HC Deb 10 May 1954 vol 527 cc841-2
25. Mr. Janner

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the vital importance of maintaining Anglo-French understanding, he will give an assurance that Her Majesty's Government will continue the French services of the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Mr. Nutting

Her Majesty's Government are studying the Report of the Drogheda Committee as a whole. I think it would be undesirable to anticipate the results of this study by giving assurances regarding any particular recommendations at this stage.

Mr. Janner

Will the hon. Gentleman direct his attention to the fact that this is a very critical time so far as our relationship with France is concerned? It is the anniversary of the Entente Cordiale, and it is very important not to restrict any services of this nature, particularly just now.

Mr. Nutting

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that all those considerations will be borne in mind, including the vital importance to us and the free world of preserving Anglo-French understanding.

Sir D. Savory

Is my hon. Friend aware that all through the winter it has been necessary to listen in at 6.30 a.m. in order to hear the French bulletin? Even now, in summer-time, it is necessary to be up at 7.30 a.m. to hear it. It is essential for hon. Members to hear the French bulletin. Does not my hon. Friend think it is rather early for hon. Members who have been detained late in the House the night before to get up to hear the bulletin?

Mr. Nutting

I can only say that the bulletin is directed to French listeners in France rather than to English listeners in this country, however late they may have been kept up the previous night.

Mr. Snow

Is this not a year of very great importance to Anglo-French friendship, and ought we not to cement our friendship with that great country and not cast eyes to other countries?

Mr. Nutting

I do not know what the hon. Member means about casting eyes to other countries. So far as Her Majesty's Government are concerned, every year is an important year for Anglo-French understanding.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

As there are many demands for economy, is it not both obvious and wise that France should be one of the first countries in respect of which economies should be made seeing that France is already so very close to us in commercial, economic and other ways?

Mr. Nutting

In the well-worn phrase, all relevant considerations have been borne in mind.