HL Deb 25 June 1941 vol 119 cc515-62

VISCOUNT ELIBANK had given Notice that he would draw attention to the doubt felt in many quarters regarding the efficiency of our propaganda; ask His Majesty's Government to reorganise this service upon a basis that will ensure its functioning more effectively in the future; and move for Papers.

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, the Motion which I have on the Order Paper to-day has been down for several weeks—something like five or six weeks. It was to have been debated last week but, at the request of the Government, put in courteous terms by my noble friend Lord Moyne, I deferred that debate until this week, in fact until to-day. I was approached yesterday with a request that I should again defer this debate for an unknown time, and, of course, a request coming from my noble friend naturally required very deep consideration by me. But I felt, for two reasons, that I could not accede to it. First of all, this question is now one which not only concerns your Lordships' House today but which has been talked about and written about and discussed for several weeks in the Press and generally. It seemed to me that the time had come when Parliament, or one part of Parliament, your Lordships' House, should take a hand in the matter and say what so many of us are feeling about it. Secondly, I found on inquiry that the Order Paper for the next sittings—by which time, no doubt, I might have been enabled to move my Motion—was already well filled with other Motions. Consequently with great regret I felt that my only plan was to proceed and to move this Motion to-day.

It is divided under two main heads. First of all, it expresses the doubt which is felt in many quarters regarding the efficiency of our propaganda; and secondly, it asks the Government to reorganise the propaganda service of this country on such a basis as to make it more effective. To deal with the first part of my Motion, regarding what I would call the efficiency of the propaganda service, which, as I have said, has been discussed in many places all over the country, the fact that the Government, as is generally known, are at present engaged in conducting an examination into the whole question, is proof in my opinion, that the doubts expressed in the country have a substantial foundation. It is probably true to say that most of us in the country who criticise and have doubts about the efficiency of our propaganda abroad, know little about the exact form which that propaganda takes. We can only judge by results, and, admittedly, the results have brought no confidence and no contentment to our minds.

What we have observed is that one country in Europe after another has fallen victim first of all to a deadly, concentrated stream of propaganda from Germany, and afterwards to German aggression through a sudden and treacherous attack upon the country itself and upon the lives and liberty of its people. And all the time we are paying heavily in this country to maintain a Ministry of Information with an enormous staff and an enormous expenditure—quite twice as large a staff as that which we discussed over a year ago and therefore, no doubt, twice the expenditure. The only results we are getting is that each country which has been attacked by German propaganda and by aggression has been completely subjugated by the Hun. Our confidence was altogether shattered by the really flagrant case of Iraq. There the German propaganda machine in the Middle East has got the better of us, in our own terrain, our own sphere of authority, and has made it necessary for us to use our Armed Forces, both military and Air Forces, which we badly required elsewhere, causing us to lose valuable time in securing our positions in Syria. If our propaganda machine had been working properly during all this time, that could not have happened in Iraq. I say that after discussing the matter with a number of my friends who are well acquainted with that country.

I should next like to refer briefly to the United States of America. It is notorious that British propaganda in that country has been bad from the very beginning of the war. It has been most ineffective, and I venture to say that Mr. Kennedy indicated this when last year, in a much quoted and very much criticised statement, he said that the Americans did not know "what it was all about." I am told that the British Information Office in America has not received proper direction or information, and has in fact been left in such a slate that it has not been able to use the material which has been supplied to it in the way in which that material should have been used in our favour. I do not propose to say any more about that, because another noble Lord may refer at greater length to the American situation.

I should like, however, to ask the Government what they are doing about Empire propaganda. It may be that in the case of Canada and the other Dominions they are well helped in this respect by the Press representatives attached to the offices of the High Commissioners, but are the Government satisfied that all is being done that ought to be done in this respect? For instance, I am not satisfied from what I have listened to that the B.B.C. does all that it could do in giving to its audiences here daily accounts of the Empire efforts to help in winning the war, or of matters arising here in connection with the Empire. I suggest that this aspect of the B.B.C. service should be carefully investigated to see whether it cannot be improved.

Turning to the propaganda on the Home Front, I noticed that only a few days ago a deputation from the Institute of Journalists represented to the Ministry of Information that preferential treatment was being given to the B.B.C. in the use of public statements and important news. They quoted examples of what they described as deliberate discrimination against newspapers, and they said that they could almost certainly have given Ministerial pronouncements a better "show" if the B.B.C. had not already taken the bloom off them. I hope that these representations will receive very careful consideration from the Ministry of Information, because I venture to suggest that we want a much more practical journalistic touch in connection with the propaganda which is sent out to this country. From all that one can hear, however, the newspapers are apparently treated as though they were inspired by a kind of sinister spirit of betrayal of the country's interests. I have met many newspaper men in many parts of the world as well as in this country, and I have never come across any who came up to the Pressmen in this country for a clean record and for a patriotic outlook.

What chiefly strikes me is that whether our information comes to us over the air or through the Press there seems to be no proper co-ordination of ideas and no central note running through it. Sometimes we seem to be told too much, and sometimes we seem to be told too little. There are occasions when news is withheld until it is stale, or until it has already come to us from enemy sources in mangled form and stated in ways contrary to our interest and difficult to explain away when, too late, our own view is released. Consider for a moment the case of Hess—or, I should prefer to say, the mystery of Hess. Never has such a muddle been made of such a splendid opportunity for propaganda against the enemy. If Hitler had sent Hess over here to cause trouble and to create rifts in our own ranks, he would certainly have succeeded; we have played into his hands. Anyone who has followed what has happened in the House of Commons on this subject will understand and agree with what I say. Hardly anyone here is satisfied with leaving the Hess mess as it is, and it is not yet too late to clear it up. I am certain that if we had a Minister of Information charged with adequate powers this would not have happened; the Hess situation would have been handled quite differently, and to our advantage.

Now let me turn to the machinery of propaganda itself. I should like to give a brief outline of what it consists of, so far as I have been able to ascertain. To begin with, there are the three Fighting Services, who prepare their own information and propaganda and release them as and when they think fit. Then there is the B.B.C., which looks after its own propaganda, except in the case of foreign talks and news contributed by the Ministry of Information. In addition, we have the information and propaganda sent out by the Ministry of Information for distribution abroad. Much of this goes through the Foreign Office to our Ambassadors and Ministers abroad, who have the power to withhold it or to alter the form of it. The British Council also comes into the picture, and there are other forms of liaison which make the machinery even more complicated. In addition to all this, I understand that while the Ministry of Information deals with propaganda to Germans outside Germany, another Department deals with propaganda to Germans inside Germany.

If this is a fair, detailed description of the present complicated machinery for preparing and distributing our propaganda—and I believe it is—then I ask the Government how in the name of all that is practical they can expect to secure effective results out of such a hotch-potch of diversified direction and conflicting views of what constitutes and what does not constitute good propaganda.

It does not seem fair to ask any Minister of Information, whoever he may be, to perform his duties under the existing system and to expect satisfactory results either at home or abroad. Even the Archangel Gabriel could not perform the duties of Minister of Information under these conditions and make a success of them, I am quite aware that the Fighting Services are very reluctant to give up any of their control over what shall issue from their respective Departments, or as to when it shall be issued. They are naturally influenced in their objections by the belief that it would be unwise to give away too much inside information to another Department. If a Minister of Information were appointed with a single control over all propaganda, and responsible to the War Cabinet in all these matters, a way out of this impasse could be found and the difficulty overcome. I see the noble Viscount, Lord Cecil of Chelwood, shaking his head as if he does not agree. I should like to say that where there is a will there is a way, and what many of us feel is that the Government have not the will and therefore we have not found the way.


I am not responsible for the Government.


No, but I am glad to have been able to make that interpellation. I was able to reply to the noble Viscount, and I was able to tell the Government what I thought about that side of it. The Times not long ago had such a concise and lucid summing-up of this point that I am making that, if your Lordships will forgive me, I will read it to you: The case for reform was summed up on this page so long as fifteen months ago. 'It is still the Service Ministries which dictate the conditions under which most of the war news may be released, influenced or uninfluenced, as the case may be, by such representations as the Censor may make to them on behalf of the public. … It is against public policy as well as a contradiction of the spirit of the Constitution that the Service Ministries should be the sole or final judges of what the public interest requires in this or any matter. … There must be a Minister to whom this authority is specifically delegated by the Cabinet. … It is inconceivable that such a Minister, if fit to hold office at all, would seek to override valid, professional objections.' Nothing has been done to eradicate this anomaly, and the muddles and dangers persist. That exactly sums up, in better language than I have been able to find, my feelings on this matter.

Without wishing to cast any reflection upon a Department which, in its own line, is admirably served, I would ask the Government what qualifications has the ordinary Foreign Office official for conducting propaganda? I have personally never come across a single British Ambassador or Minister of Legation who had an aptitude for publicity or propaganda except, perhaps, Sir Robert Vansittart, who excelled in his broadcasts published as The Black Record, and who, in the last issue of the Sunday Times. wrote a poem which further showed this. It has never been a part of their training or everyday experience. Their function has always been one of negotiation. appeasement, and agreement with Governments, and not one of trying, by propaganda, to convert to the British point of view the populations of the countries where they are serving. At home that has never been necessary.

I suggest that, in reorganising our propaganda service so as to ensure more positive and more beneficial results to ourselves. there are two main essentials. The first one is to employ and utilise, wherever possible, a class of agents for the dissemination of our information and propaganda who are experts in that profession—journalists of repute, practical and experienced in the art of publicity, which is a special study in itself. There must be many good ones available if search were seriously made for them. Secondly, it is most important to appoint a Minister of Information and Propaganda who alone would be responsible to the War Cabinet for information and propaganda distributed, from whatever source and to whatever place. This would ensure a steady flow of British propaganda carrying the same central ideas, not conflicting with each other, as they very often must do under the present hydra-headed system. This, coupled with my first essential—namely, the utilisation of practical journalists—would further ensure the dissemination of these ideas upon expert lines.

