§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
I beg to move, at the end of the Question, to add the wordsAnd desire to express our view that the present position of unrest and lawlessness leading to constant breaches of the peace in India is the direct result of the administration of the Secretary of State during the last three years and trust that Your Gracious Majesty's Government will take immediate steps to restore law and order, and to establish the security of life and property in that country.I make no apology for moving this Amendment. The House knows that in November last some friends and myself put down a Motion practically in the same terms complaining of the action of the Secretary of State in regard to the conduct of Indian affairs. At the request of the Government, and for reasons of public policy, that Motion was not proceeded with. The Prime Minister, at the opening of Parliament on Tuesday last, agreed that it was desirable that there should be a Debate on India, and consequently we are now, I think, at liberty to discuss fully the position in India, and more particularly the effect of the action of the Secretary of State upon the administration of the Indian Government. I do not disguise from myself that the Amendment is in effect a vote of censure upon the Secretary of State himself for his actions during the last two years. We have had no Debate for two years past, and I think it is highly desirable 866 that we should face him across the Floor of the House and that he should give his defence, if he is able to do so, and, if possible, convince the country that his administration of India has been really in the interests both of India and of this country.
In the first place, may I say that it is largely the gravamen of my case against the right hon. Gentleman that he has used his position as a Liberal Minister in a Coalition Government to govern India in accordance with Liberal and Home Rule ideas, and we do not feel that that is a fair position for a Minister in a Coalition Government to take up. There are very strong views honestly held on both sides of the House as to what is the best form of government for India. The right hon. Gentleman, not merely by legislation—I am not discussing that this afternoon—but by administration, has pursued a line of conduct which is not in accordance with the views of a considerable number of Conservatives in this House and, I believe, universally of Conservatives outside the House. The right hon. Gentleman holds—and he is quite entitled to his opinion—that a Government, though bad, if free is better than a Government, though good, if autocratic. That is a perfectly understandable position, that it is desirable at the earliest possible moment to give to every country a free democratic Government. On the other hand, my friends and myself hold the view that in a country like India it is far more important to give them good government, though it be autocratic, than to give them free government. There, of course, is the great difference of opinion, the main line of cleavage, between the two schools of thought in this matter, and I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman has followed the school of thought of the Liberal party, without the assent of the great bulk of the Conservative party who have loyally supported the Coalition in the last two years.
I have suggested two points in my Amendment. The second, which I propose to deal with first, is in regard to the present position of India, and the other is as to the responsibility of the right hon. Gentleman for that position. I am not going to discuss the legislation. Many of us did not like it and feel that the reforms were brought forward at a time when India was not ripe for them, but we have accepted the and there- 867 fore my charge against the right hon. Gentleman is not that he brought in those reforms, but since then he has consistently by his conduct encouraged the extreme party in India, that he has failed to take the steps, or to authorise or request the Government of India to take the steps, which they might, could, and should have done to maintain law and order in that country. It is very simple to find out the position of India to-day. You have only got to take Lord Curzon's statement in another place last week:The situation is anxious and menacing. The time has arrived when respect for the law must be enforced in India.Is it not rather remarkable that the Noble Lord should say that the time has now arrived when respect for law and order must be enforced? Surely respect for the law should have been enforced for three years past; surely respect for the law should always be enforced, either in India or any other country, but the right hon. Gentleman opposite prefers not to respect the law but to dig into the Indian minds and stir them up, I think his expression was, "from their pathetic contentment." He has done it very effectively, but even there he is beaten by his friend Gandhi. The right hon. Gentleman might have left it to Gandhi and the extremists. The position to-day is this. There is Lord Curzon's statement. The Moplah rebellion is just over, but at least 2,500 Moplahs have been killed by our troops, at least 1,000 Hindus were murdered, and at least 1,000 more were forcibly converted to Mahommedanism, not a pleasant process when the conversion takes place at the hands of a Moslem mob. The position of affairs during the Prince of Wales' visit is now becoming known, and there is no harm in mentioning it to-day. It was His Royal Highness's great personal popularity that carried him through India with the same popularity and the same rejoicing that he gets wherever he goes, but behind that popularity, behind these rejoicings, we now know what has taken place. In Bombay, when he arrived, there was an orgy of rioting for four days, and according to the official account, which I will take as accurate, 58 persons were killed, including 5 British and Americans, and 3 police, and 381 were seriously injured, including 83 police; Europeans, Christians, and Parsees were assaulted 868 and insulted; temples and churches were defiled and damaged, and property to the value of £250,000 was destroyed. These were in the midst of rejoicings that welcomed the Heir to the Throne on his landing at Bombay. At Calcutta the same day there was a hartal, or general strike, in the commercial capital of India. May I read the description, curiously accurate, written a few days before in a private letter, dated 16th November, 1921?:I do not know which I feel most, anger and contempt for the so-called Government, which, ceasing to govern, have allowed the country to drift to the terrible position it is in to-day, or pity for the masses, the rash, ignorant masses of India, who, through the wickedness of seditionists and the puerile weakness of the Government are being led to the inevitable slaughter.This is from a business man in Calcutta:To-morrow, to celebrate the arrival of the Heir to the Throne, the 'Raj' ceases to exist here and Swaraj mob or Khilafat rule takes its place. This is not a stupid joke … but just a simple fact. The Mahatma declared a complete hartal, and complete hartal it will be. The great market on which Calcutta's millions depend for their daily bread will not open, because it would mean death to any stallholder who dared to disobey the order of the new rulers, the real Government... The front and rear of the few trains allowed to run in Calcutta are enclosed with heavy wire netting to protect the drivers and their police escort from Swaraj non-violent bricks! The day before yesterday the tramways proposed to reopen another line closed by the strikers, or rather by the Khilafat army, but the latter would have none of it, and reinforcements only arrived in the nick of time to save the police from destruction. The Assistant-Commissioner of Police was rescued with difficulty, so injured that he may be hurt for life.I had the privilege of seeing a letter written a few days after, in the ordinary course of business, by the manager of a large insurance company at Calcutta to the head office in London, in which he described exactly these things as having taken place, how his own clerks and typists were pulled off their bicycles, torn from the tramways, and could not get to the office, and how the whole of the capital of India on that day was under the control of the Gandhi mob. I need not quote from private letters, for I think the House will be prepared to accept the views of the correspondents of the great newspapers. I will not quote the "Morning Post," and I could quote the "Daily Telegraph," but let me quote one paper which has always, up to the present, sup- 869 ported the right hon. Gentleman. I mean the "Times," which has been a strong supporter of the Indian position as laid down by the right hon. Gentleman, a strong supporter of the reform scheme, and this is what the "Times" correspondent says on the 23rd January:It is useless to pretend that the situation in India is not most serious. It becomes daily more difficult to find anyone who believes in an ultimate solution without what is euphemistically known as trouble. The outstanding fact is this, that having spent two months moving about India from Bombay to Burma and from Lahore to Madras, talking with people of all races and conditions, I have failed to find one single person who sees any peaceful way out. What is also certain is that during those two months the clouds have grown much blacker and the situation snore tense.I hate saying "I told you so," but the right hon. Gentleman opposite will remember that when I returned from India two years ago I told him practically the same thing. He knew then from an observer who perhaps did not know much of India, but who travelled as this man did, seeing all kinds of people, from the governing classes down to the reformers themselves, and the conclusion I got from everyone with whom I came in contact was that the position in India was grave, was bound to be graver, and that very serious steps would have to be taken. It is not merely the "Times" newspaper. The "Daily News," of all papers in the world, has received a telegram from its correspondent in India. Its correspondent says:In Assam, Europeans are being boycotted, and get no food or servants. Agitators are leading the masses to believe that the British Government has ended. Gandhi is now king of Calcutta, and the north of the city is unsafe for Europeans. The situation is much the same in Madras and Bombay.I could go on quoting from what I think I might call the most radical newspaper in the country to-day—certainly one of them—a newspaper which was a full and ardent supporter of the right hon. Gentleman until recently in his reform scheme. Now you get the correspondents of every single newspaper telegraphing and saying in so many words what Lord Curzon said in another place only a week ago, that the position is now so menacing that law and order must be restored. The Madras Government only a fortnight ago issued an official communiqué stating:Civil disobedience in parts of the Gunter area of Madras is so serious that practical measures are required.870 In other parts of the United Provinces there were Islam riots, 72 were arrested, and there was an organised refusal to pay taxes going on in parts of Bengal. In Assam there was trouble in the tea, gardens, and attacks were made upon Europeans. I have sent the right hon. Gentleman cases in regard to that, and he knows the way in which British people, living far away from troops and in many cases far from police, who have for years upheld the position of the British Raj, have been respected throughout their gardens and have been the friends of their coolies are now being attacked in place after place. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman knows that both in India and in England the most serious view is taken of the position of the tea industry owing to the lack of law and order in that part of India. Quite recently the Ali brothers were sentenced to two years imprisonment, and we heard at Question time to-day that Lajpat Rai was also sentenced to two separate terms of imprisonment and has been let out in order to be prosecuted again. Lajpat Rai, who was let out not long ago, who was permitted by the right hon. Gentleman to return to India, is the man who in America was the head and forefront of the German-Indian propaganda, who received money from Germany to spend in America in order to create disturbances in India. The whole of the facts are known. It is known that a great deal of the Indian disturbance was engineered from America by Germany through the agency of Lajpat Rai, who seems to pop in and out like a jack-in-the-box according as the right hon. Gentleman opposite thinks a little more clemency is desirable to these people who are disturbers of the peace in India. The Ali brothers have had their two years of imprisonment, and have been out again. They are the originators of the Committee which has done so much from one end of India to the other to create disturbance.
Let me go a step further. Within the last month in the Punjab Legislature the Government Secretary said that for the last six months public speakers had made personal appeals to race hatred. They had made definite assertions that the Sikhs would take back their government. Fifty-two meetings were held in one week at Lahore, the capital of the Punjab, of a seditious nature in the early part of this year. At Hardoi, near Lucknow, at the 871 end of last year Mr. Baker, the police superintendent, going back in the evening after dinner with the Deputy-Commissioner, was assaulted, shot at and seriously wounded. That sort of thing would have been impossible in India five years ago. Whether one takes one part of India or another, from East to West or from North to South, you will find sporadic trouble, sporadic murders and sporadic riots going on. I do not believe the country understands the position at which India has arrived during the Government of the right hon. Gentleman. I am quoting from official sources. In the Legislative Council at Lucknow on the 24th of last month Sir Ludovic Porter, a member of the Government, declared that Gandhi's mad movement threatened the country with anarchy. Gandhi is a friend of the right hon. Gentleman. He told us he was proud to call Gandhi his friend. Sir Ludovic Porter went on:So far from the movement losing in strength I do not hesitate to say it has gone on gaining strength. So far from the movement being on the verge of collapse as certain optimists stated to-day—He must have been thinking of the right hon. Gentleman, who implored us to trust and see whether this movement did not fail of its own accord:So far from the movement being on the verge of collapse as some optimists stated to-day, it is increasing in vigour.I think the House will agree that I have proved one of the points of my Amendment. The position in India to-day is bad, and it is essential that the Government should take the necessary steps to restore law and order in that country. If there is any further proof required, the "Daily Telegraph" to-day reports a speech of Sir William Vincent, who occupies the position of Home Secretary in the Legislative Council at Delhi. He recapitulates, almost as I have recapitulated, some of these statements, and this is a remarkable statement from Sir William Vincent, who should know better even than the right hon. Gentleman:Mr. Gandhi's supporters were responsible for the terrible loss of life in Malabar.The supporters of Mr. Gandhi, the friend of the right hon. Gentleman, the man who ought to have been locked up two or three years ago, and on the shoulders of the Government which refused to lock him up more than on Mr. Gandhi's shoulders himself are those 3,000 lives lost in Malabar. 872There have been 34 outbreaks of disorder of a serious character within a year. It has been necessary within a year to call out the military to suppress serious disorder 47 times. During the last three months military assistance has had to be invoked no less than 19 times.I will quote one more sentence, and I think the House will agree that there is a case for the right hon. Gentleman to answer. Sir Harcourt Butler, the Governor of the United Provinces, one of the best known officials in the whole of the Indian Civil Service, says:It is quite clear to me that we are on the verge of widespread trouble.This is rather a remarkable statement from the Governor, who is himself an official of the Indian Government, who is under Lord Reading, who is under the Secretary of State:I do not hesitate to tell you that if the Government trifles with the present situation you will probably soon find your life, your property, and your honour in danger.There is the statement of one of the ablest men in the Government of India to-day, a man who has had great experience, and has known India for over 30 years.
That being the position, I have now to prove, if I can, before I can carry my Amendment, that the right hon. Gentleman is responsible for this position of affairs. Under the recent Reform Act, as all through the history of India, the responsibility lies with the Secretary of State for the Government of India. That is perfectly clear. Behind the Secretary of State is this House. If we allow the position to go on after to-day, after all these facts are known and made public, we shall take over that responsibility from the right hon. Gentleman. I want to fix him with the responsibility to-day. It is quite true that he has had a testimonial over the wires this morning. There was a debate in the Legislative Assembly yesterday where all the non-official members led by some of the extremists in that Assembly proposed the Adjournment of the House in order that they might consider this particular Amendment which is before our House to-day, and they one and all passed encomiums on the right hon. Gentleman, that he was the most wonderful man who had ever ruled India, and that they would regard it as an affront to India if we were to pass this Amendment. He was the most popular man in India. I do not deny that he is the most popular man with the extremists. If 873 Gandhi is a friend of his, he is a friend of Gandhi. I do not deny that for a moment. I do not deny that all the extremists from one end of India to the other would desire him to remain Secretary of State and to remain at the head of the supine policy which has led India to the position it is in to-day. It is rather curious that we have had this debate in India, and that Sir William Vincent, in order to placate the extremists in India, instead of standing up to them and dealing fairly and firmly with them, said he would send a clear-the-line telegram to the right hon. Gentleman in order to reassure him before the debate came on in this House. I hope the right hon. Gentleman has received the telegram. I hope it will buoy him up. Though we may not agree with him here, I suppose he will say he is satisfied with the testimonial he has received from his friends in India.
I have to prove that the right hon. Gentleman all through these three years knew what was taking place in India. This has not been a thing of the last month or two, nor even of the last year. Almost his first act, or almost the first act which was committed of importance by the Indian Government after the right hon. Gentleman was appointed Secretary of State, was to let out an agitator in the shape of Mrs. Besant. I will not deal with that case. My Amendment deals with three years. May I go then to the year 1919. From the beginning of the year 1919, if I had time, I could read the list of attacks on Englishmen, of riots, of sedition from one end of India to the other, which compelled the Indian Government to pass what are known as the Rowlatt Bills to give them more power against sedition. I ask the House to note these dates. In February, 1919, Gandhi issued his famous manifesto in favour of passive resistance against the Rowlatt Bill. This was followed by agitation and disorder all through the spring of 1919. The right hon. Gentleman must know it, he gets reports from India every week, and I suppose he also gets letters. At Delhi there was a hartal under Mr. Gandhi's orders, where there was loss of life and riot, followed by rebellion in the Punjab. I will not deal with that now. The House dealt with it very fully 18 months ago. The right hon. Gentleman made a speech on that occasion which did not please a great number 874 of members of the Conservative party. In the discussion on the Rowlatt Bill in this House, I want to call attention to the right hon. Gentleman's speech, because I am trying to prove that he knew what was going on in India. This is what he said:The Rowlatt Act was necessary, ought to have been passed and could not have been avoided. Evidence accumulates every day that there is in India a small body of men who are the enemies of Government, men whom any government, bureaucratic or democratic, alien or indigenous, if it was worthy the name of government, must deal with."—[OFFICAL REPORT, 22nd May, 1919; col. 627, Vol. 116.]He went on to mention in that speech that Gandhi was his friend. He did not tell us whether Gandhi was one of those men, alien or indigenous, with whom a Government must deal. He knew there was that conspiracy against British rule in India. After those strong words the reform scheme was passed, and what was the result? It was followed by a general amnesty of the very men against whom the Rowlatt Act was passed—the very men who were imprisoned by the Indian Government for sedition and for riot from one end of the country to the other, and hundreds of these convicted rebels were let out by the right hon. Gentleman. All restrictions on the liberty of malcontents were removed, violent newspapers of an anti-British character were established, and then the Ali brothers, who had been imprisoned for attempting to assist the Amir of Afghanistan, were let out. I will read a statement issued by the Government of India on the 8th June, 1919, with respect to the Ali brothers:Since the frontier campaign indisputable proofs have reached the Government of India that these brothers are making every effort to induce Moslems in India to assist the Amir of Afghanistan in his hostilities against His Majesty the King Emperor.These are the men who shortly afterwards were let out. Let out, I am sure, with the right hon. Gentleman's assent. I do not know whether it was by his suggestion that there should be a general amnesty, but it is perfectly clear that Lord Chelmsford, who was the Viceroy at that time, would not of his own initiative have granted a general amnesty. No Viceroy would have done that. It would be impossible without the assent of the right hon. Gentleman. These men were let out. The result of this action 875 was not long in doubt. At Christmas a congress met at Amritza, when violent speeches were made and great demands made. Placating your enemies does no good in India or elsewhere. There is too much of it in this House, but we are a democratic people and can take it at its face value. In India it was taken as a sign of weakness, and the very men who were let out demanded the recall of Lord Chelmsford. These Ali brothers, fresh from gaol, at once started a Khilafat campaign, with Gandhi's help. In January, 1920, the right hon. Gentleman went to Paris to state at the Peace Conference the views of Indian Moslems in regard to the Khilafa question, and the position in Turkey. The proper course would have been for the Imperial Government to have said at once: "The question of peace with Turkey is an Imperial question and will be decided on Imperial grounds, and we are not prepared to be dictated to by the Moslems in India. We are not prepared to allow Mohammed Ali, an avowed enemy of the King Emperor." The right hon. Gentleman looks at me in amazement. Surely I am right in what I have said. It is a statement by the Government of India that he was an enemy of the King Emperor. I do not mean to say that he had been tried, but on the definite statement of the Government of India he was an enemy of the King Emperor, carrying on a campaign against the British Government and openly advocating assistance to the King's enemies. That man came over here and was received by the right hon. Gentleman. Then the right hon. Gentleman went to Paris and put his views before the Paris Conference. I happened to be staying at that time with one of the great Indian Chiefs—a Mahommedan chief. At his table I had a long conversation with his Ministers, and I put to them this question:If it be certain that the position of Great Britain demands that Turkey should be dismembered; if we may say to you that the Imperial interests demand that, are you prepared to keep your State in order, and can you give the British Government an undertaking that there shall be no outrage there.Of course, I bad no authority, but I was competent to put that question as an inquirer. The answer of the Prime Minister of that great State was this:We can and will control the State.876 It is a Mahommedan State. There has been no trouble in that State from that day to this. The Khilafate agitation goes on outside and not inside the native States. The condition of things in the native States is very different from that in the British States of India. In the British States, through the mistaken clemency of the right hon. Gentleman and his late Viceroy, there is agitation and bloodshed. There is nothing of the kind in the native States. It does not and cannot exist. One of the Prime Ministers of another native State made an interesting statement on this subject. I said to him:How is it you have no agitation in your State?He looked at me and said:Agitation! I know when an agitator is coming, and one of my staff meets him at the railway station and says: 'Good morning, Good afternoon,' and he goes back.Is not there a row?" I asked.Not in my State," was the reply. "The row takes place in the British State.That is the sort of Government which India recognises, and that is why you have a condition of happiness and contentment among the people in the native States, as compared with the condition of affairs under the democratic rule of the right hon. Gentleman in the other States. It may be that some hon. Members think that the form of Government in the native States is autocratic. It is the form of Government that India has had for 2,000 years. It is the form of Government that India understands, and it takes place in a part of the country where the right hon. Gentleman has not been able to stir up "pathetic discontent." Soon after that, for the first time for many years, an English officer, Mr. Willoughby, Deputy-Commissioner, was brutally murdered in the United Provinces. Then came the Congress at Calcutta, with Lajpat Rai in the chair; Lajpat Rai, a German spy. There were resolutions passed demanding the recall of Lord Chelmsford; more resolutions demanding the punishment of Sir Michael O'Dwyer, the Governor of the Punjab; more resolutions demanding, not reforms, but complete independence for India; and more resolutions demanding non-co-operation and boycott. Then came the attempt to seduce Indian troops at Dinapar. In all Oriental countries it has always been one of the greatest crimes to attempt to seduce troops. There were 877 political strikes in many parts of Bombay. At Delhi two agitators had to be prosecuted. The trial took place in gaol, at Rohtak, presumably because the authorities were afraid of a demonstration. Gandhi and the Ali brothers went down, and outside the gaol they held a meeting and repeated, categorically, the very words for which the two unfortunate youths inside the prison were being tried. They said:There are men inside this gaol being tried for seditious language. We repeat that language, and we challenge the Government to arrest us.Not a bit of it. The right hon. Gentleman and his Indian advisers thought it better to leave them alone. The two men inside were not the friends of the right hon. Gentleman. They were two poor dupes, who had followed the advice of Gandhi and the Ali brothers. They were imprisoned, while the Ali brothers and Gandhi remained outside. Their challenge was not taken up, and they remained masters of the situation. I want to call attention to another official statement as to the position in 1921. It is a statement by the Indian Government:Although in their opinion the movement is unconstitutional, in that it has as its object the paralysis and subversion of the existing administration of the country, the Government have hitherto refrained from instituting criminal proceedings. … Its principal exponents have frankly avowed that their object is to destroy the present Government, to dig up the foundations of the British Government in India, and they have promised their followers that, if only their gospel be generally accepted, India shall be self-governing and independent within a year—The Government hope that by leaving things alone they will improve—It is in this trust that they have refrained in the past, so far as is consistent with the public duty, from repressive action, for they consider that such action should only be employed in the last resort when, indeed, failure to adopt it would be a criminal betrayal of the people.When did it become a criminal betrayal? I suggest that it was a criminal betrayal all through 1919, all through 1920, and all through 1921, and to-day it is a criminal betrayal of every white man in India. It is a still more criminal betrayal of every white woman in India that this condition of affairs should go on. At that time Shaukat Ali went about saying that the British Army was ready to rise. His brother said that the British Empire 878 was dead and buried. Lajpat Rai said that India had full right to raise an armed rebellion.
