believe that invariably they are right. In fact, I am 2030 prepared to concede in arguments other than this one that they are possibly wrong.
I believe that we are over security conscious in this country. I happen to prefer the American system. In fact, I would go so far as to say that if we want total security in relation to potential enemies, whether the Soviet Union, China, South Africa, or anyone else, the thing to do is to give them every scrap of information that we have. By doing so we will only confuse them, because the more one studies the great espionage coups of the past, the more one realises that the great espionage agents were never believed by the Powers whom they served.
The Russians did not believe Dr. Richard Soige, and the Germans did not believe the spy Moyszich, who called himself Cicero. I am not an authority on espionage, I am only a bit of an authority on journalism, but the two do tend to combine at times. The history of espionage shows that the Powers which receive hard information almost invariably refuse to believe it.
I propose to state my view on security, and I hope that it will upset the Front Bench. If I had my way, I would call the Press together and give them all the information possible. Let the Russians come in, and let Tass agency men report to the Ministry of Defence at nine o'clock in the morning and leave at five, just like anyone else. They would go away completely confused, because they would not believe what they were taking away. This is a personal viewpoint, and I have made it to emphasise that I am not an enthusiast for the security services.
In the case that we are considering, however, I think that we have to pay very careful attention to this meeting at the. Foreign Office on Friday, 17th February. I intend to read from the White Paper. I am only guessing but I hope that it is an intelligent guess, when I say that this was a crucial meeting. It says:The next occasion of importance was the meeting at the Foreign Office on Friday, 17th February, which led to instructions being given to the Secretary about the approaches which he should make to the Daily Express and Daily Mail. This meeting, which was called as soon as the matter was brought to the attention of the Foreign Office, comprised representatives of all the Departments concerned. The purpose was to establish the facts of the situation and to consider and 2031 concert the line of action to be taken and the comment to be made. It was clear to those representatives that the story related to, and threatened to compromise, a secret activity which fell under the D Notices of 1956 and 1961.These were people intimately involved with security. They may be wrong. They may all be idiots. I am prepared to argue in certain circumstances, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) nearly did, that perhaps they are idiots, but they are the people in charge. When there is an electrical failure in the House, we consult electricians. We do not try to do the job ourselves. The hon. Member for Totnes (Mr. Mawby), who is a political enemy, but a good friend of mine, is an electrician. If there is an electrical failure, we consult electricians, not journalists and economists.
These people happen to be the Government's advisers. In this context they happen to be experts. There is no party political colour in this. Any Prime Minister who flew in the face of this kind of advice would not be fit to be the Prime Minister of this country. He would lose their confidence if he were to do so, and it would be a serious matter indeed.
§ Mr. David Crouch (Canterbury)
Can the hon. Gentleman tell the House whether Colonel Lohan was present at this vital meeting on 17th February?
§ Mr. Fletcher
I see no point in going over this again and again. Colonel Lohan was not present at the meeting, but it is fairly clear to me that in so far as one can define a civil servant, Colonel Lohan was one at the relevant time. I have always assumed that a civil servant carries out instructions, whether he likes them or not. There was a clear instruction from these Departmental heads that something should be done. That something was not done, and the fact that it was not is the subject of this debate.
My final point relates to the peculiar relationship which seems to have existed between Colonel Lohan and Mr. Chapman Pincher. I find it very strange that when a man is speaking for the Government in this context, he should transmit something which derives partly from the Government. There are two sides to the Committee. When he telephoned Mr. Chapman Pincher, Mr. Pincher replied: 2032My dear boy, get off the telephone; I must get on with my writing; you are holding things up",and he promptly got off the telephone.
I consider this to be a peculiar relationship between a responsible official in a highly sensitive position and a journalist who has made it quite clear that he is conducting a campaign of guerrilla warfare against the Government. There are other references in a similar vein. There is a reference to the celebrated lunch, but I do not propose to dwell on this, because it is no crime to have a lunch and a drop of brandy afterwards, provided that serious matters are not discussed.
The following question and answer appear on page 106:And when he left you he said to you quite categorically that if he, Pincher, was the editor he would print, since it was not a story which he, Pincher, thought legitimately could be suppressed?—No, he specifically said to me 'If you were editor you would print, would you not?' and I laughed, I did not make a reply.When people in responsible positions are engaged on delicate work of this kind, I submit that a serious matter should not be dismissed like that with a laugh and a joke. It is all right for me and for some of my hon. Friends to do it. It is all right for other journalists to do it, but it is not all right when it is done by a man in a position of that sensitivity and responsibility. I allege that at all relevant times Colonel Lohan was, and should have behaved as, a responsible civil servant, whatever the degree of his vetting, and whether he was at this crucial meeting or not.
I have a serious accusation to make, but I have to make it. I have spoken to three defence correspondents, and at the moment Fleet Street is buzzing with rumours to the effect that Colonel Lohan has been the source of many of Chapman Pincher's stories in the Daily Express in the past. I do not know whether this is true. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why say it?"] I hope it is not, but I say it because if these rumours are buzzing around Fleet Street today, they will be buzzing around this House tomorrow, and it may be possible to get clarification here and now.
I apologise for having spoken for so long, and for having gone over so much of the ground which has been covered by other speakers, but this is a serious matter. 2033 I would prefer to be discussing other matters, but when the Prime Minister's integrity is called into question, and when not only D Notice conventions, but journalistic ethics, have been violated, this House has a duty to register an opinion, and I shall register that opinion, even if it means defying Pivy Councillors.
§ Mr. Barber
The hon. Gentleman said that the allegation he made might be confirmed or denied. This is a serious allegation. No doubt he believes it sincerely. He might ask his right hon. Friend the Paymaster-General, whom we know has been concerned with this matter, whether he will confirm or deny that, or comment, because it is a very serious allegation to make.
§ Mr. Fletcher
My relationship with my right hon. Friend the Paymaster-General is normally acrimonious. He will not accept that in certain respects I know as much about Army affairs as he does. Consequently, I will not address him in any sort of friendly way. If he or anybody else feels it necessary, perhaps the matter will be dealt with later.
Obviously, since these rumours are buzzing around I am expecting them to be dealt with by the only person who can deal with them—and that is my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister who will wind up the debate today.
§ 7.20 p.m.
§ Mr. W. F. Deedes (Ashford)
My interest in this debate lies in the fact that Cononel Lohan is a constituent of mine. Hon. Members on both sides of the House will agree that he has had a rough time in this debate so far. Therefore, I propose to leave the general lectures on the subject of D Notices to other hon. Members and to turn my attention to the case and character of Colonel Lohan. Here, by way of preliminary, I must say that although I enjoyed much of the speech of the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) I thought parts of it disgraceful. For a Privy Councillor who had been concerned in an inquiry of this kind to use the words that he used about Colonel Lohan's security clearance was wrong. Those words ought not to have been spoken.
§ Mr. Arthur Lewis (West Ham, North)
On a point of order. If an hon. Member says something in the heat of the moment and then unreservedly with- 2034 draws it, is it not the usual custom Mr. Speaker, not to comment, but to allow it to go? [Interruption.] Yes—my right hon. Friend did unreservedly withdraw.
§ Mr. Speaker
I am not sure of the event to which the hon. Gentleman is referring. If an hon. Member withdraws a remark, that is the end of it.
§ Mr. Deedes
The remarks to which I am referring were not withdrawn. I regret that the right hon. Gentleman is not here. I hold him in as much affection as does any other hon. Member, but I think that his remarks about Colonel Lohan were disgraceful.
Furthermore, the charges made by the hon. Member for Ilkeston (Mr. Raymond Fletcher) on this subject in respect of the alleged transactions between Colonel Lohan and Mr. Chapman Pincher raise matters on which hon. Members must reserve judgment. We should consider whether this House ought to be used for unsubstantiated rumours of so damaging a character when we all know that we enjoy a certain protection which is not enjoyed by other persons.
I now turn to the main figure as he has emerged from the debate. Certainly it was foolish and perverse of the Prime Minister to seek to offset the findings of an independent inquiry, but it would be intolerable if, in that process, a serious injustice were done to a public servant. I set almost as much importance up on that as upon any other aspect of the debate. There are aspects of the treatment of Colonel Lohan which I find profoundly disturbing. It would be wrong and silly to try to prove that he made no mistakes. Of course he made mistakes—and so did many other people. What we must concern ourselves to see—and this is a matter of principle—is that Colonel Lohan is not conveniently planted with more than his fair share of blame.
I have no doubt that the Prime Minister will tell us tonight that we must have another sort of Secretary for this Committee in future. Fair enough. But what the Prime Minister must be scrupulous to do, as others have not done is to distinguish between future requirements for this job and past deficiencies of a man. A clear distinction must be made. It is all very well to say now that this 2035 was an unsuitable man for this post. It is all very well to discuss with editors other things that might now be done. That must not be taken to the point of denigrating Colonel Lohan as a public servant.
I am aware that the Colonel's tactics since the publication of the Radcliffe Report and the White Paper have not commended themselves to everybody. He is a somewhat unusual character, as the right hon. Member for Easington said. It is necessary to be an unsual character to carry on this job. The Colonel is no great respecter of persons, however eminent, and has a wide command of salty language. The reference to his possible appearance as a James Bond character, by the right hon. Member for Easington, was justified. But the Colonel's work in this field has deserved better than this shameful campaign of innuendo designed to discredit him—a campaign that has led him to conclude the letter of resignation which he sent to his chief, Sir James Dunnett, with the wordsas things go now, I am being slandered out of business.Evidently in that he anticipated some of the things that have been mentioned in this debate.
The House should know the status of Colonel Lohan as Secretary of this Committee. He is not an established civil servant, as some have said, and has not been—to the best of my knowledge—since he resigned from the Ministry of Defence in 1963. A civil servant owes his entire loyalty to the Department. Colonel Lohan was not quite in that position. He had no Department. His salary, as I understand it, was paid by whichever Ministry the chairman happened to belong to, and the nature of his very special duties required him to have regard not simply to the interests of the Government but equally to those of the Press.
That is an important distinction between the post that he held and the posts held by other civil servants. This singular duality must be weighed, and his actions must not always be viewed as one might view those of, say, the head of News Department at the Foreign Office.
The first serious matter that I want to take up, especially in reply to the right hon. Member for Easington, is the vexed 2036 question of his vetting and qualifications to share matters to which he was not made privy. This had a critical effect upon events. He was not present at the meeting on 17th February, under the chairmanship of a Foreign Office official. We know the conclusions that were exchanged by the Radcliffe Report and the White Paper on that account.
Subsequently, Colonel Lohan himself declared that what had been said about him was nonsense. Who is right? The House should know of a letter, not in a security category, which passed between—
§ Mr. Deedes
I would not like to answer that question offhand. I am anxious to be accurate about this. Some might have known of him. I doubt whether, from the evidence that I have read, that any of them knew him personally. I would prefer not to answer that question without knowledge of the facts.
I want to refer to a letter which passed in March, 1966, between two most senior officials. I shall not quote the letter. That would be improper. I shall paraphrase it. They said in reference to Colonel Lohan's position that they were all satisfied that although his positive vetting was not technically completed, in the sense of being carried to the end of a certain stage, there were no grounds on which they could question his reliability. That is as accurate a paraphrase as I can make. If those words mean anything it seems extraordinary that the Colonel was not taken further into the confidence of officials whose views he was required to represent.
The next thing to be made clear is this. First, I differ from some of my hon. and right hon. Friends in that I accept that the Prime Minister and the White Paper are right in asserting that the disclosures contained, or could be brought to touch upon, matters of the utmost gravity. In a sense, although this may seem odd to the House, the Daily Express was acting in innocence in this respect. It is clear that the newspaper 2037 did not know what lay behind the story that it printed, and it was clearly Colonel Lohan's job to stop the newspaper from finding out.
That is made clear by the evidence. In reality this game had been played on two levels. Officials who knew all insisted that a D Notice applied, and in that sense those who knew all were right. Colonel Lohan was not told all, and had to deal with the Daily Express story on its merits. He considered, as Lord Radcliffe confirms, that the D Notices did not apply to that story, as far as it went. Colonel Lohan was therefore faced with this situation. With more experience than almost anyone else, certainly in the Foreign Office, about what should or should not be done with D Notices, he did not believe that they applied, and in this he is supported by Lord Radcliffe.
He was also—this has not been mentioned in the debate yet and should have been mentioned by the Attorney-General—under pressure by those who knew the whole story to play the D Notices down in his dealings with Mr. Chapman Pincher. This is really crucial evidence on his behalf, because, in a way, his masters were trying to have it both ways. They insisted that the D Notices applied, but made it clear to him—as the exchanges in the evidence make clear "You must not push D Notices too hard". What was he to do? It seems clear to me and highly unfortunate that the Prime Minister did not appreciate this position in his statements to the House on 21st and 23rd February.
On the second occasion, I surmise he had the advantage, if that is the right word, of a brief from the Paymaster-General. The Paymaster-General's part in this affair has remained behind the veil, yet one has reason to sense that it has not been small. How in the world did the Paymaster-General, the guardian angel of MI5, come to advise the Prime Minister that it was in his own or the national interest to play up this affair to these proportions? Every sane consideration of security by anyone who has studied the case suggests exactly otherwise.
Colonel Lohan, the central figure whom we are discussing, was asked to tread softly around the D Notices lest further 2038 suspicion be aroused, yet the Prime Minister and the Paymaster-General between them have ensured that the whole circumstances echo around the world—not once, but three times, first by the assertions of 21st and 23rd February, which Lord Radcliffe finds misplaced, second by insisting on a White Paper which required the printing of most of the evidence. If anyone has any suspicions about what may lie behind all this and reads the evidence carefully, his suspicions will be increased.
This action was not perversity but stupidity on a grand scale. It is against that 'background that I find Colonel Lohan's treatment so disturbing. This is just what we understood was not going to happen under this régime. The Prime Minister would not make the mistakes of his predecessors. The Paymaster-General acting as a watchdog would ensure that his master was not caught off his guard in this dangerous jungle of security.
The Prime Minister cannot have it both ways. This, he says, involves matters of the gravest national import and security, and I personally, unlike most hon. Members, accept that. Yet the account of how this was handled by responsible Ministers and officials—not least in the Foreign Office—reads like the script for the Keystone Kops, and this nowhere more than in the Foreign Office.
