29 MARCH 1963, Page 8

Pressing On Mr Harold Wilson's speech about public re- lations

the other day seems to me to have several sensible points in it. Pressure groups are an inevitable part of our society, but there is nothing harmful in this provided their activities are public knowledge. ThiS is especially the case when public relations firms are employed by foreign interests. Registration on American lines would provide a cure. The Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence need watching in case their proper ration of falsification and suppression is exceeded, but there is no reason why they should open confidential briefings to people who are not trustworthy, and who are, in fact, usually excluded from 'inner circle' discussions. Mr. Wilson should be careful that, in attacking public relations, he does not extend his assault to the information departments in Whitehall or the nationalised industries. These PROs, and some from the bigger firms, do a genuine service to press and public.