HC Deb 22 July 1898 vol 62 cc843-4

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether an additional assistant Under Secretary of State has been appointed or is to be appointed in the Foreign Office; whether a Supplementary Estimate will be introduced to contain the salary; whether the new assistant Under Secretary will have duties confined to Africa; and whether, in any change in the Office, attention will be given to the strengthening of the Commercial Department?


An additional assistant Under Secretary will probably be appointed. It is not yet certain whether a Supplementary Estimate will be required. Should it be so, it will not be presented during the present Session. The duties of the new official will not relate especially to Africa. The work of the Foreign Office has so enormously increased in recent years, and is still increasing; and the pressure upon the existing staff of Under Secretaries, who have not for some time been able, except in cases of illness, to take the regulation amount of leave, is so great, that the Secretary of State has felt it necessary to create this new office, in order to deal more effectively with the general work of the Department, including especially the preparation of the ever-increasing number of papers that are called for by Parliament. At the same time there is no truth in the report which has appeared in the Press, that there are any arrears of work in the Foreign Office which require to be discharged. It is not proposed at present to make any other change in the Office.


Is this new statesman to sit in this House?


No, Sir; if the honourable Member were better acquainted with Foreign Office procedure, he would know it is not proposed that he should sit in this House. He is a permanent official.