HC Deb 27 July 1964 vol 699 cc988-9
21. Mr. Mayhew

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will promote a further expansion of the work of the British Council in Latin America.

Mr. Mathew

Subject to the provision of additional funds, the British Council plans to expand its work in Latin America still further, laying particular emphasis on the teaching of the English language.

Mr. Mayhew

I am grateful for that reply. Would the Minister agree that we have more potential friends and fewer enemies in Latin America than probably anywhere else in the world? Would he agree that 6 per cent. of the B.B.C.'s overseas expenditure and only 2 per cent. of technical assistance expenditure is really too low for this increasingly important area?

Mr. Mathew

I certaintly agree that the expansion of the Council's work in Latin America is most desirable. Our resources are inevitably limited and we must attempt to use them as effectively as possible in all areas of the world, but this expansion is, I hope, about to take place.

Sir K. Thomson

What does my hon. Friend mean by "subject to the necessary additional funds being available"? Is he aware that there is great need for an expansion of this work both in Brazil, for example, and in Peru, where great advantages are to be gained by pursuing the work of the British Council on an extended scale?

Mr. Mathew

We have expanded, and the amount allocated for British Council work in Latin-America in the current year is £283,000. This compares with £233,000 in 1963–64 and is an increase of £50,000. These sums do not include, for example, expenditure on scholars or visitors from Latin-American countries, the supply of Council books and material and theatrical performances which are sent to Latin-America. We are now considering proposals for a further expansion during 1965–66.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Will not the Government consider this again and consider whether it might not be wise to make larger sums of money available as Latin-America will be one of the greatest potential markets in the world over the next 20 years?

Mr. Mathew

Yes, Sir. I entirely agree with what the right hon. Gentleman has said, and that is what we are doing—considering a further expansion.