HC Deb 20 May 1953 vol 515 cc2066-8
42. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps are being taken, other than through diplomatic channels, to ensure that British foreign policy and recent responsible pronouncements thereon are adequately disseminated through our public relations office, or otherwise, in the United States of America.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

The practice of the Foreign Office has been to telegraph to Washington and the British Information Services, New York, the full text, or if it is very long, the salient parts, of important Ministerial speeches on foreign policy with all speed as soon as an authenticated text is available. As the Prime Minister stated yesterday, important speeches on foreign affairs by the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition will in future be cabled immediately and in full.

Distribution by the British Information Services in the United States normally consists of issuing the text by means of a Press release and delivering it to leading editors and commentators both of Press and radio.

Mr. Sorensen

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman feel that our information service in the United States has suffered at all through any drastic economies? Secondly, are there public relation offices in most of the main States, including the State of Wisconsin?

Mr. Lloyd

The reply to the question as to whether our information services in the United States have suffered by reason of economies is that that is not so; in fact, the amount of money spent there has been increased.

Mr. Sorensen

Could the right hon. and learned Gentleman answer the second part of my supplementary question about whether there is a special office in Wisconsin?

Mr. Lloyd

I should require notice of that question.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Since information to Europe is also of great importance, are similar arrangements being made for the Continent?

Mr. Lloyd

I should like to consider that suggestion.

Mr. Anthony Greenwood

The Prime Minister has told us that the text of speeches by himself and the Leader of the Opposition will be sent immediately to Washington. Is there any reason why similar treatment should not be meted out to the Foreign Secretary?

Mr. Lloyd

My right hon. Friend is in charge of the Foreign Office at the moment.

Mr. Bowles

Who will decide which are the important speeches made in this House which are to be sent to America? Many Back Benchers think that their speeches are the most important.

Mr. Lloyd

Naturally that is a matter for judgment. I have no doubt that it will ultimately be decided by the Minister in charge of the Foreign Office for the time being.