HL Deb 25 June 1947 vol 149 cc250-66

LORD HAILEY rose to ask what steps the Government are taking to implement the recommendations of the Inter-departmental Commission of Inquiry on Oriental, Slavonic, East European and African Studies; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, your time is so severely rationed to-day with matters of very urgent importance that I would have hesitated to bring forward this Motion, and to press the Government for an answer to it, if I had not been so convinced both of its importance and its urgency. I will give, as briefly as possible, the reasons why I have brought the Motion forward. In 1944 Mr. Eden as the result of a protest made from a number of different quarters, appointed an Inter-departmental Commission to survey the facilities offered by universities and other educational institutions in this country in the wide range of Oriental and cultural studies in the countries to which my Motion refers. The Commission sat under the Chairmanship of the noble Earl, Lord Scarbrough. I know that all who are interested in this subject will feel a deep debt of gratitude to the noble Earl for the comprehensive nature of his labours, and for the importance and the value of the Report which he and his colleagues issued. It was concluded in 1946, but there was some delay in giving it to the public. It was not given out until the early spring of this year. Meanwhile, in May, 1947, Mr. McNeil informed another place that the Government approved its recommendations in principle; that they were prepared to make financial grants; and that machinery was being prepared to enable the Government Departments and the universities concerned to give effect to the Commission's recommendations.

My object is to obtain from the Government some definite information, both as to the nature of the provision they are prepared to make, and the machinery which they are setting up. Perhaps it might seem to your Lordships that, in all the circumstances, and in view of Mr. McNeil's reply, this Motion savours somewhat of impatience. But I think it is justified by our previous experience of the treatment given in the past by different Governments to recommendations made by responsible bodies for the support of these studies. I will take as an illustration the position regarding Oriental studies, for it is those in which I am personally most interested. I know that the noble Lord who will reply has a wider field to cover, but it will suit my purpose, and I hope save your Lordships' time, if I refer only to the position in regard to Oriental studies.

As far back as 1908 a Treasury Committee, presided over by the noble Lord, Lord Reay, remarked that it was a startling and disquieting fact that so meagre a provision was made in this country for the study of Oriental languages and culture—a provision, indeed, which compared very unfavourably with that existing in France, Germany, and Russia. It recommended that a School of Oriental Studies should be established in London. A year after that, the noble Lord, Lord Morley, stated in this House that he had every sympathy with this recommendation. But it was not until 1916 that the School of Oriental Studies received its Charter, and perhaps it would have been further delayed but for the active interest shown in the scheme by the noble Lords, Lord Cromer and Lord Curzon, who approached the City of London and obtained a considerable sum from the City of London as an endowment. In 1918 the Leathes Committee on Modern Languages made their Report to the Treasury. It recommended that the Government should give their liberal support to Oriental studies, and added that £100,000 or £200,000 a year would not be an excessive estimate of expenditure which, if wisely applied, would return a far greater national profit. But, so far as I have been able to ascertain, the Government paid little or no attention, and certainly gave no practical effect to this recommendation. In 1938, just before the recent war, an Inter-departmental Committee, presided over by the noble Marquess, Lord Zetland, sought to obtain an increased support from the Government for Oriental studies. That was equally without effect, for the Chancellor of the Exchequer of that day stated that the Treasury were unable to consider the needs of the Oriental School apart from the general financial position.

So I feel that it would not be entirely unreasonable if one were to ask for a definite assurance that the Government will now take early and effective steps to implement the recommendations made by the Scarbrough Commission. I do not, in what I have said, desire to give the impression that the wide range of studies with which the Commission dealt has been entirely neglected during the period to which I have referred. The London University, perhaps, stands by itself in the interest it has taken in the subject. The London University has benefited by grants received from the University Grants Committee. It is largely owing to the support given by the London University that the Oriental School has been able to expand its activities. It is now the School of Oriental and African Studies. It has over 1,000 students; and it proved of the very greatest assistance to the nation during the war.

