§ 12. Mr. R. Acland
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the intensified Italian broadcast propaganda in Arabic; and whether the British diplomatic representatives abroad are asked to report on its nature and effect?
§ Mr. Acland
Would it not be worth while to let the Italians know that unless this broadcasting stops His Majesty's Government will have to consider broadcasting in Italian?
§ Sir William Davison
How long will it be before a proper broadcasting station is erected in Cyprus, or some other site on the Mediterranean, which will give proper British news and correct false statements?
§ 21. Mr. A. Henderson
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can now make a statement on the full reports received by His Majesty's Government in connection with Italian propaganda in Palestine?
§ Mr. Eden
Yes, Sir. In view of certain reports which had been received of Italian propaganda in the Near and Middle East, I recently informed the Italian Ambassador that His Majesty's Government were well aware of this propaganda and added that unless it could be brought to an end, it would be impossible to create the atmosphere necessary to the prosecution of successful conversations designed to improve our mutual relations.
§ Mr. Acland
If it is possible that the Italians do not desire conversations to go on, would the right hon. Gentleman make representations, as I suggested in an earlier question, that we should start broadcasting in Italian?
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
Is not this propaganda absolutely without any precedent of any kind, and is it not an intolerable outrage?
§ Mr. Henderson
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the Italian propaganda has ceased since the representation was made?
§ Mr. Herbert Morrison
In view of the fact that nearly every Government in the world is disseminating news or propaganda in foreign languages, why does the Foreign Office—presumably it is the Foreign Office—restrain the British Broadcasting Corporation from disseminating straight British news in German and Italian as well as in Arabic?
§ 13. Mr. Lawson
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that in certain countries where British interests are concerned, Germany and Italy have appointed active representatives for purposes of propaganda; that large sums of money are spent for this purpose on the films, broadcasting, and the Press; that much of this propaganda is not merely in pursuance of the interests of these nations, but is strongly anti-British; and whether he will arrange for steps to be taken directly by the Government to deal with these activities?
§ Mr. Eden
I can assure the hon. Member that His Majesty's Government are fully aware of the active propaganda work being done by certain other countries in furtherance of their own point of view and interests abroad. As the House will also be aware, certain steps have recently been taken with a view to distributing objective news in particular areas. The employment of other methods of making known the British point of view is, moreover, the constant concern of His Majesty's Government, but I am not able to make any statement on the subject.
§ Mr. Lawson
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the decision recently arrived at upon this matter did not really affect other methods of propaganda besides broadcasting; and in view of recent rather startling information will he say whether the Government intend to review the whole position?
§ Mr. H. G. Williams
Is not this particular practice of these two countries following the bade example previously set by Soviet Russia?