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Tunisia (United Kingdom Information Services)

Volume 639: debated on Wednesday 3 May 1961

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asked the Lord Privy Seal what facilities are provided by his Department for the dissemination in Tunisia of information about Great Britain.

Since the reply is long, I will with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Is my hon. Friend aware that there is a good deal of latent good will towards the United Kingdom in Tunis and that in particular there is a demand for facilities to learn English, and that the local personnel are doing an excellent job representing the British point of view, although with not very adequate facilities? Will my hon. Friend be good enough to consult his right hon. Friend to see whether some improvement can be made in these facilities, which would seem to be very worth while?

I would not dissent from what my hon. Friend has said about the need and the benefit which might result from an extension of our services, but I ask him to study the reply, when he will see that much is already covered. However, we are giving further consideration to what assistance and help we can give in this matter.

Following is the reply:

Her Majesty's Embassy in Tunis has an Information Section staffed by a Foreign Service Information Officer and five locally-engaged assistants. The Embassy keep in close touch with the Tunisian Press and radio and good use is made of Press material originating from the United Kingdom. Radio Tunis also uses Central Office of Information tape recordings supplied through the Information Section of the Embassy.
The Embassy maintains a Library of approximately three thousand books. British newspapers and periodicals are available in the Embassy Information Centre and publications supplied by the Regional Information Office, attached to the Embassy in Beirut, are distributed.
The Embassy Information Section also maintains a library of Central Office of Information and British Council films which are available on loan. The Central Office of Information supplies newsreel material on events of special interest for incorporation in the Tunisian Government's official newsreels.
The publication of "Huna London", publicising British Broadcasting Corporation radio transmissions to Tunis and North Africa is distributed on behalf of the British Broadcasting Corporation, whose Arabic Service is of course highly audible in Tunisia.