HC Deb 08 November 1954 vol 532 cc843-4
15. Mr. E. Johnson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if, in preparing the 1955–56 Estimates, he will make provision for a scheme backed by public funds to facilitate the entry of British books into Israel.

Mr. Turton

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply my hon. Friend gave to a similar question on 5th April. I regret that the position for 1955–56 does not enable any change to be made which would involve public funds.

Mr. Johnson

Will my hon. Friend look into this matter again, because Israel is being flooded with American books, and there is a very large unfilled demand for British books which they would be very glad to have?

Mr. Turton

The House should take into consideration the fact that Israel is earning about £6 million sterling a year, and it is a reasonable view that she should be able to afford to allocate an adequate sum for the purchase of British books if she wishes to do so. In fact, there is a scheme which is aiding the export from this country of certain technical and law books. We must concentrate on the essentials at present.

Miss Lee

In view of the conditions existing in Israel at present, does the hon. Gentleman seriously suggest that a small country which has not been able to budget for its imports and exports should allocate money in this way if it is in the power of the British Government to help her?

Mr. Turton

We have great sympathy with the position of Israel, but we must concentrate on the most essential ways of helping, and this does not seem to be the most essential way.