HC Deb 15 December 1955 vol 547 cc1380-1
36. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what representations have been made to him by the Indian and Pakistani Governments or from other sources in respect of the return to their respective Governments of museum or other exhibits acquired in the past but which they now desire for their own educational and archaeological purposes; and if he will encourage collaboration between those Governments and our own with a view to securing adequate permanent exhibitions in this country.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

The Answer to the first part of the hon. Member's Question is, "None, Sir," except in respect of the contents of the India Office Library, a matter on which there has been discussion between the Governments concerned. As regards any increase in the permanent exhibitions in this country, if that is what the hon. Member has in mind, the United Kingdom Government are very willing, subject to financial considerations, to co-operate with the Governments of India and Pakistan.

Mr. Sorensen

May I ask the hon. Gentleman whether, in view of the need to have an adequate representation of Indian and Pakistani exhibits in this country, for educational and archaeological purposes, it would not be an encouraging gesture on our part to invite the Governments of India and Pakistan to inform us whether there are any objects which we have acquired in the past, before they were independent, which they would like to have returned to their countries?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

If the hon. Gentleman will put any specific point to me, I will look into it.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

May I ask my hon. Friend into which category the very beautiful items that come from Kashmir will be put?