HC Deb 15 December 1964 vol 704 cc191-2
11. Mr. Goodhart

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what steps she is proposing to take to strengthen British representation in the developing countries concerned with aid; and whether such strengthening will take place within embassies and high commissions, or whether her Department will set up its own offices overseas.

Mrs. Castle

My Department is reviewing, in consultation with the Overseas Departments, the provision of staff at our embassies and high commissions to deal with development matters. This would include the secondment of specialist officers from my Department in appropriate cases.

Mr. Goodhart

Is the right hon. Lady aware that a number of appointments in both the technical assistance and teaching fields have been delayed because the representatives of developing countries over here have no authority to act without referring everything back to their Governments at home and that efficiency would be improved if our representation in these countries could be improved?

Mrs. Castle

Certainly, we are anxious to extend our representation in these embassies and high commissions and we are also considering seconding specialist officers from my Department to work in these embassies and high commissions to establish closer and more effective relationships with the receiving countries and also to be able more effectively to supervise the management of aid.

Mr. R. Carr

Can the right hon. Lady confirm that the strengthening decided on as a result of the first quick review undertaken of all needs by the last Administration either has been or definitely will be carried out?

Mrs. Castle

Yes. We already have an estimate of new requirements and we are taking rapid steps to put those estimates into operation.