HC Deb 17 February 1954 vol 523 cc1968-9
23. Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many information officers this country now maintains in North America: and whether he is satisfied that they have secured adequate publicity for the proper manner in which the United Kingdom has, during the past three years, paid its post-war debts to the United States of America and Canada, in particular, for the payment of $181 million on 31st December, 1953.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

I can, of course, answer only for our information services in the United States. There are in the United States 21 information officers of various ranks. I am satisfied that, in the circumstances, adequate publicity has been secured for our prompt repayments.

Mr. Orr-Ewing

Is my hon. Friend aware that this sum of money means that every person in this country contributed last year three and a half dollars, and that this is more than each person in the United States contributed to the United Kingdom aid? If this fact were more widely appreciated, would it not help Anglo-American relations and mutual respect?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

I do not think there is any question of this country being ungrateful for the aid she has received from the United States since the war.

Mr. Snow

Could some of these information officers seek publicity in the United States for the views expressed this afternoon by the hon. Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams) on the part played by the Americans in the Persian oil dispute?

Mr. Mott-Radclyffe

Could my hon. Friend specifically draw attention to these repayments in the directives which from time to time are sent out by the Foreign Office to the British information services in the United States?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

I think that adequate action has been taken. I do not think it is for us to boast when we pay our debts.