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Commons Chamber

Volume 650: debated on Thursday 30 November 1961

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House Of Commons

Thursday, 30th November, 1961

The House met at half-past Two o'clock


[Mr. SPEAKER in the Chair]

Private Business

Rothesay Burgh Order Confirmation

Bill to confirm a Provisional Order under the Private Legislation Procedure (Scotland) Act, 1936, relating to Rothesay Burgh, presented by Mr. John Maclay (under Section 7 of the Act); and ordered to be considered upon Wednesday next and to be printed. [Bill 39.]

Oral Answers To Questions


Pamphlet (Schools And The Commonwealth)


asked the Minister of Education what steps have been taken to circulate Pamphlet No. 40, Schools and the Commonwealth, throughout schools in the United Kingdom; and with what results.

Copies of Schools and the Commonwealth were sent to local education authorities in England and Wales and a notice about the pamphlet was sent to all independent and direct grant schools. Similar action was taken by the Scottish Education Department. Local education authorities have drawn the attention of their schools to the pamphlet. Her Majesty's Inspectors tell me that, compared with three or four years ago, schools are showing an increased interest in the Commonwealth.

I thank my right hon. Friend for that Answer. Can he assure us that his Ministry and the inspectors, in particular, will take every opportunity open to them to encourage an understanding and awareness of the Commonwealth among the schools? Can he also tell us whether this pamphlet has been sent to any other Commonwealth countries?

Yes, Sir, I can give my hon. Friend that assurance. We think that this is a most important task. I personally sent a copy to each High Commissioner in London and copies also went to education departments in all Commonwealth countries. I have been assured that they have been very well received, and I hope before long to hear that they have actually been put into use.

Can the Minister assure us that every encouragement is being given in the schools to inform children of the backgrounds of Commonwealth citizens who come to this country to work or study?

Secondary Modern Schools (Gce Examination)


asked the Minister of Education how many secondary modern pupils, from how many schools, were entered for the General Certificate of Education examinations this year; how these figures compare with those for the last three years; and what outstanding and average results were achieved.

This information will be available next spring when I will send it to the hon. Member.

Russian Language


asked the Minister of Education how many students passed the General Certificate of Education A level in Russian during 1960; how many students at technical colleges are currently studying Russian at an advanced level; and how many teachers are now available to teach Russian at the General Certificate of Education O level.

The answer to the first part of the Question is 120. The two other figures asked for are not available. Returns obtained by the Committee on the Teaching of Russian show that about 300 further education establishments in England and Wales offer courses in Russian and about one in six of these has advanced classes. There are some 270 teachers of Russian in schools and about 330 in further education establishments, though there is some overlap between the two figures.

Is there not a great discrepancy between the number of 120 students taking advanced courses in Russian and that of 6,000 who pass in Latin and Greek? Ought not something to be done to bring the matter into focus? Will the right hon. Gentleman consider setting up an institute of Russian studies, or something of that sort, since we seriously lag behind in the study of this language and subjects associated with it?

I expect to receive the report of the Committee under Mr. Noel Annan on the teaching of Russian in schools and establishments of higher education during the first three months of next year, and I certainly expect that I will take action on its recommendations.

Is the right lion. Gentleman aware that when the Prime Minister made his last visit to Moscow he asked the rector of the university there how many students were at the university and that the answer was 10,000, and when he asked how many were learning English he was told that all of them were? Is there not something wrong when we are doing so little to encourage the study of Russian while the Russians are making such advances in the teaching of English?

I agree that we shall have to do more, but it is much easier for other countries to make the choice of the second language because English presents itself as the obvious choice.

Playing Fields And Sports Facilities


asked the Minister of Education how many local education authorities allow full use of their school playing fields and sports facilities to local youth organisations, how many allow restricted use, and how many allow no use at all; and if he will name those in each category.

The extent of shared use has to be arranged locally in the light of varying circumstances and it cannot be presented in statistical form. Authorities know that I am anxious that the fullest possible use should be made of school playing fields and other sports facilities.

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply and welcome his announcement that he supports such arrangements. Is he satisfied that all local authorities are making their sports facilities available to responsible local youth organisations? if there is a substantial number which are not, can he say what he proposes to do about it?

If I were informed that a local authority was against shared use on principle, I should most certainly make representations.

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind in any action he takes in response to the supplementary question of the hon. and learned Member that there is a maximum use which can be made of playing fields if any grass is to be retained on them?

Can the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that he is consulted before school playing fields are taken over for building? Is he aware that in my constituency a school playing field is now being used as a site for a school and that £30,000 is to be spent on a playing field across a main road? Does he carefully consider these things before school playing fields are abandoned for other projects?

If the hon. Member will send me particulars, I will look into that case.

Prefabricated Aluminium Schools


asked the Minister of Education what representations he has received from local education authorities concerning the corrosion of prefabricated aluminium schools; and what steps he proposes to take in this matter.

Education Act, 1944 (Determination Of Disputes)


asked the Minister of Education how many disputes under Section 67 of the Education Act, 1944. were referred to him for determination by local education authorities and managers and governors of schools in the calendar year 1960; and how many were determined by the Minister within this period.

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider circulating local authorities about that dispute to give them some guidance?

Gce Examination


asked the Minister of Education if he will provide in future legislation that the General Certificate of Education examination be scheduled earlier in the year so that it follows the winter studies more closely and equally avoids conflict with the widening holiday period in the summer.

The Secondary School Examinations Council, which advises me on the arrangements for the General Certificate of Education examination, are now considering the possibility of advancing the date of the summer examination. But this is a complex matter which involves extensive consultations. A change of date would not require legislation.

I am obliged to the Minister for that answer. May I ask whether he will make sure that the rhythm of the students during the winter, and the summer recreational requirements of both students and parents, are fully borne in mind and not excluded because of the mechanics of the system? Secondly, will he bear in mind that many professional examinations terminate by the end of June, and that the medical people conclude their examinations by Easter? Because of this, it is desirable that it should be brought forward to, say, the period between Easter and Whit week.

