§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Harcourt)
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."
Although this Bill bears its meaning on its face and in its few Clauses, I think the House may reasonably expect that I should give a very brief description of what its intentions and methods are. It is desired to secure a loan of £3,000,000 sterling to three Protectorates on the East Coast of Africa, the Protectorates of Nyasaland, the East African Protectorate, and the Protectorate of Uganda. As will be seen from the provisions of the Bill, arrangements are made for the repayment of these loans, both as to capital and interest, by the Protectorates themselves, at no cost at any time to the British tax- 1826 payer. The trade and financial position of these Protectorates has been steadily improving during the last few years. No Grant-in-Aid is now asked from this country, either for Nyasaland or for the East African Protectorate, and the Grant-in-Aid which appears in our Estimates for the current financial year for Uganda is only £10,000, as against a Grant-in-Aid of £35,000 last year, and a very much larger sum in the few preceding years. There will be, I believe, an even greater expansion of trade in these Protectorates if the transport facilities which they at present possess can be immediately increased. The fact is, that production in these countries has altogether unexpectedly outstripped the carrying capacity of the countries. There is naturally a great congestion, both on the railways and lakes and at their seaports, which very naturally leads to complaint—justifiable complaint from those who have to deal with the production. If goods cannot get to the coast there is a grave danger that in the immediate future the cultivation of many articles may cease. Coffee, cotton, tobacco, and other things now being produced there, will have a serious set-back, and if progress is imperilled and the export of these articles of consumption interfered with, the result may be that these Protectorates may again become a charge on the Treasury, and therefore on the British taxpayer.
We therefore, to put it at its lowest, have a direct interest in facilitating the provision of funds for further development. These Protectorates are not yet in a position to raise loans on their own account in the open market, and I think it is not unreasonable that we in this country should help, not with our cash but with our credit. The Colonial Loans Act, 1899, which was passed by the Government represented by hon. Members opposite, seems to be a convenient precedent for this purpose. The allocation of this loan to the three Protectorates is stated in the Schedule of the Bill. I do not, however, want to tie myself in detail to the exact amount of allocation within each Protectorate for the specific work to which it is to be applied, but I think the House will expect me to give a general idea of the objects to which this money is to be applied. In Nyasaland, the money will be spent on roads or railways, or both; in Uganda, the money will be devoted to roads and a railway from Kampala to Mityana. Mityana is to the west towards the Congo frontier, near Lake Isolt. In the East 1827 Africa Protectorate the money will be spent upon harbour works at Kilindini, wharves, roads, bridges, and relaying the railway with heavier rails, if possible, up to Magadi Junction—though this Bill has nothing to do with the Magadi Railway, and none of these loans are devoted to that railway. There is also provision for additional rolling stock for the Uganda Railway, and additional steamers for the lake fleet on Lake Nyanza. Time is the essence of the assistance which we desire to give to these Protectorates. Until I have got Parliamentary authority, which I can only obtain by the final passage of this Bill, I cannot and I certainly shall not think of proceeding with detailed surveys, and with tenders and contracts which I hope will soon be made after the passage of this Bill. I hope, therefore, that the House will not think it necessary to put any unnecessary obstacles in the way of the passage of the various stages of this Bill, because perhaps it is not always understood by those who live in more equable climates that a few weeks or months delay here may mean the loss of a whole season to those Protectorates for the work we wish to carry out. I feel convinced I can commend this scheme to the House as one that will be of advantage to the Protectorates and to the settlers, as being sound in its finance, and as one which will entail no cost at all on the British taxpayer. On these grounds I hope the House will proceed with the Second Reading.
Sir G. PARKER
I am sure we all feel that the Colonial Secretary has had a story to tell which is an agreeable one to the House of Commons. I do not rise to oppose this Bill, or indeed to criticise it, because what the right hon. Gentleman proposes to do is what has been done in the past with good effect. I am very glad indeed that the right hon. Gentleman has been enabled to assure us that Grants-in-Aid have practically become a thing of the past in these Protectorates, and that the only Protectorate which does not pay its way is Uganda. Many of us in this House some years ago took a good deal of trouble to explain to the Members, who were critical of our colonising efforts, the possibilities that lay before these territories, and what an advantage the development of the territories would be to the Empire at large. I am glad to think that the criticism which was delivered in those days was not acute enough or bitter enough to cause any ill-feeling to remain in 1828 the minds of those who opposed our policy then. I am glad to be able to bear testimony to the fact that both Governments which have been in power since I have been in this Parliament have acted, as I think, with great discretion and prudence, and with not undue generosity, but with a reasonable amount of encouragement, in assisting the settlers there to develop those territories. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman, though I do not know whether he would be able to reply except by leave of the House, what are the conditions in connection with repayment, or is it expected that this loan will voluntarily, and within a very short time, be assumed completely, and paid off by the Protectorate without establishing any direct condition now. Will the right hon. Gentleman answer that question?
§ Mr. HARCOURT
Probably a good many questions will be put to me in the course of the Debate, and possibly I shall be able to give the information later on, if it is not contrary to the Rules of the House.
Sir G. PARKER
It was mainly for fear that the right hon. Gentleman did not intend to make a further statement that I put the question now. There is, however, a question I would raise, which is one of very great importance in connection with the Bill. The House may not be aware, though certainly some Members are aware, and the right hon. Gentleman is, of course, fully aware, that in 1904 there was set apart by agreement certain reserves for the Masai tribe. This, it will be seen, does affect the granting of this loan today. There were two reserves set apart for the Masai, but it was subsequently found it would be better to have one reserve for them, and it was agreed that there should be one reserve. But there were people who regarded the change as unwise, and who considered that they had a grievance, and appealed against this agreement, with the result that the High Court at Nairobi decided that they had no case, and could not be dealt with in that Court, because the Protectorate of British East Africa, as well as the Protectorates of Nyasaland and Uganda and Bechuanaland are not British territories but foreign territories. Our position is that we have made agreements with foreign sovereignties or potentates, that is, headmen or chiefs of native tribes, that we shall go in there, establish law and order, protect foreigners passing to and fro and assume the responsibilities of good 1829 government. But we do not possess the territory. We have only that authority given by agreement with headmen or chiefs. That is fully established by the fact that our authority is established under the Foreign Jurisdiction Act, 1890. The East Africa Order in Council of 1902 states:—Whereas by treaty, capitulation, grant, Usage, stipulation and other lawful means, Her Majesty the Queen has jurisdiction within divers foreign countries, and it is expedient to consolidate the Acts relating to the exercise of Her Majesty's jurisdiction within Her Dominions—We all ought to have known this. I have no doubt that most people did know it. I myself did not know that that was the exact position of these Protectorates. I think it expedient now to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he thinks that in becoming responsible for government there, and in using the credit of British taxpayers for the assistance of the Governments of these Protectorates, we are sufficiently secured in our position? Undoubtedly we all assume that the power of British armaments could achieve a conquest there, but I, for one, am quite unable to understand why it is that we have not formally declared our sovereignty there, or formally annexed that territory by declaration of conquest, peaceful, of course, but still by declaration by conquest. I think it will strike the British public as an extraordinary situation that we have got a Legislature in British East Africa and an Executive, which is a Legislature and an Executive in a foreign country and in a foreign territory, where our authority only exists by agreement with the headmen of tribes, the subjects of which headmen are now making complaints and making appeals to the Courts against agreements made between their headmen and our Government. The situation is this: That the grievances can only be settled through diplomatic channels. The diplomatic channels which exist between the Masai tribe and this great Government are quite plain to everybody. A few headmen, unexperienced in anything that is European, except what they have been taught since we have taken possession of the country, would stand a poor chance, except by stubborn resistance to any proposal that was made, of achieving anything in the way of success in their appeals through diplomatic channels. It would seem to me that a native subject of Uganda or British East Africa ought to have an appeal to someone else rather than the Government, which is securing vast advantage from that treaty or agreement.
1830 Therefore I say that before we grant this money we ought to have some statement from the right hon. Gentleman and the Government as to what our exact position is, because I regard it as an extremely serious thing, although it may not practically be so, from the standpoint of the citizens, native and otherwise, of those countries that they cannot through the usual channels, that is, the Courts, secure justice in the case of an agreement that has been come to between their potentates or sovereigns and the sovereignty of this country. I think the right hon. Gentleman will see that this House might naturally be disturbed by the present situation. I would like, if I might, to make another statement to the House concerning it. We have got a Crown Colony Government in Nyasaland, which Crown Colony Government is pursuing the usual course of a Colonial Government in a foreign territory, for Nyasaland, British East Africa, Uganda and Bechuanaland are all upon the same basis. We have been in Bechuanaland a great many years. I cannot, of course, enter into that, but I raise this question because there are undoubtedly reasons which, so far, are hidden from us, not purposely, I know, but hidden—I hope not purposely, although an hon. Member opposite seems to think they are hidden purposely. The responsibility does not rest upon this Government; it rests upon the Government which preceded it; it rests upon this country, which has had responsibility there since these territories were occupied after agreement. The system, if it is not irregular and unconstitutional, is one which seems to me to call for reconsideration, if for no other reason than that justice cannot be got from the Courts of these Protectorates, because the position of these Protectorates is that of foreign territories where we, by agreement, have powers to administer them.
