§ 13 Mr. MOLTENO
asked the Under-Secretary of State for War (1) whether the system of recruiting of native carriers in East Africa for the Army is voluntary or compulsory; (2) what are the rations provided for the native carriers in East Africa; whether he is satisfied that they are adequate; (3) whether he can give any information as to the medical care provided for the sick and wounded native carriers for the Army in East Africa; what provision is made for ambulance and hospital accommodation for them; and whether he is aware that these casualties are said to amount to an average of over 10,000 per month?
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
The large number of carriers and labourers needed in the Transport and Works services of the East African Expeditionary Force can only be made available, consistently with military efficiency on the one hand and equitable treatment of the native population on the other hand, by applying the principle of compulsion. The precise method of application differs in the several Protectorates and Territories according to the necessities of the case and the special requirements of each locality, but I may say that the procedure adopted has resulted in a minimum of friction and hardship.
The British methods provide for recruiting in the Protectorates and the portions of German East Africa under civil administration by experienced civil officials, working through the authority of the chiefs and headmen.
In the actual area of military operations a certain amount of labour is engaged direct by the Supply and Transport Branch of the Army, but more often through the agency, of special (civil) political officers attached to columns and forces. A thoroughly organised Labour Bureau is in existence.
1721 The pay is substantial, having regard to the customs of the country. Good rations and issues of clothing and equipment are provided. Especially is attention paid to periodical reliefs of personnel. In many cases engagements are only for short periods, but in general "first-line carriers," who actually accompany the fighting troops, and amongst whom discipline is very necessary and experience desirable, are engaged for the duration of hostilities.
§ The scale of rations is as follows:
- l¼ lbs. Flour for flour eaters, or
- 1 lb. Rice for rice eaters;
- ¼ lb. Beans (or ¼ lb. flour in lieu to men who are not bean eaters);
- ¼ lb. Meat;
- ¼ oz. Salt.
§ This ration is considered adequate for average work for natives.
§ I have cabled for information with regard to the medical arrangements, and will let my hon. Friend have the information in due course.
§ The German modus operandi involves the wholesale impressment of villagers, and the chaining together of men, women, and children, for transport or labour. Payment is either nil or made in valueless tokens for the most part, and such as fall out by the way are left to die. The whole system is reported as brutal in the extreme.
§ Commander WEDGWOOD
Would it not be possible to take definite steps for recruiting in German East Africa, and so allow the natives of our own Colonies to have a little rest?
§ Mr. MOLTENO
Has any legislation to authorise compulsory recruiting been passed in British East Africa