HL Deb 04 June 1924 vol 57 cc882-900

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, In moving the Second Reading of this Bill to amend the existing law in regard to the management of the Imperial Institute, I will briefly relate the course of events which have made necessary the enactment at the present time of further legislation in connection with this institution. Early last year, the late Secretary of State for the Colonies found himself obliged, by reason of the withdrawal of certain oversea contributions and the consequent financial difficulties of the Imperial Institute, to appoint a strong Committee of Inquiry with very comprehensive terms of reference, to consider the whole question of the future of the Institute and its relations to other research organisations in the country. After a prolonged and exhaustive inquiry, this Committee, which included among others three noble Lords, Lords Islington, Kylsant, and Stevenson, recommended extensive changes in the management and organisation of the Imperial Institute and the Imperial Mineral Resources Bureau. Their Report, which has subsequently been laid before Parliament, was considered by the Imperial Economic Conference in the autumn of last year, and their scheme of re-organisation was, subject to one or two modifications in matters of detail, recommended by the Conference for adoption by the various Governments of the Empire.

The Bill which is now before your Lordships' House is designed to give effect to the recommendations of the Conference. These were, briefly, to the effect that the Imperial Institute should be re-organised, that the exhibition galleries should be closed, and that a new governing body should be established in place of the present Executive Council; that the Imperial Mineral Resources Bureau should be amalgamated with the Institute in order to avoid duplication and overlapping of work on mineral subjects; that the Governments of the Empire should contribute in agreed proportions to the combined institution; and that the Imperial Institute when re-organised should be made responsible not to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, as at present, but to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Department of Overseas Trade. Other minor reforms recommended by the Conference have already been effected by administrative action, but as regards the more important changes described above, legislation is necessary, both because the composition of the present governing body is fixed by Statute—the Imperial Institute (Management) Act, 1916—and because the Imperial Mineral Resources Bureau cannot be amalgamated with the Institute until the Charter of the Bureau has been repealed.

Owing to representations from some of the Dominions it has been decided not to act upon one of the recommendations of the Economic Conference for the future of the Imperial Institute. I refer to the recommendation that the exhibition galleries of Empire resources at South Kensington should be closed. The Conference acquiesced in their closing for financial reasons, although even then complete unanimity was not attained on this point.


The only point upon which complete unanimity was not attained.


That is so. Since last November, however, the majority of the Dominion Governments have changed their attitude. They have expressed the desire that the galleries should be retained and have declared their readiness to make the additional proportionate contributions required for their maintenance. The financial situation has been further relieved by a most generous offer of the noble Viscount, Lord Cowdray, to furnish a sum of £5,000 for a period of five years towards the upkeep of the galleries. His Majesty's Government have decided, after communication with the Dominion Governments, that in the altered conditions there would be no justification for adhering to the conclusions of the Economic Conference in regard to the closing of the galleries. Provision has therefore been made in this Bill for the maintenance of the galleries and for the payment of the additional contributions towards their maintenance required from the Imperial Exchequer.

I do not think it is necessary for me to consider in detail the clauses of the Bill because they merely carry out the scheme I have outlined and they do not appear to call for special comment. I must, however, say a few words about the financial provisions of the Bill, because without some such explanation I cannot make the position reasonably clear. It is estimated that the cost of maintaining the institution in its new form after amalgamation with the Imperial Mineral Resources Bureau and allowing for the continuance of the exhibition galleries as at present, will be approximately £44,000 per annum. To meet this expenditure, the Institute will provide from its own resources—the interest on the endowment fund, the North Gallery annuity, and fees for work done at the Institute—an estimated amount of about £6,000 per annum. A contribution of £5,000 for five years is also assured as a result of the generous offer of Lord Cowdray of which I have spoken. An amount of £33,000 therefore remains to be raised by fixed annual grants for a period of five years from the various Governments of the Empire. This sum of £33,000 will be obtained in almost equal shares from three main groups of contributory Governments—namely, the United Kingdom, the Dominions and India, and the Colonies and Protectorates. The United Kingdom's share, which will be slightly larger than that of the other groups, is estimated at an amount not exceeding £12,000 per annum, of which £9,000 will be provided for the main work of the Institute, and the remainder as a contribution towards the upkeep of the exhibition galleries.


