U.S S R (Broadcasts and Newspapers)

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th January 1959.

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Photo of Mr Cyril Osborne Mr Cyril Osborne , Louth Borough 12:00 am, 29th January 1959

asked the Prime Minister, in view of the fact that the British Broadcasting Corporation's Russian language broadcasts are jammed, and English newspapers restricted, leaving the Russian people completely uninformed of our way of life, if he will, before accepting the Soviet invitation to visit Russia, make it a condition of acceptance that he should have the same facilities for putting the West's case directly to the Russian people on television and radio and through the Press, as Mr. Mikoyan was given in the United States of America; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

While I cannot anticipate the circumstances in which I might visit the Soviet Union, I should naturally welcome an opportunity of speaking to the Soviet people on radio and television.

Photo of Mr Cyril Osborne Mr Cyril Osborne , Louth Borough

May I ask my right hon. Friend, in view of the fact that the peace of the world may depend to a material extent upon the Russian people knowing more of our point of view, if he will see that this reasonable suggestion is passed on to the Russian Government by our ambassador in Moscow?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

Yes, Sir. In April 1958, we proposed to the Soviet Government that talks should be held on various aspects of this question. We proposed an agenda with such matters as the removal of radio jamming and the unrestricted sale of newspapers, books and other publications. The Soviet Government have, however, refused so far to take part in these talks.

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

Is the Prime Minister aware that there are quite erroneous statements, in this Question? It he aware that, far from the Russian people being completely uninformed of our way of life, they have just issued the 600,000th volume of Robert Burns and that they gave a very good broadcast on 25th January to the whole of the U.S.S.R., which we jammed? Is the right hon. Gentleman also aware that the Russians published two Burns stamps and that he has not had the decency to publish one yet?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

I am glad to know the circulation of that particular volume, but I was thinking perhaps of more current information, and I think it is a pity that the only British newspaper allowed to be sold in the Soviet Union should be the Daily Worker.