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Austria (Newspaper, Sale)

Volume 478: debated on Monday 18 September 1950

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57.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what arrangements have been made for the sale of the Vienna Weltpresse; what chance of participating in the negotiations was given to the editorial staff; and what action was taken to influence the political tone of the paper.

It was decided this summer, for reasons of economy, that British control of Weltpresse should cease. In 1946, when publication commenced, an agreement was made with the Austrian Socialist Party whereby the latter undertook printing and distribution in exchange for an option to buy the newspaper if British control were withdrawn. According last month negotiations were concluded with the Austrian Socialist Publishing Company who have now bought the newspaper from us. The editorial staff were represented during these negotiations by a member of the British Allied Commission. No action was taken to influence the political tone of the paper and we understand that the purchasers intend to continue to run it on non-party lines.