HC Deb 31 July 1962 vol 664 cc390-1
16. Mr. Longden

asked the Secretary for Technical Co-operation why a Commonwealth Advisory and Technical Service, as advocated by the Select Committee on Estimates some two years ago, has not yet been inaugurated.

Mr. Vosper

The reasons are fully explained in the White Paper "Recruitment for Service Overseas" (Cmnd. 1740) which I published in May. This also described in detail the positive steps we are taking to organise recruitment for service abroad.

Mr. Longden

I thank my right hon. Friend for that Answer and I shall certainly study the White Paper. Is not it time that a greater sense of urgency were put into this matter?

Mr. Vosper

If my hon. Friend studies the White Paper I think that he will find that expressed in it.

Mr. G. M. Thomson

Is the Minister aware that some of the difficulties in the past were due to Departmental rivalry between the Colonial Office and the Commonwealth Office but the principal difficulty was due to the parsimony of the Treasury? Now that there is a Minister jointly in charge of the Commonwealth and Colonial Offices and a former Colonial Secretary at the Treasury, will he have another look to see whether he can get the kind of Commonwealth service proposed? Is he aware that although there may be difficulty in getting individual Colonial Governments to continue the employment of people in these specialist grades, it would not be very difficult to get an alternative territory to take them on afresh?

Mr. Vosper

The arguments against the Commonwealth service are not financial but simply that people returning from overseas service do not, generally speaking, meet the demands which I receive for people to proceed overseas, so that we prefer a short overseas service and to have a home-based service.

Sir G. Nicholson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the arguments adduced by the Estimates Committee still remain unanswered? Is he aware that theme is still room for some common pool to furnish these experts who are so urgently needed overseas by the newly-emergent territories?

Mr. Vosper

I do not deny that for certain specialists there is room for a pool, and this we are trying to organise. But, as I have said, in general overseas service will, in future, be part of a home-based career.