HC Deb 19 November 1941 vol 376 cc278-9
1. Captain McEwen

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the number of persons working in that portion of Chatham House evacuated from London; and whether that number has increased during the last six months and, if so, by how much?

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Eden)

The total paid staff of the Foreign Research and Press Service in Oxford on 10th November was 144; unpaid members of the staff and members paid by Oxford University and colleges amount to a further 18. The increase of the total number since 10th May amounts to 15, and consists of four translators and 11 junior members of staff. The increase has not necessitated any expenditure outside the present grant-in-aid.

Captain McEwen

Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that they are doing work which, if they did not do it, would have to be done by Government Departments?

Mr. Eden

Certainly; if the work was not being done by them, it would have to be done by other Government Departments, and, on the whole, I think the present system is the best one.

Mr. Mander

In view of the considerable change in the status of the staff during the last year or so, does not the right hon. Gentleman think it is worth reconsidering the whole matter?

Mr. Eden

That is another point.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied with the work?

Mr. Eden

The work they do covers a large number of Departments. They do research work, and they supply information. For instance, they do translations from the foreign Press, which the Departments must have, and if they did not do it, I am satisfied that an organisation would have to be set up in other Departments.

Major-General Sir Alfred Knox

Are not they duplicating work that ought to be done by the Foreign Office?

Mr. Eden

I think not.

Sir Stanley Reed

Is it not the case that many Departments are in the habit of sending inquiries to Chatham House instead of using the publicity departments attached to all Government offices?