This raises another aspect of the treatment of Colonel Lohan, who is under fire for not following his superiors' instructions or for not making it clear that he was doing so. Perhaps the strongest criticism of him was that he took too much upon himself, but were his superiors really left so much in the dark? I will refer, as did my right hon. Friend, to those passages in the Foreign Secretary's evidence on page 123, supported by minutes from the officials in his Department. It is quite clear that the Foreign Secretary did know enough at 7 o'clock that evening to consider intervening and he was advised by a senior official—not Colonel Lohan—to leave it to the usual channels. "Better for the matter to be handled through the normal channels" are the exact words, and they have a familiar Foreign Office ring. So not all the advice given that night, good or bad, can be laid at Colonel Lohan's door.
2039 I must now finally return to what happened to Colonel Lohan subsequently, and this the House will have no other way of discovering for itself. It was reported in the Press of, I think, 9th June, that he had been before a disciplinary committee of the Civil Service. This was denied by the Ministry of Defence. Although Colonel Lohan had been given every reason to suppose that this was a disciplinary committee, I must add that the denial had substance. For what, in reality, was happening? After two appearances before a body set up by the Government to ascertain the facts, he was being put through a third examination by his superiors to check discrepancies in the evidence prior to the publication of the White Paper. This confrontation, I can assert, was not made public by Colonel Lohan himself, but by someone quite senior who was affronted by his treatment. I do not regard that as a very creditable episode.
The House must not suppose that I am trying to dress Colonel Lohan, because he is my constituent, in a white sheet. It is not part of my case or of anyone else's to pretend that he did not make mistakes. I shall watch with the closest interest the endeavours of the Government and of their advisers to find an individual for this job who makes no mistakes. The point is that others, too, made mistakes, with some of which Colonel Lohan is being saddled in an atmosphere of disagreeable, and, I must now say, disgraceful, disparagement.
It is all too easy for hon. Members who have perhaps not read all the evidence 01 followed the events in great detail to shrug their shoulders, a little as the right hon. Member for Easington did, saying, "Well, Colonel Lohan is an odd character and does not seem a very satisfactory one." If that smear had substance, why in the world was he kept, single-handed, in this job for three years? This is something to which I hope the Prime Minister will address himself tonight. That is a very dangerous line of country for the Government or any of their friends to take.
It may seem that the verdict in dispute is a verdict on the Daily, Express. I express no view here—they are big enough to look after themselves. But it is also a verdict on an individual, Colonel 2040 Lohan. Radcliffe, in effect, acquits him. The effect of the White Paper from the Government is to reverse that verdict and this is a most disturbing aspect of the White Paper. It is a sorry business when senior Ministers, defending their own mismanagement, allow the good name of an official to be sacrificed in this way.
Unless the House grasps this, we are wasting our time here: we might as well put up the shutters and go elsewhere. Down the years, this is what this place has been about—protecting individuals from improper action by the Executive. Few of these individuals have been saints, some quite the reverse. It is quite easy when they are saints it is no trouble at all. The test of this House is discerning, through a sea of doubt, where injustice has been done, and that is the test now. It is not only the Prime Minister or Colonel Lohan who is on trial in this debate: to a degree, we are all on trial.
§ 7.39 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Davidson (Accrington)
I must, first, declare my interest, as I have been a legal adviser to Beaverbrook Newspapers and I am at present a legal adviser to Associated Newspapers, but the fact that they both took different views of the application of D Notices had absolutely nothing to do with that fact. I ought to inform the House that I took no part in the decision of the Daily Mail. My interest, therefore, is one mainly of the freedom of the Press in the wider sense and not with trying to place blame on civil servants or anyone else who took part in this episode.
There is a great temptation to read through the evidence in the Radcliffe Report, as I have done, to study the conversations of the various witnesses, as I have studied them, and then to try to dissect and analyse them in an effort to reach some form of judicial decision about them. My right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) described the Radcliffe Report as resembling a James Bond novel. That may be a reasonable literary allusion, but my knowledge of drama, which is moderate, leads me to believe that it is more like a Pinter novel because, in all the main conversations, everybody seems to be talking at cross-purposes.
It is futile to say that, if Chapman Pincher had said such and such a thing 2041 and if Colonel Lohan had said such and such a thing, events would have been different. I suggest that if Pincher had said something else, Lohan would have believed that he had said something quite different from what Pincher had thought he had meant and probably they would both have thought that they were talking to two different people about an entirely different subject. This is the impression one gets from reading the Radcliffe Report. I do not envy the task of the distinguished gentlemen who had to form some sort of judgment on it.
Hon. Gentlemen opposite who say that the only conclusions one can draw from the conversations in this case are the conclusions drawn by the Radcliffe Report are being naive. The conclusions formed by the Government in the White Paper, while I do not agree with them in their entirety, are—I will not say more acceptable—equally acceptable.
Too much has been made in this debate of the personalities involved. The matter we are discussing is how much right the Government have to prevent subjects appearing in the Press which may affect security and the national interest. It is basically an issue of the freedom of the Press and how much liberty the Press should have to report matters which may be embarrassing to the Government and which may expose inefficiency in the Government.
Most people, certainly editors, would agree—and this applies to everyone who has been associated with Fleet Street—that the D Notice system is good. It has worked effectively over the years and, as the right hon. and learned Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd) said in his constructive speech, it does not need a great deal of alteration. However, the whole basis of the D Notice system should be the informality of approach to the Secretary. Any suggestion of there being a committee or some sort of appeals tribunal would be unrealistic, certainly from the point of view of newspapers.
The whole purpose of advice of this sort—which is basically interpretive advice, although ultimately the decision of whether or not to print must remain with the editor—is to be a sieve, beyond which lies the sinister implications of the Official Secrets Act. Should an editor choose to ignore the advice given by the 2042 Secretary responsible for interpreting the D Notice system, it is always possible for the provisions of that Act to be invoked, although I understand that this has seldom, if ever, happened. What can be done, therefore, to improve the working of the system?
§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
If this is such a serious matter, if there has been a breach of security and if men's lives were at stake, did not the Government have a duty to prosecute those concerned; the editor, newspaper and others? The Government have refused to do so. Would my hon. Friend explain why?
§ Mr. Davidson
I cannot explain why. It is not my job to do so and I would not attempt to do so. My hon. Friend put that question to the Attorney-General and I understand that he replied that he was not envisaging a prosecution.
§ Mr. Davidson
It is essential that the Secretary should be the person who has close contact with the Press. He should also be a person of high standing and stature. It is obvious, too, that he should be privy to security decisions. It is farcical to think that the man who must interpret to the Press the reasons why a certain story might fall under the D Notices does not himself know why it might. One of the most significant changes would be for the Secretary to have a thorough and complete security vetting. Had Colonel Lohan attended the vetting when the Foreign Office officials decided that the Daily Express story fell under the D Notices, he would have been in a much stronger position to impress upon Chapman Pincher the fact that the story was genuinely against the national interest.
It has been suggested that all editorial opinion was of the view that this story did not fall under the D Notices. The editor of the Daily Mail, a distinguished journalist, took the opposite view. His opinion was that the story did fall under the D notice procedure; and he decided not to print it. Had I been asked to advise on the story, which I was not, I think I would have come to the same opinion. But it is only an opinion. On a very strict interpretation of the D Notice procedure, it probably fell under one or other of the 2043 D Notices. Equally, however, over a period of time there is no doubt that the real meaning of D Notices has been eroded. It is important that the D Notices should mean what they say. They should, therefore, be constantly rewritten, and in clear terms commensurate with security.
A burning issue in Fleet Street is that much of the material which British newspapers are prevented from printing—because it falls under D Notices—appears in foreign newspapers. There is, therefore, a strong case for constantly reviewing the D Notices and, to use a popular phrase, to de-escalate them. There are far too many of them. Once a story has appeared in a foreign newspaper or on foreign television it seems pointless that British newspapers should be prevented from printing it. A well-paid spy or foreign embassies are not likely to be any more impressed just because a story appears in a British newspaper rather than in reputable publications like the Washington Post or New York Times.
The main purpose of this debate is to air constructive proposals which will ensure that the Press is not inhibited from printing matters which appear to offend the D Notices but which do not affect security. Much play has been made about my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, about Colonel Lohan, about Chapman Pincher, about the Daily Express and about the various rôles that personalities have played in the whole rather unfortunate affair. I do not think that we shall ever be able to say who exactly was to blame, or exactly where the fault lay. Certainly my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is not to blame. That is clear to me.
What is obviously important is that the system broke down, and the reason why it did so should be the concern of the House. It broke down because at a certain level there was a complete lack of communication between the Secretary of the Services, Press and Broadcasting Services Committee and Chapman Pincher—and for no other reason. I am not to say why Chapman Pincher decided to go ahead with the story.
I am not so naive, and I am sure that no other hon. Member is, as to suppose that there were not political motives behind the story. Of course there were. 2044 The whole innuendo was that this was a Government suddenly trying to erode personal liberty and eat away the freedom of the Press. That is the campaign which has been run over a period of time. But, at the same time, it should be said that the system did not work effectively. There is a certain amount of blame to be laid on the Government side also.
I hope that from this debate will come some constructive proposals so that the Government will be able to make representations through a person of high standing, who has knowledge of security measures the reasons why a Government think that a story is against the national interest, and who can communicate with a newspaper which has genuine faith in his judgment. If that is done, a lot of the nonsense talked about this Government's intention to erode the freedom of the Press will disappear.
§ 7.53 p.m.
§ Mr. Emlyn Hooson (Montgomery)
I am very glad to follow the hon. Member for Accrington (Mr. Arthur Davidson), because I take a rather different view. I take the view that we have a free Press upon which there should be no inhibition as to what it publishes unless it is overwhelmingly proved to the Press that it is in the national interest that something should not be published. We should be very careful about the processes by which proof is so established. It is a highly dangerous doctrine that one leaves it to a faceless committee in the Ministry of Defence to decide whether a D Notice covers a particular news item and to imply that it must be observed.
What we are concerned with is a voluntary system between the Press and the Government. One of the most sordid sides of the debate, which has made me sick at times, is the selection of the scapegoat, the attacks on Colonel Lohan. I do not know the gentleman; I have never met him. But I formed an impression of him because I read his evidence to the Radcliffe Committee thoroughly. I formed the impression that perhaps at times he was a little mixed up in his mind about exactly what happened. We have been told that he is rather an odd character, but that does not matter. He is selected for attack by the House when he is not in a position to answer for himself. When attempts are made to annihilate his character in this House, in 2045 order to defend the Government, there is something wrong with this House. It is disgraceful that this should be done.
I can well understand the Prime Minister being incensed when he read the Daily Express article. I have read it carefully and I think that it is extremely slanted. The introduction of the words "Big Brother" gave it an emotive kind of quality which suggested that the Government were up to something improper. But, whether we like it or not, that is part of the currency of popular journalism. My party has been attacked in this way many times, unjustly and unfairly, but the public have accepted it. We have never had the opportunity to reply by way of invoking a D Notice and getting this kind of process into action in order to get at the Daily Express. That is what has really happened in this case.
All that I know about Colonel Lohan is that he has been Secretary of a Committee which is a joint committee representing the Ministry on one side and Fleet Street on the other. He has been, as it were, a semi-civil servant. He has done this job for 3½ to 4 years and there have apparently been no complaints about him before. It has never been suggested that the Daily Express had ever broken a D Notice before. He was not only on good personal terms with Mr. Chapman Pincher—also a gentleman whom I do not know—but apparently also on good terms with other journalists. To select him for attack, to imply that it all happened, or that he was the cause of the administrative breakdown, is unfair. He was the gentleman who operated the system and he was entitled to do what he had always done, which was to try to persuade the Press to his point of view.
This was a process apparently approved by the Government. Even the Ministry of Defence at 7 o'clock on the Monday evening dissuaded the Foreign Secretary from intervening, saying that it should be left to the "normal channels". Then to select this man for attack, to put him up as the scapegoat and make all the innuendoes that this was where the administrative failure lay, is grossly unfair, to say the least, and does no credit to the Government.
I have never been so convinced as I was this afternoon that the House should 2046 perhaps lose the protection of privilege, when I heard some of the slanderous attacks on Colonel Lohan to which he has had no opportunity to reply. I only hope that when he replies to the debate tonight the Prime Minister will say nothing about that man that has not already been said in the debate, when somebody has had the right to speak on his behalf, as the right hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) certainly did.
Now I come to a matter of the gravest importance, the question of how this debate arises at all. The Radcliffe Committee was set up by the Prime Minister. Replying to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Liberal Party on 28th February, the Prime Minister said:What the Government are seeking to do, after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition, is to appoint a Committee, in addition to a distinguished judge, of two elder statesmen who claim the confidence of the whole House in these matters, and to rely on their judgment on all of these very difficult problems."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th February, 1967; Vol. 742, c. 276–277.]The impression that the Prime Minister has now given is that, having failed to make the charge stick as a prosecuting counsel, he wants to be judge and jury in his own cause. That is the importance of the debate. We are debating whether we should note the findings of the Radcliffe Committee or accept them.
I have great professional sympathy for the Attorney-General. It is always difficult to throw one's heart into a brief when one clearly has the greatest mental reservations about it. But he cited against the Opposition the 1959 precedent, when the Macmillan Government refused to accept the findings of the Devlin Commission of Inquiry on Nyasaland and issued their own White Paper. I do not claim to quote the right hon. and learned Gentleman verbatim, but he taunted the Opposition by saying, "You derive your inspiration from our Amendment on that occasion". It is fair to ask from whom the Government derive their inspiration for their Motion in view of the reaction of the Labour Party to the then Government's refusal to accept the findings of the Devlin Commission on Nyasaland. Here, a Committee was set up with one of the most distinguished judges to preside and two highly experienced Privy Councillors to hear the evidence, sift it and assess it. As the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor-General knows very well, 2047 nothing is easier, when one has heard all the evidence and seen it in transcript later, than to select one piece of evidence here and another there that support one's case. But a judge or jury do not do that. They assess the evidence as a whole. That is surely what the Privy Councillors have done in this case? They had very restricted terms of reference and discharged their task. Why the Prime Minister could not be man enough to accept their findings, I do not understand. He could have put his own reservations on them from the Front Bench opposite, but I cannot believe that he was well-advised, to say the least, when he took the step of following the very dangerous Tory precedent. Little did any of the right hon. and hon. Members opposite think in 1959 that they would be citing that Tory precedent in their own defence later. The Prime Minister was very badly advised to take that course.
