§ 55. Commander Sir Archibald Southby
asked the Prime Minister on what mission Mr. Noel Coward is engaged by His Majesty's Government; from what Minister does he receive his instructions; whether those instructions directed him to seek an interview with the President of the United States of America; and by whose authority did he make suggestions regarding shipments of food from the United States of America to Europe?
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Information (Mr. Harold Nicolson)
I have been asked to reply. Mr. Noel Coward has gone to the United Slates on a short visit with the knowledge and approval of my right hon. Friend. So far as I am aware, he did not seek an 34 interview, but was asked to call on the President with whom he is on terms of personal friendship. Any remarks that Mr. Coward may have made to the Press in regard to the shipment of food to Europe were merely an expression of his personal views.
§ Mr. Shinwell
What special qualification does Mr. Coward possess to act as a kind of ambassador to the United States?
§ Mr. Nicolson
Mr. Coward is not acting in the function of an ambassador. His qualifications are that he possesses a contact with certain sections of opinion which are very difficult to reach through ordinary sources.
§ Mr. Granville
Does the Parliamentary Secretary recognise that this gentleman does not appeal to democracy in America and does not represent democracy in this country, and that he is doing more harm than good, and will he bring him back to this country?
§ Captain Bellenger
Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that a feeling is arising in this country that if a man has a certain publicity value and money, he can get out of this country quite easily, often on short visits, and probably not returning, during a time when this country is going through great stress and anxiety?
§ Mr. Denville
Is not Mr. Coward only doing what any other Britisher would do in another country, and that is, speaking well of his own?