HC Deb 11 April 1956 vol 551 cc198-9
3. Dame Irene Ward

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the British and Allied case in the Middle East requires to be put with greater force and in a modern manner; and what steps he will take to ensure that we shall win the battle of words.

Mr. Nutting

My right hon. and learned Friend is certainly aware of this need. Improvements have been made in our organisation. Further steps which might be taken were discussed at a conference of information officers from Her Majesty's Missions in the region held recently in Beirut. My right hon. and learned Friend is now studying the recommendations made.

Dame Irene Ward

Would my right hon. Friend bear in mind that it is not improvements that are necessary but a complete revolution?

Hon. Members


48. Mr. Peyton

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what consultations he has had with the British Broadcasting Corporation to satisfy himself that the British Broadcasting Corporation have the resources and technical facilities necessary to ensure a sufficient and regular presentation of the British case in the Middle East.

Mr. Nutting

Consultations have been in progress for some time between my right hon. Friend's Department and the B.B.C. about improving the Corporation's resources and technical facilities for broadcasting to the Middle East. One serious difficulty however is the rate at which the cost continues to rise of the Corporation's external services as a whole.

Mr. Peyton

Does my right hon. Friend not agree that this matter is becoming of increasing urgency in view of the deplorable hostility shown by the Egyptian Government? Would he not further agree that expenditure of time and money now is probably likely to save something far more painful later?

Mr. Nutting

Yes, Sir. We are expanding the Arabic services and additional money is being made available in 1956–57 to step up the efforts in this direction in the Middle East.

Mr. Dugdale

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are many criticisms in the Middle East of these British broadcasts? Will he see that a copy of at least some of these broadcasts is placed in the Library of the House so that hon. Members can have an opportunity of seeing whether they are good, bad or indifferent?

Mr. Nutting

I will certainly examine the right hon. Gentleman's request.

Sir Alan Gomme-Duncan

Is my right hon. Friend aware that certain of the broadcasts now being sent out by the B.B.C. to Cairo contain a great deal of material which is absolutely nonsense as far as presenting the British case is concerned?

Mr. Nutting

If my hon. and gallant Friend cares to draw my attention to any case in point, I will, of course, examine it.