I have not time to deal with the Moplah campaign, but I want to deal with the action, or rather, the inaction, of the Government in regard to it. In September, 1920, the Government of Madras was warned not to allow Gandhi to go down to Malabar. I presume that the Madras Government sent that to the Indian Government at Simla, and that the Indian Government would communicate that fact to the right hon. Gentleman. No steps were taken to prevent Gandhi going to Malabar. A warning was given by the collector at Malabar. I think Lord Willingdon said that they had warnings of what was going to take place. Simla declined to interfere. Gandhi went with Shaukat Ali. The Ali brothers and Lajpat Rai with Gandhi occur all through the history of Indian sedition. An enormous procession round Calicut had to be protected by the police but, fortunately, no disturbance took place. In February Yakab Hussan, secretary to the Central Khilafat Committee, came down, but the meetings were prohibited. There were over 1,000 persons who had to be arrested then. That was before the rebellion broke out. In February, again, a mob of 15,000 people in a Khilafat procession necessitated the calling out of the troops but, fortunately, firing was not necessary. The mob was broken up by the use of the butt end of the rifle. That was before the Moplah rebellion. I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman knew of that.
The agitation went on and in May the Ali brothers went down to Erode and made inflammatory speeches. An official report was taken, and I presume that it was sent to Madras, Simla, or Delhi, and I presume that it was sent on here. At all events the right hon. Gentleman would have information that inflammatory speeches were being delivered in inflammatory districts where the officials in charge had asked that the agitators should not be allowed to enter. In 1919 troops were removed from Malapuran, where the rebllion broke out. They were removed against the protest of the Madras Government, and as a result there were no troops when the fatal rebellion broke out. That rebellion was anti-Government, then anti—white man, then anti-white woman, and then it became anti- 879 Hindu. We know that murders took place in that great region, conversions, and great cruelty. Men and women were thrown down wells until the wells were full to the top with dead and dying. Every kind of horror which I dare not describe in this House took place. The right hon. Gentleman must have known. He must have been on the horns of a dilemma. Either he knew or did not know, or he shut his eyes to what was going on in India in these last three years. To-day, after all that has occurred, Gandhi volunteers are at work in India just the same as ever. Last week 21 policemen and watchmen were murdered at Gorakhpur. At Bareilly the town hall was attacked, and the police had to fire on the mob. Again, last week the Indian Government stated:The issue is no longer between this and that programme for political advance, but between lawlessness with all its dangerous consequences on the one hand, and on the other hand the maintenance of those principles which lie at the root of civilised government. Mass disobedience is fraught with such danger to the State that it must be met with sternness and severity.Is the right hon. Gentleman going to meet it with sternness and severity? Perhaps he will explain whether a little more sternness one or two years ago would not have avoided all the bloodshed and murders, including the Moplah rebellion, with a loss of life of at least 10,000 people, which have happened in India during the last two years. The right hon. Gentleman could have avoided a great deal of that if it had not been for his mistaken idea of letting the fire burn itself out and making friends with Gandhi and his sort. The right hon. Gentleman was asked many times in this House why he did not show more wisdom in his instructions. He was the man far away who could see in better perspective, perhaps, than the Indian Government. It was his duty to tell that Government what he must have known from every man who came back from India. Did he make any effort to tell the Indian Government or did he tell Lord Reading of the need for sterner measures until at last the Indian Government itself issued this statement; and at that very time Gandhi was demanding that the Government should do penance and 880 release all political prisoners and asking for the evacuation of Egypt by Great Britain and for full dominion status for India.
Is such a country as I have described fit for full Dominion self-government? Is it likely to be fit for it for many years to come? Is it likely that a continent split up into different countries, with internecine feuds going on for thousands of years, is ever likely to be united in such circumstances that it could be fit for Dominion government? We send out our young men to India, to the Army. We also send out to India the finest Civil Service which the world has ever seen. The right hon. Gentleman has broken the heart of the Civil Service. Sir William Vincent is my authority for the statement that, at the last examination of candidates held in England, there were only three Englishmen who passed the examination out of 86. They were nearly all Indians. Men who have been in the Indian Civil Service will not send their sons into it. They will not be Indianised by the right hon. Gentleman. They know him and his steps, month by month and year by year, towards Indianising the Service in India, the Medical Service above all others. By this very mail I heve received two letters from India. One civilian in a high position says:I would be willing to turn my hand to any mortal thing in decent surroundings, which India does not provide to-day. I feel that I would sooner starve than stay in an official capacity in this country much longer. We are in a remote district with one other white person. The whole country is seething with disaffection. There is a most unhappy atmosphere.I have one other letter from a civilian of very high standing who in regard to his son-in-law, says:My son-in-law is a civil servant of eight years' service. He is going to spend his leave trying to get some sort of a job that would help him to eke out his premature pension as a conscientious objector to the right hon. Gentleman's administration. There are many others who are in the same state.In all that I have to say against the right hon. Gentleman's administration, I cannot refer to anything worse than his treatment of the Indian Civil Service, a service which has fought not only for British prestige and dominion in India, but has fought for the rights of the under dog in India, for the rights of the 300,000,000 illiterate men in India. 881 There are only 1,500,000 educated people in India, and the right hon. Gentleman is siding with the educated people in trying to stir up the 300,000,000 people to discontent. I hope that the House will not be terrorised by the position in India. Even to-day I believe that it is not too late if the right hon. Gentleman will move rapidly. [HON. MEMBERS: "Resign!"] I am assuming that the right hon. Gentleman will still remain—[HON. MEMBERS: "No!"]—even though there is a very large body of opinion against his doing so. I have tried to give the House a statement from Indian and official sources as to the present position, and I would ask the House to believe that both inside and outside this House Great Britain is still proud of the work which she has done in India, and proud of the Civil Service which she has given to that great country, and that she still regards India as the brightest jewel in the British Crown.
§ Mr. GWYNNE
I rise to second the Amendment, which has been moved in a speech of great lucidity, force, and moderation.
I imagine that there is only one controversial sentence in this Amendment. That is the one which places responsibility for the present deplorable state of India on the administration of the Secretary of State. I do not suppose that the Government deny that there are unrest and disturbance in India, or that immediate steps must be taken to restore law and order. That they realise the seriousness of the situation is, I think, indicated by the fact that we are honoured this afternoon by the presence of the Prime Minister. He is always called in when the majority of the Coalition is in doubt, to rally together their supporters. If the Government do not like the terms of the Amendment which has been put down by the hon. Baronet and myself, I think that they would like still less the Amendment which is down on the Paper in the name of the Labour party.
That party have suddenly evolved a sense of humour. The hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Spoor) has put down an Amendment which regrets that there is no Measure of appeasement and conference in India such as has had such a successful issue in Ireland. I notice that recently the Lord Chancellor and the Colonial Secretary stated that the Labour 882 party were not fit to govern. I rather agree with that statement, but I am bound to say that if I were a member of the Labour party I would object strongly to be told so by the Gentlemen who have given us this illustration of how to govern Ireland. I think that the answer which the hon. Member has put down in his Amendment is a better one than that which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes) endeavoured to give the other day on a public platform. If it rests with those of us who drew this Amendment to prove our case that the Secretary of State is directly responsible for the present state of affairs in India, I, for one, cannot be charged with inconsistency in putting forward that view.
I have made a special study of the career of the right hon. Gentleman. I have followed it with some interest, if with some dismay, and though I do not feel like saying "I told you so," I can claim that I have pointed out to the House, from the earliest times, what would be the result of the right hon. Gentleman's policy in India. If he objects to my criticising his policy, he must not forget that not very long ago he criticised the policy of the India Office. I remember in this House, during the War, after the right hon. Gentleman had left the Coalition in company with the right hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith), listening to him criticising the right hon. Gentleman who is now Leader of the House for his administration in India, and he said:The system by which we have governed India in the past is not efficient. Unless you are prepared to remodel in the light of modern experience this century old and cumbrous machinery, I verily believe that you will lose your right to control the destinies of the Indian Empire. Your executive system has broken down because it is not constituted for the complicated duties of modern government.Within a very few weeks of that speech the right hon. Gentleman was appointed Secretary of State and started on remodelling the whole Government of India and doing away with what he referred to as the old cumbrous system. It is not without interest to note that during that process, during the last three years, there have been more bloodshed, more disturbance, and more destruction of property than in the preceding 60 years under the old cumbrous system. The right hon. Gentleman when he comes to reply 883 no doubt will say: "I am not personally responsible. I am merely the mouthpiece of the Government." I say that the right hon. Gentleman is peculiarly responsible personally. The very first act which he did when he assumed office was to state in this House that a form of self-government would be given to India, and he said that in such a way that we were told afterwards that, if we repudiated it, it would be a breach of faith. The right hon. Gentleman was not authorised to make that statement, either by this House, or, as I believe, at that time by the Cabinet.
§ Mr. GWYNNE
We were in the middle of the War, in the darkest days of the War. Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that the members of the Government or any half-dozen Members of this House even were in a mood or in a position carefully to consider these changes? No. No one must be allowed to share the glory of the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman. It is his and his alone. He indeed it was who was the author of the celebrated phrase that he was setting out deliberately to disturb the "pathetic contentment" of the Indian race. The right hon. Gentleman reminded us lately that India is a vast country. It is almost inconceivable the pace with which he has been able to inoculate the whole of that vast territory with the virus of discontent. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman will say, when he comes to answer, as he has done time after time in this House, "I leave all these matters, as I always have left them, to the Government of India and the local Governments." I must state quite frankly to the right hon. Gentleman I cannot accept that. I have had proofs, time after time, of his interfering with the local Government of India, of having put on pressure. After all, an expression of opinion by the Secretary of State sent out to India is virtually a command. Why, the very first expression he gave on assuming office was to send out a telegram to the Viceroy saying that those who had been interned in Madras for stirring up agitation and disloyalty should be liberated, so as to create a good atmosphere for his forthcoming tour in India. Is that the way he leaves questions of self-government to the Govern- 884 ment of India? No, Sir. During the right hon. Gentleman's tenure at the India Office time after time I have seen him using his influence on behalf of the agitators and discouraging the loyal population in India.
But even if we did accept his statement, that he leaves all these matters entirely to the local governments and the Government of India, he and his Office are responsible to us. That method which the right hon. Gentleman has adopted of trying to put on other people the blame which he ought to take for himself is not fair. It is not English. If you attempted to do that sort of thing at school you were considered a sneak. The right hon. Gentleman holds office at the present time by reason of the fact that his predecessor, the present Leader of the House, gave it up because a muddle was made by some of those who were acting under him, and he took the responsibility. It is unfair to suggest that the Leader of the House, when he resigned from the position of Secretary of State for India, was really the person responsible for the trouble and muddle in Mesopotamia. He realised, however, there had been an unfortunate muddle there and that, as Secretary of State, he was responsible, so he resigned. Not so with the right hon. Gentleman. The appalling muddle which has been taking place in India during his tenure of office would have caused any ordinary individual to resign 20 or 30 times, but he sits there unmoved, putting the blame on anyone he can, breaking a soldier here, sacking a civilian there, doing anything to save his own skin. I would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman if he does not think himself very largely responsible for the amazing career of Mr. Gandhi. I will just read a passage from the Secretary of State's reference to Mr. Gandhi, which has already been referred to by the hon. Member for Twickenham (Sir W. Joynson-Hicks). Mr. Gandhi had stirred up all the troubles over the Rowlatt Acts. He had been proved to be responsible for the loss of hundreds of lives. Sir Michael O'Dwyer had ordered, and rightly ordered, Mr. Gandhi to go out of the Punjab. That was in April. At that moment Mr. Gandhi had lost his influence in the country. His agitation had failed. The riots in the Punjab had been put down. 885 What did the right hon. Gentleman do? Within a week or 10 days after the order removing Mr. Gandhi from the Punjab the right hon. Gentleman, with the full authority of his position as Secretary of State, gets up in the House of Commons and makes this speech:I cannot do better, in describing this body of men, than quote the words of a very great and distinguished Indian, Mr. Gandhi. There is no man who offers such perplexity to a Government as Mr. Gandhi, a man of the highest motives and of the finest character, a man whom his worst enemy, if he has any enemies, would agree is of the most disinterested ambitions that it is possible to conceive, a man who has deserved well of his country by the services he has rendered, both in India and outside it, and yet a man who his friends, and I would count myself as one of them, would wish would exercise his great powers with a greater sense of responsibility."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd May, 1919; cols. 628–9, Vol. 116.]What effect would a speech like that telegraphed to India have? How difficult it would make it for those who were trying to maintain law and order in India. But it did not rest there. In July, 1920, after another of Mr. Gandhi's appalling disturbances, I asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he proposed to take any steps? The right hon. Gentleman said this Government did not see fit to prosecute Mr. Gandhi in view of the fact that, in a public speech, he had expressed his deep sorrow for the form the agitation had taken. I asked him, rather impertinently, perhaps, whether it was sufficient for someone to express regret for riots and bloodshed, but nothing was done. Mr. Gandhi went on with the Khilafat agitation, but, instead of calling it passive resistance, he called it by a new name, non-co-operation. It is very much the same as if the Coalition called themselves the Centre party; it is the same old story with a different name. He started his policy of non-co-operation, and he was immediately joined by those who had been convicted but liberated by the Government. The unfortunate thing is Mr. Gandhi does not reciprocate the friendship of the right hon. Gentleman. It is not like the friendship of David and Jonathan. While the right hon. Gentleman is fawning over Mr. Gandhi, Mr. Gandhi treats him like dirt. He tries to upset his reforms. He disregards him. He will have nothing to do with him. But the 886 right hon. Gentleman goes on fawning over him and refusing in any way to have him restrained. After all, Mr. Gandhi has been quite frank. He said he intended to organise India into an armed camp. The right hon. Gentleman, when he finds things getting too bad, arrests some underlings. I thought it was one of the first principles of English law that if a number of men join together and commit murder in the interests of rebellion, the ringleaders are tried. Now it seems to be the practice to take, one or two of the underlings and get, them tried and punished and have them let off soon afterwards
Let me remind the House what is the considered policy of the India Office. After the remarkable speech that the right hon. Gentleman made on the Dyer case in this House, Lord Sinha was put up to speak on behalf of the Government in the House of Lords, and when pressed there to restrain Mr. Ghandi he said, "Do not interfere too hastily or too violently with an agitation of this nature. Let it kill itself as in time it will." How has that agitation killed itself? Has it died out? On the contrary we have had the Moplah rebellion. Gandhi and the Ali Brothers joined together there and, as the hon. Baronet has proved, were directly responsible for this outburst; and for three months, following the advice of the India Office of not being in too much of a hurry, while these outrages were going on in Malabar, not a single man was hanged or shot or dealt with. The agitation started in August and it is still going on. There have been 4,000 or 5,000 deaths, hundreds if not thousands of women have been outraged and an immense amount of property has been damaged. And why? Because the right hon. Gentleman would not act. Does he realise he is responsible for that? What happened in the Punjab rebellion? In the Punjab the total death roll was under 500 and it was over in two weeks. We all remember the speech of the right hon. Gentleman when he talked about frightfulness and how he would have nothing further to do with it and that it was deplorable. What about his own system? He said, referring to General Dyer:If the motive is to teach a moral lesson that is a doctrine of terrorism.I thought at that time the right hon. Gentleman might be mistaken, but I 887 hoped he was sincere. What was the result? He himself remained a member of a Government which started reprisals in Ireland. That same Government which was so shocked at any form of reprisals in the Punjab, instituted something on quite an irregular scale in Ireland, and the right hon. Gentleman never made the slightest protest. What was the result? In the one ease General Dyer was successful. He stopped the rebellion. Under the right hon. Gentleman's system it is going on still, and it is not a case of hundreds, but of thousands of lives.
My hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham has referred to the different attitude which the right hon. Gentleman has taken in dealing with the extremists and the loyalists in India. After the 1919 rebellion 1,061 people were liberated under the instructions of the right hon. Gentleman. Thousands of people convicted, not by courts martial, but by judges, many of them Indian judges, were released en bloc. Eighty-eight men who were sentenced to death were pardoned and liberated. But what about the officers and civil servants who aroused the ire of the right hon. Gentleman because they had adopted measures which he thought too stern? There was one case I remember which he cited in this House. It was a Colonel who had been asked by a schoolmaster to give some punishment to the school because two Europeans had been clubbed to death and some of his boys had been implicated in it. The Colonel ordered six of the biggest boys to be whipped or flogged, when they would not find the culprits. That is not a very uncommon thing in public schools here, and I think it is a most useful thing. [Interruption.] Either three or six of the boys. I would ask the hon. Gentleman what he would do?
