HC Deb 23 May 1966 vol 729 cc8-9
8. Mrs. Lena Jeger

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what was the fee paid to Mr. M. Foot for writing the History of the "Special Operations Executive in France", published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office; what were the terms of the contract; and what agreements were made about the time to be spent on this work.

Mr. George Thomson

Mr. Foot was paid a fee of £4,761 5s. 10d. Between November, 1960, and December, 1962, when he produced the first draft, he was engaged full time on the book. His subsequent work was on a part-time basis.

Mrs. Jeger

Is my right hon. Friend aware that Mr. Foot has stated publicly that pressure of work and other contracts affected his work in this connection? Is is not unfortunate that an official history of the war, presumably intended for posterity, should be written under some pressure of time, especially in view of the painful controversies which have arisen?

Mr. Thomson

The facts which I have given to my hon. Friend about the time that Mr. Foot spent on the book are an adequate answer as to the careful scholarship that he gave to it. This view is confirmed by the fact that the book has, generally, been well reviewed by serious reviewers.

Dame Irene Ward

May I ask what Mr. Foot received for his part-time contribution in view of the fact that normally people who are engaged in writing also receive a commission from the publisher on the book when published?

Mr. Thomson

Mr. Foot was paid £1,800 a year during the two-year period that he worked full time on the book. He also received £300 on completion of the first draft, and £600 for his subsequent work on the book. The arrangements made with Mr. Foot for a fee to be paid rather than an arrangements involving royalties is the normal arrangement for official historians.