§ 3.7 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Agricultural Research Council and the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research have power to spend money on maintaining research workers in overseas territories, as the Medical Research Council can do; and, if not, whether Her Majesty's Government will take steps to confer such powers on the Agricultural Research Council and the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.]
§ THE LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL AND MINISTER FOR SCIENCE (VISCOUNT HAILSHAM)
My Lords, I am advised that both the Agricultural Research Council and the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, like the Medical Research Council, have powers to maintain research workers in overseas territories where it is in the national interest to do so. The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research does, in fact, have some research staff in stations of the Department overseas. Moreover, both 898 the Department and the Agricultural Research Council assist overseas territories by seconding staff for limited periods within the limit of their resources. Proposals for extending these arrangements are under examination. While it is considered that existing powers should be adequate for any extension which may be decided upon, I can assure the noble Lord that Her Majesty's Government will not hesitate to seek additional powers if necessary.
§ LORD TAYLOR
My Lords, may I thank the noble Viscount for that Answer and express the hope that he will be able to expedite any additional power required, in view of the possibility that Iron Curtain scientists may replace our own in giving this kind of advice? May I also ask whether the noble Viscount is aware that those interested in science are pleased that he is still going to be looking after this matter?
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Lord for the second supplementary, which I can assure him excites a warm gratitude in my heart. As regards the first, I certainly am aware that this is an important and, indeed, urgent matter. I think that the statement which my noble friend is likely to make later on will have a bearing, and I hope a favourable bearing, on this whole topic.