HC Deb 15 April 1953 vol 514 cc183-4
15. Mr. Ernest Davies

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the reason for the increase in the estimate for public information services for Hungary from £68,050 for 1952–53 to £87,810 for 1953–54, and for the decrease in the estimated expenditure for Yugoslavia to £102,730 from £191,940.

Mr. Nutting

The figures quoted represent not estimates for information services alone, but for all functions of Her Majesty's Missions in both countries. The increase in Hungary represents an increase in local costs; and the decrease in Yugoslavia is due to the change in the rate of exchange. The level of information activity has not been altered in either case.

Mr. Davies

In view of the closer relations with Yugoslavia and the greater willingness of the Yugoslav Government to have contact with the West, would not it be better to use the windfall we have obtained through the change in the value of the dinar to increase our services? It would cost the Government no more.

Mr. Nutting

As the hon. Gentleman knows, the policy of Her Majesty's Government, while the independent committee of inquiry is proceeding into the information services, is that the present level of information activities throughout the world is not to be changed. It would therefore inevitably be in conflict with that policy were we to increase the amount of money to be spent in Yugoslavia beyond any which may be necessary to maintain the level of activities against a rise in cost.

Mr. Brooman-White

Might not the information services in Hungary usefully endeavour to disseminate news of last night's Adjournment debate and impress upon the Hungarians the resentment felt in this country at their barbarous and continuous mistreatment of Mr. Sanders?

Mr. Nutting

Action to that end has already been taken.