HC Deb 29 June 1961 vol 643 cc635-6
7. Mr. G. M. Thomson

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will instruct the United Kingdom representative on the Commonwealth Education Liaison Unit to propose that United States observers be invited to the Second Commonwealth Education Conference in Delhi in January, 1962, in view of the importance of obtaining the closest possible co-operation with the United States of America in the field of educational aid within the Commonwealth.

Mr. Braine

There is no precedent, so far as I am aware, for the attendance of foreign representatives at an official Commonwealth Conference, even as observers, and I think that it would be preferable to adhere to the established practice in this matter.

Mr. Thomson

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this question was meant to be helpful and to be a constructive proposal for the Government's consideration? If the hon. Gentleman is talking about precedents, is he aware that there is very little precedent for a Commonwealth system of educational co-operation and that this is something new? Would he not agree, in view of the scale of American help in education in the Commonwealth, that it is important to avoid overlapping and waste of precious educational resources?

Mr. Braine

I am quite aware that the hon. Member's suggestion was advanced in a helpful way. Her Majesty's Government fully recognise the importance of maintaining the closest co-operation with the United States on educational aid to under-developed countries, especially those in the Commonwealth, but this is an official Commonwealth Conference. I would invite the hon. Member to discuss the matter with me further.

Forward to