§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will indicate if responsibility for expenditure on Information Services or other means of presenting British policy to North America reposes in the Foreign Office; or if this will now be centralised under the direction of the Paymaster General or other indicated Minister.
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, in asking leave to put the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper, 342 may I, with the indulgence of the House, point out the obvious mistake in the Question? "The Paymaster General" should read "the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster."
THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (THE EARL OF GOSFORD)
My Lords, the responsibility for expenditure on the British Information Services in the United States rests with my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. He also sponsors the expenditure incurred in this country by the Central Office of Information and the External Services of the British Broadcasting Corporation in respect of activities directed to the United States. Responsibility for similar expenditure in Canada, and sponsorship of expenditure in this country on activities directed towards Canada, rests with my noble friend Lord Home.
§ LORD BARNBY
My Lords, in thanking the noble Earl for his reply, may I ask him whether, in consideration of the replies given last week in another place on this same question, thought has been given to the possibility of having someone of at least the rank of Minister of State placed in charge of the expenditure of the large sum which, as has been stated in the past, is spent on the General Overseas Information Services.
THE EARL OF GOSFORD
My Lords, in the view of Her Majesty's Government, the responsibility for the conduct of information services in a country abroad must remain that of the Minister responsible for the relations between the United Kingdom and that country, since the primary task of these services is to explain and interpret Her Majesty's Government's policy towards that country. However, my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has been entrusted with the rô le of co-ordinating Government information services both abroad and at home, and as part of his rôle he is conducting a review of overseas, services with a view to recommending whether it is necessary to alter the balance of effort between different areas in the world or between different forms of activity.
My Lords, I wonder whether the noble Earl could tell 343 me whether the Government have considered employing what I believe is called in the United States of America a public relations counsellor to advise on the presentation of the British case to the American public.
THE EARL OF GOSFORD
My Lords, if the noble Lord would be good enough to do so, I should like him to give notice of that point by putting down a Question.