It seems to me that the findings of the Radcliffe Committee were fully and completely justified. One can put another slant on them. One can quote a bit of evidence here and a bit there, such as evidence from the Defence Ministry, and say, "This does not support the findings." But the Committee has been very careful about its findings. It has limited itself strictly to its terms of reference. It has not attempted any character annihilation. At the end it answered what the Government have since described as the three chief questions in a way which was not acceptable to the Government. But is that any reason for the Government refusing to accept its findings? Of course not. It undermines the whole confidence of the country in the probity of the Government and also in the competence of the judge who was the Chairman and the two Privy Councillors.
What will the Government say when t trade union agrees to submit a claim to arbitration and then does not like the arbitrator's findings and throws them overboard? Who will the trade union cite as an example. It will say, "The Prime Minister does it. Why should we not do so?" But this is what happened: the Prime Minister appointed a high-class tribunal, and because he does not like its findings, he has taken this course, which is a highly discreditable one for him to have taken.
2048 It may well be that at the end of the day we shall be seen to have been discussing this on a plane which does not cover everything involved. It may be that there are subtle and devious reasons for the action taken by the Government which have very little relevance to what we have been debating. I do not know. We can deal with the matter only at its face value.
It seems to me that the Government in their White Paper, not only in publishing it but in what they have said in it, have sometimes been very misleading. I quote from page 11 of the White Paper:The view of all those concerned on the Government side with the actual working of the system and in full knowledge of the activities in question, is that the D notices do apply, and always have applied, to the activities now at issue.It goes on:Thus, when speaking as he did to the House of Commons on 21st February, the Prime Minister was expressing the clear and unanimous conviction of all those who carry responsibility in these matters that the Daily Express article in question was a breach of D notices.If the Government are to question the accuracy of the Daily Express article—which was, I think, in some respects inacurate—then this Government statement I have quoted itself is inaccurate. Colonel Lohan was the man with the responsibility for conveying to the Press a view on whether there was an infringement of D Notices or not, and he expressly said in his evidence that he disagreed with the statement made by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons. So this statement in the White Paper is itself inaccurate.
It seems to me that if some lessons are to be drawn from the debate, which has been altogether a rather sordid matter in many ways, the chief lesson is that if one has a system which is based upon voluntary co-operation of this kind and the Government want the Press to be in any way inhibited because of security matters, the onus of establishing a good system is on the Government. The Press surely has the right to publish any article it likes unless the Government can convince it by reasoning or otherwise that it is against the national interest to do so.
What has happened in this case is that the Government or the Defence Ministry have tolerated a system of limited interpretation of the D Notices. What the White Paper argues is not that the D Notices did apply but that they should 2049 have applied, which is a very different thing. I have no doubt that the Defence Ministry thought that the D Notices applied, just the same as anybody who presents a case in court thinks that he has a good case. But the view of the judges of the matter was that they did not apply, and did not apply because there had been a limited interpretation in which the Government had acquiesced.
The Attorney-General was wrong this afternoon when he said that this limited interpretation had been applied by the Press and when he implied that it was a finding of the Radcliffe Committee. The Radcliffe Committee did not say that. Its finding—I quoted it in an interjection in the Attorney-General's speech—was:Nevertheless, a narrower interpretation of this D notice has prevailed in practice.Not only has it prevailed in practice and been applied by the Press, but the Government impliedly must have acquiesced in it because there is no record of any complaint by the Government that the newspapers had contravened the D Notices except for two or three in Colonel Lohan's evidence where papers had flown in the face of D Notices deliberately.
Therefore, I think that it is for the Government to establish in the future a much more precise kind of D Notice. But editors should maintain their freedom to publish. I am not prepared to accept a decision by a faceless committee in the Ministry of Defence as to whether a thing should be published or not. If we have a responsible Press, the responsibility eventually rests with the editor, and in the end he must weigh it all up. [HON. MEMBERS: "Even the Daily Express."] Hon. Members say "even the Daily Express". Some of the arguments from the other side of the House are frightening. It seems to me that hon. Members opposite cannot distinguish between what I think was in many ways a slanted and unfair attack on the Government, using this information, which is clearly what many newspapers have done from time to time—Labour newspapers have done the same thing. [HON. MEMBERS: "Name one."]—and information about a security matter, which is the background to this matter.
I am absolutely convinced that if the boot had been on the other foot, if it 2050 had been a Conservative Government, and there had been this kind of disclosure in another newspaper with an attack on that Government, none of the right hon. and hon. Members whom we have heard defending the Government today would have been reticent in coming to the attack of the Government in power. One of the saddest things about this matter is that the Government and the Prime Minister have thought that it was a proper precedent to quote in their defence the rejection by the Conservative Government of the Devlin Report in 1959. They are going exactly the same way—authoritarian; they cannot bear to be wrong. It is time that their views were revised.
§ 8.8 p.m.
§ Mr. William Price (Rugby)
As one who has earned his living as a reporter for many years, my sympathy, when faced with a clash between the Executive and the newspapers, lies firmly and securely on the side of the newspapers.
I have followed this affair closely. I held the view that the Prime Minister was wrong—marginally perhaps, but nevertheless wrong. Given the choice between a good politician and a good journalist, my inclination, as always, was to opt for the good journalist as the one most likely to be telling the truth.
My views have changed. Let no one think that the introduction of a three-line Whip had anything to do with it. It would take all the Whips in the kingdom, Tory, Labour and Liberal, past, present and future, to get me into the Division Lobby tonight if I thought that my right hon. Friend was wrong.
I have changed my mind because I have had the opportunity of studying the Radcliffe Report and the White Paper, which, in my view, the Government sensibly decided to publish. I may express some harsh words about the Daily Express and Mr. Chapman Pincher, and I am also going to incur the displeasure of my Parliamentary colleagues, because I regard the Daily Express in many ways as a very fine newspaper and Mr. Chapman Pincher as perhaps the most informed of defence correspondents in the country—and I am making no allegations about where he gets his information from.
2051 But my natural, unsolicited and free admiration must not cloud the facts of the case, and it is necessary to point out that, as we all know, there are two attributes of the Daily Express which are very relevant indeed to this case. The paper has a keen eye for a scoop and none of us would criticise it on that score. But, more disturbing, it has a political bias which all too often jaundices its reports and does it little credit at Westminster, in Fleet Street, or in the country.
Mr. Eric S. Heller (Liverpool, Walton)
And the Common Market.
§ Mr. Price
We have had enough red herrings drawn across our path in this debate without more from my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer).
I shall not argue that the story was done for political reasons. We can make up our own minds on that, but there is no doubt that Mr. Pincher was after an exclusive story and he was not prepared to allow anything to get in the way.
Let us look first at the accuracy. Here I disagree very forcefully with the Radcliffe Committee, more than on any other issue. It is the crux of the matter. The Committee says that the article…was not inaccurate in any sense that could expose it to hostile criticism…But the way the facts were presented, and the facts that were left out, gave a totally misleading and in some ways malicious impression. Any journalist, from the smallest weekly up to the Daily Express—or the other way round, if you like—knows that the facts one leaves out of a story are very often far more important than the facts one puts in. That is precisely what happened in this case.
On the same principle, the clever journalist never asks too many questions and never gives too much away. The objective here was to give the impression that cable vetting had been brought about by "Big Brother", acting on behalf of the Labour Government. All Mr. Pincher had to do was add a footnote that this vetting had been going on for 40 years and the impression of the article would have been different. It would then have become clear that "Big Brother" included such well-known radical Socialists as Sir Winston Churchill, Lord Avon, 2052 Harold Macmillan and the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home), but this vital fact was conveniently omitted and we are entitled on this side of the House to draw our own conclusions. The effect was to give the story an angle it never had and which it did not deserve. The facts may have been accurate in themselves but the "cable vetting sensation" as reported was inaccurate, unjustified and, in my view, potentially dangerous.
Now I turn to the question of D Notices. Here the events leading up to publication can only be described, as they have been, as a mixture of pure British farce with diplomatic and military madness thrown in for good measure. I am reluctant to attack Colonel Lohan. I agree that he cannot argue in his own defence. That I accept. But I am bound to say that his handling of this case, under very difficult conditions indeed, does not inspire any great confidence in him.
We often talk here about the way in which lawyers have infiltrated, but it is interesting to note how the military have infiltrated. Colonel Lohan's predecessor was an admiral, so it is not surprising that a colonel followed him, and bobbing up in the course of evidence we find that the Senior Information Officer at the Ministry of Defence was a wing commander. Could we not have a lance-corporal or two?
A town with which I have close associations and a good deal of affection for is Leamington Spa, where we often said, "Under every stone there is a colonel". The locals have been mystified because the colonels have disappeared. I have found out where they have gone. They have all got jobs as public relations officers and information officers in Whitehall, and they are not doing a very good job. These men are dealing with highly-trained journalists. I wonder what qualifications they have for jobs which involve matters of the greatest importance.
There is no doubt that Colonel Lohan accepted the Foreign Office view that the D Notice applied and tried his best to convince Mr. Pincher. Colonel Lohan says on page 54:Pincher is entitled to say that the actual 'D' notices had in his opinion no relevance; but it is clear in my mind that the whole conversation was conducted within the broad meaning and spirit of the notices.2053 That is from Colonel Lohan, whom hon. Members today have claimed did not accept that there was a D Notice in existence. That was his evidence. The Committee itself says on page 10:Mr. Pincher at once insisted that they could not possibly be applied, his main line of argument, it seems, being that the opening of letters and the tapping of telephones had long been accepted as not being secret intelligence methods in this context, and the scrutiny of cables came exactly within the same principle. Colonel Lohan at no time made any explicit admission that he accepted the argument and that the story could be treated as unaffected by 'D' notices, but there is no doubt that after some time, the discussion being at a deadlock, he put the copies of the two notices away, with the words 'All right, let us put that aside and argue even more generally on why you should not publish the story.'This is important. This was not, as one may think, an unreasonable approach in view of the personal and friendly relationship existing for a long time between these two men. They were accustomed to doing business on this basis, curious as it may appear to us in the light of what happened. Mr. Pincher himself says that he has co-operated many times, adding that, during his co-operation with Colonel Lohan and his predecessor, the Express had previously withheld information that it could legitimately have printed.
What happened on this occasion? I think that Colonel Lohan was lulled into a false sense of security. Mr. Pincher convinced his editor that a specific assurance had been given about the D Notice and the Express—and this is where I disagree with my colleagues—innocently went ahead and published. Derek Marks gave as one of the reasons for printing the categorical assurance that no breach of a D Notice was involved. What happened was that he had had his mind made up for him by Mr. Pincher.
I am happy to admit that the wording of the D Notice is liable to interpretation in various ways. At least there must have been an element of doubt and it is just possible that Colonel Lohan was entitled to the benefit of that doubt. But Mr. Pincher, in the interests of an exclusive story, was not prepared to give anything away at all. It is significant that, when Mr. Pincher telephoned at 6.30, he made no mention of the fact that the editor had decided to go ahead and print and I find the excuse he gave remarkably shallow.
2054 Mr. Pincher said that there was a possibility that another story of importance might come into the office and that the Express might then not print the cable vetting story that evening. Are we to believe from that that the Daily Express has space for only one story? Here we had a newspaper and a defence correspondent sitting on a national exclusive story, one which warranted front page treatment and saying that, if another story came in, they would put off publication for 24 hours when they knew that other papers were on to it. That does not stand up, and Mr. Pincher knows it.
Mr. Pincher's second explanation, that Colonel Lohan was bound to get the Daily Mail story released, is much more likely to have been in his mind. He was determined to have an exclusive story printed, and he succeeded. I am not suggesting that he is a liar or dishonest or even that he deliberately set out to breach the D Notice. What I do say is that his judgment was wrong and that his attitude from the beginning was based on a determination to print.
We are entitled to look to the reason why this situation should have existed and I can think of no better reason than the one given by Colonel Lohan himself on page 53, where he says:For the last three months or so the newspaper world had become over-excited and oversensitive about the topics of telephone tapping and interference with mail. Rightly or wrongly, Fleet Street felt persecuted and suspicious. The atmosphere was ripe for an explosive protest about these issues.There, I believe, together with a certain amount of political bias, lies the reason why this story got into print.
In my view, the Prime Minister's criticism was justified on the ground that national security was threatened and the Government regarded publication of the story as a matter of the utmost gravity.
I can understand the attitude of the Leader of the Opposition, after all that the Daily Express has said about him in the past four years, wanting to redeem himself in the eyes of Beaverbrook junior. But what would have happened if the Prime Minister had kept quiet and said nothing, and if, a little later, it had become evident that security had been affected? The Opposition would have been jumping up and down tonight with a censure Motion on the Prime Minister, attacking his pragmatic attitude. The stench that the Opposition 2055 caused over the escape of George Blake is still hovering about on this side of the House tonight, so let us bear that in mind when we talk of the Prime Minister's attitude.
I would make one point about the newspapers themselves. I am prepared to agree that the Prime Minister has been given a bad Press over his decision not to accept all or any of the Radcliffe Report. I ask him not to pay too much attention to that. When newspapers are under attack they have a reputation for clinging together. When the Daily Mirror comes to the aid of the Daily Express then I know that there is something radically wrong. Papers which spend half their time and half their resources abusing other people should not be so sensitive. A great deal of synthetic indignation is to be expected from the Opposition Front Bench, but we are entitled to expect something better for our fivepences from daily newspapers.
I believe this story to be inaccurate in presentation, inaccurate in intent, and a breach of the D Notice system even though—and I concede this—there may well have been genuine misunderstandings and disagreements.
I shall vote for the Prime Minister because I believe the stand that he took was not only fully justified but absolutely essential under all the circumstances. There have been occasions when I have gone through the Division Lobby with a very heavy heart wondering whether I was doing right by my constituents and by my conscience, but I can assure the House that that situation does not exist tonight.
§ 8.23 p.m.
§ Mr. John Peyton (Yeovil)
I am happy to know that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Rugby (Mr. William Price), who has treated us to such an eloquent speech, is not in any state of quarrel or war with his conscience and all is at peace tonight. I did have some hope at the beginning of his speech that he might find it possible to come down against his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, but those early hopes failed to burgeon into bloom.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General left a great deal in 2056 the air during his speech and a great many questions unanswered. He has told us that damage has resulted because of this breach of security arrangements and he has referred to politically motivated accusations. I am not sure whether these politically motivated accusations are made by Lord Radcliffe and his colleagues, but I would have appreciated hearing more about the actual damage that has resulted. In particular, the stories which the Prime Minister has appearently put about that men's lives have been endangered as a result are something which we are entitled to hear more about, and perhaps we shall later.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman referred to what he described as a straightforward political attack on the Government. I take it that when the Attorney-General said that he was indicating or implying that had there been a Conservative Government in power Mr. Chapman Pincher would have withheld his story and would not have attempted to write it because, being the warm Conservative that he is, he would not have wished to embarrass a Conservative Government.