The schools fear that there may be dislocation in their work if the date is advanced very much, and it is for that reason that we have to have careful consultations.

Parents' Wishes


asked the Minister of Education if, in view of the misunderstanding which arises in the minds of parents over Section 76 of the Education Act, 1944, he will in future legislation seek to amend this Section so that parents, managers, governors and local education authorities will know the position in relation to the education of pupils in accordance with the wishes of the parents.

I have published general guidance on the application of Section 76, which I am sending to the hon. Member. I do not think it would be wise or practicable to legislate in greater detail.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that local education authorities are very worried about some of the flimsy reasons which a small minority of parents are advancing for wanting to send their children to certain schools? Is it not a fact that this Section was intended to cover what one might term a conscience clause, and will the Minister make this perfectly clear in any direction he sends to local authorities?

I am not aware that the reasons are flimsy. I assure the hon. Gentleman that in the cases which have been brought to my notice the local authorities have given careful attention to the Section of the Act to which we are referring.

The Minister may have misunderstood what I said. Would not he consider, for instance, that when parents who are in dispute with the local authorities about the choice of school advance as the only reason against a certain school that it has not a certain uniform, that that is a flimsy reason?

If parents are aggrieved under this Section, they have a right of appeal to the Minister, and I hope that they will do so.

Will the Minister ensure that, providing the circumstances are reasonable, he will do everything in his power to safeguard the parents' choice of school in this way?

The usual question is precisely whether the expenditure is reasonable or not.

Boarding Schools


asked the Minister of Education how many weekly boarding places are at present offered by State secondary weekly boarding schools.

There are nearly 9,600 boarding places in maintained secondary schools in England and Wales. I cannot say how many of the pupils concerned return home at weekends.

Will the Minister say what is the approximate cost of one of these places, and how much a parent has to contribute to that cost?

Not without notice. Indeed, the places are rather different. Some are in hostels, and in other cases arrangements are made for pupils to live with families.


asked the Minister of Education which local authorities have submitted plans to him for the purchase, and conversion into secondary weekly boarding schools, of large country houses now on the market in their areas.

In that case, will the right hon. Gentleman consider sending a circular to local authorities suggesting that they might prepare plans along these lines?

Classes (Size)


asked the Minister of Education, in view of the fact that more than 60 per cent. of senior pupils are still being taught in over-size classes, if he will carry out a special survey of all existing measures for the recruitment of teachers, the organisation of classes in the schools, and the distribution and use of teaching talent, with a view to adopting emergency proposals for reducing the size of classes.

I am reviewing the recruitment of teachers in consultation with the National Advisory Council on the Training and Supply of Teachers, and shall shortly be revising the quota scheme with the object of providing a stronger incentive to authorities to attract back into the schools qualified married women teachers. I agree that improved methods of school organisation and how to make the fullest use of available talent are important and that they should receive increasing attention.

Cannot the Ministry give itself a thorough shake up in this matter? Is it not terrible that 16 years after the war more than 60 per cent. of our secondary school pupils are still being taught in over-sized classes, and that there is this shocking position among the staff? Will the Minister regard this as an emergency operation to recruit all the teaching talent available in the nation?

I wish it were only an emergency. It is continuing all the time and has our attention the whole time.

In an effort to see that it does not continue as long as the right hon. Gentleman anticipates, will he regard this as an emergency measure? We all appreciate the advice given to him by the Council, but does not he think that in present circumstances we ought to take exceptional steps to promote the further recruitment of teachers?

We shall receive its report shortly, and I shall pay the greatest attention to it.

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the fact that, whatever action he may take, the quality of the teachers recruited is as important as the quantity?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the modification he has made to the quota as regards married women has had a slightly beneficial effect? Will he consider excluding all specially recruited married women teachers from the quota system as a means of encouraging local authorities in their recruiting?

I expect to go some way towards that but the matter is still under review.

European Languages


asked the Minister of Education, in view of the possibility of 'the United Kingdom joining the Common Market, what steps he is taking to improve the teaching of European languages in schools.

The numbers of children passing the G.C.E. in French and German at both Ordinary and Advanced level are steadily increasing. Spanish and Italian show the same trend though the numbers are smaller. Many secondary modern schools have begun to teach a European language. I am sending my hon. Friend further details of the various schemes in which my Department is taking part.

Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that sufficient emphasis is laid on the practical use of the languages, and that the teaching is not of too academic a nature?

Will my right hon. Friend be kind enough to consider issuing a circular to all the local authorities concerned drawing their attention to the problems involved when we enter the Common Market and our need for European foreign languages?

That is a very large task to which I shall have to give careful thought.

As we are members of the Commonwealth, does my hon. Friend agree that if there is to be increase in facilities for teaching foreign languages it would be a pretty good idea to give some priority to the teaching of African and Asian languages?

This is a laudable idea, but I believe rather difficult to put into practice.

Commercial Subjects


asked the Minister of Education, in view of the possibility of increased trade with Europe, what steps he is taking to improve the teaching of commercial subjects useful in the export trade.

I give all the support I can to commercial and technical colleges who are ready to add new courses to meet the demand. It is important that exporting firms should work out their future needs in good time so that classes may be organised and used to maximum advantage.

What advice is my right hon. Friend taking from those actually engaged in the export trade who are helping him in this project?



asked the Minister of Education if he will state the percentage increases over the past ten years in the numbers of schoolchildren and expenditure on school buildings works in Berkshire compared with England and Wales as a whole.

In numbers of schoolchildren 21 per cent. for England and Wales, 64 per cent. for Berkshire. In expenditure on school building, 60 per cent. for England and Wales, 526 per cent. for Berkshire.

Because Berkshire's need is evidently greater.

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind, when he has further funds to allocate for school building, not only the need for new schools but for the extension of existing schools, because full weight will still need to be given to counties like Berkshire which have exceptionally big increases in the number of school children and are finding the facilities for teaching them very difficult?

I went to Berkshire and I realise the difficulty that they have there through the school population increasing so fast.

