American Peace Corps

Oral Answers to Questions — Technical Co-Operation – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th March 1963.

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Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Chigwell 12:00 am, 26th March 1963

asked the Secretary for Technical Co-operation whether he will make a statement about American Peace Corps operations in British territories.

Photo of Mr Dennis Vosper Mr Dennis Vosper , Runcorn

Yes, Sir. There are 147 Peace Corps volunteers serving at present in British overseas territories: 34 in British Honduras; 36 in North Borneo; 21 in Sarawak; 42 in Nyasaland; and 14 in St. Lucia. They are employed in many ways, such as in teaching, agriculture, surveying, engineering and community development.

Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Chigwell

In view of the American mythology about colonialism and the strange activities of some United States consular and information officers in British overseas territories, may I ask whether the Government have been assured, and are they confident, that these operators, whose good intentions and good work we warmly applaud, will refrain from intervention in the politics of these territories?

Photo of Mr Dennis Vosper Mr Dennis Vosper , Runcorn

In each case an agreement has been entered into between the dependent Government concerned and the American Peace Corps organisation. I could show my hon. Friend a copy of such an agreement. A request for further Peace Corps volunteers has been made by four of the five countries. I think that that is some indication that the volunteers are performing a useful task and are not engaging in the activities which my hon. Friend had in mind.

Photo of Mr George Thomson Mr George Thomson , Dundee East

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that what should be first and foremost in our minds is the tremendous need of the developing countries for all forms of technical assistance from the more developed countries? We should welcome all the help which the American Peace Corps can give us in English-speaking territories in Africa and should regard it as a challenge to ourselves to do a great deal more in voluntary service.

Photo of Mr Dennis Vosper Mr Dennis Vosper , Runcorn

I agree. As the hon. Gentleman knows, we are increasing our voluntary effort and this year will send 250 graduate volunteers, some of them to the countries in question.