HC Deb 10 December 1941 vol 376 cc1513-4
30. Mr. Creech Jones

asked the Minister of Information what are the duties of the director of Empire propaganda; whether the appointment is full-time; what are the qualifications of Lord Dufferin for the post; whether other names were considered when the recent appointment was made; at whose suggestion this appointment was considered; and whether the Central Register was consulted?

Mr. Bracken

The Acting Director of the Empire Division is responsible for the presentation of the British case in all Empire countries and for publicity in the United Kingdom and abroad about the Empire's war effort. The appointment is full-time. Lord Dufferin's qualifications are that he was for more than two years Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies; he was a member of the Indian Franchise Committee; and has been engaged on other official missions to the Colonies. In the course of a long search for the most suitable candidate for this post a large number of names were considered. Having consulted with my right hon. Friends, the Secretaries of State for the Dominions and the Colonies, I asked for Lord Dufferin to be temporarily released from the Army.

Mr. Creech Jones

Is the Minister aware of the very considerable uneasiness felt everywhere in regard to this appointment, and will he also say how Lord Dufferin can reconcile his full-time appointment with new work of a very exacting kind which has been given to him at the Colonial Office?

Mr. Bracken

Let me explain first to the hon. Gentleman that for six months my predecessor and I tried to find a head for this important Department. I regarded it as almost scandalous that the Department had not a head. We went through a lengthy list of names and made offers for this post. I do not know why they were refused; perhaps those refusing did not think well of the Ministry of Information. I was strongly recommended, therefore, to take Lord Dufferin, in view of his great experience and intelligence, and I loaned him from the Army. Lord Dufferin did not want to be borrowed from the Army, but I persuaded him that it was his duty to take the post in the interests of the State.

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