Think of the millions of capital that have been invested in these Protectorates; think of the British credit that has been involved, and think of the possibility of any difficulty arising in the future which might cause this Government very considerable trouble. It is quite possible that the question might be raised by a foreign country. It seems to me quite possible for another country to enter into agreements with the native tribes now in what we call our territories, agreements which would not affect perhaps our rights as they exist, but might interfere very seriously with the further exercise of the 1831 rights we have attained and which we desire to attain. In these circumstances, I have put this case because I think it ought to be put, before we become responsible for three millions of money in these Protectorates, which are doing us every credit, where the settlers are performing, as I think, prodigies of enterprise, and where, I venture to say there is more confidence, on the whole, in the future of those territories occupied by active settlers than in almost any other portion of the King's Dominions. Everyone who has been to East Africa and Uganda has come back with one story, that here are territories which, like Rhodesia, are going to be the most valuable under the Crown, suitable for the growing of all kinds of produce necessary to the peoples of those countries and to the people of this country, with splendid climate, with excellent waterways, and a climate where British people can live, not like North Queensland, not like other portions of the British Dominions, where they cannot work and thrive commercially, industrially, and agriculturally. In view of all these circumstances, I think we ought to have the slate quite clean, that we ought to know exactly where we are, that the position we occupy should be clearly defined, and that the rights of the people within those territories should be made regular by our assumption of an unchallenged sovereignty by annexation of those territories.
§ Sir JOSEPH WALTON
I rise to support the Second Reading of the Bill under consideration. Having travelled through British East Africa and Uganda a little more than two years ago, I was able to gather on the spot some knowledge of the possibilities of those two regions. I may say that the Uganda Railway—and my experience has been somewhat extensive—is perhaps unique in the whole world. I question whether there is any railway which traverses country so absolutely varied in character. Starting with the sea coast in purely tropical country, it passes gradually to a higher and yet higher level, until it reaches the great tableland, and attains at some points an elevation of from 8,000 to 9,000 feet above the sea level. I was surprised to find that that huge tableland at this elevation was already largely occupied by the very best kind of British settlers. The great Uganda Railway, in its initial stages, was a disappointing undertaking because of the immensely 1832 larger sum it cost to construct than was at first estimated.
The Uganda Railway is really the property of the British taxpayer. There has been expended upon it no less than £7,000,000, and we are paying out of the pocket of the British taxpayer £139,000 a year in redemption of debt. In 1925, however, that railway becomes, free of debt, the absolute property of the British taxpayer, and as a revenue-producing asset it will prove a most valuable undertaking. In 1912 the net earnings of the railway reached 2 per cent. I have not been able to refer to what the earnings were in 1913, but I have no doubt they will show an improvement. A mistake was made in building it a narrow gauge railway. It would have been much better if, in the first instance, it had been a wider gauge, able to cope with a larger amount of traffic, and laid with rails of a heavier weight. Already the Government tell us it is necessary to relay the railway with heavier rails. I have no doubt that before a generation has passed it will be necessary to have a double line of rails for a very great part of the distance across British East Africa. That country has enormous possibilities. We have a new undertaking to tap the soda deposits of the Magadi Lake. That line joins the Uganda Railway, and has been built at a very considerable cost as a private undertaking. When it is completed, and when it is possible to bring these deposits to market, it will increase the traffic over that portion of the Uganda Railway from where it joins it to the port of shipment at Kilindini enormously. There were, when I was there amongst the agriculturists, great complaints as to the delay that took place in bringing up what they had to import and in conveying what they had to send away.
The secret of success in the opening up of new countries like this lies in building feeder lines to increase the traffic of the main trunk line. We know what a bold courageous policy of railway building has done for the great Dominion of Canada. It has also done a great deal for Australia, and for New Zealand, and, indeed, in the opening up of all great countries the one most potent agency that is most productive of beneficial results to the trade and commerce and prosperity of those countries is a bold policy of railway construction. In Uganda I traversed the first railway that has been built there, and went along fifty miles of railway on a railway truck a few weeks before it was opened to traffic, and soon after there came the news that the 1833 amount of traffic conveyed across that new railway was simply astounding. Now we are told that part of the Grant to Uganda is to be expended in roadmaking and in railway construction. All this means that the development and opening up of Uganda will bring extra traffic across the Uganda Railway, and if, added to what is now contemplated, we have further branch lines constructed through fertile districts in British East Africa, connected with the Uganda main line, there is no doubt whatever that that Uganda Railway, which at first seemed so disappointing by reason of the enormous amount that it cost to the taxpayers of this country, will not only prove of incalculable value in promoting the development and the prosperity of that country, but will be an excellent financial undertaking for the British taxpayer. There is no question as to the possibilities of these countries, and I only wish that all Members of this House had had the opportunities which I and some other Members have had of seeing for themselves on the spot the character of those countries and the character of the people living in them. I have no doubt that the hon. Member who referred to the Masai tribes speaks from personal knowledge of what a splendid race they are. Their ownership of cattle is simply enormous. Their average wealth is much greater than the average wealth of the people of this country, because their flocks and herds are so enormous that divided amongst them, they place them in a position of being a very well-to-do population. Of course, the smallness of their numbers adds some force to the easiness of their circumstances.
I was not quite able to follow my hon. Friend in his reference to the desirability of the Imperial Government assuming definitely the control and the ownership of these countries. I am certain that in any step of that sort we are bound to have due regard to the nature of the arrangements which have been made in the name of the British Government with the head men of these different tribes, and I should be sorry indeed to see arbitrary steps of that kind taken which were not desired and fully acquiesced in by the head men of the tribe who will be dealt with under any such scheme. I have no doubt my hon. Friend will fully share my views as to justice in every respect being done to these tribes, whom, to a large degree, we have undertaken to control, and whose countries, after all, we do, as a matter of fact, 1834 actually govern. I congratulate the Government on this new enterprising departure, because to have over £3,000,000 raised for the benefit of these three Protectorates at the small interest of 2¾ per cent. is a step in the right direction. It does not and cannot involve this country in any financial responsibility, but will, indeed, create an enormous outlet for many of the products, manufactured and otherwise, of this country, and will promote, in return, imports to this country from these various Protectorates. It must not be forgotten, of course, that this £1,855,000 to be spent in British East Africa will to some extent interfere with the repayment of the £7,000,000, the original cost of the Uganda Railway, but the increase of traffic promoted by the provision of this rolling stock and by the improvement of the line and otherwise, will, I am convinced, be so great that it makes this expenditure most profitable and in the best interests, not only of Uganda and British East Africa, but also of this country and also a sound financial investment.
§ Earl WINTERTON
As I was in this Protectorate last October, and am probably the last Member of the House to have been there, I should like to say a word in support of the Bill. I should like to press upon the Colonial Secretary, with all the emphasis in my power, the need there is for spending a larger amount of this sum which is proposed to be voted upon improving the Uganda Railway. There are a great many other things which are very important—the provision of good roads and of branch lines—but the thing of immediate importance is the provision of more rolling stock, better engines, and stronger rails. I met several cotton growers in Nairobi, and other people, who were really afraid that their business would come to an end unless something was done to deal with the tremendous congestion which exists on the railway now. It is also necessary to have more ships on the lake, and to have the terminus at Kilindini improved. At present there is no wharfage. It is all done by lighterage, which is very expensive. The provision of wharves in the harbour would really not be a very serious matter. A sum of money was granted for this purpose which has never been spent upon wharfage. I asked one or two people, including an official, and they were unable to tell me what had exactly become of the money. The promise of wharfage accommodation has been made for some years, but it has not 1835 yet been carried out. I also entirely support the hon. Baronet (Sir J. Walton), and hope there will also be these feeder lines. It is most necessary to have a continuation of the line to Forthall. At present the line is being constructed there, and it is most necessary to continue it to the Uashin Gishu plateau.
There is one matter to which I should like to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman in connection with the allocation of the money if this Bill is passed—the question whether or not the tourist traffic and accommodation could not be greatly improved. I have had the almost unique advantage of visiting Abyssinia, Portuguese East Africa, German East Africa, and Southern and Northern Rhodesia, and I have watched with some interest in all these countries the attempts made to encourage tourists to come there. I am bound to say that British East Africa is greatly behind the Soudan in the way of the comforts it offers on the railway to tourists. The opportunities which it offers to the tourist for shooting game are unexampled, but I would point out that the Soudan Government has been much more successful than the British East Africa Government in providing facilities for tourists. The Government of the Soudan is not a foreign Government. It is a mixed Government —partly Egyptian and partly foreign—and both as regards trains and steamers the accommodation is very much better there than in East Africa. I believe the time is rapidly coming when the revenues of East Africa will be materially increased by tourist traffic if a proper effort is made to get that traffic. At present it is possible to go from Mombasa to Khartoum and right through to Cairo with comparatively little discomfort. In the Soudan there are restaurant cars now, but on the East African Railroad there are no sleeping cars and no restaurant cars, and the food which can be obtained at the stations is of a very curious description. It is cooked entirely by coolies from India, and the time allowed is somewhat limited. The service altogether in that country is not up to the standard in the Soudan or in other parts of Africa.
Hon. Members may be disposed to smile at this reference to tourist traffic, but I would point out that the revenues come very largely from tourists who go there game shooting. Whether they are an unmixed blessing in the country, I am not prepared to say. I know that in Rhodesia 1836 they have had considerable effect in upsetting local conditions as to labour. Men with large sums of money at their disposal unsettle the farmers by offering wages to natives far beyond what any farmer can afford to pay. I would not mind the high wages they receive, but very often their treatment of the natives leaves a great deal to be desired. These men are being encouraged to go there, and it is just as well to give them more attractions than rival Dependencies and Colonies. One thing I should like to refer to in this connection is the tremendous effort that is being made to secure a large portion of the lake traffic in Africa. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies has drawn attention to the great importance to Uganda of the lake traffic. The hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir J. Walton) truly said that the possibilities of the country on the shores of the lake, of British East Africa, and of the Belgian Congo, which abuts on the lake, are limitless. At present we not only secure our own traffic, but we secure a large amount of the traffic from the Dependencies of other States. But recently the German Government have extended their railway in German South-West Africa, and they are making superhuman efforts to get that traffic. They have already taken away a great deal of our traffic. I do not think that anybody who has not been in Africa realises the big fight that is going on there. The value of Uganda Railway stock will in twenty years be as great as Canadian Pacific Railway stock is to-day. I believe there is as great a possibility for the Uganda Railway as there was for the Canadian Pacific Railway. I personally do not believe that the sum which the Government have asked for in this Bill is anything like sufficient, and I hope it will be possible to get a greater sum in future years.
