Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £360,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1938, for a Grant to the British Broadcasting Corporation.
§ 8.27 p.m.
§ The Postmaster-General (Major Tryon)
I think I ought to say at once that, of 1988 this sum of £360,000, £50,000 is a purely automatic increase. Under the arrangement approved by the House, three-quarters of the net licence revenue goes to the British Broadcasting Corporation. We expect that by the end of the present month no fewer than 8,540,000 licences will have been issued, whereas we only expected, when we were drawing up the Estimate, that 8,400,000 listeners would be taking out licences. This increase, therefore, is simply and solely due to the fact that more individuals in this country have taken out licences to listen.
I come now to two features, one of which is entirely new. The first is the expansion of television, which accounts for the fact that we are asking for an additional grant of £295,000; and there is also a sum of about £15,000 proposed for broadcasting news in foreign languages. This latter is quite a new service; it was not included in the original Estimates, because at that time it was not part of the policy of the Government. The sum is only a small one, because the service only began this year. I think it ought to be a source of some satisfaction to us all in this country that we are the first country in the world to have a public television service by which our people can get television in their homes. [HON. MEMBERS: "Some of our people."] I suggest that hon. Members will do well to take pride in what has been done in this country, because we are ahead of other countries. When it is suggested that we only get television in certain cases, I can only say that in other countries they are not getting it at all. It has been found by the Television Advisory Committee that further experiments 1989 will be necessary before any recommendations can be made with a view to its extension to other parts of the country, but that is merely a scientific inquiry.
I think the Committee would like me to pay a tribute to the brilliant achievements of those scientists who have made this wonderful discovery possible, and congratulations are also due to the British Broadcasting Corporation and to their engineers for bringing it into working order. I should be ungrateful if I did not also express gratitude on behalf of the Government to the Television Advisory Committee under the chairmanship of Lord Selsdon, and for the valuable help and advice in scientific matters that has been given by Sir Frank Smith, the vice-chairman of the committee.
The additional sum required for television is provided in a simple way. It is proposed that 8 per cent. of the net licence revenue should in future go to the B.B.C. to help them with this additional work. Television has only lately been started, and the cost has undoubtedly been very heavy. Only this week I visited the Alexandra Palace to see the latest developments, and it is quite obvious that not only have they been put to great expense, but that considerable further expenditure is needed if they are to have the necessary accommodation, studios and so on, to enable them efficiently to carry on this service for the public. I should like to announce, to those who have not yet heard it, that the television service will soon—I think next month—be extended by giving a programme on Sundays from 9.5 to 10.5, and an addition of half-an-hour is to be made to the evening programme.
§ Major Tryon
As I have already said, the studio accommodation is being improved, and, when that is finished, it will be possible to add to the length of time for which television will be given on Sundays and in the evening.
To come now to an important point, the technical standard of transmission has 1990 been stabilised for three years. That will give security to the purchasers of sets, and will be an encouragement to those who make them to produce more and to produce more cheaply. I hope the Committee will support this grant to foster the growth and development of an infant industry in which at the present time we are leading the world, and in which, I am sure, everyone would like us to maintain the lead which we at present hold.
I come now to the comparatively small but very important grant for broadcasting news in foreign languages. That is a new service. It has only been going on during the present year, but on 16th February the House unanimously recognised the advantages of "the widespread dissemination of straightforward information and news." Then the question arises as to who is to send out this news. The choice of the British Broadcasting Corporation for this purpose received support from all parts of this House. I have carefully gone through the list and I have found that the hon. and gallant Member for Nuneaton (Lieut.-Commander Fletcher) supported this proposal. The hon. Member for East Birkenhead (Mr. White), who has rendered so much help to the British Broadcasting Corporation and takes such a great interest in it, also supported the proposal, and tributes to the impartiality of the British Broadcasting Corporation were paid by the hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Keeling), who has done a great deal to help them by his skill and knowledge in connection with Arabic broadcasts. Finally, the hon. Member for West Leicester (Mr. H. Nicolson) said:The news bulletin of the British Broadcasting Corporation is the most impartial statement of fact that has ever been produced in any country, and that being so it gives us an enormous advantage."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th February, 1938; col. 1933, Vol. 331.]I think there has been some misunderstanding on the part of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Hackney (Mr. H. Morrison) in connection with this. He said, on 16th February:On the Address I raised the question of broadcasting in German, Italian and other languages, and I understood from the Postmaster-General that this was to be done.As a matter of fact, I never mentioned German or Italian. What I said was: 1991The Government have been considering for some time the question of broadcasts in foreign languages. It is a delicate matter involving both questions of policy and problems of equipment. We have been working at it for some time, and before the right hon. Gentleman who spoke first raised the subject, the Government had already decided to make broadcasts in foreign languages."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th October, 1937; col. 501, Vol. 328.]On 22nd December, in an answer to the right hon. Gentleman opposite, my hon. Friend the Assistant Postmaster-General said:As my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated on the 1st November, the possibility of transmissions in other languages is not excluded; but provision is first being made for the needs which have been most strongly felt."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd December, 1937; col. 1998, Vol. 330.]
§ Mr. Herbert Morrison
The right hon. Gentleman will agree that in the statement he made on the Address he made no limitation in regard to languages, but there was subsequently a limitation made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Committee will be interested to know why that subsequent limitation was made.
§ Major Tryon
The point I am making is that I made no such statement. The Arabic service is already in operation, and on the night of the 14th the British Broadcasting Corporation will start a service in Spanish and Portuguese, which will be welcomed in South America. The Arabic service can be received over a wide area covering a population of 40,000,000, and the Spanish and Portuguese services will cover an even larger population, amounting, in fact, to 105,000,000. On these foreign language broadcasts, the British Broadcasting Corporation give, as I know the right hon. Gentleman and the House would wish, straight news, and not propaganda. The Arabic broadcasts have been subjected to some comments. We are all grateful to those who have made suggestions for improving them. I believe that the difficulties have now been met, and that the broadcasts are going forward in a satisfactory manner.
With reference to broadcasts in other languages, the position is quite simple. The British Broadcasting Corporation have to use their existing Empire transmitters for these services. It is essential that the Empire service should not be interfered with, and, therefore, the time available is very limited; but they have 1992 ordered two additional high-power transmitters, which they hope will be in use early next year. These new transmitters will enable them to extend the hours of the foreign language services without interfering with the Empire service. The point made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I think, ought to be appreciated. He said on 1st November:In this new service the Corporation will have the same full responsibilities and duties as are set forth in the Charter of the Corporation in relation to their existing services."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1ST November, 1937; col. 674, Vol. 328.]I hope the Committee will grant help to these two new services. The television service, as I have said, is one in which we lead the world, and we want to keep ahead of the world. In regard to foreign broadcasts, the transmission of good, straightforward news to other parts of the world is a contribution towards good will among the nations and world peace. I may be a little idealistic in the matter—
§ Major Tryon
I am trying to promote good will, which I commend to the Communist party. I will devote myself to those hon. Members who, I believe, want to promote good will. In an uncertain world, it may be a contribution to the peace of the world if news goes out as true as we can make it and honestly put forward. Perhaps other nations will look to see what news is coming from this country before they try to create ill-feeling. I believe that this is a contribution to peace, and as such I recommend it to the Committee.
