Cassino Operations (Despatches)

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons on 25th April 1944.

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Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the publication of a despatch to the New Zealand Government by General Freyberg, G.O.C. New Zealand Corps, on the operations at Cassino; and whether any despatch has been received by the Government from the G.O.C. British Troops.

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

The answer to the first part of the Question is, "Yes, Sir," and to the second part, "No, Sir."

Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that it is somewhat incongruous that a subordinate commander can send a despatch to his own Government, parts of which are published, and yet the supreme commander sends no despatch? Will he consult the Prime Minister, so that we can have a rather better explanation of why the public are not allowed to see some of these despatches?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

The point is that the general officer commanding the troops of a Dominion has the right to report to his own Government in despatches, and the question of despatches being published here is another matter. Perhaps my hon. Friend will put down a specific question on that.

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

Is not the refusal to publish despatches in this war due to a desire to cover up blunders?