HC Deb 26 April 1944 vol 399 cc757-8
24. Mr. Mander

asked the Minister of Information the purpose of the visit of Miss Freya Stark to America; and for what period and at what expense this visit has been arranged by his Department.

The Minister of Information (Mr. Brendan Bracken)

Miss Freya Stark is a member of the Middle East staff of the Ministry of Information. She was granted leave of absence in order to visit America to deliver lectures, at the invitation of the Oriental Institute of Chicago. Her salary and her travelling expenses are being paid by the Ministry. As, since her arrival, she has been invited to speak by other public bodies, the date of her return is not yet decided.

Mr. Mander

Can my right hon. Friend give an assurance that there is no founda- tion for the statement that she has gone out there to spread pro-Arab propaganda and to support the policy of the Wnite Paper?

Mr. Bracken

I can give such an assurance. Miss Stark is a distinguished scholar, who has been followed throughout the United States by a number of persons anxious to traduce her. I wish to put it on record that her visit has nothing to do with Arab propaganda.

Mr. Keeling

Would my right hon. Friend agree that Miss Stark is one of the great authorities on the Middle East and a most admirable person to represent British culture in America?

Mr. Bracken

indicated assent.

Mr. Bellenger

Is it not clear that the only persons allowed to go to America are those prepared to support the Government's policy?