§ 21. Mr. Ernest Davies
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs by how much the grant-in-aid to the British Broadcasting Corporation for its over seas services must be increased for the fiscal year 1954–55 in order to enable it to maintain its present output.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
This question is now being investigated in connection with the normal annual consideration of the Estimates.
§ Mr. Davies
Will the Minister of State give an undertaking that the services will not be reduced below the present level in view of the assurance, given by the Foreign Office at the time the Drogheda Committee was appointed, that the services would remain at their present level pending the Committee's recommendations'? In view of the failure of the Foreign Office to make those recommendations known to the House, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman ensure that the present services will continue during the coming year?
§ Mr. Woodburn
Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman keep in mind that understanding is an even better basis for peace than arms?
§ 22. Mr. Ernest Davies
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what changes in the British Broadcasting Corporation overseas services are to be made during 1954–55 as a result of the recommendations of the Drogheda Committee.
§ Mr. Davies
When will the Minister of State be in a position to give an answer? If I put down a Question for next Monday or Wednesday, will he make 1968 a statement to the House? Departments must now be preparing their Estimates, and if they are not aware how much they will be allowed to spend during the coming year, they cannot formulate their programmes.
§ Mr. Lloyd
As I have said before, the House has been patient in this matter, and I ask hon. Members to be patient a little further. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary is responsible to the House for these matters, and he has been out of the country for sometime. I cannot give a definite date. All I can say is that I shall do my best to see that the matter is dealt with as soon as possible.
§ Mr. Davies
There is a limit to the patience of the House. This matter has been going on since July of last year. We have continued to put Questions regarding the recommendations of the Drogheda Committee. Cannot the right hon. and learned Gentleman give an assurance that he will persuade the Foreign Secretary to make a statement to the House next week regarding the overseas services?
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
Has the Minister considered publishing the Drogheda Committee's Report before the Government make a final decision, so that the House can judge?