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Colour Bar

Volume 437: debated on Tuesday 13 May 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for War what progress he has now made in his discussions with the Admiralty and the Colonial Office with regard to the abolition of the colour bar against applicants for Regular engagement in the Forces.

My right hon. Friend regrets that he is not yet in a position to make any statement about this matter.

Can we take it that it is not the Colonial Office that is responsible for the dilatory nature of the discussions?

Is the Minister aware that I asked a Question on this matter in April, 1946, and can we have some statement about where the difficulty arises, and what constitutes the difficulty?

I am well aware that my hon. Friend asked this Question a long time ago. The matter has been reopened, and is being re-examined, and I think some sort of statement—whether it will be favourable to him or not, I cannot say—will be made before long.

If it is not—as I take it from my hon. Friend's silence—the Colonial Office which is causing the delay, and if it is the Admiralty, will he point out to the Admiralty that, rather surprisingly, there is no such discrimination even in the United States Navy?

When the Under-Secretary says that he is not sure it will be a favourable statement, will he tell us who is preventing a favourable reply?

I do not know on what grounds the hon. Member says there is not to be a favourable reply. I have not promised that, but I have told my hon. Friend that there will be an answer in the near future.

Is the Under-Secretary aware that white regiments are for white men and that white regiments want only white men?

Is my hon. Friend aware that the sentiment expressed by the hon. and gallant Member opposite is a most retrograde and reactionary sentiment, which is certainly not shared by the Royal Air Force, which instituted this reform a year or two ago? I beg to give notice that I will raise this matter on the Adjournment.