British War Effort (Information to Russia).

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Information. – in the House of Commons on 24th June 1942.

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Photo of Major Hon. Sir Edward Cadogan Major Hon. Sir Edward Cadogan , Bolton

asked the Minister of Information what steps are being taken to provide the Russian people with any information as to the British war effort, more especially in its relation to the assistance in munitions and supplies, which has been rendered by this country to the Soviet Union?

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

The Ministry have had their share of the misfortunes of war in their publicity activities in Russia. The ship carrying the newly-appointed Press Attache and his staff was torpedoed and, though they were happily saved, the large consignment of books and other printed publicity which they took with them was all lost. Since their arrival a month ago they have reached agreement with the Soviet authorities, on various new measures. These include the publication of an illustrated weekly in Russian and the establishment of a British library in Moscow. A steadily increasing number of British films is being regularly despatched. My hon. and gallant Friend will appre- ciate that our activities are hampered by the long and difficult journey-between this country and Russia. However, the despatch by wireless of Press matter about the British war effort has been steadily increasing and has now reached an average rate of nearly 20,000 words a day.

Photo of Major Hon. Sir Edward Cadogan Major Hon. Sir Edward Cadogan , Bolton

Could our Embassy in Moscow do something rather more original than has been done?

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

I do not think so. The Ambassador is very publicity-minded. He is working against very difficult conditions at the present time. Both the Ambassador and the Press Attache, I am certain, are doing all in their power to increase knowledge of English ways of life in Russia.

Photo of Mr George Garro-Jones Mr George Garro-Jones , Aberdeen North

Are there any facilities for printing British propaganda in Russia in the same way that there are ample facilities for printing Russian propaganda and information about their war effort in Britain?

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

I thought I had dealt with that in the answer which I gave the hon. and gallant Gentleman. There are facilities in Russia, but I do not think they are the same facilities as exist in England.

Photo of Mr George Garro-Jones Mr George Garro-Jones , Aberdeen North

Has any printing machinery been placed at the disposal of the British propaganda officials in Russia?

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

Yes, Sir. We could not print a weekly paper if we had not the use of machines.

Photo of Captain Leonard Plugge Captain Leonard Plugge , Rochester Chatham

Has my right hon. Friend considered radio, and has he given consideration to the suggestions I made in my two speeches on this subject on 3rd July last year and 17th February this year, namely, that transmissions on the short wave in English from Russia should be broadcast on the medium wave band in this country, and vice versa, so that the great masses of listeners could receive them instead of limiting this to the very privileged few who possess short-wave receivers?

Viscountess Astor:

Is it not time we had some other propaganda than Russian? What about Australia, Canada, America and the rest? I think we are making a great mistake.