§ 8.42 p.m.
§ Mr. H. Morrison
I beg to move, to reduce the Vote by £100.
The developments in activity indicated in these Supplementary Estimates are, as the right hon. Gentleman has indicated, in two parts. One is automatic, and, therefore, need not concern the Committee, because it is a pure matter of arithmetic. The other indicates developments in policy on the part of the British Broadcasting Corporation, after consultation, and with the concurrence of the Postmaster-General. The first part, with 1993 regard to television, raises fewer issues of wide public policy. Nevertheless there are points on which I wish to have information. We are all proud that this great socialised service of broadcasting, conducted by the British Broadcasting Corporation, with no capital, no interest, no capitalistic shareholders, no capitalist directors—it is a wonder that it goes on at all, having regard to the views of hon. Members opposite—this miracle of the world, that has no capitalistic basis at all, we are all proud that it should be, as the right hon. Gentleman has said, the most progressive in the world so far as the provision of television is concerned. I assure the right hon. Gentleman that we shall quote this unique tribute from him to a socialised service, in order that the country may know how good these services are. But we are not too happy over the fact that television is still denied to a large proportion of the population. I quite agree that in the initial stages of a new technical invention of this kind, it is bound to be more expensive than it will be later on.
We would like to know from the right hon. Gentleman whether, in making this particular grant to the British Broadcasting Corporation, any conditions have been made and any encouragement has been given by the Postmaster-General to the end that the British Broadcasting Corporation, in conjunction with manufacturers, will get the price of television sets down as early, and to as great an extent, as possible? It is certainly a miraculous invention when one can—as I have done and have been very pleased to do—go to Alexandra Palace and be seen through brick walls, omnibuses and goodness knows what, have plans of London's green belt on show and the like, which can be seen at a considerable distance, at the same time as the voice is heard. In this very wonderful age we seem to be able to do everything except feed the people of the country. But it is an amazing invention and it has enormous possibilities.
We would like to know whether, in making this substantial grant to the British Broadcasting Corporation, about which we do not complain in itself, any particular effort has been made by the Postmaster-General to secure that the price of sets shall come down and that the service shall be made more readily available to persons of limited means; 1994 whether the Department and the Corporation are aiming at getting television placed upon such a basis in the long run that a television service will be within the means of working-class households as the broadcasting service itself is at the present time. I shall be glad if information can be given to the Committee upon that point.
There is another point I should like to raise, though I am not sure of my facts, and perhaps the right hon. and gallant Gentleman will be good enough to tell me if I go wrong. I rather gather that at the moment this service is to a great extent confined to London and the Home Counties as far as distribution and availability are concerned. I am a London Member of Parliament, but I speak for all my hon. Friends in these matters. I do not think that it is right, although perhaps it is inevitable that the capital City with its huge population should be the commencing point, that, in a national body and a service of this kind, London should monopolise this new development in television. I would like the right hon. and gallant Gentleman to give us some indication as to whether, in the light of the particular Vote we are now discussing, it is possible for him to make early arrangements whereby the television service will at any rate be available from the larger centres of the country—in the provinces, in Wales and in Scotland. Can he say how soon he hopes that a national television service will be available to all parts of the country? Television has now existed for some time, and hon. Members from areas outside London have a right to ask that this service shall be made available at a reasonably early date to other parts of the country as well.
I pass to the other part of the Supplementary Estimate, which, as the right hon. and gallant Gentleman has indicated, opens up a new broadcasting service, and, therefore, it is natural and right that the Committee should take a wide review of this new service and that we should discuss whether it has been started upon the right basis, and also whether the service which this £15,000 inaugurates is contemplated on a sufficiently wide and comprehensive basis. That is the real issue of policy which is before the Committee at the present time. The issue inevitably is a pretty wide issue. It raises wide considerations of policy as to what should 1995 be done with this £15,000 which inaugurates a new and important service as far as the British Broadcasting Corporation is concerned.
The right hon. and gallant Gentleman has taken pride—and it is proper that he should take pride—in the tributes that have been paid from various quarters of the House, and in which I myself have joined, as to the general fairness and impartiality of news disseminated by the British Broadcasting Corporation. We all complain about some particular thing now and again, and not only we, but hon. Gentlemen opposite do so from time to time. Sometimes I feel that the complaints and criticisms are legitimate, but, broadly speaking, I feel some British pride in the fact that the news disseminated by the British Broadcasting Corporation is straight, that it is, generally speaking, a fair summary of the news of the day, and that at any rate the staff of the News Editor's department of the British Broadcasting Corporation seek to give a fair and impartial presentation of the happenings of the day. Even when sometimes we are critical of it the fault may not necessarily rest with the British Broadcasting Corporation itself. It may conceivably rest upon the commercial agencies which supply the news. Even though they are private undertakings, the agencies, at any rate in the supply of news, are in the large proportion of cases pretty fair in its presentation. It is when the sub-editors get hold of it in the news rooms of the newspapers that things happen and it gets a little out of focus now and again according to the outlook and opinion of the newspapers concerned.
This is the issue with which the Committee are faced. We are living in an age when frontiers have been broken down to a great extent by scientific invention. It is unfortunate that some of these scientific inventions, instead of leading to the greater amity and friendship of international life, have also led to these greater dangers in the relations between nations, notably in the air. But if this development whereby one can sit at one's own fireside and listen to speeches from all parts of the world, to lectures, concerts, and to the dissemination of news is to be really valuable to the world, it ought to be used not only by our own country, but by all countries as a means of keeping the peoples of all the nations of 1996 the world informed as to what is happening in the countries of the world. In so far as we go in for broadcasts of British news in foreign languages, I would sooner it be done in the spirit of making knowledge, and of giving information and news.
It may be that in that news there may be reports of speeches which express opinions, but that is a matter of fact and is really news. It should be done in the spirit of making knowledge of what is happening in this country by giving the actual facts of current British declarations of opinion on one side, the other side and the third side—doing it in the spirit of making knowledge and information available rather than as an action of retaliation or spite against any other nation in the world. It is important that other countries should understand that in so far as this is done—I would like this to be understood, and I am sure that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman entirely agrees with that view—and as far as the Government and, I think, the Opposition are concerned, we want it done in that spirit, and not as a means of carrying on an international wrangle and so doing something because somebody else does something.
It may not have been the Government's fault entirely, but annoying as the Italian broadcasts were, preposterous as were a large proportion of the statements in that broadcast, irritating as they were to our people, and foolish as they were from the point of view of developing good international relations, I was sorry that the broadcast in Arabic was handled in such a way as to give the impression to people outside this House that it was a conscious and deliberate retaliation on the Italian Government. That was a pity. It is the wrong spirit in which to do it. It should have been done as an ordinary act of administration, as a desire that British happenings, British news and British views, should be made available to the Arab-speaking peoples of the world and not as a means of retaliating on the Italian Government for having done things which we did not like. It may be that those who decided to broadcast in Arabic considered it would be a useful corrective to the mischievous broadcast from another source, but it is important that the spirit of the thing should be right, and that the world should realise that we are not engaged 1997 in a world-wide debate of abuse and retaliation, that we are doing it without any excitement, without any demonstration, in no spirit of spite in the least. The world should realise that we are merely exercising, as a matter of administration, the right to translate into other languages the substance of the services already available to the British public. The spirit in which this broadcast is done is as important as the substance of the broadcast.