Public Schools


asked the Minister of Education if he will give the approximate number of boys from State schools who have entered public schools during the past five years with the aid of bursaries or scholarships granted by local education authorities; and how many of these boys lived in the administrative county of Essex.

In March, 1961, 9,700 boys attending independent schools had their fees paid in full by local education authorities: of these 1,100 came from Essex. I have no separate figures for public schools apart from other independent schools.

Is it not true that only a minority of scholars from State schools enter the big public schools, which seems to indicate that the alleged traditional benefit of public school education, particularly with regard to professional employment later on, is reserved for a minority whose parents can afford to send them there?

I would take the view that in the grammar schools under the maintained system and in the direct grant schools excellent preparation for careers can be obtained.

Would the right hon. Gentleman find out exactly what percentage in the more prominent public schools comes from State schools of one kind or another?

The fact is that I do not know what a public school is: no one has been able to provide me with a satisfactory definition.

Bangor Normal College


asked the Minister of Education what is the reason for the delay in providing extra places at the Bangor Normal College, as a result of which potential students have now been told to transfer their applications elsewhere.

The cost of the expansion proved on tender to be £305,000 in excess of the Ministry's cost limit of £400,000. The scheme is now being revised in order that the necessary savings may be made.

Would the Minister agree that there must be something wrong with his administration when plans for a college like this can go quite so far without anyone having discovered that the demands are almost double what would be permitted? Is not there something very seriously wrong in the methods of consultation in matters of this kind that a situation of this sort should occur at all?

We cannot act until we know what the tender is in terms of money. A similar small scheme for St. Mary's College, Bangor, kept within the Ministry's cost limit.

Surely the right hon. Gentleman must give some sort of instruction with regard to the cost of a place, and should it not be clear and lucid enough for the people in charge of these enterprises to know where they are going?

Indeed, yes. These cost limits were known to the college before the architects were asked to submit their plans.



asked the Minister of Education what was the number of children of gypsies and other travellers living in caravans in north-west Kent, details of which have been sent to him, who were admitted to local schools during the week commencing 20th November; what special provision was made to accommodate them; and what are the prospects of their benefiting from the educational services available to them.

Thirty-two. A special class has been established in hired accommodation for retarded junior pupils so that their educational needs may be assessed. The arrangements made by the Kent Education Authority are well calculated to benefit the children provided that they attend school regularly.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that great credit is due to a local schoolmaster who has put himself out to help these children, some of whom have never been to school and yet are eight or nine years old? When they want to go to school on Sundays they are very happy. Does he not think that it is tragic that the local council is buying the land so that it can turn these people off and will be able to do so next week, on the eve of Christmas, when there is nowhere else for them to go? It is uprooting the children from the school. If the council waited until the spring, three-quarters of the families would be going to work on the farms until the autumn. Cannot something be done to help these children?

I agree that this particular teacher is doing a tough job, and I think we are all grateful to him. As for the information which the hon. Gentleman has just given me, I had better look into it.

Would the right hon. Gentleman look at the precedent which has been set by Eton Rural District Council, which has now provided land for gypsies so that their children may go to school?

Laboratories And Workshops (Accidents)


asked the Minister of Education how many accidents involving injury to students or damage to equipment, respectively, occurred in technical college laboratories or workshops and secondary school laboratories or workshops during 1960.

I do not require local education authorities to submit returns to me on these two matters.

After consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour I recently issued an Administrative Memorandum on Industrial Safety and the Education Service, a copy of which I am sending to the hon. Member.

Would it not be better if the Minister, instead of exhorting local authorities, brought the laboratories and workshops within the scope of the Bill which the Government will ultimately promote, and which was started by my hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Marsh)?

It is not very easy to get the facts on how much damage has been done to equipment. I think that I can hardly collect that kind of information.

Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman can find out how much damage is done to persons?

National Foundation Of Educational Research


asked the Minister of Education what grants from public funds are made to the National Foundation for Educational Research.

My grant to the Foundation for the current year is £7,000. Local education authorities are contributing £29,000 as members of the Foundation.

As a large sum of public money is involved, would the right hon. Gentleman consider consulting with this Foundation so that it could make more freely available the information it collects? Is he aware that it labels reports "Confidential" which contain no dark secrets at all, and which ought to be made freely available to persons interested in education?

My Department is discussing various matters with the Foundation at present and I shall see that this is included.

School Building


asked the Minister of Education why the school building programme for 1963–64 has not yet been announced; and when that programme will be announced to local education authorities.

This programme is part of the public sector capital expenditure which is under review. I hope to make an announcement about school building shortly.

Will the Minister treat this as a matter of urgency? Is he aware that the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster-General in talking to the House on Tuesday told hon. Members that he wanted local authorities to think in terms of five-year plans of capital expenditure and that the future school building programme is about the most important item in that capital expenditure? Will he do what he can to speed up letting local authorities know?

School, Chandler's Ford


asked the Minister of Education what is the price at which the Hampshire education authority is acquiring the site for the erection of Oakmount Secondary School, Chandler's Ford; and why he refused permission to acquire this site in 1954.

I understand that the authority has paid £75,000 for this site. This is a complicated case, and I will write to the hon. Member as soon as I have full information.

Is the Minister aware that this land was eagerly offered by the owner to the Hampshire education committee, in 1954, for £7,500, that it asked the Minister to give permission to buy the land, that permission was not forthcoming, and that it has now had to buy the same land at a cost not of £7,500 but £75,000, and even that is below the market value of £100,000? Does he not think that his Ministry, which has a moral responsibility for inflicting an extra £67,000 on the ratepayers, should bear some of the financial burden? [Interruption.]

May I say to my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill), who has just entered the Chamber, that I am sure all right hon. and hon. Members in the House will wish to extend to him their affectionate and respectful good wishes on the occasion of his birthday?

As a supplementary to that, may I express to the right hon. Member for Woodford the pride and pleasure that we all feel on this the occasion of his 87th birthday and at his presence among us on this historic occasion?

