Oral Answers to Questions — Tanganyika (Newspaper Interview)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th January 1964.

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Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East 12:00 am, 30th January 1964

asked the Prime Minister by what authority a Government intelligence officer gave an interview concerning Tanganyika which appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 23rd January, 1964.

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

No authority was given for an interview, and I have no reason to suppose that the article in question was based on information supplied by a Government official.

Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East

Would not the Prime Minister agree that statements made in this interview were mischievous, irresponsible and untrue, and can only damage co-operation between Commonwealth countries, particularly in security matters? Is he in a position to assure the House that he knows for certain that no Government servant was responsible for this interview? He will realise how important this could be for Commonwealth co-operation in future.

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

I have tried to say that, to the best of my knowledge, no Government official, certainly, was responsible for this. That is what I said in my original Answer. It really is not for me to comment on the article, or on the internal affairs or personalities of other countries.

Photo of Mr Stephen Hastings Mr Stephen Hastings , Mid Bedfordshire

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that there is every merit in the public of this country being made fully aware of the Communist menace in Africa and that this article went a long way to enlighten them?

Hon. Members:

Answer.

Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East

If the Prime Minister will not answer his hon. Friend's supplementary question, will he at least assure the House that certain statements about Mr. Kambona's residence in Moscow were untrue, and known to be untrue, and that no service is done to the cause of the Commonwealth or of resistance to Communism in Africa by mischievous, irresponsible and untrue statements about Ministers in other Governments?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

I did not answer my hon. Friend's supplementary question because I am not concerned to confirm or not confirm statements by journalists in articles.

Mr. H. Wilson:

If the Prime Minister refuses to answer questions about a Communist plot in East Africa, may I ask whether his own statement on American television last Sunday as reported in this country—perhaps inaccurately—represents the view of Her Majesty's Government?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

I hope that the statements I make anywhere represent the views of Her Majesty's Government.