HC Deb 15 December 1964 vol 704 c195
19. Mr. Dudley Smith

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what changes she is proposing to make in the rôle of the British Council in providing educational aid.

Mrs. Castle

The Department of Technical Co-operation and the British Council kept in close and continuous touch regarding the educational assistance rendered by them to developing countries, and these arrangements are being continued by my Department. In consultation with my right hon. Friends the Foreign Secretary and the Commonwealth Secretary I shall be considering whether any improvements can be made, and in the event of this I will make a fuller statement in due course.

Mr. Dudley Smith

I thank the right hon. Lady for that reply, but would not she agree that there is a danger of overlapping and duplication in this field as between the British Council and her new Ministry? Will she do what she can to avoid overlapping in trying to recruit new teachers?

Mrs. Castle

We have arrangements for the co-ordination of educational assistance under technical co-operation arrangements and through the British Council. We shall continue to strengthen that co-ordination.

Sir G. de Freitas

In the consultations which my right hon. Friend will be having with the Commonwealth Secretary and the Foreign Secretary, will she impress on them the importance of their ambassadors and high commissioners not appearing in any way to do the job of the British Council representatives whose work is made easier when they are seen to be independent of direct agencies of the British Government?

Mrs. Castle

I think that the implications of that question are for my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary.

Mr. Longden

Does the right hon. Lady expect to be able to get more funds for the British Council for this work?

Mrs. Castle

I think that that must await my further statement.