HC Deb 24 June 1953 vol 516 cc151-2W
Mr. F. Maclean

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the regulations of his Department concerning the submission before publication of books written by former members of the Foreign Service about their official duties; and, in view of the grave imputations made against the conduct of officials at the Foreign Office during the inter-war period in the book, "Diplomatic Twilight," whether this book was submitted to him and approved.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

As regards the first part of the Question, the policy of Her Majesty's Government remains as indicated in the reply given on 1st August, 1946, by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham (Mr. H. Morrison). The scrutiny of any books submitted, so far as the Foreign Office is concerned, is directed to ascertaining whether publication would involve the disclosure of any secret information, or would otherwise be directly injurious to the public interest. But the Foreign Office neither possess nor can they exercise powers of censorship.

As regards the second part of the Question, the manuscript of the book recently published as "Diplomatic Twilight" was submitted to the Foreign Office over two years ago. The author was informed that from the point of view of disclosure of confidential information there was no objection to publication, but his attention was drawn to the undesirability of public attacks by one former Civil Servant on others. I would add that the imputations made in this book against the conduct of high officials at the Foreign Office during the inter-war period are not in accordance with the facts and are therefore unwarranted.