HC Deb 04 October 1944 vol 403 cc905-6
3. Miss Ward

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he can yet state the new conditions of service for the Foreign Service.

Mr. Eden

The amalgamation of the diplomatic, commercial diplomatic and consular services has now been put into administrative effect and vacancies are filled, as they arise, from the ranks of the amalgamated Service irrespective of an officer's previous career in any of the former separate branches of the Foreign Service. Thus a number of the members of the former consular service have during the past twelve months been appointed to posts both at home and abroad previously reserved for members of the diplomatic service. Plans for the recruitment of the Foreign Service in accordance with Command Paper 6420 are now in an advanced state and will be put into effect as soon as possible on, the termination of hostilities in Europe. Regular arrangements are now in force under which Foreign Service officers at posts abroad come home at intervals at the public expense for refresher courses and for the renewal of contacts official and otherwise in this country.

As recently announced in the Press a Deputy Under-Secretary for Administration and an Inspector of Diplomatic Establishments Abroad have now been appointed. The special Board to advise the Foreign Secretary in cases of retirement on pension before the age of sixty has been set up and a number of cases have already been referred to it. Various financial and administrative questions arising out of the amalgamation of the services and of other measures referred to in Command Paper 6420 are under active consideration between myself and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Miss Ward

But could my right hon. Friend say how long these conversations on the financial aspect of the new Foreign Service have been going on between himself and the Treasury?

Mr. Eden

I think my hon. Friend will see from my answer that a very great number of matters have already been settled. There are others which are still being discussed, but I think we are making quite good progress.

Miss Rathbone

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the importance of giving further opportunities to women for service in the diplomatic and consular services?

Mr. Eden

The hon. Lady will be aware that that is a question which is being otherwise dealt with.