Catalogue description Services, Press and Broadcasting Committee and predecessors: Unregistered Papers

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Details of DEFE 53
Reference: DEFE 53
Title: Services, Press and Broadcasting Committee and predecessors: Unregistered Papers
Description:

The records in this series are of the Press and Broadcasting Committee and predecessors and consist mostly of copies of Defence notices (commonly referred to as D-Notices) issued or lists of those in force at a particular time. D-Notices covered topics whose publication required censorship advice as they were considered possibly injurious to national security. There are also minutes of meetings and correspondence relating to the work of the inter-service committee, the title of which changed to reflect its evolving membership of representatives from the service departments as well as members from the press and broadcasting.

Date: 1912-2004
Arrangement:

The records are arranged chronologically, under the committees' name at the time, beginning with those of the Admiralty, War Office and Press Committee.

Related material:

Records of the Official Press Bureau for the years 1914-1919 are contained in HO 139

Similar material for the war of 1939-1945, and for the period immediately thereafter is included in (Directorate of Military Intelligence) WO 208

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Creator:

Admiralty, War Office and Press Committee, 1912-1919

Admiralty, War Office, Air Ministry and Press Committee, 1919-1939

Admiralty, War Office, Air Ministry and Press Committee, 1945-1993

Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee, 1993-

Physical description: 21 files and volumes
Access conditions: Open
Immediate source of acquisition:

Ministry of Defence , from 1996

Administrative / biographical background:

For some years after the second Boer war attempts had been made to establish a committee which could advise on publication of naval and military news in times of war. Accordingly, in 1912, the Admiralty, War Office and Press Committee was constituted. It comprised representatives of both the press and the service departments. The official side consisted of the permanent secretaries of the Admiralty and the War Office; the press side was composed of representatives of the principal newspaper associations and news agencies. In 1919 the Air Ministry joined the committee, which was then re-named Admiralty, War Office, Air Ministry and Press Committee. The secretary of the committee was originally the manager of the Press Association and subsequently an official of the Press Association.

The committee issued Defence notices (commonly referred to as D-notices) from its inception in 1912 until 2 September 1939. However, during the war of 1914-1918, it acted as agent for the War Press Bureau which, in concert with MI.7 (part of the Directorate of Military Intelligence), was responsible for press censorship.

During the war of 1939-1945 the committee was temporarily suspended, and D-notices were issued from the News and Press Censorship Bureau of the Ministry of Information. The D-notices still in force upon the outbreak of the war were used as the basis of the first Book of Defence Notices, which covered subjects whose publication was considered dangerous without censorship advice.

In 1993 the role of the committee was reviewed in the light of international changes and the increased emphasis on openness in government. The committee's title was changed to the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee, and the Defence Advisory-notices [DA-notices] were published openly for the first time.

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