HC Deb 19 June 1939 vol 348 cc1791-4
20. Mr. Bellenger

asked the Prime Minister what salary Lord Perth will receive in respect of his duties in connection with the Publicity and Information Department of the Foreign Office?

22. Colonel Wedgwood

asked the Prime Minister at what salary it is proposed to appoint Lord Perth; and will such salary be in addition to his pension?

27. Mr. Gordon Macdonald

asked the Prime Minister what pension Lord Perth now receives; and whether such pension was taken into consideration when deciding any additional payment as regards his new appointment?

The Prime Minister

The salary which Lord Perth will receive will be £1,100 per annum in respect of his duties as supervisor of the Foreign Publicity Department of the Foreign Office and of his duties as Director-General designate of the Ministry of Information which it is contemplated will be set up in the event of this country becoming engaged in a major war. In addition to this salary Lord Perth is in receipt of a pension of £1,900. The salary and pension together are equivalent to the salary of the permanent head of a first-class Department.

Mr. Bellenger

Does the salary for the post at the Foreign Office carry with it pension rights also?

The Prime Minister

I should require notice of that question.

Mr. Gallacher

In view of the pension of £1,900 a year which the Prime Minister has mentioned, would he not consider raising the pensions of the old age pensioners by 10s. a week?

24. Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

asked the Prime Minister what will be the working relations between the new Department for Foreign Information and the British Broadcasting Corporation?

Mr. Butler

The existing relations between the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Foreign Office in regard to foreign language broadcasts will under go no change; that is to say, although responsibility for what is broadcast rests with the British Broadcasting Corporation, I understand that the corporation will continue to maintain the closest contact with the Foreign Office and will make full use of the information at the disposal of the Foreign Publicity Department.

30. Miss Rathbone

asked the Prime Minister whether the new Information Department of the Foreign Office will be concerned only with international relations and foreign policy, or will also devote attention to making better known abroad our democratic institutions, sociological developments, industrial organisation, and cultural achievements; and, if so, what expert advice and assistance, outside the Foreign Office, will Lord Perth have at his command?

Mr. Butler

In the Prime Minister's replies to the hon. Members for Nuneaton (Lieut.-Commander Fletcher) and Cheltenham (Mr. Lipson) on 15th June he made it clear that the Foreign Publicity Department of the Foreign Office would strengthen the existing contacts between the Foreign Office and other bodies, and would seek to coordinate them more effectively. As explained, the matters mentioned by the hon. Member are already included in the activities of these existing bodies. I have no doubt that Lord Perth will avail himself of their expert advice and assistance.

Miss Rathbone

Would the right hon. Gentleman say what is the nature of the bodies, because, so far as we are aware, there is no body in the Foreign Office that is well qualified to give the kind of information indicated in my question, which is the kind of information that the general public in foreign countries are anxious to have— information as to how British democracy actually works?

Mr. Butler

There are several bodies, including the British Council, the British Broadcasting Corporation, and the new Foreign Publicity Department, and I think that between them they can be relied upon to perform the service which the hon. Lady desires.

Miss Rathbone

Would it not be advisable that the new Department should have some special advisory department which could furnish the type of information in which they know people to be interested, and which the British Council are hardly qualified to furnish?

Mr. Butler

I have no doubt that in the early days of the functioning of this new system that consideration will be borne in mind, with a view to securing the type of advice which the hon. Lady suggests.

32. Mr. G. Strauss

asked the Prime Minister what position will be held by Mr. Arthur Bryant in the Foreign Publicity Department of the Foreign Office?

Mr. Butler

Mr. Arthur Bryant is not a member of the Foreign Publicity Department of the Foreign Office.

Mr. Strauss

Is it true that Mr. Bryant will be connected in some way with the work of the department?

Mr. Butler

I am not aware that he will be connected with the work of the department, but he is a man of such value that I hope he will not be out of touch with it.

Mr. Strauss

Why is the Minister anxious to have working in that department a man whose Fascist sympathies are so well known?

Mr. Butler

I must, first of all, repudiate the suggestion of the hon. Member. I never said that Mr. Bryant would be working in the department, and it is not contemplated that he will be working there. But that there should never be any connection between Mr. Arthur Bryant and the department would, I think, be a bad thing.

36. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Prime Minister whether he will ensure that the function of the Foreign Publicity Department of the Foreign Office will be primarily to publicise those principles of international justice, co-operation, and peace, to which Great Britain subscribes, and for which it would make appropriate sacrifices, rather than to defend and advocate the virtues of British diplomatic, economic, and Imperial interests?

Mr. Butler

I can assure the hon. Member that none of the causes for which Great Britain stands and in which her interests are involved will be overlooked.

Mr. Sorensen

Do I understand that the right hon. Gentleman does identify British Imperial interests with international justice, or is there some discrimination between the two?

Mr. Butler

British Imperial interests are just.