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
These were schoolboys, and were told by the official to give away the name of one of their comrades. They were flogged in turn, but they did not give the name of their comrade, and English schoolboys would have behaved in exactly the same Way.
§ Sir C. OMAN
I do not wish to make any unnecessary interruption of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, but he is not telling the story accurately. That is not what happened.
§ Mr. GWYNNE
At any rate, whether it was three or six strokes, a great many Members of this House will agree that it is the first thing that would occur to anyone if he were asked how he would punish schoolboys, and six of the biggest boys were chosen. But even if the hon. and gallant Member is right, and this is a very serious offence, I ask him, does he think it more serious than murder? The men who were convicted of murder were let off, but this colonel for this act was broken, and censured publicly and disgraced. Let us deal with this thing fairly. Here is a man who in a very difficult position thinks of the course which most Englishmen would think of in the way of punishment. It is not on the spur of the moment, but after deliberate thought that the right hon. Gentleman quotes this case in the House, and says this man must be suitably punished, while at the same time he sanctions the release of 88 men actually tried and convicted of murder. Is that the way to encourage people to try in difficult circumstances to keep law and order? No, Sir. What does a Government Department itself say about this? Here is a quotation from the Madras Publicity Bureau, which is a Government publication:One of the incitements used to encourage the Moplahs to rebel was the apology tendered by the Supreme Government for the Punjab incidents, which was published broadcast by the agitators with comments of their own.It is not only the Army, it is every service in India which has been absolutely disheartened and disgusted by the treatment they have received from the right hon. Gentleman. What does Sir William Vincent, the Home Member say? Speaking at Delhi on 11th February of this year, according to the "Times" of 13th February:Sir William Vincent made a powerful speech warning the Assembly of the dangers attending too rapid an elimination of the European element from the Services. He said that the hostility being shown to English officers all over the country decreased the amenities of life in India, and this, together with pay inadequate to meet the increased cost of living, had had a serious effect upon the sources of recruitment, so that the Assembly's problem would probably solve itself, as young Englishmen now declined to look to an Indian career.889Colonial service was more attractive. Forty officers from two Services alone had already applied for leave to retire because of the reforms. Eight officers appointed from England to the Civil Service had resigned their appointments before assuming them. Out of 86 candidates at the last examination only 26 were British and of these, three only were successful, as against 13 Indians. India could not attract the same type of man as in the past, for the opportunities for men of initiative and energy in the Indian Civil Service were now greatly diminished by the reforms.That is what the right hon. Gentleman is doing. He is making it impossible for Englishmen of the right type to go out there and he is driving them out of the service. At all times the right hon. Gentleman remains in the background. He is working underground. His methods remind one of those of the mole, which goes on burrowing, though you do not notice for a long time the destruction he is creating. I saw last year a very beautiful garden with a very fine herbaceous border. I happened to go to the same place about 10 days later and saw the whole thing in a state of chaos. The moles had got in underneath and had killed almost every plant. That is what the right hon. Gentleman has done with India. He has undermined the whole work accomplished there during the last 100 years. I wondered at the destruction of the garden, and I said to the gardener, "What on earth is the use of a mole? I suppose its skin is valuable." He said, "Well, only up to a point. The worst of it is the mole has too thin a skin." That is not one of the characteristics possessed by the right hon. Gentleman. His skin is not too thin. Indeed, I doubt if a hippopotamus has a thicker skin that the right hon. Gentleman. I say quite deliberately that I accused the right hon. Gentleman last year of misleading the House, and he has had opportunities of replying. Is it not an unheard-of thing for a Minister in his position to be charged with misleading the House and not to have taken the earliest opportunity of clearing his character? He did not do it, however. I am not alone in this view. I understand the right hon. Gentleman thinks I have a personal vendetta against him. Let me assure him that the opinion which I hold, namely, that his continued occupancy of his position is a grave peril to the country and the Empire, is held by a great many Members of this House. After the last 890 Debate, feeling strongly as I did on the matter, I asked other Members whether they did not share my views. In two days no fewer than 93 Members signed this petition to the Prime Minister:We, the undersigned, being of opinion that the Secretary of State for India has lost the confidence of a large number of Members of the House of Commons, and of the country, and that his continuance in office would be detrimental to the best interests of this country and of India, think it desirable he should vacate his present office.I venture to say that is unprecedented, and in two days 90 Members signed that. [An HON. MEMBER: "All Die-hards!"] I am glad to see that the hon. Gentleman thinks the number is growing. At that time some of my hon. Friends and I approached the Prime Minister with this petition, but he was very busy and said he had not time to go into the matter. I daresay the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister remembers it, at any rate, he will realise that it was not I alone who felt strongly on the subject at that time. I daresay more Members would have signed it if they had been approached, but, even when you get 90 or 100 Members of Parliament actually asking for the removal of the Secretary for India, it is a pretty strong order, especially as they were all supporters of the Prime Minister. [An. HON. MEMBER: "They were then!"] The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for India has consistently adopted the policy of pandering to the extremists and offering them the other cheek. I do not mind him offering his own, but he is offering the cheeks of others, the unfortunate civil servants. Then, all of a sudden, the right hon. Gentleman seems to have changed his mind. He has now become a disciple of law and order. He attended a meeting of the 1920 Club—I am not sure that it was not a luncheon—and he made this remarkable statement. He said:The only remedy for the present state of affairs is the enforcement rigorously of the law, and the protection of the law-abiding by the stern and severe repression of political activity.The right hon. Gentleman might almost be a Die-hard. Then, having made that statement, he was asked by a lady—it is evidently a mixed club—Why is Gandhi not being arrested?He said that was a very puzzling question. It is puzzling me now, and may I ask him that question again? Will he 891 tell us, when he comes to speak, why Gandhi has not been arrested? It is all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to tell us now that he is going to maintain law and order. Frankly, I do not accept that statement. We have heard it before. The right hon. Gentleman, after the 1919 disturbance, said:There is a small body of men who are the enemies of the Government, men who are a danger to any community and against whom the Government of India are determined to do unceasing battle until they have been extirpated.To whom did he refer? He could only refer to Gandhi, and the Ali brothers. What did he do then? Because he got into trouble he wanted to save his own skin by saying he was going to maintain law and order, and he is doing the same thing now. If we are going to retore law and order in India, the right hon. Gentleman is not the man to do it. The right hon. Gentleman will say no doubt that this is an unfortunate state of affairs in India, but that it is partly due to world unrest. He said that at the 1920 Club. I ask him, if that is so, how does he account for the normal state of affairs in the native States, and the abnormal state of affairs in British India? After all, before he took office British India was an example to the native States. After his rule and his reversals and his muddle, it is just the other way about. It seems impossible to drive it home to the right hon. Gentleman that it is time he went. He is like the Pharisee; he goes down to his own constituency, and, referring to his position, he saysI have searched and re-searched my memory, and actions, and I am supported by the consciousness that I have done my duty. I propose to continue to discharge the duties of my responsible office as long as I think I can be of service to India and the Empire.Let me assure the right hon. Gentleman in the name not only of the group called "Die-hards," but in the name of a great many other Members of this House and supporters of the Prime Minister, that they do not look upon him as one of the indispensables. On the contrary, they regard it as an insult that anyone who has brought such blunders, such disgrace upon the Government of this country should still remain in office as a Secretary of State.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Mr. Montagu)
A day for discussion on Indian affairs was suggested by my right hon. Friend the Member for Peebles (Sir D. Maclean), and was agreed to by the Prime Minister last week. It was with some surprise that I found that the spokesmen of the Front Opposition Bench were to be the hon. Members for Twickenham (Sir W. Joynson-Hicks) and Eastbourne (Mr. Gwynne). [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] I thought the Debate for which my right hon. Friend the Member for Peebles asked would be initiated by one of his followers.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
I only want to be assured that this combination does not foreshadow a new form of Coalition. But I do propose—because it was with that object in view that the day was suggested, and the day was given—to give to the House this afternoon, as dispassionately and as fully as I can, and, I hope, as uncontroversially as I can, a picture of the present position in India, and the steps which are being taken to deal with the situation. Incidentally, I hope to answer some of the very serious charges that have been brought against myself personally by the two hon. Members who have spoken; but I do not propose, with great respect, on this occasion to deal again with accusations which have been answered by me before on other occasions. Let me give in passing, just one example. The hon. Baronet the Member for Twickenham mentioned the statement that I had made some time ago, that Mr. Gandhi had been, and was, a friend of mine. Mr. Gandhi in past times, before he became the mischievous individual he now is, had other friends. Has the hon. Member for Brentford never parted company with, or been separated from, or expressed condemnation of the acts of, friends? Why, Lord Ampthill published a preface to Mr. Gandhi's speeches, with a tribute to the work which he has done. No sooner did I become convinced that Mr. Gandhi was dangerous to the Indian Empire, than, in answer to a question in this House, I explained that any friendship which existed must cease. That the hon. Member does not mention.
Let me come to the present position. The hon. Baronet says that I am re- 893 between the Allies which would lead to peace and good relations between Greece and Turkey.
There are feelings which resulted from the events of the Punjab in 1919 which followed the outbreak there. I have only this to say on that subject. There are many people in India who think that the views expressed by His Majesty's Government and the Government of India on those events were inadequate, and there are those who, like the hon. Member who spoke last, believe them to have been wrong. I feel absolutely convinced that the best contribution we can make to peace in India is not to discuss the matter. The last word has been said on the subject, and I do not think—if I may respectfully submit this advice to the House—that we can do better than follow the suggestion made by one who has rendered great service to the Indian Empire, never more than by the sympathetic and eloquent speeches he made last winter—follow the advice of His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught, and on both sides try to forget.
I come to another cause—the unrest which is occasioned by the general disturbance of the world, which will require the wisest guidance and the most prudent statesmanship in every country to see us through the troubles. I would mention one thing in particular, that ever since the Russian Government fell into the hands of those who are the exponents of the ruin-producing doctrines of Bolshevism, India has been the object of their propaganda; I suppose, in the jargon of those who sympathise with it, as a means of striking a blow at the greatest capitalistic institution in the world. India is not a fertile soil for Bolshevik doctrines, whether it is attempted through consulates in Afghanistan or by schools of propaganda in Moscow. Nevertheless, Bolshevist propaganda has contributed something to the unrest, and I wish under this head to pay a tribute to the splendid organisation which has been built up against this menace, and the success of those concerned in confining the subterranean devices which have been employed. One of the best evidences that I could give as to the success of which I speak, is that the Bolshevists themselves have rendered a tribute to the efficiency 894 of our organisation by recalling some of their agents, owing to their lack of success.
There is another cause of unrest, and that relates to industrial developments in India, in so far as any considerable proportion of the population is engaged in industrial labour. Of course, the Indian labourer, generally speaking, is an agriculturist as well, and in a great many cases he has his own holding to fall back upon if for any reason he is discontented with industrial labour. There are genuine causes of unrest. The difficulty of the worker industrially has been the fact that wages have been slow to rise. There is the immaturity of labour organisations, while strikes have occurred, initiated, no doubt, sometimes for unsubstantial and irresponsible reasons. Politics pure and simple have very often entered into these, but there is no doubt that, apart from any political instigation at all, there would have been strikes and labour troubles, and they would probably have occurred on a large scale in India during this difficult period. The only remedy we can seek is better industrial organisation—not necessarily, let me add, on British lines—by which we can gain harmonious working between employers and employed. There have been also agrarian troubles, troubles which have always prevailed in India, particularly when prices have been high.
I come to the political aspect. There are those who are dissatisfied with the Government of India Act as passed by this House. Some expressed at once a demand for a new Act. This was done sometimes from conviction and sometimes with a view of putting themselves right, as they thought, with their opponents in Indian political life. I want to postpone the consideration of this aspect of the question for a few minutes. All I say for the moment—and the House will perhaps take it from me—is that in the circumstances in which this experiment has been conducted there is every reason to believe it is working well and that there are good hopes for its future. When you consider the fundamental alterations made by the Act, I do not think anyone ought to pass judgment upon its working after one short year. We want to wait patiently for the lessons over a much longer period.
Only by way of reference—because I imagine it is not directly germane to the 895 between the Allies which would lead to peace and good relations between Greece and Turkey.
There are feelings which resulted from the events of the Punjab in 1919 which followed the outbreak there. I have only this to say on that subject. There are many people in India who think that the views expressed by His Majesty's Government and the Government of India on those events were inadequate, and there are those who, like the hon. Member who spoke last, believe them to have been wrong. I feel absolutely convinced that the best contribution we can make to peace in India is not to discuss the matter. The last word has been said on the subject, and I do not think—if I may respectfully submit this advice to the House—that we can do better than follow the suggestion made by one who has rendered great service to the Indian Empire, never more than by the sympathetic and eloquent speeches he made last winter—follow the advice of His Royal Highness the Duke of Con-naught, and on both sides try to forget.
I come to another cause—the unrest which is occasioned by the general disturbance of the world, which will require the wisest guidance and the most prudent statesmanship in every country to see us through the troubles. I would mention one thing in particular, that ever since the Russian Government fell into the hands of those who are the exponents of the ruin-producing doctrines of Bolshevism, India has been the object of their propaganda; I suppose, in the jargon of those who sympathise with it, as a means of striking a blow at the greatest capitalistic institution in the world. India is not a fertile soil for Bolshevik doctrines, whether it is attempted through consulates in Afghanistan or by schools of propaganda in Moscow. Nevertheless, Bolshevist propaganda has contributed something to the unrest, and I wish under this head to pay a tribute to the splendid organisation which has been built up against this menace, and the success of those concerned in confining the subterranean devices which have been employed. One of the best evidences that I could give as to the success of which I speak, is that the Bolshevists themselves have rendered a tribute to the efficiency 896 of our organisation by recalling some of their agents, owing to their lack of success.
There is another cause of unrest, and that relates to industrial developments in India, in so far as any considerable proportion of the population is engaged in industrial labour. Of course, the Indian labourer, generally speaking, is an agriculturist as well, and in a great many cases he has his own holding to fall back upon if for any reason he is discontented with industrial labour. There are genuine causes of unrest. The difficulty of the worker industrially has been the fact that wages have been slow to rise. There is the immaturity of labour organisations, while strikes have occurred, initiated, no doubt, sometimes for unsubstantial and irresponsible reasons. Politics pure and simple have very often entered into these, but there is no doubt that, apart from any political instigation at all, there would have been strikes and labour troubles, and they would probably have occurred on a large scale in India during this difficult period. The only remedy we can seek is better industrial organisation—not necessarily, let me add, on British lines—by which we can gain harmonious working between employers and employed. There have been also agrarian troubles, troubles which have always prevailed in India, particularly when prices have been high.
I come to the political aspect. There are those who are dissatisfied with the Government of India Act as passed by this House. Some expressed at once a demand for a new Act. This was done sometimes from conviction and sometimes with a view of putting themselves right, as they thought, with their opponents in Indian political life. I want to postpone the consideration of this aspect of the question for a few minutes. All I say for the moment—and the House will perhaps take it from me—is that in the circumstances in which this experiment has been conducted there is every reason to believe it is working well and that there are good hopes for its future. When you consider the fundamental alterations made by the Act, I do not think anyone ought to pass judgment upon its working after one short year. We want to wait patiently for the lessons over a much longer period.
Only by way of reference—because I imagine it is not directly germane to the 897 discussion we have to-day—I want to say that the Indians are feeling acutely the difficult problems of their position in the Crown Colonies. I have to approach this question from the Indian point of view, and to try and adjust the various considerations and interests which have got to be taken into account and which are particularly represented by my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary. I have only to say that this matter is under discussion with a view to a decision by His Majesty's Government, and I hope, in the interests of the peace of the Empire, that a satisfactory solution will be arrived at.
I come now to the allegation that I am responsible for the fact that the Government of India has not been sufficiently vigorous in dealing with disorder. I rejoice in the fact that the hon. Baronet the Member for Twickenham, who moved this Amendment, and the hon. Member for Eastbourne, who followed, placed the responsibility, as they quite rightly said, on the right shoulders. I am responsible to this House for the maintenance of order in India. I am glad that nobody has suggested that the men who should be attacked are the splendid public servants who are now carrying on the work of the various Governments in India, and the Central Government. I am going to tell the House how I have discharged my responsibility. It is no use my telling the hon. Member for Eastbourne because it is not the first time that he has said that he does not believe what I say. I am sorry that when Members of this House are discussing a question of this kind I cannot hope to convert or to convince the hon. Member, who, without the shadow of a reason, has made that accusation against me ever since I entered the House. The way I have discharged my responsibility is to go to the people, as I think all my predecessors have gone, and tell them that you cannot keep law and order in India from London, and you have next to satisfy yourself, as Secretary of State, that the Governments in India do recognise their prime and essential responsibility for the maintenance of order. That has never been in doubt, I believe, in the history of this country, never so long as I have been Secretary of State. Then, when you are satisfied, you leave to them the steps necessary to take in order to ensure that order is 898 preserved. No step you can take can prevent all disorder, for we have to consider the vast size of India. But the fact is that under the conditions I have described—and there may be others—the governments in India are dealing with these things in the way that seems best to them, and I have every reason to believe that His Majesty's Government repose the utmost confidence in them. I have every reason to believe that they are worthy of that confidence, and that through them we shall win through in India to happier times. It may very often be the case that there is a difference between the local governments and the Government of India. I will tell the House how that problem has always been solved. Where the matter is one of purely provincial concern, the Government of India and the Government at home have always endeavoured to defer to the views of the local government, but where it is a matter that concerns more than one province or the whole of India, the view has always been to leave it to the Government of India to decide, and I venture to suggest that that is the best way. Consider it from the other point of view. The hon. Member says that the governments of India are too slow and too remiss. Supposing that he, or I, had thought that they were too severe, too stern, and that it was my duty to interfere with them in order to prevent them taking certain steps which they were going to take, he and his friends would be the first to complain of us. You cannot work these things from a one-sided standpoint. It is wrong, believe me, it is based on a wholly erroneous conception to say or think that the local governments have been slow. I would beg the right hon. Baronet (Sir W. Joynson-Hicks) to remember that these men, in my experience, are just as patriotic as he is, and that Indian government is not so simple a thing as it may seem. The right hon. Baronet might even have been wrong in respect to Gandhi.
Sir W. JOYNSON-NICKS
Before the right hon. Gentleman passes from that question, may I ask him to deal with the case to which I referred? In the Moplah rising the man of whom I spoke asked that Gandhi should not be allowed to go to Malabar, and the Madras Government adopted that view. It was the Govern- 899 ment of India, or somebody else, who allowed Gandhi to go against the wishes of the local government.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
As I was explaining, when a question affects the whole of India the Government of India are bound to take into account, not merely events in the provinces, but in the whole of India. I do not mean to say that I of necessity endorse the view that the hon. Baronet opposite takes. I have not the slightest doubt he has quoted correctly, but I have not had notice of the particular incident to which he draws my attention. But I want to say that the local governments have taken action wherever there have been attempts to interfere with the police or the soldiers, and wherever they have instituted prosecutions they have not hesitated to act against the leaders. They have prosecuted presidents of the Congress Committees and leaders of the Khilafat organisations. The one Leader that has not been arrested up to the present time is Gandhi. I want to make it quite clear that there is no sort of rumour in the world so mischievous as the rumour that we have made an exception of Gandhi. When this mischievous rumour was first published months ago His Majesty's Government told the Government of India that if, as it appeared inevitable, Mr. Gandhi's arrest became necessary they would have the whole-hearted support of His Majesty's Government
I want to say more than this. As I understand it, the reason which animated the Government of India was this. Mr. Gandhi began with certain activities, which nobody will stigmatise, for the promotion of temperance and social reform, but this has gradually developed into one of the maddest political campaigns, taking step after step and stage after stage in each one of which he has failed, and which have been repudiated by the good sense of India. It is not a sin to think you are going to get Home Rule by spinning, and it is not a sin to think you are going to get Home Rule by stopping your practice as a barrister. What happened was that at each stage Mr. Gandhi failed in his promises, and became discredited—I am not talking about the man, but about his objectives and methods, which became discredited by thinking people. Now he has em- 900 barked on things which are dangerous, and in his anarchical mood, the Government of India are entitled to call upon the support of every well-thinking and loyal Indian in the measures that it may be necessary to take.
