Libyan and Mediterranean Operations.

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 23rd June 1942.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

The hon. Member was good enough to give me notice that he wished to raise this point. All messages from Cairo are subject to censorship. They are censored only for security. For two or three days until yesterday criticism-of the handling of the battle was held up, but only as a temporary measure, on the grounds that it would be helpful to the enemy. This ban was released yesterday, with the result which will be seen in all this morning's papers. The ban, however, referred only to criticism and not to any news of a pessimistic or discouraging character. The sources of war correspondents' messages are various. They are compiled from personal observation at the front and from information given at the daily military conference in Cairo. The purpose of the military conference is, I believe, generally to expand and explain the communiqué, which must always be the backbone of the news of the day. Questions, however, may be asked, and a good deal of the information derived is probably in response to questions. It is quite impossible from this end to say what was the source of various messages in the Sunday Press of 21st June. It is worth pointing out, however, that the terrain and defences of Tobruk are very well known to every war correspondent there and that, if the strength of the garrison being left was stated, appreciation of the possibilities of defence was probably based on the independent judgments of the correspondents. All these men there have been studying Libya for a long time, some since the early beginnings, in General Wavell's days, and are thoroughly well informed.