Oral Answers to Questions — Colonial Governors

– in the House of Commons on 25th November 1942.

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Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies upon what qualification Governors are appointed to His Majesty's Colonies; the total number of Governors; how many have been appointed during the last 25 years who were not previously in the Colonial Service; and how many were not previously familiar with the Colonies to which they were appointed as Governors?

Photo of Hon. Oliver Stanley Hon. Oliver Stanley , Westmorland

As the answer is rather long, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

Can the right hon. and gallant Gentleman state in that reply how many of these Governors either belong to the Labour party or have opinions similar to the Labour party?

Photo of Hon. Oliver Stanley Hon. Oliver Stanley , Westmorland

In the first place, that question was not put on the Order Paper, and, secondly, it would appear to be exactly that kind of test of conscience to which the hon. Gentleman objects.

Photo of Mr Benjamin Riley Mr Benjamin Riley , Dewsbury

Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman state whether any qualified coloured Governors have been appointed in any Colonies?

Photo of Hon. Oliver Stanley Hon. Oliver Stanley , Westmorland

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will put that question on the Order Paper.

Photo of Sir Charles Lyle Sir Charles Lyle , Bournemouth

Is it not a fact that even certain Cabinet Ministers go to jobs of which they have had no previous experience?

Following is the answer:

In selecting persons for submission to His Majesty for appointment as Colonial Governors, regard is naturally paid to the special requirements of the particular vacancy and to the experience and ability of the possible candidates. There are 33 Governorships (or the equivalent) in the Colonial Empire, three of which (Bermuda, Malta and Gibraltar) are normally held by military officers. For several years now it has been the recognised policy that the Colonial Service should be the normal field from which appointments, are made to the remaining 30 posts. To give detailed figures would involve more research than has been possible at short notice; but it can be said that the great majority of Governors appointed during the past 25 years have been members of the Colonial Service. Selection is made from the whole Service (which since 1930 has been a Unified Service), and general qualifications rather than actual experience of the particular Colony whose Governorship happens to be vacant are the criterion. In practice, while some Governors have previously served in their Colonies in a lesser capacity, most have not. Of the Governors at present serving, two have had previous experience of their Colonies.