I am glad to observe that the old attitude which some hon. Members belonging to certain parties in this House used to take up towards any proposal to vote money for our Colonies and Dependencies seems to be to some extent disappearing. In the old days a proposal to vote a single penny to any Colony or Dependency was met with an outburst by hon. Members below the Gangway, but I am glad to see that they are conspicuous by their absence to-day. I hope that, in the case of British East Africa, what has taken place in connection with the Debates on this question may be regarded as evidence of a better feeling on the part of this House towards 1837 that country. I do not think that the value of the investment can be gainsaid, but I think the gain which is possible will be largely lost unless an adequate sum is spent at the present time. We see from the newspapers that subscriptions are invited for an Austrian loan of £16,000,000, which sum I have not the slightest doubt will be granted, and not only so, but it will be over-subscribed. When we realise how easy it is for foreign countries to come here and get loans for their potentialities, it is not a great thing for this House to vote £3,000,000 for the development of our Dependencies. That brings me to another part of the argument. The House must realise that in the case of East Africa the Imperial Government and the local Government, acting under the Imperial Government—the local Government get very much tied by the Imperial Government—have to a great extent prevented private enterprise in regard to the progress and development of the country. I will explain what I mean. It is practically impossible, for example, for a railway in that country to be built by private enterprise. I was told of a certain group of financiers who approached the Government with the view to budding a private railway, and they were informed that it was not possible, because it might injure the Uganda Railway. It is true that a railway has been built for Magadi soda deposits, but that is a comparatively small affair.
There are vast timber ranges in British East Africa, the value of which it is hardly possible to estimate. They are very considerable in extent and value, and the timber rights have been acquired by certain concessionaires who have attempted to work the industry, but that have not, so far, succeeded, because it is said that the development of that should be left in the hands of the Imperial Government. Therefore, this House ought not to adopt what would be a dog-in-the-manger policy in this matter. It must give money for the purposes of development or throw the country open to private enterprise, just in the same way as the Dominion of Canada was thrown open. An hon. Friend who has taken an interest in Uganda has informed me that if East Africa was thrown open to-morrow, as Canada has been thrown open, he himself would be ready to invest a large sum of money in that country. I think, on the whole, that the form of development which successive Imperial Governments has gone 1838 in for in East Africa is better than the Canadian system. It is better that the country should be largely developed in the first place by State aid, but you cannot have the two things. It is not fair to have the two things, for it seems to me that the country must be developed either by private enterprise or by money voted in this House. Canada was also developed at first by State aid. I hope that the House will grant this money, and that the Bill will pass rapidly through its various stages.
Mr. CATHCART WASON
There are only two points in the observations of the Noble Lord (Earl Winterton) to which I wish to take some objection. I wish to refer first to the disparaging manner in which he spoke in referring to the money which has been spent by the Magadi Soda Company.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I did not wish to say anything disparaging. I said it was a comparatively small railway. It is only seven miles long. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is 100 miles long."]
§ 5.0 P.M.
Mr. C. WASON
The other point the Noble Lord referred to was the absence of adequate accommodation on the railways and steamers for tourists. That has not been my experience, and I have travelled, perhaps, as much in these territories as the Noble Lord. I have found the accommodation extremely comfortable. There is no comparison between East Africa and the Soudan as regards natural features. In the case of East Africa there are great attractions and possibilities, and we hope —I believe the hope is well founded—that that country will have a large settlement of British colonists. You cannot have colonists and shooting also. The two things are opposed to each other. I am certain that anyone who goes to East Africa to settle will receive every consideration and be protected as far as possible. One does not wish to say anything against tourist traffic, but the shooting of big game is a thing which I cannot appreciate, and I strongly deprecate it. It is one of the most magnificent sights in the world to see giraffes and warthogs and large quantities of all sorts of game careering round, and I must confess that I cannot appreciate the frame of mind which makes men use explosive bullets to tear the animals to pieces. That is not a kind of sport of which I approve. My hon. Friend (Sir J. Walton) has dealt very fully with the subject of Uganda, I trust 1839 that the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Colonial Office will endeavour to ascertain if it is possible in some way or other to do something towards improving the Sessi Islands in the Lake. They are by far and away the most fertile portion of Uganda which we have at the present moment. I saw the Lake and its islands many years ago, when there were many people, now there is not a human being to be seen, and the state of things presents a striking contrast. I believe this fertile country only wants a little care and attention for its proper development. The right hon. Gentleman no doubt thinks that the tsetse fly and sleeping sickness are absolutely against the possibility of any settlement of any sort there. I do not myself hold that view at all. I think a good deal might be done in the way of encouraging the settlement of a certain class. It is quite clear that you cannot have a native settlement, but I am sure Italians, of whom there are many, could make use of the country in some form or other. For us to sit down and allow all these magnificent islands to remain in a state of neglect is a policy which, I am sure, this country would not assent to. I am extremely glad that this Bill has been brought forward. If the right hon. Gentleman looks into the matter he will find that some years ago, in the time of his predecessor, there was suggested a somewhat similar scheme that this country should be in a position to borrow money for its development. Without that any country must stagnate.
§ Mr. GOLDMAN
Like the hon. Member for Horsham and the hon. Member for Barnsley, I, as one who has travelled through British East Africa, German East Africa, and Uganda, and spent a considerable time in these countries endeavouring to ascertain their resources and develop progress there, most heartily desire to support the proposal brought forward by the Secretary of State for the Colonies. I hope that it will be a principle of British policy to give Government assistance to a larger extent and in a more liberal measure than has been done in the past to those countries that have definitely passed the experimental stage, and have to-day placed themselves in a position to rest on a foundation of proved capacity and an established status. In spite of the most considerable difficulties that confronted these 1840 early settlers in East Africa, they are today, as the right hon. Gentleman has told us, in the happy position of being able to pay their way without any assistance of Grants-in-Aid from the Imperial Government. They have had to fight against all the endemic tropical diseases that confronted them, and made it so difficult to raise cattle, pigs, and sheep in the country —those diseases so well known that have swept all over the country, such as rinder-pest, East Coast fever, swine fever, and foot-and-mouth disease, and malarial fever. Hampered by lack of transport, and by many administrative restrictions, they are and have been able to battle with the situation, and are preparing a most prosperous future for that country. Every year the country is becoming more and more valuable as a cotton-growing area. The estimated crops of cotton for the year 1914 represent 55,000 bales, or two and a half times as much as the amount produced in the year 1912; and as one bale of cotton gives raw material for a whole year's work for one cotton operative in Lancashire, the effect has been that that country is contributing at the present moment to the maintenance of 55,000 cotton operatives in Lancashire. Then we find that additional facilities have been already provided which will enable the output to be raised in the coming year to 75,000 bales.
This is not the only means by which they have been able to contribute beneficially to this country. The natives are growing more prosperous, and, as they grow more prosperous, their purchasing power increases, which show itself again in the increase of their imports. For instance, the imports of cotton manufactured goods have increased last year by 57 per cent. In other respects also valuable products will be produced that are most necessary for our manufactures in this country. Take sisal, for instance. We are told that the sisal of British East Africa is to-day of superior quality to any fibre in the whole world. I was talking to one of the biggest hemp manufacturers and he told me that it was better than anything in the market, more particularly for the production of binder twine. Then, if you take the wattle industry, the bark of the wattle is superior to that of the best quality wattle in the market. Turning to coffee, we find that during the nine months ending September 284 tons were exported, and rubber to the value of £31,960 was produced. There are six estates on which no less than 800,000 trees are growing at the 1841 present moment. The cattle industry is also developing rapidly, and at the cattle sales by auction no fewer than 10,000 head of cattle were disposed of during the year. Most of these were bought by the farmers themselves. But in order that these resources may be developed to the fullest possible extent transport facilities must be increased, and the Government are well advised to give money for these and kindred concerns.
As the right hon. Gentleman has pointed out to the House to-day, the Kilindini Harbour and railway terminus must be considerably extended, and deep-water wharves must be provided for the purpose of ocean-going steamers. The steamship companies are doing their part. The Union-Castle Company have been building quite recently two steamers of 11,000 tons capacity, but increased facilities should be offered to the settlers of British East Africa to dispose of their products, so that agriculture may be developed and trade stimulated in that country. I notice with satisfaction that the Government have sent out an expert to British East Africa to report on the wharves of Kilindini Harbour, where there is great congestion. I understand that something approximating to £750,000 will have to be spent for the purpose of relieving that congestion. I also notice with great satisfaction that the metals are to be relaid on the railway in British East Africa, and that heavier metals and heavier rolling stock are to be provided. There are over two million acres of forest land untouched at the present moment and capable of development. South Africa imports no less than 1,500,000 tons of timber every year. Here is a method of producing an exchange by sending timber to South Africa and getting coal in return. Then there are 2,000,000 acres of land which have been allotted in British East Africa and which are at prohibitive distances from the railway centres, and a sum of £250,000 has to be spent on this land before the settlers can get their rights in the tenure, as, owing to the prohibitive distance, the land cannot be developed at present to its fullest extent.
