HC Deb 15 December 1954 vol 535 cc1742-3
8. Mr. Dugdale

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why the Kenya Regiment Ordinance does not allow recruitment of Asians and Africans for Kenya.

47. Mr. Braine

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies in what security forces in Kenya Asians and Africans serve.

53. Mr. Alport

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the present strength and role of the Kenya Regiment.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The Kenya Regiment Ordinance was enacted in 1937 to establish a territorial force to train European officers, non-commissioned officers and instructors to enable local forces to be rapidly extended in the event of war. The Regiment's primary rôle now is to-train Europeans called up for compulsory military service, and to provide officers for miscellaneous emergency duties.

In August last, its strength was 852, of whom 400 were employed with the police, K.A.R., Kikuyu guards, the Administration and with British Army units. Asians and Africans serve with the Army,, the K.A.R., the Kenya Police, Kenya Police Reserve and Home Guard units.

Mr. Dugdale

As both Her Majesty's Government and many settlers in Kenya have frequently expressed themselves in favour of the further integration of races, would not this be at least one method of helping that aim?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The Kenya Regiment received its present form in September, 1949, when there was a Socialist Government in Britain. Its duty is to train part-time volunteer forces for the training of Europeans. The Compulsory Military Training Ordinance of 1951 applies only to Europeans. There are many other ways in which other races can, along with Europeans, play a useful part—and I welcome them. But I think that it would be a mistake to try to blur the differing contributions which the different races provide, in certain fields, and where opportunities are open to all.

Mr. Alport

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether the main object of the Kenya Regiment is not to provide officer-reserves for the King's African Rifles, and that, while there are no vacancies on the establishment of the King's African Rifles for Asian or African officers, there is no particular point in including recruits of those races in the Kenya Regiment? Would not the way to meet the point raised by the right hon. Gentleman really be to investigate the possibility of including, as a first step, Asian and African officers in the King's African Rifles?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I am very interested in what my hon. Friend the Members for Colchester (Mr. Alport) has said. Proposals are under consideration for the training of Africans and Asians for commissioned service by instituting Governor's commissions.

Mr. Hobson

Is the Minister aware that it is impossible for United Kingdom subjects to join the Kenya Regiment, even though they desire to do so? Will he take up that matter with the Secretary of State for War?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I certainly will.