There have been numerous commentaries about this broadcast. I cannot judge whether they are justified or not. It is said that the Arabs do not like our broadcast, that it is dull, and that in the cafés in the Near East the British story is rather set aside in favour of the broadcast of other countries. Perhaps the Postmaster-General will give us some further information on that point. We do not want to make British broadcast cheap; we want them to be effective and to uphold a proper standard of dignity. I am not sure whether Arabic was the most urgent language for this first broadcast, but no doubt the Government have good reasons for it. I know that there has been trouble in the Near East, and when I remember the Government's record I do not wonder at it. There may have been good reasons for a first broadcast in Arabic, but I should have thought that some Continental languages were equally urgent from this point of view. Spanish appears to have been the next. I do not know the reason.
§ Mr. H. Morrison
If it was South America and not Spain, I can understand it. There are commercial reasons why Spanish America should know British opinions and facts. When it was first announced I wondered whether it was with the idea that Spaniards on both sides might be made fully aware of the proceedings of the Non-Intervention Committee and the policy of His Majesty's Government with regard to Spain, a subject upon which they would be just as mystified as we are. I thought the decision to give priority to Spanish might have had some relationship to the Spanish civil war, but I gather that it is primarily connected with British commercial and economic interests in Spanish-speaking South America.
The decision to broadcast in Portuguese, I suppose, followed on that of the Spanish 1998 decision. I should like to know whether the idea was that the Portuguese might be made aware that in the British view their attitude towards the Non-Intervention Committee has been troublesome from time to time. But I should have thought that the first claim on this service ought to be the dissemination, not the propaganda, of British news in German and Italian. I stress this view, not because I want us to engage in a spiteful and destructive propaganda at the expense of Governments for which I have the most profound dislike, but because I think the great tragedy in Europe to-day is the cutting off of the German and Italian people from authentic knowledge of what is happening in the world outside. It is most unfortunate for them, and really unfortunate for us, because the more these people know what is happening in Great Britain, the more they know current opinion and leading British personalities, the more they know of our desire to live at peace with all peoples of the world, the greater the contribution to the peace of the world.
I hope the Postmaster-General will give us an assurance that German and Italian broadcasts will not be debarred in any new development as soon as it is technically possible. I do not want to be offensive, but I beg him not to evade the issue. Let us be told. The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs is on the Government Front Bench and obviously it is proper that the Foreign Office should be consulted on such a matter as this, although it is not desirable that they should figure too prominently. But if there is any intention on the part of the Government to delay the dissemination of news in German and Italian for any reasons of State policy, then with great respect, we ought to know them. The Government should tell us in order that the issue may be debated. If these broadcasts are undertaken I hope it will be as a matter of current administration, without fuss and without asking anyone's leave.
In carrying through the new service which is covered by this Vote, I hope that the Government do not intend to ask the permission of the German and Italian Governments for this news to be disseminated in the German and Italian languages. If they do that, they will immediately lift the question from the sphere of current administration and ordinary right into the realm of high 1999 policy. Directly that happened, it would be difficult for the Government to carry through the service if they had not the concurrence of the Governments of those countries, unless they were willing, as I should be disposed to be, to do it whatever might be the opinions of the German and Italian Governments. I consider that it would not be wise to open negotiations which would lift the matter out of current British administrative right and place it within the realm of high policy, thus involving more or less acute questions of international relationships.
Germany, Italy and Soviet Russia have broadcast in the English language not only news but, from time to time, direct propaganda of a more or less political character, calculated to influence foreign opinion in ways convenient to, or desired by those Governments. I do not think that sort of thing is desirable. It is undesirable that any Government should use its broadcasting stations for the purpose of, so to speak, seducing the opinion of the nationals of other countries. But we have not made a fuss about that. We have a good British public; it is led up the garden now and again by British politicians, but it is not so easily led up the garden by foreign politicians, except in the light of more recent events. We do not worry too much about those broadcasts, because the British public is a solid public and has a good deal of self-reliance and capacity for thought. The dictators of either colour may storm and rave and try to throw people off their feet by broadcast propaganda, but on the whole, so far at any rate, that propaganda has not unduly disturbed any of us who hold responsible positions in British public life.
I do not want propaganda to be broadcast from this country, and we should not do it by way of retaliation; but inasmuch as those countries have done it without asking the leave of the British Government, although I do not make any great complaint about that, I maintain that it would be monstrous if the British Government, through the Foreign Office or otherwise, were to ask the permission of foreign Governments before disseminating "straight" British news in the languages of other countries. I beg the right hon. and gallant Gentleman, or, if necessary, the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, to 2000 give us an assurance on that matter. I believe that what hon. Members in all parts of the Committee want is that there shall be dissemination of news in these important foreign languages, not as an act against any other Government or people, but as a means of making available to the people of other countries sound and accurate knowledge of what is happening in this country.
I hope the right hon. and gallant Gentleman will reconsider the languages in which the broadcasts now take place. If he comes to the conclusion that he cannot move in that matter, I suggest he should consider whether broadcasts in one or two additional languages such as I have indicated could not be made from the existing transmitter by means of a modification of arrangements there. If that is impossible, will he at any rate give the Committee an assurance that the additional transmitters, which should be adequate for their purpose, will be speeded up in order that the thing may happen which I think most of us want to happen, namely, that all the peoples using the principal languages of the world shall find it possible, as far as we are concerned, to know by wireless what is happening within these shores.
§ 9.11 p.m.
§ Mr. Graham White
I wish to support the Vote for the extension of these new services, which I think are welcomed by all hon. Members; but after listening to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Hackney (Mr. H. Morrison), I am so much in agreement with what he has said that if he presses his Amendment, I shall find myself in some difficulty as to which way I should go. I think it is generally agreed by all hon. Members that it is very satisfactory that, when we discuss questions of the financing of the British Broadcasting Corporation, we proceed upon principles which have been laid down by various bodies which have examined the finances of the Corporation, and that there are no differences of principle as to the way in which the finance should be supplied. It is now a well-established principle that the licence revenue should be retained by the Corporation until such time as there is an adequate and sufficient service in all branches of its activities.
However, the question of the financing of television raises a somewhat difficult 2001 point, for when the financing of the broadcasting system was agreed to and the licence fee was determined, there was no question of the fees having to carry the charge for television. That makes it all the more important that the cost of television should be reduced and that television should be brought within the range of a very much larger number of people than those to whom it is available at present. I cannot help feeling that if the television service is to be limited to the comparatively small number of people who have the privilege of enjoying it at the present time, we may have to consider a new principle of finance which will not put that charge upon those who have no possibility or prospect of enjoying television, at all events, in their own homes. With that reservation in our minds—and I hope it will disappear as quickly as may be—I gather that the hon. Members will support the financing of television, for the time being, from this source. All of us take pride in the development of the television service. We admire and pay tribute to the technicians and scientists who have developed it, and we hope that they will soon be able to bring it within the range of a larger number of people. I do not know whether my right hon. and gallant Friend has any idea of the number of people who enjoy the television service in their own homes at the present time, or whether indeed there is any means of getting that information; but if it is possible, I think hon. Members would like to hear what is the estimated number.
