HC Deb 11 March 1957 vol 566 cc799-800
45. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Prime Minister if he is aware of the representative organisation set up by the State of Virginia and supported by the Government of the United States of America to promote the Jamestown Festival designed to celebrate the 350th birthday of the United States of America and of the large representative and official delegation, including the Governor of the State of Virginia, which recently visited Britain to promote the Jamestown Festival; and, in view of this, if he will arrange for Britain to be represented at the Jamestown Festival.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department and Lord Privy Seal (Mr. R. A. Butler)

I have been asked to reply.

At the invitation of the State of Virginia, Her Majesty's Government are to take part in an exhibition organised to mark this Festival and are providing an exhibit in a pavilion erected for this purpose by the Virginian authorities. This exhibit will cover the history of the early colonists in Virginia; the heritage passed on by them to the American Nation; and the evolution of the British Commonwealth.

In addition, at the invitation of the Governor of Virginia, a delegation led by my noble Friend the Minister of Education, is to attend the Inaugural Celebrations of the Festival on 1st April; and, during the course of the Festival, further celebrations are being planned to take place on both sides of the Atlantic.

Mr. Hughes

As the Leader of the House has just returned from Ghana, does he not realise that this Jamestown Festival is an historic occasion which should be recognised by this Mother Country at the highest possible level? Will not the Government take steps to see that Britain is represented at the highest possible level, and that this Parliament is represented by an all-party delegation, and not merely by the Minister of Education, who can be relied upon to drop bricks when he gets there?

Mr. Butler

I do not think there is any more distinguished person to represent Her Majesty's Government than my noble Friend the Minister of Education, whom we have evidence that the authorities in Virginia are very glad to welcome. As regards the rest, I think my Answer will have indicated, together with the grant which Her Majesty's Government are making towards the expenses of participating in the Festival, that it is our intention that we shall take the greatest possible part in this traditional ceremony.

Mr. J. Howard

Will my right hon. Friend consider the composition of a suitable anthem for this occasion?

Mr. J. Griffiths

Will the Lord Privy Seal also consider sending with the Minister of Education a copy, suitably framed, of the Motion on America which was tabled by his hon. Friend the other day?

[That this House congratulates the Foreign Secretary on his efforts to secure international control of the Suez Canal, and deplores both the Resolution of the General Assembly calling for immediate and unconditional withdrawal of British and French troops from Egypt, and the attitude of the United States of America which is gravely endangering the Atlantic alliance.]