HL Deb 22 June 1965 vol 267 cc459-60

2.36 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will take political action to follow up the very successful visit to Germany by Her Majesty the Queen, and, in particular, propose to the Federal Government an Anglo-German Treaty containing provisions for an exchange of students and other young people, comparable in scale to the far-reaching programme organised under the Franco-German Treaty.]


My Lords, though Her Majesty's Government are, of course, anxious to follow up in every possible way the highly successful State Visit by Her Majesty the Queen to Germany, they see no need for a formal treaty. Adequate machinery for Anglo-German co-operation already exists. As regard an exchange of young people, Her Majesty's Government and the Federal German Government are inaugurating a new programme this year to increase youth exchanges between the two countries.


My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for that Answer. He says that adequate arrangements are already in hand, but would be not admit that our Treasury contribution of £25,000 a year does not compare very well with the Franco-German contribution of between £3 and £4 million a year for this sort of exchange? Would not the noble Lord agree that it is most important that the young people of both countries should interchange experience, forgetting the past and looking rather to the future? I know that Her Majesty's Government are not in any way responsible for the Rhodes Scholars and the Trustees of the scheme, but would he bear in mind that there have been no German Rhodes Scholars for many years—not, I think, since the end of the last war—and would the Government do what they can to try to re-start this important flow of students from one country to another?


My Lords, in answer to the noble Lord's supplementary question, I think he will agree with me that comparisons are not always desirable, nor do they always give a fair picture of the actual state of affairs. Therefore I should not like to enter into an argument as to the relative merits of the contributions of the French Government in this matter, or indeed in other matters. I certainly agree with the noble Lord that the greatest possible exchange of young people and professional people of all kinds between countries of all kinds is most desirable, and particularly in the case of Germany, and Her Majesty's Government are prepared to do all they can to help in this matter. The sum of £25,000 a year is an earnest of our desire. It would be misleading to suppose that this is all that is happening. A great deal of this already comes, and exchanges take place, with funds provided from other sources.

So far as the third part of the Question is concerned, I will certainly see that the noble Lord's views are passed on to those who make these decisions, which, as he rightly says, have nothing to do with the Government. But I think it will be known to those who make the decisions how we feel about these matters.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord.


My Lords, is the noble Lord able to say how many German students are coming here, and how many of our students are going to Germany, compared with the German-French figures?


I cannot give the noble Earl the precise figures. I can certainly agree with his implication that there are far fewer exchanges of students between this country and Germany than there are between France and Germany. The exact figures I cannot give the noble Lord, though I will write to him.


My Lords, would the Minister agree that the figures between France and Germany are in the neighbourhood of 500,000 students per year?