Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):
Mr. Speaker, at an earlier part of the session there was considerable discussion in the house with respect to censorship and its more effective control. I wish to
inform hon. members that as a result of the government's decision to provide for greater centralization and coordination between the various branches of censorship, the office of director of censorship has been created. I am pleased to announce that Colonel 0. M. Biggar has been appointed to fill this new and important position. Under the arrangement previously existing, each branch of censorship was under a different minister with a separate staff. The chief postal censor was responsible to the Postmaster General; the chief telegraph, cable and telephone censor was responsible to the Minister of National Defence; the press censors to the Secretary of State, and the radio broadcasting censor to the Minister of National War Services. A degree of integration existed, inasmuch as there was a censorship coordination committee of which the Minister of National War Services was chairman, but with the increased scope and growing intensity of the war this has proved to be inadequate.
In future, all divisions of censorship will be placed under the Minister of National War Services. The director of censorship will be the administrative head of the new organization and will be responsible to the Minister of National War Services. The present chief officers of each of the branches of censorship will become assistant directors in respect of their particular fields.
As a result of this reorganization a consistent policy for all aspects of censorship will be more readily maintained. Overlapping in effort will be removed. From the point of view of preventing leakage of information valuable to the enemy, and for the purpose of securing information for intelligence purposes, it is expected that the centralized system will be more effective. The central authority will also be valuable in relations with the United Kingdom and United States censorship authorities, each of which is under unified control.
Censorship plays a vital part in the war effort. Its conduct requires, in the highest degree, judgment, skill and devotion to duty. I should like to say that the government is highly appreciative of Colonel Biggar's acceptance of the arduous and responsible duties which he has been asked and has undertaken to perform. Colonel Biggar will continue to act as chairman of the Canadian section of the permanent joint board on defence.
Subtopic: CENTRALIZATION AND COORDINATION- APPOINTMENT OF DIRECTOR