HC Deb 27 February 1919 vol 112 cc1928-9
2. Lieutenant-Colonel Sir F. HALL

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if there are at the present time any Consuls in the British service of enemy origin; if so, the number and to what posts they are attached; if any Consuls of alien nationality have been appointed during the last four years; if so, the number in each of the years 1915, 1916, 1917, and 1918, their names, and to where they were appointed; if he will state whether Regulations have been made to secure that in future British nationality and business capacity shall be the only recognised qualifications for such appointments; and if he will lay upon the Table the terms and conditions that now obtain in the matter?

Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND (Department of Overseas Trade)

There are no Consular officers of enemy origin in the salaried Consular Service at present, if by enemy origin is meant a naturalised British subject of enemy birth. One or two unsalaried officers of alien nationality have been appointed in the last four years. These have, since the date of Lord Robert Cecil's pledge in the House of 22nd August, 1916, had the personal consideration and approval of the Secretary of State or the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, in accordance with the terms of the pledge. I am prepared to furnish the hon. and gallant Member with their names and the places to which they have been appointed. With regard to the latter part of this question, the old Regulations are still in force which precluded the appointment to the salaried service of any person not being a natural-born British subject. Lord Robert Cecil's pledge of 22nd August, 1916, further safeguards appointments to the unsalaried service.

In reference to the final part of the question, a Selection Committee sits weekly to review candidates and ensure that existing vacancies are filled by the most suitable people. As regards the future, this question is dealt with in detail in the reform scheme mentioned in my answer to the hon. Member for Aberdeen on the 13th instant.


Does the right hon. Gentleman not think that the time has come to get rid of all Consuls of alien nationality representing Great Britain?


I would refer my hon. Friend to my answer of a day or two ago to the hon. Member for Hackney. I do not think my hon. Friend can have seen it.