The Army authorities had, I think perhaps a little obstinately, refused to admit the need for the extension of the study of the languages of the Far East, including Japanese, but after Pearl Harbour they made an insistent demand on the Oriental School, which was satisfied by the improvization of intensive courses in Japanese, from which numbers of officers and men benefited. Although we have that provision for Oriental studies, it is noticeable that the Scarbrough Commission had to point out that in 1939—the latest date before the war—France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the Soviet Union, and the United States of America each had a number of teaching posts in Oriental studies larger than in our own universities. That was a sufficiently impressive, and at the same time, I think, sufficiently damaging list.

In African studies we now hold a reasonably good position in relation to other countries, mainly owing, I think, to the assistance given by some of the Colonial Governments themselves, and to a number of private benefactions. At the same time the matter cannot, and should not, rest merely on a comparison with the facilities offered by other countries. It would be ridiculous if we, with our long connexion, and our many interests in Asia and Africa, were to measure the need for the pursuit of Oriental or African studies by reference to the facilities provided in Italy, Germany, or the United States. That is so obvious that it hardly needs restating. But there is more than that. The Scarbrough Commission have shown that the facilities provided in the United Kingdom are haphazard and unco-ordinated. The provision made for these studies relates to no particular objective. They have, so far, no definite place in the scheme of higher education in this country. They have depended largely on the initiative or support of a relatively small part of our academic institutions. That is a position which can only be remedied by the stimulation of Government Grants.

Let me add this. The contribution made by the Scarbrough Report does not end there. Its real value lies in its demonstration that the whole matter must now be viewed from an entirely different angle. Hitherto, it might perhaps have been viewed as the need for satisfying certain administrative requirements or, indeed, certain academic interests. But that is not the case to-day. I cannot state this aspect of the case more forcibly than by quoting the words used in the Report of the Scarbrough Commission, referring to the changes which are taking place in our political and communal relations with the wide range of countries in the East. They point to the rising tide of nationalism among those peoples, and they go on as follows: Changes such as these loosen the political ties and alter the commercial ties on which for long our relations with these countries have been based. We may lose all intimate contact with the peoples of Asia unless, as we release political control, we make a conscious and imaginative effort to build a new relationship on the foundation of mutual interest in our respective ways of life and thought, and in our cultural achievements.

They add, in particular, these significant words: A knowledge of languages and of the people amongst whom they work is to-day a more indispensable part of the equipment of those engaged in overseas trade than ever before. Those are their words, and I can put them in a way which has, I know, appealed to other nations: Contacts suitably made will in time produce contracts. In short, the matter can be no longer viewed on the narrower basis with which it was regarded in the past. To-day, these studies have become, as the Scarbrough Commission have amply shown, a matter of essential national interest, if we are to find a new basis for the maintenance of our political relations and our commercial ties with the peoples of the East.

I am sure that it is in recognition of these facts that the Government have stated that they have accepted the recommendations of the Commission in principle. But the matter is also one of great urgency. There is a heavy time lag from the past, and the training of the teachers necessary for the institution of these various courses will be a prolonged process. It is indeed this sense of urgency which has prompted me to ask the Government for the information as to the measures they propose to take in order to implement the recommendations of the Commission. They involve a cost which may amount to some £300,000 a year at the end of five years. But expenditure of this nature is imperative and, indeed, it will be light in comparison with the need which these measures will satisfy.

There is one further matter I ask your Lordships' leave to bring within the scope of this Motion. The Commission, in a very interesting chapter, refers to the need for establishing an Oriental centre in London. From their point of view, it will be a focal point for the study of the arts and cultures of Asia. As they truly say, there is nothing which would contribute more effectively to promote a public interest in Oriental studies among our own people and nothing which would be more highly appreciated by the peoples of those countries. Some three years ago a Committee appointed by Mr. Amery met under the chairmanship of the noble Lord, Lord Zetland, to deal specifically with this project. Its Report has been completed, but not yet been made public. Now that the scheme has been approved by the Scarbrough Commission, I hope that the Zetland Committee's Report will be published, and I would ask the noble Lord who is going to reply for an assurance that this will be done. I beg to move for Papers.

