§ Mr. Shepherd
asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he is taking to prevent the importation of American comics under other classifications.
§ Mr. P. Thorneycroft
The only way in which comics can be legally imported from the United States of America is under the world open general licence for periodicals, magazines and the like, imported as single copies through the post by persons who pay or have paid the overseas supplier direct and not through an agent.
Most of the so-called American comics sold in this country are not in fact printed in the United States, and I have no evidence that such imports as may be 168W taking place under this particular classification in the open general licence are sufficient to justify restricting a facility which is of obvious value to the public. All other considerations apart, it would in any case be impossible to enforce a restriction on subject matter without inspecting every periodical sent into this country through the post as a single copy.
I rely on the co-operation and efficiency of Her Majesty's Customs officers to prevent comics being imported illegally in bulk.