I pass to the consideration of the smaller grant for broadcasting in foreign languages. I do not think there can be any question about the right of this country to broadcast in any language in which it is minded to broadcast. The day has long since past when that right could be questioned. In early days, when our own Empire broadcasting service was in its infancy, a German broadcast in English followed the course of the sun round the British Empire. It was, of course, an excellent programme in various ways; it was followed up by questionnaires and was carried out with great thoroughness. As the right hon. Gentleman has pointed out, the Italians and the Russians and, I may add, the Japanese, have also sent their broadcast waves in English right round the British Empire. 2002 Therefore, I do not think there is any occasion to be concerned about our right to broadcast in whatever language we please, provided we can overcome the technical difficulties and that, I believe, is well within our power.
No doubt, those responsible for coming to a decision upon these developments will have some regard to the fact that the British language is probably the most widely-spoken language in the world, and that it might almost be considered unnecessary to broadcast in the language of certain other countries. But it is important that British policy, British history and British character should be made known as widely as possible to the common people of all countries. We should not enter into anything of a polemical nature. If there is broadcasting by others which seems to us bombastic and militaristic, we, for ourselves, should stress those qualities to which we attach the greatest importance. We should be modest rather than bombastic, and express our desire for peace. If brutal things are being broadcast by others, the most effective reply for us to make, is to broadcast our desire for mercy and justice.
These inventions of television and broadcasting are two of the most important items in the scientific development of the last 25 years, which in the aggregate amount almost to a second creation. The rapidity of the transmission of news and of the human voice, the expedited means of communication of all kinds, amount in effect to a second creation brought about within the present century. It is lamentable that the work of science which has, up to now, been directed to bringing people closer together and making it possible for them to live the policy of the good neighbour, should be thwarted and frustrated, as it has been, by political differences and intolerance of one kind and another. Everyone in this Committee must hope that, through the medium of the wireless, we may send forth such a message as will undo the mischief which has been done, and defeat those human activities which tend to destroy and frustrate the beneficent effects of scientific development.
§ 9.20 p.m.
Mr. De la Bère
I rise not to oppose the increase proposed in this Estimate, but to draw attention to certain facts. 2003 The British Broadcasting Corporation is well-known throughout the world, but there are certain aspects of its working which we are entitled to consider when we are dealing with this grant of £360,000 by which it is proposed to increase the amount allotted for television. I feel that the British Broadcasting Corporation has not in the past been as free from bias as many hon. Members would wish it to be. We know the difficulties that beset its work, but the fact remains that at times in the news bulletins we get the most astounding statements dealing with private individuals.
§ The Chairman
The hon. Member is now going into something which cannot be discussed on this Vote. There are two new services which can be discussed, but the only other item is concerned with a very small amount in connection with the increase in the number of licences. That does not entitle hon. Members to go into the general administration and working of the British Broadcasting Corporation.
Mr. De la Bère
I bow to your Ruling, Sir Dennis, and I realise the truth of what you have said. I wish to point out, however, that these licences to-day provide for those in London and Greater London, facilities as regards television which are denied to residents in other parts of the country. The radius of television at present is not more than 50 or 70 miles, and if this grant is to be made by the Committee, I submit that provision ought to be made for people in all parts of the country to enjoy the same facilities as those at present enjoyed only by people in London and Greater London. When the 10s. fee was fixed originally these facilities for television were not in contemplation. I welcome the Postmaster-General's statement that this country is forging ahead of all other nations in this respect, but it seems to me that all parts of the country should share these facilities which are now confined to London.
While desiring to enjoy those facilities I feel that the people of the country generally would wish to know a little more about what provision is to be made in future for television in places of amusement. Is the British Broadcasting Corporation to control completely television in places of amusement throughout the 2004 country? It seems to me that in television there is a power far in excess of what any of us here can visualise. It may be that it will change the whole nature of things. If this power is to remain in the very autocratic hands in which it is now held, we should seriously consider whether some strong safeguards are not required in regard to the use to be made of it. You have already called me to Order, Sir Dennis, and I shall bear in mind what you have said, but I wish to stress the desirability of safeguards in connection with the use of this enormous power which is a menace to the liberty of the individual.
At Question Time I have alluded to the bud of liberty which opened in an English spring. That bud has not much hope of opening in the next few years unless the faithful Commons of this country stand to arms and see that no infringement of the liberty of this country is in any way acquiesced in by this House of Commons. We are the custodians of liberty in this country, and we should not be fainthearted or lacking in the courage to get up and say so. The love of liberty is born in an Englishman, and Englishmen will fight for that liberty on every possible occasion; and if this extension of television is going to do anything to curtail our liberties I hope that all Members, irrespective of party, will offer resistance and will ask that the Charter which has been given to the B.B.C. should be revised. I know that the Board of Governors are admirable and estimable people, and socially one has nothing but respect for them. At the same time, they have a very grave responsibility, especially the chairman, who in his position should do all he can to see that no one individual at the B.B.C. should do anything against the best traditions of freedom and liberty in this country.
I should like to say one word on broadcasting in foreign languages. I do not know what programme will be laid down, but it does seem that those who have considerable knowledge of this matter are often denied any facilities for expressing their views to the Governors or of getting any notice taken of reasonable requests which they may make. Surely if we do it in the correct way we are all entitled—even the hon. Member for Evesham—to our views, and we should be permitted to put those views 2005 forward to the Governors, as long as it is done with moderation and respect. But they should not simply be cast on one side. The views of Members are entitled to some consideration, and I feel that in the past we have not always had that. We have been told from time to time that it is not possible to have a close liaison between the House of Commons and the B.B.C. The Postmaster-General recently informed me, in answer to a question, that the idea of a liaison officer between the House of Commons—
Mr. De la Bère
I bow once again to your Ruling, but, as I said before, the question of broadcasting in foreign languages is all-important. After all, we shall be judged in all parts of the world on what is said in these broadcasts, and we should get the very best imagination, the very best brains, the very best elements in industry and in the House of Commons to express their views, so that all nations in the world shall feel, what they have always felt up to now, a real respect for the British nation.
§ 9.29 p.m.
