HC Deb 10 February 1960 vol 617 c452
25. Mr. Cooper

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what special commercial qualifications are required by commercial officers of his Department before appointment.

Mr. R. Allan

The 1943 reforms established a unified Foreign Service whose members were to be selected for general rather than specialist ability and were to be trained after entry for the various branches of the work. Before taking up their first appointment those selected as commercial officers are given an intensive training course organised by the Board of Trade and the Foreign Office in co-operation with industry and commerce. They are given refresher courses later in their career. Those with particular aptitude for commercial work tend to specialise in it.

Mr. Cooper

In view of the vital importance of these officers in our drive for exports, will my hon. Friend give consideration to the suggestion that an approach might be made to the F.B.I. whereby these officers could be given some specific knowledge of the export potential in the countries to which they are to be posted?

Mr. Allan

I quite agree with my hon. Friend about the importance of these officers. In fact, they already get such information from the F.B.I. which arranges, and is responsible for, part of the intensive training course that I mentioned.

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