THE FACTS

Whereas the facts as presented by the applicant's solicitors and as
appearing from the documents submitted by them may be summarised as
follows:

I. He was elected to Parliament in 1918 as a member of the Conservative
Party; dissatisfied with the Government policy the applicant became
first an independent member of Parliament, was again returned in the
1922 and 1923 elections, and finally joined the Labour Party in 1924.
In 1929 the applicant became a junior Minister in charge of
unemployment, in the second McDonald Government. In this capacity he
put forward a scheme for dealing with unemployment which was turned
down by the Cabinet and, in 1930, he resigned from the Government.
Having resigned from the Labour Party as well, the applicant decided
to form a new Party which was later called the "British Union of
Fascists". According to the applicant's statements, the British version
of the Fascist movement was fundamentally different from Italian
fascism, or German National Socialism. The Union's policy was to create
a system of economic autarchy within the British Empire, to control
private enterprises and to modify British constitutional law at a first
stage by way of elections based on a vocational basis and, afterwards,
by the abolition of Parliament itself and the concentration of all
powers in the hands of the Government.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, the applicant advocated a
compromise peace with Germany and Italy. After the fall of France he
was interned by the British Government until November 9143 when he was
restricted in his activities until the end of the war. After the war
the applicant reconstituted his Party under the name of "Union
Movement" aiming at European union and European Government.

The applicant further states that during his whole political career he
was never anti-Semite, nor did he preach racial hatred or racial and
religious discrimination.

II. The applicant states that the British Broadcasting Corporation
(BBC) has been conducting a campaign against him since 1958, stating
that in the 1930s he wanted to emulate Italian and German dictatorship
and that he was advocating racial hatred, anti-Semitism and violence.

The applicant's particular complaint now before the Commission concerns
a television programme broadcast on .. April, 1966, in which it was
said that the applicant was an imitator of Hitler.

The applicant states that, on .. July, 1966, his solicitors wrote to
the BBC and requested that he should be allowed to make a statement
through the same media through which the allegedly defamatory
statements about him had been made, but that this request was refused
by a letter from the BBC's solicitors dated .. September, 1966.

The applicant who had commenced a libel action against the BBC in a
previous case, which, however, he did not pursue did not bring a new
libel action stating his reasons as follows:

(a) according to Section 6 of the Administration of Justice and Act
1933, libel actions have to be tried before a jury and no proper
redress is obtainable as the court can only award damages but has no
power to order the publication of a reasoned judgment with a view to
restoring the reputation of the plaintiff;

(b) when fair comment is pleaded as had been done by the BBC in the
previous case, the procedure is extremely long, expensive and
complicated. The cost of such proceedings would be prohibitive for him
whereas the BBC on the other hand has several thousand pounds of
licence fees as its disposal;

(c) the matter would be decided by a jury which itself would be
influenced by the television and press campaign.

SUBMISSIONS OF THE PARTIES

A. The applicant has inter alia submitted that, as a result of the
official character of the BBC, the acts complained of are to be deemed
the acts of the British Government. He has alleged violations of the
following rights guaranteed by the European Convention:

1. The libellous attacks on his reputation endanger his personal
safety, and disrupt his family life, in violation of the right to
respect for private and family life as guaranteed in Article 8 of the
Convention; He has submitted that the continuous attacks affected the
health and spirits of his wife, Lady X. preventing her from
accompanying him without risk to her health and safety on his visits
to England from France;

2. the impossibility for the applicant to obtain proper redress in the
English courts for the alleged violations of his rights guaranteed by
Article 8 of the Convention constitutes itself a violation of the right
under Article 6, paragraph (1), of the Convention, of a failure to have
his civil rights determined within a reasonable time by an impartial
tribunal. The applicant has also contended that a trial before a jury
would not be an impartial one, as the other party has at its disposal
mass media fit to influence the jurors at its sole command;

3. he has further alleged a "violation of Article 13 of the Convention,
in that the British Government failed to provide an effective remedy
before a national authority to the applicant and to amend the state of
English law regarding libel so that it might comply with the provisions
of the Convention".

