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Broadcasts To Russia

Volume 465: debated on Wednesday 1 June 1949

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asked the Postmaster-General how many wavebands normally allotted to amateur broadcasting stations have been transferred by him to the British Broadcasting Corporation for the purpose of supplementing Russian language and "Voice of America" transmissions.

In view of the widespread assertions that a great number of these wavelengths have been taken, will my hon. Friend bear in mind that, if it is necessary to take amateur wavelengths for this political warfare, the amateur users should be consulted before they are taken?


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on what date he first became aware that the "Voice of America" and the British Broadcasting Corporation programmes to the Soviet Union were subjected to deliberate jamming.

Sporadic attempts have been made for many months past to jam the "Voice of America" programmes. Large scale jamming of both the "Voice of America" and the British Broadcasting Corporation programmes began on 25th April of this year, and was immediately reported by His Majesty's Ambassador at Moscow.

Will the hon. Gentleman assure the House that he will not relax his attempts to put the British view across to the Russian people?

We shall, of course, do everything we can in that direction. At the same time, we are meeting with great difficulties at the present moment in connection with the question of broadcasting to Russia.

Can my hon. Friend say whether the date he mentioned preceded or followed the recent instruction under which our broadcasters were told that they must no longer be objective, but must remember that they were pursuing a "cold war"?

Has the Minister noted with satisfaction the extent to which the truth hurts the Communists?

Will my hon. Friend say how he knows that no such instructions were given? Is he now accepting responsibility for the direction of policy in connection with broadcasts to Central Europe and the Soviet Union? May I have an answer to that question?

My hon. Friend is well aware of the constitutional relationship that exists between the Foreign Office, on the one hand, and the B.B.C., on the other. No person in his senses supposes that the B.B.C. has issued any such instructions.

On a point of Order. I have made that statement, Mr. Speaker, and may I ask you whether my hon. Friend is entitled——

The hon. Member started by saying that he had made a statement. To obtain information, one asks questions and does not make statements.

I am asking you, Mr. Speaker, as a matter of Order, whether my hon. Friend is entitled to suggest to the House that I am out of my senses? It seems to me to be a very rude thing to say.