HC Deb 26 October 1953 vol 518 cc2421-2
22. Mr. J. Hynd

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what action he has taken to ensure that the British Council shall not, in future, dispose of any of its publications or other activities to other bodies, especially abroad, under contracts which, whilst depriving the Council of any further control, convey the right to the purchasers to continue to use the name of the British Council, irrespective of the purposes to which the publication or other activity may be subsequently directed.

Mr. Nutting

As a chartered corporation the British Council is entitled to enter into contracts for the disposal of its property on such terms as it may consider proper. My right hon. Friend has no power to take action of the kind envisaged in the Question.

I can, however, assure the hon. Gentleman that the British Council is well aware of the undesirability of permitting unauthorised or misleading use of its name abroad.

Mr. Hynd

Is the Minister aware that the British Council has already agreed to the sale of a publication called "Things English," in Sweden, that the contract for sale included the right to use the imprint, "Founded by the British Council in Sweden," and that it is alleged, as he knows, that this newspaper is being used for purposes other than that for which it was founded? Can he not give us an assurance that the British Council will not in future take the risk of selling its publications to organisations which might misuse them and use the name of the British Council?

Mr. Nutting

I will certainly draw the attention of the British Council to the suggestion of the hon. Gentleman, but, as I have already indicated in my answer, my right hon. Friend has no powers to force the British Council to take, or not to take any particular action in this type of case.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Does my hon. Friend not think that the time has now come to consider whether this organisation should not be brought to an end, or at any rate, very much curtailed?

Mr. Nutting

That is a much broader, and very different, question.