§ 5.33 p.m.
§ EARL FORTESCUE
My, Lords, I beg to ask the question standing in the name of the Duke of Devonshire.
§ [The question was as follows:
§ To ask His Majesty's Government whether they have reached any decision on the recommendations of the Empire Telecommunications Conference.]
§ THE POSTMASTER-GENERAL (THE EARL OF LISTOWEL)
My Lords, I am much obliged to the noble Earl opposite for putting this question to the Government on behalf of the Duke of Devonshire. The Commonwealth Telecommunications Conference held in London this summer considered the future of Commonwealth telecommunications services, on the basis of a Report prepared by Lord Keith after his mission to the Dominions and India earlier this year. The Conference unanimously recommended:
His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom have accepted these recommendations, so far as they affect this country. Subject to the agreement of Parliament, the overseas telecommunications services now operated by Cable and Wireless Limited will, therefore, be transferred to public ownership. Legislation will be introduced in due course. The arrangements and terms for this transfer are under discussion.
- (1) A fundamental change in the organization of Commonwealth telecommunication services.
- (2) The public ownership of overseas telecommunications services of all the Commonwealth Governments.
- (3) The replacement of the existing Commonwealth Communications Council by a new Board with wider functions, representing all the Governments of the Commonwealth.
- (4) Financial contributions by members of the Commonwealth for the maintenance and use of the cable system.
§ EARL FORTESCUE
On behalf of my noble friend the Duke of Devonshire, I am very grateful for that information.