HC Deb 09 December 1925 vol 189 cc423-5
3. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs why the sole rights of taking the kinema film of the signing of the Locarno Treaty were granted to one firm; and who is his expert adviser in such matters?

9. Colonel DAY

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the reason that the contract for the Peace Treaty film are being placed with one news film company only, despite the representations of the British Film League?


The arrangements for the distribution of the film of the signing of the Locarno Treaties were made on behalf of His Majesty's Government, whose expert-adviser, as I stated yesterday, acts on behalf of all Government Departments in relation to cinematography. The distribution was entrusted to one company because His Majesty's Government were advised that this was the best method of obtaining an adequate presentation of the film. I have no reason to doubt that this advice was correct, and I am satisfied that the arrangements made are resulting in the widest distribution of the film which could be obtained consistently with its adequate presentation which is regarded as essential.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the result of this is that the film is shown at only a limited number of theatres, whereas, if a news agency had handled it, as is usually the case, this very important film would have been shown at every theatre?


I am not at all sure that that would have been the case.

Colonel DAY

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what was paid to the Government for the exclusive rights in connection with this world event?


I cannot say that.


Will the right hon. Gentleman undertake to look into this matter again, and see that such discrimination is not shown to one particular firm, particularly as, if a similar discrimination had been shown to a newspaper, public opinion would have been indignant?


I cannot give any such pledge. I have already said that I am satisfied with the arrangements that were made.

Colonel DAY

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the British Film League, comprising all the British film agencies, made a request for the rights to exhibit the film of this world event, and that they were not notified in any way that the exclusive rights were given to one firm?


I am not aware of that last fact, but I do not at all deny it; I think it is very likely that the representation was made.


May I ask whether it is necessary to have this technical adviser attached to the Department?


I could not answer that question without notice.

Colonel DAY

Would it not be better that an event like this should be put up for tender by the various agencies, so that there might be a general opportunity for all?


I have already, in my reply to the question, given my reasons why that was not done.


Why were the rights not secured to all these companies, even if only one company were allowed to take the film? Why should the rights be confined to one?


Is it not the fact that; the Foreign Office took the film themselves, and not any company at all?



4. Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs why all press photographers were ordered out of the quadrangle of the Foreign Office on the occasion of the signing of the Locarno Treaty on 1st December in spite of being provided with official passes?


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affaire whether he is aware that Press photographers holding permits from the. Office of Works to take photographs in the Foreign Office quadrangle of the delegates to the signing of the Locarno Pact wore turned away by the police, who stated that they were acting upon instructions from the Foreign Office: and whether it was with his sanction that such photographers were r fused facilities for the taking of photographs which would have been of historic interest?

Captain Viscount CURZON (Lord of the Treasury)

I have been asked to reply to these questions on behalf of the First Commissioner of Works, as the official passes were issued by his Department. The instructions to the police to exclude the Press photographers were given at the last moment by an official of the Department, who had been given to understand that, if they were admitted, the work of the official cinematograph operators would be impeded. The First Commissioner regrets that, through a misunderstanding, inconvenience should have been caused to the Press photographers.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Are any steps being taken to prevent another error of this kind being committed?

Viscount CURZON

I cannot answer that question without notice, but I will convey it to my Noble Friend.


Can the Noble Lord say who told the official that the taking of the cinema film was likely to be impeded?

Viscount CURZON

I am afraid I cannot answer any further questions without notice, but I will represent all these matters to my Noble Friend.

Colonel DAY

Is it not a fact that films are taken when Press photographers are present, and that the latter do not interfere in any way with the film takers?