§ 14. Mr. Swingler
asked the Secretary of State for War what is his estimate of the financial saving in his Department which would result from reducing the National Service period by six months.
§ Mr. Swingler
To save time and to increase efficiency, quite apart from fulfilling pledges given, will the right hon. Gentleman now consider making this saving?
§ Mr. Swingler
Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware of the pledge given in 1950, when National Service was increased to two years, that this was purely a temporary measure, although it has now been going on for over four years? Will the right hon. Gentleman urgently consider reducing the period of National Service?
§ Mr. Callaghan
Do the Government regard themselves as bound by the pledge given in 1950 that the increase from 18 months to two years was in respect of 170 the Korean war and for a temporary period only and, if so, when does the right hon. Gentleman propose to give effect to it?
§ Mr. Strachey
Does not the right hon. Gentleman recall that that pledge was given quite clearly about the Korean war? Is he now going to plead the Government's failure to get Regular recruits as a reason for refusing to reduce the period of National Service?
§ Mr. Head
This has practically nothing to do with Regular recruiting. Regular recruiting has remained perfectly steady for the last three years. The reasons for the present period of National Service are the general situation overseas, our commitments in Europe and our desire to balance the Army's general structure by creating a strategic reserve.