§ 59. Mr. TREVELYAN
asked the Home Secretary why it was regarded as necessary to conceal for so long through the Press censorship the news of the destruction of the Ochta Works in Russia, when one of the reasons for the supreme need of the production of more munitions here was to make up for this calamity to our Ally?
§ 60. Mr. KING
asked the Home Secretary whether his attention had been called to the circumstances under which the explosions at the munition factories at Ochta, Russia, were first announced in the London Press; whether he is aware that on Monday, the 13th September, one journal gave the facts, and on Wednesday, the 15th September, another journal also gave an account, while on the 16th two other journals were refused permission to state the facts already published; and why was this distinction made?
§ 61. Sir W. BYLES
asked the Home Secretary whether he will explain the reason why, in view of the alleged deficiencies in the Russian supply of munitions, it was held right to withhold from publication for many weeks the report of the disaster at the Ochta explosive works near Petrograd; and why, when it was published, were two journals allowed to publish the news several days before other journals which had applied for the same permission?
§ Sir J. SIMON
The report referred to, whether true or false, had never been submitted to the Press Bureau and the Bureau knew nothing of it until Monday, the 13th instant. On that day, without any previous submission to the Press Bureau, the Amalgamated Press published the story in a serial called "The Great War." That night the "Daily News" applied for permission to publish, and the "Star" repeated this application on the 14th instant. Both applications had to be refused upon the ground that the publication of such matter might apparently contravene Regulation 18 of the Defence of the Realm Regulations which prohibits publication without lawful authority of 313 any information with respect to the war materials of any of His Majesty's Allies, but the Press Bureau referred the matter to the War Office. In the meantime, again without any previous submission to the Press Bureau, the "Evening News" published the report in their principal editions of the 15th; and later on that evening, in view of all the circumstances, the War Office decided that the matter might be released for publication.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether these facts have been brought to the notice of the Director of Public Prosecutions?