Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/99

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93
THE PERIL OF THE PRESS BUREAU

We have to bear in mind, in this connection, that the Press Bureau had just been reorganised. Mr. F. E. Smith had resigned, on leaving for the front, and the Home Secretary was the Minister responsible to Parliament for its conduct. At his request the Press Bureau endeavoured to prevent the Globe continuing to criticise his action, or rather inaction. Well indeed might the Globe say: "We must reserve to ourselves the right, at all times, to give expression to views on Ministerial policy and even to dare to criticise the action of the Home Secretary." And I venture to say that, but for the jealousy inherent among British newspapers, the Globe would have had the unanimous support of every metropolitan and provincial journal, every single one of which was vitally affected by the Home Secretary's preposterous claim.

The claim of the country for fuller information has been expressed in many ways, and by many people, and it has been admitted by no less a personage than Mr. Asquith himself. In the House of Commons early in September Mr. Asquith said the Government felt "that the public is entitled to prompt and authentic information of what has happened at the front, and they are making arrangements which they hope will be more adequate."

That was months ago, and, up to the present, very few signs of the "prompt and authentic information" have been perceptible.

Even more significant is the following passage from the latest despatches of Sir John French, which covered the period from November 20th to the beginning of February:

"I regard it as most unfortunate that circumstances have prevented any account of many splendid