A few days ago I learned from the Government of India that they had issued orders for Mr. Gandhi's arrest. Then came a dramatic change in the situation of which I have only learned to-day. I gather that Mr. Gandhi and his colleagues have decided not to pursue civil disobedience, illegal activities, the courting of arrest and imprisonment, picketting, volunteer processions, and public meetings. In view of this development, the Government of India tell me that they have postponed proceedings with a view to ascertaining how far these decisions mean a complete cessation of all illegal and dangerous activities, and I am sure the House will agree that his arrest will be essential if anything short of this is involved.
Now I come to another suggestion made from the Opposition Benches, which is that our officers cannot do their work in India because they are not assured of the support of His Majesty's Government and the Government for which they work. I admit that this feeling exists and nobody deplores it more than I do. I really think it is founded on a misapprehension and very largely on misrepresentation. The position of officers in India has been made extremely difficult by the passage of the Reform Bill. That is why we accepted a recommendation of the Joint Committee in favour of the scheme of proportionate pensions. The Joint Committee of Parliament recommended that civil servants should be allowed the opportunity to retire on proportionate pensions. That recommendation has been accepted, and I know my hon. Friend opposite does not approve of it.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
I did not say so this afternoon, nor have I said so before. There is only one point of view on which I venture to put a question to the right hon. Gentleman, and he has telegraphed to India in the sense which I wanted him to do.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
What I meant was that there are still imperfections. We were very desirous of meeting the objections which have been raised, and the imperfections which exist are under con- 901 sideration. The scheme of reform has made the position of the Services different. There has been a transfer of certain responsibilities. There is also very great financial stringency and hardship which India in its present financial position is powerless to remedy. I can assure the House that the officers have been protected and supported not only by the local governments but by the Government of India and His Majesty's Government. Whenever the Secretary of State in Council has had reported to him conspicuous service in exceptional circumstances by much tried officers, he has never failed to express his appreciation, a fact which is so often forgotten when only the censures are remembered. It is obvious that we owe it to the services to reward their loyalty, and it is common knowledge that the services of India have helped to work the reforms and make them a success, with a loyalty traditional to them. We owe it to them and we intend to discharge our obligation to protect them in the discharge of the duties with which they are entrusted, and to do everything in their support.
That does not mean that, whenever a public servant in India does anything which we may think is prejudicial to the interests of India, that we are to be debarred from expressing any adverse opinions. If it were the rule that every officer should do as he liked, and it was wrong for us to express an opinion, there would not be a Government of India, or even a provincial government, but the government would pass into the hands of individual officers. It is because on occasion censure has been expressed that there has been a deliberate attempt to get the service in India to believe that they are not being supported by the Government, and I assure the House there is no foundation for that belief.
I read a speech reported in the papers this morning. Sir William Vincent is the home Member of the Government of India, and his speech has twice been quoted. I want to tell the House that it was at my suggestion that Sir William Vincent pointed out the prejudicial effects upon the service which continual abuse has with regard to recruiting. I am not surprised at what he has said on that subject. It is quite true there were only three successful English candidates at the recent test, but what, the House must 902 remember is, that under the exceptional methods of recruiting we had to adopt under post-War conditions, we have got by selection 114 admirable candidates, and there is no reason to believe that by various kinds of methods there are not coming forward a sufficient number of recruits for the Indian service. If there are not, I can assure the House that the question of recruiting for the indispensable Indian services will engage our most earnest attention.
I want to say, if I may, one word on policy. After all, what is in the hearts of hon. Members supporting this Motion? This policy the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Gwynne) said was unauthorised by the Government. I do not know what he means by that. The declaration of the 20th August, 1917, was drafted by the Cabinet and made on the authority of the Cabinet. I really did not invent that policy. Sometimes it is attributed to my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal. I cannot give claim of parentage to him. Let me read to the House a most shocking speech made in a previous Parliament by an eminent statesman. This is what he said:It may be that the public mind of India may expand under our system till it has outgrown that system; that by good government we may educate our subjects into a capacity for better government; that having become instructed in European knowledge, they may, in some future age, demand European institutions. Whether such a day will ever come I know not, but never will I attempt to avert or to retard it. Whenever it comes it will be the proudest day in English history. To have found a great people sunk in the lowest depths of slavery and superstition, to have so ruled them as to have made them desirous and capable of all the privileges of citizens, would indeed be a title to glory all our own.That was Mr. Macaulay in 1833, and had the hon. Member opposite been in the House and heard some of the language which Mr. Macaulay used, he would not have been able to retain his indignation at such terrible proceedings which he might have described as only being worthy of a Coalition Liberal of this generation. Now about the policy which really has been developed from the days of Mr. Macaulay and is the result of a century of British politics; I want to mention this because I feel that I must say something to India. Our policy is the maintenance of the integrity of the British Empire coupled with the grant of opportunity of development 903 to full self-government within that Empire. I think I ought to say something about the conditions of that policy because I do not think it is at present sufficiently understood by the legislatures of India. His Majesty's Government announced that policy in 1917, and it was ultimately endorsed by Parliament by the passage of the Government of India Act. I do not think there will ever be any question of going back on that policy, but I want to explain that in my view, while there may be every reason for suggesting that Parliament was right, Parliament would not be justified at the present time in thinking of extending the scope of that policy. It is true that when the Act was passed it was intended to be transitional, and that it was described as a first step towards further instalments of self-government; but it was made plain at the time, and I want to make it plain now, that these further steps would depend upon Parliament becoming satisfied with the use made of the first instalment. That was to be the criterion. Upon Indians themselves depended the view which Parliament would take of future steps. It was our view and our desire, and it is still, that if the matter went well, eventually further steps should be taken, but it was and is the determination of Parliament that if the matter did not go well, no further steps should be taken. I ask for no judgment at this stage, but I think I do right in expressing my belief to Indians who are working these reforms and other Indians who are not, that I believe that so far as this House is concerned, that criterion will not be departed from. To win their way to self-government, under the supreme and continuing authority of the King Emperor, they must show; not merely individually but collectively, a readiness for all that is involved in self-government—matters which were mentioned in this House at the time of the passage of the Act, the creation and education of an electorate in political affairs, the safeguarding and toleration of opposing views, the protection of the rights of minorities, and willingness to share the risks which are inherent in the art of government, of maintaining order by whatever steps may be necessary against any challenge. No useful purpose will be served by minimising the great difficulties. No human being can 904 say for certain what the eventual form of self-government will be. It is not necessary to contemplate that Indian genius will wish to accept every self-governing institution which we possess. We have not yet determined, and cannot determine at this stage the size of the unit of self-government, whether it will be the existing provinces or other provinces. These things will all solve themselves in the future, but at the present moment the absolutely essential condition of any further progress is the successful working of the first instalment that Parliament has given. I want to say one other thing at this very serious moment. The self-government which we promised India the opportunity of working was self-government within the Empire, and therefore I want to say to India that I do not believe the British Parliament will ever jeopardise the Empire. After all, Indians, in their thinking moments, will be the first to recognise that it was with British enterprise and with British energy the present Indian Empire was built up, and that it is under British guidance and with British help that their future will be achieved. I do not believe, for our sake, as well as for India, that this Parliament will ever jeopardise the existence of Empire, and therefore I would say in all sincerity to India that the exhibition of separatist tendencies and of disloyalty to the King Emperor, or futile attempts to mar the welcome given to the King Emperor's son must postpone or, at any rate, prejudice the good will of the British people towards Indian aspirations.
These are my concluding words. It is well, I think, that Indians should realise that, based on good will and partnership, there are no rights that will be denied her by the British Parliament. But if the existence of our Empire is challenged, if the discharge of the responsibilities of our Government towards India is prevented, if demands are made in the very mistaken belief that we contemplate a retreat from India, then India will not successfully challenge the most determined people in the world—a people who will once again, as it has done so recently, answer the challenge with all the vigour and determination at its command. On the other hand, if India will believe in our good faith, as she ought to believe, if she will accept the offer that 905 has been made to her by the British Parliament, then she will find that the British Empire, for which so many Indians and Englishmen have so recently died, and which at this present moment is saving the world, will give her liberty but not licence, freedom but not anarchy, progress but not stampede, peace, and the fulfilment of the best destinies that the future can possibly offer her.
§ Mr. ACLAND
I was glad particularly to hear the last part of the speech of the Secretary of State, which dealt in broad review with the present position in India, and with the prospect of our developing gradually still further along the path on which Parliament entered in 1919, and I was glad that when he came to that which seemed to me most important matter he tended to brush aside the more personal aspect of the question which had been raised against him. It seems to me that underlying our personal feelings there are in this House three main tendencies of opinion with regard to India. The first, those who do not seriously or whole-heartedly believe in the policy on which Parliament embarked in 1919 and really wish to retreat from that policy; secondly, those who think the time has already come when you can work out and set up a self-governing Constitution for India; and thirdly, the views expressed against the Secretary of State. I want to say unhesitatingly, looking at this particular aspect of the matter, I feel I must support the general policy which the right hon. Gentleman has laid before the House. I shall certainly do so in the Division Lobby to-night, and I believe in general those with whom I work will do the same. The attacks that have been made upon the right hon. Gentleman by the Mover and Seconder, with some degree of restraint here, but expressed in other quarters with no sort of restraint at all, do the Empire a great deal of harm wherever they are seriously taken, because they tend to undermine the policy with regard to India which Parliament has deliberately adopted. I believe that these personal attacks on the Secretary of State are based very largely, not on sober and careful consideration of the position in India, but on religious prejudices which ought to be unknown when serious matters of this kind are at issue.
It is an acid test of our Empire whether we shall in a few years' time find that we are succeeding in pursuing steadily the 906 course which Parliament deliberately undertook in 1919, and which is fraught with great difficulty as it is. We have deliberately in Parliament set our hands to helping India forward in taking her place, in some form to be worked out by her and with her full assent, in that great array of self-governing states of which the Empire is composed. It seems to me that that policy cannot be affected, and ought not to be affected by what we happen to think about the particular creed and position of the Secretary of State for India at the present time. The policy of gradually leading India forward towards self-government had its beginning probably 70 or 80 years before the date of the quotation from Macaulay, which the right hon. Gentleman read, and it seems to me to be too late altogether to consider seriously any retrogression, or even any stopping, on that path on which we have deliberately entered.
If we had not meant India to go forward towards real self-government, I think we should not have allowed the Indians to come to our universities; we should not have allowed India to set up universities of her own; we ought not to have allowed Indians the opportunity to study such books as that of John Stuart Mill on Representative Government., which should have been placed on a sort of Index Expurgatorius. We have been perfectly ready all along for our self-governing institutions to be assimilated by the Indians and we must now accept their desire to keep them and apply them in their own country. Of course it is a fact that India is full almost of millions of people whom education has not reached, but we do find that leaders of the public in India understand the principles of self-government and desire self-government as fervently as we do here. They should not be turned back from the path leading to self-government as long as a single chance remains that they will prove themselves fit for that self-government by following out the policy which we have worked out with them and which is embodied in the Act of 1919. The Secretary of State showed that there were alarming, or at any rate disturbing elements in India. It is true that the position there is grave, but it seems to me that, if somebody who knew nothing of the position in India could have been told how very gravely Indian opinion and feeling was being disturbed by causes alto- 907 gether external to India at the present time, and if he afterwards learned what the actual position in India was, then he would be surprised, not that there was so much disturbance and difficulty, but that there was so little.
The Secretary of State said very clearly—he might have explained matters even more—that the chief difficulties with which he had to contend were not of Indian manufacture at all, but were the result of causes some of which are within the control of colleagues of his in the Government, and some of which are matters altogether external to India and outside his control. I know it is not right on this occasion to say anything which really challenges the action of other Ministers of the Crown. That will come in due course on the proper Estimates. But I think it is legitimate for me just to indicate how I see some of the things which are disturbing India from outside, in their effect upon the people of India, without in any way quoting or criticising those who are responsible in this country. There are clearly three main things. The first is the position of Indians in general as it may be affected by the, decisions which we make as to their position in our Colonies, and particularly in our Crown Colonies. That is a matter which is wholly under Government control. The second is the position with regard to the disturbance and unrest in the Moslem world; and the third is the economic position in India itself. As I have indicated, I do not want to go into the recent statement by the Secretary of State for the Colonies. That would be out of order, and I am very glad that the Secretary of State has made it clear that this question of the position in our Crown Colonies, and particularly Kenya, will shortly come under the consideration and decision of the Cabinet. Anything that I can say about it will be directed purely to its importance to the people of India, and the urgency of its coming under the consideration and decision of the Cabinet.
It is a matter of honour to us to honour our statements and our pledges to the Indian people. We have always said to them that, although we could not control what was done by our self-governing Colonies, yet, wherever we were concerned, wherever we had supreme authority, as in the Crown Colonies, there should be no discrimination against 908 natives of India on the ground of race. That point has been re-affirmed quite recently in the most authoritative way by a resolution of the Imperial Conference last year, to the effect that it was desirable that Indians should enjoy full rights of citizenship in all respects. With regard to the position inside Kenya itself, I am, as I have said, debarred from referring to the Secretary of State, but I want to suggest that, when the question comes up for settlement by the Cabinet, and I hope that will be soon, it will not be possible, without. very seriously jeopardising our position in India, to come, for instance—taking one point only—to the conclusion that, although land in the uplands of Kenya may be transferred to any European, be he a native of Greece, a Turk, a Bolshevist, or a native of Portugal, it is not possible to transfer a single square yard of that land to, say, one of those Indian princes who have been so magnificently entertaining the Prince of Wales on his visit to India. That appears to be the present effect of the statement by the Secretary of State, but it is very much to be desired, for any one who understands the difficulties of the Secretary of State for India at the present time, that that matter should be reviewed by the Cabinet, and that an authoritative statement should be made by them at the very earliest possible date. Indians feel this matter intensely. They are, as it were, just growing up and becoming conscious of their manhood, and anything which suggests that the Empire is not really willing to welcome them fully, and that in any part of the Empire discrimination is going to be made against them on the ground of their being Indians, will prejudice the Secretary of State enormously in getting moderate opinion in India on his side—which is a matter of enormous importance in the difficulties that now confront him.
On the second point, the question how far his difficulties are increased by the fact, whether due to his Government or not, that we continue to be unable to arrive at anything like a final or satisfactory settlement with regard to the position of the Near East, one again must not go into detail which would be more appropriate to a Foreign Office Debate. There is, however, no doubt at all that the question of the control of Constantinople and the Straits reacts upon India and produces a greater effect there than 909 many matters internal to India itself. I believe it to be true that the "de Valeristas" of India to-day—those who are urging instant and total and violent separation from this country—are Moslems, and are taking that line largely because of the disturbance that has been produced in their minds owing to events far from their homes. It seems to us, of course, unreasonable that the Moslems in India should hold as a sort of religious doctrine a purely political principle regarding the position of the Sultan as Caliph at Constantinople. That is not held by Moslems nearer home. It is not held in the same way at all by Moslems in Egypt, and it is, I believe, only within the last 60 or 70 years at most that it has grown up as a very strong principle in the minds of Moslems in India. We have to take account of it, and it seems to me that these questions of the position of the Turk in Europe and in Asia Minor ought to be decided with very full regard to their repercussive effects in India. From that point of view, the worst of all possible positions is that the Sultan of Constantinople should seem to be the vassal of Britain or of France, or, worse still, of both, and that it should be represented that France is willing to give a wider dominion and power and position to the Sultan than we are, and that we are trying to hold back as France is trying to go forward in that respect.
I am not going into a possible solution. I notice that Lord Northcliffe had rather wise and weighty words to say on that matter when he left India the other day, but even he refrained from indicating the exact solution, and, that being so, it would not be at all proper for me to venture to suggest anything. Although, however, it seems to go very much against the grain that there should be any idea of restoring Turkish power in Constantinople and the Straits and in Eastern Thrace, yet I believe there are far worse solutions than to restore a Turkish State in those regions, under strict international guarantees, so far as the country outside Constantinople is concerned, that the rights of minorities shall be protected. By international guarantees I mean guarantees by the League of Nations, and not by the Supreme Council, and I look forward to the possibility that the officials in charge of the country, and seeing that the guarantees were being carried out, 910 might be drawn from neutral nations rather than from this nation or from France. At any rate, here again, as in the case of Kenya, a solution is urgent. I know that it is not altogether our fault that the discussion of the question with France and Italy has been so long deferred, but the Government of India must continue to be handicapped severely as long as we go on without settling that question on a very much better basis than anything that has been suggested, or at any rate carried out, up to the present.
With regard to Asia Minor, I believe that if we would leave off backing Greece, the Greeks and the Turks would be able to settle their own affairs, and I think that at any rate that experiment might be tried. As to the economic situation and its effect on India, I happened, during the War, to be responsible for trying to import wheat from India into this country. India seemed to have a great deal of wheat, and we, undoubtedly, had very little. We succeeded in importing a considerable quantity of Indian wheat, and it came at a very opportune moment, but I was constantly struck, and it confirms what the Secretary of State has just been saying, by the great care that had to be exercised by the Government of India to see that, in the operation of exporting wheat frorm India, no danger of scarcity or famine or stress in India was produced by the outward flow of her wheat. The whole balance of the operations between the producer and the exporter seemed to follow a most delicate chain, and it seemed to be a matter of the gravest anxiety to the Government of India lest that chain should be interfered with, and lest even a local scarcity should be caused. That being so, I can quite understand that, at a time like this, when there is a real decay in the exchange of commodities all through the world, the economic position in India must be giving very great anxiety, and that nothing could be done which would be more calculated to clear our path towards the progress which we all want than getting world commerce and world industry once more set on its feet, so that prosperity would return to those parts of India which are now really in want, and in which, therefore, the spark of disaffection is likely to find good material for lighting a conflagration.
I recently had the opportunity of a long Sunday afternoon talk with an Indian 911 student who happened to be taking his holiday in the West of England, and who came to me as an English Liberal, demanding sympathy, because I was a Liberal, on being an ardent supporter of Gandhi. For three or four hours' conversation I tried to wrestle with his reasoning, which seemed to me to be a mixture of illogical idealism and very perverted politics. The idealism of the man was most earnest and convinced. His line of argument was that India had nothing to learn from our civilisation and that they ought to go back to the teacher of the sages and the philosophers and to the simplicity of the life of the village community, under which you till your little plot and finally attain a supreme felicity by contemplating the absolute. He did not seem to me, however, to be in the least willing to carry that out to its logical conclusion. Talking and listening to people who have been in India it seems to me that India has clasped to its bosom motor buses and motor bicycles, for instance, with great affection, just as much as we have done here. If the effect of its idealism is that they are merely going to do without British products, but in other respects to be perfectly willing to take advantage of all the teachings of civilisation, then it seems to me that that movement at once becomes politics and cannot be admired for its idealism any longer.