I have one thing more to say in conclusion. Now that Germany has added another act to her acts of aggression by attacking and entering Russia, and will, as a result, probably appear to the downtrodden. enslaved, and hungry peoples of Europe more powerful than ever. it is increasingly important to reform. improve, and brighten up our propaganda services, our "Fourth Arm," as I might call it. Obviously the time is drawing nearer when it will be necessary to define, concisely and authoritatively, what our war aims are, over and above the mere expression of the intention to defeat Hitler and Germany and of winning a victory for the preservation of life and liberty. The peoples of Europe will want to know more than this, and will want to be told what our war aims are in relation to their own special conditions and their own existence. Lord Halifax has spoken in the United States and Mr. Eden has spoken in this country, both in eloquent and descriptive language, and both have set out the broad principles of what our war aims should be But what sooner or later will be required is something out of the mouth of the Prime Minister himself, something, if I may call it so, in tabloid form m his own inimitable and pungent language, which will be understood by, and appeal to, all the subject peoples of Europe now downtrodden under the Nazi heel. To disseminate such an utterance we shall require the best propaganda service procurable. We need it badly now for the reasons I have already stated this afternoon. We shall need it even more then. I specially ask the Government that our propaganda service shall be really organised and administered through the control of a Cabinet Minister, and that there shall be no longer a division of ideas and of direction, so that the great war effort the nation is making will be fully supported by a really organised propaganda service. I beg to move for Papers.


My Lords, I think we should all be grateful to the noble Viscount, Lord Elibank, for raising this most important topic. He has said a number of things with which a great many of us, I think, would agree, although he has also made other points upon which, perhaps, some of us find it hard to follow him. One particular remark that he made, upon which I think I would find it difficult to follow him, was that country after country had fallen a victim to German propaganda. Well, stated like that, obviously there is a great deal of truth in what he said, but I think we do a great deal of harm to a good cause by asking propaganda to do more than it can do—namely, to take the place of the open corruption, the threats, and the actual overrunning of countries by the Nazi forces. I should have thought myself that it was something more than propaganda that was needed, for instance, in dealing with the Iraq situation. But I think it is quite clear that none of us are satisfied, and have not been for a very long time, with the position of the Ministry of Information. The Government, by the consideration they are now giving to the problem, will be the first to agree that that is so. We quite understand it is not likely that the Government will be able to make a very concrete statement to-day, but we all hope that discussion in your Lordships' House may be of some use to them in their consideration of the problem.

There have been a few brief lulls since the day it was born when the Ministry of Information has not been under fire—mostly, I think we have to admit, during periods when perhaps by keeping quiet it has been able to keep out of the public view. Lately, there is no doubt that its relations with the Press have tended to improve, and there are a number of tasks it has undertaken, particularly those that do not bring it into conflict with other Government Departments that override it, such as films, where the work has been quite excellent and first-rate. But taking it all in all, I think we have to admit that it is a body which nobody really loves and nobody really respects at the present moment. And that is not what one would expect in the circumstances, this war being, to a very large degree, war of ideas, and, moreover, for certainly long periods, a war of nerves, where one would expect propaganda to play its fair part.

In looking down the list of names of those working for the Ministry of Information, we find names that certainly command wide, if not universal, respect, and those Ministers who have gone first in and then out of the Ministry are men who, for the most part, have proved themselves in other spheres of life. So many of them have been affected that one really cannot feel that there is not some reason external to themselves for the lack of success which we feel their efforts have attained. I make this point because it is very easy, when something goes wrong, to look for a Minister on whom to put the blame. That is so much easier than trying to see what is really the trouble. I imagine that most of us in this House and elsewhere have tried to think out what are the reasons for the difficulties. The noble Viscount, Lord Elibank, has very clearly put the blame partly on the B.B.C., the system of the control of the B.B.C., and perhaps even the announcers of the B.B.C. Others blame again, as the noble Viscount did, the control of the Services over communications affecting the war. Others argue with some force that it is easy to make propaganda out of success, but that it is not so easy to make out of a series of setbacks.

There is some point, I think, in every one of those positions that certain gentlemen take up upon this question. Many of them are fundamental, and actually the last one is not entirely true. I think we were all of us the other day very impressed by the remarks of the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, when he reminded us that we had something more than a series of setbacks to keep in our minds. He reminded us of the air Battle of Britain, and night bombing, which we had successfully withstood, and of our retaliation. He also reminded us of the fact that we are very far yet from having lost the Battle of the Atlantic, of the fate of the "Bismarck" and the "Graf Spee," of the present condition of the "Gneisenau" and "Scharnhorst," the fate that has overtaken the Italian armed forces, both naval and military, and the growing assistance we are receiving from America; and we know that in the last few days, since the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, spoke, there has been the accession of yet another collaborator on Germany's Eastern front.

Those are all points which, I think, in the words of publicity, we might call "good talking points," encouraging points. We have got to ask ourselves: Do we make the most of them? I think perhaps we have first to ask ourselves another question, more fundamental, which is: Do we want encouragement, or do we want stiffening up and bracing? Do our workers in the factories, our managements, our farmers, and, taking the nation as a whole, do any of us yet really appreciate what we are up against in the German Colossus? Let me give one or two instances of what has occurred lately. Is if really sound practice that the B.B.C. should devote nearly five minutes to telling us that the Treaty between Germany and Turkey really did not matter because our interests were safeguarded? The noble Lord, Lord Woolton, has just left the House, but I should like to ask this: Is it wise for him to be quite so reassuring about the food position when he might be persuading housewives to be more careful and farmers to produce more? Working myself at food production in certain counties I have far too often thrown back at me by farmers some of the remarks the noble Lord, Lord Woolton, has made.

Is it sound policy for Ministers always to conclude their remarks by saying ''But of course we will win in the end"? I think we want a great deal of thought to be given to that particular question. Would it be right or would it be wrong to tell the people of this country that we can only win this war if we work hard enough, fight hard enough, think hard enough, and plan ahead hard enough, and that otherwise we might lose it? I confess I would like a lead on that particular point, and I dare say a number of your Lordships would like one, too. Some might say that you can only put your utmost into a war or into a fight if you face the fact from the beginning that it is possible to lose. Others might say, again, with some justification, that one would only be spreading alarm and despondency among the people by saying that. What is the considered view of His Majesty's Government, advised no doubt by the Ministry of Information, on this subject? I think that is a question that needs answering, and I am quite sure that every one of your Lordships present could think of a number of other questions.

For instance, are the Government, by which I mean first of all the Ministry of Information, really looking ahead? The noble Viscount referred to the Hess incident. I think few of us can blame the Ministry of Information being a little taken by surprise by that incident. Few of us can claim to have anticipated it. But what about other things that might happen? Suppose it happens that Germany is able fairly quickly to overrun Russia. Suppose that then Hitler turns round and makes a specious peace offer to us. Have we thought out the form that that peace offer may take, and thought out beforehand the; line that we will adopt towards it, and how to reply? We do remember in regard to Hess how, in order to gain time, we were told every day or two about the ham and eggs that Herr Hess had received in the morning, how he had slept, and his state of health. We should not be able to play for time over a matter such as the one I am suggesting. I think we were all pleased to hear what the Lord Privy Seal said last night over the wireless dealing with this point, and beginning to prepare the public mind for something that may come. I do not know what attitude your Lordships would take, but I should feel unperturbed by any peace offer. We must, however, consider the effect of such an offer upon the people of this country if we leave them entirely unprepared. This, I suggest, is the task of the Ministry of Information.

Then, are the Government thinking ahead for next winter? It is going to be the third black-out winter of the war. It is not likely that we are to have any startling military successes to ponder over during the long winter months. The tendency of air raids is to increase rather than to diminish in weight. There is a possibility that rationing may have to be closer. That seems to me to present the Ministry of Information with a problem that should be thought about now.

There is another issue. Are they thinking about the continuation of evacuation, particularly of adults? I think that on the whole children have by now settled down fairly well. But there are certain towns in the West whose populations have been doubled or trebled, largely by hundreds, or even thousands, of women with little or nothing to do, most of them living in billets and, therefore, with little or no housework to occupy them. The local services and shops are quite inadequate to deal with their needs. They are irritable, and some of them discontented. They are resentful of the inadequacy of the services, and the local people, on their part, are definitely resentful of having their countryside overrun and their shops crowded out. That is a problem which affects a great number of Government Departments, but it seems to me that if I were in any way connected with the Ministry of Information I should want to know what is happening in those areas, with a view to dealing with a possible danger spot that might come into existence there.

Finally, I come to a point to which the noble Viscount, Lord Elibank, referred—namely, the type of civilisation for which we are fighting. Many people feel that, engaged as we are in this struggle for existence with the vilest tyranny known for centuries, if we are able to save ourselves and our friends from destruction and at the same time save from the holocaust of this war that spirit of freedom, of tolerance and of steady progress and development for which Britain and her Empire stand, we shall have done a very fine thing. Stated like that, there is a great deal of truth in the statement, but I question whether the Ministry of Information can be quite satisfied with that. Their raw material is what people are thinking, what ideas and feelings the people have. A great many of us feel we should like to know that the Government are not going to make the mistake which was made during and after the last war, when they became so absorbed in the war that they were unprepared for peace, so that when they were faced with victory they landed us into a peace that brought us twenty years or so of social and economic disturbance, ending in another war.

