HC Deb 11 February 1946 vol 419 cc1-2
3. Flight-Lieutenant Haire

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that whilst the British Council claims to interpret British life and culture to countries overseas, its governing personnel includes few individuals having any personal experience of life at the income levels of the vast majority of our population; and whether he will now make a statement on the future of the British Council.

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. McNeil)

The future of the British Council has been under consideration. I hope shortly to be in a position to make a statement.

Flight-Lieutenant Haire

I am not asking for political appointments, but would my hon. Friend keep in mind, when vacancies occur, that suitable appointments might be given to applicants who have first-hand knowledge of the life which is mainly represented on the Government side?

Mr. McNeil

At present, appointments are made by the British Council.

4. Mr. Pritt

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the inquiry, promised 11 weeks ago, as to whether the chief representative of the British Council in Spain insists that applicants for appointments by the Council for work in Spain shall all be of one particular religion, has now been concluded; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. McNeil

In 1940, before the present senior British Council representative was posted to Spain, His Majesty's Government made an agreement with the Spanish Government providing that the staff of British institutes in Spain should be Roman Catholics. The British Council operates in Spain in virtue of this agreement. I agree with my hon. and learned Friend that the principle underlying the agreement is open to objection, particularly in view of Article 1 of the United Nations Charter, and my right hon. Friend is considering the question of seeking modification of the agreement or denouncing it.