HC Deb 26 November 1958 vol 596 cc337-8
9. Mr. Swingler

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what assistance is given by his Department in the production, distribution, and exhibition of films prepared by the United Nations Film Board; and if he will give instructions to his Department's information service to promote the exhibition of the film "Blue Vanguard" about the work of the United Nations Force in the Middle East.

23. Mr. Warbey

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what financial contribution was made by the Government towards the cost of the film of the United Nations Emergency Force, produced by the United Nations Film Board under the title "Blue Vanguard"; and when copies of the film will be available for exhibition in this country.

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

The production and distribution of films for the United Nations Film Board is the responsibility of the United Nations Office of Public Information. The expenses of this Office are financed from the regular budget of the United Nations, of which the United Kingdom's assessed share for 1958 is 7.62 per cent. The United Nations' share of the cost of the film "Blue Vanguard" was financed in this way. The film has not yet been released; the timing of its release is a matter for the United Nations Secretary-General.

Mr. Swingler

Has the right hon. Gentleman read an article by Mr. James Cameron in the News Chronicle last week, which implied that the Foreign Office had prevented the exhibition of this United Nations film at the recent Berlin Film Festival on the grounds of its containing criticism of the Government's Suez policy? Is the right hon. Gentleman in a position to deny that allegation, and to say that, because the Government support United Nations forces, they will permit the exhibition of this film.

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

I can categorically state that Her Majesty's Government were not responsible for the presentation of this film at the Berlin Film Festival, nor did they seek a withdrawal of it. In addition, I can say that the United Kingdom Permanent Representative at the United Nations has informed the Secretary-General that we do not object to its release.

Mr. Warbey

If the Government do not object to the release of this film, may I ask if any Governments are objecting to its release, and whether the British Government are doing all they can to ensure its release so that it will be exhibited in this and other countries?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

That is quite another question.