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Control Commission

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 11 May 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many of the Control Commission staff now employed have already proved redundant, and whether it is his policy to terminate the contracts of those who are redundant and pay the necessary compensation.

Reduction of the Control Commission because of redundancy is now a continuous process, and there are about 670 existing members of the staff under notice of termination. The answer to the second part of the Question is, "Yes," compensation being payable only to those entitled to it by their terms of service.

While my right hon. Friend may be perfectly right in saying that this is a continuous process, will he say if this continuous process is prompt enough?


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what incentives are offered to members of the Control Commission for Germany to learn German; when official examinations were instituted; and how many members have, respectively, sat for and passed these examinations.

A knowledge of German is a pre-requisite for employment in certain posts in Germany, and is more and more regarded as desirable for the whole staff of the Commission. Every encouragement is accordingly given to learn German and to obtain formal qualifications by examination. Official examinations have now been introduced for Kreis Resident Officers and analogous posts. The first of these examinations was held in December, 1948; there were 204 candidates, of whom 79 were declared successful.

Would not the right hon. Gentleman think that the best encouragement that could be given to members of the Control Commission to learn German—which is, surely, very necessary—would be to give some financial bonus to those who pass with high marks? Does he not think it disappointing that at the present time the only way by which one can get anything in the way of a financial bonus is to change from an official character and become a professional interpreter?

A good many of us have had to learn things in this life without having any bonus. I should have thought that these facilities offered to them would have been a great encouragement to them to learn German, with the great opportunity it gives them in Europe.

Will the right hon. Gentleman also consider making it compulsory for Control Commission officers to learn German when they have been out there more than a year or so, and to pass an elementary examination?

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think it desirable that there should be more personal contacts between the members of the Commission and individual Germans, and would not the acquisition of the German language facilitate those contacts?

I do not know. I think the Control Commission has had a very difficult job, and I should not like to give answers to these questions without careful consideration whether we have been wise or unwise in the steps we have taken.

Is there any reason why the payment of the ordinary allowance for knowledge of a foreign language, which is current in the Foreign Service, should not be extended to the Control Commission?