Do I understand that the great Dominions do not subscribe to the maintenance of the galleries? The noble Lord used the phrase "the Colonies and Protectorates." He did not say "Dominions."


Perhaps the noble Marquess will allow me to point out that I did. I said the sum of £33,000 would be obtained in almost equal shares from three main groups of contributory Governments: first, the United Kingdom, secondly, the Dominions and India, and thirdly, the Colonies and Protectorates.


It was my mistake.


Broadly speaking, that is the present scheme. There are two forms of contribution, but I do not think I need go into details of that kind. In conclusion, I would impress upon your Lordships that the passage of this Bill is imperatively needed, because the present financial position of the Institute is precarious, and the Dominion and Indian contributions cannot be secured until effect has been given by legislation in the Imperial Parliament to the recommendations of the Economic Conference. Indeed, the Institute would be obliged to close its doors unless these contributions were assured for the current year. The Government is confident, however, that the scheme of re-organisation which this Bill is designed to carry out is one that will commend itself to your Lordships' House, because it should ensure for the Institute a future of increasing usefulness in the important work which it is intended to perform for the Empire. I think, too, that your Lordships will consider it most appropriate that the year which will be memorable for the opening of the Empire Exhibition at Wembley should also be identified with the reform of a great Imperial institution which was established to commemorate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887. I beg to move.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a—(Lord Arnold.)


My Lords, there is a matter in connection with the Bill as it stands that I think you would desire to have brought before you, and, having regard to the statement made by the noble Lord in charge of the Bill, it seems still more desirable that I should mention it, although to a certain extent it may seem rather a technical matter. The noble Lord stated very clearly and frankly that it was not intended that these galleries should be discontinued, but that they should continue in their sphere of usefulness, with the addition of a sum to be devoted by Parliament for that purpose. I am sure that His Majesty's Government and the noble Lord intended and desired that that should be so, but he has mentioned that a very considerable sum per annum is also to be supplied through the generosity of a member of your Lordships' House—a private source.

Accordingly, it occurred to me that it would be most desirable to look carefully to see whether there may not have been, as I think there has been, a slip in the drafting of the Bill, perhaps due to the fact that it was originally drafted in one form and is now hurriedly adapted to the altered conditions of the case. Be that as it may, I should like to explain why I think that, in Committee at any rate, it will be necessary to make some much clearer declarations as to the objects of the Statute than are contained in the Bill as it stands.

The Acts under which the Imperial Institute are managed are two. There is an Act of 1902 and an Act of 1916. The Act of 1002 is the Statute which, for the most part, states the objects upon which the funds are to be used and employed. These funds, so far as I can see, amounted about 1902 to something like £140,000 in cash. There were also the valuable buildings at South Kensington. At that time I do not think the collections had come into existence. That is a matter, however, upon which I cannot enlighten your Lordships. But the scheme of that Act is set out very clearly in one section, because it is provided (and it is recited in the present Bill) that the moneys and the property are to be applied for "such other similar purposes as the Secretary of State for the Colonies may determine having regard to the commercial, industrial and educational interests of the Empire." That is a statutory enactment in the Act of 1902.

The present Bill is "an Act to amend the law with respect to the management of the Imperial Institute." But it amends the law by repealing in toto the Act of 1902 and the Act of 1916, and, accordingly, if it becomes law, we are left entirely to the construction of this Bill itself to ascertain what purposes are to be fulfilled. It seems to me perfectly clear that, as the Bill stands, there would be a grave doubt whether the purposes for which these buildings and galleries have been used in the past and the purposes for which they are to be further endowed, as stated by the noble Lord, both from public and private sources, will be carried out. I think it is due possibly to an original drafting and subsequent amendment.

The old Acts having been repealed in toto, we must see now what are the purposes of the Imperial Institute. Its purposes are described by Clause 4 to be the purposes set out in the First Schedule. When you turn to the Schedule you find a number of very useful and proper purposes, but to my mind you do not find the exact purpose for which the Institute has been carried on, and for which it was originally established. The purposes are, firstly, the collection of information relating to possible uses of raw materials, markets, sources of production, the best means of increasing supplies, the best means of treating materials, and technical and scientific information bearing upon the industries of the British Empire. The purpose of the Institute is certainly not in that. Further, the Schedule states among the purposes of the Institute that it is intended to advise on the development of the resources of the Empire in raw materials, to conduct preliminary investigations of raw materials, to collect samples of raw materials, and to cooperate with other agencies within the Empire for similar purposes.