The applicant has claimed:

(a) the cessation of the BBC's libellous allegations against him, and

(b) the possibility to refute he libel by means of the same mass media
through which they were made by the BBC.

B. The respondent Government has maintained that it was in no way
responsible for the programme broadcast by the BBC since the BBC is not
a department of the British Government. The Government has inter alia
made the following submissions:

"[The BBC] is an independent corporation whose acts are, in fact and
as a matter of consistent government policy, and in law in accordance
with its Charter, its own acts and not those of the British Government.
The duty imposed on the BBC by Clause 14 (3) of the Licence and
Agreement is a duty to make specific announcements at the request of
a Minister. It does not affect the independent status of the BBC nor
does it imply that the content of regular programmes is in any way at
the behest of the Government. The power retained by the Postmaster
General in Clause 14 (4) of the Licence and Agreement is a reserve
power of veto and not a power to dictate the content of programmes.
Corresponding powers of the Postmaster General are contained in Section
17 of the Television Act 1964 in respect of the Independent Television
Authority which also operates under a Licence granted by the Postmaster
General."

The respondent Government has further submitted that the applicant has
failed to exhaust all domestic remedies in accordance with Article 26
of the Convention and that he has failed to show any reason which,
under the generally recognised rules of international law would
dispense him from this requirement.

PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION

By partial decision of 8th February, 1968, the Commission declared
inadmissible certain complaints made by the applicant with regard to
a number of radio and television programmes broadcast by the BBC prior
to 14th January, 1966, date at which the United Kingdom Government
recognised the right of individual petition with regard to subsequent
events.

At the same time the Commission decided, in accordance with Rule 45,
paragraph (3) (b), of its Rules of Procedure, to give notice thereof
to the United Kingdom Government and to invite it to submit its
observations on the question of admissibility.

On 26th April, 1968, the respondent Government submitted its written
observations on admissibility and on 23rd July, 1968, the applicant's
solicitors submitted his observations in reply. At the same time they
requested an adjournment of the case for three months in view of
"certain negotiations".

On 24th September, 1968, the applicant's solicitors informed the
Commission's Secretary that their client had reconciled his differences
with the BBC and that it would not be necessary to proceed with the
application further.

After having been requested to give information as to the terms of the
settlement reached, they wrote on 1st October, 1968, as follows:

"BBC has made recorded interviews with our client and has actually
shown them on television in England.

A further and longer interview with our client was also discussed to
be concerned with his career which is the subject of his forthcoming
book, and these facts would have appeared to have removed our client's
cause of complaint."

THE LAW

Whereas the applicant states that he wishes not to proceed with this
application further; whereas the Commission has considered this
declaration in the light of its constant jurisprudence in cases of
proposed withdrawal of an application pending before it; whereas it
results from this jurisprudence that in such cases the Commission is
called upon to ascertain whether there are any reasons of a general
character affecting the observance of the Convention which would
necessitate a further examination of the applicant's complaint; whereas
in this respect reference is made to Application No. 2294/64, Gericke
v. Federal Republic of Germany (Yearbook vol. VIII, p. 315),
Application No. 2076/63, Wiener St*dtische Wechselseitige
Versicherungsanstalt against Austria (Collection of Decisions, Vol. 23,
p. 74);

Whereas in considering the declaration of withdrawal made by the
present applicant, the Commission has taken into account the written
observations of the Parties on the admissibility; whereas it is true
that the application raises certain important questions concerning the
interpretation of the Convention on which the Parties have maintained
different views; whereas the United Kingdom Government has particularly
submitted that, in view of the independent status of the BBC as
guaranteed by its Charter, the Government could have had no
responsibility for anything said or shown in the programme concerned;
whereas however the Commission finds that it is not called upon to
determine this issue as in the particular circumstances of this case,
there are no compelling reasons of a general character affecting the
observance of the Convention which would necessitate a further
examination of the applicant's complaints.

Now therefore the Commission DECIDES TO STRIKE THIS APPLICATION OFF THE
LIST