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Armed Forces (Recruitment Overseas)

Volume 648: debated on Wednesday 8 November 1961

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2.

asked the Minister of Defence if he will make a statement on the proposals to recruit outside these islands for the Armed Forces.

Arrangements already exist under which recruits from overseas can, under certain conditions, join the Armed Forces. Special arrangements have been made for recruitment to the Army in Fiji, the Seychelles and in Jamaica.

Why has this taken so long? We have been asking for this for the last seven or eight years. Why do we have to run into a very foreseeable recruiting crisis before we take what seems to some of us a rather obvious measure?

I do not disagree with the hon. and learned Gentleman that this a good thing to do, and we welcome these men. As to why this was not done before, I would say that this has been in preparation for some time and some of this recruiting has been going on for quite a long time.

Will the right hon. Gentleman give the House an assurance that these men can join any arm of the Service?

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will be good enough to put down a Question. I believe that they can, but if he wants a detailed answer, perhaps he will put down a Question.

Will my right hon. Friend agree that there was little point in asking these people to join the Army while we still had conscription, and that it is only now that we have not conscription that their coming in is so valuable?