With regard to the main point which really is at issue to-night, I can only repeat that I feel that we must still steadily go forward on the task upon which Parliament has entered by passing the Act of 1919. I feel that persons in India must be themselves responsible for working out their own scheme of self-government when the time for that comes. Self-government is a very elastic term, and we cannot presume from here to say what system suits them and whether they will be wise in framing their constitution, when the time comes to do that, on any of the existing models. Any solution which Indians themselves might try to work out now, before they have had real experience of the self-government which we are willing to give them under the Act of 1919, would be merely doctrinaire, and they would find, even if they could work it, that it would not work satisfactorily. I conclude, therefore, that as long as on 912 the one hand the policy of maintaining law and order is adhered to by the Secretary of State, and on the other side there is a perseverance in developing the policy to which this House gave its adherence in 1919—that those two policies together—law and order and steady progress—will still obtain the support both of Parliament and of the country.
§ Sir C. TOWNSHEND
I would not have spoken in this Debate did I not feel that after some 18 years' service in India it would be right to state what the fruits of my experience have been as regards the subject of our Debate to-night. I should like to say straight away that I belong to a different school of thought from the right hon. Gentleman, but that does not mean that honest criticism is not permitted. We have different schools of thought, and I would like to give a very brief picture of how I found India 30 years ago. Thirty years ago India was a very prosperous India, railways were built, trade was encouraged by every manner of means, public works were extended, and a wonderful overseas commerce built up owing to the opening of the Suez Canal. I do not think a shot had been fired in the 30 years after the Mutiny within the bounds of India. The British Civil Service had the admiration of and were loved and esteemed by the natives throughout India. Never have I been so struck with the confidence of the native in his British administrator. We had an army—though I need not go into a military matter—an army magnificently disciplined and proud of the British Raj. The British Raj was supreme throughout India just before the War. Nobody can dispute what I have said, namely, that India was ruled wisely and well and was never so prosperous as then.
Let us come to facts there is nothing like fact to impress the public. What is the state of India now? It has been described by the hon. Baronet the Member for Twickenham (Sir W. Joynson-Hicks)—though perhaps he described it in rather too vivid terms, and, of course, we must look at the practical side of it. I must say that. I heartily agree with the right hon. Gentleman when he said that the great cause of Mahommedan unrest in India was undoubtedly our failing to make peace with the Turks. I have said that inside and outside of this House, and I shall continue to say it, for I know 913 that it is so. It has caused all the unrest among Mahommedans throughout the world. Why has France made peace with the Turks? She has done so because she has a great Mahommedan governing power, and she knows that otherwise she would have the same unrest in North Africa. That is the reason, I am convinced, why the French Government made peace with the Turks. The thing I would try to say to-night, however, is this. One should not be here to criticise only; I have seen so much criticism in this House; simply criticism, without any construction. We ought all to understand that in these troublous times there is a need for everybody to unite together and stand by the ship.
India, no doubt, is in a very grave condition, but it can be settled at once very easily. If only the British Govern-will issue a communiqué to India saying that it must stand by the Government of India in maintaining the situation and in preserving law and order, the trouble will disappear at once, there is no doubt of that. I have not passed 18 years on the frontiers for nothing. I have dealt with natives in the North of India, with natives in Central India, and I was even for some time down in Madras. I can assure the House that if we simply show firmness these agitators, like Gandhi and others who have been mentioned, will disappear at once. The agitating class, the Babu, is the biggest coward I have ever met in the world. These poor deluded followers of his are the victims of the agitator. When the time comes, if we have to do so, when we take rebellion by the collar—and we shall do it very easily—he will be in the background and will never be seen. I know that race well. All I have to say now is that we must govern in India or we must go. We have been too fast with our reforms. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will permit me to say, in honest criticism, that you have been too fast with your Western methods. It was the same cause with the great Mutiny, 62 years ago. The cause then was trying to foist Western ideas on Eastern minds which were not ready for them. We all want right and justice, and I have never seen justice so well carried out as in India. The more I think of those times, the prouder I am to remember the men who devoted their lives to India and who spent such fine careers there. I do not think that England sufficiently 914 understands the noble tasks which these men have carried out.
Let us put criticism aside, and come to solid facts. I think I am right in saying that we have been too fast with these ideas; we should have given more time for them. There is one thing to do, and that is to announce that we mean to stand by the Government of India; then we shall have no more trouble. I should like to say two words upon what would happen if the British left India to- morrow; because you must either govern in the East or go. If we went from India to-morrow at once the North, the Mahommedans, would invade the South. There would be chaos in India; you would have the same cause and effect that you had in 1770, when the great Hyder Ali, with a huge mercenary army, invaded Southern India and founded an empire. In the same way the Mahrattas established themselves in the West. Both were smashed by Clive and Warren Hastings. If you went to-morrow from India you would have Japan coming in, and in a similar way forming an empire out of chaos, as we did. I am convinced that when you govern in the East you must govern, and you must send firm men there. The men must have willpower. You cannot have the dreamer to govern the East. I have known so many governors; several Viceroys, men like Kitchener and Cromer, whom I knew intimately. Those men never thought of scuttling, they never thought of shirking the responsibility of government; they were men, men like Gordon—though I never met Gordon, still I was one of the band that tried to rescue him after Khartoum. They impressed me, these men; I have served with them. When you are in the East you must remember what the Roman General Sulla said:He who would take the helm must first serve at the oar.
Sir J. D. REES
Hon. Members are always, kind and indulgent when one of their number, who is generally mute, is impelled by circumstances to address them. I must say when that Member, who is an Indian civil servant—and the only Indian civil servant in the House—who believes that the Indian Civil Service governed India very well, and who doubts very much whether any other Government would be so good and so economical; who agrees very much with what was said by 915 the Mover of the Amendment as regards native States; who has had some experience of the native States in British India: who would have gladly seen Gandhi long ago under lock and key; and who, above all, regards Macaulay as a picturesque perverter of the truth and all his works as anathema maranatha— such an hon. Member addresses the House just now under circumstances of no little difficulty. Nevertheless if the House is kind enough to listen to me, I shall not shrink from explaining how it is that having the views I have, which I have never concealed, I am strongly opposed to the Amendment which has been moved. I think the Amendment is neither timely nor right in its facts, nor does it indict the right person for a state of affairs which I, like everybody else who is interested in India, must admit is thoroughly unsatisfactory. This Amendment says that the state of India isthe direct result of the administration of the Secretary of State during the last three years and trusts that Your Gracious Majesty's Government will take immediate steps to restore law and order, and to establish the security of life and property in that country.I wonder if that is meant. Is it intended that the Government here in London is to restore law and order? If the Secretary of State attempted to interfere in the actual restoration of law and order in India, he would be unfit for his place, and I should join in supporting the Motion which has been launched against him. What object has the Mover in making any such statement? Do we overlook what we used to call in pre-War times Zeitgeist, the spirit of our times? Do we overlook the fact that thrones are toppling, that the whole world is in a state of ferment, and do we overlook the furious march of democracy, which I have not particularly assisted, all over the world? Am I to join my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Sir W. Joynson-Hicks) in his picturesque and strong, fervent accusation of the Secretary of State, or rather should I not dwell upon what are the real causes of the present state of affairs in India, now that the education of Macaulay has come home to roost? First of all, let me say how ridiculous it is to speak of the whole of this reform movement in India as if it were the act of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. Where are Lord 916 Chelmsford, Lord Reading, the able civil servants, as I make bold to say they are, who fill the Council of the Secretary of State and of the Viceroy of India They were all parties to all these reforms. If the present state of India is in any way the result of the individual action of my right hon. Friend, how is it that a similar state of affairs exists in Egypt? He has no hand in Egypt. The Mahommedans in Egypt are in a state of ferment, almost of rebellion, against us. Is that due to the Secretary of State for India? And what of the state of affairs in Iraq, where they actually rose against us—and, I think, with very good reason—for insisting upon introducing Western social reforms amongst them? Is the Secretary of State responsible in Iraq? If everywhere, all over the world, Palestine, Mesopotamia, Egypt and India, the Mahommedans are in a state, as they are, of disaffection and discontent against the British race, how absurd it is to suggest that any one man, in however powerful a position, is really responsible for these circumstances. In Persia it is the same, and wherever there are Mahommedans they are at present hostile to the British Government.
Surely I can see as well as any other Member of this House that the state of affairs in India just now is deplorable, that there is no sufficient guarantee for capital invested, and one trembles for investments in tea, in gold, in railways, in wheat, in produce, and in everything else. It is deplorable, but why attempt to suggest that this can be in any way due to the acts of one particular man? We are told that the Secretary of State has been pressing upon India a constitution and a régime for which that country is not ripe and of which it does not approve. I do not know whether India is ripe or not, but I know that the other day in the Legislative Assembly at Delhi, when efforts were made by the Gandhi party to object to what was called the policy of-repression, that Assembly by a satisfactory majority supported the Government of India against Mr. Gandhi—that arch-disturber of the peace. Who, on that occasion, was the leader against Mr. Gandhi? It was an hon. Member named Jamnadas Dwarkadas—I mention his name with the profoundest respect—who then stood by the British Government and was very instrumental in the satisfactory resolution which was passed and 917 who was anti-Gandhi and in favour of repression. What is reported this morning? This same patriotic Indian gentleman, hearing of this Motion which was to come before this House to-day, moved the adjournment of the Legislative Assembly in India in order to express confidence in the Secretary of State, whom he described as the author of the reforms and India's greatest friend and benefactor. He said he strongly resented the political attack now being made at home upon the Secretary of State; and one, two, three, and more of the most prominent and most respected politicians—and statesmen, let me say—in India supported this Motion, and the Home Secretary to the Government of India, whose name has been mentioned to-day—Sir William Vincent—promised the House to send a message to the Secretary of State saying that the whole of the non-official members of the Council were in favour of the Motion. How, then, is my right hon. Friend to be accused of having imposed upon India a constitution for which she is not ripe and which she does not really wish to have imposed upon her and which is not approved by the elected leaders of the people?
I observe that the leader of the Mahommedans in India, His. Highness the Agha Khan, pointed out that the Indian troops had been the spear point of the attack upon Turks which led to our victory in Palestine. There you have the leader of the Mahommedans, and, though they are only some 70,000,000 out of some 210,000,000, it is not merely a matter of counting heads in India. One Mahommedan, when it comes to action, counts for a large number of Hindus, and the Mahommedans until of late have always been our friends. We could always rely upon them, whatever was the attitude of the rest of the people. It is a most serious circumstance, and my argument is that, not the right hon. Gentleman, but the policy of the Government and the attitude of this country to-wards the Turks and towards Mahommedans generally is the explanation of the present discontent and dissatisfaction which exist, because they do exist broadcast in India and all over the world where-ever our 100,000,000 of Mahommedan subjects live. It is a most serious matter, a deplorable circumstance, that at the Khilafat Conference in India one of the 918 most prominent men in that country should say—and with no little right to say—that Britain and the British alone are standing in the way of a just solution of the Near Eastern question. That is an extremely serious matter, and whenever this question comes up in England it is hardly possible to obtain a hearing for the Mahommedan side. It is hardly possible to get a place in the Press. There is a perfect boycott of the Turks and Mahommedans, with whom our interests and our duties are bound up, in favour of the particular enemies of the Turks and Mahommedans—I mean the Greeks and the Armenians.
I wonder what the hon. Members who moved and seconded this Amendment really think. Do they really think they can cancel these Indian reforms! Do they think, in face of a Resolution just passed by the Indian Legislative Assembly calling out for further advance, that it would be practicable to go back on that which is already conceded to them? Do they think, with the gentleman who wrote the other day recommending that the whole of India should be made into native States, that that is a practicable policy? As far as I am concerned, I really believe I would like it, but since it is absolutely impracticable, I would not waste the time of the House for one moment in dismissing it. Perhaps my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham, when he sits in the seat of the Secretary of State, and looks out of the window at the ducks and geese in St. James's Park, if the water is then restored to the lake, may be able to propose some such a policy; but as long as a serious statesman sits in that chair, and as long as this House takes a practical view of its responsibilities, we shall never approve of any proposal to go back upon the reforms which have been granted or to turn British India into a congeries of native States. The attack which has been made to-day on the India Office is supported on all occasions, I see, by a Member of the other House who was once a Governor in India, and in a Paper published only the other day, before this Amendment was put on the Paper, he dwelt upon the enormous number of languages and peoples and differences of all sorts that exist in India, and said that all this was nothing to the home-keeping babu and the casual globe-trotter. I thought that 919 was a very unkindly cut at the hon. Member for Twickenham. Why was he not in his place opposing these reforms which he says are the author of all the trouble? May I remind the House that it is trifling with the House to suggest that any enactment does not represent the opinion of the Legislature and of the people of this country when it actually obtained Third Reading in both Houses without a division with hardly a dissentient voice. No doubt if the hon. Baronet had not been globe trotting we might have had one dissentient voice, but where was his satellite, the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Gwynne)? The causes of the present trouble in India, over and above the world spirit which is the aftermath of war, are the treatment of the Turkish question and its effect amongst the Mahommedans of the world, and, I would say, to some extent, the Kenya question. I am bound to add that the forward spirit of the missionaries of the Labour party in going out to India, and in insisting that the natives of that country shall eat beef and draw pay for that purpose, and wear fur coats in hot weather, has contributed in no small degree to the difficulties under which we are at present labouring.
As regards the arrest of Mr. Gandhi, we had a very satisfactory statement from the Secretary of State to-night upon that subject, and it may be urged, I think, that the arrest of that agitator might have taken place earlier, but, after all, who was to judge of that? There is Lord Reading. I seem to remember him here as an extremely capable Attorney-General; subsequently he was our Ambassador in Washington, and he was Lord Chief Justice of England. He is now Viceroy of India and has been Viceroy for about a year. If Lord Reading, being the man he is, has been of opinion that it was wise to wait until he had quartered the ground and knew what he ought to do, I for my part am prepared to accept the opinion of Lord Reading as readily as that of my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham or of my hon. Friend the Member for Eastbourne.
Of course, this man Gandhi is a very extraordinary character. I will tell the House a little tale of something that happened to myself which I think will lead to a better appreciation of the manner of man Gandhi is than 920 almost any official paper they could read. Once when I was sitting in my office a mendicant—and every mendicant is more or less a pious man officially in the East—came into my office and said: "I want you to bury me." I said: "I am sorry I cannot oblige." He said: You do not understand me. You are an official responsible for a large tract of country here and I wish you to have me buried here with the notarial fact of your presence, and having had me ceremoniously buried I shall be taken up again after an interval of a month, when you will find that I shall not have perished but shall still be alive." I said: "What advantage is that going to be to me, and how shall I dissuade the Government from prosecuting me for having been an aider and abettor in an act of suicide?" He said: "If you think that, you are not fit for your office. This act of self-sacrifice, this pious act on my part, will have such an effect that you will become famous as the administrator of the most prosperous district in India. Rain will never fall in it; famine and plague will never strike it, and by my act of self-sacrifice all this will be accomplished." I did not do it. This will give an indication of the kind of man Mr. Gandhi is and how it is that the things he writes and the things he does have a very powerful effect upon the people of India, and how it may be—I do not presume to judge— that it has been wise, perhaps, not to arrest him before now. It may prove that Gandhi in gaol will be a greater power than Gandhi at large. I remember the light-hearted days of terminological inexactitudes. I am sure Gandhi in those days would have been dismissed as a meta-physical mystical megalomaniacal Mahatma dealing in pseudo-philosophic platitudes. But that will not do now. In this man's wake are death and destruction and disloyalty. It is impossible to dismiss him in the same way we might have done in happier days. It may be that a mistake has been made in allowing him to be at large so long, but, on the other hand, I hesitate to think that Lord Reading may not have had some reason for holding his hand as he has done.
Then what about Lord Reading's attitude in respect of the Mahommedan question. I attribute the present state of India to the action of the British Government in the past in regard to 921 Turkey. On 30th November Lord Reading said:I have been impressed with the intensity of Mahommedan feeling in India regarding the terms of this Treaty. You are well aware that you have in the Secretary of State a very staunch and faithful supporter of Indian Moslem opinion.That does not look as if my right hon. Friend was chiefly responsible for the Mahommedan disaffection, which is chiefly responsible for the present troubles in India. I could, but I will not, having a personal acquaintance with Malabar and the Moplahs, which is wanting probably in any other Member of the House, enlarge upon the Moplah rebellion. I will carefully keep away from it, because it is one of those subjects which, if I get hold of, I might lose count of the clock, but I do not quarrel with what my hon. Friend opposite said about the Moplahs. It is true that the Moplah rebellion was organised by the Khilafat agitators and by Gandhi, who was working with them, but I would warn the House, knowing these people and their country, and having really considerable experience of them, from attaching too much importance to that rebellion. We should not think that, because this rebellion has been a far more serious one than the many others which have happened in my lifetime amongst them, the country is on the edge of a mutiny, or that that particular rebellion was only a symptom of a widespread and similar disaffection. It is purely local, though very serious, and except that it was promoted by these agitators, it has not the significance which might be attached to it, and the Madras Government, in dealing with it, acted up to their traditional reputation of being slow and sure. They might have started a little earlier, but they dealt with it satisfactorily when they started.
I hope the House will forgive me if I harp upon the Mahommedan situation. I feel the House will surely sympathise with a man who feels that this question is through misunderstood and minimised in this country and that a want of appreciation of it affects even, shall I say, the Treasury Bench. I feel that this question is thoroughly misunderstood in this country, and that sentimental sympathy with Oriental Christians—Armenians—and with the Greeks, not always friendly and faithful, leads us far away from what is just. Therefore I beg the House to for- 922 give me if I say a word or two more on that. That is not a local question like the Moplah rebellion. I notice that a great authority, or one who is accepted as a great authority—I am not disputing his position—who commands large print in the columns of the greatest journal in this country, talks of the Mahommedans in India as a minority. It is the most powerful minority any country ever had. They are, out of the 445,000,000 inhabitants, one quarter, and all the Christians of all denominations and all the other religions among the subjects of the British Empire put together, are not more in number than the Mahommedan subjects of the King. They are, politically speaking, as important as the Hindus, who are three times their number. There will never be peace in India until we drop our fatal patronage of the extremely expensive Armenian, until we have the Greeks out of Smyrna, and until what has been taken from Turkey is restored. We have shown the most ill-advised and most improper sympathy with Greece, which has borrowed money from this country to spend on powder to shoot the Turks. Is it a wonder that our Mahommedan subjects turn to France and say: The French do not behave in this way. Look at the speeches which have been made from those benches, saying that when the French evacuated Cilicia, massacres might be feared. No one was massacred. The French are as humane as ourselves. They have shown us the way by entering into an agreement with the Khemalists, who are indeed the Nationalist party of Turkey. Our policy has brought together Sunni and Shiah, who used to be enemies amongst the Mahommedans, and the Hindus and Mahommedans of India, who used to be two divergent streams, into one great stream none too friendly to ourselves. Now, if the Turks are finally to be ejected, we talk of putting in a Christian governor, by way of annoying them at the last minute in the most practical way we can possibly do it. We are cutting off our nose to spite our face, and are depriving ourselves and our subjects of the trade which they should have with Turkey. All this while the Mahommedans are our natural friends, while they respect us and like us if we would only be friends. They speak of all the sacred figures and characters of our religion with a respect and rever- 923 ence only less great than our own, and regard others than Christians as mere idolators. I say nothing about that because I have learned not to be swayed by religion in matters of politics and business. I mention it because, in certain quarters, it may be of some value.
