HC Deb 08 February 1962 vol 653 cc599-600
12. Mr. Healey

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what steps he is taking to improve the quality and quantity of material for use by British information officers in the African countries of the Commonwealth.

Mr. Braine

Both the quality and quantity of the material we supply is kept under close and constant review in consultation with our overseas representatives.

Mr. Healey

While recognising the energy and devotion of our Common-wealth information officers in this respect, will the Under-Secretary press the Treasury to allow more money for this vitally important work? On the ques- tion of quality, does he not agree that it is not satisfactory that Commonwealth propaganda, information material, in West Africa should be omni-direction material also available to Canada and Australia, and will he consider setting up a special African department to deal with that side of the problem?

Mr. Braine

I agree entirely with what the hon. Member has said about the devotion and ability of our information officers in the field, and I take his point about the necessity for specially tailored material to meet the needs of these countries. But I am sure that the hon. Member would be the first to recognise that if information expenditure is to be kept within bounds, a large proportion of the material sent out should be suitable for use anywhere in the Commonwealth. On the other hand, we are moving increasingly in the direction he has suggested.

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