That is the only meaning that I can gather from those words spoken by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. I realise that he was not on his best form. Some of his references have come a bit awry. Every now and again a negative was left out and put in which was slightly embarrassing for his hon. Friends. Nevertheless, even on the moderate form which he displayed one should be able to extract some meaning from his words, and the only meaning which could be gathered was the indication which I have outlined.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman went on, I thought, in a rather lamer way. He admitted that differences that do exist are more apparent than real and he admitted there was a need for this position to be rectified. Then he said, in those interesting words, "The Prime Minister, in making the statement, had no reason to believe that the relevant instructions had not been delivered by Colonel Lohan".
We have had from hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House a certain sensitivity about what they call character slaughter or character murder, but very little sensitivity about the damage that the Prime Minister has apparently wantonly inflicted upon other people's characters. I do not hold any particular 2057 brief for the Daily Express or any other newspaper, but whether one's name is Sir Max Aitken, Mr. Derek Marks, Mr. Chapman Pincher or Colonel Lohan, one is entitled to some degree of fairness and justice from the House fo Commons. I believe that this is what the Prime Minister has failed to give all along.
When one comes on to an area where the freedom of the Press abuts directly on to considerations of national security one is dealing with highly sensitive considerations, and the possibility of embarrassment and things going wrong is immense. Echoing what my right hon. and learned Friend said, I am sure that it would be wrong to seek to introduce a really rigid and well defined system, because I am certain that it would break down. If we are to have something working properly it will only be on a voluntary basis of clear mutual understanding, and the initiative, as has been said more than once, clearly lies with the Government.
It has been admitted all along that the D Notice system is both vague and voluntary. In some ways it has been misunderstood by the Government themselves, who appear to think that in some way it is operated by them rather than by the Committee. This comes out at various stages in the White Paper and particularly in paragraph 16.
I should like to take the House back to the Prime Minister's statement of 23rd February, when he said that the Daily Express had been repeatedly warned. It is alleged in the White Paper that it must have known that the story was closely related to the nation's security. In other words, this is a straight accusation that it behaved irresponsibly and wantonly in a matter of national security. My right hon. Friend the Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Barber), in an eloquent speech, asked when it was warned. When and how and by whom were these repeated warnings delivered? We have had no evidence about these repeated warnings, and I should very much like to know.
What are the ill-effects to which the Government constantly refer? Have there been any ill-effects? Are the Government able, even without full disclosure, to say whether to date there have been any ill-effects as a result of this 2058 extraordinary revelation? As my right hon. Friend the Member for Flint, West (Mr. Birch) said, it is nonsense to suppose that any foreign Power is not fully aware of these procedures, and to say that this disclosure came as a hideous shock to anyone, other than a very innocent-minded British citizen, is rubbish.
There is no question but that Press opinion on this matter was completely unanimous and it was that there had been no breach of the system. When the Attorney-General talks of a politically-motivated attack, a straight political attack on the Government, I do not know whether he is including in that attack someone like Mr. Lee Howard, of the Daily Mirror, whose very clear statement on page 79 of the Report is worth looking at. I make two quotations from it. He said:This Note makes it clear that particular operations will be covered by the 'D' notice, whereas general routine operations such as Mr. Pincher wrote about will not be covered.At the bottom of the next paragraph:We don't want to publish anything that would help foreign agents. Chapman Pincher published nothing that would.One or two hon. Members have made the point that some representatives of the Daily Mail took a different view, but it is clear from the evidence that the Daily Mail was told—this is at the bottom of page 138—that a specific operation was going on as opposed to a routine operation with which Mr. Chapman Pincher's article dealt.
With the Press unanimous and now with the support of Lord Radcliffe and his Committee it is extraordinary that this incident should not have been allowed to sink to its proper size and stature, which is pretty small. The Prime Minister had only to withdraw his accusation of bad faith and admit that there had been a mistake and that would have been the end of the affair. Nothing the Opposition could have done would have been able to inject anything into it at all. He had simply to say that he withdrew any imputation against the good faith of Sir Max Aitken, Mr. Marks and Mr. Pincher and not commit the murder of Colonel Lohan's character for this matter to have disappeared altogether.
But, of course, the Prime Minister did not do that. He found it impossible 2059 to do so and the Government rejected the embarrassing part of the verdict of Lord Radcliffe and his colleagues and produced some trumpet blast White Paper of their own rejecting all the inconvenient parts of that verdict. I cannot see any possible reason for this matter to blow up in this way, except that which my right hon. Friend the Member for Flint, West mentioned—the vanity of the Prime Minister.
As my right hon. Friend reminded the House, he has done this kind of thing before. The Bank Rate Tribunal followed a whole mass of allegations in which he made the case. The fact that such people as Mr. Oliver Poole were seriously defamed in the course of those allegations, made under cover of privilege in the House, did not worry or move the Prime Minister one iota. The same thing applied to Mr. Herbert Hill, who had instigated what the Prime Minister referred to as politically-motivated strikes.
Mr. Hill was very tenacious, unusually refusing to understand or accept the Prime Minister's basic characteristic, that he never apologises or withdraws, despite the demands. Finally, in a court of law, Mr. Hill got an apology from the Prime Minister. As far as I know, Mr. Herbert Hill is unique in history in having achieved this.
It seems that this episode is a sort of smoke-screen, a diversionary tactic designed to show that the conjuror's tricks still work and that the juggler's hand and eye are just as good as they ever were. I very much wonder what we will be listening to in less than an hour's time, when the conjuror comes back to show whether his wand will still work. I do not doubt that he will have loud applause from behind him, but what will really astonish me is if those who applaud him have an easy mind in doing so.
I wonder what sort of gimmick he will produce, what kind of smoke-screen to conceal his direction.
§ Mr. Peyton
I agree entirely with the hon. Gentleman, but what we can be confident about is that as a source of gimmicks, the Prime Minister is superb and second to none.
2060 I find it distressing to say this of any Prime Minister, but it seems that the right hon. Gentleman who is now the Prime Minister has shown in this episode more concern for a much-needed forensic trial than he has for the essential freedom of the Press, or for fairness to individuals or even regard to the facts.
It was only a couple of days ago that the Prime Minister dubbed me—I did not hear him at the time because there was a certain amount of noise going on—the Second Gravedigger. I conclude my remarks by saying that never in my life could I have a more welcome appointment than gravedigger, even assistant, to Her Majesty's present Ministers. I should be very glad to accept that office from the Prime Minister, because it is the only one that I would.
§ 8.38 p.m.
§ Mr. David Ensor (Bury and Radcliffe)
We have listened to a lot of words this evening which have nothing to do with this debate. If we are to talk of stenches and stinks then hon. and right hon. Members opposite should examine their consciences over the last 10 years, because we could mention one or two stenches and stinks that might be unhappy. Because I have very little time, I do not intend to deal in any detail with Colonel Lohan.
What I want to do is to remind the House about the general facts of security and about D Notices. One might imagine from what has been said today that the D Notice problem was a matter of recent development. That is pure nonsense. D Notices and security of this sort have been in existence for over 50 years and it does not matter whether telephone tapping, cable vetting and what have you are well known to the public, the fact remains that, if it is a matter of security, that is it.
We have heard a lot of stories reminiscent of James Bond and Sexton Blake which equally have nothing whatever to do with the matter that we are debating. My right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General reminded the House of what was said by the then Attorney-General on 28th July, 1959 The then Attorney-General also said:No one at that time suggested that the Labour Government were bound by what we said, and the present Government are not bound to accept all that this Commission has 2061 said."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th July, 1959, Vol. 610, c. 318.]It is an absolute piece of nonsense to suggest that any Government is bound to accept what any commission or committee finds as a matter of fact, in exactly the same way that nobody is bound to accept the judgment of a judge and jury. One is perfectly entitled to appeal and disagree with that judgment.
What is in issue in this case is the situation with regard to this story. I should have thought that it was an old adage for anybody concerned either in the law or with journalism that if someone presents a story the first thing that one does is to satisfy oneself as to its reasonableness and accuracy. From where did this story come, and why was it published? If I may answer the second part of the question first, it was published purely because the Daily Express wanted to use a big political stick to beat the Government by publishing something which it thought was new. It was no more new than Adam. It was old stuff. It has been going on for years, and everybody knows it.
What I complain of is that the source of the story was somebody whom I have since interviewed, a gentleman who is so obviously unreliable and who must so obviously have been unreliable to Mr. Chapman Pincher that it would be absolutely fantastic to believe one word that he said. I have had the advantage over other hon. Members of having interviewed this gentleman. I therefore have the advantage of realising what sort of man he is. He told me a story which was in the realms of fantasy and beyond belief. He told me that at one time he was involved with Russian espionage. He told me in the same breath that he was involved with our own espionage, whatever that may be. He told me that he had been involved in a rather unpleasant murder case in Cyprus as a result of his espionage. He told me that he had given evidence to Scotland Yard which had resulted in several arrests in connection with a bullion robbery. He told me that he had sent a telegram to the Prime Minister about another matter which had resulted in the murder of his best friend. He also said—and I quote from what he told me that afternoon:If it could be proved to me that cable vetting was essential to the security of the 2062 country, then I would not have divulged the circumstances surrounding such an operation. But although Colonel Lohan was well aware of my physical whereabouts, no such offer was made.The irresponsibility of Mr. Chapman Pincher—[Interruption.]—throughout these proceedings is patently obvious to anyone who has taken the opportunity and the trouble to read the Blue Book, which, I strongly suspect, a large number of hon. Members opposite have not done. One of the most distressing aspects of the whole of this business is that after publication of that book, the Press genererally, and, not surprisingly, the Daily Express, went out of their way not to draw attention to a number of serious matters which were alleged in the evidence before the Committee.
It was said, for instance, at page 189 by Mr. Ewart-Biggs:I estimated Chapman Pincher to be the type of journalist who would not be beyond using any official information he was told in confidence by Lohan.It was said at page 203 by Colonel Lohan:The conflict struck me more that the whole of the evidence of the Express group was contrived.There are a great many more quotations to which I could refer if I had the time in which to do so.
It has been suggested from the other side of the House that the luncheons, the meetings, the dinners and the parties were a natural consequence of two friends. It is obvious that considerable conversations were going on between the Daily Express correspondent and Colonel Lohan. The nigger in the woodpile is the Daily Express. In my view, the whole of this story was contrived by the Daily Express. It was conceived in an aura of alcohol and finally aborted by the Daily Express.
§ 8.49 p.m.
§ Mr. Edward Heath (Bexley)
This debate has been, in part, on a high level in keeping with the great issues involved, the issues of national security and the honour and integrity of the Prime Minister. At times the debate has been continued in an atmosphere not so much of tragi-comedy, a phrase used by the Attorney-General, but of phone-box farce and, as we have just seen, students' rags—and this is much more 2063 in keeping with a good many of the events described in the Radcliffe Report. Many items have been raised and individually examined and questions asked. I want, if I may, to bring the House back to the main issues which are involved in this debate.
I want to address myself first to the question of national security. Those members of an Administration—and they are always few in number—who have had to handle such questions have to exercise especial care on an occasion such as this. The Leader of the Opposition always has a particular responsibility to exercise, because under our conventions he is at appropriate times kept informed of day-to-day events which come into the public eye. As the House knows, I have, therefore, seen, and studied carefully, the whole of the Radcliffe Report including the deleted sections. As I have already said, I agree that it was right that those sections should be removed. At the same time, I have also the duty to offer to the House my own judgment on what I have seen, and this I propose to do.
I think there is one thing on which the whole House can agree tonight, and that is the importance of taking the necessary effective steps to sustain national security and to maintain the means of gaining intelligence for it. The second objective is to make these measures compatible as far as possible with a free society. That is the common cause, which everyone in the House ought to share.
What we cannot accept is that the general desire to achieve these two objectives, the maintenance of national security and a free society, should be used as a cover for muddle and incompetence in an Administration. That we cannot accept. Nor can we accept that security should be used as a diversion to distract attention from the failure of the Prime Minister to apologise to the House and withdraw when the Committee has found him wrong.
The Attorney-General said that what is involved tonight is the fundamental issue of a nation's security. I would suggest to the Attorney-General that he is pitching the matter too high. We are dealing in substance with one aspect of gathering information for national security and intelligence purposes—one aspect, a very 2064 important aspect—and the extent to which the Daily Express article jeopardised this purpose. That is what we are discussing.
The White Paper says, and it was repeated by the Attorney-General—and I should like to quote just very briefly—thatthe effect on national security of that publication has been to cause damage, potentially grave, the consequences of which cannot even now be fully assessed.The Prime Minister has given guidance to the Press, as has already been stated in the House, that men's lives are at stake.
Both sides of the House have thanked Lord Radcliffe and his colleagues for their work, and I join them, and I would say that no one knows more about British intelligence than Lord Radcliffe—as I think the Prime Minister would agree—and no man has a better understanding of the workings of the British Press. What is his judgment on this problem? It is reflected in his judgment in paragraph 57 where he says:It is possible"—I emphasise "it is possible"—that its current operation"—that is, the D Notice—gives less protection to intelligence methods and activities than the agencies responsible can fairly require.That is his judgment of this situation, and that includes the D Notices which, he concludes, allow such articles as this to be written. So I would suggest to the Attorney-General that the matter ought to be kept in perspective.
Lord Radcliffe received secret evidence from all those concerned with this practice. He was able to cross-examine them in detail, and his conclusion was the one which I have read out. He did not make any other conclusion such as is repeated in the White Paper, and I have seen no evidence that men's lives were at stake. If it exists, why was it not given to the tribunal by the Government, who had every opportunity? Why was the fact not put originally in the White Paper? What I say to the Prime Minister and to the Attorney-General is that real harm is done to national security when exaggerated claims are made which no one can bring himself to believe.
This practice of vetting cables is widely assumed to go on. Many people know 2065 something about it. It is carried out under warrant by Act of Parliament, the Act of Parliament is public, and so on. In some democratic countries, it is openly and widely discussed, and in English-speaking countries as well. I believe that this practice is justified and should continue, under very strict control, and it is the responsibility of any Administration to ensure that the power is not abused. I have seen evidence that it is under very strict control and that the power is not abused.
