HC Deb 05 June 1917 vol 94 cc2-4
1. Mr. KING

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether Dr. R. W. Seton-Watson is, or has been, employed at the Foreign Office in the Department under Colonel Buchan; if so, when his employment began; and whether his position is paid or honorary?

The MINISTER of BLOCKADE (Lord R. Cecil)

Dr. Seton-Watson is employed in Colonel Buchan's Department of Information, but not in a branch located at the Foreign Office. His employment began, on the 7th of May. He draws no salary apart from his Army pay.


In view of the fact that he was sent by the tribunal to military service, is the Foreign Office in this sense overriding the decision of the tribunal?


Is it not well known that Dr. Seton-Watson is the very greatest authority and in the view of any intelligent man would not a gentleman of his attainments be more usefully employed where he is than in any other occupation?


I have great respect for Dr. Seton-Watson's attainments. As to the question of the hon. Member (Mr. King), perhaps he will give notice.


Is it not a fact that many Jingo editors have secured exemption in these sort of ways from military service and that this is not an exceptional case?


Is it not a fact that Dr. Seton-Watson did not appeal against military service and therefore never appeared before any military tribunal, but was taken out of the Royal Army Medical Corps by the direct action of the War Office and the Foreign Office in collaboration, and therefore whatever responsibility may be lies entirely with the officials and not with Dr. Seton-Watson?


I do not know the circumstances of this particular case, but I am quite sure what the hon. Member suggests is accurate.

2. Mr. KING

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs when Colonel Buchan was appointed to his present position at the Foreign Office; if this office is paid, what is the amount receivable by him; whether Colonel Buchan also receives payment from the War Office; and whether the position held is a permanent appointment or made only for the emergency of the War?


Colonel Buchan was appointed Director of Information by the Prime Minister (under whose orders he is) in February last at a salary of £l,000 a year. He receives no payment from the War Office. His appointment was made for the emergency of the War.


As he is directly under the Prime Minister, may we assume that he is not acting under the Foreign Secretary or under the Foreign Office?


Are we to understand that decisions taken by this Department are decisions within the cognisance of the Prime Minister, such as the suppression of the foreign circulation of the "Nation"?


The answer to the hon. Member (Mr. King) is that he is responsible to the Prime Minister and not to the Foreign Minister?

12. Mr. KING

asked whether Colonel Buchan, who is in charge of a Department of the Foreign Office, is on the Army List; when was he appointed to his present rank; what were his previous military experiences and attainments; and whether he receives any pay from the War Office?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Mr. Macpherson)

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. His present rank dates from 25th February, 1917. He has special qualifications for his present post, but, apart from being an officer in the Intelligence Corps for the preceding eight months, he has had no military experience. The answer to the last part of the question is in the negative.


Would it not have done just as well to have made him a lieutenant? Would he not have done just as well on that pay in that position?


I understand that in the interests of the work he is doing he ought to have his present rank.

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