assumption of complete control by the Foreign Office over all matters relating to propaganda abroad in January 1916 did little to mitigate more fundamental criticism concerning its methods, content and, above all, its organisation. Despite the improvements made in all these areas following the rationalisation of early 1916, there remained considerable dissatisfaction with the system as a whole. The War Office emerged as the principal critic of the new arrangements. In its view, Cecil’s reforms had made ‘no serious attempt to provide what is required’ and fell ‘far short of the essential minimum’.
The War Office argued that the new arrangements were merely a continuation of the old, but on a grander scale with all the inherent deficiencies remaining. Grave doubts were expressed about the Foreign Office’s ‘very limited conception of the realities of the case’ stemming chiefly from what was considered to be an undue emphasis upon press propaganda:
Until the idea is grasped of combating enemy propaganda not merely by news, which it is impolitic to fabricate, but also and even mainly by views, which it is quite possible to propagate, it seems hopeless to expect that any progress will be made towards designing an organisation suited to the necessities of the case.