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Mauritius (Volunteer Forces)

Volume 380: debated on Wednesday 3 June 1942

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asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been drawn to the opposition expressed in the Mauritius Council of Government to the racial segregation practised in the raising of companies for the Territorial Forces of the Colonies; whether he is aware that there was no colour discrimination when the earlier Mauritius Volunteer Force was formed; and in what respect this new discrimination arises from military necessity?

My Noble Friend has seen a report of the relevant debate in the Mauritius Council of Government. It is not, I fear, possible at this date to consult the records of the Mauritius Volunteer Force which was raised during the last war. As regards the last part of the Question, my information is that an effort was made some years ago to form a Mauritius Territorial Force unit without any system of segregation and that it was not a success.

What was the military necessity which determined this departure from policy, and is not this departure merely enforcing segregation and discrimination between the races in Mauritius?

The military necessity was to make the force a success. My hon. Friend knows the conditions in Mauritius, and it was not thought that it would be a success if it was run on other lines.