HC Deb 23 January 1918 vol 101 c967
19. Mr. LYNCH

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will seize the occasion caused by totally new conditions in foreign affairs to reorganise his Department completely, destroying the tradition that it is the appanage of a favoured section of the community, and open the way to young men of ability, energy, and character, inclined to sympathy with forward movements of civilisation?


There seems to be much general misconception on this subject. The examination for entry into the Foreign Office and Diplomatic Services is, and has for many years been, competitive, and (with certain exceptions due to the necessity of a special knowledge of foreign languages) similar to that for the rest of the Civil Service. Candidates are nominated by the Secretary of State, on the recommendation of a Board of Selection, whose duty it is to advise whether the candidates possess the necessary qualities for these services. The whole matter was very carefully examined in 1913 and 1914 by a Royal Commission.

I hope that an improvement in the present very inadequate scale of pay of the Diplomatic Service will shortly remove the necessity for requiring of candidates for that service a small private income, and will thus enlarge the field of selection. I know no method of securing the services of young men "inclined" (in the hon. Gentleman's words) "to sympathy with the forward movement of civilisation" by the machinery of competitive examination.


Will the right hon. Gentleman remove at once, not in the future which may not exist, this bar of requiring a small private income?