HC Deb 03 March 1919 vol 113 cc21-3
23. Mr. RAPER

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if it was the intention of the Government, in constituting the Overseas Trade Department, to infuse new blood into the commercial branches of the British Legations and Consulates; and, if so, whether he will explain the reasons for the appointment of members of the old Diplomatic and Consular Services, who have no real business experience whatsoever, to the large majority of those vacant commercial posts?

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

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the last part of the question, all the members of the Selection Committee were satisfied that those members of the Consular Service selected were both the best candidates for the post and were properly qualified to fill them.


Are there no business men suitable for the position available?


I have just given the hon. Member an answer which entirely covers that point.

24. Mr. RAPER

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many of the eleven members of the old Consular and Diplomatic Services, recently appointed as commercial secretaries to our Embassies abroad, are able to both write and speak fluently the language of the respective countries to which they are attached; and who constituted the Committee which decided that these eleven gentlemen possessed the requisite business experience to justify their appointments?


Ten of the eleven officers to whom the hon. Member refers possess a thorough knowledge of the language of the countries to which they have been appointed. The eleventh, Mr. Rawlins, knows Greek thoroughly, and is also acquainted with Serbian. A list of the members of the Selection Committee, on whose recommendation these appointments were made, will be printed in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

The following is the list referred to:

The Commercial Counsellor and Consular Selection Committee was originally composed as follows:

Sir Arthur Steel-Maitland, Bart., M.P., (Chairman).

Sir W. H. Clark, K.C.S.I., C.M.G., Department of Overseas Trade.

Mr. Stanley Leathes, C.B., Civil Service Commission.

Mr. E. Manville, M.P., President, Association of Chambers of Commerce of the United Kingdom, Chairman of Daimler Company, Limited, Deputy-Chairman of Birmingham Small Arms Company, Limited.

Mr. R. G. Perry, C.B.E., Chairman of Messrs. Chance and Hunt, Limited, Oldbury, Birmingham, Chairman of British Chemical Manufacturers' Association, Member of Executive Council of Federation of British Industries.

Mr. Victor Wellesley, C.B., Foreign Office.

Mr. T. Worthington, C.B.E., Director of Anglo-Brazilian Commercial and Agency Company, Limited.

Sir Arthur Steel-Maitland resigned from the Committee in September last, and Mr. Stanley Leathes succeeded him as Chairman. Sir W. H. Clark's place as representative of the Department of Overseas Trade has been taken by Mr. F. G. A. Butler, C.B., C.M.G., of that Department.


Where has Mr. Rawlins been appointed?


Greece and Serbia.