HC Deb 28 November 1956 vol 561 cc401-2
46. Sir T. Moore

asked the Prime Minister whether he will consider reforming the Central Office of Information and appointing a Minister so that an authoritative picture may be given to the world of Britain's attitude and actions in the Middle East and elsewhere.

The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. R. A. Butler)

I have been asked to reply.

My hon. Friend's suggestion has been considered by Her Majesty's Government, who feel that these vital objectives can and should be achieved in other ways.

Sir T. Moore

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply, but will he bear in mind—as I am sure he does—that many of the misunderstandings that exist at present in the United Nations, and in the United States, arise purely from ignorance of our motives and our actions?

Mr. Butler

I do not think that anyone can possibly underestimate the importance of the publicity angle in this matter, and we are, and have been, making arrangements whereby we put our case in the best possible way, both abroad and at home.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Does the right hon. Gentleman's Answer mean that he and the Foreign Minister have not been giving an authoritative picture of our actions and attitude?

Mr. Butler

I have just had the honour and pleasure of meeting the Foreign Secretary and I think that everybody, even those who disagree with him, realises that he has put very fairly and squarely before the United Nations the point of view of this country.

Mr. Gaitskell

Can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that taxpayers' money will not be used to justify the policies of the Conservative Party?

Mr. Butler

I would only give an assurance that the Government will use to the utmost extent the resources at their disposal to make their information services as good as possible.