Those are some of the questions that have to be answered. Indeed, to answer them is a sine qua non of the Government being able to give our people that lead, that inspiration and, perhaps even more important, that sense of confidence that is necessary to-day and may well be a great deal more necessary in the months and years of war that are to come. When they have answered those questions and decided on the line that they are going to adopt, I think we would all like to see the answers expressed in a definite and consistent policy that is pursued by all Ministers, all spokesmen for the Government and the B.B.C., in order that we shall not have, as we have had sometimes in the past, different Ministers taking different lines, not necessarily contradictory lines, but what appear to be lines of their own, so that the public really do not know whether the Government are speaking or not.

I cannot help feeling that even if the Government do answer all these questions, which are of vital importance, we still shall not have dealt with the root cause of the difficulty of running the Ministry of Information. That cause seems to me to lie far deeper than anything we have yet discussed. Incidentally, it is something far simpler. I believe it lies in the answer to this question: Do we, or do we not, really believe in propaganda; that it is in our power to maintain and invigorate the efforts of our own people and to weaken the morale and the efforts of our enemy by words—that is, by ideas? If the answer to that question is "Yes," then I think a great many of the other problems we have discussed will fall into line. I know there are dangers and difficulties. Truths that can be put before our own people may be unsuitable for neutral consumption, or may be of use to the enemy. As there is only one important neutral in existence to-day, and as nearly always news laboriously kept from us is blazoned in their newspapers days or weeks before we hear it, the first point does not seem of much importance, but the second point may concern the lives of our Forces and even prejudice the success of important operations. When, however, we have settled it that news, information, propaganda—call it what you like—really matters, and that it may have a vital effect on our conduct of the war, then the Minister of Information will meet his colleagues in other Departments on an equal footing, and that is all that any Minister has a right to ask.

That would mean that conflict of opinion between Departments could be settled by discussion between different Departments, balancing on the one hand the danger to public confidence of withholding information, and on the other hand the danger of revealing something of use, or importance to the enemy. The trouble is that we feel that these matters are not settled in discussion between two equal Departments, but that they are dictated from the Service side. Therefore the real and ultimate solution of the problem that we are discussing to-day appears to me to be that henceforth the Minister of Information should be given the powers and the status needed for handling his difficult task. Until those powers and that status are given to him it would be both foolish and unjust to criticise either him or his Department, but when they have been given I think the public will demand some justification, in terms of an important contribution to our war effort, from the Minister in return for the new opportunities given to him.


My Lords, I will not attempt to follow the noble Earl and the previous speaker in the multifarious matters they have dwelt upon, and I would only make this slight criticism, that many of the points raised appear to me to be matters of high policy which only the Government as a whole can deal with. I want to call attention particularly to one matter which, though small in itself, is of more importance I think than might at first be thought. I met a day or two ago a man who had just returned from South Africa—a man of judgment and experience who was not likely to be led away without reasonable ground. He said that he had found people of good will there in a state of extreme depression. What was the main cause of this depression? It was the incessant reproduction in photographs and by films of the destruction caused by the enemy in this country, particularly in London, but elsewhere also.

People had not the smallest idea that our Air Force was doing anything at all to counteract this in Germany—the reason, of course, being that the Germans are not so kind as to allow photographs of the destruction done by our Air Force to be circulated throughout the world. I quite understand the origin of the idea of circulating these photographs. It was to show that we are quite unmoved and unbroken, no matter what may be the material destruction. But surely there might be a balance in such a matter as this. There were no photographs shown of ordinary life being carried on, whereas we know that we can find scenes in London and in other places which would make it quite clear that ordinary life is being carried on. Although we do not want to conceal anything, we ought not, I think, to allow this one-sided picture of destruction to prevail throughout the world and do nothing to counteract it. That seems to me a small, but practical point which might immediately be taken up.

I want to say only one other thing. It seems to me to be of the highest importance, in view of the events of the last few days, to make it quite clear, by some statement that will go all round the world. that while we are giving military assistance to the latest victim of German aggression, we are in no way committed to any political concessions in the future or to any doctrinal sympathy. Otherwise, if that is not done, I fear there will be a serious reaction in religious and conservative circles in many countries in the world.


My Lords, this debate, as far as it has gone, proves that in this matter everybody has his own idea of what is propaganda just as everybody has his own idea of how a newspaper should be run. I had some association with the Ministry of Information in its early days and I know that much—perhaps most—of the work in regard to propaganda is done in neutral countries and in enemy countries and therefore is not seen here at all. I find it difficult to follow the noble Lords who have preceded me in criticism of the Ministry of Information for that side of its work. What the Ministry of Information has been in trouble about ever since its formation is not propaganda but news. That started in the very first week of the war, when there was no news and the public thought that the Ministry was keeping news back and criticised it accordingly. That trouble has persisted all the way through, and I believe I am right in saying that it is a question which is now receiving the attention of a Government Committee.

At present the war news is supplied and controlled by Service Departments, and they alone decide what the Press and the B.B.C. can publish. So far as the Ministry of Information is concerned it is very largely a Post Office which distributes this news as supplied to it. The Minister, it is true, "sits in" at the War Cabinet so that he shall be informed, but once he has received the information he has no power to pass it on without receiving the consent of the Service Departments, and it is putting it mildly to say that the Service Departments are not by any means publicity-minded. They have their own ideas as to what should be printed and what should not be printed, and they much more often say "No" than "Yes." They have shown all along that they are not going to give up that power and responsibility unless some superior authority tells them they must. Meanwhile, the position is that the public and some of the Press damn the Ministry, the Ministry damns the Service Departments and the latter "cock snooks" at the lot.

If the Ministry is to continue to handle the war news it will never give satisfaction to the public here or in America unless the Minister is in a position of authority and can decide for himself what should be issued and when, subject only, in the more important matters, to the Cabinet itself. There is only one way in which this can be brought about, and that is that the Minister of Information must, himself, be a member of the War Cabinet. Nothing short of this will give him both access to the news at the earliest moment, or the authority to issue it, without that fatal delay which has been so expensive in the past. If this is too much to expect to-day, if we are not prepared as yet to rate war news as highly as that, I suggest that it would be better to revert to the practice of the last war. Then, there was a Press Bureau which looked after censorship, and simply passed out the news which it received from the Service Departments. It had no responsibility of any kind. The Home Secretary answered for it in the House of Commons, and while there was a Department of Information there was no Ministry until March, 1918. Then, Lord Beaver-brook was made the first Minister of Information in charge of propaganda generally, with the late Lord Northcliffe in charge of propaganda in enemy countries. Neither had anything to do with war news as such. Such a system would certainly be a better one than that in use at the moment, particularly as it would mean a dissolution of the present unholy alliance between propaganda and censorship.

Then, on the question of propaganda itself, there is the conflict between the Foreign Office and the Ministry. This is a trouble which has been going on ever since the war started. There is also the question of the British Council. All these channels of propaganda were intended to be in the hands of the Ministry of Information at the beginning. But to-day the Foreign Office does part of the work; the Ministry of Blockade does some more, and the British Council claims that it should be independent. Apart from the factor of cost, we cannot possibly be getting the most efficient service in such conditions. All this duplication was taking place in the last war and causing similar trouble. Then, in 1917, decisive changes were made, and in the last year the work was all brought together into the Ministry of Information with very satisfactory results. That, I suggest, is the only sure way in which we are going to resolve all the confusion which exists to-day.


My Lords, if I intervene very briefly in this debate to say a word about propaganda in foreign countries, it is because before and during the former war I had considerable opportunities and the obligation to study the methods applied in Italy by Germany, which was, so far as I know, the first country to organise propaganda on a very systematic scale. The methods employed by Germany were, to my mind, naive, not to say crude. I will give you a single example of the sort of thing which, I should say, one ought not to do. In 1914 there was a Papal Conclave convened at Rome. A long letter in Latin—and, as my informant alleged, in bad Latin too—was addressed to every Cardinal taking part in the Conclave, submitting to him that the war was really a religious war promoted by the constant enemy of the Catholic Church, Russia, which country, therefore, it was the business of every good Catholic to oppose. I did not gather, so far as my information went, that the Cardinals were much impressed.

The country was deluged at that time with pamphlets, and the German propaganda organisation bought up one or two second-rate newspapers as a means of publicity. These papers, for the most part, immediately lost their inconsiderable circulations. We had no regular, recognised organisation for countering enemy propaganda and any funds for that purpose were extremely difficult to obtain from the reluctant Treasury. Friendly sympathisers, however, were not lacking and our Diplomatic and Consular services had established an atmosphere of good will in the country which maintained intimacies which made it easy to maintain Anglo-Italian institutions in the great centres. Among the places at which these were established were Milan, Florence, Genoa, Rome and Naples.

I have given you an instance of what I have called bad propaganda. Let me now give you an instance of what I should call good propaganda. A collection of documents published by our Government on the outbreak of hostilities showed stage by stage the efforts which we had made to avert war. This was at once translated into Italian and, through the co-operation of friends, copies were introduced into all the popular libraries in Italy where they were read and discussed, so that the average man had an opportunity of forming his own opinion. The fact that these documents were not accompanied by any Government or other official comments gave them, to my mind, greater influence than ever was exercised by all the abusive pamphlets and articles distributed by the Germans in offices and waiting rooms. Much more could also have been accomplished, no doubt, if our efforts had not necessarily to be confined to the big centres, and if lectures of an instructive character could have been provided in the smaller towns and centres, which the Consular Service could, no doubt, have arranged for. Yet no funds were available for that purpose. Because our work was unostentatious and its results could only be decided by time it was assumed by many people at home that no efforts were being made to counter German propaganda, and in fact letters to that effect appeared in the Press. In the course of time, largely owing to the efforts of the Harmsworth Press, the organisation of propaganda was taken up, and, for reasons which it was extremely difficult to explain to the Italians, their country was placed under the section dealing with propaganda in enemy countries. Before the war ended we had, of course, a Ministry of Information and a British Council to advise on measures for the advantage of our foreign relations generally.

