HC Deb 26 November 1952 vol 508 c454
48. Mr. Noel-Baker

asked the Prime Minister to make a statement about the action of the United Kingdom delegation in proposing a reduction in the Budget of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

The Prime Minister

The Director-General U.N.E.S.C.O. recommended a two-year budget of 20 million dollars for 1953 and 1954. The United Kingdom delegation proposed an alternative figure—[HON. MEMBERS: "Speak up."] Be quiet, and I shall not have to speak up. Be quiet, and the House will hear. The United Kingdom delegation proposed an alternative figure of 17.4 million dollars. This would have provided annually appropriations equalling those for 1952. In the opinion of Her Majesty's Government this sum would have been amply sufficient to support a full programme of action by U.N.E.S.C.O. The United Kingdom proposal was supported by the United States, Scandinavian and other delegates. The Conference eventually accepted, with our support, a two-year budget of 18 million dollars.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Is it not a fact that the proposal made by the British delegation to cut the Budget presented by the Executive Committee has led to the resignation of the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman of the Executive Committee and of the Director-General, and that the countries with less developed educational systems feel very strongly about it? Is this not most unhappily reminiscent of the attacks made on the Budget of the League of Nations before the war, which the Prime Minister regretted as much as we?

Hon. Members


The Prime Minister

I am always ready to answer a supplementary question, but this supplementary question of the right hon. Gentleman is more like a reinforcing oration.