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Middle East (Chairman's Visit)

Volume 389: debated on Wednesday 12 May 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement on the mission recently undertaken to the Middle East by the right hon. Member for Mitcham (Sir M. Robertson); whether he is satisfied that the valuable educational work which is being conducted by the British Council has been strengthened and expanded during the process of this visit; and whether a report will be published?

My right hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham (Sir M. Robertson), with my approval, recently visited Egypt, Turkey, Iraq and Palestine, in the capacity of Chairman of the British Council, to inspect the Council's establishments and to make personal contact with the authorities and others interested in the promotion of cultural relations with Great Britain. The importance of the Council's work is clearly realised by all those whom he met and it is hoped that as a result of the visit the educational and other activities of the Council will be considerably expanded. The report of my right hon. Friend is now under consideration, as also the question of the publicity to be given to it. Its substance will be embodied in one of the quarterly reports of the Council, which are placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

In view of the work that has been done by the British Council and of the valuable effect of missions of this kind, is such work still receiving the continued support of the Foreign Office?

Yes, Sir, certainly. We are very encouraged by the results of my right hon. Friend's mission.