HC Deb 19 November 1947 vol 444 cc1150-1
Mr. Benson (Chesterfield)

I beg to move: That upon the occasion of his forthcoming visit to France, Mr. Speaker do present as a gift from this House to the Library of the University of Caen, the 231 volumes of 'La Collection des documents inédits sur l'histoire de France' now in the Library of the House of Commons. The purpose of this Motion is to assist the rebuilding of the Library of the University of Caen, which was destroyed during the war in July, 1944. As Chairman of the Library of this House, I am deeply conscious of the problems we have had to face in attempting to fill comparatively small gaps in our own Library. How great must be the difficulties of attempting in these days to rebuild a Library de novo, can only be imagined. Any such attempt must be impossible without generous help, and as learning is international and knows no national bounds, and anything that affects the scholarship of France must also affect scholarship elsewhere, it seems to me that that help must be international also.

I do not think any hon. Member will deny that this great collection of historical French documents, which go back to the fourteenth century, will be of far greater utility to a French university library than it would be to hon. Members of this House. It seems to me appropriate that this international help should come, not only from this country, but from this House, because when the Library of Caen was destroyed, it was destroyed by British bombs.

Mr. Pickthorn (Cambridge University)

I beg to second the Motion.

Question put, and agreed to.