2.45 p.m.


My Lords, the duty has fallen upon me, as Chairman of the governing body of the London School of Oriental Languages and Studies, to follow very inadequately the noble Lord, Lord Hailey. It is difficult to say how inadequate I feel following him, with his unrivalled knowledge of Asia as well as of Africa. I have had a good deal of experience of Africa but all too little of Asia, but as Chairman of that body I feel it my duty to say one or two things in this debate. I look back at the time when I returned from South Africa and took over at the London School of Oriental Studies. It was then filled with young men in uniform—a tremendous body of men from the Royal Air Force, the Army, and the Royal Navy—who were attending for intensive courses in Japanese, Burmese and the like. For years before the war the London School had offered and indeed urged upon the three Fighting Services the facilities given for teaching those languages, but of course they were not wanted and there were no premiums or encouragement to Staff officers to learn these languages. Then the war came, and suddenly the gap had to be filled.

It is interesting to note that a great many of those young men, although we had not the time to teach them Japanese, were taught phonetics. We taught them to listen in to instruments and to be able to write down what they heard phonetically, and spell it in their own way. They were then able to go out to Burma and write down what they heard over the Japanese wireless. Then the few Japanese interpreters—all too few—were able to translate what was written down. It is lamentable that it is not part of the General Staff's arrangements in this country that a sufficient supply of officers is always available who know the main languages of the principal countries of the world. That does not mean merely French and German, because it is obvious now that it is all-important that we should have a corps of people in every Fighting Service who can speak and understand Russian properly. It is equally clear that we ought to include every main Asiatic languages. It is in that way that the assistance of the Government is most vitally needed.

The noble Lord, Lord Hailey, said that this is not only a matter of languages, but a matter of cultures. Of course, especially in India we are still labouring under the famous tradition of Lord Macaulay. Lord Macaulay, the first education member of the Governor General's Council, laid it down that there was nothing of any value in the literature or culture of India, and that the one contribution we could give to them was English law, English history and English politics—and particularly his politics. Those politics said that every Whig was good, every Whig was always right in his actions, and every Tory was evil and always wrong. Lord Macaulay carried that out faithfully in brilliant fashion to his grave. It was for Oriental and other foreign people to learn English and English conceptions, and it was never for the English to learn the indigenous cultures and languages of these other countries.

Now there are, of course, exceptions. The Foreign Office has always had certain Consular Services. The Chinese Consular Service, and the South-East Asia Consular Service, have insisted upon the adequate training of small cadres for those services in the languages and cultures of those countries; and that is all-important. In commerce I regret to say that all too much the Macaulay tradition has prevailed. A sort of pidgin language has been taken up; a sort of course for one or more of these languages; but really to get to understand the thoughts and language of these people whose lives you are going to serve, it is necessary to study the major corpus of a language, and such study has been very rare in commerce. There are notable exceptions, of course, and to-day one of the main supports of our school in London is the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. Most of the young people going out to the oil fields do come to us to learn Persian. We have tribute after tribute from the men themselves and from the company as to the value of their knowledge of Persian before they went out and being able immediately to establish contacts.

Looking to the future, of course, there is the whole relationship of this country with India, whether it remains within the Commonwealth or goes outside, and similarly with Burma. Who can tell? The whole thing depends upon there being a new relation in commerce, diplomacy and the like. There is no getting away from the fact that nationalism is inseparably bound up with language, with culture and with pride in culture, and, in the future, unless we make rather more effort in this country than has been made in the past to help anyone who is going to work in any capacity in India or any part of Asia to learn the languages and the history and the culture and the whole atmosphere of the people among whom he will work, we are not going to do well. It is a major British interest to-day to encourage the learning of these languages and the making of these studies. For Africa, too, that has recently been added to the functions of the School in London, very largely due to the efforts of Lord Hailey, a great Indian administrator, in the survey of Africa.