Rome was at that time being continually visited by independent missions, many of whom seemed to me to have to come to the Embassy to obtain their information and guidance. Eventually I was given the position of High Commissioner so as to be able to some extent to co-ordinate their activities. Such an arrangement is, I think, wise if you have confidence n your official representative, who may very well be handicapped by having too many masters. At the end of the war, however, an official with the formidable title of "Liquidator" was appointed, and we were instructed to close down all activities which were receiving any support, however meagre, from the Treasury. Through the intervention of the Foreign Office I was able to secure the continuance for one year only of a subsidy to the: British Institute in Florence, in order to enable students who were working there to finish the courses which they had begun in English and in English literature. That gave us a year in which to enlist the interest of private benefactors who appreciated the work which was being done there, and who generously provided the material means to carry on the Institute. The closing of all the other organisations which have become established, however, appeared to me to be a great mistake. If propaganda is of value in foreign affairs, and. is discreetly administered by-people who are reaily familiar with the country concerned, it is in time of peace that it can render far more important service than after the outbreak of hostilities, when no one is even suspected of veracity.

This leads me to conclude that no propaganda has more than an ephemeral interest unless it is based on truth, fact and experience. The mention of this last quality raises another point. It seems to me that another mistake which we have made in recent years is to shorten the duration of service in diplomacy by securing retirement at the age of sixty years instead of seventy. It is necessary in every service to have some means of getting rid of the inefficient, but that can be done by giving them a pension at any earlier age. In other professions it is probably right to have much younger men, but in a service which depends so largely on experience and the knowledge of men, countries and temperaments, which it takes at least twenty years to acquire, I think it is a great mistake to get rid of the men who possess that experience in a very remarkable degree. I say this without any personal feelings, because in my scheme of life I had always decided to retire at sixty, and when that moment came, and I asked to be allowed to retire, the Prime Minister asked me whether I would not agree to remain for some time longer. However, I did not see my way to do so. I feel that this experience should not be wasted and that at any rate such men might be retained as members of the British Council afterwards, and called into consultation on important occasions. The closing of the various organisations in Italy which had been built up in the way I have described seemed to me to be a great mistake.

I have sometimes been inclined to wonder whether the value of propaganda may not be diminished rather than promoted by openly recognised and much discussed organisations for the purpose, especially after the actual outbreak of hostilities. I have had no means of judging how far the vast expansion given to the Ministry of Information and its great cost to the country are really justified, but I have no doubt whatever as to the importance of the activities of the British Council as an advisory body, and I cordially welcome the appointment of my friend Sir Malcolm Robertson to its direction, because of his long and varied knowledge of the Continent. I have already suggested, and will conclude by repeating, that the services which the British Council can render are such that I shall look forward to its rendering them after the close of the war. My contribution to this debate is that in virtue of my experience I wish to say that it is the provision of propaganda to foreign countries in time of peace which demands the special attention of His Majesty's Government.


My Lords, I should like to join with other noble Lords who have spoken in congratulating my noble friend Lord Elibank on his very vivid remarks on this all-important subject. As has been said on this occasion and previously, this is a matter which has not received anything like sufficient attention, but it is interesting to know that, in the early days of this war, a member of your Lordships' House, Field-Marshal Lord Birdwood, saw from the military point of view the necessity of something being done to keep the troops then in Flanders in touch with home. He utilised a certain British organisation in France for that purpose, as in those days the B.B.C. service did not reach there. He realised the necessity of doing that because he had a long experience of trench warfare and its boredom, and he knew the necessity of keeping people in touch with home in those trying times.

The noble Viscount, Lord Elibank, has referred to this method of warfare as "the Fourth Arm" or "Moral Warfare," and has realised its exceptional importance to the Navy, Army and the Air Force. The activities of this Fourth Arm must obviously range over the whole world, and, by the machinery at its disposal, preparations should be made for the operations to be carried out by the other three Arms, and the success of those operations made known at the discretion of the Departments concerned at the present Ministry of Information. Doubts should be spread in enemy countries, hopes should be raised in countries overun by the enemy, and interest in Great Britain and in her cause and in the progress of her Armies should be cultivated in neutral countries. The activity of our peoples here and in the rest of the Empire could with great advantage be kept at a high pitch by seeing that they are well informed not only of the events that are transpiring but as to what we are fighting for.

To give effect to this arrangement, I suggest that the General Staffs of the three Fighting Services should issue immediately to the Ministry of Information details of all completed. actions, leaving that body free to issue them to the world in the most telling manner and at such time, as my noble friend Lord Camrose said, as they themselves regard as being most suitable. In order that this may be done, it is essential that this vitally important Ministry should be close to the others, instead of away out "at the back of beyond" as it is now. I his might be remedied by moving the Department closer to the centre of London. It is realised, of course, that there are difficulties from an accommodation point of view, but there would be nothing against turning out the present occupants of, say, the Hotel Metropole and the Victoria Hotel, and housing at least a large proportion of the staff of the Ministry of Information there. When, and if, such a change takes place, that would be an opportunity to overhaul the whole organisation along the lines that have been suggested. My noble friend Lord Elibank said that more experienced people were needed and, that being so, it is interesting to survey those in charge of the important departments there, of whom three only appear to have had previous experience in that particular class of work.

Your Lordships are well aware that it is the psychological aspects of war that Herr Hitler fears most, and yet, up to the moment, we have done very little in that direction. My noble friend Lord Cranborne, when he comes to reply, will doubtless give examples of how many times Herr Hitler has made reference to the various psychological weapons that have been used against the Reich in the days previous to the outbreak of the war. Propaganda on a world-wide scale was first used by this country, as my noble friend Lord Camrose mentioned, by the late Lord Northcliffe. Ample reference has been made to that in that classic work Mein Kampf: In regard to the question of wireless arrangements, Germany has at least one hundred channels to-day, of which six are longwave, and we have only some six channels, of which none are long-wave. Surely something should be done about that. We could at least add to the few channels that we have another ten by desynchronising the stations now synchronised during the eighteen hours' daylight out of the twenty-four. That would be at least something in the right direction. I suggest, too, that the B.B.C. wants vividly inspiring and directing to give up the rather narrow outlook which previous Governments before the war insisted it should adopt in regard to the development of this particular invention, broadcasting.


My Lords, there are three points which have emerged during the debate. One is the importance of what has been referred to as propaganda; the second is the fact that, up to date, we have used this modem method of warfare inadequately; and the third is the need for unification or centralisation. There have been many debates in your Lordships' House, and on each occasion dissatisfaction has been expressed both at the machinery and at the results achieved. From the very start in September, I remember, the Ministry of Information suffered from three impediments. First of all there was the very stringent censorship imposed by the Services at a moment when everybody all over the world was aching for news. Secondly, the new Ministry was looked upon as an upstart Department, and other Departments, from whom it took men and responsibility, did all they could to clog its progress. The third was the point referred to by the last speaker—namely, the peace mentality of the B.B.C. Where you have an instrument like the wireless, which is bound to play an important part in this and other countries, it is vital to get away from peace mentality.

One of the difficulties is that the word "propaganda" has, an unsavoury meaning. For most people it seems to imply the coneying of untruths; at best it is biased publicity and that is why we have bashfully called the Department the Ministry of Information. That is a sort of half-hearted name. You cannot conduct war in any Department in a. half-hearted manner. What, in fact, we want to secure by information, propaganda, or whatever you choose to call it, is leadership of the mass mind. I am glad to see that there is a new designation which has been emerging recently in the public Press, and that is "political warfare." If we were to get that conception of propaganda—namely that it is political warfare—we should be prepared to give that degree of centralisation and unification which is required to make it effective. The best illustration we have of the leadership of the mass mind is the series of soul-stirring speeches delivered after Dunkirk by the Prime Minister. Everybody who casts his mind back, and realises the state of the public mentality in this country after Dunkirk, will acknowledge that the great speeches then made by the Prime Minister imparted a keenness and determination to the people and made a huge difference to their fighting spirit, to factory output, and to civilian morale. That is what we want some Department to be doing constantly to-day, continuing that good work.

As regards the Home Front, many instruments are available, including the B.B.C. and the cinema. We ought at least to secure, to a far greater extent than we are doing, that the public realise what is meant by invasion. A pamphlet has been issued. Some people have seen it and approved it, others know of its existence. I have not seen it, but I am perfectly certain that if I were to glance casually through it, as most people would do, I would not get a vivid picture of what is meant by a possible invasion whether by sea or by air, or of what I should do in the circumstances. The cinema should be used to a greater extent to instruct the public mind. Then there is the Press. Too often the unfortunate Press has been left to speculate about the probable course of events. The Service Departments still do not realise, and are unable to appreciate, the importance of getting public confidence, trust, and interest.

We should also use the hoardings. The hoardings, to far too great an extent, are used to advertise competing articles which the Government are urging the people not to buy. If we were to use the hoardings, we could do a great deal to get certain definite impressions into the public mind. The people's attitude towards the war is that they are ready to endure, but that is not enough. If that is the attitude of the public, and I think it is, that shows that we are not dealing adequately with publicity on the Home Front. We have got to instil in the public mind the sense of urgency, that we have to devote ourselves whole-heartedly to the war. If we could get that across, it would be unnecessary for Ministers to urge the miners to work hard, or to urge others to save and not spend. If we realised the urgency of impending peril, which undoubtedly exists, we should get more than an attitude on the part of the public—fine though that is—of willingness and readiness to endure.

