HC Deb 20 January 1943 vol 386 cc197-8
35. Mr. Hewlett

asked the Postmaster-General the average time anticipatorily allotted to the transmission of a Services airgraph when the scheme was introduced; and what is the actual average time now taken with such messages?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

It was expected that the average time of transmission of airgraph mails to the base in the Middle East would be about two weeks and to India and South Africa about three weeks. In practice, the transmission times vary considerably, but the present average times are eight days and 15 days respectively. These times do not include the intervals between posting and the despatch af the airgraph film from this country, the time required for the photographic processes at the distant end, or the time, depending on the location of the addressee, required to effect delivery, all of which are subject to considerable variation.

Colonel Sir Charles MacAndrew

When does the right hon. Gentleman expect a service to open up for North Africa?

Mr. Morrison

That matter is now under consideration. I cannot give a date yet.

36. Mr. Bellenger

asked the Postmaster-General whether the system of recordak photography, and the later stages of developing and processing for the airgraph service are under the complete control of the Post Office; and what arrangements are made with Messrs. Kodak, Limited, in this connection?

Mr. Morrison

The whole of the photographic work in connection with the airgraph service is performed on behalf of my Department, and of the other postal administrations concerned, by Kodak, Ltd., under arrangements to be embodied in a formal agreement, the precise terms of which are at present the subject of negotiation with the Company.

Mr. Bellenger

In view of the fact that this service will be more widely used after the war, particularly by commercial firms, will he not agree that it should come entirely under Post Office control?

Mr. Morrison

The question of post-war policy on this is rather hypothetical at the moment, but at the time the airgraph service was introduced there was great delay to Service mails due to their diversion round the Cape of Good Hope, and it was necessary to take advantage of this firm which possessed the equipment and trained personnel who could operate it in all parts where it was being used.

Mr. Bellenger

Considering that the right hon. Gentleman is now negotiating some sort of agreement with Kodak, will he bear in mind the possibility of this process being acquired by the Post Office, and therefore belong to the State, and not be utilised to make profits for a private firm?

Mr. Morrison

Certainly, that possibility will be borne in mind.

Mr. Woodburn

Will this agreement terminate at the end of the war, or is the agreement contemplated a permanent one?

Mr. Morrison

I am sure that the agreement will make some provision for its termination.

Hon. Members

At the end of the war?