However, as I have said, the matter must not be exaggerated. In fact, the Prime Minister would get more attention paid outside to his views on security, the views expressed in the White Paper and by the Attorney-General, if he were to withdraw the charges which he has made about the D Notices and the inaccuracy of the article following the Committee's Report, because people would cease to believe that he was using this national theme as a cover for his own proven mistakes.
The other particular and limited aspect of national security which we are discussing is the use of D Notices. The issue is whether, because of the muddle and incompetence shown by both Ministers and officials over this affair and so clearly reflected in the evidence, the system ought to be changed. Here, the Radcliffe Report is quite clear, and, in Conclusion No. (8), Lord Radcliffe and his colleagues say:There is not much in the way of alteration that could usefully be recommended for the 'D' notice system.I agree with that. I am glad that the Government agree with it, as the Attorney-General said this afternoon, and that they have accepted the recommendations of the Committee and decided to drop the idea of an appeal body, and whether it should be a Privy Councillor or some other person.
Not only is it a matter of time, as the Prime Minister said this afternoon, or of finding a suitable person prepared to do it. As an arbiter, he would be a censor without any legal powers or authority from Parliament. I do not believe that that ought to be introduced into a voluntary system, and I do not believe that the British Press would accept it if Parliament were to try to institute it by law. I am glad that this is not to be proceeded with.
2066 However, the Attorney-General concluded his speech by saying:In this field of national security, the Government cannot transfer their responsibility to any one else.I tried to take a note of his words, and I think that that was how he concluded. If that is interpreted literally, it means that these problems must be dealt with through the Official Secrets Act. That is the only way in which the Government themselves can take firm responsibility for ensuring that some action is not taken, because the D Notice system is a voluntary one in which the Government do not have the last word. Whatever action is taken, be it the preparation of a D Notice or action on a specific problem under a D Notice, it has to be agreed jointly by the Committee, on which the officials are outnumbered by the Press two to one. This is the case both in the letter of a D Notice and in its interpretation. In the D Notice system, the Government do not have a last word.
I believe, as came out this afternoon in exchanges across the Floor of the House, that this is a vital element in the whole case. The D Notice system has worked well in the past with a responsible Press simply because it is a voluntary system. All Governments have had their problems from putting proposals to the Committee which it has turned down, and occasionally from items being published which they did not want published, and which even the Committee did not want published. They were published inadvertently, and on one occasion deliberately. Taken over the whole field it has worked well, but it remains a voluntary system on which agreement has to be reached. I believe that it is because the Government, both Ministers and officials, did not realise this that the problems arose in the first instance over this case.
It is quite clear that officials in the Foreign Office did not realise it. They thought that what they said went. It appears that the Prime Minister's advisers who briefed him on his answer in the House did not realise it. They thought that what they said went. The Prime Minister, and all of them, believed that they had the last word, but the Ministry of Defence officials realised that this was not the position, and this is made clear on page 269 of the Report.
2067 The Prime Minister and the Attorney-General still believe that the Government have the last word in the D Notice system, because they say quite clearly on page 11 of the White Paper:Thus, when speaking … to the House of Commons on 21st February, the Prime Minister was expressing the clear and unanimous conviction of all those who carry responsibility in these matters that the Daily Express article in question was a breach of 'D' notices.But in fact that is not the position. It is the meaning agreed by the Committee which matters, and on the Committee the Government are outnumbered two to one. The Radcliffe Report has brought out clearly that it is what the Committee says which matters.
Thus, the White Paper is inaccurate, as the Attorney-General was this afternoon, in saying that the Radcliffe Committee reports that the practice has grown up amongst the Press. It did not limit itself to the Press. In its conclusion it reported on what is the practice, and the practice is accepted by the Committee as a whole.
Colonel Lohan knew that, but he was not brought in at the original meeting. Incidentally, the Attorney-General this afternoon ignored Colonel Lohan's evidence on page 60. The Defence Ministry officials knew it. The Foreign Office, the Foreign Secretary, and the Prime Minister did not. This is why the Prime Minister in his announcement to the House, and in his Report in the White Paper, is wrong. The remedy was there. If they had recognised that the matter was more important than the Committee or Colonel Lohan was prepared to admit they could have had an emergency meeting of the Committee or a full meeting, or they could have put out a new D Notice to deal with the problem.
That was the remedy, but they did not do that, and it was not done for a variety of reasons, and I do not wish to enter into the question of the allocation of blame to individual officials. The Radcliffe Committee has been fair and judicious in respect of officials and those who were concerned from the Press. It saddens me that some of the things which have been said in the House today have not been either as fair or as judicious. They have been said 2068 against individuals who have no opportunity of answering back.
The Attorney-General said that the differences between the White Paper and the Radcliffe Committee's Report were more apparent than real. The differences are quite apparent, and are very real. The White Paper agrees with what the Radcliffe Report says, except in its direct condemnation of the Prime Minister's attack on the newspaper, the staff, and its executives. That is what the White Paper does. In fact, the only purpose of this shoddy document is to try to exonerate the Prime Minister, and the Government were prepared to go to any lengths to try to get material for it, even to using their old inquisitorial methods.
The Prime Minister was asked in the House on 13th June about the disciplinary inquiry and Colonel Lohan. He gave a rather naive reply. He said:Because of certain rather important conflicts in the evidence affecting the particular incident and since, in the White Paper, we wanted to deal not only with the incident, but with the reforms in the D Notice system, it was necessary to go more deeply into some of these questions."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th June, 1967; Vol. 748, c. 313.]There is a proper way of going more deeply into this question, and questions of a conflict of evidence, but what did the Government do? I have here a letter which the Permanent Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Defence sent to the Editor of the Daily Express. [Interruption.] He said:We are looking into various matters connected with the 'D' notice system and there are two points in particular which we feel should be further explored as a matter of urgency.The first relates to the question whether or not a telephone conversation took place between Mr. Chapman Pincher and Colonel Lohan on the afternoon of Friday, February 17th. The second relates to the question whether it was on Monday, February 20th or Tuesday, February 21st that the Daily Express sent a messenger round to Colonel Lohan's office to obtain copies of the two 'D' notices in question. It is agreed that the second time the Daily Express sent for copies of the 'D' notices was on Wednesday, February 22nd.What are those items to do with the D Notice system and what is so secret or confidential about them? Why should a letter of that kind be marked "Secret and Personal", except that the Government did not want it to be known that they were making these specific inquiries?
2069 If there were a conflict of evidence such as the Attorney-General and Prime Minister describe why did not the Attorney-General advise the Prime Minister to remit it back to the Radcliffe Committee and ask it to sort out the problem? That was the proper course to have followed. But the Government preferred to use their own inquisitorial methods.
What emerges from the White Paper and the speech this afternoon? What emerges from the White Paper is that the Prime Minister can accept everything about D Notices except the fact that he was wrong—wrong to condemn the Daily Express for breaking two D Notices or the D Notice convention; wrong to criticise the newspaper for being inaccurate; wrong to slander the correspondent and executive of the newspaper for publishing the story to which he took such exception. The Prime Minister has been judged wrong by the Committee that he himself set up, after consultation with me, to adjudicate on the facts and on the opinions—on all the opinions that it was given.
The whole of this squalid operation of the White Paper and the Attorney-General's speech has been mounted as a diversionary operation to distract attention from this—the second issue which is before the House. As a Member of the Committee himself—the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell)—said, it was a rebuke to the Committee if not an attempt to discredit it and to lay the blame elsewhere.
What concerns the House, after national security, is the Prime Minister's personal honour and political integrity, arising out of the statements he made to the House on 21st and 23rd February. The Attorney-General has argued that the Prime Minister was entitled to reject part or all of the Report. as other Governments have done in the past, but is he—in the particular circumstances in which he announced the setting up of this Committee to the House—entitled to reject part or all the Report as other Governments have chosen to do? He said:What the Government are seeking to do, after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition, is to appoint a Committee, in addition to a distinguished judge, of two elder statesmen who claim the confidence of the whole House in these matters, and to rely on their judgment on all of these very difficult problems."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th February, 1967; Vol. 742, c. 276–7.]2070 The last thing that the Prime Minister has done is to rely on their judgment on the problems which affected himself. He rejected their judgment entirely.
Having made his attacks, under the cover of the privilege of the House, upon the newspaper executive the Prime Minister did not want an inquiry. That was plain from the beginning. When I asked him for one in the House he shifted it off with a reference to the Services, Press and Broadcasting Committee to discuss changes in the D Notice system, but not to inquire into his allegations.
When I pressed him a second time for a Committee of three Privy Councillors in the House, to examine the conflict of evidence between those involved he refused, and then it was necessary for me to write to the Prime Minister again requesting the setting up of such a Committee.
I sent him a letter asking for this, and sent the letter for publication. I must tell the House that so strongly did the Prime Minister object to the setting up of a Committee this time that he did everything to deter me, as Leader of the Opposition, from publishing that request for a Committee of Inquiry. He knows that. I have the record here of the conversations in which it was done. It was the publication of that letter and the resignation of Mr. Lee Howard which forced the Prime Minister to have an inquiry into the attacks which he had made. Of course, it was the usual cover-up story, that he was doing it because the Committee could not meet for a week. He knew quite well when he set up the Radcliffe Committee that it could not meet for 10 days at the earliest and that was just a cover up story.
In this inquiry, Lord Radcliffe and the Privy Councillors have had every access to everything they wanted to see and have been able to cross-examine everyone concerned, weigh up the evidence and give judgments on those who gave the evidence, something which none of us here has been able to do. He was able to do this on matters of fact and opinion with all the powers which his ability and experience had given him and was aided by two Privy Councillors, yet the Prime Minister has chosen to throw all this over and get into a huddle with the Attorney-General and the Paymaster-General to 2071 set himself up as the judge and jury in his own case.
He must not ask the House to believe him and what he says with the Paymaster-General and the Attorney-General instead of Lord Radcliffe, with all that he has done—not with his record he must not! What has brought all this about? It is a most astonishing story. The Prime Minister was asked a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Shrewsbury (Sir J. Langford-Holt) on February 21st which was not even reached, but the Prime Minister chose to answer it after Question Time. The simple answer to the Question about the number of D Notices was "No", but he was not content with that. He had to rush in and make the allegations against the newspaper which we know so well. He could not content himself and, when challenged the next day, he repeated the allegations.
But there was one difference. Instead of speaking then just of breaking two D Notices, he spoke of breaking the D Notice convention. When I heard that, I said to myself—[Laughter.]—I said to myself—[Interruption.]—yes, that is exactly what I said to myself—"This is the small print trick once again." The Prime Minister thought that he was going to get off the hook by using the word "convention" instead of speaking of actually breaking D Notices. So it is rather ironical, is it not, that it is not the fact of the wording of the D Notices which has proved the Prime Minister wrong but the practice in connection with the wording of that notice, in other words, the D Notice convention, which has condemned him.
Therefore, why did the Prime Minister do it? Of course it was not because of national security at the time. There was no mention to the House of national security in those statements or in any of his answers. It was not because of national security. The main reason that he launched his attack was because of the political embarrassment which was caused by the article to himself and his party—that is the reason. It was quite clear through the evidence that right from the beginning the question of political embarrassment was admitted.
He is so sensitive to the charge that his Government act without legal power 2072 or Parliamentary authority, and there is good reason for him to be sensitive about it, too. The House has not forgotten the attempt of the right hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell), who spoke tonight, to carry out building licensing even across a General Election without having power, and no one has forgotten the Attorney-General's action in connection with the Press and television at the beginning of the Aberfan Inquiry.
That is why the Prime Minister was so sensitive about the article which was published. He thought, like his hon. Friend the Member for Bury and Radcliffe (Mr. Ensor), that it was an attempt to attack the Daily Express and get the sympathy of other newspapers, and an attempt to work off old feuds with the particular correspondents involved.
The Attorney-General said that the issues were serious ones. As I have said, the issue of national security is serious. However, the issue of the charges which the Prime Minister made against the newspaper, the editor, the correspondent and executives are serious charges. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman is going to recognise this fact. They were serious charges of inaccuracy and of breaking two D Notices and the D Notice convention.
At the same time, the Prime Minister has always coupled sensationalism with his charges. Sensationalism appears often; every day. But it is no offence against the D Notices, against the law or against anything else. It is part of the consequences of having a free Press. But the accusation of inaccuracy and of breaking the D Notices deliberately—and, therefore, of being unpatriotic—is a serious charge to make against a newspaper. On each of those charges, the Prime Minister has been found—by an impartial commission headed by a most distinguished judge, who heard all the evidence and saw the witnesses—to be wrong. That is the clear fact.
Although the Prime Minister may himself believe that the D Notices were enforceable, the Committee in fact found that the practice was not so. What is more, Lord Radcliffe examined the witnesses on every item in that newspaper statement—[Interruption.]—on every single item—witnesses who knew all the 2073 facts about security and intelligence—and Lord Radcliffe's decision, as given in his Report, was that the Prime Minister's charge was not sustained. [Interruption.] It is all set out in the conclusions.
I say to the Prime Minister that the charges which he made are serious and that, as a result of this impartial commission, they have been found not proven. In fact, the right hon. Gentleman has been found to be wrong.
Whatever other issues have been raised today—the personal ones, about Ministers, about officials or about members of the Press—these two facts stand out; first, that the Prime Minister should withdraw the accusations which he made against all of those concerned and, secondly, that he should express regret for having made them. He should do that whether he made those charges deliberately, which I am prepared to believe was not the case, or inadvertently, because of information which he was given and which was not full enough or because he was ill-advised. Whatever the reason for his making those statements, they have been proved to be wrong. They are damaging to individuals and to a national paper. I therefore urge the right hon. Gentleman to take what is, I believe, the only honourable course open to him and to withdraw those statements.
The Prime Minister knows full well that the House of Commons is generous, whatever may have happened before—[Interruption.]—when a withdrawal is made. But if he is not prepared to withdraw his statements, then the House can only conclude that it is in keeping with the character of the right hon. Gentleman, as he has displayed it on so many former occasions.
Many of us in the House are well aware of the charges he levelled which led to the Bank Rate Tribunal. They were all found to have been completely unjustified, whether against the Chancellor of the Exchequer inside the House or against Mr. Poole, as he then was, outside the House. But the Prime Minister completely refused to make any expression of regret.