Then there is the question of the foreign countries. Hitler undoubtedly has had great achievements there. He has succeeded in having a Fifth Column in all countries, including this country. He has had a Fifth Column here. He had an effective Fifth Column in France. There he managed to instil a spirit of defeatism and discouragement, and subsequently to put across to the French that most fallacious doctrine that the worst thing that can befall a country is disunity. I remember being in Germany in 1933 or 1934. I had the opportunity of talking to many Germans entirely opposed to Hitler and the Nazis, but they said, "What we must not do is to split the country. The worst thing that can befall a country is civil war." We have got freedom in this country because we were prepared to face civil war. Hitler has managed to mesmerise the French people into believing that the one thing they must do is to remain united. What he means is united under his umbrella. Hitler has succeeded in demoralising small countries before taking them, and for a long time he made many people in the United States believe that we were fighting an imperialistic war. Hitler knew he was in a minority in the United States, but that did not deter him from trying propaganda, and I think we should always bear in mind that in every country we have to fight his subversive activities.

The difficulty was that we started wrongly in 1939. The League of Nations had failed. Democracy in 1939 was not able to point to an era of prosperity, as was the case in 1914, when you could point to an era of fifty or sixty years of success under democracy. Also, after the last war, all democracies came to the conclusion that they would not have any super-man to lead them, and most democracies had too many ordinary statesmen leading them. The result was that when the war started we found ourselves fighting people with a new faith, with a new creed, and with very wonderful people (whatever you may think about their misdeeds) leading those countries. Democracy has not failed. Although our home politics to a certain extent stagnated before the war, and although our foreign politics stagnated because we allowed ourselves to be led too much by the Quaid'Orsay and the theory that you could hold the tiger down by his ears, still democracy is the most modern of all political conceptions of government, and I think it is the best one.

This leads me to the next point; that in order to win this international civil war we have to look upon it as an international crusade. We have to have some alternative to Hitler's New Order. Hitler's New Order may be fairly attractive to some people. He promises work to all, and peace. Of course he means the work of the slave and the peace of the concentration camp, the peace which comes by conquest. It is not enough merely to damn Hitlerism and National Socialism. We have to have a positive alternative to offer to all the countries of Europe and the world. We would not sell an article, say soap, by saying that the soaps of other people were bad. If we wanted to sell our own soap we would have to give a name to it and define it. It seems to me that we have to define at some time and at no distant date, in not too great detail, what our new deal is which we are offering to the world, what, for short, is called our war aims. President Roosevelt has outlined them, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has accepted them and called them the Freedoms. Hitler is trying to get union by conquest. Our alternative is union between freedom-loving nations, and I believe it is possible to do that. We cannot afford to let Hitler be the only man who is offering the world a solution for international chaos and recurring wars. I am perfectly certain that there does exist, and there may probably exist in the United States, an opinion that European wars are futile, and that we shall only get the fullest support from that country when they are convinced that there is a world new deal which can achieve enduring peace.

We have to think out our attitude to Germany, too. There are thousands of Germans in America—of German descent—one of whom is that very patriotic and leading man, Mr. Wendell Willkie. There are thousands of anti-Hitler Germans in Germany as well as out of Germany. The Germans maintain their Gestapo and their concentration camps, and they imprison and kill people for listening to our wireless because there are people who are still opposed to National Socialism. To Hitlerism in Germany our attitude should be that the enemies of the world are Hitler and all who follow Hitler, whether they are in Germany or in France or in Britain or anywhere else. And we ought to be constantly reminding people of the way in which Hiller has achieved success, that he has never hesitated to murder his own colleagues never hesitated to deceive his own people, never hesitated to perpetrate acts of aggression against his neighbour, never hesitated to use perjury and treachery as instruments of policy. The latest example we had last Sunday. Our task in political warfare is to keep alive the detestation of Fascism in all countries and to point to our own promised land. It is not enough to point out the New Order which Hitler is promising. We have to do for Europe what Abraham Lincoln did for the United States of America, and I believe we can do it.

Summing up, our practical objectives should be to counter Nazi propaganda everywhere, whatever variety may be adopted. That will require imagination and different methods in different countries. Our positive steps should be, on the Home Front, to instil a sense of urgency, which is not as strong to-day as it was a year ago. On the European front we have to keep up a state of ferment and dissatisfaction, and potential sabotage. Hitler is stretched right across from Norway, right through Europe. At the present moment he is holding down the countries far too easily. With more effective propaganda I think we ought to make it much more difficult for him, as he increases his commitments, to maintain peace and to maintain industry in those countries. We have to demesmerise the people in the conquered countries. We have to convince the public, in Europe and in the United States of America, and in Germany, too, that the defeat of Hitlerism means peace and enduring peace and a new deal. After all, we have a uniting factor which no other country has. We can offer freedom: freedom to live in our own way. Nationalists want freedom, for their community, their national State. Democracies want freedom for the individual. The Soviets represent what I believe is a mistaken attempt to have what they call class freedom. But in all countries we can point out with complete accuracy that National Socialism means to wipe out everything and to impose the German Hitler system upon all countries. In that way we ought to be able to get a unity of purpose and a response to any appeal which we make, which would be of the greatest value.

So I would suggest to the Government that the time has come for creating an effective and active unified Ministry for Political Warfare, obviously not to supplant military warfare, and that we should use this new arm to the full. Let us realise that if the type of war which I have tried to outline is to be conducted effectively it cannot be conducted by the Civil Service type of mind or by the peacetime B.B.C. mentality. We need talent for publicity and political conviction which will enthuse people of all countries for our new deal, which is freedom with enduring peace.


My Lords, I wish to detain your Lordships for a moment or two only. I would like to say with what surprise I heard that which fell from my noble friend Lord Elibank in regard to the functions and members of the Diplomatic Service. Two of the main functions of the Diplomatic Service are the collection of information in regard to the country to which a diplomatist is accredited, and the transmission of that information in as full and intelligent a form as he can to his own Government, and—an equally important function—to present to the people of the country to which he is accredited the point of view of his own people, so that they may understand our point of view and we may understand theirs. The representation of our point of view to the country to which a diplomatist is accredited is, without doubt, one of his most important functions.

I would like, if I may, with great respect to endorse what fell from my noble friend Lord Rennell. During the last war I was sent on a Mission to Italy to inquire into this question of propaganda and information, and see how we could supply further information to Sir Rennell Rodd, as he then was, and the other members of the Embassy. My noble friend Lord Rennell has told your Lordships that the propaganda which was carried out in Italy was unostentatious and it certainly was successful. It was very efficient in Rome, and I am sure the organisation was just as efficient in Milan and other parts of Italy. A good deal of assistance was obtained from our Allies in that country, but it would be a great mistake to suppose that the propaganda in Italy during the last war was not carried out by the diplomatists. They had, of course, a number of assistants from the largely swollen staffs that we saw during the last war; but I can assure your Lordships that the propaganda was carried out from the Embassy itself, and was carried out with efficiency and success.

We have heard criticism of the practice of controlling news by the Fighting Services—the Army, Navy and Air Force censors. I would like to mention one small incident that came under my personal knowledge in France during the last war. Quite early, in 1915 I think it was, someone came out from England and was taken round to see the Front. He was shown a church tower which was well hidden by trees but was used as an observation post. The correspondent who came out admired this observation post and the way in which it was concealed. Unfortunately he wrote so glorious a description of it that within forty-eight hours the German gunners had got on to it, and there was no more an observation post. I do not think anyone came to grief over it, but at any rate the observation post was destroyed.

Later on, towards the end of the war, I was in charge of censorship and publicity in France, and I have always been asked what sort of methods we adopted in the censorship. I told the young people who were censoring that, while as a general guide they should release all the news they could, they should refuse to release anything which might endanger the life of a single allied soldier, and, that, if there were any doubt about it, the soldier was to have the benefit of the doubt. It seems to me that that was a good rough-and-ready rule for military censorship.


My Lords, I find myself in the inconvenient position of standing between your Lordships and the noble Viscount who is to reply for the Government at the end of a long and very interesting debate, but the fact that it has been so long shows the need for it. I hope I shall have the indulgence of your Lordships after having waited so long if I intervene for a few moments. I have for a long time known what the noble Viscount the mover of this Resolution had in his mind, and how strongly he felt about this matter. The debate has shown clearly that there is much uneasiness as to the situation. Many noble Lords who have preceded me, have out of their experience, knowledge and qualifications ventured to make suggestions as to methods to be adopted. It seems to me that an opinion which is widely held has been confirmed by the debate, and that is that one of those frequent skirmishes—what might be called frontier skirmishes—which occur between Government Departments has flared up into a major war on the Whitehall front, and it is perhaps not unnatural that the Government's view should not yet be in such an advanced stage that decisions can be made.

I am sure that every speaker who has intervened in this debate did so because he felt he had a contribution to make which would be helpful upon a subject in regard to which there is much disquiet. We should all agree, however, that no criticism should be made of individuals or specialists who have given us generously of their time and service in connection with what has been attempted in this matter. So far as the Ministry of Information is concerned some of us say it is the road of damaged reputations or the mill through which advancement has occurred. But the real point is that whatever may be its structure it involves a consideration of the Civil Service. This question of the Civil Service is a matter which has several times been debated in your Lordships' House. It is indeed unfortunate that on more than one occasion expressions have come from various quarters not only in this House but in the other place which have suggested disparagement of individuals in the Civil Service. Those of us who have felt that peace-time methods are not what are required in war-time make no insinuation with regard to the Civil Service. Our criticism has been of a system which puts responsibility upon civil servants under war conditions to which their training and long services to the country have not habituated them. Their training and methods of work are ill suited to what is required in war-time.