Perhaps I may remind the Minister of my supplementary question, which was broken into by this extremely happy occasion. Since his Ministry is morally responsible for saddling the ratepayers of Hampshire with an extra £67,000, cannot he accept the financial responsibility?

The hon. Member put his Question down only a day ago. As he has also shown, there are many details which must be looked into. But I can assure him that as soon as I have received the full information I will communicate with him.




asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if, in view of the complaints made by the Aden Trade Union Congress and other representative organisations and persons regarding the constitution of the Aden Legislative Council and the Amirates Federation in the Protectorates, he will appoint a commission of inquiry to report upon the necessary changes.

No, Sir. I am sure that the matter can best be considered in the informal constitutional talks which are proceeding in Aden under the Governor's chairmanship.

Does not the hon. Member recognise what a very critical area Aden is, and the need to identify the Administration with the people? Is he aware that in the election for the Legislative Council 76 per cent. of the voters boycotted the election, under the leadership of the Trades Union Council? Is he further aware that the negotiations on federation took place only with the sultans, emirs and sheiks, and not with the representatives of the people? Does not he think that it would be desirable to send out a commission of inquiry to establish an Administration on the basis of the will of the people, and of self-determination?

No, Sir. Inevitably there are penalties for boycotting elections, and we must deal with the facts as they are. But I can give the hon. Member the assurance which was given by the Colonial Secretary in Aden, namely, that when these proposals emerge there will be a full opportunity for their consideration by the Legislative Council and other bodies in Aden.


Disturbances (Report)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he has received the Report of the Commission of Inquiry set up to inquire into the disturbances which occurred in Zanzibar on 1st June; and if he will make a statement.

The Report, which is addressed to the British Resident and not to my right hon. Friend, has been received. It is therefore proper that it should be printed and published simultaneously in Zanzibar and London, and I hope this will be done shortly.

Can my hon. Friend tell the House whether the Report will deal with the time taken to move 820 troops into Zanzibar, at the time of the emergency, between 1st and 4th June?

I would like my hon. Friend to await the report. It is full and extensive, and it covers all the main points.

British Honduras

Hurricane Damage

32 and 33.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) whether, following the visit of the Under-Secretary of State to British Honduras, he will make a further statement about the hurricane damage, the measures for its relief, and the eventual rebuilding of Belize;

(2) if he will give an estimate of the expenditure incurred so far by Her Majesty's Government in affording relief to British Honduras following the hurricane there.

I spent two days in British Honduras and with the aid of a Naval helicopter was able to see the devastation not only in Belize but also in some of the outlying districts. The death roll has not increased and so far there has been no outbreak of epidemic. The long term damage to the forests is, I fear, very considerable, and the citrus and fishing industries have also suffered severely. Impressive progress has been made in providing immediate relief to the people whose homes had been destroyed and in re-establishing essential services such as water and electricity. The return to commercial distribution of food and other supplies is expected very soon.

It is a great credit to all concerned that so much had already been achieved only three weeks after such a widespread disaster. I would like to pay an especial tribute to the Armed Services and the Civil Administration, under the admirable leadership of the Governor, Sir Colin Thornley, and his Ministers, to the U.S. Navy, to neighbouring Governments, to the Red Cross and lastly to the Government of Jamaica for its great help and for its co-ordination of relief measures.

A team under the leadership of Mr. D. F. Pearl (recently Development Secretary, Sierra Leone) and including experts on housing, engineering, agriculture and forestry will be arriving in Belize today. Their task is to examine and report on the extent of the damage and to advise on measures of rehabilitation and reconstruction, with estimates of costs. A local committee, under the chairmanship of the First Minister, is already considering the question of the best site for rebuilding the capital of country. Until we can study the results of their examination and the recommendations of the team of experts, there can be no finalisation about plans for rebuilding Belize, where it is clear that the nucleus of a town still exists. Clearly however, this vital question will have to be taken into account in any general plan for reconstruction in the Colony.

So far as can be seen, the cost of the immediate measures taken will not be less than £800,000. It may well be more.

Can my hon. Friend give any estimate of the total amount of Government expenditure which would be involved in restoring the economy of the Colony and rebuilding the capital? When the time comes for this to be done, will he bear in mind the fairly widespread view that the capital should be rebuilt inland?

Yes, Sir. All these factors will be borne in mind. But it would be idle and foolish for me to suggest what the Bill will be until the experts have reported.

Does the hon. Member realise that hon. Members on both sides of the House will join him in expressing gratitude for and appreciation of the splendid work done by those who were engaged in the emergency work? It is bound to cost an enormous sum to rebuild the economy and also to rebuild the capital on—we hope—another site. May we be assured that the Government will give the fullest financial support to enable this Colony to recover its life?

We will give reasonable financial support, bearing in mind the natural regard which the people of British Honduras will expect from this country.

Is the hon. Member aware that individuals and private organisations who have collected food and clothing to send to British Honduras are finding the air mail rates utterly prohibitive? The cost is up to £25 for quite a modest parcel. The Postmaster-General has been unable to do anything about this. Will the hon. Member look into it in order to see whether anything can be done to facilitate the sending of parcels at reasonable cost?

I will look into that, but I suggest that for people who wish to extend charity, much the best thing to do is to send money to the relief organisation.

Northern Rhodesia

Henry Msoni


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will state the whereabouts of Henry Msoni, who was arrested by the Mufulira police in Northern Rhodesia, and was at one time in a remand prison.

I have asked the Governor to inquire into this and will write to the right hon. Member when information is available.

Is it not very extraordinary that the Minister does not know anything about this and that nothing should have been found out? Is he aware that although it is said that Mr. Msoni escaped, his friends have no knowledge of his whereabouts, and that there are most unfortunate rumours all round the district of Mufulira—rumours of police brutality and torture? For the sake of the police, as well as of the local inhabitants, will he have a public inquiry made?

No, Sir. I will certainly not have a public inquiry made. About 3,000 people are, unfortunately, detained at the moment. The right hon. Gentleman gave me notice of this a week ago. I have telegraphed to the Governor and I expect him to find out what the situation is there.