§ Mr. James Griffiths
I am sure I shall be expressing the views of Members on all sides when I congratulate the hon. Member for Evesham (Mr. De la Bère) on getting the opportunity for which he has so long sought at question time of putting the B.B.C. in its place. When the hon. Member was opening his speech and referred to the new television service, which he said was for all the people, I checked him and said "some of the people." I feel that the Provinces have a legitimate grievance against the B.B.C., and not only in this matter. Ordinary broadcasting has now reached a very high stage of technical perfection, but it is only in the last year or two that we have had a Welsh station. Yet Wales has a language and a culture which are very much older than the English, and for years we appealed in vain to the B.B.C. for a special station of our own. At last we have it, and we shall be voting money to-night to which the whole people will be contributing, and we are entitled to ask that as soon as it is possible—we know that the experimental stage should be conducted in London—the television service shall be made available for the people all over the country. I notice the 2006 Minister of Labour in his place. I should like the B.B.C. if it were possible, to televise the condition in which some of our people live. [An HON. MEMBER: "The trading estates."] Yes, the trading estates, where there are more factories than workers. But this marvellous invention is one which opens tremendous possibilities, and we are invited to ask that the people of Wales, of Scotland, the Midlands and the North shall get a better service from the B.B.C. than we have had up till now.
May I say one word in support of what my right hon. Friend the Member for South Hackney (Mr. H. Morrison) said in an admirable speech, which won support from all sides of the Committee, on the subject of broadcasting in foreign languages. I recollect an experience which my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypool (Mr. Jenkins) and I had some years ago when we went to a foreign country and were entertained by Government representatives there. They were very anxious to find out from us what was our reaction to the events that had taken place in that country, and one man with whom we talked—he could speak English, had lived in Wales and taught in one of our Welsh Universities—told us that two or three weeks before he had met and entertained an English business man who had been going to that country for 25 or 30 years on business. This professor was very anxious to find out what this business man thought about the recent developments in that country, and he replied: "If I were asked to advise your country at this stage I would say that things are becoming dangerous for you and for the world, and I would give you two pieces of advice. The first is to stop talking about your national honour, and the second is to learn to laugh at yourselves." That advice represents some of the best features in the British character. We do not blow our own trumpets and talk about national honour. In some countries that we know young men and women are being trained and taught to believe that they have lost their national honour, and that they have to fight, physically, mentally and spiritually, to regain it. That is the lesson they are taught in their broadcasts and in their newspapers—that they lost their national honour in the last War and they must regain it. That is the kind of propaganda which has created the 2007 spiritual rearmament that is going on in Europe, of which these other rearmaments are merely the expression.
This new service, for which we are voting, I believe, the first sum in this Committee to-night, can be the beginning of a day on which Britain enters this war on the air, this war of poison and of propaganda, or it can be the beginning of a day on which we are at any rate sending a breath of fresh air to every country on the earth. I wish to offer support to the sentiments that have been so well expressed by the right hon. Member for South Hackney. We have a tremendous responsibility, and we must use it, not in order to add to the poison and hatred in Europe, but, speaking from England to the people of Germany and Italy, who are denied opportunities of learning what is happening in their own countries—[AN HON. MEMBER: "And Russia."]—Yes, and Russia too, all over the world—let us use this great opportunity, this great instrument, to recover the freedom which is rapidly being lost in the world. I hope that it is in that spirit that we may use this tremendous new weapon which this Committee is voting to the British Broadcasting Corporation to-night.
§ 9.37 p.m.
§ Mr. Simmonds
I listened with the greatest interest to the remarks of the right hon. Member for South Hackney (Mr. H. Morrison) on this subject of foreign broadcasts. He is undoubtedly right when he says that the spirit which is behind these broadcasts is of paramount importance, and I agree entirely with him when he says that we must broadcast news and not propaganda, but when he came to speak about broadcasting in the German and Italian languages, I could not follow him quite so closely. Perhaps I did not fully understand his point, but I fear that he wanted the British Broadcasting Corporation here and now, or at any rate in the very near future, to show, by practical demonstration, their undoubted right to broadcast in any language which they might please to use. It may be desirable at some time that that right should be demonstrated, but I fancy that there is a right time and a wrong time at which to do all things, and for my own part I should, unless we have already broadcast in 2008 German and Italian, regret it very greatly if the British Broadcasting Corporation took the opportunity in the early future to do something which would be regarded by the heads of those countries as something of a challenge to them.
§ Mr. H. Morrison
I understand that the hon. Member thinks that before we disseminate in these languages, we should get the necessary permission from somebody, but I said nothing about any challenge to anybody. I asked for it to be done in the proper spirit and as a matter of ordinary demonstration, not dramatically or by way of challenge to anybody in the world. The hon. Member is arguing that we should not do something because, apparently, he apprehends that somebody might not be pleased with it unless we first got permission. Let him argue his point of view, but he has no right to put it on me that I argued that I wanted to do this merely as a matter of spite and by way of challenge to some other country.
§ Mr. Simmonds
If the right hon. Gentleman will do me the honour of reading to-morrow in the OFFICIAL REPORT what I have already said he will see that he has entirely misinterpreted my observations. I did not suggest in any way that he wanted to challenge anybody. My point was that it may be necessary at some time to demonstrate the right of anybody broadcasting from anywhere in the British Empire to broadcast in any language which that broadcast may please to use. That may be necessary, but the point that I was making was that there are right times and wrong times at which to demonstrate a right, and I would respectfully suggest that if we are endeavouring to reach some understanding with countries which view these matters from very different standpoints from those which we ourselves adopt, and which we know have very definite idiosyncrasies in regard to this matter, it might be better that we should avoid, if we have not already broadcast in German and in Italian, commencing to broadcast in these languages at a time when a challenge might have unfortunate results for the negotiations which, from every side of the House, we are so anxious to see succeed.
I turn from that to the question of television, and I would like to thank my right hon. and gallant Friend the Postmaster- 2009 General for the interest that he has taken in this new and vast development, and for his success in persuading his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to find a sum of £300,000 towards this service. As has been observed already, the service as yet is not well developed, either geographically or technically. If one compares the programmes that are broadcast with those that are televised, it is clear that the B.B.C. are not using, for instance, their most expensive artists for television. That means to say that, compared with the broadcast programmes, television has unfortunately an air of amateurism about it at present. I believe that that is one reason why more television receivers have not been sold, in addition to the fact, already mentioned, of their relatively high cost. But if we are not selling television receivers because the programmes are not so good as the broadcast programmes, and if, on the other hand, the programmes are not so good on account of the fact that there are not so many receivers, then clearly we are in a vicious circle, from which we need some stroke to release us; and I am sincerely hopeful that this £300,000 will be the necessary stroke.
I join with hon. Members opposite in appealing to my right hon. and gallant Friend for regional development of television. In Birmingham, part of which I have the honour to represent, we have a million souls, possibly a million and a half with the suburbs, in a very small area, and as the largest area in this country with so high a congestion of population, and with all the Midland cities around, I would like to make a very special appeal that a Birmingham centre for television should be opened as early as possible. Can my right hon. and gallant Friend give the Committee any idea when these regional stations may be opened?
Another point that I would like to make in regard to television is this: At the moment there appears to be no correlation between the broadcast programmes and the television programmes. That may be because television is young and the hours of television, at any rate in the evenings, are short, but it so happens that the television programmes starting at 9 o'clock and due to end at 10 usually end, when I look at them, between 10.20 and 10.25, which means to say that those who are 2010 using their television sets can listen to neither the 9 o'clock nor the 10 o'clock news on the broadcast service. I think it is undesirable that news programmes on both stations should cut across the television hour, and if my right hon. and gallant Friend could bring that point to the notice of the authorities as they develop their television programmes, I think it would be greatly appreciated.