Now I would like to pass on to the point I had principally in mind when I intervened in this debate. I wish to say a few words with regard to the United States. Actual experience is better than theory. I do not think any of my predecessors in this debate have themselves been in the United States since the outbreak of war. I happen to be in the position of having paid three visits there since the outbreak of war, and of having spent some time in the United States, where I was in contact with our Embassy in Washington and also with industrial organisations in that country with which, from the association I had with them over here, I was able to make close contact. What one would like to ask is whether the officers in the Ministry of Information have complete confidence in their representation in the United States of America, and whether the representatives there are under the direction and authority of the Ministry of Information solely.

Are those charged with this work in cordial co-operation with the plans for ensuring the Fourth Arm, the need of which was suggested by my noble friend who initiated this debate? My noble friend Lord Camrose, in the able contribution that he made to this debate, indicated the need for this. If a Fourth Arm is necessary, whoever wields it should be on a parity with those who direct the other three arms. That would seem logical. Many of those with whom I have recently been in conversation, who know the United States well, and who, like myself, have spent a large part of their lives in the United States, think that the manner in which this Fourth Arm has been handled in the United States is not what it should have been. It has fallen far short of what it might have been. This Fourth Arm should have a domestic field and an overseas field. Take our Embassy in Washington, from the beginning of the war, and examine it. I necessarily exclude from any such survey those who have held the position of Ambassador. Take the British representatives in the United States. Have they been, by long experience of the United States, effectively equipped to do what is required? I say, without hesitation, and on the ground of some experience of the United States, that our representation has fallen far short of that. And I repeat that I say that without any reflection on any individual. It is the system that is at fault.

At the risk of over-stepping your Lordships' indulgence, I would ask whether it is true that since the beginning of the war, the sole hope of winning it has been the effective assistance of the United States. I base that suggestion on one fact alone. This is an engineering war, and the engineering capacity of the North American Continent, of both Canada and the United States, should be fully used. If we are not making full use of the engineering capacity of Canada, then people in the United States will be apt to say: "If you Britishers are not going to help yourselves, why should we worry about helping you?" Are our factories in Canada fully employed? I address myself particularly to the question of our representation in the United States because I believe it is of the greatest importance. If there is lack of understanding over here, people in the United States will not be inclined to bend over backwards to give service in response to our request.

One does not like to introduce the German model, but I think we must take note of the German system of a Fourth Arm throughout the world. It has been based throughout on commercial machinery. Has our method been to employ the commercial machinery that exists? There are many men with qualifications of a technical character, apart from knowing the political and administrative set-up of Whitehall, who could do effective work in the United States, but men have been sent out who were completely ignorant of the United States. They should have associated with them commercial men who know the United States intimately, who know what is meant by "glad handing," "rough stuff" or whatever you like to call it. Striped trouser methods will not go tar in the United States. We must have. different methods. They will not accept Whitehall methods in the United States. I have been in the back woods of Australia. What do Australians think about "kid glove" methods?

It was recommended, I think in October of last year, that we should have proper British commercial representations in New York. I believe that Sir Andrew Duncan thought it a good suggestion, but it was not until two weeks ago that the suggestion was put into effect. Who was the obstructionist? What is the hidden hand? Is it Treasury control? One is puzzled. Sir Gerald Campbell was an effective successor of Sir Gloster Armstrong, an earlier Consul-General in New York. Sir Gerald and his capabilities were well-known, but if the appointment is appropriate now, why was not the appointment made sooner? Some "blow-up" happened and it had to be done in a hurry. The point really with regard to the United States is whether we are aiming at political influence or industrial production. I have heard it suggested that one of the most important things in the United States is influence on the workers. If we are to have industrial production, we must go right through to the factory managers and the workers. A presentation of the picture to all these people is needed if we are to achieve the intense production that would come about if the United States were actively in the war. I hope the noble Lord in his reply will give some indication that the Government appreciate the importance of the Fourth Arm.

In conclusion I would say that my particular wish was to associate myself with the most able presentation of this matter by my noble friend the mover of the Resolution, and to say, also, that I think the fact that there has been such a number of speakers in this debate shows the strength of feeling which exists and the justification which my noble friend had for pressing that the debate should be held to-day.


My Lords, I believe that our principal chance of victory in this war is through propaganda, and when I say that I do not mean propaganda on the Home Front. Noble Lords have to-day been criticising the Ministry of Information for propaganda which it has been carrying out on the Home Front. My belief is that if nine-tenths of the Ministry of Information were disbanded and a great saving of money was thereby made, it would not have any effect on the morale of the Home Front. You have got here what you have not got when you are dealing with some of the. countries abroad. You have here a great number of newspapers, many films and the radio, all of which day after day, and in the case of the radio hour after hour, are speaking to the country either through the spoken or the printed word; and a certain number of pamphlets issued by the Ministry of Information are really going to have no effect at all.

I think this debate should have been concentrated on propaganda abroad, because it is perfectly apparent to everybody that propaganda abroad helped to bring about the victory of this country in the last war. One of the reasons for that was that in Germany itself you had an opposition to the war, which was a vocal opposition. It was an opposition which, although it had a very much censored Press, had still a free Press; it was an opposition which, although it had to be very careful as to what it said, had nevertheless a Parliament. There were in fact opposition parties which were vocal in their opposition to the war. In Germany to-day you have a very difficult task. You have no Press except the Press which is tied to the Government machine, no Parliament, in the proper sense of the word, no expression of public opinion, and still your propaganda must be got through by any means possible. One cannot, of course, hope to have agents in the country itself.

I was very much struck by a memorandum addressed by Lord Northcliffe to the Government during the last war, in which he said, with regard to propaganda in Germany, that it was almost impossible to give propaganda about the war unless you also dealt with the peace. Propaganda about the peace is a subject with which your Lordships have not yet dealt, but it is a subject which must be dealt with if you are to have any chance of appealing to the German people. Propaganda in Germany in the last war combined threats with promises. It must combine threats and promises in this war.. It is very easy to make threats, of course, but it is very difficult to make promises. It is the more difficult for the reason that at the end of the last war the promises which were made to the Social Democrats were, in some cases, not carried out. Most of the people in Germany to-day who are opposed to the Nazis feel that when the war is ended they will be in danger of being punished with the guilty parties. It is very difficult to differentiate between one and the other.

I was very much struck a few weeks ago by a story written by an American correspondent who was still in Germany at that time. He wrote that while he was motoring through Germany he stopped to talk to a workman. In the course of the conversation he asked him: "Are you a Nazi?" The workman said: "No, I am not. I was a Communist. I am. still not a Nazi and I hate Hitler." The correspondent said: "That is a very good thing; you are against the war." The workman replied: "I am against the war." The correspondent then asked: "Will you take an active part against the war?" and the workman answered: "No; I hope that Hitler will win. Now that we are in it, we are all going to be punished together. The rest of the world, when they have won the war, will come clown upon Germany, and it will be absolutely impossible that I shall be spared from the general punishment." I realty think that if there is a hope of getting the propaganda through—and I do not say that there is—the question of what the peace proposals, or perhaps what the principles of the peace will be, will have to be enunciated. If this is not done, then I suggest that it should be taken for granted that there is no hope of a revolution inside Germany, and we should come out with a policy that Germany should be punished, and there should not be any sort or kind of hope of a Nazi Germany becoming part of the world after the war.

I also suggest to you that the real place for propaganda in this war is in the German-occupied countries. In the last war it was easier to carry on propaganda in Austria-Hungary than in Germany. The reason was that there were certain minorities within the borders of Austria-Hungary which were hostile to their Government and to the Germans. These minorities were only too ready to read the propaganda and to revolt when the time came. Well, surely to-day a great part of Europe is gradually coming to look like Austria-Hungan in the last war. In these enemy-occupied countries there are enormous numbers of people who are opposed to their conquerors and oppressors. I suggest that in looking to the future it should be realised that the great chance of the department of propaganda will be to spread propaganda in those countries. The future could be regarded far more optimistically than it can now if we were to be assured that most efficient and energetic propaganda was taking place and was going to take place, and that the expenditure of large sums would be authorised for carrying out this propaganda in countries now occupied by Germany or about to be occupied. The weakness of Germany surely must come through the occupation of these independent countries, and every further country which she occupies must give a tremendous opportunity for British propaganda.

So far as the neutral front, as it is called, is concerned, I do not wish to enlarge in any way on the statements of my noble friend. He spoke of what he knew, and of what I have always been told, when he said that propaganda in America has been extremely poor. I would like to ask the Government why they have appointed a Director-General of Propaganda only within the last few weeks. Why was he not appointed a year ago? I myself on the outbreak of war went to a Minister and suggested that we should immediately start propaganda in the United States, but he disagreed and told me that the Ambassador said that that was not the right thing to do at the time, because the Americans would not understand it. I said: "The time is coming when they will, and I suggest that you should put the machinery down now, so that you can work it later." The suggestion, however, came to nothing, and no machinery was laid down, except for an embryonic piece of machinery which was known in America as "the British Library." There was no other organisation there of any kind. It is only lately that organisations have been set up and somebody appointed, and I should like to know why this was not done before.


And there were no commercial representatives either.


