HC Deb 20 February 1946 vol 419 cc1133-4
17. Captain Bullock

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if it is proposed to send members of the regular foreign services in future to all important posts abroad of ambassadorial rank.

Mr. Bevin

Where I am satisfied that the national interest will be best served by bringing in a man from outside the Service, I shall not hesitate to do so. But I think it will generally be found in future, as in the past, that the men who are best qualified by training, knowledge and experience to assume the responsibilities of high diplomatic posts, are those who have made their career in the Foreign Service.

Mr. Benn Levy

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that while nobody on this side of the House desires that the Foreign Service should be recruited on a party basis— [Hon. Members: "Oh "]—no, nor on a class basis either—nevertheless, it is highly undesirable that that minority of posts which carry with them the necessity of day by day political decisions—and there are some, however ubiquitous a Foreign Secretary may be— should be entrusted to officials who may be politically out of sympathy with the Government they are expected to represent?

Mr. Speaker

I thought the hon. Gentleman was going to ask a question.

Mr. Bevin

With regard to the Foreign 1Service, I take the very strong view that the young men who are passing their examinations today and entering the Service are a typical reproduction of the general opinion of the country as a whole, and I have no intention, so long as I am in office, of taking the top posts away, and' so denying satisfaction to the legitimate ambitions of people entering the Service. If Mr. Speaker will allow me, I would say that I am handicapped by the two gaps caused by the last war and this, which seriously affect the Service.