HC Deb 28 November 1951 vol 494 cc1506-7
32. Mr. Alport

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement regarding the decision to recruit units of the East Africa Pioneer Corps for service in the Middle East.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

With the desertion of unskilled labour in the Canal Zone an alternative source of supply had to be found and, at the request of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War, the Government of Kenya and Uganda were asked whether they would agree to help His Majesty's Government by the raising of a labour force from their territories. Their agreement to this proposal, with which my right hon. Friend concurred, was gladly given and the necessary steps to raise this force are now being taken by the War Office.

Mr. Alport

Will my right hon. Friend in conjunction with the Secretary of State for War ensure that special steps are taken to make certain that European officers and N.C.O.'s for these units are specially selected from those with a knowledge of African troops and of the problems of African labour?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I think that matter is very much in the minds of the Governments of Kenya and Uganda. My hon. Friend may be interested to know that an appeal has been made to Europeans with the requisite experience to fill the necessary commissioned posts.