Oral Answers to Questions — New Colonial Office (Sculpture)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th October 1949.

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Photo of Sir Edward Keeling Sir Edward Keeling , Twickenham 12:00 am, 26th October 1949

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why he asked for unclothed stone figures to be eliminated from the design of the new Colonial Office.

Mr. Creech Jones:

I trust that the hon. Member is not taking too seriously a jesting reference by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State. The first sketches of the building included some rough indications of possible sculpture, which it was suggested might convey the impression that the Colonial Office took things lying down. I can assure the hon. Member that this is not the case.

Photo of Sir Edward Keeling Sir Edward Keeling , Twickenham

Do I understand the Secretary of State to repudiate the statement made by the Under-Secretary at an official luncheon, from which I quote these few words: Drawings were sent to us for approval. Over the door the architect had drawn two large nude male recumbent figures. The Secretary of State and I looked at the figures closely and we looked at each other closely, and then we gave an order to the architect that either the figures were to be put in an alert posture or removed"; and would it not be better for the Secretary of State not to meddle in such matters, but to leave it to the Royal Fine Art Commission?

Mr. Creech Jones:

It should be appreciated that the Under-Secretary was making a joke at a conference. There has been no meddling with anybody by the Secretary of State in regard to any of these features on the proposed new building.

Mr. Wilson Harris:

If, as I understand is the case, these figures were intended to represent the right hon. Gentleman and the Under-Secretary, would it not be generally agreed that the more we see of both Ministers the better?

Photo of Mr Samuel Silverman Mr Samuel Silverman , Nelson and Colne

Does my right hon. Friend think it fair that his Under-Secretary should make jokes at a conference where Conservatives may be present without giving two days' notice?