The right hon. Gentleman did not refer in detail as to how the money was to be spent, except that he referred to Kilindini, and the relaying of part of the lines. I would like to know whether this sum is to include an extension of the railway towards the Lake Albert district and to the upper regions there, to bring us into 1842 closer touch with the whole Congo development. I desire also to say a word for the claims of the settlers of the Wasin Gishu plateau. Hon. Members will remember that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, when he was Secretary for the Colonies, offered this whole territory to the Zionists. They sent out a commission to report on it, and they refused the offer of the right hon. Gentleman on the ground that the country was not suitable for their needs in consequenre of the wild animals that infested the country—for this particular species of men were unlike the forerunner Daniel, not facing the lions in their den. Every acre available in that country has to-day been taken up by settlers, and to illustrate the type of men whom they comprise, I may mention an incident which is part of my own personal experience. It was at a point somewhere near Lake Nivaisha, where I met a party of trekkers composed of colonists. It was about six o'clock in the evening at the time when the day suddenly sinks into pitch darkness. There they were with their families and household goods and flocks of cattle and sheep and they were constructing a booma to prevent the wild animals from disturbing them during the night. I spoke to these men and found that they had come without any maps or any guides through the Sotik country and the Mau Forest to their destination; and it is men with these Colonial instincts who are filling the Wasin Gishu plateau, and they are to-day remaining in this country and making it the abiding home. These are the people who are coming forward and claiming the help of the Government to assist them in building a railway, and they are even prepared out of their scanty means to come forward and give a substantial guarantee if the Government will come forward to assist them in building a line of railway to give access to this country, which at certain times of the year is almost inaccessible. When I was going there I was for six days continually passing through swamps up to my thighs and sometimes up to my neck in water.
§ Mr. GOLDMAN
Yes, a country so full of promise, and one of the best districts of the whole of British East Africa. The very fact that every acre has been taken up is sufficient proof of its possibilities. In 1843 dealing with the development of these particular countries it is important to see how relatively little we are doing compared With what other countries are doing. If you take the case of Rhodesia, which is a commercial enterprise, they have no less than 2,400 miles of railway there to enable the country to be opened up. Our line in British East Africa, which was only built for strategical purposes to put down slavery and control the sources of the Nile, is only 584 miles of trunk line. Let us compare that with what our neighbours in German East Africa have been doing. My hon. Fried referred to the necessity of our pushing ahead, because the Germans have been so very active in trying to get to Victoria Nyanza and to tap, as far as they can, the trade coming from the north and from the Congo. This year a great railway in German East Africa, from Daresselam to Tanganyika is to be opened, and the extent of this line is 800 miles. On this line they have spent £6,000,000. They have now decided on building a branch line from Tobora to connect Victoria Nyanza. They are spending £2,000,000 on this particular line that is going to tap the Victoria Nyanza and open up the great plain in the south-east of the country. These are some indications of the policy which German East Africa is pursuing. The results are seen in the enormous increase in exports from that particular country. As a result of this railway policy there are no less than 19,000,000 rubber trees planted and half ready for sapping. There are 50,000 acres of cotton under cultivation, which I admit is less than we have in Uganda, where there are 62,000 acres, but they have 50,000 acres of sisal and 75,000 of rubber. They are giving a subsidy, which we are not doing, to our steamship company of £69,000.
The great question with this House in reference to this matter is whether we have really got security for the loan which we are undertaking. I think that we are amply covered by the resources and the development of the country to which the hon. Member for Barnsley referred. The estimated revenue of British East Africa in the coming year is £1,389,000, which exceeds by £415,000 that of last year, when the estimated expenditure was only £1,246,000. The revenue of the Uganda Railway in 1912–13 was £489,000, as compared with £360,000 in the previous year. In other words, the revenue has increased 1844 by 35¾ per cent., against a reduction of 22 per cent. The hon. Member for Barns-ley, referring to this enterprise, said it was producing 2.5 per cent. If he will refer to the figures he will find that during the present year this railway has returned 3.52 per cent. on the capital outlay, which really makes it a sound commercial undertaking. What seems to me a most material point is the increase of the white population in that country. It has increased by no less than 20 per cent. each year during the last three successive years. A point which I now wish to urge perhaps will touch with some measure of concern Members of this House, as it certainly will the population in East Africa: The point is that this increasing white population in British East Africa has no direct elective representation upon the body which will have to spend the loan.
§ Mr. GOLDMAN
It is about 6,000; I speak under correction. It is a matter of vital importance to the House of Commons to secure, when it sanctions this loan, that the money shall be spent to the best advantage of the general body of white settlers, and the House will, indeed, be relieved if the Secretary of State will give some assurance upon the point that this increasing white population shall have some representation on the body which will have the spending of this money. It would be a serious objection if it left the whole control of the expenditure of this money in the hands of a purely official and nominated Chamber. The credit of the whole white population of British East Africa is involved in this question, and I think that you can only get the best results for it if it has some representation on an elective basis to take the place of the existing system. The white population do not ask for a majority representation at all; they are content to have a minority representation; and just as we in the House of Commons are anxious, where public money is to be spent, that there should be some assurance that there will be some elective clement on the body that has the spending of it, so I hope that many Members will agree with me that there ought to be some element of representation of the white population on the body which has the spending of this loan, and I believe that in that case it would be spent to advantage. I would like to impress on the Secretary of State for the Colonies that it would be well 1845 if he could see his way to make some adjustment in regard to this particular question; it would remove the only contested point in regard to this particular loan, and it would give emphasis to the inherent element which supports this Bill, that of a measure of justice which has been too long delayed. I believe that if the Secretary of State can see his way by some means of bringing the settlers into closer touch and co-operation with the Administration of the country, it will redound to the advantage of the future development of British East Africa and Uganda, among the most promising provinces of the British Empire.
§ Dr. CHAPPLE
I should like to join in the song of triumph of the securing of this three millions of money, but I would like the right hon. Gentleman to keep a close eye upon its expenditure, in order to see that, so far as possible, it is used, not for the exploitation of private landed interests, but for the development of the whole country, and especially of those areas which will form security for the loan. I rose not so much for the purpose of saying that as to invite the right hon. Gentleman to recognise what I think is even more essential in countries like British East Africa, namely, that it is absolutely necessary, if they are to be made habitable for both black and white people, that they should be freed from diseases brought by game and the tsetse fly. The construction of the Panama Canal was made possible because scientists dealt with diseases in that part of the world, and got rid of the mosquito. And so it must be with these territories in East Africa. These diseases spread over large areas, rendering them practically uninhabitable, and where there are game and tsetse fly it is practically impossible to keep domestic stock. I hope, therefore, that a large amount of this money will be made available for the extinction of disease and for the protection of both black and white.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
The hon. Gentleman perhaps does not know that this is a disputed proposition among scientists at the present moment.
§ Dr. CHAPPLE
It is not disputed that where the tsetse fly and game exist in a territory the keeping of domestic stock is not possible.
§ Dr. CHAPPLE
That is quite so, but what I say is that while game and the tsetse fly exist, domestic stock cannot be kept at all, and cattle, horses, dogs, sheep, and other domestic animals are killed off in the course of a month or two. A great deal will have to be done to clear these large areas of disease, and I trust that this money will be spent in such a way as to produce the best results. The right hon. Gentleman has already taken great interest in this matter, and has set up a Committee of Experts to advise him. Their Report is now ready for his consideration, and I hope, when it is placed before him, that he will see his way to taking prompt and drastic action in order to prepare those areas for settlement, and for spending the money which is to be placed at their disposal in the most advantageous manner possible.
§ Sir J. D. REES
It has been suggested in the course of the discussion that there is some doubt about the Treasury advancing the money to the Protectorates on the ground that there is some flaw in the title. My hon. Friend the Member for Gravesend suggested this by introducing to-day the case of the Masai, which I had already raised on a previous occasion and which does not appear to me to be altogether relevant to this Loan Bill. I am rather sorry he suggested any flaw in our title. There is no such fear; it is a purely technical matter. We are the de facto owners of these Protectorates just as much as we are owners of any other part of the British Empire. As regards the security for full repayment of the money, there is not the shadow of a suspicion of doubt, and, as it is most desirable that this money should be provided, I hope that hon. Members will put that doubt entirely out of their minds. My hon. Friend beside me made a very strong point of the necessity of representation on the body which will have the spending of this money. I confess I am not a strong supporter of representation anywhere in Africa. I think we have a good deal too much of that form of Government, and the principle has not proved a success when transplanted to those countries. If there were time, it would give me great pleasure to have followed my hon. Friend and others in dwelling on the great resources of Nyasaland. I am sure that Protectorate grows most magnificent cotton, some of the very best cotton in the British Empire. It is perfectly clear that I am justified, and, indeed, more than 1847 justified, in saying a word or two about the particular portion of this Grant which is to be dedicated to Nyasaland. I take it that the greater part of this sum will be devoted to making a railway northwards from Blantyre to the south of Lake Nyasa. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman will think it proper to indicate the route which the railway would take—whether, for instance, it is proposed that it should branch off to the left, leaving Lake Nyasa to the east, and going towards Port Jameson and the Trunk Railway running due north and south through Africa, or whether it is proposed to go straight to the lake. Any information on that subject would be most acceptable to all those who are interested in the matter. The right hon. Gentleman in his speech stated that part of the money was to be devoted to dealing with trade transport congestion at various points. I was not quite clear as to what he said upon that point in connection with Lake Nyasa.
§ Sir J. D. REES
I leave that point, for I may have had some difficulty in following the right hon. Gentleman, but, perhaps he may be able to give the House some little information as to the prolongation of the railway north of Blantyre. At the present moment the existing railway in Nyasaland is being extended down to the Zambesi, and there is also a project for making a line from Beira to the Zambesi, which will make a connection with the quite tolerable port of Beira right up to the south of Lake Nyasa. The case is somewhat complicated by the Portuguese at present constructng a line from Quillamaine towards the Zambesi, meeting at a point at which the other extension from Beira concentrates upon that river. When I asked the right hon. Gentleman about this he was kind enough to give me information which was of a great deal of interest to myself and my Friends, and, indeed, to the House of Commons. If he can tell us anything more about this railway scheme it would be very acceptable to many who are working in Nyasaland for the develop- 1848 ment of that country, and I think cannot fail to assist those who, without the help of the Government, are trying to bring its exceedingly great manifold potentialities into actual fruition. The right hon. Gentleman also referred to the provision of railway stock for the Uganda Railway, and said it was very necessary. I was extremely glad to hear him say so, and I do not know of any measure which he could take which would be more important to the interests of East Africa. He said, if I understood him correctly, that the present Grant-in-Aid to Uganda was only some £10,000.
