The Secretary of State to the Chargé at Algiers ( Chapin )
2112. For Murphy. Your 2257 July 3, 3 p.m. repeated for MacVeagh as No. 93. Our consistent policy has been and is now that there should be no censorship on purely political grounds. All considerations of censorship, in our view, should be those involving military security only. Only exception made is in unauthorized disclosure of diplomatic negotiations or conversations having a direct bearing upon military operations.
In view of foregoing Department sees no necessity for revision of censorship directive prepared by you, approved by Macmillan and as indicated by Wilson entirely consistent with theatre policy.
While Department leaves entirely to your judgment whether or not to request that British authorities be instructed to make clear to American correspondents that portions their despatches censored on political grounds is done solely on British authority, it doubts whether this will achieve the practical results desired for following reasons:
- Channels are open which are beyond control of British Middle East authorities thus penalizing American correspondents Cairo in that they will be unable, despite our disassociation with political censorship that theatre, to file copy which others at more distant points may file as a result of information bearing interpretation less likely to have balance of that available Cairo; and
- We have no assurance that our position in matter will be made clear to or accepted by representatives of powerful organs of American public opinion.
Under these circumstances should political censorship, exclusive of exception cited in paragraph 1 above, be imposed despite our opposition and be complained of by American correspondents Cairo or be attacked editorially in United States, Department would be obliged to make official statement that it opposed imposition of such censorship initially and continues to oppose it. Furthermore Department feels that pending such a statement here should matter be protested by American newspapermen to missions in area affected they should be free to make position of Department clear to inquirer.
Repeated to AmEmBalk Cairo as Greek Series No. 40.