We are promised a development of television through an extension of hours. When they are extended I hope that the Broadcasting Corporation will take some pains to ascertain whether those who own television sets can use them at the hours when programmes are being televised. It is possible to waste a vast sum of money to televise programmes at hours when receivers are not in use. The sum that has been set aside for television is an extra £310,000, or 8 per cent. more of the licence fee, that is, an increase from 75 to 83 per cent. I doubt whether that sum is enough. In my doubts I am speaking not only as a representative of my constituents, but as chairman of the Listeners' League, which is the largest organised body of listeners in this country, and has on its executive right hon. and hon. Members in all parties. We feel that a serious aspect of this matter has been brought to the attention of this Committee and the Government by the B.B.C. In their annual report on this subject it draws attention on page 26 to the impossibility hitherto of building up any reserve fund in liquid form. What they say is pertinent to this addition of only 8 per cent. for so vast a service as television:It is essential to do so"—that is, to build up a reserve fund—while income is stil increasing. Otherwise, the Corporation will be forced ultimately to divert to capital purposes substantial sums required for expenditure on programmes, etc., thus lowering the standard of service.That is a fair and important warning from the Governors of the B.B.C. that unless we see that they are adequately financed, we may have a deterioration in the programmes. When we speak of deterioration in programmes, I fear that that is likely to occur where the listener least desires it, and that is in the programmes on Sunday.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I am afraid the hon. Member will have to raise that subject on another occasion.
§ Mr. Simmonds
I have no desire to proceed with that matter, but it is essential that we should adequately finance the B.B.C. in television and all new developments which we may place on their shoulders. Otherwise, we shall have a serious deterioration in the programmes.
§ Mr. Simmonds
I should hesitate to use this Committee for propaganda for any body with which I am associated, but I can tell the hon. Member that there are many more thousands of members of the Listeners' League than he might imagine. At the moment a questionnaire to 1,500,000 listeners will enable us in future to tell the B.B.C. a little more of what the listeners throughout the country desire.
§ Mr. Simmonds
I do not want to proceed any further with this matter, but if we are to discuss numbers, it is a dangerous pursuit for anybody on that bench. The B.B.C. are asking for increasing sums of money each year, and I consider it is the proper function of this Committee to draw the attention of the Postmaster-General to the scant informaion which is given to us in the B.B.C. accounts.
§ Mr. Simmonds
If if be your Ruling that we cannot discuss the way in which the B.B.C. account for the money we are now voting, I will content myself by saying that I will raise it on the next suitable opportunity. For the moment, I will express the hope that this money for television will be used for the development of television into a service which will give as much satisfaction to the televising public as broadcasting has done in past years.
§ 9.53 p.m.
§ Mr. Magnay
I want to make one or two observations on television and broadcasting which I think will be useful to the Committee. I want to make clear that I do not represent anybody in par- 2012 ticular, except 78,000 people in my constituency. On their behalf, as well as on my own, I would like to congratulate the Postmaster-General on this new adventure in the great service for which he is responsible to the House and the nation. I would like to congratulate the B.B.C. on the work they are doing. I remember the first time I heard the late beloved King speak in the first Christmas broadcast, when I heard the hiss and the roar of Niagara Falls, heard messages to the homeland in the same common speech—
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I would remind the hon. Member that this Estimate is strictly limited to foreign broadcasting and television.
§ Mr. Magnay
I understand that. We could not have had television if we had not first had broadcasting. We all remember how the world became, as we never understood before, a whispering gallery, and now that we have television it makes this indeed an age of miracles. I remember that last year several of my constituents, my wife and I, had the good fortune to go to Broadcasting House at the kind invitation of Sir Stephen Tallents, and under the expert guidance of a son of a respected former Speaker of the House, Mr. Whitley, we saw a demonstration of television. I thought it was marvellous, and I wish we could have a station on Tyneside in Newcastle. I would also like to congratulate the right hon. Member for South Hackney (Mr. H. Morrison) who spoke for the Opposition. He was uncommonly reasonable to-night. I think everyone in the House was agreed when he advised that there should be no propaganda or retaliation in kind, just a plain statement of fact, but I have been wondering whether it is possible to make a plain statement of fact which would be accepted as such by any two men. Bertrand Russell, in the first chapter of his work on the elements of philosophy, states that it is impossible to get two men to agree about the descripion of a able in a room. So much depends upon he light, upon the eyes, and the angle of vision. After I have been to a football match, one of my amusements is to read the different reports of the game which are published. No two reports of the game agree. With all respect to my right hon. Friend I wonder whether it is possible to give a plain, unvarnished statement of facts which would 2013 be accepted as such by foreigners. When he was talking about the spirit in which the messages should be sent out in various languages I could not help thinking of a letter to Rome written hundreds of years ago, and whether or not he was thinking of the text and was speaking in the spirit of it:Be not overcome of evil, overcome evil with good.I said "Amen" to that. I agree that messages ought to be sent out at once in German and Italian. I do not think we should have them in Welsh, because that would be too big a strain.
§ Mr. Magnay
But whatever the language, the spirit of the message should be, "Come, let us reason together." For the life of me I cannot understand why this week there should be this sudden change, as compared with last week, in the views emanating from the benches opposite. Apparently it is not possible to talk in that spirit to dictators, but it is possible to talk in that spirit to the peoples of their countries. I congratulate the Postmaster-General on the new venture and I wish him every success, which he deserves.
§ 9.58 p.m.
§ Mr. Hopkin
I rise to support the appeal which my right hon. Friend made to the Postmaster-General. The £295,000 which is to be spent on television is a large sum, and I desire to ask the Postmaster-General whether it is possible to spread the benefits over as many people as possible, and I would support the appeal which has already been made to him to see that the advantages of television are given to the provinces. I hope, however, that he will not yield to the blandishments of the hon. Member for Duddeston (Mr. Simmonds) to take the studio to Birmingham. I suggest that it should come to Cardiff first, because in and around Cardiff there is a higher percentage of wireless listeners than is to be found in most parts of the country. If a demonstration such as we had in the House some months ago could be given in Cardiff or any other great industrial centre, it would do much to encourage the sale of television sets. I would also support the appeal to the Postmaster-General to see whether it is possible to see that television sets become as cheap as possible. The first wireless sets were ex- 2014 ceedingly expensive, and were available to very few people.
As regards the £15,000 to be spent on the dissemination of news to foreign countries I agree with the hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. Magnay), that it must be a very difficult matter indeed to say when news is "straight" news and will not be regarded as propaganda on its reception. Still, I believe that it is possible to send out what most people would declare to be "straight" news. I cannot agree with the hon. Member for Duddeston that exception could be taken to anything which fell from my right hon. Friend the Member for South Hackney (Mr. H. Morrison). His point was that it ought to be possible, without asking anybody at all, to disseminate the truth, and I can hardly think that anyone in any country in Europe would object to that. I realise that there are difficulties in getting news to the Italian people. It is only with very expensive sets that broadcasts from English stations can be picked up in Italy, and there are few of those expensive sets in Italy. I should think the best way to get over that difficulty would be to set up a station, somewhere in the Mediterranean, possibly in Cyprus. With a station there it would be easy to send messages to Italy, Palestine and to Egypt.