Let me come to the question of the policy pursued in Kenya. So far as I understand it, the speech of the Secretary of State for the Colonies is really totally inconsistent with the resolution which was arrived at unanimously at the Conference the other day, that there should be equal rights for British subjects within the Empire. I hope the two Secretaries of State for the Colonies and for India will put their heads together and, somehow or other, beat out something a little more consistent with the agreement which was arrived at at the Conference, and I wish my right hon. Friend here all success in the endeavours I am sure he will make, while not overlooking the claims of the British planter. I believe he is one of the best of men, but it is necessary also to consider the position of our 200,000,000 of Hindu subjects. All the Press in India and all feeling on all sides in India is alarmed and hurt at the speech of my right hon. Friend, and this resolution which was passed on 9th February—
§ Earl WINTERTON
On a point of Order. I should like to ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether, if the hon. Member who is now speaking deals in detail, as he is apparently doing, with the speech of the Secretary of State, those of us who feel equally strongly on the other side will be entitled to reply to it, or whether it will not be a more convenient occasion to deal with the matter when we have the Secretary of State's salary under discussion?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I think that ought not to be dealt with in any detail in the present Debate, because it would need the presence of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and it would cut right across the track of the present Debate.
Sir J. D. REES
I have no intention of going further than I have gone with re- 924 gard to this matter. I agree with my Noble Friend that it would be highly inconvenient to discuss it now, but the matter had already been referred to in the Debate, and I believe I was strictly within order in referring to it in passing. I leave the subject and I should like to refer to the very satisfactory vote which was passed by the Legislative Assembly, a very hopeful vote, supporting the Viceroy in the policy of firmness which he has now announced is to be followed, and which I hope will be followed without any further announcement, and as a matter of carrying out the resolutions now made. The mere fact that the Legislative Assembly passed that vote has already caused Mr. Gandhi to give up what he calls civil disobedience. Another extraordinary feature of the Debate in which that very satisfactory resolution was passed is that for the first time there appears to be the development of an opposition party in the Indian Legislative Assembly. That, I think, is another proof that the present State of India is not due to the individual acts of the Secretary of State.
I have endeavoured to accomplish in a short time the task which I set before myself for which I am in some respects extremely ill-fitted, for I have never joined the extremists, the Republicans, the Socialists, the Syndicalists, or the Social Reformers in India or in any other country. I firmly believe that the excellent Government which was carried on in India, and of which I was a small portion, is a thing of the past. I deeply regret its passing, as I regret the passing of many other things that have gone, alas, never to return in our own country. There is no doubt that India will go forward on the path set out for it by Macaulay. I always resented the cheap sneers of Macaulay at Orientalism and Orientals. They have come home to roost. Such things are at the bottom of most of the difficulties with which we are confronted in India. But other difficulties have arisen, owing to the action of this country in ignoring the proper feelings of our Mahommedan fellow subjects who have been badly treated, and whom we should take every pains to conciliate. I am glad to see the Prime Minister present, because I beg him always to speak with respect of the Turkish nation and to dissimulate any undue affection he may have for the Armenians and the Greeks. How 925 far my advice is likely to have any effect with the Prime Minister I cannot say, but I certainly do not mean when I am on my legs and he is sitting in his place to let the opportunity pass of begging him to remember that we have spent £1,500,000 in feeding a horde of hungry, idle Armenians, and that we have given our moral support, which is of such great value in the world, to our not very constant or faithful friends the Greeks, while all the time every action we have taken in this respect has done more and more, day by day, to alienate the 100,000,000 of Mahommedans who were our best friends, and to whom we may yet have to rely for the maintenance of our Empire.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
The hon. Member for East Nottingham (Sir J. D. Rees) has surpassed himself, if that were possible, in his wide digression into a field altogether alien from anything like the Amendment on the Paper. He has surpassed himself in that sarcasm which alternatively throws itself out against those he opposes and those he professes to support. I wonder if the Secretary of State likes an excuse found for himself in his administration by the simple process of saying that no man is responsible for anything; that there were circumstances which removed from him responsibility, and that because there were evils in Mesopotamia and in Russia it was only natural that there should be evils in India, and no man could be blamed. The hon. Member took us with him into the region of foreign politics, and, amongst digressions, he returned with fidelity to that one King Charles' head, which he has so often brought before us, namely, the necessity for close alliance with the Turks. I am going to get back to the real subject of debate introduced by my hon. Friend (Sir W. Joynson-Hicks). I am bound to say that while the Secretary of State for India has impressed his ability upon me on several occasions, yet never did he impress that ability more than by the speech he made to-night. He knows perfectly well that I have the deepest misgivings and doubts in regard to much that he does, but I think he knows that I have endeavoured in the course of the past five or six years not to misrepresent his motives, and not to introduce any personal element. My right hon. Friend very successfully and very properly pro- 926 tests against the introduction of the personal element, but he must remember that we who doubt the safety of his policy must hold him in a special way responsible for it. My right hon. Friend made a speech from the Opposition Bench in 1917 which alarmed the House very greatly, and led to much protest. Within a week we found him on the Treasury Bench in possession of the reins of power and dealing with the situation in India. A few days later, in reply to a question, he repeated what he had said in Opposition. Many of us heard that reply not only with alarm but with the keenest sense that great danger had been aroused. We were afterwards told, and it was preached to us constantly, that the House of Commons was committed to that policy, and that the Government was committed to it. It was said that the statement had been made, and that it was impossible to go back upon it. Let me say that the career of the right hon. Gentleman since then, and the steps he has taken, has made his responsibility morn and more clear.
There were many amateur Abbé Sièyes who were ready to come forward with a written constitution for India. The right hon. Gentleman sought for advice and assistance from a group of very intellectual and progressive young men, many of whom I count as close and warm friends, and for whom I have an unbounded admiration, even though that admiration, lavish as it is, does not always reach their own self-appraisement. One of those gentlemen invented a scheme of government more wild than any devised since Dean Swift described the Constitution of Lilliput. That scheme was called diarchy. The right hon. Gentleman immediately took it under his protection and formed his scheme upon it. It was not only a dual rule. It was not the setting up of a government which might be homogeneous, but one necessarily divided into two diametrically opposite camps. Ministers of totally different tendencies were to be bound together, according to this diarchy, in the same government. It was as if the hon. and gallant Gentleman for Central Hull (Lieut.- Commander Kenworthy) was placed in the Foreign Office with the present Secretary of State for the Colonies at the Colonial Office, and the right hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) Chancellor of the Exchequer, while the President of 927 the Board of Trade was the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood).
It was an absolutely unworkable scheme, and I believe that that scheme which the right hon. Gentleman adopted is proving itself as unworkable as we foretold it would be. The right hon. Gentleman was not content; he went out himself to India and made a report which was to lay the basis of the whole scheme of reform in India. Whom did he take with him? A Noble Friend of mine, for whom I have the greatest respect, who was an hereditary and traditional Conservative, Lord Donoughmore. He invited my Noble Friend to collaborate with him, and the genial and expansive conservatism of my Noble Friend melted under the heat of the Indian sun, and the rays of the flattering invitation to become a co-operator in a scheme of administrative revolution, and from being a Conservative, he became one of the most devoted apostles of the new revolution. Afterwards, that report was put in the form of an Act of Parliament, which, instead of being submitted to the whole of this House, was submitted to a Joint Committee of the two Houses. The right hon. Gentleman and his Under-Secretary were both members of that Committee, not an altogether usual course, and certain Members of the House of Commons were nominated to serve on the Committee. Of the seven Members so nominated the only one who had said anything doubtful or had indicated any opposition was myself. In Division after Division I was in a minority of one with a considerable number of Noble Lords. My colleagues in the House of Commons followed the right hon. Gentleman. On one occasion, however, I was in a majority with the right hon. Gentleman against a minority of one composed of the hon. Member for East Nottingham. That Member never shows his sneering cynicism in a more acid form than when he is gloating over the extravagant inconsistency between his own previous written and spoken words and his present utterances. He is proud of that inconsistency.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
I will not join the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel Wedgwood) in his investigation of the motives 928 of the hon. Baronet (Sir J. D. Rees), but of the fact there is no doubt,. It pleases him occasionally to indulge in picturesque reminiscences of the service to which he belonged, but he has done all he could in later years to destroy the position of the civil service and to undermine the respect which it has earned from its fellow countrymen at home, and he is not in the least ashamed, indeed, he is evidently proud, even from that bench, referring to what he said years ago about the more moderate proposals of the present Lord Morley, of his amazing versatility in taking the opposite course and in adopting in exaggerated form all the views of his leader the right hon. Gentleman the present Secretary of State. I wish to draw attention to the facts of the case. My knowledge is not derived chiefly from visits to India. My knowledge is derived rather from having been for nearly 60 years in weekly contact by letter with men in many parts of India, and having had relatives in the Indian Army and Civil Service as well as in business there. I know what they are saying now. I know the dangers that are surrounding them.
I know that the right hon. Gentleman will do what he can for the civil servants, but I know that the strain of their work is increasing, that their anxiety is increasing and that the insults addressed to them from all parts of the native population are increasing. I know what their feeling is. I know how anxious they are and I know that in certain outlying places they feel that they take their lives in their hands, and that if they were to take their wives and children into these localities in the present condition of things they would be either wicked or mad. I speak with some knowledge, because I believe although I can not speak definitely, that between one-quarter and one-third of the members of the Civil Service are constituents of my own. The results of the scheme, of which the right hon. Gentleman, I think rashly, made himself a foster-parent, are more dangerous than he himself appreciates. Is he sure that these safeguards, which were established by the Act of 1919 and which were put in by the Joint Committee, are not being broken like ropes of sand? Is he not aware that in some of the legislative assemblies they have assumed power to which they are not entitled, that it has been taken, as 929 we prophesied it would be taken, and that the Governor does not feel that it would be safe for him to interfere. I think that he must know something of what I refer to and must agree that there is some symptom of danger in the fact of the legislative assembly going beyond its functions and the Governor hesitating to use the power which the Act confers upon him to prevent it. He has made a speech to-night which satisfies to a large extent many of those who doubt the wisdom of his action, but I want him to remember the responsibility which he owes, not merely to the Civil Service, but to the people of India. The Indian Civil Service is a class which is dear to my heart, but proud as I feel of it, and much as I think requires to be done to make its present situation even tolerable, may I ask him to remember a greater thing and that is our responsibility to Heaven for the welfare of the people of India.
We are not in India for the purpose of aggrandisement, or for great commercial purposes. It is not our object to serve our pride or our pocket. We are there because we are responsible for keeping order and maintaining the safety of life in that vast continent which is divided into nations separated by race, religion, tradition and habit, and by different instincts from one another. We are the binding and the controlling force. I remember once walking on the platform of a lonely station in India with a relative of my own. He recounted a conversation which he had just had with a Mahommedan fellow officer. He had said, "We English are here now. What do you say? Shall we be here in the time of your grandson and mine?" The Mahommedan turned and said, pointing to the duplicate drinking fountains, which are to be found in all the stations, one "For Indian gentlemen," the other "For Mahommedan gentlemen." "You must be here so long as that and all that it means remains. We cannot be left alone." That is the duty which we have to perform, and which we are bound to perform. I do not give a shadow of attention to the exaggerated notion which the hon. Baronet has of the Mahommedan difficulty being the centre of everything. It is sufficient to disprove it, to point out that Hindus and Mahommedans, who never had any social intercourse, have now joined hands against the "common enemy of India." There are things which 930 move them even more deeply than their own religious feelings.
Sir J. D. REES
My right hon. Friend states that they have joined hands against us, but they fight more than ever among themselves. The Moplah rebellion was a case of Mahommedans killing Hindus.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
That is exactly what I say. We have to prevent them killing themselves. It is our duty, our responsibility to those 300,000,000 people who have to live together. The right hon. Gentleman boasts of his having broken their pathetic contentment after living in a certain peace. All these races may differ in many ways one from the other, but there is one instinct in the Eastern mind which is universal and is deeper than anything else. That is the instinct of caste and of degree. They do not understand the Government that is not respected and does not make itself respected. It is a contradiction in terms, and you know that, if you allow such a state of affairs to prevail, there are no small possibilities of danger. The right hon. Gentleman thinks that India is not a fruitful ground for Bolshevism. Do not let him make too sure. The past history of India does not tell us so. A master mind once for all has told us what happens when degree or caste is taken away. Shakespeare's words are true for all time:When degree is shaked, what doth ensue?Then right and wrong(Between whose endless jar justice resides)Shall lose their names, and so shall justice too.Then everything includes itself in power.Power into will, will into appetite,And appetite, an universal wolf,So doubly seconded by will and powerTurns, perforce, to universal prey,And, last, devours itself.That is what will happen if you allow degree and order to break down, and then you will stand arraigned before the judgment seat of history as being false to the responsibility that is laid upon you. The right hon. Gentleman, I am glad to see by his speech, realises now that the time has come—many of us thought that it had come long ago—for insisting upon authority and respect. I entreat him to see that these words are not merely words and no more, but that effect is given to them firmly and insistently and that, before any other duty he will realise that 931 supreme duty and responsibility. Sometimes the present Government is a little apt, not only in India but elsewhere, to delay enforcing order and security for life and property. If the right hon. Gentleman takes care of this point we do not desire, however much we may think it mistaken, to change the system which he has established. We shall look forward with hope, but let him remember that the issue is now between maintaining what is left of our authority with a firm hand and of letting the flood gates open and leaving the barren space left by the flood when it has passed, to be occupied by one of those hopelessly cruel, relentless tyrannies which in past centuries have made Indian history a lurid tragedy.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
When I came into the House I expressed to another hon. Member admiration for the oratory of the hon. Baronet who represents East Nottingham (Sir J. D. Rees), and my friend said that the hon. Baronet was remarkable for being the only Liberal ever produced out of the Indian Civil Service. That remarkable fact seems rather to have irritated the right hon. Baronet who has just sat down.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
Yes, but he started in this House as a Liberal. Those of us who heard his speech to-day must have regretted that he does not still call himself a Liberal. I think he must have given the Secretary of State for India somewhat furiously to think, after his own speech. When the right hon. Gentleman rose to reply to the attacks he was cheered from these Opposition Benches, and that fact drew to him the jeers of the fathers and promoters of the Amendment. I do not think the Secretary of State for India need have been ashamed to have been cheered from these benches. It is not the first time that we have saved this Government on Indian matters. But our cheers were superfluous, because he followed the tactics of the Conservative leaders at Liverpool, who saved themselves by making die-hard speeches.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
It is no good saying "nonsense." I heard the latter part of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman with fear and trembling. I trembled to think of the effect of that speech in India. It may have mollified these Die-hards, who will be gone after the next election. What will be the effect in the bazaars of India and in the vernacular Press, in the mouths of the millions of people in India who to-day are seething with unrest? The Amendment, like that now under discussion, which the Government have to meet, are of course foolish. The only part that one might sympathise with is the demand for the restoration of order, but that is nullified by its being addressed to the Government at home, who are not responsible for keeping order in India. It behoves us to look very briefly at the causes of this unrest, and to see what we can do immediately to mollify them. The question of the Khilafat agitation has been dealt with at great length, and I will not say more about it, but it must be mentioned first. Anyone who speaks to the Mahommedans to-day must know how agitated they have been in their deepest feelings by the policy of the British Government since the Armistice.
The mistake seems to be made of looking upon Islam as a dying religion. It is anything but a dying religion; it is very much alive. Its missionaries make converts in India in very great numbers. I should not be surprised if the converts per year exceeded the converts to Christianity, among the primitive peoples in India and Africa. It is a live religion that brings out great devotion, and undoubtedly the Mahommedan agitators are for the most part sincere men. I refer to the Mahommedan agitators of India who have been cut to the quick and whose pride has been hurt by the ridiculous policy we have pursued towards Turkey since the Armistice. It would not be in order to examine the Treaty of Sèvres. but I plead for justice to Turkey in this matter simply from the point of view of regaining our friendship with the 90,000,000 of our Mahommedan fellow-subjects in India, who have as much right to be considered in this matter as any other portion of the Empire. They fought well in the War. They were promised all sorts of things in the way of safeguards for Turkey. The speech of the Prime Minister in the Spring of 1918 was re- 933 peated throughout India, and the Government spent great sums of money in having that speech placarded in the bazaars and distributed throughout the vernacular Press.
We could do a great deal at once to change our policy towards Turkey. It could be done by a stroke of the pen. It would save us money by the reduction of our garrisons in Asia Minor. It would possibly induce us to reduce our garrisons in British India within a few months. It would do much to restore good feeling in India. It would do much to remove the boycott against British goods. It would help our trade in Asia Minor also. The example of France has been quoted, and we might well follow it. I suggest that the example of France be followed in another respect. I think we should now consider what I will refer to as the second great cause of the trouble in India. It was described by the Secretary of State as the rising race consciousness of India. No one who has studied the history of Asia for the last 100 years can be surprised that this race consciousness is making itself felt in India to-day. The nationalist movement in Persia is quite recent, and it is very eager in spite of efforts to suppress it. The difference is not so very great between Persia and India, with regard to social development. The rise and development of Japan must have had a great effect on the minds of thinking Indians. Then the struggle for freedom of the gentle Koreans against Japanese tyranny showed what a race could do when driven to extremes. China has had its democratic movement for hundreds of years before we understood the meaning of democracy, even before the Greek experiment. Through cycles of years China has gone through democratic upheavals. She is going through one such upheaval to-day. It is not surprising, therefore, that this race consciousness is making itself apparent in India.
We Anglo-Saxons have a universal habit, very praiseworthy, of considering ourselves superior to all other races on the face of the earth. It is not a matter of classes at all. The sergeant in a British regiment abroad looks upon himself as one of God's own people, and as much superior to any others with whom he comes in contact. Such a feeling has its uses, but when we show that feeling to 934 others it becomes very bad manners. I believe that in recent years the universal exposure of that feeling of superiority has worked us great ill in the East. I repeat that it is not only a matter of classes. The Englishman of every class, when he gets abroad, has this same mental attitude. It must be something in our education and training. I do not know what it is, but unless we can train our people to behave with a greater feeling of comradeship to our fellow subjects in those races with which we come in contact, we shall have endless trouble throughout the Empire. The War has quickened the self-respect of the Indian people, especially the fighting races, and they object, not unnaturally, to this exhibition of race superiority on the part of ourselves, when it is too obvious and thrust into their faces. For years this has been going on in India, and its effect has been slow and cumulative. We must alter our whole outlook towards our fellow subjects in India if we are to maintain our Empire.