We remember his accusation against Mr. Macmillan and the Rambouillet Conference during the General Election. [Interruption.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite must accept that the right hon. Gentle- 2074 man was proved wrong, although he refused to withdraw. We also remember the Hardy Spicer case. He was found wrong, but he refused to withdraw; that is, until a writ was brought against him, and then he had to withdraw in a civil court. What a melancholy reflection on a Prime Minister—that an individual, even when backed by an independent tribunal, can get justice only if he takes out a writ in the civil court.
The Prime Minister still has time tonight, when he replies, to accept the verdict of this tribunal. He should accept it and do justice to those whom he has so wrongly attacked. He should withdraw his statements and express regret. The House expects him to do so.
§ 9.20 p.m.
§ The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Wilson)
The early part of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, the first few minutes, were appropriately serious. They were appropriate to a debate based on national security. I do not propose to follow him in the tone he adopted in the last part of his speech. My right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) said that he thought that the right hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Barber) was more concerned with castigating me than with national security, and I think that this is equally true of his right hon Friend the Leader of the Opposition.
But I recognise the difficulties of the Leader of the Opposition. This has been a much-heralded debate. There was a tremendous build-up for it, and he had a lot to live up to.—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. We have heard one of the protagonists in comparative silence. I must insist on the same comparative silence.
§ The Prime Minister
Over a large number of recent political speeches I have not even bothered to mention the right hon. Gentleman. He should realise that at the end of the day, despite his obsession about me—every speech he ever makes in the House or outside is devoted not to policy, but to me—I am very flattered, but he should realise that all this is a poor substitute for his sometimes talking about policy.
2075 I want to refer to one or two aspects of the right hon. Gentleman's speech to-right. He quoted a letter to the Daily Express from a civil servant which, he said was marked "Secret and Personal". He wanted to know why questions in that letter were being asked. It was because it was necessary to inquire into one important conflict of evidence, namely, how a date on a receipt had been altered. This was made clear to the Committee and it was right to know who altered the date on the receipt. We know that the right hon. Gentleman has been in touch with the Daily Express on this question. We also know—and I shall come to this later—that the letter improperly came into the hands of someone who should not have had it. I am not complaining about the right hon. Gentleman.
The right hon. Gentleman accused me of making the statement I made in February because of the political embarrassment of the article. A few moments later he said that he was sure that I did not do it deliberately, and that it was done inadvertently. He had better decide which leg he is standing on. The first argument was that I did it because it was a politically embarrassing article accusing the Government of acting in a secret matter without authority.
I told the House at the time that the method referred to in the article had been unchanged for 40 years. It had been carried out by the right hon. Gentleman when he was at the Foreign Office, and the Radcliffe Committee has endorsed that fact. How, then, could it be politically embarrassing to me and not to him that the article should be produced? Or is the right hon. Gentleman arguing that it is all right to print this against a Labour Government, but not against a Conservative Government?
The right hon. Gentleman took us through the whole gamut of building licensing and Aberfan, where my right hon. Friend's speech was endorsed the following week by the judge presiding over the inquiry. The right hon. Gentleman's general argument at the end of the day was that the whole reason for all these things was that I have a bias against the Press, and that that was the motive. I will just say this to the right hon. 2076 Gentleman: this Government have not sent journalists to goal. [Interruption.]
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I said that one of the protagonists was heard in comparative silence. That goes for both sides of the House.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. Mr. Speaker needs no help from anybody. [Interruption.] Order. I am concerned with the conduct of the House. The hon. Member for Honiton must keep his seat.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I must warn the hon. Member for Honiton that if he does not keep his seat I must ask him to leave the Chamber. [Interruption.]
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. [Interruption.] Parliament is hurting itself at the moment. Sir John Eden, on a point of order.
§ Sir J. Eden
I understand that my hon. Friend the Member for Honiton (Mr. Emery) was trying to raise a point of order, Mr. Speaker. He may have begun his point of order in the wrong way. But might it not be easier and quicker for his point of order to be taken, and then we can proceed?
§ Mr. Speaker
No. The hon. Member for Honiton said that he was not sure what the Prime Minister had said. That is not a point of order.
§ Mr. Emery
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I apologise to you if I did not finish my sentence. But the Prime Minister said to the House that the Government had not sent newspaper men to prison. Is it in order for any Government to suggest that another Government were responsible for sending persons to prison? [Interruption.]
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I thought that the House had one quality, and that is fairness. We have heard one of the protagonists. I think that we ought to hear the other one.
§ The Prime Minister
Whether the hon. Member for Honiton (Mr. Emery) could hear me, I do not know, but it is clear that some hon. Gentlemen are resolved to ensure that I do not get heard tonight. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Indeed, we have lost 10 minutes with those points of order.
Now I should like to come to some of the central issues in the debate. Some hon. Gentlemen—the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, for example—think that the central issue is the Government's inability to accept all the conclusions of the Radcliffe inquiry, and that the inquiry having been set up, and the House having been asked to rely on the judgment of the inquiry and to apply it. There are three central issues which the right hon. Gentleman outlined. I will deal with these later in my speech.
For others, this is not the central issue. Some hon. Members feel that the central issue is the system itself. For example, one leading Conservative newspaper, on 24th February, when this matter blew up, concluded that the central issue was this: 2078Are these weapons to be used to stifle public information for discussion on such matters as the privacy of communications?I will deal with this, as well. But the real issue, as the right hon. Gentleman began by saying, is the security of the State in a free and democratic society. By a free and democratic society I mean one enjoying the benefits of a free Press and all that that means in safeguarding democracy itself.
From the outset of this affair, security and the reconciliation of security arrangements with the requirements of a free Press have been my overriding concern, as they must be the overriding concern of anyone who holds my office. The Radcliffe Committee was asked to investigate an incident which was the focal point of an obscure tangle of events and misunderstandings, and to make recommendations on the D Notice system in the light of that incident.
The Committee's Report dealt with the events of what happened between 16th February and 22nd February and I do not intend, in the time available, to go once more over the details of the incident or the lessons to be drawn from it, because this was done by my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General, by the Leader of the Opposition and the right hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale, and, in lighter style, by my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington.
What I have to stress is that the over-riding concern of the Government is for security which I considered, rightly or wrongly—the House can argue about it—to have been endangered by the decision of the Daily Express on 20th February to publish this article. It is my duty to say that I believe that the concern I then expressed, a genuine concern, has been confirmed and that national security has been prejudiced by this incident.
It is my duty also to say that, if the Government had, on publication of the Report, done what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Altrincham and Sale quite rightly said could have been done easily, simply and popularly—accepted the conclusions of the Committee and all that those conclusions would have implied for the future of security—it is my view that the Government would have failed in their first duty. This is why we did not do what the right hon. 2079 Gentleman quite fairly recognised as the easy way out.
I want to be more specific about the question of what security means. To some hon. Members and some journalists, and many of the general public, the word "security" occasionally carries with it overtones of a rather sinister kind, including snooping and intrusion into personal privacy—[HON. MEMBERS: "Wiggery."]—including the tapping of hon. Members telephones, which used to happen—which are inherently incompatible with the functioning of a free society.
Too often, the word "security" is taken in its purely negative meaning, in the sense that it is essentially protective even though it has vital importance in that sense. It exists to protect the secrets of the State and to identify and circumvent those who seek to obtain these secrets for the use of powers inimical or potentially inimical to us. It was not with that aspect—the protective—that this incident was concerned. Hence some of the difficulties. The Report itself refers not only to the "interests of security" but also to… certain wider intelligence purposes which concern this country's international relations.It has never been the practice for any of my predecessors to expand on this question whenever the matter has come before the House, and I shall not do so, but those right hon. Gentlemen who have carried responsibility in this field—for example, those involved at a time when an essential secret activity was exploded into public view, as in the case of Blake or Philby—will confirm my statement that this very different aspect of security—not the negative one—is of vital concern to the State and, in a very real sense, as past events have shown, can affect the safety of men's lives.
Reference has been made in the debate to my having given what the right hon. Gentleman called "guidance" to the Press—we might have to look that one up later—about the question of men's lives being involved. It has been said—not by the right hon. Gentleman—that I have used words to suggest that the Daily Express article itself has prejudiced men's lives.
I have not said that this particular article has endangered men's lives. I 2080 will come to the point in a moment whether it has, but what I must tell the House is that men's lives are at risk whenever the security of this very different kind of operation is endangered. Hon. Gentlemen opposite, if they were not sitting where they are, and if this were not the night that it is, would take any matter affecting security intelligence much more seriously than they have done so far.
It is because of the situation revealed by the Radcliffe Report and because acceptance of all the conclusions in the Radcliffe Report unamended would lead to a progressive erosion of the security surrounding these activities that we did not take the easy line of accepting the Report. We have taken the harder line which, as we have seen, is open to serious and hostile imputations. It is for these reasons that we published the White Paper, and I will come to this later.
The fact that this type of secret activity highlighted by the Daily Express story, and subsequently, is in this special field of intelligence, is one of the reasons why so many of the misunderstandings during this incident and so many of the mistakes on both sides and so much of the confusion on both sides has occurred.
The D Notice system has been accepted and has worked very well over the years on the basis of mutual trust and confidence. The right hon. Gentleman mentioned one case where it went wrong and that was in the intelligence field, too, as he knows. However, this has worked well because, in the main, it has been relevant to more or less technical issues in the field of defence and defence production—the publication of photographs of new aircraft or equipment, performance details and designs and all the rest. On occasions—and this has been more difficult—it has had to deal with issues in the field of the security services as normally understood—not intelligence.
Many of the difficulties we have had to face in the incident which we are debating today arise from the fact that a different activity, a different Government Department, in fact, a highly specialised branch of the Foreign Office, as the right hon. Gentleman knows from his own experience as well as from what he has recently read, was involved. Because of this, very different considerations 2081 applied from the normal working of the D Notice Committee.
It is crystal clear from the evidence that the problem raised was an issue of such different dimensions, and because it was intelligence this was not clearly comprehended by Press witnesses before the Committee. It is perhaps no accident—I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for reminding me—that the two cases where there have been difficulties were both intelligence cases and not security or technical weapon design cases. For the same reason, because a highly sensitive area of intelligence was involved, this created another difficulty.
Even if the official in question, the Secretary of the Committee, had been fully apprised of every detail—which, in his case, would not have been possible—it would have been much harder, even if he knew all the background, to explain to any journalist, with a story of this kind, why the D Notice applied and give him chapter and verse to prove that it did apply. This was the unique difficulty in this case.
I come now to the reference to men's lives. I have not said that men's lives—
§ The Prime Minister
I will explain why in a moment, but the right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser), who has had the duty of being Secretary of State for Air, should understand why.
I have not said that men's lives have been endangered by this particular publication, or the events which followed it, but, equally, I cannot say that they are not being endangered. [Laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen who can laugh at that are not fit to attend this debate. The tragedy is that they may have been endangered, or may in the future be endangered. We shall never know.
I have to tell the House, in the light of the advice that we have received from those whose duty it is to give this advice—those in day-to-day control of these activities—that the effect on national security of this publication has been to cause damage—and those concerned regard this damage as potentially grave— 2082 the consequences of which cannot now be fully assessed. This problem was not available to the Radcliffe Committee. I am telling the House the effect of blind acceptance of the Radcliffe Report. I am passing on to the House what has been given to me in good faith and I pass it on in good faith. If the House does not accept it, it shows that it is more concerned with political animus than this important question.
I must tell the House that—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why did not the Radcliffe Committee say all this?"]—Because the Radcliffe Committee functioned entirely within its terms of reference. I must tell the House that, having regard to my over-riding responsibility in this matter, I felt, and the Government felt, that we could not, without grave danger to security, accept the situation as revealed by the Radcliffe Committee in its interpretation of D Notices and the way in which the D Notice system worked, because in our view this would have meant the destruction of the essential protection of security of these activities, and I shall now say why.
After a very fair balancing of the considerations about the application of D Notices, after having said that, prima facie, D Notices would seem to apply, having said, quite rightly, that they could not be given a strictly judicial interpretation, the Radcliffe Committee said thatit is necessary to approach this question with regard for the views of those concerned with the actual working of the system as to what the disputed notices permitted and what they forbade.In other words, it was saying that, very largely, in practice the interpretation to be put upon D Notices, unavoidably imprecise and unavoidably difficult to interpret as they are, is the interpretation which the Press itself, very largely the Press, which has to work with the system, puts upon it.
Paragraph 52, which the right hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale read this afternoon, records the evidence of a number of Press witnesses, most of whom—the right hon. Gentleman gave the whole list and I will not repeat it—but not, as he said, the editor and the defence correspondent of the Daily Mail, asserted this limited point of view on interpretation, although I have to tell the House 2083 that it is a somewhat hazardous interpretation for those responsible for security.
The Report went on to say:The impression that we have formed is that the notice has by now come to be interpreted in this limited sense.That is the normal sense put upon it, mainly by the Press. It added:Indeed, we were left by our witnesses in very considerable uncertainty whether, according to this interpretation, there is any such thing to-day as a secret intelligence method.No responsible Government of whatever political colour could accept this situation.
What it means, in effect, is that if a journalist has a good story—and I do not use the phrase in a cynical sense, for it might mean a story which he believed to be clearly in the public interest to print, having regard to the freedom of the individual—he and his editor would regard themselves as completely free to publish it, unless the authorities concerned, in this case the Secretary of the Services, Press and Broadcasting Committee, were able to satisfy that editor and journalist with precise and detailed arguments as to why the Notice should apply.
This means that not only must the Secretary himself be fully appraised of the working of the secret activity in question, fully briefed on it and security cleared for this purpose, so that he is aware of the point of applicability of the D Notice to a particular story, but he would have to be specific and precise in explaining to the editor or journalist exactly why the detailed working of this activity brought the article within the scope of the D Notice.
In this particular case, for very good reasons the Secretary of the Committee himself was not, and could not be, apprised of all the facts and even if, in this case, the Secretary could have been told, it would have meant his going through not only the machinery of normal positive vetting, but also through the much more advanced security measures appropriate to this activity before he could be told. Even if he had all this information, it would make a farce of our security system if, in each contested case, he had to tell the editor or journalist in 2084 question what was involved with enough precision to prove to their satisfaction that the D Notice applied.
Colonel Lohan himself in his evidence to the Committee said:… I would certainly not have recommended telling Chapman Pincher or his editor the truth, because, if one had told them the truth about this operation, in three months' time as sure as I am here they would have it out in one way or the other, or they would use it in the funny way they have of going to somebody and saying 'I know that', and somebody inadvertently playing it back to them and giving them the story.That is why, after deep consideration, the Government felt that they could not accept the Radcliffe Committee's conclusion on the applicability of the D Notice, because to do this would virtually lead to the position of security danger being assessed by the Press, which would be difficult for any Government to accept, or it would have meant specific and precise proving to the Press in each case why a D Notice applied.
