26 DECEMBER 1947, Page 4

In writing on Mr. Dalton's resignation just after it happened

I suggested that a partial explanat:on of the Chancellor's apparent folly in disclosing his Budget proposals to a journalist half an hour or so before he began his Budget speech was that he never dreamed that the news could get into print before the speech was made. The publica- tion of the evidence given before the Select Committee which has just reported on the whole business confirms that assumption completely. Mr. Dalton knew that the journalist who accosted him would have to write about the Budget, and thought the task would be the easier if he had a little longer to consider the main items. Hence a good- natured disclosure which cannot be defended, but need not, I sug- gest, be too sweepingly and pharisaically condemned. But the Com- mittee spent little time over the ex-Chancellor, who had made full admission and full atonement. It talked for hours about journalistic ethics, and particularly about the duty of a journalist who obtained important information from a Minister, with no embargo on the use he might make of it, to substitute his own conscience for the Minister's and decide not to publish what in his view should not have been disclosed. There may be something in this, but I am bound to say it is asking a good deal.