Then comes the only clause which by any construction could be held to refer to the galleries, the exhibition and the educational work carried on: "To organise, so far as practicable, exhibitions of Empire products." Obviously that is not it. That means the organisation of ordinary exhibitions of objects produced in the Empire. Lastly, there is this: "To do anything incidental" to these purposes. I hazard the view that the original intention of the Statute was to carry out, first, the Report of the Commission, and it did it very effectually, but afterwards, when some of the Colonies and, I suppose, others interested in the matter, put their view before His Majesty's Government, it was thought desirable to introduce words which might cover the work which had been done previously by the Imperial Institute.

Let us see what that work was. When I say "the Imperial Institute" I mean the galleries of the Imperial Institute. First, there were exhibition galleries containing rows of bottles of products and things of that kind, which were all very interesting and useful, and were intended to be kept going. But another and far more important purpose was subserved by the galleries and that is the purpose which, in my opinion, is not properly preserved by this Bill—the educational part of the galleries. There is not one word in the Schedule about education, and you are bound hand and foot by the Schedule, because Clause 4 says that the Imperial Institute building, and all the property and all the sums received are to be applied by the responsible Minister, so far as practicable, in carrying out the purposes set forth in the First Schedule to the Bill. No matter what may have been the intentions of the draughtsman, the purposes of the Bill are perfectly clear and do not include an educational exhibition at all. The purposes of the Act are those named in the Schedule and nothing more. You cannot construe an Act by reference to a general idea that because something was done in the past you can continue it in the future. You cannot construe it in that way unless the purposes of the Act are clearly so defined. Consequently, it would seem to me to be absolutely necessary when the Bill comes into Committee that its purposes should be clearly defined so as to include the existing educational purpose for which, unquestionably, those galleries were largely constructed and have been used.

What was the nature of that educational purpose? I take an interest in museums and I have frequently gone to the Institute to see the museum. It is not a bit like anything that is in this Bill. It consists mainly of a collection of instructional material—maps, and everything which will show those who visit the museum what the Colonies are like and for what they are fitted. Above all, it impresses upon the minds of those who intend to leave this country for the Colonies what they have to face, and what are the physical, geographical, and ethnological conditions and the proper productions of those places. That is not a matter of gallipots in a row. It is a question of co-ordinating the exhibits so that they can be used from day to day for purposes of practical instruction. These exhibits are used for that purpose, and anybody who takes the trouble to visit the museum on any day of the week will see parties of children and others receiving actual instruction. Those children have afterwards to show their proficiency in the acquisition of the information so given. That is the great work which these galleries are carrying out at present. I can understand that there was no intention on the part of His Majesty's Government that this instruction should not be continued. But whatever their intention was, I wish to point out that in my judgment it; is not sufficiently carried out in the Bill.

Two points may be urged against what I have said. The first is that there is in the Preamble to the Bill a general statement to this effect— And whereas it is desirable to empower the governing body hereinafter constituted of the Imperial Institute, in co-operation with the Governments represented at that Conference, or such of them as for the time being may be making contributions for the purpose, to maintain galleries for the exhibition of Empire products. Maintaining the gallery for the exhibition of Empire products is certainly not what some of us are at, and I hardly think it can be what the private donor is at. The idea is to carry on this exhibition as I have described it and not merely for the exhibition of Empire products, of which I spoke just now, without any disrespect, as a row of bottles and gallipots and things of that kind. That is what it would come to. It is not commercial.

The next point is far more material—namely, that a Preamble which is in itself sufficient cannot control the clear words of the Act. As I understand the law the Preamble to an Act of Parliament can be used to construe the Act if the Act is ambiguous. If the Act is not ambiguous then there is an end of it. The only clause that seems to me to suggest that the Act might be considered to be ambiguous is the financial clause which provides that There shall be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament— such additional sum (if any) towards the maintenance of exhibition galleries"— and so on. In the first place, exhibition galleries are not at all the same thing as the galleries of an instructional character that have been carried on hitherto at the Imperial Institute, and, unquestionably, if it was a question of construction, I should think that the galleries which were intended to be dealt with by the moneys voted by Parliament were galleries of such a character as would carry out the purposes of the Act, and as I do not find them there I should think it is extremely doubtful whether the contribution, if any, provided by Parliament, or the provisions of the Schedule, got rid of the difficulty.