St Helena



asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps are being taken to alleviate unemployment in St. Helena.

The work of the Public Works Department is phased as far as possible to help relieve unemployment and most of those unemployed are engaged on part-time relief works. The Government continue to assist the passages of single men to this country to guaranteed jobs.

Is it not the case that the situation is so grave that the Bishop of St. Helena recently called at the Colonial Office to discuss this matter? What was the result of his conversations? Will not the Minister further agree that one way to solve the problem is by instituting a proper, planned emigration scheme? What is he doing to that end?

I would not say that the situation is grave. It is serious, and unfortunately has been so for many years in St. Helena. My right hon. Friend was very happy to receive His Grace the Bishop. We have had talks, and various steps have been proposed to alleviate the problem. It would be idle to pretend it is not a serious problem, and it is difficult to see any lasting solution.

West Indies

Emigration (United Kingdom)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what further consultations he has had with representatives of Jamaican and other British West Indian Governments concerning the problem of ensuring reasonable accommodation for immigrants to this country, in view of the complaints by returning immigrants in respect of accommodation.

I have nothing to add to the Reply which my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member on 16th November. As he said then, the Colonial Governments most concerned are well aware of the accommodation problems here.

Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that it is most lamentable that full consultation did not take place between ourselves and the West Indian representatives before the Bill relating to immigration was introduced? Will the hon. Gentleman say whether he would now take part in consultations regarding this matter, which is the only valid aspect of the problem before us?

The first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question is immensely wide of his Question on the Order Paper. Regarding the second part, there are standing arrangements by which representatives, that is to say, the Commissioner in London, the West Indies and the Home Department of this country are in touch.

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall endeavour to raise the matter at the earliest opportunity.

Citrus Industry


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on his discussions with the West Indian citrus industry.

A meeting was held last week, between my right hon. and noble Friend and representatives of the West Indian Citrus Industry, and it was agreed that certain inquiries should be made before a further meeting was held. In these circumstances, I am not at present able to make a statement.

Would not my hon. Friend agree that the present grave situation facing the industry is due largely to changes of policy in this country quite beyond the control of the West Indies? Does he recall that the Government gave a promise to the industry last April that we would do all that we could to publicise the availability of orange juice concentrates for mothers and children? Will he try to stimulate a little action in that direction to help the industry?

This is a very complicated question. I will certainly bear in mind what my hon. Friend has said.

May I remind my hon. Friend that the promise was made by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health to this House and that very little money has been spent on advertising this product to the public? Will he arrange with his hon. Friend for rather more active steps to be taken in this direction?


Famine Relief


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what consultations he has had with regard to the famine in Tanganyika; and what assistance his Department will afford.

Indirect requests for assistance have been made to my right hon. Friend, and in this respect I have nothing to add to his reply to the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) on 21st November. A new request has just been received from the Tanganyika Government for a grant of £300,000 to meet the cost of distributing free food in famine areas, and this is being examined in the light of the circumstances referred to in that reply.

Is the Under-Secretary of State aware that there is disappointment among hon. Members on both sides of the House who asked his right hon. Friend the other day to consider making a grant to Tanganyika? I hope we shall not forget that it is a country about to achieve its independence? Would it not be a fine gesture to help Tanganyika to overcome this tragedy before the country becomes independent? May I hope that this appeal will be listened to with greater favour than was the last appeal?

Commonwealth Countries

Dried Milk Supplies


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make further arrangements to supply British dried milk as a contribution to the relief of those countries for which Her Majesty's Government are responsible whose people are suffering from malnutrition.

Her Majesty's Government help with the costs of transporting dried milk from the U.S.A. and Canada whose surplus production makes inexpensive supplies readily available and of distributing them in any affected Colony. To meet current emergencies we have arranged to deliver the Milk Marketing Board's generous gifts of 200 tons of dried milk to Kenya and of 50 tons to British Honduras.

The Under-Secretary will probably be aware that originally I put down this Question to the Department of Technical Co-operation. Can the hon. Gentleman say whether he has had discussions with the Department and when the Department will be in a position to tell us how it is dealing with its responsibilities in the colonial and other territories?

I have had discussions, and it is a question of what schemes are immediately available. One is the UNICEF scheme, and there are other special schemes to be applied to individual Colonial Territories.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Government have refused to make a financial contribution towards the cost of distributing supplies of dried milk and maize from the United States in Tanganyika; and how does he reconcile that with his reply today?

May I remind the hon. Lady that we are spending £800,000 on immediate relief in Honduras and several hundred thousands of pounds on relief in Kenya; that we have just met an emergency request from the Somali Republic to send aircraft to help them, and that these are problems which must be considered in view of the various financial settlements which we have made with the countries concerned.

Radcliffe Report


asked the Prime Minister whether he will now make a statement on the Radcliffe Report.

Perhaps, before answering this Question, I may be allowed to add my tribute to the greatest of my predecessors.

I have just received the Report of the Radcliffe Committee. I will make a statement when I have had time to study it.

In view of the great interest of my hon. Friend the Member for Tynemouth (Dame Irene Ward) in those living on small fixed incomes and the rather surprising interest which she is taking in spies and the espionage service, would not my right hon. Friend think it wise to tell my hon. Friend here and now that spies do not normally live on small fixed incomes? May I ask further, whether, if the Radcliffe Committee has not altogether concluded its investigations, it might be desirable to ask it to inquire into the origin and hidden purposes behind the design of the hon. Lady's "50 megaton" hat? Might not it form a useful basis for an anti-missile missile?

West Indies And Jamaica (Emigrants)


asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the forthcoming independence of the West Indies and Jamaica, he will now approach President Kennedy in support of their claim for quota-free entry into the United States of America as is accorded to other States in North and South America.

A Bill which would entitle the West Indian Federation to non-quota status is still before Congress. Meanwhile, legislation recently enacted in the United States has ensured that the current level of West Indian immigration will not be jeopardised by future political developments in the area.