The right hon. Gentleman has said that I misled the House on 21st February in saying that the D Notice applied. I take full responsibility for what I said then. I said it on the basis of all the advice available to me, particularly from those advisers concerned with the working of the activities in question. If I now thought that I was wrongly advised, I would say so. It would be a very easy thing to say in this House, to put the blame on those who advised me.
But if I were to do this, I should be gravely misleading the House, because I would be saying something to the House which is manifestly not true, namely, that I now accept that the D Notice did not apply. But it is still my view, and the view of those whose duty it is to advise me, including the Law Officers, that the D Notice did and does apply.
On the other allegation, and this is very much more arguable, namely, my assertion that the Daily Express had been told and knew that the D Notice applied, I accept the record of events in the Report. Hon. Members will have formed their own view of what happened from reading the evidence. I accept the record of events in the Report and I accept the conclusion of the Report on this question as to whether the Daily Express really did fully know that the D Notice applied.
2085 The Government's White Paper sets out some of the salient things which went wrong, not in any sense attempting to contradict the findings of the Report, but more as a guide to the improvements that will be needed on the Government side in operating the system. In view of everything known to me on 21st February—and here I say that I now know a good deal that I did not know then, including what the Secretary of the Services, Press and Broadcasting Committee had reported, including what I knew of the Foreign Secretary's conversation with Sir Max Aitken and all the information I then had—I felt justified in saying what I did, namely, that the Daily Express did know that the D Notice applied.
Now, having read the Reports, having read the evidence of this tangled story, the evidence and the conflicting evidence on many points of substance of the two principals in the drama; having regard also to the failure—and having allowed for that—of the Secretary of the Committee to report to a higher authority early enough in the day for action to be taken; having regard to the doubts about the report back made by the journalist in question to his editor; having regard, above all, to the broken pledge by that journalist that he would report back to the Secretary of the Committee in adequate time if the Daily Express decided to print—and all this meant that it was not possible to make contact with the editor at a high enough Government level until it was too late and the presses had started rolling—I feel it right to accept the view of the Committee on the question whether the Daily Express knew about the applicability of the D Notice in time to affect its decision, or at any rate whether the editor of the Daily Express knew.
That the editor did not apparently know is due to two facts. First, as I have said, the Secretary of the D Notice Committee did not act in time. Secondly, it is also due to the behaviour of the journalist in question, on the lines which have been referred to in the Report. It goes further than this. Having accepted the Report on this point, we have to inquire into the implications. One of Mr. Marks's brother editors, Mr. Lee Howard, as has been said, a member of the D 2086 Notice Committee, and editor of the Daily Mail, said:I would most probably have talked to Colonel Lohan myself in those circumstances and found out what he had said".Because it is clear that Mr. Marks had not had the D Notice issue so forcibly impressed upon him by his own staff.
We have proof of this, because after a telephone call to the Garrick, when Sir Max Aitken questioned Mr. Marks about the D Notice, Mr. Marks failed to connect this question with Colonel Lohan's representations to Mr. Chapman Pincher about the cable vetting story. This was a point on which the Radcliffe Report expressed some incredulity. It seems rather surprising but it does lend some support to the view, and this is why I accept the Report that Mr. Marks did not really take on board that it was considered that the D Notice applied.
If he did not, the responsibility was partly on the official side, and partly on the side of Mr. Chapman Pincher for not telling him. It is also a very interesting fact that different decisions were taken by the editors of the Daily Express and the Daily Mail. This might be considered relevant, and I will deal with this in a moment.
On the third of the three points, the one about the article being sensationalised and inaccurate—they are my words—I still believe that it was inaccurate for the reasons stated by my right hon. and learned Friend this afternoon. That is not the main point. The Report says that the factual statements are not in themselves inaccurate, but I submit to the House, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington submitted this evening, that the impression of the article as a whole, and more particularly of the article which followed the next day, was to create a totally false impression that a new system was in operation. This fact, which I denied at the time, was categorically rejected by the Radcliffe Committee. What the Committee said was:No new practice has been introduced in recent years which departs from the practices previously observed.The Report goes on to develop this point in the rest of the paragraph; I will not weary the House with it.
2087 The terms of reference on the question of accuracy of articles did not extend to the second article in the Daily Express on 2nd February when the journalist, Mr. Chapman Pincher, wrote this:My enquiries show that though sporadic checks of cables have always been permissible under the Official Secrets Act the routine vetting of all cables is more recent.This is manifestly inaccurate, as the Report makes clear. It remains the view of the Government that, in both presentation and intent, both articles give a totally misleading and sensational account of the facts and their motive was set out clearly in the first article which referred tothis Big Brother intrusion into privacy, which ranks with telephone tapping and the opening of letters".This was a political article, and since that was its motive the House might well conclude that had the Daily Express got an exactly parallel story under a Conservative Government—as it could have done—quite easily, because precisely the same activities were going on then—this article, with all the damage which has ensued for our national security, would never have been printed.
I have told the House that I accept full responsibility for all the shortcomings which arose in this incident from the Government side. These are set out in the White Paper and will be put right. But after all that has been said about the errors on the official side, arising, in the main, from the fact that this incident was uniquely different from those usually handled by the D Notice machine, one significant unexplained fact remains. This is a question where the Daily Mail, which had the story first, was prevailed upon by a single appeal, virtually unsupported by argument, not to run the story, while the Daily Express ran it. The answer, I think, lies partly in the nature of the different approach. This is an important point which hon. Members will want to consider.
The appeal made to the Daily Mail, not over a lunch table, but in the managing editor's room formally and with authority—and there was a suggestion of this in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman—would have been accepted by every responsible editor in Fleet Street. I believe that if it had been made in a similar way and in similar terms with 2088 authority to the editor of the Daily Express, he would similarly have complied with it.
Why did the Daily Express print and the Daily Mail not?
§ Sir Lionel Heald (Chertsey) rose—
§ The Prime Minister
I have very little time. I want the House to hear this.
The House may well think that the answer lies—and this has been referred to tonight and in the evidence—in the long, close and continuing relationship between the journalist in question and the Secretary of the Committee—one of my very great personal friends",said the one—an old and trusted friend",said the other. This is the reason for the difference in setting, the difference in tone, the difference in authority. This is shown by the extraordinary incident at the end of that two-hour lunch.We parted"—said Colonel Lohan—in an extremely good mood. He said"—that is, Mr. Chapman Pincher—he would represent to his editor quite fairly what I had said. He made a joke as we left, saying, 'You know jolly well if you were the editor you would publish, wouldn't you?' I made no comment, except to laugh. We took a taxi together"—
§ The Prime Minister
I want the House to hear this. I still have some questions to answer which must be answered tonight.
He said:We took a taxi together and I went on to the Daily Mail.When he got to the Daily Mail, however—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. If the Prime Minister does not give way, the right hon. and learned Gentleman must sit down.
§ The Prime Minister
I have to reply to an important point which was raised 2089 by the right hon. Member for Ashford. I know that the right hon. and learned Member for Chertsey (Sir L. Heald) wants to raise a point about the special operation applying. The answer is that if that same appeal had been made to the Daily Express as to the Daily Mail, it would not have been printed. In this case it was not. I am trying to examine it.
Apart from the fact that Mr. Chapman Pincher's determination to have his story printed was so clear, despite the fact that the Secretary did not report to his superiors in time for a high-level approach, the whole tone of the exchange shows that Mr. Chapman Pincher did not take Colonel Lohan as seriously as did the Daily Mail and as seriously as the facts warranted. This may be the key to the situation.
My hon. Friend the Member for Ilkeston (Mr. Raymond Fletcher) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Easing-ton have referred to the long-standing association between Colonel Lohan and Mr. Chapman Pincher. I will not comment on what they have said. I would have been loath also to report to the House, until I had been challenged to do this, on the security status of an individual civil servant—because Colonel Lohan is a civil servant. He will not be much longer, because he is resigning, but he is a civil servant.
The right hon. Member for Ashford quoted again a confidential letter which was exchanged between two high civil servants on this question. [Interruption.] It was so reported to me. I will certainly apologise to the right hon. Gentleman if I find that that was not so.
§ The Prime Minister
I certainly withdraw if the right hon. Gentleman did not quote it. I was not present at the time. I was informed that he produced it and paraphrased it. At least, I think that the right hon. Gentleman has a copy—has he?
§ Mr. Deedes indicated dissent.
§ The Prime Minister
I thought that the right hon. Gentleman told the House that he paraphrased it.
I recognise the right hon. Gentleman's deep concern about his constituent. I know that he was interesting himself in these matters two weeks ago, and I know that information about some of these internal Civil Service matters appeared in the Press at the time. [Interruption.] Colonel Lohan himself, a fortnight ago, was making full statements to the Press.
§ The Prime Minister
I am answering the right hon. Member for Ashford.
The question of the relationship between Colonel Lohan and Mr. Chapman Pincher was a matter of concern in the lifetime of the previous Government. Early in 1964, preliminary consideration was given to the suitability of the Secretary for the post he held. That led to a decision, in the autumn of 1964, to make specific inquiries, one of a number of questions for examination being over-close association with journalists and especially with Mr. Chapman Pincher.
Finally, I was asked—and I will answer it—whether Colonel Lohan had been given full positive vetting clearance. The answer is that he has not. Had there been more time, I would like to have followed the point concerning the future of D Notices, because, as the House knows, I am discussing this with the editors and I will report to the House when those discussions are completed.
§ Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 326, Noes 237.2095
|Division No. 384.]||AYES||[10.0 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Archer, Peter||Bagier, Gordon A. T.|
|Albu, Austen||Armstrong, Ernest||Barnes, Michael|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Ashley, Jack||Barnett, Joel|
|Alldritt, Walter||Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||Baxter, William|
|Allen, Scholefield||Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Beaney, Alan|
|Anderson, Donald||Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice||Bellenger, Rt. Hn. F. J.|
|Bence, Cyril||Garrett, W. E.||Mackie, John|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Ginsburg, David||Mackintosh, John P.|
|Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton)||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||Maclennan, Robert|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Gourlay, Harry||MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)|
|Binns, John||Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)|
|Bishop, E. S.||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony||McNamara, J. Kevin|
|Blackburn, F.||Gregory, Arnold||MacPherson, Malcolm|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)|
|Booth, Albert||Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Lianelly)||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)|
|Boston, Terence||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigs)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Mallalieu,J.P.W.(Huddersfield, E.)|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. Herbert||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Manuel, Archie|
|Boyden, James||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Mapp, Charles|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Hamling, William||Marquand, David|
|Bradley, Tom||Hannan, William||Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Brooks, Edwin||Harper, Joseph||Mason, Roy|
|Brown, Bob(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W)||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Maxwell, Robert|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Hart, Mrs. Judith||Mayhew, Christopher|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Haseldine, Norman||Mellish, Robert|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Hattersley, Roy||Mendelson, J. J.|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hazell, Bert||Mikardo, Ian|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||Millan, Bruce|
|Cant, R. B.||Heffer, Eric S.||Miller, Dr. M. S.|
|Carmichael, Neil||Henig, Stanley||Milne, Edward (Blyth)|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||H[...]on, W. S.||Molloy, William|
|Chapman, Donald||Hobden, Dennis (Brighton, K'town)||Moonman, Eric|
|Coe, Denis||Hooley, Frank||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)|
|Coleman, Donald||Homer, John||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|concannon, J. D.||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Conlan, Bernard||Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)||Morris, John (Aberavon)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)||Movie, Roland|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Hoy, James||Murray, Albert|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Huckfield, L.||Neal, Harold|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Newens, Stan|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Hughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.)||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)|
|Dalyell, Tarn||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)|
|Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Norwood, Christopher|
|Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Hunter, Adam||Oakes, Gordon|
|Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)||Hynd, John||Ogden, Eric|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Irvine, A, J. (Edge Hill)||O'Malley, Brian|
|Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)||Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak)||Oram, Albert E.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Janner, Sir Barnett||Orbach, Maurice|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Orme, Stanley|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Jeger, Mrs. Lena (H'b'n&St.P'cras,S.)||Oswald, Thomas|
|Delargy, Hugh||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)|
|Dell, Edmund||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Owen, Will (Morpeth)|
|Dempsey, James||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Padley, Walter|
|Dewar, Donald||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Paget, R. T.|
|Diamond, Rt. Hn. John||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Palmer, Arthur|
|Dickens, James||Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles|
|Dobson, Ray||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Park, Trevor|
|Donnelly, Desmond||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)||Parker, John (Dagenham)|
|Driberg, Tom||Judd, Frank||Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)|
|Dunn, James A.||Kelley, Richard||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Dunnett, Jack||Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Kerr, Dr. David (W 'worth, Central)||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)||Kerr, Russell (Feltham)||Pentland, Norman|
|Eadie, Alex||Lawson, George||Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)|
|Edelman, Maurice||Leadbitter, Ted||Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hn. Ness (Caerphilly)||Ledger, Ron||Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)||Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)|
|Ellis, John||Lee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock)||Price, William (Rugby)|
|English, Michael||Lee, John (Reading)||Probert, Arthur|
|Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Ennals, David||Lestor, Miss Joan||Rankin, John|
|Ensor, David||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Rees, Merlyn|
|Evans, Albert (Islington. S.W.)||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Faulds, Andrew||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Richard, Ivor|
|Fernyhough, E.||Lipton, Marcus||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Finch, Harold||Lomas, Kenneth||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Loughlin, Charles||Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)|
|Foley, Maurice||Luard, Evan||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Foot, Sir Dingle (Ipswich)||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Robinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow. E.)|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Roebuck, Roy|
|Ford, Ben||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Forrester, John||McBride, Neil||Rose, Paul|
|Fowler, Gerry||MacColl, James||Ross, Rt. Hn. William|
|Fraser, John (Norwood)||MacDermot, Niall||Rowland, Christopher (Meriden)|
|Fraser, Rt. Hn. Tom (Hamilton)||Macdonald, A. H.||Rowlands, E. (Cardiff, N.)|
|Freeson, Reginald||McGuire, Michael||Ryan, John|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||McKay, Mrs. Margaret||Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)|
|Gardner, Tony||Mackenzie. Gregor (Rutherglen)||Sheldon, Robert|
|Shore, Peter (Stepney)||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)||Thomson, Rt. Hn. George||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Short, Mrs. Renee(W'hampton, N. E.)||Thornton, Ernest||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)|
|Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)||Tinn, James||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)|
|Silverman, Julius (Aston)||Tomney, Frank||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Tuck, Raphael||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Skeffington, Arthur||Urwin, T. W.||Willis, George (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Slater, Joseph||Varley, Eric G.||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Small, William||Wainwright Edwin (Dearne Valley)||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Snow, Julian||Walden, Brian (AH Saints)||Winnick, David|
