Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/96

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

comments. On September 10th last the Globe published the following letter:


"Press Bureau,
"40, Charing Cross.
"September 7th, 1914.

"Dear Sir,

"Mr. F. E. Smith desires me to draw your attention to a letter headed 'A German's Outburst,' which appeared in your issue of the 2nd instant, and a facsimile of which appeared in your issue of the 4th instant. This letter has received the notice of the Home Secretary, who expresses the view that 'the articles and letters in the Globe are causing something in the nature of a panic in the matter of spies' and desires that they should be suppressed at once. In view of this expression of opinion by the Home Secretary, Mr. Smith has no doubt that you will refrain, in the future, from publishing articles or letters of a similar description.

"Yours very truly,

"Harold Smith, Secretary."

Very properly, the Globe pointed out that, in this matter, " nothing less is at stake than the liberty of the Press to defend the public interest and criticise the administrative acts of a Minister of the Crown." The unwarrantable attempt of the Home Secretary, through the Press Bureau, to suppress criticism of this nature, to stop the mouths of those who insisted on warning the public of a peril which he has, all along, blindly refused to see, raises a constitutional issue of the very gravest kind. The Globe promptly asked the Press Bureau under what authority it claimed the "power to suppress the free expression of opinion in the English press on subjects wholly unconnected with military or naval movements." Mr. Harold Smith's reply was the amazing assertion