My main ideas are to increase the numbers of volunteers who are leaving this country. That we are doing. The numbers have risen from about 300 to 800 this year, going up to about 1,300 in a year's time. I hope that these important countries will share in that increased total in the future.
A few of the cadet volunteers do serve for a shorter period, but I am afraid that service of less than a year is really not very satisfactory, as these people take a few months to get acclimatised. On the contrary, what we are hoping is to increase the number of people who are prepared to serve in the future for two years rather than one. As I say, a few can serve for nine months, but I think that to shorten it beyond that would result in a lack of useful work?
Will my right hon. Friend say exactly what is done by career officers, and other people like that, to create interest in the scheme in schools all over the country?
This is a job for the voluntary societies, because we do not send out these young volunteers under any Government agency. The Government provide the voluntary societies with valuable financial and' other support and encouragement, but it is for the voluntary societies to undertake this work, and I know that they are doing a lot about it. In addition, we are preparing a recruiting film which will, I think, assist them in that way.
asked the Secretary for Technical Co-operation how many British personnel are currently serving in Sabah and Sarawak under the Overseas Service Aid scheme; and whether this number is likely to increase or decrease over the next year.
There are about 295 and 375 such officers in Sabah and Sarawak, respectively. It is impossible to forecast how many of these officers will exercise their right to give notice of retirement in the coming year, but the Governments concerned wish to retain the services of British officers and we shall do our best to keep up the numbers by fresh recruitment where necessary.
Does my right hon. Friend agree that in view of the threat to these territories and of the fact that vast parts of these territories are being infiltrated for the first time by agitators from Indonesia, it is absolutely vital that the number of officers available in these territories should be greatly increased over the numbers available in the past, in order to counter this influence? Can he give an assurance that we are making every effort, with other Commonwealth countries, to recruit further personnel?
While I agree with almost everything that my hon. Friend says, I am sure he will be the first to realise that the first step is for the Governments of the territories concerned to decide how many people they want. I can only say that the more they decide on the better, and we shall certainly do our best to fill the vacancies.