HC Deb 28 February 1966 vol 725 cc899-900
38. Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what arrangements exist between Her Majesty's Government and the United States Government permitting the call-up of British subjects for service in the United States armed forces and United States subjects in the British armed forces.

Mr. Padley

None, Sir.

Mrs. Short

Does my hon. Friend not think that it is a gross interference with personal liberty that British subjects should be subject to call-up after a six months stay in the United States, that they should risk being sent to fight an American war in Vietnam and that if they flee from the United States in order to escape the draft they get no help from my hon. Friend's Department?

Mr. Padley

The United States Government have unilaterally legislated for the call-up of all persons of whatever nationality entering the United States on immigrants' visas. As there is no discrimination against British subjects, there are no grounds on which the Government could protest. Before being granted visas, immigrants are required to sign a statement that they understand and accept an obligation for compulsory military service.

Sir A. V. Harvey

Would the Minister of State support a Private Member's Bill on a later date to make Americans do a bit of service in this country?

Mr. Padley

That is another question.

Mr. Rankin

Does my hon. Friend realise that these arrangements apply to students from Britain who have gone to America to further their education, and does he not think that when they are called up some attempt might be made from here to allow them to continue their courses in American universities?

Mr. Padley

In my reply to the first supplementary question I stated quite clearly what the legal position is: no student who does not accept the obligation of being called up—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—need go to the United States. They can stay in Britain.

Several Hon. Members rose

Mr. Speaker

Order. I call the Minister of Pensions.