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British Information Service, United States

Volume 390: debated on Wednesday 2 June 1943

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41.

asked the Minister of Information whether he will consider appointing to the British Information Service in America at least one representative who is, or has been, an editor of a British national daily paper?

No, Sir. If the hon. and gallant Gentleman will take the trouble to understand the elements of the journalistic profession, he will discover that editors have no wish to become civil servants. If I may be regarded as an accurate reader, I may say that one of the principal qualifications for an editor of a British newspaper is zeal to criticise the faithful, but not too popular, Civil Service.

Is not the administration of our Information Service in America a job primarily for first-rate journalists, men of the calibre of Mr. Frank Owen, late editor of the "Evening Standard," who is at present employed by the Government in one of the lower ranks of the Army?

The post has never been offered to him, but I should say he would refuse it out of hand. May I remind the hon. and gallant Gentleman that the British Information Service in America have to look after that not unimportant thing radio, and that is not a job for a national editor. Some people think that the film is a valuable medium of propaganda. Again a national editor is not the type of man for that.

Is there not a considerable amount of newspaper propaganda as well?