I realise that in America we have some excellent friends who have played the part which we might otherwise have had to play. We have in the journalists and in the film and radio people of America most excellent friends, but that is more by luck than by judgment. We are fortunate in that they have worked consistently from the beginning of the war to help us. In connection with our news service, I should like to ask why we are so frightened of giving news which in the opinion of the Government is not optimistic. I think it was wrong to wait for President Roosevelt to make the comparison of the sinking and building of ships; that should have been given from this side. The Americans are just as able to "take it," as the expression goes, as the British, and if the situation is serious with regard to shipping or anything else—I am not saying that it is serious, because I have not the knowledge—it is far better to tell them the truth. As far as the British are concerned, there is only one kind of propaganda which is of any use to our friends, and that is the truth. If we tell them the truth, they will believe it, and they will help us all they can. I do not think that the news should be coloured in any way, and I do not think that we should attempt to take people in by pretending that the situation is better than it is.

So far as the Home Front is concerned, I should like to emphasize what the noble Viscount, Lord Camrose, said, that what we really want is more understanding of news by the Service Departments. In Germany after the last war, the memoirs of both Marshal Hindenburg and General Ludendorff contained chapters dealing with propaganda. Both of them said that propaganda was one of the most important things in warfare and was a contributory cause of Germany's defeat. Coming from these most distinguished leaders, that must have been read by every General or future General in the German Army, but our own senior officers have never understood how important propaganda is. I think that the work of the Ministry of Information would have been much easier if only the Service Chiefs had some idea of the importance of propaganda. As propaganda has to go hand in hand with the military weapon, it is important that they should realise that, and that they should realise it not only in London but at all the Headquarters of our Expeditionary Forces. If the Minister of Information was given encouragement and was allowed to educate the Service Chiefs, his task would be very much easier, and it would benefit not only this country but also our news service in America


My Lords, I should like, before I pass to the main subject which noble Lords have been discussing to-day, to say a word of very warm congratulation to the noble Viscount, Lord Rothermere, for his remarkable speech, the first, I believe, that he has made in this House. It was a most valuable and thoughtful contribution on this subject, a subject on which he clearly speaks with great knowledge and authority, and I am quite certain that it will receive from all noble Lords the serious consideration which it most clearly merits.

The debate itself, like many others, as I think most noble Lords will agree, has ranged very wide. It has covered not merely the strict questions of propaganda but questions of high policy such as war aims, our attitude to Russia, industrial production in the United States and many other subjects on which I hope your Lordships will agree that it would not be proper for me to make a Government pronouncement to-day. I propose, if I may, to confine myself rather to the main question of propaganda and of the Ministry of information, to which the speech of the noble Viscount, Lord Elibank, was principally directed. The noble Viscount, although he spoke in his usual moderate and courteous way, did in fact make a vigorous assault upon the Ministry of Information and upon the whole of our propagandist system. He attacked it, I think, both for its sins of commission and for its sins of omission. He attacked it both for what it had done and for what it had not done. Now I, on whom it falls to reply, am not going to pretend either to him or to your Lordships that the Ministry of Information has been guilty of no faults at all, and that it has never put a foot wrong. That is clearly not true, and it would not be accepted by any of your Lordships. On the other hand, equally I do not propose to stand in a white sheet.

The real truth of the matter is that propaganda is not an exact science. It is not something which you can do absolutely right or absolutely wrong; it is something which you can only do rather better or rather worse. However our propaganda is conducted, however the Ministry of Information is conducted, it is bound to be criticised. There will always be people who say that it has done too much or that it has done too little, that it has employed the wrong people, or that it has used the wrong methods. Some of this criticism will be well informed and some will be based on misconceptions. A particular case of the latter kind occurred to-day in the speech of the noble Viscount, Lord Elibank, when he gave, at any rate to me, the impression that the Ministry of Information was entirely staffed by diplomats. He asked why diplomats were put in charge of our propaganda when they were not trained to the work and were not suitable for it. I should like to give some figures about that. The impression he conveyed to me was that the Ministry consisted almost entirely of diplomats and had no journalists, but in fact there are in the Ministry of Information 8 men who have Diplomatic and Consular Service experience and 110 journalists.


My Lords, if I may interrupt my noble friend, I did not say that the Ministry of Information was staffed entirely with diplomats. What I did say was that the Ministry of Information conveyed its propaganda and information through the Foreign Office to the Ambassadors and Ministers in their respective foreign countries, men who were not acquainted with publicity or with the methods of sending out propaganda. I never suggested that the Ministry of Information was staffed with diplomats: I said that the channels used were diplomatic channels, which were the wrong channels.


My Lords, I certainly beg the noble Viscount's pardon if I misunderstood him, but even what he now says is not quite correct, because most of the main channels of our propaganda consist of broadcasting, which is done directly from home and not through our diplomatic representatives abroad. It seems to me that if these critics of the Ministry and of the propaganda system are completely to justify themselves they must prove that if we in this country had used different methods and employed different personnel our situation to-day would have been much better than it is. With all deference to them, I do not think they have proved their case. The noble Viscount, Lord Elibank, and other noble Lords have talked of the small countries which last year were flooded with German propaganda and had no British propaganda to counter it. The implication of these noble Lords, as I understood it, was that if we had been more active the attitude of these countries would have been changed and, instead of remaining neutral, they would have come in on our side. Do noble Lords really think that would have been the case? I find it very difficult to believe.

Take the case of Holland or Belgium, two typical examples. We all know that the vast majority of Dutchmen and Belgians were on our side from the beginning. They thought our cause was the right one, and the proof is that, directly Germany invaded, they fought like tigers and are now our Allies. The reason why they did not come into the war was very simple. They were doubtful, sceptical, as to whether we were in a position to protect them. They saw the vast German Armies on their borders. They saw our Armies, not nearly so large, on the other side of the Channel and the North Sea, and they thought it safer to stay quiet in the hope that the storm would pass them by. It might be argued that we should, by extensive propaganda, have tried to explain to them that we were in a position to protect them, but it would not have been true, it would not have been of the slightest use. What these people wanted at that time was more munitions, more tanks, more aeroplanes. And the same is true of Norway, Rumania, and, in recent times, Yugoslavia.

I do not say this to suggest that propaganda is, in all circumstances, quite useless. Clearly that is not true. I merely do it to underline what might appear a self-evident fact—namely, that propaganda is really in the same position as foreign policy. It is only really effective if it has behind it the backing of force. I give, as an instance, Iraq. The noble Viscount, Lord Elibank, mentioned Iraq. I drew the opposite moral. What happened in Iraq? Rashid Ali and his associates, who had been bought, or bribed, or induced to support the Axis in some way—a disreputable clique of people in an Oriental country—managed to assume power, but the Germans could not protect them, and the result was the whole revolt collapsed, and Iraq came back to its alliance with us. That is, I think, proof that German propaganda has de pended not merely on its ingenuity, but on the arms behind it.

The real truth is that in the modern world, if you want to persuade people to join you, you must convince them you will win. You cannot expect Governments to lead their peoples into what they regard as a hopeless fight. That has been our main difficulty, as I see it. From the start we had a succession of German successes which elated our enemies and took the heart out of our friends, and nothing we could say, with the best propaganda system in the world, would have carried conviction. Fortunately to-day that situation is changing. It is changing for the better all the time, because every week and every month we are getting materially stronger. With this change there is no doubt our propaganda system is likely to become—almost must become—more effective. A year ago foreign countries, and the United States itself, were quite convinced that we were beaten in the war. A great many thought it was a matter of months, some thought it was a matter of weeks. But now in all these various countries they are beginning to come to the conclusion, some of them that we can win, others that we cannot be defeated. It seems to me that as this change of opinion goes over—that people are beginning to say we cannot be defeated, that we will win—this is the time to ram that lesson home both in neutral countries and occupied territories, and in Germany itself.

This is the crucial moment when our propaganda machine can become of very real value, and I am in absolute agreement with the noble Viscount who introduced the Motion and other noble Lords who have spoken that it is of the utmost importance that our propaganda machine should be kept up to the highest pitch. I do not mean to suggest—and I hope noble Lords do not suggest—that to-day nothing at all is being done by the Ministry of Information. That clearly is not true. It would be an entire misconception, because actually in the Press and on the wireless, which now speaks daily to thirty-nine nations, and in the films which were mentioned by the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr—we have turned out some of the best-produced films in any country during the whole history of the cinema—in these and other ways this lesson of our growing power is being gradually drummed in.

They have indeed already had very considerable results. I do not want to quote letters which the B.B.C. have had from foreign countries. I have a number of them, but I shall give one instance of the sort of things that are said about our broadcasts abroad. Here is a letter from France received by the B.B.C.: Everywhere Frenchmen are speaking about your broadcasts. In the interminable queues before the foodshops it is your bons mots, your repartees, your songs, that we repeat. The blind confidence that we have in you allows' us to keep our sense of humour, to the boundless fury of the Boche. That is a typical example. I could give other tributes of the same kind both from occupied countries and neutral countries. It is clear from that that headway is being made by our propaganda at the present time. As contributory evidence of that is the fact that the Germans are beginning, more and more, to jam our broadcasts. There have been in recent months examples of this in Poland, Czecho-Slovakia, Germany, Norway, Holland, Belgium, France, Italy, and Spain. It is clear that people do not trouble to jam broadcasts unless they think these are doing harm to their cause.

There has been a good deal of reference this afternoon to our propaganda in the United States. I understood the noble Viscount, Lord Elibank, to say that it was notorious that it was futile and useless. He quoted Mr. Kennedy, the late Ambassador, as saying that the American people did not know what we were fighting about. This criticism of our propaganda in the United States is entirely a matter of opinion. It might equally be argued that it has been most successful when you look at the position to-day. Here, after nearly two years of war, in the course of which the Germans have conducted continuous propaganda and we, we are told, have conducted none, you find ninety per cent. of the American people with us, thousands of millions under the Lease-and-Lend Act are being sent to us, and every day the United States is making some fresh gesture of practical sympathy. I am fully aware of what was said by Lord Astor, that there are a great many people here and in the United States who consider that our propaganda might have been more active. But he will agree that there are also people of equal experience who take the other view, that if our propaganda had been more active it might have injured, rather than assisted, our cause, and that if we had bullied the Americans our position would have been worse than it is to-day. I am not an expert on this subject, but I do think it is an arguable point, which has very strong support, that the method that has been adopted has been the best and the wisest in the end.

