HC Deb 27 July 1965 vol 717 cc214-5
15. Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Minister of Technology what technical co-operation exists between the research stations of his Department and similar establishments in Holland and East Germany.

Mr. Marsh

The Ministry's research stations exchange information as appropriate with the corresponding research institutes in Holland. There is rather less contact with East Germany.

Mrs. Short

I am glad about the first part of the Answer, but not about the second. Can I ask my hon. Friend if he is aware that, in the field of industrial building in particular, we have a great deal to learn from East Germany? Is he also aware that officers in his Department are not allowed to go on official vists to East Germany, and, if they do go in order to visit scientific establishments, they have to go at their own expense and take time out of their annual leave? We are the losers in this. Will my hon. Friend undertake to have a look at this so that it is put on a more sensible basis?

Mr. Marsh

My hon. Friend will accept that this is a difficult question in view of the political atmosphere in relation to East Germany since the end of the war, which obviously creates some difficulties. It would be a mistake to believe that there are no contacts with East Germany. The Warren Spring Laboratory and an East German scientific institute are co-operating at present, and there is an exchange of research reports.