HC Deb 23 March 1949 vol 463 cc368-9
46. Mr. K. Lindsay

asked the Lord President of the Council what subjects are covered by the Central Office of Information lecture service; and what is the annual cost of this service.

Mr. H. Morrison

The main current themes of the lecture service provided by the Central Office of Information are: Economic Situation, Commonwealth and Western Union. The forecast of expenditure on this service for 1948–49 is £63,000.

47. Mr. K. Lindsay

asked the Lord President of the Council what is the guiding principle in selecting organisations on behalf of which the Central Office of Information subsidises lectures; who selects the lecturers; what is the average fee paid to them; and, in particular, on what principle the United Nations Association has been omitted from these organisations and the movement for Western Union included.

Mr. H. Morrison

If the hon. Member will refer to the annual report of the Central Office of Information for the year 1947–48, he will find details of its lecture service, from which he will see that it does not subsidise lectures on behalf of any organisation. The lecturers are selected by the Central Office of Information. The average fee is £1 14s. For the reasons why lectures on the United Nations have not been included in the service, I would refer him to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Brentford and Chiswick (Mr. F. Noel-Baker) on 10th March, 1948. Lectures on Western Union have been given in response to a request by the Foreign Office acting in accordance with Article 3 of the Brussels Treaty.

Mr. Lindsay

While I am in favour of Article 3 of the Brussels Treaty, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman can he give any particular reason why this selection is made? Is he really in favour of sponsored lectures by the Government of the day, and is it not better to leave these voluntary societies to run under their own steam?

Mr. Morrison

There is a good deal of lecturing done under the auspices of the United Nations Association. Therefore, there is no overlapping in this respect at the moment, because we are not including United Nations lectures at present. Western Union has come in because it is a new subject. My view is that we must be adaptable in this lecture service and arrange subjects according to what the public interest requires at a certain time.

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