Shortly stated, that is what occurs to me. If I am right, and I think I am, it is very important. I hardly think that the Government would be unwilling to frame the clause in such a way as to give effect to what I think most of us believe was the intention after some of the Colonies had stated that they did not desire that the whole of the original Report of the Commission—I think it was a Commission should be carried out. I mention it now, and at such length, in order to show clearly what my view is, so that the noble Lord and those who advise him may consider the matter. As at present advised, I should think it absolutely necessary, if I had any support, to place Amendments on the Paper which would make the Bill perfectly clear on this point. It is admitted now that it is intended that these galleries shall be continued for instructional and educational purposes. Then let us have it in the Bill so that there may be no doubt about it.


My Lords, I welcome the tone of the noble Lord, Lord Arnold, in introducing this Bill and I welcome also the attitude of His Majesty's Government in reference to the Imperial Institute. I was first brought into close, connection with that organisation when I was Under-Secretary for the Colonies from 1911 to 1914. At that time my chief, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, the late Lord Harcourt, was a warm friend of the Institute and it was in no danger. I think it was after he had left the Colonial Office that he carried the Bill of 1916 through the House. Under that Act an Advisory Committee was appointed, and I was one of the members of that Committee. How it occurred, or why it occurred, I cannot pretend to say, but the Colonial Office, which was the Department really responsible at that time, adopted for some years a very step-motherly attitude towards the Imperial Institute, and my noble friend Lord Islington, who was Chairman of the Advisory Committee on which I sat, and the whole Committee were more or less constantly fighting the Colonial Office on largo points and small in regard to the Institute. Therefore, I welcome indeed the attitude which has been adopted by the Government, and I welcome the broad lines of the settlement which is proposed in this Bill.

I have no desire to oppose, indeed I support, the Second Reading that the noble Lord has proposed, but my experience of the treatment of this organisation in the past, and the attitude of the Colonial Office of which I was a witness, make me a little careful in scanning the terms of the actual measure which is put before your Lordships' House to-day. There are several points in it which arouse at any rate a spirit of inquiry in one's mind, and on which I think Amendments are likely to be moved in this House or in another place. After all, the Imperial Institute was built from private benefactions. The new trustees are all to be members of the Government. I cannot help thinking that there ought to be some trustees representing unofficial interests, and that the trustees ought not to be entirely confined to members of His Majesty's Government, who, with all due respect to them, are here to-day and gone to-morrow, and are constantly changing.

The next point on which I shall only say a word or two is that which has been so fully and ably dealt with by my noble and learned friend Lord Shandon—namely, the location of the buildings where the galleries are to be, and the use to which those galleries are to be put. There is no mention in the Bill that those galleries should be in the present building of the Imperial Institute. I think that is what the Government intend shall be the case, and I think it ought to be so stated. Moreover, the words to which my noble and learned friend Lord Shandon referred seem intended to confine the exhibits in those galleries to bottles of specimens of the produce of various kinds of the Dominions. As Lord Shandon suggested, those galleries ought to be conceived on a much broader scale than that. They ought to be capable of having, and ought to set out to have, an educational effect. They ought to show something of what the Empire is. They ought to deal with the suitability of the Dominions for emigration purposes from this country. All that, so far as I can see, is omitted from this Bill, which will require amendment in the Schedule and also in the Preamble. I speak on such a matter with great diffidence, however.

With regard to the question of finance, I do not want to say very much, but I would ask whether it is wise to mention the specific sums which are stated in the Preamble of the Bill. That is a matter into which I have not had time or opportunity to look, but may I say, in passing, how deeply we must all appreciate the great generosity of my noble friend Lord Cowdray in offering £5,000 a year for the support of these galleries? I do not treat the Government as at all hostile to the views which I have endeavoured to put forward; I hope that they will favour them.

