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Foreign Service (New Entrants)

Volume 438: debated on Wednesday 18 June 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the total number of students from Scottish universities who presented themselves for the reconstruction competition up to the end of May, 1947; and the number of those who were successful in the written part of the examination.

With regard to the first part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given on 4th pine by my right hon. Friend to my hon. Friend the Member for Wycombe (Mr. Haire) when full particulars about successful candidates in the Reconstruction Examinations for the Foreign Service were given. It was then explained that no detailed analysis of the educational background of unsuccessful candidates was available. With regard to, the second part of the Question, 51 candidates who had at some stage attended a Scottish university were successful in the written part of the examination and in the oral language test between August, 1945, and November, 1946. The results of the April, 1947, examination have not yet been analysed.

May I take it that my right hon. Friend's answer means that out of 51 candidates who passed the written examination only one passed the oral examination, and is he aware that there is a considerable feeling in Scotland that the candidates who passed in the written and failed in the oral failed because they lacked the proper "accent," both vocal and educational?

My hon. Friend is not quite accurate in saying that only one passed. There were some candidates who had been at Scottish and English institutions, and the number is, therefore, slightly better than it would seem. My attention has been drawn to an article in a Scottish newspaper by a candidate, and my hon. Friend may be assured that I am taking steps to make certain that no candidate is penalised by employing the warm, distinctive and robust accent which I always employ myself.