However hypocritical we may look after closing our own doors, is not it important to put some pressure, if we can, on the United States Administration to give this quota-free entry? Does the Prime Minister realise that our pending restriction, and the legislation before the House on the entry of this very small number of people from the Caribbean into this country, may harm the chances of their having quota-free entry to the United States on the ground that people in the United States may well say, "Why should we open our doors when the Mother Country does not care to keep hers open?"

That is another point. On the point at issue, I have answered the hon. Gentleman. Of course, we are in touch with the United States Government.

Is the Prime Minister saying that he has already approached the United States Government and indicated the support of the British Government for the proposed quota-free entry? Does not he feel that in making representations of this kind he would be in a much stronger position were we not proposing to impose a quota on West Indians coming to this country?

No, Sir. As I told the House on 2nd May, I had been in touch with the President on the question which was then the problem, how to carry on the existing legislation pending the new legislation. This happily has been done. Now, of course, the larger they are able to make their quotas the better and more pleased we shall be.

I understand that the new legislation is to provide quota-free entry from the West Indies. As this is a matter of the highest importance to the West Indies, will not the Prime Minister make representations to President Kennedy in favour of the new legislation? Will he answer my further question; does he feel that he would be in a much stronger position today if we dropped the Immigrants Bill altogether?

No. I am told that quota-free entry should not be interpreted even if granted as unrestricted entry.

Can the Prime Minister say what is the quota figure in the United States and how it compares with the 80,000 we shall take this year from the West Indies?

Common Market Negotiations (Lord Privy Seal's Speech)


asked the Prime Minister what reply he has sent to the request by the Canadian Minister of Finance that the Canadian Government should be supplied with the full text of the Lord Privy Seal's speech in Paris on 10th October concerning the United Kingdom's application to join the Common Market.

I would refer the hon. Lady to the reply which I gave to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) on 28th November.

Does not the demand by the Canadian Government to be shown the full text of the Lord Privy Seal's speech prove that the further consultations he had with Commonwealth Governments about that speech have been quite insufficient to allay their fears? In view of this, will the Prime Minister give us a very clear assurance that in the Government's future negotiations with the Six the Commonwealth Governments will be shown the full text of those parts of all working documents which directly affect their interests?

I have nothing to add on this matter, which was very fully discussed on Monday.

Can the Prime Minister say whether the leak was known to the Government while Mr. Fleming was in this country and asked for the documents?

I have nothing to add. This was very fully discussed, and I think the House may wish it to rest there.



asked the Prime Minister whether he will make a statement about the planning organisation set up by Her Majesty's Government to prepare detailed proposals for carrying out the principles of general disarmament set out in the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Declaration of March, 1961.

No special planning organisation was set up by Her Majesty's Government for the purpose mentioned.

Does the Prime Minister recall that President Kennedy has set up a disarmament agency with 300 full-time members to prepare for the work of the international campaign on disarmament? Does the Prime Minister think that our British contribution will be adequate if our preparation is done by one and a half full-time workers at the Foreign Office?

I do not think the effectiveness of any plan necessarily depends on the number of people engaged in trying to make it.

Would the Prime Minister not agree that one of the paradoxes of the last few months has been that whereas Russian tests have been restarted and other things have started which have made the arms race worse, on the other hand the talks between Mr. Zorin and Mr. McCloy have produced more common ground than ever before? In those circumstances, should not an effort be made to try to find common ground on this subject?

We have made a considerable effort. First, the agreed Commonwealth decision on principles has been a great help and with the joint statement of the United States and the U.S.S.R. and negotiations now going forward, I see hope that we may be able to resume the multilateral negotiations under the United Nations.

Although we welcome these statements of general principle to which the Prime Minister has referred, may we ask him to do something to ensure that our detailed preparatory work shall be adequate for what the Commonwealth Prime Ministers in March called "the most important question in the world"?

I think it will be. Anyone who followed the Geneva Conference on tests, which was highly technical and detailed, would agree that British contribution and representation and knowledge were of a very remarkable character.

Civil Defence (Ministerial Responsibility)


asked the Prime Minister which Ministers are responsible, in part, for civil defence arrange- ments; for what sections of civil defence they are individually responsible; and by what method such individual responsibilities are co-ordinated.

My right hon. Friends the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Scotland are responsible for civil defence functions under the Civil Defence Act, 1948, except in so far as other Ministers are designated by Order in Council for particular functions. I will, with permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a list of the Ministers who have been so designated. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has a general responsibility for co-ordinating the defence plans of all the civil agencies of government.

Does not the Prime Minister recognise that this is one of the most serious issues facing this country at present and that the present arrangements are chaotic? Will he not accede to the plea that has been made by myself and other hon. Members to appoint a separate Minister to undertake the whole issue of Civil Defence?

Since the functions must necessarily be spread over a great number of Departments, I think it a delusion to believe that appointing a separate Minister or a new Department would be an advance in administration. I think it much better to continue this system with the Home Secretary acting as general co-ordinator.

Is the Prime Minister aware that children of the civil population of Glasgow under the previous arrangements were to be evacuated to the Holy Loch? Does he think that a sensible arrangement?

Following is the information:


Main Functions

The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food(i) The provision and distribution of food, and animal feeding stuffs.
(ii) The provision of emergency feeding services including equipment.*
The Minister of HealthMeasures to deal with casualties and disease.*


Main Functions

The Minister of Housing and Local Government(i) Evacuation.*
(ii) The billeting or rehousing of the homeless.*
(iii) Services in connection with the demolition, clearance and repair of damaged property.*
(iv) The maintenance of water supplies.'*
(v) The maintenance of sewerage.*
(vi) The provision of information centres after attack.*
(vii) The burial of the dead.*
The Minister of Power(i) The provision and supply of coal, gas and petroleum.
(ii) The provision and supply of electricity. *
The Minister of Transport(i) Measures for the maintenance of roads.*
(ii) Measures for the continued operation of railways, road transport, docks, harbours and merchant shipping.