The Colonial Secretary is unwell, I am sorry to say, at the present time, although I am glad to hear that he is recovering. I think it advisable that some of those specially interested in the Institute should see him with a view to ascertain if it is not possible to amend this Bill on generally agreed lines. That would probably save time both here and in another place. The House is adjourning to-night, I understand, until June 24. That, in itself, gives some considerable delay. Before June 24 I believe my noble friend Lord Islington, who has done so much for this Institute, will have returned to this country, and I am very anxious that he should be back to take part in the Committee stage of this Bill. Therefore, the practical question I wish to put to Lord Arnold is whether he will see that the Committee stage is put down for a date which will give us time to see the Colonial Secretary and for Lord Islington to return.


My Lords, I should like to say a word or two in relation to this Bill, and, in the first place, to express the hope that the matters suggested by the noble Lords, Lord Shandon and Lord Emmott, will receive the full consideration, as I feel they will, of the noble Lord who is in charge of the Bill. I rise merely for the purpose of saying a word or two with reference to the proposed amalgamation between the two bodies, the Imperial Institute and the Imperial Bureau of Mineral Resources. I do not intend to detain your Lordships more than a minute or two.

Since the formation of the Bureau of Mineral Resources I have been a member of it, and its Vice-Chairman. The governors of that body have, I think, at least laid the foundation of very good work for the minerals of the Empire, In the first place, it is important to know—and this can be said without in any way depreciating the Imperial Institute—that the Bureau of Mineral Resources was established as the outcome of two Imperial Conferences held, I think, as recently as 1916 and 1917. We may reasonably assume that those Conferences would never have recommended the creation of an Imperial Bureau of Mineral Resources for the Empire, and that the Government of the day would hardly have gone to the trouble of enacting a Royal Charter to give effect to that recommendation, if there was not a need for that body. The Imperial Institute, in other words, could not be doing what it was proposed that the Imperial Bureau of Mineral Resources should do.

Be that as it may, the body was created, and we find that body working for the last five or six years with the object, in the first place, of ascertaining what are the mineral resources of the Empire, and, if possible, finding out why they are not developed—why in an Empire like the British Empire, representing probably a third of the population of the world and with all the money and the minerals that are required in the Empire, those minerals are not being developed. Take two examples only. We have all the iron required to supply not only the Empire but the whole world if necessary, yet last year, with a third of the population of the world, we produced in the Empire less than seven per cent. of the world's requirements of iron. I think the figure for copper was still lower, and it is the same in regard to other minerals.

The point I want to make is that in connection with the Imperial Bureau, and as part of its machinery, we have been able to get together something like 160 experts on all the minerals that the Empire produces, and all these men have been working freely. They represent all the great mineral interests of this country, manufacturers, men engaged in mines, great professors and authorities upon minerals, and we have been able to set up a committee for every mineral—a copper committee, an iron committee, an asbestos committee, a tin committee—and these men have been working freely. That is the point I want to make. Week after week, and mouth after month, they have been making inquiries and researches and bringing the result of their work before the world, particularly before the technical bodies that influence mineral developments. I hope that the Colonial Office in setting up this new machinery, and all the other authorities concerned, will not lose sight of the importance of keeping in touch with these men who, so far, have worked without pay and without recognition, and given their splendid talents and their time to the development of the mineral resources of the Empire. It was with the view of making that point that I rose, and I trust some little attention will be given to it.


My Lords, I rise just for a few moments in order to draw my noble friend's attention to what I consider is the chief blot on the Bill—namely, that the tropical parts of the Empire, especially Africa, are not in any way represented on the Governing Council. That is a matter which I should like to bring before the attention of the Under-Secretary of State before the Bill is taken in Committee, so that possibly some arrangement might be come to with regard to it. In the original proposal there were to be thirteen members drawn from the various Dominions and elsewhere, and fourteen representatives to be appointed by the Secretary of State for the Colonies, which would enable him to give a fair representation to the Crown Colonies, and especially to tropical Crown Colonies, on the governing body. Under the Bill as it is drawn, that power is taken out of the hands of the Secretary of State. Practically the whole of the members—fourteen—are to be nominated by the Dominions and various Departments, and ten, who are to represent scientific and commercial interests, are to be nominated by the Secretary of State.

Having regard to the great importance, from the point of view of raw material, of our tropical Colonies in Africa and elsewhere, there should be some direct representation of them on the governing body, and I rise only to emphasise this point. I am sure my noble friend will give it his sympathetic consideration, and I hope that when we come to Committee we shall be able to obtain more direct representation for these Crown Colonies. They are going to contribute £8,000 a year between them to the expenses, as much as all the Dominions put together; and the Dominions have a full representation. I hope the point will not be lost sight of; and that is why I emphasise it to-day.


