HL Deb 08 April 1970 vol 309 cc143-4

2.41 p.m.


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

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they can now inform the House of the proposals of the National Coordinating Committee for the commemoration in the United Kingdom of the 25th Anniversary of the United Nations.]


My Lords, on June 26 Her Majesty the Queen and other members of the Royal Family will attend a commemoration ceremony in Westminster Hall. In addition, an ecumenical service is planned to be held in Westminster Abbey on October 18. On November 24, there will be a ceremony (predominantly involving youth) in Church House, where the United Nations Preparatory Commission held its second meeting. The main object of the Committee, which is headed by Sir Harold Beeley, is to stimulate an active interest in the United Nations, especially among young people. This will involve interested groups throughout the country and, for example, special approaches to all local authorities and schools.


My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Lord for that reply, and for his reference to young people. I wonder whether he could give the House some further information as to how this Committee is setting about the stimulation of public interest in this programme and in this anniversary, with special reference to the younger generation for many of whom the early days of the United Nations are not even a memory?


Yes, my Lords. The National Committee, which as I have said is headed by Sir Harold Beeley, has various sub-committees: a publicity sub-committee, an educational sub-committee and a ceremonial sub-committee, and they are in contact with various bodies throughout the country. Regional committees have also been set up for Wales and Scotland, with financial help from the National Committee. These committees are approaching all the local authorities and interested organisations. They are holding photographic exhibitions of the work of the United Nations. With special reference to the noble Lord's question about young people, a brochure is being prepared for distribution to all schools. One of the commemorative events, the Church House ceremony, is especially for young people, and the Committee have also set aside some money to help in the World Youth Assembly which is being held in New York as part of the 25th anniversary commemoration.


My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord whether he does not think that, in view of the great importance of the United Nations to all Governments and all political Parties, it would be appropriate if there could be not only a debate in this House, which I hope will take place at some time in the future, but also in an-other place?


My Lords, I believe it has been agreed that your Lord-ships will hold an Adjournment debate on—


Not an Adjournment debate.


A debate, my Lords—I had better be very careful. I believe it has been agreed that your Lordships should have a debate on the United Nations, and I think it has been arranged, through the usual channels, for June 10. I cannot, of course, comment on the arrangements of the other place.