I have had a good deal of first-hand experience. What is the one thing that one knows? It is that the success of the British Colonial service for very good picked men and the extraordinary high standard of our men going into that service, and who have been going in for the last two years, is their ability to establish real contact with the peoples among whom they serve. It really is impossible to do that through native interpreters. It is absolutely essential, if you are to understand the working of an African's mind and the way he thinks, to understand the basis of his language, which is, of course, quite a different basis from ours. Linguistic studies and a knowledge of the Bantu language with adaptations, will carry you almost all over the whole Bantu area group of languages in Africa. It is really vital that importance should be attached to that by the Colonial Office and by the Dominions Office in respect of these territories, and by the Foreign Office in respect of the Sudan and the like. In this matter, of course, one realizes that one is dealing with a whole host of Government Departments. I have had to knock about Whitehall in various Ministries for a very long time, and again—I think I have said it before—if you have one Government Department to deal with, you can go on hammering at that Government Department and you may get something. But here you have the three Fighting Services, the Colonial Office, the Dominions Office and the Foreign Office, and the Board of Education also come in.

Then take the question of the India Museum recommended and the centre of oriental cultures. Most interesting objects of art and culture from India are scattered about London and the provinces in very odd sorts of places, little known to the people, the largest group being the Indian section of the Victoria and Albert Museum, but that is not in the Victoria and Albert Museum. It is outhoused, very badly out-housed, shockingly housed, behind the Imperial Institute, as a sort of annexe. It is really lamentable. And you have instances of individual objects—Indian monuments which have come to this country by some means or other in the haphazard way that archaeologists have collected things—where one piece is in the British Museum and the other piece in South Kensington. It is extraordinary that, with the great long connexion between this country and India, we have never had the pride or interest to have an effective Indian Art and Culture Institution in this country. Taking the whole range of these things, compare the Anthropological Section of the British Museum at Bloomsbury with that marvellous institution they had in Berlin, and the Belgian Museum in the park just outside Brussels of all the African races and Africa—not only the Belgian Congo but everything else. That is the kind of thing which we have neglected in this country and our neglect has had its political effects.

As to the Scarbrough Report. The noble Earl, Lord Scarbrough, and his colleagues have really blazed a new trail. We do hope that the many various Government Departments who now have to be consulted and the many various Government Departments who have now to co-operate, will realize, in the light of the experience of both wars, of events between the wars and of all the political developments that are going on throughout the world, that we cannot afford any longer to starve and neglect the study of languages of Eastern Europe, of the whole of Asia, and of the whole of Africa. We realize that the Middle East, the various Arabic-speaking countries, are going to be vitally changed, probably, and it is all-important that it should not be entirely the French and the Americans, who have studied that part of the world far more than we have, who alone should carry on with these studies, but that we should play our part. It is an extraordinary feature of the whole set-up in our research studies that it has been left to a few keen individuals to get support by hook or by crook, by the private enterprise of an individual founder, for the pursuit of these studies.

True, the old universities still have professors of Sanskrit; all honour to them; but that is the old-fashioned classical language of India. What is needed today is to teach men the vernaculars of India. Similarly in China the old mandarin is fast being superseded and in that country, since Sun Yat Sen, the evolution that has taken place has resulted in the disappearance of many Chinese dialects and the gradual emergence of a new and modernised form of Chinese. It is vital that that should be taught somewhere in Britain. We have the school at London University, and I hope the Government will do what they can to support it and help us. I hope, too, that they will say quite categorically what, if any, of the Scarbrough Report recommendations they do or do not accept. We are most anxious to know exactly where we stand and whether we can go ahead and plan ahead so as to get the teachers and the scholars and start business.

3.2 p.m.