§ Sir J. D. REES
That is a very small figure, and surely it must leave the railway out of account. It cannot be that the charge upon this country, including the railway, is any such figure, and therefore I hope he will make it clear in case there may be other Members who find some difficulty in understanding the matter. I was at great pains during several Sessions to get at the real cost of the Uganda Railway, not that I offered any objection, as, on the contrary, I think it is a great and magnificent enterprise, worthy of the British Empire, and most beneficial to the countries concerned. I should like to know what is the real account between the Treasury and Uganda, and whether the £10,000 can really be said in any way to measure that amount, as I think it cannot be so. I believe firmly in spending money upon communications in Nyasaland, East Africa, and Uganda. That expenditure will, as the right hon. Gentleman himself thought, in the end save the British taxpayer. It is remunerative and most valuable expenditure. I am myself interested in one of those three, Nyasaland, in which, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, private enterprise has already constructed some 180 miles of railway, and therefore, being as it is a community which helps itself, I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will help it. I should like, in conclusion to say that whatever view I may take of the right hon. Gentleman's politics in some respects, in his action at the Colonial Office in regard to these Protectorates he has shown a very earnest desire to promote business in those Protectorates, to increase communications, and to take steps such as I think both sides of the House must be equally anxious to applaud and to approve. I 1849 shall be grateful to him if he will look into the remarks I have made about the railways, remarks which I think he will allow have not been actuated by any sort of contentious spirit, but are merely made in order to obtain such information as I think would be acceptable and useful in all quarters of the House.
§ Mr. OUTHWAITE
The right hon. Gentleman, rather wisely perhaps, has brought forward this Bill, with its proposal for expenditure, at the fag-end of the Session, when it will be least likely to be open to criticism. The criticism which fell from hon. Members opposite, or several of them, suggested to me that they had interests in that country.
§ Mr. OUTHWAITE
The hon. Member is quite at liberty to make any explanation. The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down said that he had interests in Nyasaland, and I do not know whether there is any objection to making such a statement.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Whitley)
I do not think the hon. Member ought to make a suggestion of any improper motive.
§ Mr. OUTHWAITE
Nothing was further from my mind than suggesting any improper motive. I was going on to explain how certain people will have a very great interest in this expenditure, and how this expenditure is not in the interests of the British taxpayer, and I think I am within my rights in doing so. I have listened to the Debate and I have failed to find out of what interest it is to the British taxpayer and the people of this country that this great sum of money should be guaranteed to East Africa. I listened to the speech of the Noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton), who gave us the benefit of an account of his journeyings in Africa. I gathered from his speech that his main point was his passionate appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to spend a considerable part of this sum of money in ministering to the comforts of those who go to Africa to shoot big game. I do not think it is in any way to the interests of the British taxpayer to provide for big game shooting.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I said nothing of the sort, and the hon. Member should really refrain from entirely misinterpreting what was said. I never made the slightest reference to providing facilities for big game shooting. All I said was that the tourist traffic of Africa was a very valuable revenue, producing part of the income of the railway, and I suggested that if it was improved the revenue might be increased.
§ Mr. OUTHWAITE
The hon. Member is unable to interpret his own remarks or to understand them. He asked that part of this money should be spent in giving greater facilities, and in increasing the comfort of those who went to shoot big game.
§ Mr. OUTHWAITE
I believe that when great sums of many millions of pounds are spent afar off, we have a right to consider for whose advantage the money is to be spent. I was in South Africa some years ago when that country began to be opened up, and I have a vivid recollection of what happened there, and of the number of people who did not come to exploit the wealth of the country, but simply to get concessions in land and timber, and it seems to me to be probable that this money is to be spent in chief for that kind of people. The hon. Member for the Falmouth Division (Mr. Goldman) suggested that this money would advantage the rapidly growing white population of the country, which he said increased by 20 per cent. every year. One child in every family would do that, but what I want to know is what number does that percentage represent. The hon. Gentleman is unable to tell me with all his great knowledge of the country.
§ Mr. OUTHWAITE
That is very small, and the country is not increasing rapidly, although the percentage may be large. To spend three millions of money for the benefit of 6,000 white people seems to me to be a very absurd proposition. At any rate, we have the right to suggest that charity should begin at home. Only a week or two ago a great deputation came 1851 down from the Midlands, headed, I think, by a son of the hon. Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain), to see the President of the Board of Trade and to ask that the transport facilities for the Midlands should be increased, and to ask for money for a canal with the Mersey. When we make a suggestion of that kind hon. Members opposite jeer at it, although it would be for the benefit of industry, while at the same time they are ready enough to provide money to be spent for the benefit of land jobbers in East Africa. [HON. MEMBERS "Oh, oh!"] I desire to ask the Secretary of State not to pay any particular regard to the suggestion that some bogus electoral system should be set up in that country, for I believe it would be only a bogus system, and it would mean handing over the government of that country entirely to those land jobbers there, while the people, the natives, would have no electoral rights there, and it would probably only result in this, that whatever control the Crown may have today over the land, its exploitation would be taken away, and the land would be jobbed away into freeholds. That would be following the unfortunate precedent that has taken place in other Colonies of the Empire.
The hon. Member for, I think, the Barnsley Division (Sir J. Walton) spoke of the magnificent results that had accrued from the expenditure of money in Australia and New Zealand. I think every Government in Australia and every thinking man realises the great mistake that was made in the early days in those countries when the vast sums spent on railways resulted in benefit which went to the landlord, while the country got no return for that vast expenditure. Again and again, that vast expenditure on railways and public works and for the development of the Colonies and the opening up of their magnificent resources, really resulted in bringing Colonies to a condition of bankruptcy. I hope that the Secretary of State, whenever great sums are being spent in these Protectorates, will take care to keep in his control as far as possible the ownership of the land of the country, and will not allow it to be jobbed away in freehold for the purposes of speculation. If he does that, then undoubtedly all this expenditure will be profitable, because the Government will always be able to get quite sufficient out of the land to pay for the cost.
Mr. GEORGE A. LLOYD
I wish I had been here sufficiently early not to have to get up after the very unfortunate speech which we have just heard from the other side. Just because the hon. Member's experiences in South Africa do not appear to have been very rosy, I cannot see why on that account he should make East Africa the target for his abuse. I do not propose to follow him in the line of motives imputed to hon. Members who take a legitimate and fair interest in the development of a British Colony. I would like to tell him this, that we who care to see our Protectorates and our Crown Colonies developed, do take the trouble to be a little better informed than the hon. Member himself appears to be. He asked a question as to what interest the British taxpayer has in the development of railways in East Africa and in Crown Colonies. I suppose that the Lancashire workman is of no interest as a wage-earner to the hon. Member, and he does not care in the least, I suppose, whether the Lancashire wage-earner and the Lancashire mill-owner can get supplies of raw cotton! Is he not aware that the Uganda Railway has- been a most powerful and most valuable method of bringing raw material to this country? Is he not aware that the interest which hon. Members on both sides of the House have taken in getting British steamship lines to communicate with East Africa has been actually the means of diverting from German towns to British towns a very large number of the raw products which have been introduced into this country? If he is not aware of those facts, he ought to be before he gets up to impute motives to hon. Members on this side of the House. I remember perfectly well when this question of communications in East Africa was brought before the House hon. Members in certain quarters took great exception to it. I think that they spoke for themselves, and I for one would like to take this opportunity of congratulating the Colonial Secretary upon the interest he has taken in the question of communications in the Crown Colonies during his administration. On these matters we have no party politics whatever. If things are done, we congratulate anybody who takes them up and carries them through. I do not wish to say anything with regard to the object for which this Bill has been introduced. I had not the pleasure of hearing the right hon. Gentleman's speech, but I believe it has been fully commented upon. 1853 I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman to take into consideration one point in regard to the officials in East Africa, and that is that he should provide money out of this loan, or from subsequent moneys, as early as possible for the better housing of the officials in the Protectorate. There have been in the past, and no doubt there are still, many complaints some of them justified and some unjustified, as to the slow pace at which the official machine grinds out its work in East Africa—in the Land Office, in this office, and in that. It is said that the delays are doing a great deal of damage to the settlers and to the interests of the Protectorate. I cannot speak with a great deal of experience, but, from what I saw when I was in East Africa, I believe that the officials there are as efficient as the officials of any other Protectorate. But they work under very difficult and trying conditions. Their offices are merely tin huts, which are loaded up to the roof with papers, with very inadequate facilities for filing and storing documents and so on. Unless the Government can afford to provide even the most modest accommodation for their work, there must be delays and great difficulty in coping adequately with the demands of a rapidly increasing and productive Colony like British East Africa.
One other matter to which I would like to direct attention is the great need for a rest house, somewhere in the highlands of East Africa, for officials who are worn out or who fall ill during the hot weather. It has been suggested that a very inexpensive scheme might save the Government a great deal of money in connection with the health and lives of their officials. At a very small cost indeed a rest house could be built at a reasonably high level in East Africa, to which men who were working in the steamy heat and bad atmosphere round the lake could go before they got very ill. There are very good communications; you can get across the lake in a steamer; and a week-end or a few days at a rest house or sanatorium, erected at the cost of a few hundred pounds, with a very small sum for maintenance, would very often enable officials to recover their health before they got very ill, and to return to their work refreshed and greatly helped. In conclusion, I do not think that we have come to the end yet awhile of the demands for rolling stock or for the equipment of the Uganda Railway.