As regards the broadcasts in Arabic, I understand that up to the present they have been confined to news. I lived in Egypt for four years, and I know how those broadcasts are received there. There are receiving sets in the cafés in various parts of Cairo, for example, and the people listen while they are sitting round sipping their coffee. We ought to sugar the pill by introducing between items of "straight" news Arabic music and other things. I think that the Egyptians, the Syrians and the Palestine Arabs would listen to Arabic music. A service of that sort, with "straight" news, would be of mutual advantage to the people who broadcast and those who listen. I agree with my right hon. Friend that there can be no doubt that we have a right, and more than a right, to send out such news, that we ought to do it; and then, indeed, we shall be doing a great service to peace and to the world.
§ 10.5 p.m.
§ Mr. Boothby
It is incredible to me that any one should put forward the sug- 2015 gestion that Cardigan will be suitable for a television station when Aberdeen is available. The hon. Member for Cardigan (Mr. Hopkin) may say that in South Wales they have a higher percentage of sets than anywhere in the country, but everyone knows that in the north of Scotland the percentage of receiving sets is incomparably higher. Therefore, if the Postmaster-General wants an effective television station in the provinces, I would urge him to consider Aberdeen before any other town in the United Kingdom.
Let me say a few words about Arabic music. Such information as I have been able to obtain in regard to the Italian broadcast makes me believe that it is not entirely music that is the greatest source of attraction in those programmes. Far be it from me to recommend my right hon. Friend the Postmaster-General to copy in every respect the methods which I am given to understand are employed by some other countries to attract the attention of the Arab population in the Near East, but I am not convinced that music alone will effectively compete with some of the broadcasts that have taken place in recent months from other nations.
In regard to the whole question of propagandist broadcasts, there is one point to which I would refer, and I hope the Postmaster-General will be able to reassure us. We are absolutely at the beginning in this matter. We are trying a few tentative experiments, but we have not reached anything like finality, and I am not convinced that the time may not come when we shall have to use other sources apart from the purely official State sources for the propagation of British culture, views and news in the world. I will not say anything more than that. I think there is a tendency on the part of the Post Office, or there has been a tendency, to regard broadcasting as the absolute perquisite of the British Broadcasting Corporation, and not to see the vast possibilities of using other services in the world for the propagation of British culture and general British news, without any direct political propaganda.
§ Mr. Boothby
There are many opportunities of getting not only British advertising but British cultural propaganda over other radio services than the purely official B.B.C. service. There is a great 2016 deal to be said for encouraging those avenues of British culture, provided no political propaganda is used, rather than confining the whole thing rigidly in the hands of an organisation which has a very excellent service but is rigidly bureaucratic and therefore to some extent lacking in imagination. I should like the Postmaster-General to assure the Committee that in future the Government will be ready to take a large view of the whole question of British propaganda, not political propaganda, over the wireless, and that they will not take a wholly bureaucratic and rigid official view of a matter which is in its infancy and which will become in the long run of immense importance not only to this country but the world at large.
§ 10.9 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Moore-Brabazon
I do not rise to ask that a television station should be installed in my constituency, but to ask the Postmaster-General a technical question. I know that the House of Commons loathes technical questions, but I am going to ask one. There has been installed, I understand, between London and Birmingham a thing called a co-axial cable, which has very great advantages from the point of view of multiple telephone speaking. That cable is able to carry radio frequency pulsation. Is it going to be used for the transmission and re-radiation of television in the Midlands? It would be useful if the right hon. Gentleman could let us know whether experiments along those lines are being adopted.
§ 10.10 p.m.
§ Major Tryon
It seems to me that we have had a most extraordinarily friendly debate and that there has been almost universal support for what the Government are putting forward, namely, that there is enormous advantage from the point of view of good will among the nations and peace throughout the world, in a system under which "straight" British news, impartial news, is sent out by the British Broadcasting Corporation. That is a system which will be looked forward to in other parts of the world and will make a valuable contribution to good will and peace in the world. The hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) paid a great tribute to the point of view put forward by the right hon. Member for South Hackney (Mr. H. Morrison). I am glad to think that 2017 when what I have said is repeated by the right hon. Member for South Hackney, it is regarded with so much satisfaction on the other side of the Committee. I have only one controversial remark to make, and that is in regard to the claim of the right hon. Member for South Hackney that this was a grand triumph for Socialism.
§ Major Tryon
All I can say is that the further the right hon. Gentleman went from party politics the better his speech was. It seemed to me that in his reference to Socialism the right hon. Member did imply some contrast between the two sides of the Committee. He did clearly make a point about Socialism. The position is this. I made the point that certain inventors were entitled to great credit because of this wonderful development of television and the machinery by which it is conducted. What was the method by which it was introduced? First, it was due to the inventive genius of people in this country and America, and, secondly, to the fact that two rival private companies in this country developed systems which were tried out by the B.B.C. They worked side by side in two studios and when these two private companies, aided by British inventors, had worked out these systems and one was found to be slightly better than the other, the B.B.C. took over the enterprise from the private company. Then the right hon. Member for South Hackney says, "What a triumph for Socialism."
§ Mr. Garro Jones
May I ask what difference there is between the inventive capacity of an inventor acting on his own behalf and on behalf of the Government? Further, may I ask how it was that if the operations of these private companies were so efficient they were not allowed to develop their television service to its present state?
§ Major Tryon
Under either Government management or private enterprise, the inventive genius of our people will continue to display itself, but I have no doubt that it would be considerably cramped under Government management. This particular invention was developed under private enterprise and, as a working proposition, was taken over by the 2018 British Broadcasting Corporation. To quote that example as an argument for Socialism is to make an unsound party point.
Several hon. Members spoke of the importance of the distribution of the television service throughout the country and of the cheapening of sets. With regard to the cheapening of sets we are doing all that we can. The price of the sets has been brought down, and I understand that it will be brought lower. In order to bring that about we have standardised the method of transmission for three years to give the manufacturers a basis to work upon. With regard to the distribution of television in other parts of the country, I was afraid that every Member would get up and suggest that his constituency was the place from which it should be distributed. If it were all to be done from Wales and were closely associated with the hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), it might prove to be something far more musical than the broadcasts in Arabic to the Near East.
The situation is that there is a Television Advisory Committee who have taken an enormous amount of trouble. They have a very eminent scientist upon the committee and they have advised us that further scientific research is necessary before anything can be settled about a further extension of the service. The alternatives are to radiate the television from a variety of centres throughout the country or to use, for example, the coaxial cable, mentioned by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Wallasey (Lieut.-Colonel Moore-Brabazon) for transmitting to various points entertainment provided from a smaller number of centres in the country. It is not possible to expect the British Broadcasting Corporation to go further until we know where we stand as the result of further scientific research. The development of this service will be the work of the scientists, the Advisory Committee, and the British Broadcasting Corporation. In the foreign language broadcasts we have an opportunity of spreading throughout the world good will and reliance upon a thoroughly trustworthy British service.