* In England and Wales only. In Scotland these functions are discharged by the Secretary of State for Scotland.



asked the Prime Minister whether his recent diplomatic exchanges with President Kennedy and Dr. Adenauer about the terms of Western proposals for a settlement of the Berlin problem have included fresh proposals for the control of nuclear weapons by the West German authorities.

Communications between myself and other Heads of Government are confidential.

Why is the Prime Minister so insistent that nothing must be said to the British Parliament on this subject when reports are made to the West German Parliament by Dr. Adenauer or his representative? Is the 'Prime Minister aware that the German Parliament has been informed that there have been discussions upon the question of whether N.A.T.O. should have its own nuclear deterrent, which would involve the Germans having some control over these weapons? If the German Parliament can be told about it, why does the Prime Minister not tell the British Parliament what is happening in these matters?

As the House knows, we are engaged in some preliminary negotiations which will lead, I hope, to some success in trying to resolve some of these difficult problems. I have to make decisions, and I do not think it would be a help if every time I have some discussion with or a message from the head of another Government I have to make a full statement about it.

Is the Prime Minister aware that there is bound to be a great deal of confusion here when on one side we have statements by Dr. Adenauer about his talks with President Kennedy and on the other hand the admirable interview of Mr. Kennedy with Mr. Khrushchev's son-in-law? Is it not very desirable that the Western position should be agreed as soon as possible? What precise steps are being taken to arrange such a meeting where such agreement can be reached?

I am conscious that the House shows great consideration, but these are very difficult problems in which we have an important part to play. I still feel that the way we are trying to conduct it is most likely to lead to the results we want. I am hoping that when we have the meeting of the four Foreign Ministers of N.A.T.O. in Paris, we shall arrive at a great advance. I think that is on the 8th or 9th of December.

Can the Prime Minister at least assure the House that he will convey to Dr. Adenauer that he can get no support from this country for the bellicose statements made on his behalf at the present time?

Whether this is exactly the best method of getting what I want I shall have to consider.

Referring to the previous question, will the Prime Minister confirm or deny whether the question of fresh arrangements for the supply of nuclear weapons to the West German authorities has been included at all in these discussions and exchanges?

No, Sir. As I have said, the communications, so far as I am concerned, I regard as confidential.

Minister Without Portfolio


asked the Prime Minister what are the functions and responsibilities of the Minister Without Portfolio.

The Minister Without Portfolio has the responsibility normally carried by a member of the Cabinet who has no Departmental duties.

Does the Prime Minister recall that the right hon. Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) once during the war described Ministers without Departmental responsibilities as "brooding in ignorance on the work of others"? In view a that, can the Prime Minister say whether the Minister Without Portfolio has jurisdiction over the pay pause, or is that the exclusive achievement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer?

That is a rather good supplementary question which, no doubt, took a lot of thinking out. In most Cabinets there are a number, I think fourteen or fifteen, of Ministers with Departmental duties, and it has been found convenient to have five or six without Departmental duties.

Some day—but I hope it will be a long time—the noble Lord will meet him in another place.

Colonial Service Officers


asked the Prime Minister whether he will transfer the Commonwealth Relations Office from the Home Civil Service to the Foreign Service; and whether he will then request the Civil Service Commission to abolish the written examination for Colonial Service officers with 10 pears' experience and satisfactory reports on their service who may apply to transfer to the Foreign Service or Commonwealth Relations Office.

The doubts felt by my hon. Friend about the expediency of requiring a certain class of candidate to take a written examination can hardly be regarded as a sufficient reason for the major change of organisation suggested in the first part of his Question.

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that it is a trifle anomalous that a Department which will shortly be responsible for about one-fifth of our overseas diplomatic representation should still belong to the home Civil Service? Does he not agree that this somewhat comic examination can hardly add any information which is not already known in the confidential reports available to the Government about these distinguished officers?

There are two separate questions in this issue, which I understand has recently been debated. The first is the organisation of the Civil Service itself and the transfer of a great Department from one side to the other. The second minor question related to that is the particular form of examination to recruit particular candidates.

At the end of Questions—

On a point of order. I do not know which clock you were looking at, Mr. Speaker, but on the clock at this end of the Chamber it is now only 3.30 p.m.

I observe with great regret that we did not reach the hon. Member's Question. I am afraid that I have to see the time when I see it, and I do my best to do it honestly.

Business Of The House

May I ask the Leader of the House to state the business of the House for next week?

Yes, Sir. The business for next week will be as follows:

MONDAY, 4TH DECEMBER—Committee and remaining stages of the Coal Industry Bill.

Completion of the Committee stage and remaining stages of the Civil Aviation (Eurocontrol) Bill.

If there is time, Second Reading of the Forth and Clyde Canal (Extinguishment of Rights of Navigation) Bill.

TUESDAY, 5TH DECEMBER, and WEDNESDAY, 6TH DECEMBER—Committee stage of the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill.

THURSDAY, 7TH DECEMBER—Committee stage of the Army Reserve Bill.

Consideration of the Motion on the Commonwealth Preference (Western Samoa) Order, 1961

FRIDAY, 8TH DECEMBER—Consideration of Private Members' Bills.

MONDAY, 11TH DECEMBER—The proposed business will be: Consideration of private Members' Motions until seven o'clock.

Afterwards, consideration of the Motions on the Highlands and Islands Shipping Services and on Summer Time.

In view of the fact that, as the right hon. Gentleman undoubtedly knows, Sir Grantley Adams, Prime Minister of the West Indies Federation, is arriving in this country on Monday, and will, I understand, have discussions with Her Majesty's Ministers, including the Prime Minister, about the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill, would not the right hon. Gentleman consider it courteous, to say the least, to defer the consideration of the Committee stage?

With respect, no. A considerable number of countries are concerned in this matter. I have not said that we should complete the Committee stage in the business which I have announced.

Has my right hon. Friend's attention been drawn to the Motion in my name and the names of hon. Members on both sides of the House in the matter of anthrax precautions, and if so, will he find time for a discussion of this important matter?