Mr. G. A. LLOYD
The hon. Member opposite says "Hear, hear." The Uganda Railway was rather extravagantly built, but in spite of that pays an adequate return on the capital invested, and I can see no possible reason why you should not in this business, as in any other, put in a certain amount of working capital when you can see a return upon it. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman, as he has seen his way to get a good deal of money for the Crown Colonies and for communications, may be able to go ahead in the future as he has done in the last few years with the re-equipment and the provision of more rolling stock for the Uganda Railway, which I do not think this loan alone will provide adequately. More communications, with more rolling stock, will be of great assistance in the solution of the labour problem, by making it possible to move labour about more rapidly than has been the case in the past.
§ Mr. HARCOURT
I can address the House again only by permission and by their wish; but a certain number of questions have been put to me by hon. Members who have knowledge of the subject and are interested in these three Protectorates, and, in courtesy, I should like an opportunity to answer them. The hon Member for Gravesend (Sir Gilbert Parker), who is unable to be here now, asked whether in the near future there would be an assumption by the Protectorate of the loan which was being made now. I think he was under some misunderstanding. The loan has to be assumed by the Protectorate the moment it is made. It is arranged in the Bill that the repayment is to be made in forty years by the Protectorate alone, with no charge upon the British Treasury or taxpayer. The hon. Member went on to deal with the decision lately given by the High Courts in the East Africa Protectorate on the Masai case. It is not very easy to associate that case with a Loan Bill; but since reference to it has been permitted, I may be allowed to reply. The decision of the High Court has made no difference whatever to the known situation in all these Protectorates, or in any of the Protectorates throughout the world, which have been under well known circumstances under our control and management for many years. A Protectorate is not in law a possession of the country exercising the protectorate over it. A Protectorate admits the administration of the protecting country by international 1855 acceptance. All our Protectorates throughout the world are in that position. The security for this loan is amply sufficient, and no question of security arises in the fact that the advance is being made to a Protectorate. A Protectorate was considered good enough security for a loan as long ago as the year 1899, when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain) carried a Bill through this House making loans to British Crown Colonies, and also to three Protectorates—the Niger Coast Protectorate, the Malay States, and Cyprus—all of which at that time were accepted by this House as sufficient security. I cannot agree with the hon. Member that the annexation of a Protectorate is necessary or desirable. I can certainly see many complications which might quite unnecessarily be raised by such a step being taken at this time.
The hon. Member for the Barnsley Division (Sir J. Walton) mentioned that the interest on the loan was fixed at 2¾ per cent. I think it necessary at once to observe that that 2¾ per cent. is a minimum. It is by no means a fixed rate. The rate at which any particular loan is made must depend on the market conditions at the time at which it is raised by the Loans Commissioners. The hon. Member seemed to imagine that some repayment of the capital expenditure on the Uganda Railway was demanded or intended from the Protectorate. That has never been the case. No demand for the repayment of the capital expenditure has ever been made by this country. The Noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) expressed the wish that a large part of the loan should be spent in East Africa Protectorate, and especially upon rails and rolling stock. As I said in my opening speech, I do not want to tie myself to a definite allocation of the money amongst various works, but I shall not be far from the mark if I say that something like a million pounds out of the whole three millions advanced will be spent in the East Africa Protectorate on rails and rolling stock alone. A sum has already been voted in the Estimates for wharfage at Kilindini. The Noble Lord said that when he was in the district he could not see any signs of its having been spent. I am glad to assure the Noble Lord that it has not been spent at all, but it is in reserve, and will be added to the money provided by this loan in order to provide Wharves at Kilindini against which ships 1856 may safely and usefully lie and discharge their cargoes. The Noble Lord was anxious for tourist facilities, and laid some emphasis on restaurant and sleeper cars. I am afraid that for the present I must take the view that commerce must come before comfort, but, no doubt, the management of the railway will consider the suggestion. The Noble Lord seemed to have some doubt as to the advantage of tourists to the country at all. At all events, they bring money into the district, and in many cases they remain as settlers in the country which they came originally only to visit.
I wish particularly to emphasise the fact that we are not voting public money in this case. We are only authorising a loan to the Protectorates at their own expense. One of my hon. Friends seemed to think that this was an expenditure of public money, as he said that we were providing millions apparently from the British taxpayer. That is a complete misapprehension, which must have arisen from his not having looked at the form of the Bill. What we are finding for the Protectorates is not money, but credit. The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. C. Wason) raised the point as to the reoccupation of the Sessi Islands in the Lake. There has been a great deal of sleeping sickness there, and they were vacated for that reason. Inquiries are being made into sleeping sickness in both Nyasaland and Rhodesia by Committees sitting at the Colonial Office. Those inquiries are still in progress. My hon. Friend the Member for Stirlingshire (Dr. Chapple) is a member of one of those Committees, but whether or not he is in agreement with the rest of his colleagues I cannot say. The whole question of sleeping sickness is a very difficult one, and is still being elaborately inquired into by several agencies. It is only two days ago that I had the honour of a visit from Miss Robertson, who has been in Uganda on behalf of the Royal Society. She is a lady of great scientific attainments, and with splendid courage has been living for months alone with natives in huts in order to make these inquiries. She has brought home results which will be of great value to science and in the inquiries which are now in hand. I must warn hon. Members from running away with the idea that it is anything more than an assumption, and especially that there is any proof that game or domestic animals are necessarily the carriers or the only carriers of sleeping 1857 sickness. The hon. Member for Falmouth raised the point as to the election of members for the Legislative Council. That matter is now under consideration. It did not surprise me to find the hon. Member for East Nottingham opposing elective representation, as usual, Athanasius contra mundum, but I was a little surprised to find the hon. Member for Hanley (Mr. Outhwaite) also denouncing representative institutions when they were so far away from home as East Africa. The hon. Member for East Nottingham asked me a number of questions as to railway extension in Nyasaland. I quite appreciate the delicacy with which he did not probe this question too far, from the private financial interests that he has in that country, and in the railway development. He asked me about the route to be followed by that railway which should extend to the Lake on the north. What I can say is that the route will be that which will be most beneficial to the country, and not a route which will be specially beneficial, or necessarily beneficial, to private interests. I know nothing in detail of the railways in the Portuguese territory of Quillimane to which the hon. Member referred. No doubt his information—as is my own—has been derived from the Press, or possibly from some local correspondents. He seemed to me to doubt my statement that the Grant-in-Aid for Uganda would this year be only £10,000. He said that that could not include the charge for the railway.
First of all, let me point out to the hon. Member that the Uganda Railway is not in Uganda. That is an error into which many people who do not know the country fall. Obviously. therefore, no charge for the Uganda Railway will be made upon Uganda. But, if it was necessary to make one it would be upon the Protectorate through which it passes, which is the East Africa Protectorate. The hon. Member said that he would like to know something about the charge that the Treasury made upon Uganda for the railway. I should have thought that he would have known that there was none; that there has never been an attempt to make a charge for the capital of that railway on the Protectorate through which it passes, and in which it has contributed so much to their prosperity. There was a question put by the hon. Member who spoke last as to the housing of the officials, and a rest house in the highlands. The housing of officials 1858 is of the utmost importance in East Africa and in Uganda. There is no possibility of improving the housing of the officials out of this loan, but the hon. Member will be happy to know that a very considerable amount of money is being taken in the Estimates this year for the improvement of the housing in East Africa. The fact is that the officials have always been ready and willing to sacrifice their own comfort and convenience when it was evident that enough money could not be found for other developments. They have really sacrificed their own accommodation in order that the other works in which they were interested could be pushed on. I hope that these unselfish sacrifices will not be much longer necessary in either of those Protectorates. The rest house in the highlands is certainly a matter which is worthy of consideration. It appeals to me personally, and I will see—though I cannot make any promise—if anything can be done in the matter. I hope, having answered all the questions so far as I could put by hon. Members that the House will not be disinclined to let us have the Second Reading.
§ Mr. GOLDMAN
Can the right hon. Gentleman see his way to indicate the Government policy with regard to the claims of the settlers on the Wasin Gishu plateau for a railway connecting them with the main line to which I referred?
§ Mr. HARCOURT
No, Sir. That cannot be included in this Bill, and I therefore cannot deal with it now.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I regret I cannot fall in with the request of my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary that he should get this Vote at once without it being strictly scrutinised from the standpoint of the Radical economists. The taunts from the other side seem to me to have considerable justification—that there are so very few relics left of the Old Guard and the watchdogs of the public purse who formerly made Governments quake and scrutinise their Estimates severely. I am sorry that on an occasion like this we cannot depend upon the regular Opposition. They, of course, are not likely to reject any scheme which means expending a certain number of millions somewhere in the British Empire. It is quite evident from speech after speech on the opposite side that there is no consideration at all for the British tax-payer. It was simply a question of a certain demand that British gold should be poured into some Colony or some 1859 Dependency; the only controversy of hon. Members opposite is as to whether it should be for railways, or ships, or land, or for sleeping and restaurant cars for travellers.
I submit we are entitled to ask some very plain questions as to why it is that such a large amount of money as £1,855,000 is to be spent in East Africa while it remains only a Protectorate. When we were considering the financial aspect of this the Colonial Secretary very cleverly remarked to us that this was not a definite lean or Grant to the East African Protectorate. We are simply authorising that Protectorate to issue a loan. He says distinctly that he considers it would be a great deal of trouble to annex the country. The bulk of the speeches of hon. Members who have been welcoming this Grant have spoken of the country as if it were our own—as if it were a Colony and under the British Flag. It seems to me to be as much a part of the United Kingdom as Ulster. I cannot reconcile hon. Gentlemen now speaking of the expenditure of this money as if it were a domestic concern; the development of our own business, pushing our own trade and financing our own fellow countrymen—I cannot reconcile those remarks with the position taken up by the Colonial Secretary.
