HC Deb 28 February 1966 vol 725 c174W
46. Mr. English

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will state, by such regional groupings as may be convenient, but including the United States of America separately, what are the theoretical and average current actual periods consuls-general and consuls spend in each post.

Mr. George Thomson

The length of tours varies according to conditions at the post, the needs of the Service, and the personal circumstances of the officers concerned. Normally, however, it is the aim that Consular officers should spend in the:

U.S.A. Four years
South-East Asia and Far East Three to four years
Western Europe Four years
Sino-Soviet bloc Two years
Middle East Three to four years
East Africa Three to four years

The expense of calculating the actual average period spent over an arbitrary period of, say, ten years would not in my opinion be justified.

I have no reason to suppose that practice differs significantly from theory.

I should be glad to consider the case of any particular officer whom my hon. Friend has in mind, though I must point out that the Secretary of State must reserve the right to lengthen or shorten the tours of individual officers, as he sees fit, to meet the needs of the Service.

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