HC Deb 25 January 1954 vol 522 cc1431-2
7. Mr. G. Longden

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the Governments of the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics have made special arrangements with the Government of Israel for the export of books and publications from their respective countries into Israel, whereas, owing to the lack of similar arrangements with this country, British books and publications are at a premium in Israel; and whether he will take steps to remedy this situation.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

Yes, Sir. The possibility of public funds being used to facilitate the entry of British books and publications into Israel is under consideration, but no decision has yet been reached. Meanwhile, as foreshadowed in the Chancellor of the Exchequer's reply to a similar Question on 9th December, 1952, permission is given exceptionally for United Kingdom exporters to accept in Israel currency a limited part of the payment for certain types of books.

Mr. Edelman

Does the hon. Gentleman recall that in the sympathetic reply to which he referred, given to me by the Chancellor more than a year ago, it was foreshadowed that steps would be taken which would ease the situation? These steps have not been taken and, in the meantime, Israel is being flooded by American and Russian books. It is very difficult for anyone there to get hold of English books.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

It has not yet been found possible to lift the financial stringency on either side so as to make it possible to export books from this country to Israel, which the hon. Member and the Government desire.

Mr. Longden

I agree with what has just been said, and I hope that my hon. Friend will press his right hon. Friend to act rather more quickly. We are losing business among other results of this lack of arrangements.