Previous Index Next

 

X40   DAYS OF PREPARATION

placing a heavy burden upon the British trader. It is almost inevitable that the innocent must sometimes suffer with the guilty, and the more severe the restrictions imposed, the more impossible does it become to avoid the occasional commission of an unintended wrong. Constant care, therefore, has to be and is exercised to ensure that increased effectiveness of censorship is not purchased at the expense of the British trader.

`It is obvious that . . . uniformity of treatment can be obtained only by observing certain broad principles in the censoring of messages. In the interpretation of these principles much must clearly be left to the personal discretion of individual censors. Little difficulty arises in this respect with regard to private telegrams, but the formulation of principles for dealing with trade telegrams was a task requiring considerable time and experience.

"The accepted principle upon which the censorship of commercial cables is now conducted'is to withhold, as far as the British cables are concerned, all facilities for carrying on trade with an enemy country.

"All cables accordingly are liable to be stopped which show clear evidence, either by the text of the telegram or by the known facts as to the sender or addressee, that they relate to a transaction, whether in contra-band or non-contraband, to which a resident of an alien country is one of the parties. This principle is applied impartially to British, Allied, or Neutral subjects who endeavour to trade with the enemy through the medium of British cables."

The objects of the postal censorship are similar to those of the cable censorship, and there is no intention of interfering with legitimate correspondence. Letters coming directly from the area of military operations are in most cases censored locally, under the orders of the Field-Marshal or General Officer Commanding-in-Chief the British Forces in the Field. Those which appear to have escaped censorship are sent by the Post Office to the censors in London for examination.


Previous Index Next