HC Deb 09 April 1952 vol 498 cc2736-7
50. Mr. Ian Harvey

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence whether he will consider adjusting the present Regulations so that it is made easier for members of Her Majesty's British Forces wishing to transfer to the Forces of the Commonwealth to do so.

Mr. Birch

Applications from serving personnel of the British Forces to join Commonwealth Forces are considered on their merits. It must be borne in mind that we are doing our best at present to encourage men and women to stay in the United Kingdom Forces. The Commonwealth Governments have, however, been assisted on a number of occasions in recent years to recruit British ex-Servicemen into their Armed Forces.

Mr. Harvey

Will my hon. Friend agree that it is particularly desirable that there should be interchangeability between these arms, and as these Forces are serving together in many theatres, could he see his way to remove the restrictions altogether?

Mr. Birch

There are frequent exchanges of personnel. This is rather a different question, that of recruiting into the Commonwealth Forces. My hon. Friend will realise that we have the interests of our own Forces to keep in mind.

Mr. Erroll

Is my hon. Friend arranging for corresponding recruiting campaigns in Commonwealth countries to recruit men to the United Kingdom Forces?

Mr. Birch

No actual recruiting campaigns are going on, but we give assistance to ex-Regulars. I do not think that any general Commonwealth plan would be of very great value in this matter.

Mr. Driberg

When the frequent exchanges of personnel, about which the hon. Gentleman speaks, take place, what happens about the widely differing scales of pay between the different Commonwealth Forces?

Mr. Birch

I cannot say without notice.