[ That this House views with very great concern the provision of Statutory Instrument No. 2040 ( Anthrax Prevention ( Goat Hair and Shaving Brushes) Order, 1961), dated 24th October 1961, which empowers Her Majesty's Government to permit imports of goat hair irrespective of source without disinfection, thus removing from the workers in the cashmere trade the protection from anthrax so well provided since 1935 when the provision for compulsory disinfection was estab- lished; deplores the action of the Minister of Labour in so advising Her Majesty's Government in spite of the unanimous advice to the contrary on the part of every employers' and employees' organisation concerned; considers that the Order in Council will permit the less scrupulous overseas manufacturers and agents to undercut British manufacturers, not through fair competition but because the provisions of this Order enable them to compete with insufficient health standards, thus putting in danger, first the health of those employed in the industry, second the valuable export earnings which the trade has built up over the last 20 years; and calls upon Her Majesty's Government to take action to remedy these serious defects forthwith.]

I have studied that Motion. I understand that the Order was made as the result of a unanimous opinion of a committee of inquiry by the Minister of Labour, who is satisfied that it will not have the ill-effects which my hon. Friend suggests.

Order. I did not call the hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Hirst). Mr. Gaitskell.

Reverting to my previous question, since Sir Grantley Adams is coming here to make representations to the Government about the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill, which has very great consequences for the West Indies, how can these consultations be taken seriously if the Government proceed with the Bill meanwhile?

The Leader of the Opposition knows very well that although he disagrees with the amount of consultation which we have done, consultation on this matter has been going on for some time. I am sure that we should make a start with the Bill, because it is clearly right that the views of the House should be taken and as much finality as possible reached in this important matter.

Will the Leader of the House say whether it is his intention that there should be a debate in the House on the White Paper published on the future of local government in London?

* Note: See Official Report 4 December, 1961; c. 932–3.

We shall certainly discuss it in the House, but I am sure that it should not be this side of the Christmas Recess. There are many hon. Members who want to study it before they express their views.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his answers to my previous questions seem completely unconvincing? May I ask him two other questions? First, does he propose that the whole of the Committee stage of the Army Reserve Bill should be taken on Thursday? If he has that thought in mind, will he think again? Secondly, will he find time before the Christmas Recess for a debate on the Berlin situation and also a debate on the economic situation?

The Army Reserve Bill, although important, is a Bill of eight Clauses. I note what the right hon. Gentleman has said. We will see how we get along.

On the question of days for debates on foreign affairs and economic affairs before the Christmas Recess, I cannot at the moment see an opportunity for these in Government time.

Is it not extremely important that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should at last have the opportunity which we wish him to have of presenting us with a succinct and clear account of what he understands by the wage pause, how long it will last and what will take its place when it ends?

Will my right hon. Friend, as one of the guardians of the rights of the House, try to see that all Bills involving expenditure are accompanied by an explicit and clear Financial Memorandum? I ask the question because the Army Reserve Bill is notoriously failing in that respect.

If that is part of my duties—I am new to my duties—I shall be glad to consider it.

What proposals has the Leader of the House for enabling the House to approve the B.B.C. Agreement and Licence? In view of the absurd muddling of the Government last night, will he give an assurance, first, that adequate time will be given to this important subject at an early hour, and, secondly, ensure that the proper documents are available to hon. Members before the debate?

If I may say so, that is full value for what happened last night. The position is a little more complicated than the hon. Member thinks. He may like to look at HANSARD of 17th July, 1956, when he will find the arrangements which were laid out by the Financial Secretary at the time and which met with the general approval of the House. This is a very difficult matter. Of course, I will carefully look into what happened last night.

Has my right hon. Friend observed two Motions on the Order Paper, one in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Dr. D. Johnson) and one in my name, dealing with individual liberty of the subject and the State? Will he consult the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General and let us know when we may have debates on those subjects?

[ That a Select Committee be appointed to examine the need for a Parliamentary Commissioner and a Committee of Personal Petitions, in the light of the report of Sir John Wyat to Justice; to examine the reports concerning the office of Ombudsman, and the present legislation on this matter before the Parliament of New Zealand; and to make recommendations for the establishment of a system suitable for, and in keeping with, the ancient traditions of this House, Parliament and the Constitution:

That the Committee have power to call for persons, papers and records.]

[ That this House, appreciating that justice to the individual, uprightness in public administration and single-minded enforcement of the law should at all times be manifest, urges Her Majesty's Government immediately to appoint a Parliamentary Commission, on the lines of the Scandinavian Ombudsman, with powers to investigate and report publicly upon complaints by individuals against administrative and executive authority.]

There has been a recent report from "Justice" on that which the Government would like an opportunity of studying before they make their own comments.

In view of the Ruling given last night by Mr. Speaker about documents, what arrangements is the Leader of the House making to see that for all future business brought before the House such documents as will be covered by that Ruling are available to hon. Members?

I spent a good deal of time this morning going into that point. I repeat what I said a moment ago—that, apart from anything else, this is a good deal more complicated than any of us thought last night. Perhaps the hon. Member would like to look at the reference which I gave.

Is the Leader of the House aware that a week ago yesterday the Toothill Report was published? Is he aware that it received wide prominence in the Scottish Press and that its recommendations, if implemented, will affect not only the Scottish economy but the United Kingdom economy? In view of the fact that the Report was Government-sponsored, will he consider giving us a day before Christmas to debate the Report, or as soon as possible after we return?

Certainly not before Christmas. I will bear in mind the possibility of a later day. I agree that this is an important subject.

Reverting to the point made by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that Sir Grantley Adams speaks only for 2 million people whereas in India, Pakistan and Nigeria there are 530 million people to be considered? Will he see that this important problem is not looked at too exclusively from the West Indian point of view?

Sir Grantley Adams speaks for a very well-loved and very important part of the Commonwealth.

Will the Leader of the House not, then, defer the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill in order to consult representatives of India, Pakistan and the West Indies?

In view of the sense of shame felt by many British people at the Government's intention to alter the Kenya Constitution to allow an ex-criminal to become Chie