|Spriggs, Leslie||walker, Harold (Doncaster)||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Wallace, George||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael||Watkins, David (Consett)||Woof, Robert|
|Storehouse, John||Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.||Weitzman, David||Yates, Victor|
|Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley||Wellbeloved, James|
|Swain, Thomas||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Swingler, Stephen||Whitaker, Ben||Mr. Charles Grey and|
|Symonds, J. B.||White, Mrs. Eirene||Mr. William Howie.|
|Taverne, Dick||Wigg, Rt. Hn. George|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Drayson, G. B.||Kaberry, Sir Donald|
|Astor, John||du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Kerby, Capt. Henry|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Eden, Sir John||Kershaw, Anthony|
|Awdry, Daniel||Emery, Peter||Kimball, Marcus|
|Baker, W. H. K.||Evans, Gwynfor (C'marthen)||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)|
|Balniel, Lord||Eyre, Reginald||Kitson, Timothy|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Farr, John||Knight, Mrs. Jill|
|Batsford, Brian||Fisher, Nigel||Lambton, Viscount|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Bell, Ronald||Forrest, George||Langford-Holt, Sir John|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Fortescue, Tim||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Cos. & Fhm)||Foster, Sir John||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone)||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)|
|Bessell, Peter||Galbraith, Hon. T. G.||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)|
|Biffen, John||Gibson-Watt, David||Longden, Gilbert|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Giles, Rear-Adm. Morgan||Loveys, W. H.|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Glover, Sir Douglas||Lubbock, Eric|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Glyn. Sir Richard||MacArthur, Ian|
|Body, Richard||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Goodhart, Philip||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Goodhew, Victor||McMaster, Stanley|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Cower, Raymond||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)|
|Braine, Bernard||Grant, Anthony||Maddan, Martin|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Grant-Ferris, R.||Maginnis, John E.|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Gresham Cooke, R.||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Grieve, Percy||Marten, Neil|
|Bryan, Paul||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Maude, Angus|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M)||Gurden, Harold||Mawby, Ray|
|Buck, Antony (Colchester)||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Hamilton, Marquess of (Fermanagh)||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.|
|Burden, F. A.||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Mills, Peter (Torrington)|
|Campbell, Gordon||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)|
|Carlisle, Mark||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere||Monro, Hector|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Hastings, Stephen||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)|
|Clark, Henry||Hawkins, Paul||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)|
|Clegg, walter||Hay, John||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Cooke, Robert||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Murton, Oscar|
|Cordle, John||Heseltine, Michael||Nabarro, Sir Gerald|
|Corfield, F. V.||Higgins, Terence L.||Neave, Airey|
|Costain, A. P.||Hilar, Joseph||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hirst, Geoffrey||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|Crawley, Aidan||Hobson, Rt. Hn. Sir John||Nott, John|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Sir Oliver||Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin||Onslow, Cranley|
|Crouch, David||Holland, Philip||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Crowder, F. P.||Hooson, Emlyn||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian|
|Cunningham, Sir Knox||Hornby, Richard||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Howell, David (Guildford)||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Hunt, John||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Dance, James||Iremonger, T. L.||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.)||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Peel, John|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford)||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Percival, Ian|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Peyton, John|
|Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Doughty, Charles||Jopling, Michael||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||Sinclair, Sir George||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Price, David (Eastleigh)||Smith, John||Wall, Patrick|
|Prior, J. M. L.||Stainton, Keith||Walters, Dennis|
|Pym, Francis||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. (Ripon)||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Quennell, Miss J. M.||Summers, Sir Spencer||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter||Tapsell, Peter||Webster, David|
|Rees-Davies, W. R.||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David||Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow,Cathcart)||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Ridley, Hn. Nicholas||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Ridsdale, Julian||Teeling, Sir William||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey||Temple, John M.||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Robson Brown, Sir William||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)||Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)||Tilney, John||Worsley, Marcus|
|Russell, Sir Ronald||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.||Wright, Esmond|
|St. John-Stevas, Norman||van Straubenzee, W. R.||Wylie, N. R.|
|Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John||Younger, Hn. George|
|Scott, Nicholas||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|Sharples, Richard||Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Shaw. Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)||Walker, Peter (Worcester)||Mr. R. W. Elliott and|
|Mr. Jasper More.|
§ Main Question put:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 321, Noes 236.2099
|Division No. 385.]||AYES||[10.15 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Dalyell, Tarn||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)|
|Albu, Austen||Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)|
|Alldritt, Walter||Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)||Hamilton, William (File, W.)|
|Allen, Scholefield||Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Hamling, William|
|Anderson, Donald||Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)||Hannan, William|
|Archer, Peter||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Harper, Joseph|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Davies, Ifor (Cower)||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)|
|Ashley, Jack||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Hart, Mrs. Judith|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||Delargy, Hugh||Haseldine, Norman|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Dell, Edmund||Hattersley, Roy|
|Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice||Dempsey, James||Hazell, Bert|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Dewar, Donald||Healey, Rt. Hn. Dents|
|Barnes, Michael||Diamond, Rt. Hn. John||Heffer, Eric S.|
|Barnett, Joel||Dickens, James||Henig, Stanley|
|Baxter, William||Dobson, Ray||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret|
|Beaney, Alan||Donnelly, Desmond||Hilton, W. S.|
|Bence, Cyril||Driberg, Tom||Hobden, Dennis (Brighton, K'town)|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Dunn, James A.||Hooley, Frank|
|Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton)||Dunnett, Jack||Horner, John|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas|
|Binns, John||Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)||Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)|
|Bishop, E. S.||Eadie, Alex||Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)|
|Blackburn, F.||Edwards, Rt. Hn. Ness (Caerphilly)||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Hoy, James|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Ellis, John||Huckfield, L.|
|Booth, Albert||English, Michael||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)|
|Boston, Terence||Ennals, David||Hughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Ensor, David||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. Herbert||Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.)||Hughes, Roy (Newport)|
|Boyden, James||Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||Hunter, Adam|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Faulds, Andrew||Hynd, John|
|Bradley, Tom||Fernyhough, E.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)|
|Brooks, Edwin||Finch, Harold||Janner, Sir Barnett|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas|
|Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W)||Foley, Maurice||Jeger, Mrs. Lena (H'b'n&St.P'cras,S.)|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Foot, Sir Dingle (Ipswich)||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Ford, Ben||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Forrester, John||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)|
|Cant, R. B.||Fowler, Gerry||Jones, Dan (Burnley)|
|Carmichael, Nell||Fraser, John (Norwood)||Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Fraser, Rt. Hn. Tom (Hamilton)||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Freeson, Reginald||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)|
|Chapman, Donald||Galpern, Sir Myer||Judd, Frank|
|Coe, Denis||Gardner, Tony||Kelley, Richard|
|Coleman, Donald||Garrett, W, E.||Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)|
|Concannon, J. D.||Ginsburg, David||Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)|
|Conlan, Bernard||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||Kerr, Russell (Feltham)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Gourlay, Harry||Lawson, George|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Ledger, Ron|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Gregory, Arnold||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Lee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock)|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)||Lee, John (Reading)|
|Lestor, Miss Joan||Neal, Harold||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Newens, Stan||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Norwood, Christopher||Slater, Joseph|
|Lipton, Marcus||Oakes, Gordon||Small, William|
|Lomas, Kenneth||Ogden, Eric||Snow, Julian|
|Loughlin, Charles||O'Malley, Brian||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Luard, Evan||Oram, Albert E.||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Orbach, Maurice||Stonehouse, John|
|Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Orme, Stanley||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Oswald, Thomas||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|MacBride, Neil||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)||Swain, Thomas|
|MacColl, James||Owen, Will (Morpeth)||Swingler, Stephen|
|MacDermot, Niall||Padley, Walter||Symonds, J. B.|
|Macdonald, A. H.||Palmer, Arthur||Taverne, Dick|
|McGuire, Michael||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)|
|McKay, Mrs. Margaret||Park, Trevor||Thomson, Rt. Hn. George|
|Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)||Parker, John (Dagenham)||Thornton, Ernest|
|Mackie, John||Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)||Tinn, James|
|Mackintosh, John P.||Pavitt, Laurence||Tuck, Raphael|
|Maclennan, Robert||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||Urwin, T. W.|
|MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred||Varley, Eric G.|
|McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Pentland, Norman||Wainwright Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|McNamara, J. Kevin||Perry, Ernest C. (Battersea, S.)||Walden, Brian (AH Saints)|
|MacPherson, Malcolm||Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)||Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)||Wallace, George|
|Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)||Watkins, David (Consett)|
|Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Price, William (Rugby)||Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Probert, Arthur||Weitzman, David|
|Manuel, Archie||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry||Wellbeloved, James|
|Mapp, Charles||Rankin, John||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Marquand, David||Rees, Merlyn||Whitaker, Ben|
|Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard||Reynolds, G. W.||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Mason, Roy||Rhodes, Geoffrey||Wigg, Rt. Hn. George|
|Maxwell, Robert||Richard, Ivor||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Mayhew, Christopher||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Mellish, Robert||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)|
|Mendelson, J. J.||Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)|
|Mikardo, Ian||Robertson, John (Paisley)||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Millan, Bruce||Robinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow.E.)||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Miller, Dr. M. S.||Roebuck, Roy||Willis, George (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Milne, Edward (Blyth)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)||Rose, Paul||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Molloy, William||Ross, Rt. Hn. William||Winnick, David|
|Moonman, Eric||Rowland, Christopher (Meriden)||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Rowlands, E. (Cardiff, N.)||Woodburn, Rt. Hn, A.|
|Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Ryan, John||Woof, Robert|
|Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Morris, John (Aberavon)||Sheldon, Robert||Yates, Victor|
|Moyle, Roland||Shore, Peter (Stepney)|
|Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Murray, Albert||Short, Mrs. Renee(W'hampton, N. E.)||Mr. Charles Grey and|
|Mr. William Howie|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Bryan, Paul||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus, N&M)||Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.)|
|Astor, John||Buck, Antony (Colchester)||Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford)|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Bullus, Sir Eric||Digby, Simon Wingfield|
|Awdry, Daniel||Burden, F. A.||Dodds-Parker, Douglas|
|Baker, W. H. K.||Campbell, Gordon||Doughty, Charles|
|Balniel, Lord||Carlisle, Mark||Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Drayson, G. B.|
|Batsford, Brian||Cary, Sir Robert||du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tulton||Channon, H. P. G.||Eden, Sir John|
|Bell, Ronald||Chichester-Clark, R.||Emery, Peter|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Clark, Henry||Evans, Gwynfor (C'marthen)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos. & Fhm)||Clegg, Walter||Eyre, Reginald|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Cooke, Robert||Farr, John|
|Bessell, Peter||Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Fisher, Nigel|
|Biffen, John||Cordle, John||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Corfield. F. V.||Forrest, George|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Costain, A. P.||Fortescue, Tim|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)|
|Body, Richard||Crawley, Aidan||Galbraith, Hon. T. G.|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Sir Oliver||Gibson-Watt, David|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Crouch, David||Giles, Rear-Adm. Morgan|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Crowder, F. P.||Glover, Sir Douglas|
|Braine, Bernard||Cunningham, Sir Knox||Glyn, Sir Richard|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Currie, C. B. H.||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Dalkeith, Earl of||Goodhart, Philip|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Dance, James||Goodhew, Victor|
|Gower, Raymond||Longden, Gilbert||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Grant, Anthony||Loveys, W. H.||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Grant-Ferris, R,||Lubbock, Eric||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey|
|Gresham Cooke, R.||MacArthur, Ian||Robson Brown, Sir William|
|Grieve, Percy||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Gurden, Harold||McMaster, Stanley||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)||St. John-Stevas, Norman|
|Hamilton, Marquess of (Fermanagh)||Maddan, Martin||Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.|
|Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Maginnis, John E.||Scott, Nicholas|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest||Sharples, Richard|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Marten, Neil||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Maude, Angus||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Harvey, Sir Arthur Vera||Mawby, Ray||Smith, John|
|Harvie Anderson, Miss||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||stainton, Keith|
|Hastings, Stephen||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. (Ripon)|
|Hawkins, Paul||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Hay, John||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Tapsell, Peter|
|Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||Miscampbell, Norman||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)|
|Heseltine, Michael||Monro, Hector||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Higgins, Terence L.||Montgomery, Fergus||Teeling, Sir William|
|Hiley, Joseph||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)||Temple, John M.|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Hobson, Rt. Hn. Sir John||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy|
|Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Tilney, John|
|Holland, Philip||Murton, Oscar||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Hooson, Emlyn||Nabarro, Sir Gerald||van Straubenzee, W, R.|
|Hornby, Richard||Neave, Airey||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John|
|Howell, David (Guildford)||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|Hunt, John||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Nott, John||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Onslow, Cranley||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Wall, Patrick|
|Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian||Walters, Dennis|
|Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Osborn, John (Hallam)||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Jopling, Michael||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Webster, David|
|Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Page, John (Harrow, W.)||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Kaberry, Sir Donald||Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Kerby, Capt. Henry||Peel, John||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Kershaw, Anthony||Percival, Ian||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Kimball, Marcus||Peyton, John||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Kitson, Timothy||Pink, R. Bonner||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Knight, Mrs. Jill||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||Worsley, Marcus|
|Lambton, Viscount||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Wright, Esmond|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Prior, J. M. L.||Wylie, N. R.|
|Langford-Holt, Sir John||Pym, Francis||Younger, Hn. George|
|Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Mr. R. W. Elliott and|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David||Mr. Jasper More.|
That this House approves the White Paper on the D Notice System, Command Paper No. 3312, notes the Report of the Committee of Privy Councillors appointed to inquire into D Notice matters and the evidence attached thereto, Command Paper No. 3309, welcomes Her Majesty's Government's acceptance of all
of the recommendations in that Report bearing on the D Notice system, and, conscious of the need to provide adequate protection for the nation's secrets while safeguarding the freedom and independence of the Press, endorses Her Majesty's Government's expressed intention to discuss with the Press measures designed to maintain and strengthen the D Notice system.