Oral Answers to Questions — DR. Negrin (Broadcast Facilities)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th January 1945.

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Photo of Mr John Dugdale Mr John Dugdale , West Bromwich 12:00 am, 17th January 1945

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs why facilities were refused to Dr. Negrin to broadcast to a meeting held recently in New York; and whether such refusal was given after consultation with the U.S. Government.

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

To enable Dr. Negrin to send a message for amplification at the meeting in question, it would have been necessary to give him facilities for the use of the transatlantic telephone. In wartime this telephone is only available for Government or Government-sponsored calls, Press calls or approved broadcast transmissions and its use is very strictly controlled. The granting of facilities to Dr. Negrin for political purposes would have constituted an unwarranted exception. There was of course no question of debarring Dr. Negrin from using freely the usual facilities for transmitting his message by transatlantic cable. The answer to the second part of the Question is in the negative.

Photo of Mr John Dugdale Mr John Dugdale , West Bromwich

Would it not be correct to say that if somebody of whom His Majesty's Government approve, such as General Plastiras, asked for the use of this telephone, permission would have been granted immediately?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

I do not follow my hon. Friend's geography; General Plastiras is not here. This matter was brought to my notice and was settled in accordance with the practice we have followed. I think it only fair I should tell the House that foreign Governments resident in this country only have the use of this telephone on the rarest possible occasions, and that there would have been no case at all in my judgment for making this exception.