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Israel (British Publications)

Volume 526: debated on Monday 5 April 1954

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43.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether it has yet been found possible further to facilitate the entry of British books and publications into Israel.

No, Sir. It has not been found possible in the 1954–55 Estimates to make provision for a scheme backed by public funds to facilitate the entry of British books into Israel. However, as I stated in my reply on 25th January, permission is given exceptionally for United Kingdom exporters to accept in local currency a limited part of the payment for certain types of book.

Will not my hon. Friend agree that British books and publications are very much more effective ambassadors of the British way of life than many other so-called cultural manifestations which are exported from this country? Would he use his influence to increase the amount allowed for this purpose?

I certainly agree with the first part of my hon. Friend's question. We will certainly do our best to see that such funds as are available are put to the best use.

Will the hon. Gentleman reconsider the position? Is he not aware that there is a great anxiety in Israel itself to have books of this nature available, that other countries are sending their books and that it is to our detriment that there are not books from England available in Israel?

I am well aware of that. The best efforts will be made to see that such funds as we have available from the public purse are used to the best advantage.