HC Deb 15 April 1948 vol 449 cc1145-6
19. Mr. Wyatt

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will now publish the details of the Film Agreement recently concluded with the American Motion Picture Industry.

Mr. H. Wilson

The full text of the Agreement will be published as soon as its detailed provisions can be finalised.

Mr. Wyatt

Is my right hon. Friend aware that every representative of every American film company in London has a copy of this agreement and that British film companies are at a great disadvantage in not being in possession of it? Will he see that it is given to them?

Mr. Wilson

No, Sir, I am not aware that every American representative has got a copy and I am certain that anything American representatives have in their hands our people have as well.

Mr. Oliver Stanley

Is it a fact, which I believe to be true, that this agreement has had full publicity in America already? Will the right hon. Gentleman make certain that the same publicity is given here at once?

Mr. Wilson

Exactly the same publicity has been given in this country as in America and what has been published in America has been published privately in this country and privately in America. The final details in one or two cases are not yet settled and I think it would be wrong to publish something which is not the final and complete agreement, which we hope to publish in the very near future.

Mr. Stanley

In view of the fact that the right hon. Gentleman says that it has had private publication, would it not be better that that same publication should now be made available to the House?

Mr. Wilson

Whatever is leaking out privately in America, for which I bear no responsibility whatever, and has also been repeated in one of the trade journals over here, is not, and will not be, the final published agreement between the Government and the Motion Picture Association. I would not like to publish anything to this House, or anywhere else, which does not embody the final terms of the agreement.

Mr. Wyatt

How can a British company or firm associated with the film industry know whether it is breaking the terms of the agreement if it accedes to an American suggestion to do something with its studio space if it has not got the agreement and the Americans have?

Mr. Wilson

I have already said that the Americans have not got the final agreement. Secondly, if a company wants to know anything they can come and ask at the Board of Trade—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—Yes, a number of them have done so, and got a very clear answer from me personally. Thirdly, yesterday I sent a letter to all the British producers telling them exactly what is their position in regard to studio space.