HC Deb 27 April 1949 vol 464 cc12-3W
Mr. F. Noel-Baker

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what suggestions His Majesty's Government have made to the Soviet Government for cultural exchanges; and with what result.

Mr. Mayhew

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave to the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. PlattsMills) on 28th July, 1947, in which I said that, on 24th February, 1947, we formally proposed to the Soviet Government that they should send a delegation of educationalists to the United Kingdom to discuss the question of exchanges of teachers and students, or alternatively that they should allow a British delegation to visit Moscow. In March, 1947, my right hon. Friend raised the matter with Marshal Stalin, who appeared to agree in principle. Our Ambassador reminded Mr. Molotov of our proposal on 8th May, 1947, but received no reply. On 5th June, 1947, in response to a further reminder, our Embassy in Moscow were informed that the matter was being discussed by the Academy of Science and other interested Soviet organisations. Despite these two reminders, following upon repeated approaches for similar exchanges over the previous three years, there was no response whatever from the Soviet Government. Since the war, the Soviet Government have also ignored our offers to exchange technical and other literature through official channels, and His Majesty's Government have been reluctantly forced to the conclusion that the Soviet Government are not anxious to co-operate. His Majesty's Government nevertheless remain willing to promote cultural exchanges with the U.S.S.R.