Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/93

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THE PERIL OF THE PRESS BUREAU

American and Canadian newspapers. It was, perhaps, still more unfortunate that even the speeches of Mr. Asquith and Sir Edward Grey on the subject of the declaration of war should have been similarly delayed. Why? Telegraphic reports of these speeches were held up for four days by the censors at cable offices and were then "censored" before they were despatched. I ask, could mischievous and bungling stupidity go farther than this?

Here is another case. In one of his speeches, Mr. Asquith, on a Friday night in Dublin, announced that the Indian troops were, that day, landing at Marseilles. The speech, and the statement, were reported next day in the London newspapers. After the publication of this, the Press Bureau forbade any mention of the landing of the Indian troops!

In the House of Commons, on September 10th, Mr. Sherwell exposed another instance of the ridiculous vagaries of the unequal censorship. In the Daily Chronicle, he said, there was published a brilliant article by Mr. Philip Gibbs—who was with me during the first Balkan campaign—describing the actual operations of Sir John French's army up to the last few days. That article was published without comment and without criticism in the Daily Chronicle, yet the cable censor refused to allow it to be sent to the New York Times. Again why?

It is, or should be, the function of the Press Bureau not merely to supply the public with accurate news, but to make sure that false or misleading reports are promptly suppressed. The reason for this is obvious. We do not wish to be depressed by unfounded stories of disaster, nor do we wish to experience the inevitable reaction which follows when we learn that we have been deluded by false news of a great victory. Whatever may be the