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African Colonies

Volume 439: debated on Wednesday 9 July 1947

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Ex-Service Men (Employment)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies to what extent have West and East African ex-Service men been placed in jobs where they can usefully employ the training and experience they gained during their military service; and whether agencies or departments exist in all African Colonies whose function it is to make the best possible use of the qualifications of these ex-Service men.

Resettlement machinery, usually working through the established employment exchanges or bureaux, has been set up in all African Colonies, and every effort is made to place ex-Service men seeking employment in jobs where they will make the best use of any special qualifications which they acquired during their military service. There are also supplementary postwar training schemes in operation. As regards the numbers placed in employment, I am obtaining the latest information from the Governments concerned which I will send to my hon. Friend as soon as possible.

Could my right hon. Friend say in general terms the proportion of ex-Service men? Is it very large, such as 50 per cent.?

It 1s impossible to give the figure. In any case, the proportion varies from territory to territory.

Flood Damage Relief Fund


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in view of the undesirability of this country receiving financial assistance from Colonies whose peoples are far poorer than the people of this country and whose social services cannot expand as they should because of financal stringency, why the Nigerian and Gold Coast Governments were not informed that, while the motive of their gift of £25,000 to aid British flood victims was greatly appreciated, it is preferable that this sum should be used to meet West African needs, including damage from flood in West Africa.

In each case the resolution proposing the gift was moved and seconded by African unofficial members of Legislative Councils. It would have been ungracious to have rejected this generous token of sympathy and contrary to the spirit of the relations existing between this country and the Colonies.

Is it not the case that we are making grants to these Colonies, who are intrinsically very poor and cannot afford gifts of this kind? Could not my right hon. Friend, while appreciating the motives, have acted more wisely in the matter?

These grants were made to the Lord Mayor's Fund. It would have been most ungracious not to accept them.

Royal Navy (Manpower Committee)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what are the terms of reference of the Manpower Economy Committee under the chairmanship of His Honour Tom Eastham, K.C.; and whether its report will be published.

The terms of reference of this Committee are:

"To review the methods of manning and use of manpower in the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines during peace and to recommend measures for securing that fighting efficiency is maintained with the greatest possible economy in manpower."
I should add that the Committee's inquiries will be directed mainly to broad issues rather than to the detailed examination of complements. The committee's report will, in accordance with normal practice, be a confidential document submitted to my noble Friend for his consideration.

May I ask my hon. Friend why, in view of the importance of the engineering and technical branches of the Navy, those branches are not represented?

We cannot have representatives from every branch. We have people with general qualifications who will be able to regard the Navy as a whole.

There is one representative for the executive branch and one for the supply branch, while all the other branches have no representation at all.

As the inquiry is to be on rather broad lines, would it not be possible for the report to be made available?

That is never done in cases such as this. Naturally, I will ask my noble Friend whether it can be done. but I think it is not the usual practice.

Because people are very much more willing to give evidence in cases where they know that the reports are not to be made public.

Ju52 Aircraft (Conversion)


asked the Minister of Supply what is the cost of converting a J.U.52 into a Jupiter passenger aircraft.

The average is about £12,500.

Is the hon. Member aware that the conversion of the Dakota aircraft to 21 seaters compared with Jupiters to 12 to 14 seaters can be done at approximately the same price by private enterprise?

I am afraid that the point does not arise out of the Question. Other considerations come into the matter because of the uses of Dakotas which do not arise in the case of Jupiters.

Does the figure of £12,500 include maintenance unit costs? If it does not, what would be the cost of conversion if those factors were included?

I do not quite follow that question. The £12,500 is the cost of the conversion of these planes and handing them over to the Ministry of Civil Aviation

University Students (Statistics)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what is the proportion of ex-Service students to those coming direct from school in the universities, giving separate figures for each university and university college.

I am collecting this information and will circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.