HC Deb 02 August 1944 vol 402 cc1360-2
9. Sir Patrick Hannon

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to what extent co-operation has been established between the various representatives of the departments of His Majesty's Government now engaged upon official duties in South America; if the Ministry of Information and the Board of Trade are in constant touch with his department to avoid overlapping and maintain mutually helpful relations; and if embassies, legations and consulates have been instructed to facilitate the mission which are in process in the interests of public economy and practical results.

Mr. Eden

The co-operation of the representatives of various departments of His Majesty's Government engaged on official duties in Latin American countries is ensured by the fact of their attachment to His Majesty's Diplomatic Missions in those countries. The answer to the second part of my hon. Friend's inquiry is in the affirmative. As regards the final part of the Question, no missions are at present visiting Latin American countries, but His Majesty's Missions and Consulates have naturally given the fullest assistance to certain Government officials who have been, or are, visiting Latin American countries. These visits cover both the purposes referred to by my hon. Friend.

Sir P. Hannon

Will my right hon. Friend say that he is quite satisfied that the functions of these missions are being discharged with full efficiency and due regard to public economy?

Mr. Eden

It is always dangerous to express satisfaction.

Sir Percy Harris

Do these arrangements apply to Argentina as well as to other South American countries?

Mr. Eden

I am not sure whether they are covered by these missions or not.

10. Sir P. Hannon

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will circulate, for the information of hon. Members, a statement on the activities of the British Council in South American republics; the number of institutes which have been established; the number of lecturers and teachers now employed; and the extent to which local co-operation has been forthcoming from the various Governments in whose countries the Council operates.

Mr. Eden

Yes, Sir. The statement has been prepared and will be circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the statement:

The British Council operates in all the South American Republics. The greater part of the Council's work is centred in Anglophil Societies which have been established in each Republic with the co-operation of the Government of the country. These Societies are controlled by Boards composed jointly of eminent local citizens and of members of the local British community.

In Argentina Anglophil Societies have now been established at Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Rosario, Tucumán, Mar del Plata, Villa Mercedes, Bahía Blanca (with a Branch at Punta Alta), Santa Fée, Mendoza and Corrientes; in Bolivia at La Paz; in Brazil at Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Curitiba and Santos; in Chile at Santiago, Valparaíso and Concepción; in Colombia at Bogotá, Medellín, Cali, Barranquilla and Santa Marta; in Ecuador at Quito; in Paraguay at Asuncióon and Villarrica; in Peru at Lima and Arequipa; in Uruguay at Montevideo, Salto, Paysandú, Fray Bentos, Mercedes and Rivera; and in Venezuela at Carácas. In many countries numerous extra-mural classes have been organised.

The majority of the teachers at these Anglophil Societies are locally recruited by the Societies, and the exact numbers are not known. Thirty-four Directors and Lecturers have been sent from this country. In addition 15 teachers have been appointed to posts in British schools in South America and to South American Universities and technical institutions. In Brazil, Chile and Colombia the Council's work is controlled by a senior officer holding the title of Representative. The Chief Representative for Spanish-speaking America and the Music Officer, who directs the Council's work in the field of music throughout Latin America, have their offices in Buenos Aires.

The Anglophil Societies possess well-stocked literary and technical libraries. British books are presented to various Latin American schools, universities and other institutions. The Societies show documentary films of general interest, hold special exhibitions of fine arts, photographs and books, sent out from London, and arrange lectures by eminent persons of both nationalities. A new and successful development of the British Council's work has been the local broadcasting of English lessons.

Scholarships are awarded to Latin American students, mainly postgraduates, for the purpose of study or technical training in the United Kingdom.