29 JANUARY 1965, Page 13

Public Relations

Sit,—In your issue of January 22, in 'Political Commentary,' Mr. Alan Watkins writes: 'The phrase "public relations" was first used in this country by Mr. C. R. Attlee. The time was t931.' As a matter of record, I should like to point out that this is not so. The first use of the words 'public relations' was in January 1925 when I was appointed 'Public Relations and Advertising Officer'

to the Southern Railway Company by Sir Herbert Walker, then General Manager. The choice of the title was mine, having met Mr. Ivy Lee, Public Relations Officer to the New York 'Subway' (Under- ground) system in 1920.

That this was the first occasion outside America has not so far been successfully challenged by any- one, and at the annual conference of the Institute of Public Relations at Margate a few years ago, when I was invited to be their guest speaker, 1 staked my claim, and was not contradicted.

Whether in due course a statue to me should be erected, or whether I should have been shot a long time ago, I will leave to the judgment of your readers.


Thos. Cook and Son „Ltd., Berkeley Street, W I