With regard to the Empire, about which the noble Viscount, Lord Elibank, spoke, I mast say I do not agree with him. I am at the Dominions Office and I find no evidence at all of the Empire not being aware of what this country is doing, nor any evidence that this country is not aware of what the Empire is doing. I believe there is a complete community of interest between this country and the Dominions, and they have never been closer together or more harmonious than they are to-day.

In this connection of what is being done, perhaps your Lordships will allow me to remind the House briefly of what functions the Ministry is performing or is trying to perform at the present time. They are two. The first one is that mentioned by Lord Astor, propaganda. He said that it was rather an ill-omened word, as I understood him, that it was a word which gave a disagreeable impression. Of course, the origin of the word was the preaching of the gospel, it was a missionary word. I think we can say that, politically speaking, that is what it does mean for us at the present time; it means preaching the gospel, explaining our cause, showing how it is important for other nations to support us. The second function of the Ministry is information. That means exactly what it says, to give the latest and best news of how this fight is progressing.

Clearly those two objects are bound to overlap; they are not identical, but they are closely correlated and they do continuously overlap. The main object of enemy propaganda, as the House knows, is to show that at the present time we cannot win this war. They are not so concerned with ideological differences. They want to prove to people that we cannot win the war and that there is no good in them supporting us. Our object must be to combat that as best we can. The method they have adopted is what we might call unscrupulous. They distort the news, they suppress news, and sometimes they indulge in downright lies. In counteracting this propaganda our main method has been from the beginning of this war to try and expose the true facts as we know them. This we believe to be best from every point of view. It is not merely morally desirable, but it pays in the long run, because a country which consistently distorts its news ultimately loses all credit.

A tragic example of that, I think, was found in Germany itself. Her propaganda, beautifully organised, I understand has gradually depreciated in credit during the whole period of the last two years under the direction of Dr. Goebbels Take the well-known case of the "Ark Royal." The first time it was said that the "Ark Royal" had been sunk it made a tremendous impression in this country, a depressing impression. Some people believed it. In foreign countries it made an even greater impression. The second time it did not make such an impression. The third time it made hardly any impression. Now, it has become an absolute joke, and the effect on the people has been that they not merely disbelieve that particular item of news, but it has depreciated the whole thing throughout. That is what I believe has happened with regard to the German broadcasts. I do not say people do not listen to them; of course they do. Some of them listen to them because they cannot get hold of any other, either in Germany itself or in the occupied countries, and other people listen because they are interested or because they want to know what the Germans are trying to put out. But very few people now listen to the German broadcasts in order to get an accurate account. I believe that our broadcasts—by all the accounts I have seen, and I have looked into the matter—are gradually increasing in their audiences, and even in Germany itself, in spite of very considerable penalties against listening to English broadcasts, there are quite a number of people who do manage to hear them.

So that I think we may say the experience of two years of war has fully justified our policy, whether in the Press or on the wireless or in other ways, that we should give news of the greatest possible accuracy. On the other hand, this what may be called rather old-fashioned attachment to the truth does impose certain practical disadvantages on us when we are in conflict with an unscrupulous adversary, and this is very familiar to anyone who has worked, as I did for a short time, in the Ministry itself. If you are to have accuracy it involves verification, and verification always takes time. As a result, there is always a tendency for your enemies to get their news in first. That is one of the constant complaints, that the enemies get their news in before we do. I remember a case that occurred when I was working in the Ministry in the early months of the war. It was during August and September last, I think, at the time of the great air raids on London. It was found that the German accounts of these raids always reached the United States before ours did, and, as may be imagined, they were of a very highly coloured description, painting London as in flames and in ruins. These things were placarded all over New York and other great cities. It created an impression which was obviously quite wrong. The Ministry instituted an inquiry and found that the German accounts were sent out before the German 'planes ever got back to Germany at all. They were purely fictional and what the Germans thought or hoped had been done. They had their effect; they were published in the Press in the United States, and by the time our accurate accounts arrived these were no longer what I believe is called "hot news."


May I suggest that that is exactly what did happen in the United States? So far as the newspapers were concerned, under high pressure, they could not get copy of any character from any British source. That is why the enemy got the head-lines.


Because they got in first, but that was because they did not take the trouble to verify the facts. In the long run it did not do us any harm, it did them harm, because as the months went by there was London still going about its own ordinary life. I merely quote that as one example of the difficulties which a respect for accuracy must involve for those who are engaged in disseminating the news. We may sometimes be told that Britain is late, and clearly that is a fault which must be reduced to the very minimum. I speak with all deference in the presence of Lord Camrose and Lord Rothermere. I believe it to be true that to be in the news is the whole essence of publicity in these matters.


Not in the wrong news.


Not in the wrong news, but so far as we can do it with accuracy. There is one other difficulty in giving the fullest information. It is limited by considerations of national security. This raises, I think, as has been fully recognized this afternoon, the main difficulty which the Ministry has to face and which has been referred to by the noble Viscount, Lord Camrose, and the noble Viscount, Lord Rothermere, and others Who is to have the last word in this matter? What news is to be produced and how is it to be treated? Noble Lords have spoken in the course of this debate on the multiplicity of Departments involved, and how much better it would be if the whole organisation could be simplified. I know that your Lordships do recognise the complexity of the matter, but this fact also must be recognised. It is very easy to say that the whole thing should be handed over to a Minister of Information, that the Service Departments, the Home Office, the Ministry of Home Security should have no say in it; but in practice it is almost impossible to settle the thing as simply as that.

Take a most obvious case, reports on air raids. The only people who really know exactly what technical details are available are the technical experts at the Air Ministry itself, and in a situation where the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and our own national security may be involved, it is at least understandable that they should claim a final decision on what should be published and what should not be published. And exactly the same thing is true in the diplomatic sphere. The Foreign Office are entirely responsible for the foreign policy of this country, and it is surely understandable, whatever views noble Lords may take, that the Foreign Office should wish that nothing should go out which would hamper or conflict with the policy they are conducting. I see the noble Viscount, Lord Elibank, shakes his head, but it is a practical and real difficulty. You cannot say quite definitely that the Minister of Information should have the last word over these other Departments. It is a very difficult problem. What you want to get is the greatest possible measure of co-ordination between the various Departments, and that is what the Government and the Ministry have been trying to get ever since the beginning of the war.

The present arrangement, as noble Lords know, is that there is a daily Committee which has been set up for this very purpose of discussing the news and of reaching an agreed line as to the way in which it should be treated. This daily Committee meets twice in the day, once in the morning and once in the evening, and all the relevant Departments are represented on it, not only the Foreign Office but all the Service Departments and all the Departments which could in any way be affected by the news, or might have views to express. I do not say this Committee works badly. I have sat on it and seen it at work, and it does not work badly. On the other hand, there is no doubt, as it is at present constituted, it does not work in an entirely satisfactory manner. The perfect coordination which we all wish to see has not yet been attained, and there is still a hitch in the proper co-ordination of the Departments concerned.

The Government. therefore, have during recent weeks had under further consideration the whole problem of how the organisation could be improved in the direction which noble Lords to-day have indicated. I did hope very much that I should have some definite information to give to the House this afternoon as to the results of this consideration, but unluckily it is impossible. I am not in a position yet to tell the House what the Government have in mind, and that was, if the noble Viscount, Lord Elibank, will forgive my saying so, the reason why it was suggested he should put off the debate. It was merely because we felt that we had nothing definite to tell him, and, therefore, perhaps he would prefer to put off his Motion till a later date. I hope he will understand that there was no intention to bring any pressure to bear upon him It was purely for his own convenience, and we were quite ready, if he wished to have the debate this afternoon, to have it. That was the reason we did communicate: with him.

In the circumstances it would be, I think, rather useless if I gave an answer to some of the more detailed inquiries about the organisation of the Department, because it is always possible that what I said would very soon be out of date. I hope, therefore, that noble Lords will for the moment content themselves with patience. I hope I shall not be obliged to keep them waiting long, and in any case I believe that this debate has been of value. It has enabled the whole subject to be ventilated, and it has been an extraordinarily interesting debate. Noble Lords have shown a real concern about the subject which, I think, is shared very widely, and the debate has also tended to show the complexity of the problem. If our propaganda is not exactly what it should be, it is not due to some slackness on the part of the Government, or inefficiency on the part of the Ministry itself; it is because the problem is an exceedingly difficult and complex one. I can only assure the House it is a problem which the Government have equally at heart with noble Lords, and that they are examining the matter most urgently. I hope at a very early date to give the House some further information


My Lords, I am extremely obliged to the noble Viscount for the courteous and full reply which he has given, so far as he is able to do so, to my Motion. I wish to say, as I did at the beginning of my remarks, that I had no idea or feeling that any pressure was being brought upon me, and that it was only because a full reply could not be given that I was requested to postpone my Motion. I think, however, that the debate has shown, if I may so put it, that I was wise in moving my Motion to-day, because, as the noble Viscount has said himself, we have had a most interesting debate which has ranged over a great many matters that are of extreme and vital importance to the Ministry of Information. The Government have had the opportunity of hearing the views of a great many sides upon this subject, and perhaps when trying to overcome that hitch, as I think the noble Viscount called it, in the machinery, what has been said to-day may be of great assistance to the Government. I beg to withdraw the Motion.

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.

House adjourned.