When I say this I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not advocating anything in the way of inter-marriage between different races, but we have to treat these races as fellow subjects of the King and with much greater courtesy and consideration in the future. I believe an example in that direction has been set from the top in India, and it should be impressed on young men who are going to India whether as merchants or officers in regiments. These remarks hardly apply to Indian civil servants. I believe from their training they learn to treat all natives with courtesy and consideration. I am talking about the many thousands of Europeans who are not members of the Civil Service at all, men from the Colonies, merchants, men from the Army and Navy and so on. Let us look for an example to the French Colonies. In quite recent years I had the privilege of visiting the French Colonies in North Africa and the difference is tremendous. There the Government is as severe as even the hon. Baronet the Member for Twickenham (Sir W. Joynson-Hicks) and his friends would desire, and any sort of disorder and rioting is put down ruthlessly, but the natives in Algiers and Oran and in Morocco under Marshal Lyautey are treated on terms of absolute equality with Frenchmen. They are treated as 935 Frenchmen, and send their deputies to sit in the French Chamber and occupy the same carriages in trains as French people according to their means. Undoubtedly, that helps French rule in Africa, and the same thing applies in Asia. I, myself, in Paris, during the War, have seen a negro officer belonging to one of the French Senegalese regiments, sitting at table in the Officers' Club eating with French officers. There he was, a typical negro, thick-lipped and curly-haired, dressed in a French uniform, looking upon himself as a Frenchman, and calling himself a captain in the French Army, as of course he had every right to do, and he was treated as such. In that same club in Paris it was impossible for any native officer of a British native regiment to enter. There was no rule by the French against it, but there was an unwriten rule which would have prevented a native officer from associating with his fellow-officers of British regiments. The very fact that the negro officer of the French regiment could use this club while the Indian native officer—perhaps a man of very high caste whose father and grandfather had fought for us in the past—could not, illustrates the difference between the French method of treating these laces and our method. I say the French method will last longer, and will be more successful, and that the French Empire will be maintained longer than ours, unless we radically alter our whole point of view on the subject. I do not suggest racial mixing, or inter-marriage or anything of that sort. It is social equality I plead for, of the sort I have described. It is urgently necessary that this matter should be taken in hand or we shall not have trouble in India alone, but in Egypt, Iraq, in our African Colonies, and everywhere else where there are so-called subject races.
It is not very extraordinary that there should be unrest in India to-day. The Secretary of State for India, in part of his speech, came up to my expectation in realising the causes. Democracy is on the march, and it would be strange if India did not feel the urge. We in this House, when the Morley reforms were brought in and when the Minto reforms were brought in, recognised that this sort of thing was inevitable in India. We have always welcomed it, and we 936 cannot attempt to revert to the old practice of suppression. For these reasons I regret very much indeed that the Secretary of State for India allowed a note of reaction to creep into his speech. I suppose in this House of Commons it was inevitable that he should play up to those prejudices and sentiments. I only hope that the people of India will realise that this House of Commons is abnormal. It was elected at an abnormal moment, and there will never be another House of Commons like it. That should be realised outside England as it is realised inside England. It will be impossible again to have a Die-hard movement actually advocating the overthrow and the setting aside of the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms. That will never happen again.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I do not think so. The hon. and gallant Member for Lanarkshire must not judge this country by Hungary and France and the other countries which returned reactionary Chambers. We are not going to have a more reactionary House. We could not, for one thing. It is impossible.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I admit that the Liberal Imperialists are perhaps a little slow to imbibe new ideas, but even the Liberal Imperialists would never suggest the overthrow of the Montagu-Chelmsford Reports on India. No, this House of Commons is abnormal, and in its present mood towards India, it judges by a comparatively few outbreaks and acts of violence which have occurred in a vast sub-continent containing many millions of people. Looked at in the right perspective, the actual trouble in India is not so very great. Gandhi has been abused by everyone, including, of course, the Secretary of State for India. Judging by the last pronouncement of Gandhi calling off the non-co-operation movement because it would lead to violence, I think the time may come when we shall rather congratulate ourselves on having a man of Gandhi's eminence with the ideas which he apparently possesses. It may be fortunate that the agitation in India is led by a Gandhi and not by a De 937 Valera. The position may not be quite so hopeless as hon. Gentlemen seem to think. We need not despair. I quite agree that we have to keep order. As the hon. Member for the Scottish Universities (Sir H. Craik) pointed out, we have a great responsibility which we must not, and cannot, shirk, but for Heaven's sake let us make it clear to the people of India that if they only confine themselves to legitimate constitutional methods, even of agitation, that we will meet them half way. After all, agitation is not yet a crime in the world—not a recognised crime, at any rate. Let us make it clear to the Indian people that we will give them every help towards developing self-governing institutions for themselves. The Aryan race is represented in Europe as well as in India. The Indian, when educated, is little different in many respects from the educated European. No conqueror ever admits that his victims are fit for self-government. No Spaniard of the old régime thought the Mexicans were fit for self-government. There are many people to-day who say the old Mexicans are not fit for self-government. They would have said the same thing about the whole of South America. But what happens to those who say it? The Spaniards lost their Empire, and we lost North America for the same reason. We cannot hold these great areas to-day—Egypt, Mesopotamia, and India—by force. India has not been held by the sword in the past. It has been held by our prestige and reputation for justice and fair dealing. We can still rely on prestige, and if we can rehabilitate belief in fair dealing and justice, the position can yet be retrieved.
§ Captain ELLIOT
Perhaps it is fitting that when all the older men have gone away to eat and drink, the younger men should debate the issue with which they will have to deal. The speech of the last speaker, at any rate, touched a note of more fundamental importance than we have heard before in the Debate. The main trouble in India is fundamentally deeper than these whisperings of the beginning of Parliamentary government, such as the Mover of the Amendment began with, and such as the Secretary of State continued. We are faced with nothing less than the reaction of the world to the new religion of race and colour which has 938 been preached so successfully by the whites in the past, and which the coloured races at last are beginning to re-echo. There is no greater tragedy in the world than to find the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment talking, out of the fulness of their knowledge, of this country and the world as they were 20 or 30 years ago, before these great lessons had been preached and admitted up and down the world, and acted upon in all the horrors of the Great War. We have started the world, for good or ill, on this gospel of nationalism, and this gospel has been accepted, apparently, by the coloured races of the world. We have only begun to realise the bloodshed into which it will plunge not only the Continent of Europe, as it has done, but the Continent of Asia. The frozen sea of the Baltic has produced this great gospel, which is spreading over the Mediterranean to India. When we recognise the peoples of the East have learnt these terrible lessons they have preached to them, then we may shudder at what we have produced.
We have to realise that a white Empire has terrible drawbacks, as well as great advantages, and that you cannot teach the gospel of race up and down the world without other nations overhearing that terrible doctrine. When the white men in Australia say that no coloured man will be allowed into the whole of that continent, not even North of the Tropic of Capricorn; when we realise that the rulers of British Columbia say that no coloured man will be allowed on the Pacific slope; when they are backed by that great country of the United States of America, which says that coloured men of the East will be placed on the same footing as the negroes of Senegal and will not be admitted between Alaska and the Isthmus of Panama, the coloured man up and down the coast of Coromandel is beginning to think whether there is not something in the doctrine too. The terrible fact in the gospel of race is that we have not begun to appreciate it in our philosophy of Empire, and it is time we did realise where these things are leading us. England, with her henchmen the Scottish and the Welsh, and, to some extent, the Irish, set her face to the East, and built up a great black Empire—a great Empire of colour, if you like—and, by an accident, at the same time she seized the great empty spaces which have 939 subsequently been colonised by the whites.
You cannot have it both ways. If we are going to have this exclusive white Empire, we must be prepared to be faced with a demand for exclusion for the blacks also. There is no party in this House or country guiltless when it comes to such a question as this. The Conservative party has been reactionary enough in the past. The Liberal party is reactionary enough at the present, and[...] of course, the real reactionary party in the matter of race is the Labour party. which is trying to destroy South Africa just now for the privilege of throwing blacks out of the country in which they have lived from time immemorial. The Labour party up and down the coast of Australia have preached this gospel We have to-day to face the new philosophy of Empire. There may be a chance to hold the Indian Empire still, but it is a small and rapidly diminishing chance, and it is diminishing chiefly through the new idea that is being preached, that where the Union Jack is run up over a piece of land, on that piece of land the coloured subjects of the King are neither to have rights nor privileges nor duties, nor any share or part in this so-called partnership of the Empire. When you approve the Kenya colony bar to men from across the Indian Ocean, you have in that one fact an absolute denial of the whole gospel of partnership which you will never be able to redress by the mere conceding of Parliamentary government of one kind or another. When you find that this link has existed for 500 years of come-and-go across the Indian Ocean; when you find General Smuts and his men backing an attempt to break this intercourse, and stop the settling of men from India in the coast land or highland of Kenya, then you have a practical denial of the partnership of India in the Empire, such as no paper concessions of any kind would ever remedy or help to wash out of the memory of the coloured man.
The other hon. and gallant Gentleman (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) who spoke last, and his predecessor, told us of the success of France in dealing with her colonial problems. But the French method is based first, last, and all the time upon the fact that the French have 940 no great white colonies in which the French white man can spread; there is no place in which the Frenchman wants to spread in any part of the world. The French are content to associate with the blacks and to come and go with them, to intermarry, and the hon. and gallant Gentleman said that he did not favour intermarriage. If you deny the fundamental equalities of human nature, which are the equalities of the table and the bed, if you deny the intercourse of food and sex, you are putting up a social barrier which it is impossible for you to ignore, and nobody in this country supposes for a moment that we who are of the Northern races will allow that intercourse, which as everybody knows, the French do allow. The French way is barred to us. The French system is of no use to us. The French method has been worked out and re-worked out, and it rests on bases which the people of this country will never consent to for a moment. Rather would they lose the whole of the great Empire which they and their ancestors have built up. Rather would they lose the whole of the great Empire which their ancestors have built up than submit to a full-blooded Senegalese negro sitting in the House of Lords with his white wife as the French admit Diagne in their House of Lords, the Senate, with his white wife. Sooner than that we would lose, and I think rightly, the whole of our great Empire—the whole of the great Empire that we have got in the East, this Empire which we govern by the consent of colour, for the good of colour, but not by the consent of Eurasians for the good of Eurasians.
When you find fundamental contradictions such as these, there is only one chance left to us—the chance of partnership. If we can find some method of partnership to admit the Indian Commonwealth into the British Empire, then we can still retain them within the orbit of the Empire, but after the speeches which have been made by the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment, and even the speech made by the Secretary of State in reply, there is no hope whatever of a united British partnership such as we hope might be able eventually to come round. Where are the stern hand and vigorous repressive measures taking us? We conquered India with Indian soldiers paid by Indian money, and we conquered 941 part of the East by that means. It is only by the consent of the Indians that we shall ever be able to hold the great Indian Empire. If these are denied that partnership in the Empire, that partnership to move and hold land, in at least those parts which are suitable for their development, such as the uplands of Kenya, we deny in a single sentence that the Empire is of any use whatever to Indian civilisation as a whole. If we can find within the next 18 months some compromise, some modus vivendi, which is not a mere matter of paper concessions or Parliamentary extensions of the franchise granted by this House, then it is possible to make the people of India believe in our good faith. But if in a year and a half or so—and I do not believe we have got any longer than that—we continue to prove to them by word and deed that wherever the Union Jack goes up there is one space less for the Indians to live in and one area more barred to Indian civilisation, then we are faced with what I have described, and what I say the people of this country would never consent to, and we will never be able to hold our Indian Empire. The balance is swaying. In the next 18 months we have got to settle as to whether we will try to govern India by the sword and fail, or whether we will admit India into a real partnership and succeed; or whether we will offer India a sham partnership, a paper partnership, a thing of sticking-plaster and stamp paper, which will tear asunder when the strain comes, and disappear and be lost, and with which will be lost this great inheritance which our fathers have handed to us, and with it have given us so much to be proud of in the British name throughout the East.
§ Lord E. PERCY
I agree with the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) and with the last speaker (Captain Elliot.) that the questions before us in this Debate are more fundamental than the earlier speeches would, perhaps, have led us to believe, yet, while it may be very much to our advantage to debate these wide questions of race and nationality, the only way in which we can actually influence the policy which is to work for good or ill over the whole of these questions is that of exercising our judgment as to the formation of that Government which is the Imperial Government of India. The only way in which, I think, we can impar- 942 tially create a race partnership with India is by realising and securing the recognition from our partner of the actual physical barriers which determine the current of migration. It is perfectly obvious that there are certain areas in Kenya and elsewhere where white migration is possible and suitable. There are areas in which that migration is impossible. Neither white nor coloured must claim an absolute right to migrate to any area irrespective of its climate, economic resources, and other determining factors affecting migration into that neighbourhood. It is only on that basic fact that we can move. I am not quite sure the hon. and gallant Gentleman chose the best example of self-determination when he quoted Mexico.
§ Lord PERCY
To come to the question which, after all, is the question at issue. For the last few days we have had an opportunity of discussing four Amendments to the Address. Two of them have come to a vote, but all four have related to the internal affairs of this country. This Amendment is the first opportunity we have had of expressing an opinion on the manner in which His Majesty's Government is discharging what I may call its external responsibilities. The scope of this Debate in regard to Turkey, and so on, has shown how wide is the issue raised in connection with the discharge by the Government of their external responsibilities. There are many in this House who do not belong to the company of the Mover and the Seconder, who are in grave doubt, or would have been in grave doubt, as to how to vote if this Amendment were carried to a Division. That doubt, however, has been entirely eliminated by the tone of the speeches made in its support. It is quite impossible for us to vote in favour of an Amendment couched in these terms, more especially after it has been recommended to us by the kind speech which has been delivered by the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Gwynne).
And yet is it-possible for us to give a vote of confidence to the Government for the way in which it has discharged its duties in external affairs, and more especially in India? I wish I could say that it was open to us to give such a vote of confidence. I particularly desire to say that I regret the personal language of 943 this Amendment, and the personal attack on the personality of the Secretary of State for India. If there is one principle of the British Constitution which hon. Gentlemen opposite should desire to maintain, it is that of the corporate joint responsibility of the Cabinet. These personal attacks seem to me a somewhat curious way of avoiding the necessity of attacking His Majesty's Government. It is the character of His Majesty's Government and their record which is before us. The gravamen of my charge—in this I think that I may claim to speak for some other hon. Members and for many people outside—is that there is not one single question in the Near or Middle East on which the Government have been united; in fact, there is not one single question on which their disunion and division has not been advertised to the four quarters of the globe. I might mention the question of Egypt, and the open division and disunion and controversy within the Cabinet itself which finally led to the publication of the Milner Report before its consideration by the Cabinet. But I wish to refer to a question which more immediately affects Mahommedan opinion in India. The hon. Baronet the Member for East Nottingham (Sir J. D. Rees) and the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Central Hull (Commander Kenworthy) asked why has the Government not made peace with Turkey. The most potent reason is precisely because of the quarrel and the resulting compromise about Constantinople at the Conference of Paris, when to the whole world was revealed the disagreement between the Secretary of State for India and his colleagues in the Cabinet as to the disposal of Constantinople, and eventually Constantinople was, by a compromise, agreed to be left to Turkey. What is the result of that compromise? It was regarded by the Turcophils in the Government and in this House as a step towards the complete let-down of Turkey; but what is our position to-day? We wished that Turkey should retain Constantinople for the sake of Indian Moslem opinion; and we were not reluctant that the Sultan should remain in Constantinople under the protection of the British Empire.
But are we in Constantinople to-day protecting a Sultan who is revered by his 944 Turkish subjects and by Moslems throughout the world? No. We are accrediting our diplomatists and representatives at Constantinople to a shadow government despised by the Turkish Nationalist Government at Angora, and by the very fact that we are put in this position, we have no opportunity of official negotiations with the Nationalist Government at Angora. That is why you are not getting peace with Turkey. You have secured something to Turkey in recognition of Indian Moslem feeling, and you have thereby gained a reputation among some of these despised Christian nations for jerrymandering European frontiers in response to Asiatic opinion, but you have not secured such terms with Turkey as will really recommend your settlement to Indian Moslem opinion. You have fallen hopelessly between two stools.
Now we come to another open division and controversy publicly proclaimed and fought out in the street between the Secretary of State for India and the Secretary of State for the Colonies. Is this a record which the Government can commend to us as likely to increase the prestige of the British Raj in India? Does this offer us any prospect of successful administration? Surely not. The speeches of the Mover and Seconder of this Amendment are inspired entirely with an idea of the universal efficacy of force, and this reminds me of a remark made by Bismarck, who said:You can do anything in the world with bayonets, but you cannot sit upon them,That maxim should, at any rate, have penetrated their minds. They were led astray, however, because they wished to make a personal attack on the Secretary of State. If they bad directed their attack towards the real issue—the weakness that there is in the Government on any question of great public policy, the lack of unity and the absence of any such self-restraint as would enable them to conceal their differences of opinion—if the attack had been directed against that weakness, then I, and probably many others in this House, would have been prepared to vote for their Amendment. It is a serious question, I say it deliberately, which the Government presents to the consideration of this House—a serious question whether they are able to keep along the lines of a policy well balanced between the necessary use of force and the equally 945 necessary use of co-operation in any Government in view of their open, avowed, shameless and flagrant disagreements among themselves on every point in regard to Constantinople. I do hope that the Government will realise the difficulty in which they place their supporters and will also realise that the view of many of their supporters as to the future prospect of this Government may be summed up in one of the most famous perorations ever uttered by any English-speaking statesman:A house divided against itself cannot stand. I do not expect the house to fall, but I do expect it to cease to be divided.
§ Colonel Sir C. YATE
I am one of those who feel sorry that this Debate should have come on to-night. I was anxious that any debate on India should be postponed until after the Prince of Wales had left the country, but when I heard the Prime Minister get up and say he intended to have the Debate I could only conclude he considered that the state of India had come to such a pass that it was necessary for the Government to make some statement on the subject. I listened to the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for India very carefully, and I am sorry to say there was hardly anything in it at all with which I could agree, except the final statement that he did not advocate any immediate extension of the powers of self-government to the Legislative Assemblies of India. I welcome that statement most cordially. I am sorry not to have had the advantage during this Debate of hearing the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Spoor) speak in support of the Amendment which he has on the Paper. I should have liked to have heard what he had to say on the subject, because it has always struck me that when representatives of Labour, or men who claim to be representative of Labour, go to countries like India and Egypt, it is extraordinary how they absolutely neglect the classes whom they profess to represent. They do not try to find out any of the conditions under which British working men may be living in the country they are visiting, but they devote themselves solely and entirely to the agitators and revolutionaries they find there. We all remember that two Labour representatives toured India for a few weeks—the Member for New- 946 castle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) being one and the other the Member for Bishop Auckland. They arrived at Bombay. They were met by agitators. They were decorated with garlands of flowers, and they placed themselves at the beck and call of the revolutionaries, went about India with them and addressed meetings, and probably helped to excite the present trouble there. They never went among their fellow-working men in that country. The Member for Bishop Auckland is, I believe, an electrical engineer. Did he ever go into an electric shop, a railway shop, or an engineering establishment there? Did he inquire into the conditions under which the railway engine drivers, guards and firemen work? No, he was led about the country by these agitators, he had garlands of roses placed round his neck, and he went all over the country in that company. I am sorry we have not had the benefit of a speech from him this evening.
It is not right to say that the present troubles have all originated within the past three years. Revolution has been coming on in India for years—long before the War. Lajpat Rai, about whom we have heard this evening, was first convicted in 1907. He went to America and I regret to say that the Secretary of State despite all my protestations gave him his passport and brought him back. He is one of the causes of all the trouble. The rebellion of 1919 was one of the greatest troubles that has occurred in India since the days of the Mutiny. We had the Punjab in open rebellion, the railways and the telegraphs were cut, and had rebellion come to a head in 1919 there cannot be the slightest doubt that we should not have been able to move up sufficient troops to enable us to make headway against the Afghan invasion that followed. The Punjab would have been overrun with Afghans and wild frontiermen who would have killed every white person, Sikh and Hindoo they met if they had not been stopped and possibly would have swept over the whole of that part of India. General Dyer stamped out the rebellion by prompt and decisive action at a cost of only 370 lives. That action was what stopped it, and I would like to ask the House to compare the action of General Dyer in 1919 with the action in regard to the Moplah rebellion in the present year.
