Ex-Ministers and Diplomats (Press Contributions).

Oral Answers to Questions — Government Departments. – in the House of Commons on 17th March 1942.

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Photo of Wing Commander Archibald James Wing Commander Archibald James , Wellingborough

asked the Prime Minister what are the rules and regulations limiting journalistic activities of diplomats, service attaches and Ministers of the Crown, respectively, upon relinquishing appointments?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

Members of the Diplomatic Service must not, without the express permission of the Secretary of State publish observations on, or accounts of, their experiences in the countries in which they are or have been officially employed, or any information obtained by them in their official capacity. Service attaches must obtain similar permission from their own Departments; who consult the Foreign Office on each occasion. As regards the third part of the Question, all persons who have held high office under the Crown are under an obligation to consult the Government of the day, or the heads of the Departments affected, in regard to the publication of any confidential matter of which they may have acquired official knowledge; and to obtain, in any doubtful cases, formal permission including, where necessary, the consent of the Crown to such publication.

Photo of Wing Commander Archibald James Wing Commander Archibald James , Wellingborough

Would it not be desirable that there should be a check upon ex-Ministers writing for the Press as soon as they leave office, and as members of the diplomatic service are already subject to this check, could not similar steps be taken in the case of ex-Ministers?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

If the hon. and gallant Member has any particular case in mind, perhaps he will let me have information about it.

Photo of Viscount  Turnour Viscount Turnour , Horsham and Worthing

If there is to be an inquiry into these incidents, will inquiry be made into the journalistic activity of the Prime Minister after he left office in 1929?