HC Deb 15 March 1939 vol 345 cc412-3
84. Sir W. Davison

asked the Post master-General whether he is aware of the difficulty experienced in Scandinavian countries in hearing British wireless broad casts, in view of the fact that the Droitwich wavelength is so close to the wave lengths of Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo, so that Scandinavian licence-holders who wish to hear foreign broadcasts are practically confined to those from Germany; and what, if any, steps are being taken to enable British broadcasts to be clearly available throughout Scandinavia?

The Assistant Postmaster-General (Sir Waiter Womersley)

I am aware that there are difficulties in receiving in Scandinavia the programmes transmitted by Droitwich and certain other British broad casting stations which are primarily designed for serving listeners in this country. I understand, however, that several British stations can be satisfactorily received by Scandinavian listeners after nightfall on modern receiving sets, and that the short wave programmes from Daventry should be heard satisfactorily on suitable receiving sets throughout the day and during the evening until 11 p.m. I will bring my hon. Friend's question to the notice of the British Broadcasting Corporation, but, as he is no doubt aware, the long and medium wavelengths at the disposal of each country and the power which each broadcasting station may use are limited by international agreement.

Sir W. Davison

While thanking my hon. Friend for what he has said about bringing this matter to the attention of the B.B.C., does the Government recognise the great importance of British thought and ideals being available in these Scandinavian countries, which are very closely associated with us in their ways of looking at things, and how very undesirable it is that they should at present be mainly dependent for their foreign news upon German broadcasts?

Sir W. Womersley

I am aware of the facts stated by my hon. Friend. We are anxious that all the Scandinavian countries should get the British broad casts, but there are certain technical difficulties. As my hon. Friend knows, there is the difficulty of distance as between the German stations and our own, but at the present moment there is an international conference sitting dealing with all these wave-length questions, and he can be assured that our delegates have been instructed as to the line they should take.

Mr. Dalton

Will the hon. Gentleman represent to our delegates at that conference the very strong feeling in all parts of this House and of this country on this subject? We are being jammed by the Germans all the time?

Sir W. Womersley

I can assure the hon. Member that they are aware of all these circumstances, and they have their instructions.