We have had no indication whatever as to what is the real security. We are clearly not first mortgagees. Are we second mortgagees? What have we to depend upon for the return of the millions of money lent at such a small rate of interest? The Colonial Secretary distinctly says this is not a loan of money. Therefore there is no practical responsibility of that kind. We are merely authorising a Protectorate in East Africa to pledge our credit, and not to take our cash. That is a very fine distinction. I do not think the business world will draw it. I am not quite sure that hon. Members here are justified in giving the same value to this distinction as the Colonial Secretary has done. What I would like to point out to the House is this: Whether an annexation be desirable now or not, the granting of a loan of this description makes it a certainty in the future. [An HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear."] We all know what an important part was played in Egypt by the bondholders, and how in the history of every country, not only this Power, but other Powers, have been forced to take over the Government, forced to assert 1860 themselves as the dominant Power, or to absorb the territory within their Empire owing to proposals similar to that in this Bill, namely, the advance of money.
I would like to ask hon. Members opposite who welcome this expenditure whether it is clear in their minds that this Grant authorising the three millions of money will be followed by a rigid British control from Whitehall? If the money is not to be controlled from Whitehall, what becomes of our security? If it is, surely these are Protectorates only in name [An HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear."] Yes, I see hon. Members opposite are quite frank about it. I think it is time for a little plain speaking. If we intend to incorporate this land, and make it an integral part of the British Empire, let us do it openly! I have never been a Little Englander. I have never made light of our possessions abroad, or anything of the kind, but I do ask for straightforward dealing. We have often got a reputation upon the Continent through moves of this kind which I hope we do not altogether deserve. I am perfectly certain there can only be one construction put upon this, not only by any foreign Power, but also by any foreign diplomatist who reads the Debates in this House. The precedent that the right hon. Gentleman quoted, as one might expect, was a Conservative precedent—if we can apply that epithet to the action of the right hon. Gentleman whose absence we deplore, the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Joseph Chamberlain). I am not quite certain that the view is without force, that there was no precedent, but I do not feel sufficiently informed upon the subject to challenge an authority like the right hon. Gentleman. Apparently, however, there is only one precedent, and that precedent is that of a Conservative Government, and of an Imperialistic Colonial Secretary.
The repayment of these sums is to take forty years. I would ask the House what indication has there been given, first, as to which shall be the authority in the next forty years in this country? Are you going to grant self-government in that forty years? Will you have a Parliament of settlers or of natives? If so, will they take over these burdens? I notice a very important sentence in Sub-section (2) of Clause 2 of the Bill. It says:—
"Every Act or Ordinance of the legislative authority of the Protectorate which in any way impairs the validity or priority of any such charge or diminishes 1861 the revenues to be raised as above mentioned shall, so far as it impairs or diminishes the same, be void unless the consent of the Treasury and the Secretary of State has been previously obtained…."
So that we are preparing here for an active veto—not a dead veto! Not something which repairs into the limbo of history. There is an active operative veto which may be called into exercise during the run of those forty years. It may be that already a sort of dummy authority as that exists now. An hon. Member has pointed out, and I think very properly has raised the question, as to having some specific authority, which, while it may not be in accord with European standards, would be the best that could be got in the locality. That is what I understood the hon. Member to mean. I do not join in the comments upon that proposal from this side of the House. I think it was a bonâ-fide suggestion. Whether we give it much or little legislative or administrative power, surely it is contemplated by this very Clause that there is to be legislative authority in the Protectorate, and if it is not to consist of settlers, of whom is it to consist? These are questions which nobody here wants to discuss. The only thing we must do is to vote three millions of money and get to the next business. It may be that the House is exhausted by the quantity of eloquence and repetition in the last few weeks. Now that we have passed away from those great Debates, and have come down to something practical, there has not been a quorum in the House for the bulk of this afternoon. I am not prepared to ask for the count of the House, for I believe that a number of Members would troop in, but the average number in attendance for the last two hours has been twenty-one or twenty-two Members.
What is the meaning of all this? The right hon. Gentleman will forgive me if I take the line that I do at present, for I am a sincere admirer of the way in which he conducts his Department, but his speech in introducing this matter suggested to me that he was taking this as a somewhat easy task that would just slide through the House probably in a few minutes, unless some cantankerous Members, like the right hon. Member for Pontefract, or the hon. Member for East Nottingham, or some hon. Member below the Gangway objected. To my mind it is desirable that the House should realise the relations between this country and East 1862 Africa, where the money is being spent. I do not know that I have any objection to this money if I saw the definite lines of its disposal: if either we control or do not control. If we do not control the country, why should we take responsibility for the country? If we do control the country and intend to do it, why not be straightforward and say so? That, I should have thought, was a vital question. The hon. Member for Gravesend raised it, and it was present in the minds of Members in the House, but the Colonial Secretary said not a word about it. It may be of course that my voice is only a feeble one. I looked forward when I came to this House to joining a party of Radical Economists, but I find they are absent at a time when an opportunity crops up such as to-day. These hon. Gentlemen seem to be bent on saving something in one particular direction in order to spend twice as much in another. The House should scrutinise a Bill like this from the point of view of the taxpayer, simply and solely in order to save any money we can save. I think no case is made out for these £3,000,000. Hon. Members who know the district say it is not sufficient, and that it will do little or no good. The Noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) said the money was altogether too small, and should only be regarded as an instalment. If this is an instalment we should be told so, because we are entitled to ask again, what is the exact relation between this country and that State? As spending it for the purpose of deriving facilities for some industry, or in favour of any particular kind of business, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will do nothing of the kind. I am quite clear—and I would say the same of the party opposite—no Colonial Secretary would spend money of this kind in favour of a particular business without thinking of the community at large. We are entitled to ask where the natives come in? Nobody in this House seems to know what is the population of this district. The hon. Member for Penrith says there are 6,000 whites living in the East African Protectorate. That would mean we were spending £500 on each of these 6,000 whites.
Mr. G. A. LLOYD
The provision for the railway is one of the main reasons for this money. At the present time the natives cannot travel because there is no real rolling stock, and if more rolling stock is provided the natives could move about a little more.
§ Mr. BOOTH
What I was wondering was whether the hon. Member could give us the numbers of the population. I am not sure it is a good thing to move the natives in East Africa. It may be a good thing in this House to send us on a half-day trip, but I do not think it is a good thing to send natives from one district to another where they are not likely to make as good a bargain for their wages, or to move them far away from home. It might lessen their unity in a strike. Neither is it a good thing for the employer. It is not a good thing for the natives to flock together where there are not proper industries. What I am not clear about is, that consideration is shown to the natives. I understand the railway is to be used in order to move natives about so that wages may be brought down. That may be very happy from one standpoint, though it is doubtful whether it is for the good of the natives themselves. Will the railway be used to remove them and their belongings from one part of the country to a neighbourhood more salubrious? I feel these are vain hopes. I should be inclined, as a lesson to the Government not to spend this money without being more particular about the taxpayers, to vote against this loan, but the trouble is that if I did so I might be stopping developments in this district. That is the dilemma. I can only say, from the taxpayers' standpoint, there is not a sufficient case made out for this money. It is perfectly clear it ought to be more or less. Why this figure is fixed upon nobody knows. It is perfectly clear there is no finality any more than in the political connection. I hope my remarks will have this effect upon the Colonial Secretary, that when he comes for the next additional loan he will be a little more frank with the House with regard to this Protectorate and the form of security which it offers.
§ Mr. BARTLEY DENNISS
I think I can say all I have to say in four or five sentences, and incidentally answer the hon. Member for Pontefract. Does he not know that the largest customer of this Protectorate is Lancashire, while with regard to Nyasaland more than half the imports are Lancashire, and with regard to British East Africa more than 30 per cent. of the business is done with Lancashire, and Lancashire depends, and I hope it will depend a great deal more in future, upon the raw cotton imported from this Protectorate? The hon. Member alleges the House has never any consideration for the 1864 British taxpayer when they make a loan or credit to develop trade in Protectorates in the British Empire. Every one of our loans are for the development of manufacture. Not only do we export Lancashire goods and machinery to these Protectorates, but beer and whisky also. What we want this Bill for is to improve the communication and trade facilities. I hope the Colonial Secretary, when he comes to consider trade facilities and what shall be spent for trade facilities, will remember the cotton trade of Lancashire, because there has been such a block upon the railways in this district that it is impossible to import all the raw cotton grown there, and everybody knows that raw cotton is of great importance to Lancashire industries. It is also important to distribute the goods in British East Africa lying there, amounting to half a million of money, because great difficulty exists and is placed in the way of the merchants and traders fostering and encouraging trade there. Every facility, therefore, the Government can give by the spending of this money for improving the communication will be very much to the benefit of Lancashire over and above every other advantage. May I also urge this in answer to the hon. Member for Pontefract—and perhaps he will think this is a stronger argument in favour of the Bill—that the more you develop our cotton-growing countries in the world the more you benefit foreign countries as well; and, as the hon. Gentleman is always in favour of doing what he can for foreign countries, perhaps that will be a consolation to him, and enable him to support this Bill this afternoon if it should go to a Division.
