Newspaper Article, "Colour Bar Must Go"

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Information – in the House of Commons on 14th October 1942.

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Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

asked the Minister of Information whether it was with his knowledge and approval that his article entitled "Colour Bar Must Go," published in the "Sunday Express," was released by his Department for our Colonies but prohibited from despatch to Panama, Pittsburgh and Chicago; and whether he has any statement to make?

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

The answer to the first part of the hon. Member's Question is, "No." In holding up the publication of this article in the United States, one of our officials, like Midshipman Easy, showed an excess of zeal. He knew that the article had been written many months ago in order that the Ministry of Information should place on record their disapproval of a lack of hospitality shown to some members of a group of West Indian editors who visited England. When this article was recently published in an English newspaper without any consultation with the Ministry of Information, the official took the view that this article if cabled to America might be connected with the arrival of American Negro troops in England and might seem to be a piece of gratuitous advice to one of our Allies as to how it should deal with its own subjects. This, he felt, would lead to serious misunderstandings as to the real purpose of the article, and accordingly he stopped it from being transmitted to America. His intentions were good, but his action was pedantic, and must be looked upon as one of the occasional aberrations of a well-regulated censorship.

Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

In view of the satisfactory nature of my right hon. Friend's reply, am I to understand that this article, with whose lofty sentiments I entirely agree, can now be released for publication in any part of the world?

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

Yes, any, paper which likes to publish this dully-written collection of truisms is quite welcome to do so.