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Armed Forces (South American Volunteers)

Volume 414: debated on Monday 15 October 1945

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware of the number of volunteers from South America with dual nationality serving in the Armed Forces of the Crown; and what steps he has taken to secure their release from all obligations to serve in the armed forces of their South American country on their return.

Although the precise total of volunteers is not known, His Majesty's Government have exchanged notes with the Brazilian Government under the terms of which Brazilian citizens, who have effectively served in the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom, will be entitled in Brazil to certificates of compliance with military service. A similar agreement is under discussion with the Chilean Government. The Argentine Government have issued a decree whereby Argentine citizens who have served, or are serving, in the armed forces of countries which have been at war with the Axis for a period of not less than one year, are given approximately similar exemptions.

Is it not possible to reach a definite agreement in other South American countries that these men will not be called upon to serve again; and will the hon. Gentleman try to make sure that if they have to serve they will at least go back to almost similar ranks to those which they held in the British Forces—that officers shall not have to start in the ranks again?