§ Mr. H. Morrison
I asked the right hon. and gallant Gentleman a question about broadcasts in German and Italian.
§ Major Tryon
It would not be in order for me to say what will be done with a 2019 service to be provided by two new transmitters which will not be opened until next year. That would not be in order on an Estimate providing for a period which terminates on 31st March. In any case, I should not be willing, nine months before the time when we are in a position to provide new services to foreign countries, to name two particular countries.
§ Mr. H. Morrison
In those circumstances we shall have to divide the Committee. It is obvious that before these new services begin and while they have been in preparation the Government and the British Broadcasting Corporation must have been considering to what countries they would be distributed and the languages in which they were to be distributed. I tried to obtain a reasonably clear statement from the Government. I thought, mistakenly, that I had got it that they were contemplating all languages, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer subsequently limited the
§ number to two. Afterwards, Portuguese was added. I raised the same question with the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the Debate on a Private Member's Motion, and he said that he could not say. Now the right hon. and gallant Gentleman says that he cannot say. The Government have had plenty of notice that the Committee and the House would like to have this information, and I can only conclude that they must have some ulterior motive in keeping this information from us. In those circumstances the Committee must divide.
§ Major Tryon
The Government have made it perfectly clear that the use of foreign languages is not excluded, but we cannot say now which foreign languages will be used next year.
§ Question put, "That a sum, not exceeding £359,900, be granted for the said Service."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 102; Noes, 216.2021
|Division No. 128.]||AYES.||[10.20 p.m.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Muff, G.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Nathan, Colonel H. L.|
|Ammon, C. G.||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Naylor, T. E.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Hayday, A.||Oliver, G. H.|
|Barr, J.||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Parkinson, J. A.|
|Batey, J.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Pearson, A.|
|Ballenger, F. J.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Hicks, E. G.||Pritt, D. N.|
|Benson, G.||Hills, A. (Pontefract)||Richards, R. (Wrexham)|
|Bevan, A.||Hollins, A.||Ritson, J.|
|Bromfield, W.||Hopkin, D.||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire)||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Sexton, T. M.|
|Buchanan, G.||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Shinwell, E.|
|Burke, W. A.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Silverman, S. S.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Simpson, F. B.|
|Cooks, F. S.||Kelly, W. T.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Cove, W. G.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford||Kirby, B. V.||Stephen, C.|
|Daggar, G.||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Lathan, G.||Stokes, R. R.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Lawson, J. J.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Day, H.||Lee, F.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Dobbie, W.||Leslie, J. R.||Thurtle, E.|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||Logan, D. G.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Lunn, W.||Tomlinson, G.|
|Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||McEntee, V. La T.||Walkden, A. G.|
|Gallacher, W.||McGhee, H. G.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Gardner, B. W.||McGovern, J.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Garro Jones, G. M.||Maclean, N.||Westwood, J.|
|Gibbins, J.||Mainwaring, W. H.||Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)|
|Gibson, R. (Greenock)||Marshall, F.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)||Mathers, G.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Maxton, J.|
|Grenfell, D. R.||Montague, F.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Mr. Charleton and Mr. Groves.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Balfour, G. (Hampstead)||Bernays, R. H.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Birchall, Sir J. D.|
|Apsley, Lord||Baxter, A. Beverley||Boothby, R. J. G.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Bossom, A. C.|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Beauchamp, Sir B. C.||Boulton, W. W.|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Bower, Comdr. R. T.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Hambro, A. V.||Plugge, Capt. L. F.|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Hannah, I. C.||Porritt, R. W.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Procter, Major H. A.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Harbord, A.||Radford, E. A.|
|Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.)||Harris, Sir P. A.||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Bull, B. B.||Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)||Ramsden, Sir E.|
|Burghley, Lord||Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)|
|Butcher, H. W.||Hely-Hutchinson, M. R.||Rayner, Major R. H.|
|Butler, R. A.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Hepworth, J.||Reid, Sir D. D. (Down)|
|Cartland, J. R. H.||Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)||Reid, J. S. C. (Hillhead)|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Raid, W. Allan (Derby)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Higgs, W. F.||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon)||Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n)||Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Channon, H.||Holdsworth, H.||Ross, Major Sir R. D. (Londonderry)|
|Clarke, Colonel R. S. (E. Grinstead)||Holmes, J. S.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Clarry, Sir Reginald||Horsbrugh, Florence||Rowlands, G.|
|Clydesdale, Marquees of||Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)||Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.|
|Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)||Hunter, T.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.|
|Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J.||Jones, Sir H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)|
|Conant, Captain R. J. E.||Jones, L. (Swansea W.)||Salmon, Sir I.|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Keeling, E. H.||Salt, E. W.|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)||Samuel, M. R. A.|
|Cox, H. B. Trevor||Kimball, L.||Sandeman, Sir N. S.|
|Craven-Ellis, W.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir P.|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.||Latham, Sir P.||Savery, Sir Servington|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Leech, Sir J. W.||Scott, Lord William|
|Cross, R. H.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Seely, Sir H. M.|
|Crowder, J. F. E.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)|
|Cruddas, Col. B.||Levy, T.||Simmonds, O. E.|
|Culverwell, C. T.||Liddall, W. S.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Lindsay, K. M.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Dawson, Sir P.||Little, Sir E. Graham.||Smith, L. W. (Hallam)|
|De Chair, S. S.||Lloyd, G. W.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.||Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)|
|Denville, Alfred||Loftus, P. C.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury)||Lyons, A. M.||Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.|
|Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)||Storey, S.|
|Dugdale, Captain T. L.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)|
|Eastwood, J. F.||M'Connell, Sir J.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Eckersley, P. T.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Edmondson, Major Sir J.||MacDonald, Rt. Han. M. (Ross)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Ellis, Sir G.||McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Elmley, Viscount||McKie, J. H.||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.|
|Emery, J. F.||Magnay, T.||Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.|
|Erskine-Hill, A. G.||Mander, G. le M.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales)||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon H. D. R.||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Everard, W. L.||Markham, S. F||Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan|
|Fleming, E L.||Maxwell, Hon. S. A.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Fox, Sir G. W. G.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Ward, Irens M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Fyfe, D. P. M.||Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col. J. T. C.||Warrender, Sir V.|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Morgan, R. H.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)||Watt, Major G. S. Harvie|
|Gibson, Sir C. G. (Pudsey and Otley)||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Gledhill, G.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||White, H. Graham|
|Gluckstein, L. H.||Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.||Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)|
|Goldle, N. B.||Munro, P.||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Gower, Sir R. V.||Nall, Sir J.||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Gridloy, Sir A. B.||Nicholson, G. (Farnham)||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Wood, Hon. C. I. C.|
|Grimston, R. V.||Parkins, W. R. D.||Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.|
|Guest, Hon. I. (Brecon and Radnor)||Poters, Dr. S. J.||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Guinness, T. L. E. B.||Petharick, M.|
|Gunston, Capt. Sir D. W.||Pilkington, R.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Captain Hope and Mr. Furness.|
Question put, and agreed to.
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £360,000, be granted to His Majesty to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1938, for a Grant to the British Broadcasting Corporation.