My Lords, the particular point that interests me is the one that will ensure the galleries being retained for the purpose for which they are now used, but with increased usefulness. I see the Bill speaks of "galleries." But galleries may be anywhere, and I assume that the present galleries are intended. The Bill also restricts the galleries to exhibits of Colonial and Dominion products. That limits the purpose of the galleries. At the present time they are very educational and one goes through them with interest, learns something about Colonial life, visualises what exists in the various Colonies, and comes away pleased with the great Empire that is represented there. But if we are merely going to see the products of the Dominions shown in a more or less crude or manufactured state, then the galleries would lose half their purpose and certainly would not be anything like so useful, educationally, as they are at present. If those two points are covered I shall be content. I think they are very essential.


My Lords, I need not assure your Lordships that I do not rise for the purpose of criticising this Bill because it is the direct outcome of a decision of the Imperial Economic Conference, a decision with which I had the honour personally to be closely concerned. Therefore, my duty is to welcome this Bill and to thank the Government for having introduced it. But I should like to say a word or two as to the course this debate has taken. Noble Lords in various parts of the House have intimated their desire to suggest Amendments, and recognising as I do their great position and their knowledge of the subject, I understand quite well why they should wish to propose Amendments, and also that your Lordships may be largely influenced by their advocacy in putting them into the Bill. It may be that many of them ought to be in the Bill, but I should like to utter one word of warning.

This measure is the outcome of very elaborate discussions with the representatives of the various Dominions. When they were over here last year in conference with the Imperial Government they agreed to a certain Report. While that does not bind your Lordships, it ought to have great influence with you. I would remind the House that this agreement was come to in the face of the immense difficulties of the Imperial Institute itself. The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies has already brought this to the attention of your Lordships. The Imperial Institute was in great difficulties. It had failed in many respects. I am sorry to say, to fulfil certain of the purposes with which it was originally entrusted. There was also great overlapping, and the most important thing of all, the Dominions showed a very strong tendency to have nothing to do with it. That was the situation. I thought, and I think the Government to which I belong also thought, that if anything fatal happened to the Imperial Institute it would be a matter for profound regret. Not only was it associated with the name of Queen Victoria but it represented the institution of a union between the various Dominions and the Mother Country which we were most anxious to encourage in every respect.

But it was in great difficulties and in great danger—danger is perhaps the more appropriate word—and it was necessary to do all we could, and we did all we could, to bring before the representatives of the Dominions at the Imperial Conference the strong reasons which existed for continuing the Imperial Institute. They agreed, but they agreed upon terms, and although I do not mean to say that they might not be induced to reconsider certain of the terms, yet, if I were responsible for affairs, I should be reluctant to go very far in attempting to alter the settlement that was arrived at, for fear the thing might break down. After all, your Lordships have to remember that, when we are dealing with these Imperial subjects and the agreement of a very large number of independent Governments is concerned, we have not really quite so free a hand as we have in respect of our own country. We have to consider their views.

There is only one very important change in this Bill from the arrangements which were arrived at by the Conference to which I have referred, and that is in respect of the galleries, to which reference has been made so often in this debate. When the Conference sat the Dominions, or at least a large majority of them, absolutely refused to contribute any more money for the support of the galleries, and we were obliged to defer to that view. I am very glad that the Under-Secretary and his colleagues have been more fortunate in that respect than we were, and that they have induced the Dominions— not I think all of them, but, I gather from the Under-Secretary, the majority of them——


Yes, the majority.


They have induced the majority to change their minds. One Dominion was always very strongly in favour of it, but the others were against it. That has been changed, and I congratulate the Government on having modified our arrangements to that extent. Even so, it would not have been possible but for the great generosity of the noble Viscount who sits above the gangway. Between the two they have been enabled to make this change. I assume that the Government have the assent of the Dominions to the changes which have been made in the Bill. If not, it ought, of course, to be obtained, hut assuming that this has been done I congratulate the Government on this change. With regard to the rest, I venture to hope very respectfully that the House will not disturb the main lines of the settlement. That does not affect details, as I need hardly say, for there are many details upon which it is possible to make improvements. But on the main lines I hope that there will not be any change; not that I have any power to do more than make the suggestion to your Lordships, but I think it might have a rather unfortunate effect if the result were that the Dominions re fused to be bound any longer by the terms of their agreement to which they signified their assent at the. Conference and which is now embodied in the Bill.

