HC Deb 23 March 1960 vol 620 c44W
Mr. N. McLean

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT the full text of the letter, sent to him by Dr. Kennedy in connection with the latter's lecture at the Royal Institution.

1960. Mr. Soames

The text is as follows:

University of Edinburgh.

th March,

Dear Sir,

I understand that you would like confirmation of the information given by me to Mr. Burrows, who rang me up yesterday, about newspaper reports on the subject of Brainwashing in Britain.

I have looked at the script used by me at my discourse at the Royal Institution and can give you full assurance that at no point in the script or in the discourse itself did I make any reference to Britain or to any sort of interrogation or brainwashing activities carried out there. As there were about four hundred people present it would not be difficult to obtain confirmation of this.

My references to brainwashing were entirely general and no government was referred to. My account of its principles could be deduced entirely from material already available in books and magazines. As I spent 4½ years in the Middle East during the war it is unlikely that I would know anything about secret activities in Britain. My paper was a scientific one which referred to the known methods used in interrogation and their application to peacetime purposes such as the treatment of Delirium in old age, to which a large part of the discourse was devoted.

I was naturally annoyed when I saw the headline in the "Observer", but I realised that no good is ever done by complaining about inaccuracies in newspapers, so I took no action.

I hope that this will serve to reassure you that my comments on brainwashing at the Royal Institution have been grossly distorted and exaggerated by the Press.

Yours faithfully,


The Right Hon. Christopher Soames, C.B.E.,

The War Office,

London, S.W.I.