§ Mr. JAMES HOGGE
Some of the most remarkable speeches made in this House are delivered when there are the fewest Members present, and we have listened to one of those from the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. I never heard a more flagrant claim made for the expenditure of public money—
§ Mr. J. HOGGE
For the expenditure of public credit for the purpose of particular industries within an area which the hon. Member and other hon. Members represent in one portion of England. Hon. Members opposite are very fond of accusing us on this side of the House of associating ourselves with Socialistic enterprises. I congratulate the Socialist party on so large an adhesion from the 1865 other side of the House as they have got this afternoon. I have always understood that these great industries ought to be developed by private enterprise. Now I am told, and asked to believe, that the men concerned in the great cotton-growing industry are to be relieved by a Grant of public credit, secured to them by the Colonial Secretary, to enable them to maintain a particular industry in particular parts of this country. I am not in the least sure that that industry deserves this kind of support. I am not aware, for example, that the wages paid in this particular industry are of such a nature as to warrant us making it easier for those engaged in it to secure the raw product.
§ Mr. J. HOGGE
The hon. Gentleman reminds me that some of the best wages paid in England are paid there, but also some of the worst are paid there.
§ Mr. J. HOGGE
There is one point I want to make in criticism of this particular Bill. Hon. Members opposite sink, when it suits them, the individualism of private enterprise and come to the State hoping for a loan. I am not against the expenditure of British credit in this way for many reasons. First of all, I am surprised that the right hon. Gentleman (the Colonial Secretary) has been able to secure this credit from his colleagues on the Front Bench. Many of us would like some amount of credit for other purposes much more helpful to the Empire at home, if we could secure it, and when one finds, as the hon. Member for Pontefract has pointed out, that on a day previous to the House rising for Easter we are asked to agree to a sum of this kind, it rather indicates that the Government themselves are unwilling to have it discussed in the full House of Commons. For instance, there have been many efforts to secure loans for domestic purposes in this country. I will mention two for which credit has been asked to which the Government have never made any response. For instance, take the fishermen in Scotland. They have had a desire for a considerable time to have loans advanced to them—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Gentleman cannot go through the number of persons who would like to have loans. He 1866 can deal with objections to the loan in connection with this Bill.
§ Mr. J. HOGGE
I had no intention of going through them all. I only mentioned one in order to point the argument I was making, and if I am not allowed to mention one, I shall leave it and confine myself to the objection. There are two valid objections to this credit. The first is that it deprives other necessitous cases of similar credit because the Government, having parted with that amount of credit, are unwilling to increase their responsibilities, and I suggest to the Colonial Secretary that there are other objects as important as the object to be achieved by this particular Bill. I notice that the terms upon which this loan is given are very advantageous as compared with loans secured for other purposes quite as important in this country. For instance, the rate of interest is fixed at not less than 2¾ per cent., and a period of forty years is given for the repayment of such advances as are made. Even the method of repayment is given in an alternative way, for the loan can either be repaid by equal instalments of principal or by an instalment of principal and interest combined. I do not know that in this country we are able to get as favourable terms for, say, the development of locomotion in our great cities. Hon. Members will recollect the difficulties experienced in the promotion of a private Bill and the terms imposed upon leans to particular communities. I should like to know why these people are entitled to these advantages, and why they are not given to these local communities.
It has been suggested in this Debate that some of these loans should be devoted to the provision of facilities in these Protectorates for moving about, and it was even suggested that sleeping cars should be provided as part of the rolling stock on the railways concerned in this Protectorate. The Member for Pontefract (Mr. Booth) reminds me that even restaurant cars were suggested as a method by which some of the money should be expended. I should like to remind the Secretary of State for the Colonies that the Member for Suther-landshire (Mr. Morton) has throughout a long life in the House of Commons been trying in the case of every Railway Bill brought before this House to obtain facilities for the provision of sleeping cars on trains between London and Scotland upon terms consonant with the means of the average Scotchman. That has never been 1867 done, and it does seem preposterous that there is not the faintest possibility of some of this money being devoted to that purpose. In looking at this Schedule, I notice the maximum amount to be devoted for this purpose runs into a very considerable sum, something like £3,000,000. It is true that it is not given in actual cash, but in credit. I would like to remind the House that that amount of money represents the excess of income over expenditure in what is taken by the United Kingdom from Scotland. Practically what you are doing by this particular Bill is pledging the surplus revenue of one part of the United Kingdom to a Protectorate which has no connection with this country, and this at a time when the people of this country cannot obtain loans for purposes which I am not now allowed to discuss. These are my objections to this Bill, and I shall vote against it. I hope we shall have a Division. I think it is preposterous to use the credit of the British Empire in this particular way, while there are so many other objects to which this money could be usefully devoted in this country of much more interest to us, and which would develop our own particular countries in a degree which we wish to see them developed instead of this money being devoted to Protectorates which are not under our control.
§ Colonel YATE
I think the House generally would like to join in congratulating the Colonial Secretary upon the satisfactory statement which he has made to-day regarding the proposed improvements in the Uganda Protectorate and on the East Coast of Africa. We may also congratulate ourselves upon the fewness in number of Radical economists in this House of the type of the hon. Member for Pontefract. I am glad to hear that so much money is to be spent upon the Uganda Railway and other improvements. I would like to see more money devoted to such objects. It has been proved to us that imports and exports and trade generally in these Protectorates is enormously increasing, and I hope that this Bill will prove to be a forerunner of others in order that the trade of our various Protectorates may be still further developed just as they would be if they were in the hands of a chartered company with more free access to money. The advantage to us of these Colonies for the supply of cotton and other commodities which we so much require is of vital importance not only to Lancashire, but to the whole country. I protest against the 1868 argument used by hon. Gentlemen opposite that because there is not a certain sum of money granted by loans for certain purposes in this country, no money should be advanced to any of our Protectorates. That is a point of view that cannot hold water, and I trust the House will not listen to any such argument. I hope the Bill will pass, and I congratulate the Colonial Secretary on what he has done for these Protectorates.
§ Sir JOHN JARDINE
I am very much in accord with my hon. and gallant Friend opposite in what he has said. I think this is a case in which the credit of the State may very well be used. With such governments as those existing in Protectorates, there is not much chance of the money being raised in our great cities. The financiers in the City of London would not look very favourably on such a loan, whereas the Government can do it because it has some power over the government of these Protectorates, and they can rely on the principal and interest being well secured and duly repaid. These are new countries. I entirely agree with the hon. Gentleman opposite that such interests as those of cotton growing are to us Imperial. In Manchester immense exertions have been employed by the great cotton spinners to increase the area of cotton cultivation in the Empire. For a long time past the Government here and in India have done what they could to get cotton cultivated in India, and I believe it is being very well cultivated in Uganda and some parts of these other Protectorates. Better communication is urgently needed to establish a complete connection with the sea and the railway, and the improvements in the harbour at Kilindini is very much wanted for a great many purposes of cultivation. When these communications have been made capitalists can get up into these great plains, and they will be able to send their produce down to the sea. Money will then begin to flow into these Protectorates from the ordinary channels by means of arrangements made by capitalists in the City of London. It is very desirable at the start that these developments should be undertaken by the Government, because in this way we get good security for the payment of principal and interest. Indeed I do not see any other way in which it can be done except by adopting this expedient. I think that security has, in all human probability, been supplied, and I shall therefore vote for this Bill.
§ Captain JESSEL
I have a great deal of sympathy with the hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge) and the hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Booth), because they come forward as champions of economy. At the same time they are a little hard on those who are standing for economy on this side of the House. It seems to me a rather extraordinary thing that they should come forward as economists, and at the same time as supporters of a Government that is going to bring in a Budget that cannot be less than £200,000,000, whereas when the Unionists left office in 1906 the Budget was under £150,000,000. I do not want to pursue this theme, because we all agree that the lending of actual money and the pledging of our credit are practically the same thing. There is really no disagreement about that. Another point upon which I wish to express my sympathy is on the ground of socialism, because this, after all, is a form of municipal or State trading. There is another point contained in the speech of the hon. Member for Pontefract which I think is a perfectly fair one. He said that the Colonial Secretary would not say whether this was a Protectorate under British rule or whether it was not. I might point out to the hon. Member that as regards the raising of credit it does not make a very great deal of difference. Not long ago the Government advanced a sum of money to Persia. That is not a Protectorate, and it is under a foreign Government, and I do not think the hon. Member for Pontefract, when the discussion came on about this money being raised from the Treasury Chest Fund, made any objection at all to the action of the Government.
§ Captain JESSEL
I do not know whether the hon. Member voted against it or not. There is another precedent which may appeal to hon. Members opposite, and it is the loan which was made to the Viceroys of Southern China during the Boxer revolution for the purposes of government. The amounts of these loans varied from £150,000 to one Viceroy to £100,000 to another. This, at any rate, is a precedent for lending money to foreign Governments, and there is ample precedent for doing that. It is an empty form of words to say that this British Protectorate is not part and parcel of the British Empire. I cannot quite understand why the Colonial Secretary has not seen somehow to disavow the fact, which must be perfectly 1870 Clear, that this is as much part of the British Empire as Lancashire. The reason this money is being given, rightly or wrongly, is for the benefit of Lancashire. It is to protect the great cotton industry of Lancashire, and, of course, all the Lancashire Members are exceedingly anxious to get this loan and for this Bill to be passed. I wonder hon. Members on the whole on the other side of the House are so keen in voting for this Bill considering what are its objects. I personally approve of it, because it is a growing Protectorate, and there is no doubt that it is important to one of the staple trades of this country, but I think that the followers of the Government will lay themselves open to a charge of inconsistency in this matter—I do not know that matters very much to them, because they are so often inconsistent—if they vote for this Bill. In conclusion, I must say that as this Protectorate goes on increasing, I think there is no reason for the Government to go on pledging our credit. When these developments have taken place, it ought to be put on such a footing that it ought to be able to go to the ordinary sources for getting money. I shall have much pleasure myself in voting for the Bill.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill accordingly read a second time.
§ Bill committed to a Committee of the Whole House for to-morrow (Wednesday).—[Mr. Harcourt.]