My Lords, before the noble Lord replies, may I rise for a few minutes to say how warmly I support the Motion submitted by the noble Lord, Lord Hailey, and so warmly recommended by the noble Lord, Lord Harlech? Having worked in the Far East for a number of years and been connected with affairs out East for quite a long period, I speak from practical knowledge and I know how vitally necessary it is that His Majesty's Government should take this matter in hand in a very active way. Those of us who have been engaged in commerce out there realize how developments are being prevented from being followed up in an effective way because we can never get the support of people from here with a knowledge of the languages. Those who are anxious to acquire that knowledge are finding difficulties at every turn. I therefore hope that the noble Lord who is to reply will give an indication that a new line of thought and activity will be followed in regard to this situation. Otherwise, we shall certainly continue to lose, as we have been doing, in the Far East and those countries where knowledge of their languages is vital to our commercial development.

3.4 p.m.


My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Hailey, for ventilating this matter in such an authoritative speech and for giving me the opportunity to make another statement following that in another place on March 17, a statement on this occasion which will bring the story up to date. I am given also an opportunity of saying on behalf of the Government what a great public service we consider was rendered by the noble Earl, Lord Scarbrough, and his colleagues in preparing and presenting this memorable and far-sighted Report. I should allude also to the great work that has been done by the noble Lord, Lord Harlech, who has made another of those very eloquent and vigorous speeches with which he wakes even the dullest of us from our slumbers. I do not feel that while we have so many and such onerous burdens to bear on these Benches, we could accept responsibility for defending the Whigs! If Lord Macaulay were with us to-day I have not doubt he would put his case with a vehemence equal to that of the noble Lord, the Lord Harlech; and, having been something of a precisian, he would have picked on that small split infinitive which escaped Lord Harlech, and from which Hansard will no doubt rescue him as they rescue all of us.

On behalf of the Government I would like to endorse all the strong expressions of opinion that have been given us of the importance of studies of this kind. I will not repeat these sentiments because they have been put so effectively; but I would remind the House of the important article contributed by Lord Haney to The Times the other day when he pointed out that our relations with countries covered by the Scarbrough Report can no longer be conceived as they once were in terms of political or economic supremacy. To-day we must think in terms of independence between equals. The strengthening of such independence is the central aim of the Report, and the increasing need for the benefits of such understanding are among the most interesting in the Report itself.

I would particularly refer your Lordships to Chapter III in the Scarbrough Report entitled "The national importance of these studies." Perhaps I may draw your Lordships' attention to two passages on page 26, where relations with the Soviet Union are considered. If I might be forgiven for reading a very short passage from that page I would recall that the Report informs us that There is clear evidence of a strong desire in this country to learn more about the Soviet Union and we have been informed that a corresponding desire exists in the Soviet Union and that much attention is given in that country to the study of Great Britain and the British Empire. These tendencies, it will be agreed in every quarter, are greatly to be welcomed as a presage of a more intimate understanding between the two peoples. They add further weight to the claim that attention to Russian studies particularly in the universities is of great national importance. We most certainly echo these sentiments and hope that the expansion in England of the studies after this Report will be quite real.

The Government accepted this Report when it was submitted last year as a principal means whereby we can put our own house in order in this respect. It will of course be a very slow business. In the words of the Report—"The condition of these studies in England is not worthy of us." To pull ourselves up to a level of general enlightenment and to build up a central core of expertise in the knowledge of remoter countries is indeed a big problem; but the Commission told us how it should be solved and the Government have heartily accepted their recommendations in principle. Responsibility for co-ordinating work on the carrying out of the Report has been placed on the suitable Committee, on which are officials drawn from each of the various Departments concerned. I entirely sympathize with the words of the noble Lord, Lord Harlech, when he described the nightmare that over-whelmed anybody who has to take on Departments one by one.


May I ask whether the Service Departments are to be represented on that Committee?


