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Merchant Shipping Losses (Publication)

Volume 389: debated on Wednesday 26 May 1943

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asked the Minister of Information why reports appeared in the Press of this country of the findings of the Truman Senate Committee that 12,000,000 tons of allied merchant shipping were sunk by enemy action during 1942, when it is the policy of His Majesty's Government not to publish such statistics?

These reports were first published in the United States and were then sent to this country by cable. If the hon. Member is suggesting that the censorship should have intervened to prevent the publication here of a piece of news which was known to the rest of the world, then I must tell him that such an action would be contrary to all the principles governing the conduct of the British censorship.

While the right hon. Gentleman will know that I do not want censorship of this sort of thing, does he not think it is anomalous that news about the sinkings by enemy action of ships belonging to us should come via America and that we cannot get the information from our own Government?

May I point out that this is a very anomalous world, or, at any rate, in some respects an ill-contrived world?