HC Deb 11 April 1956 vol 551 cc206-7
44. Mr. Peyton

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many Egyptian broadcasting technicians have been trained in this country under the sponsorship of his Department; and how many it is intended to train in the future.

Mr. Nutting

No such technicians have been trained under Foreign Office sponsorship, but, with the approval of Her Majesty's Government, and as a result of arrangements made between the B.B.C. and the Egyptian State Broadcasting Service in June, 1955, six officials of the Egyptian State Broadcasting Service were taken for training by the B.B.C. under their scheme for training technicians from Foreign Broadcasting Administrations. Under these arrangements three more officials will be accepted during this year and two in 1957.

Mr. Peyton

Does not my right hon. Friend think that this extraordinarily quixotic arrangement should be stopped forthwith until and unless the Egyptian Government give and observe an undertaking to restrain the stream of lying and vicious propaganda now directed against this country by Cairo radio?

Mr. Nutting

None of the officials accepted, I can assure my hon. Friend, was connected with the type of broadcasts to which he has referred, namely, the Voice of the Arabs broadcasts which are ostensibly independent of the Egyptian radio. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] As to the general question involved, this is part of a general system under which since June, 1955, 92 people from the Commonwealth and 40 from foreign countries have been accepted for training in this kind of work.

Mr. Robens

Does the right hon. Gentleman really believe that the Voice of the Arabs is free from the Egyptian Government? Does he really believe that?

Mr. Nutting

No. I do not believe that for a moment. All I am saying is that the technicians and officials trained in this country have nothing to do with those broadcasts.

Captain Waterhouse

Are we to take it that an assurance was given that those men would not be used in that way? Or has it just happened that they are not?

Mr. Nutting

We took care to find out whether they were or whether they were not.

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