I am not equipped with the names of the members for publication to-day, but afterwards I would willingly discuss the matter with the noble Lord. I feel sure that if he is not satisfied with the representation the matter could certainly be considered again. Working in co-operation with these representatives there will also be a special Committee, a University Grants Committee, to act in liaison with the universities, one for the enlargement of the Oriental and African studies, and the other for the enlargement of the Slavonic and East European studies, which makes four Committees altogether, of which three will be subsidiary to and directly or indirectly report to the first Committee which represents all the Departments concerned.

Action has already been taken on other recommendations of the Report, and I hope your Lordships will bear with me while I give details, because I feel sure that there will be much interest in them, not only for those of us in your Lordships' House, but also for a wider public. Recommendation 8 (i) of the Report refers to university departments. Here the moneys available to the University Grants Committee for distribution in recurrent grants to the universities from now on, as a result of the Report, will include provision to cover expenditure by the universities on academic development on the scale that the Report recommends. That means that we shall begin, as suggested in the Report, with £125,000 in the academic year 1947–8. Recommendation 8 (ii) of the Report deals with capital expenditure. The University Grants Committee will deal with claims under the Report for grants on capital expenditure in this field as they arise. It is considered that the current year's allocation for capital grants to the universities, which is £3,500,000, will be sufficient to cover such claims. Recommendation 8 (iii) deals with travelling expenses. Proposals by the universities for expenditure under this head will be taken into account by the University Grants Committee in assessing their grants.

Recommendation 8 (iv) is concerned with post-graduate studentships, a matter of special interest, I think we shall all agree. An allocation of £10,000 has been included in the Universities and Colleges of Great Britain Vote, class 4, No. II for the current financial year. It is anticipated that this sum of £10,000 will be enough to provide studentships in the next academic year for the number of candidates who are likely to come forward. The awards will be on a scale which will take into account the recommendations of the Commission on this point. The grant of £10,000 is not a fixed one, but will be reconsidered annually in the light of the experience gained by the Committee, and of the number of candidates who present themselves. Recommendation 10 of the Report relates to the Exchequer grants. The new Exchequer grant for these studies will, like other Exchequer grants for these new studies, come to the universities through the machinery of the University Grants Committee, who will be advised by the two sub-committees I mentioned earlier on. That is not precisely the suggestion of the Report, but I think it will be found to serve the purpose in an effective way.

Recommendation 12 B. (iii): The Board of Trade has been invited to consider, in consultation with the Ministry of Labour and National Service, what machinery can be set up for liaison between the universities and firms with men to be trained. Recommendation 20: A working party on the lines of the steering committee recommended in the Report, and representing the Department affected, is to be set up by the Treasury and will examine the possibility of establishing an Oriental Centre in London. Recommendation 22: The proposal that tutors should be appointed to look after the interests of students from abroad is one which the Government commend to the sympathetic attention of the universities. I understand that some universities have already adopted this practice. The Ministry of Education will keep the Committee which co-ordinates this work in touch with U.N.E.S.C.O.

On the proposals of the Report that I have not mentioned, progress has not been hitherto sufficient to justify a statement. Nevertheless, there has been progress, and it is hoped that in almost every case it will be possible to do something on the lines recommended. The important thing is that a start has been made at the heart of the matter—namely, the grants for the universities. I feel sure that the noble Earl, Lord Scarbrough, would subscribe to that. As the Report stated: The establishment and maintenance of an academic tradition is the first and most important long-term objective, and it is only by calling into existence a body of scholars of high intellectual attainments that it will be possible to provide sound facilities for training for careers and to satisfy public interest. There is every reason to believe that the universities will co-operate to the full with the two sub-committees of the University Grants Committee in developing the existing provisions for these studies. As I said earlier, money is also being provided, subject to the approval of Parliament, for post-graduate studentships on a scale which, from all the evidence we have received, should be sufficient to meet the demand in the coming academic year.

