HC Deb 08 March 1954 vol 524 cc1717-8
11. Mrs. L. Jeger

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is prepared to consider investigating the possibilities of restarting the publication British Ally," or a similar weekly newspaper, in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Mr. Eden

Her Majesty's Government are continually reviewing measures to acquaint the Soviet people with opinion in this country. The hon. Lady will, however, realise that this particular proposal is not without its practical difficulties.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is the Foreign Secretary not aware that it would be a good thing for the Soviet people to know all about the warm references to the Russian people made by the Prime Minister in his recent speech, and to see how far they were reflected in the policy of the Government?

Mr. Eden

I am sure that that would be a great source of inspiration, but it requires only a little co-operation from the Soviet Government to enable this publication to be resumed.

Mr. Younger

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether there is any evidence of a change of attitude with regard to the circulation, not of "British Ally" itself, but of something similar? My recollection is that it was closed down originally because great difficulties were put in the way of circulating it to any considerable body of the Soviet public at all.

Mr. Eden

The right hon. Gentleman is only too correct. We are in the process of reviewing the whole of this problem to see if there is any use in trying once again to publish it. So far our conclusions have not been very encouraging.

Mrs. Jeger

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell the House what some of those practical difficulties are that stand in the way of this publication?

Mr. Eden

Chiefly what the right hon. Gentleman has said. The Soviet Government would not allow this publication to have a wider circulation, and this made it a very expensive experiment.