HC Deb 22 April 1937 vol 322 cc1917-8
60. Colonel Goodman

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs what facilities are afforded to Dominion Governments to obtain copies of State papers and documents of historical interest in the custody of Government Departments in this country for their archives; and whether any consideration has been given to the question of transferring to the custody of the Dominion Governments the originals of any papers and documents of this nature?

Marquess of Hartington

As regards the first part of the question, Dominion Governments have in the past made considerable use of the facilities afforded them to obtain copies of documents in the Public Record Office that are of historical interest to them. Such facilities will continue to be given. As regards the second part of the question, rules have been made from time to time under the Public Records Office Acts relating to the transfer of original documents to oversea Governments. The latest of these, which is dated 15th January, 1936, and was approved by Order-in-Council on 25th May, 1936, gave the Master of the Rolls power to transfer documents not required to be preserved in the Public Record Office to the Government of, or a library in, any part of His Majesty's Dominions. Such documents have from time to time been transferred to various Dominions. It will be appreciated, however, that the number of documents falling in this category is limited. My hon. and gallant Friend will readily understand that in the eyes of historians the consideration of chief weight is that important historical documents should be kept together in the place where they can most readily be consulted by all concerned.

Sir Ronald Ross

Will my Noble Friend give the Irish Free State Government a copy of the Treaty, as they seem to have lost their copy?