There is only one other subject to which I will refer and that is the Mineral Resources Bureau. I think I ought to say that, so far as my information goes, I entirely confirm that which the noble Lord on the. Cross Bench [Lord Morris] said as to the excellent work of the Mineral Resources Bureau. There was universal testimony to this, and it was only the necessity of preventing overlapping which induced us to put forward a proposal for an amalgamation of the Mineral Resources Bureau with the reformed Imperial Institute, but I share with the noble Lord on the Cross Bench the hope that, in the formation of the personnel of the new body every effort will be made to secure to the country and the Empire the services of the officials of the Mineral Resources Bureau, who have shown by their history and experience that they are well capable of doing the work which they had in hand. I congratulate the noble Lord on this Bill, and hope, that it will have an easy passage.


My Lends, I think your Lordships will expect me, by permission of the House, to say a few words in reply before the debate closes. They need be very few. The Government appreciate the generally favourable reception—I think I may so describe it—which has been given to this Motion for the Second Reading. The points which have been raised for consideration between now and the Committee Stage, and also in Committee, are points which I think are capable of agreement to a large extent between the Government and others interested in this very important matter. The noble Lord who spoke first, Lord Shandon, made the point—and the noble Viscount, Lord Cowdray, also referred to it—that the objects of the Institute were rather too restricted in the First Schedule, and they desired some amendment of the present wording of the Schedule in the direction of ensuring that the galleries shall lie conducted, so far as the exhibits are concerned, in the same manner as in the past. I think that is putting it fairly.

This seems to me to be a matter upon which agreement could be arrived at, but it is really one for consideration in the Committee stage. I do not think that it would be wise to put too detailed a definition of every aspect of the exhibition into the Schedule, but I am hopeful that some few words could be devised which would meet this desire, and, without pledging myself, I shall be quite prepared, for my part—and I shall, as I need scarcely say, put all these points to the Secretary of State—to consider the speeches which have been made in this relation. I do not want to be taken to he saying more than I am saying. Noble Lords, I am sure, do not expect that any additional activities on their lines will be undertaken involving considerable expenditure, because there is no money available for such additional activities. The whole financial position is still such as to require very careful consideration, but if the suggestion is that the galleries should be continued in the main as they have been in the past, I hope that we can come to an agreement on that point.

I ought, perhaps, to say a word in reply to the noble Marquess who spoke last. He said that he presumed that the assent of all the Dominions had been obtained to the retention of the galleries. I think I made it clear in my Second Reading speech that assent had been obtained from a majority of the Dominions.


May I explain? I understand the noble Lord to say that money contributions in respect of the galleries have been obtained from the majority, but what I intended to say just now was that I hoped that their consent to the retention had been obtained. I quite understood that only a majority were going to contribute.


I want to make it quite clear that only a majority are going to subscribe to the retention of the galleries. As the noble Marquess is probably aware, views have been expressed about these galleries in the past by India and South Africa, and those views have remained substantially unchanged. I want to make that clear, but it does not apply to the main objective of the organisation and of the schemes.

The other point which was raised by Lord Shandon, and also by Lord Cowdray and Lord Emmott, was that of the location of the galleries. I do not think that there will be any difficulty about that, because the Government have not the slightest intention that the galleries should, either now or in the future, be anywhere else than where they are at the present moment. A point was raised by Lord Buxton about the representation of the African Colonies and Protectorates. This again is a point for consideration, and I think that under the machinery of the Second Schedule opportunities are given for dealing with that point to a considerable extent. But that also is a matter which the noble Earl will no doubt raise in Committee. The noble Lord, Lord Emmott, asked that there should be ample time between now and the Committee stage, and it was a very reasonable request. There must be ample time, on account of the coming adjournment of your Lordships' House. I do not wish to postpone the Committee stage too long, and I should not like to give any pledge in that direction, but at any rate the Committee stage cannot take place until the return to this country of Lord Islington, which, I understand, will be about June 20, and probably the Committee stage can be taken a few days afterwards. I hope that this will be satisfactory, and will give time for all that is desired.

On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.