The Report of the noble Marquess, Lord Zetland, on the possibility of the setting up of an Oriental Centre in London has been mentioned in the debate. I am not yet in a position to make a statement as to whether this Report will be published, but the question is being considered very carefully and actively. I can say, however, that its recommendations will be considered by the working party, and integrated with those of the Scarbrough Report. When one is presented with a document of the breadth of vision and, I think one may fairly say, the nobility of aim of the Scarbrough Report, one is tempted to say straight out: "Let us have this functioning full blast to-morrow." But on examining closely the Report one will hardly expect progress to be made quite as rapidly as all that. I do hope that the noble Earl, Lord Scarbrough, and the noble Lord, Lord Harlech, and the noble Lords, Lord Hailey and Lord Sempill, will feel that we are really getting on with the job of giving effect to the Scarbrough Report, and I am sure that if a review of the work is undertaken as recommended by the Report, that is in ten years, there will have been a great revolution in these studies, a revolution that was long overdue. I will end by once again thanking the noble Lord, Lord Hailey, for raising this matter and paying one more tribute to the invaluable Report of the noble Earl, Lord Scarbrough.

3.18 p.m.


My Lords, I hope you will permit me to add just a word or two to this discussion. I am sure that all my colleagues who sat on this Inter-departmental Commission will learn with satisfaction and relief of the statement which has just been made by the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham. It is a satisfaction to know that our labours are not going to be wasted and that the Government are taking seriously the recommendations of the Report. There will be relief for this reason: As we worked at this problem it gradually became clear to all of us that this was not, as it might appear to be at first sight, a question of only academic interest and of concern only to a few specialists. It became clearer and clearer that here was something which had a great deal of national importance attached to it, and, important as it might have become in the past, it was going to be of far greater importance in the future, with conditions changing in India and in other parts of the world. It also became very clear that, for one reason or another, and in spite of several previous attempts to remedy the position, this country could rightly be accused of neglecting this matter in the past, in spite of its own very wide interest, particularly with Oriental countries.

The recommendations which the Commission put forward were an attempt to put things right, or to start putting them right. I entirely agree with the noble Lord that it would be foolish to expect very quick results. This is a long-term business, and results can only come very gradually. From what the noble Lord has said, it is clear that public money is going to be expended in greater measure on these studies. The sum is modest compared to the public money spent in many other ways, and I feel certain that, given time and continuity in this work, the real dividend will be forthcoming. There will be a dividend in the shape of greater respect among many countries for what we are doing in this matter, and a more widespread and better informed interest in other countries among the general public here—in fact, that new relationship which has been spoken of by Lord Hailey. If this does come about, it may be that it will have an important influence—I do not wish to exaggerate—on our relations with many countries, and also on our trading position. The noble Lord in his statement has covered such a wide area, and has made it so clear that His Majesty's Government accept the recommendations of the Commission, not only in principle but, already, in great detail, that it would be most ungenerous of me if I were to pick up any point in detail. I would only conclude by expressing—if I may do so with all humility—gratification that the noble Lord has been able to go as far as he has done to-day. I would further like to express my trust that if the hopes held out about the future in regard to these studies can be realized the time will come, in some few years, when this country will be what it should have been long ago—the real centre for these studies, particularly those which concern Oriental countries.

3.22 p.m.


My Lords, I began by expressing my apologies for having brought this Motion forward. I realize now that no such apologies were really needed. The way in which the House has received this Motion and the manner in which the Government have responded to it have removed any sense of apprehension in my mind. Having served a Government all my life, I naturally held the lowest sort of opinion of any Government of any kind. I do not know whether Lord Pakenham will appreciate the compliment—it may be that he will not—but what he has said this afternoon, and the very generous way in which he has treated this question have made me begin to feel at least the beginnings of faith in a Government. Like the noble Earl, Lord Scarbrough, to whom we all owe so much, I hope that the steps which the Government have already taken and the earnestness which has been shown in this matter, will be a guarantee of future support, and will mean a real new charter for the study of these subjects in this country. I beg leave to withdraw my Motion.

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.