947 As I have said, the Punjab rebellion was nipped in the bud, with the loss of only 370 men. We have now the rebellion in the Moplah country, which, as was stated by the hon. Baronet the Member for East Nottingham (Sir J. D. Rees), is a very small piece of country. While the Punjab has a population of some 20,000,000, I do not suppose that the Moplah country has 1,000,000. That rebellion has been going on now for six months. Thousands of men have been killed, thousands of Hindus have been massacred, and it is not yet over. What is the reason? It is solely and entirely the action of the British Government, the Government of India, and the Secretary of State. The Noble Lord the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy) said that this is a question of Cabinet Government, and that we are not attacking individuals. I do not wish to attack individuals. A despatch was written, I presume by the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, through and by the hand of the Secretary of State, and that despatch was sent to India and carried out by the then Viceroy, Lord Chelmsford, and the Government of India. That dispatch broke General Dyer. That despatch punished Sir Michael O'Dwyer, the Governor of the Punjab, by the punishment of the officials who acted under him in suppressing that rebellion. Talking of those officials, I put a question in November last to the Prime Minister, asking him to consider the case of those poor men. He said that he had not had time to go into it, but that he would go into it and give me an answer in 24 hours. I have never heard a word from that day to this.
One of the results of those orders was that, when this Moplah rebellion broke out, Gandhi's men, the non-co-operators, told the Moplahs that they need not be afraid to rebel, because it was not they who would be punished, but the Government officials. That was one of the ways in which they were incited to rebellion. When that rebellion broke out no officer dared do anything. He dared not face the responsibility. The British officers in India were so cowed that few were willing to take the risk of being thrown to the wolves, as the officers in the Punjab were. The House will remember that, in accordance with the despatch sent by the Secretary of State, special ordinances were 948 passed for the control of officers in case the troops were called out or martial law was established in any part of the country. Those ordinances were very strict, and the consequence was that during the first three months of the Moplah rebellion hardly any progress at all was made. If under martial law you catch a man murdering another you must try him on the spot, but under these ordinances no man could be sentenced and punished unless he had an appeal to the High Court. What is the good of martial law and an appeal to the High Court 1,000 males away many months afterwards? The Secretary of State referred to Sir William Vincent, the Home member of the Viceroy's Council. What did he do? He went down to the Legislative Assembly, and said this:Instructions had already been sent to guide officers to treat the rebels with as little severity as possible.All that time these Moplahs—Mahommedan fanatics—were massacring Hindus. The papers even said that they were flaying them alive. They were making them dig pits and throwing them into the graves that they had already dug. They were forcibly circumcising them and making them compulsorily into Mahommedans, and their women, too. All this was going on, and yet the Home Member of the Viceroy's Council said in the Legislative Assembly that orders had been sent to guide officers to treat these rebels with as little severity as possible. I think Sir William Vincent must be a man after the Secretary of State's own heart. Since then all those orders issued by the Secretary of State and the Cabinet have had to be scrapped. Fresh orders have been issued, and officers at last have been given some power; and now they say that there is some hope that the Moplah rebellion may at last be brought to an end. How different it would be if the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, and the Labour Members, could be all sent out to India and just dumped down in the middle of the Moplah rebellion and given a taste of what Indian rebellion was like!
We had an example a day or two ago of the result of this kind of procedure. There is a pious Hindoo revolutionist in India, whose name is Sir Sankaran Nair. He was for three or four years a member of the Viceroy's Council, but after the Punjab rebellion he resigned his position 949 on the Viceroy's Council, as a protest against the action taken by the Government in putting down the Punjab rebellion. Here is a man who at that critical time deserted his own Government and resigned, and he was made a hero of all over India—garlanded and praised from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin as the great man who had flouted the British Government. And what did the Secretary of State do? He had no sooner resigned than the Secretary of State appointed him to his own Council here in London. He remained here for some time, and lately returned to India. When he was in Bombay he was appointed President of a Conference which was going on there with Gandhi, but he resigned that saying that Gandhi was impossible, as he probably was. Lately he has issued a manifesto, in which he states that Gandhi's movement attained its present proportions owing to the culpable weakness of Lord Chelmsford's Government, whose policy was being continued by the present Government. This man, who resigned his post in Lord Chelmsford's Government as a protest against the severity shown in putting down the Punjab rebellion, now talks about the culpable weakness of Lord Chelmsford and the present Viceroy. There was no culpable weakness as long as he was a member of the Viceroy's Council. It was just the contrary.
I hope Lord Chelmsford will tell us in some of his numerous speeches whether Sir Sankaran Nair ever expostulated with him on the weakness which he is now stated to have shown. What has happened; what is the cause of this sudden change? It is this. Sir Sankaran Nair comes from the Malabar country. He belongs to a race of landowners and traders there, and his brothers and cousins are all in that country, and they may possibly be in danger. That fact altered his views. He turned completely round, and instead of complaining of the strength of the Government in putting down rebellion, he is now complaining of the culpable weakness of the Government in not putting it down. I must confess that I myself should call it criminal weakness. The Government has shown criminal weakness during the past three years. We should remember though that both Lord 950 Chelmsford and Lord Reading are absolutely under the orders of the Secretary of State for India. By the Government of India Act, which was passed by the Secretary of State himself, it is laid down definitely by Statute that the Secretary of State is responsible to Parliament for the direction, superintendence and control of affairs in India. He is the man who is responsible for affairs in India.
I daresay the House will remember how that Government of India Act was passed. That is one of the things that ought not to be forgotten. The whole essence of that Act was the so-called diarchy, by which dual government was to be established in India. All the Lieutenant-Governors of the Provinces, or eight out of nine of them, were absolutely opposed to this. The Lieutenant-Governors were the men who had served for years in India and knew it from top to bottom, thoroughly understanding the situation. They said that diarchy was unworkable and absolutely objected to it. I asked the Secretary of State for India to allow the Lieutenant-Governors to come here and give evidence before the Select Committee, or to allow their representatives to speak for them, but not one was permitted to appear. We must remember that in British India 226,000,000 people nut of 246,000,000 are agriculturists. I said: Will you let some of the agriculturists come over and give evidence, or will you allow some of their representatives to appear?" Not a single man was allowed to come. Then there were the soldiers. We all remember those magnificent men whom we saw marching past the King outside Buckingham Palace. They were in camp at Hampton Court, and I asked the right hon. Gentleman if he would let some of those men come and give evidence before the Select Committee. The Secretary of State would not allow a man to come, although they were just close by at Hampton Court.
No one was allowed to come and give evidence before the Select Committee, except the agitators and the revolutionaries who were brought over from India. Tilak, Mrs. Besant, Mr. Naidu Patel, and others, the men who caused rebellion there by agitation in 1919, and who have been agitating ever since, were brought over in first-class cabins all to themselves, while the poor, wretched sick women and 951 children in India, who were unable to get home during the course of the War and who were suffering from fever and illness, had to be put down in the pandemonium below the water line, where many of them died, to enable these revolutionaries to come over first-class. They were received at the India Office, a Conference was held with the Secretary of State, and it was arranged what evidence was to be given. The Secretary of State put questions to them, drew what he wanted from them, and then resolved himself into judgment on the evidence. That is how the Select Committee was carried through.
When the Second Reading of the Bill came up in the House out of something like 600 Members there were some half-a-dozen men who spoke in favour of diarchy. Was it pure chance that that half-a-dozen men were put on the Select Committee? Even after the Bill had passed through the House of Commons the Secretary of State was apparently a little doubtful about the passage of the Bill in the Lords. What did he do? The Financial Secretary of the Viceroy's Council came over to give some evidence about money. He turned round and went against the Lieutenant-Governors of the Provinces, and took up a position in favour of the Secretary of State's diarchy. After that he was made a Peer, two or three days before the Bill went into the House of Lords, and there he sat and helped the Under-Secretary to get the Bill passed.
I have been for 50 years in the service of the Government of India. During all that time I have watched great Lieut.-Governors of Provinces and great Indian Civil Servants come home year after year. Can the Secretary of State give me a single instance of any Indian Civil Servant being promoted into the House of Lords as a reward for his services during the whole of those 50 years? I cannot quote a single instance, yet these great men have come back and lapsed into obscurity. One has heard people say: "Oh, Sir Somebody Somebody has come to live in our terrace; can you tell me who he is?" His friend would reply: "I have heard he was something in India." Here is a man who has been governing 30, 40, or 50 millions of men, and who has gained the 952 respect of all men, who comes home and is absolutely unknown. I am very sorry to think that the doors of the House of Lords should have been opened only to the man who turned round against his brother Lieut.-Governors and took up a position in favour of the Secretary of State's diarchy, which was opposed by them.
So the Act was passed and rewards were given. A member of the Secretary of State's Council was promoted to be Permanent Under-Secretary of State, while the Under-Secretary and two other men who had helped were promoted to be Governors. Lord Chelmsford came home and we saw him going all round the country, making speeches on the magnificent success of this reform. The only success accomplished was that diarchy was skipped and the Ministers who were first appointed under the Act, instead of taking up a position of opposition, very wisely joined the Government Official Ministers, and formed a united Government. That may not go on for ever, however, and we may have a very different state of things. It is an impossible thing to have a divided Government. I would ask the Prime Minister if he could govern this country with a divided Government of this sort? The Prime Minister has a Cabinet of 20 men. If he had to choose ten men from the Treasury Bench and ten of the most violent and pugnacious men from the Front Bench opposite and put them into his Cabinet, how would the Government of the country go on with the ten men from the other side of the House all going against him? No man was more anxious than I was for self-government for India, but I always said that if you put a council of half-a-dozen men, three British and three Indian, alternately round a table, you would have the finest government possible, but if you put three English on one side and three Indians on the other side, in opposition to each other, India would be brought to chaos. So it is to-day. I know the benefit of the Indian mind working along with the English mind. I have seen it in Afghanistan, in Arabia, in Persia, and in India. You cannot have the two minds working with each other without good results, but put one in opposition to the other and you will have chaos. Therefore I say I hope the opportunity will soon be given by which this system of diarchy in 953 the Government of India will be brought to an end. What has been done by the Councils under the Government of India Act? First of all they began by passing resolutions for cutting down the army and police, and everything they could think of to weaken the British Government; then they passed resolutions against enlistment of British officers for police education and other services; and finally they passed resolutions for the liberation of all the men in Gandhi's non-co-operation movement, and abject surrender to Gandhi himself. We were told a few minutes ago by the hon. Member for East Nottingham (Sir J. D. Rees) what splendid men these councillors were, and how they had supported the British Government by passing a resolution supporting the Government's action in favour of strong measures, but the exact opposite happened. This Legislative Assembly brought in a Motion recommending the absolute surrender to Gandhi and the liberation of all the arrested men, and the Government had to bring in all their official Members before they could defeat that. The Secretary of State's despatch on the Hunter Commission Report was full of the iniquities of the officers, civil and military, who were guilty of stern and severe repression, but only two or three days ago, the Secretary of State made a speech to the 1920 Club in which he strongly advocated these very stern and severe measures of repression against all who are breaking the law in India. What a turn round that was. After all these years of placating your enemy and sacrificing your friends, it is no good the Secretary of State coming now and using these brave words. They may delude people elsewhere, but they will not delude the people in India. It was stated in the paper 2 or 3 days ago, and with absolute truth, that no British officer in India trusts either the Secretary of State or the Viceroy to support him in doing his duty, and I am sorry to say that that really is the feeling in India at the present time. I have letters from India which tell me that they are in daily dread of the jails being rushed and the criminals let loose. That was the first act in the Indian Mutiny, but in the Indian Mutiny, we must remember, it was a mutiny of the soldiers, but we had a loyal and contented population. Now, however, we have not a loyal and contented popula- 954 tion, and we have a disheartened set of officers to oppose those in rebellion. That is the state of India at the present time. We read 2 or 3 days ago of how a police station was attacked and 20 men killed. They were stripped and burned alive. If that was done by Indians to other Indians, think what will happen when it comes to Indians dealing with British men and women. Look at the case of the unfortunate American who was killed in Bombay the day on which the Prince arrived. He was going to his work, he was caught by the mob, and he was hammered to death, simply because he had a white skin. We rescued 130 women and children with difficulty at Amritsar, but when these mobs break loose now in outlying districts, what will happen? The position in India now is terribly serious.
§ The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Lloyd-George)
I think it will be generally agreed that it was very desirable that there should be a discussion on the affairs of India in the Imperial Parliament. It is better that the charges and countercharges that are made outside, the rumours that are current, the anxieties which have been caused should be sifted and examined here, calmly and dispassionately, by the Assembly that is primarily responsible for the Government of India. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for India has been attacked from both sides. A number of speeches have attacked him because he has gone too far in one direction, and other speeches have been delivered criticising him because he has not gone far enough. The centre position is a safe one for a country to occupy, but it is a very unpleasant one for a statesman to walk along, because he is liable to be attacked from both sides, and there is a cross-fire, which is exceedingly dangerous for his political life. That has been the experience of my right hon. Friend and of everybody else who has been trying to walk a moderate path between two extremes. May I just say one word about the speech of the Mover of the Amendment (Sir W. Joynson-Hicks). I heard the latter part of it, and although I did not agree with it, I appreciated very much its ability and skill. I am very delighted, as an old friend, to congratulate my hon. Friend upon his speech, and I am still more pleased to do so as a member of the same profession. He spoke with moderation and restraint. He 955 avoided, at any rate, any petty personalities, and his speech was all the stronger for that reason.
There is much in the state of India that justifies grave concern. I deprecate alarm. There is certainly no cause for panic, and the situation is well within the compass of our strength, without adding to our burdens. There is no doubt that it is a situation which demands examination at the hands of the Imperial Parliament, as well as of the Imperial Government. But we cannot deal with it effectively unless we seek out the real causes of the unrest, without, losing our sense of proportion. If an attempt be made to trace the origin of the disturbance in India to something which occurred two or three years ago, Parliament and the public are misled as to the real causes of our difficulty, and consequently neither Parliament nor the public nor the Government can deal effectively with the situation. We must get a real understanding of what was the position when the trouble arose, and why it arose. If we do that dispassionately, without any partisanship, we can apply remedies, but if we attribute it all to one cause, that cause not being the real source and fount of the disturbance, we shall launch out on a policy which will be ineffective, and probably disastrous.
The disturbance and unrest in India did not begin three years ago. I have been a member of Governments since 1906, and I remember perfectly well when my Noble Friend Lord Morley, the Secretary of State for India, had constantly to bring to the attention of the Cabinet the serious unrest in India. In 1910, Sir Valentine Chirol, who has been referred to as a great authority on the subject, published his classical book on "Unrest in India." That was four years before the War. The attempt on the life of the Viceroy was a couple of years before the War. There had been several assassinations or attempts at assassination of high officials. There had been many police murders; there were constant riots; agitators were deported at the instance of Lord Morley. All that occurred years before the War.
It is therefore idle to attribute the unrest in India to something which occurred when my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for India (Mr. Montagu) assumed the reins of office. To do so is 956 not doing justice to the theme. It is a serious reality. It has to be dealt with, but it can only be dealt with, effectively and wisely by trying to understand what are the causes. They were probably many. Here you have a population with Eastern ideas and Eastern experience traversing unknown centuries. Democracy was never written in their story. Modern ideas, Western ideas of liberty and self-government were unknown. They acknowledged great over-lords who, according to their strength, gave them peace, or, according to their weakness, gave them unrest and disturbance. We gave them largely an English education. I have been amazed at the kind of education which is given to the Indian child. There is no doubt it poisoned the Indian mind. We had a very considerable number of rich, well-to-do Indians sending their children to be educated at the English universities. They were saturated with Western ideas, and they go back full of them. The great Western ideas of liberty became their ideals. It was bound to create unrest. It was putting new wine into old bottles—the fierce wine of the West into the older bottles of the East accustomed to milder vintages—the fierce and often coarser wines of the West. The bottles burst, and there was a leakage; the wine spread, and the intoxication swept over the East.
It was not India alone. In the story of India you must not forget the story of Asia—Japan, China, India, the hundreds of millions of people who have been living in tranquillity and in satisfaction with ideas of autocracy that gave them protection and guardianship under which they were satisfied. And here comes the West. It is because the West has got into conflict with the East. It was inevitable. They were like two chemicals which were bound sooner or later to produce some form of explosion. Do not let us overlook these facts.
What has happened in Japan? The Russo-Japanese War had an enormous effect upon the population of Asia. I do not want to dwell on what it meant to them, but it meant something to them in the feeling they had towards Europe, towards the possibilities of Asia, of Asiatics towards Europe, which had a very disturbing effect from one end to another. What has happened in China? We talk as if it were purely India. In China you 957 had a great foreign dynasty, governing hundreds of millions of Chinamen. The strong hand of that dynasty is removed. What has happened? Self-government, liberty, Western ideas, Republics formed purely on Western models, the whole country shattered into warring fragments. But it shows that it was a movement which did not originate with the War. It goes far back. The agitation in China came from exactly the same source. Chinese students in America, by the hundreds and the thousands, imbibing ideas of American democracy, and Chinese students here. Some of the leaders of the revolution in China were men who were trained in the West. They go back to China, and that is the result.
In trying to apply remedies, let us face the realities and get at the facts. Undoubtedly, the War accentuated and aggravated them. It shook up the whole world. The magnetic currents passed through nations, and they are still trembling, except those which are too exhausted. The War has stirred them up, given them new vigour, and undoubtedly it is that which has created unrest and disturbance in every land. There is disturbance in India. Let any man look back even at our own country in 1919, and to all the countries of Europe, and you need no further explanation as to what has happened in India. I have pointed out the result in China. The firm hand of British dominion and rule prevented a catastrophe in India. Had there not been British rule there, the consequence would have been a catastrophe of the widest kind.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for India pointed out some of the more ordinary commonplace contributions to the unrest—the impoverishment of the nations, high taxation, increased burdens, and the diminished means and the diminished strength of bearing them. He was perfectly right, and so were some of my hon. Friends who have spoken in the debate, including the hon. Member for East Nottingham (Sir J. D. Rees), in the view that the one unfortunate consequence of the War, from the point of view of India, was that we were manœuvred into the position of having to fight the greatest Islamic Power in the world. It was undoubtedly a triumph of German diplomacy. In the East, undoubtedly, German diplomacy did triumph—with 958 Turkey, Bulgaria, and Greece. There was the fact that we were the only power free, because we were a sea power, and because there was no invader of our soil, to take up the challenge that had come. The result was that we were, as an Empire, brought face to face as if it were a solitary struggle between the British Empire and an Islamic Power. That was one of the misfortunes of the War, over which we had no control, and, undoubtedly, that is one of the causes of unrest in India. Let us face that.
I have sketched only very summarily some of the causes of disturbance. When you come to the excitability that has been a result of the War in every land and in every clime, all you can do is to allow it to subside. It is gradually subsiding. It is subsiding here, and it is subsiding in Europe. The position has improved as far as the tension and the nerves of the people are concerned. They are not so ready to take offence and to take up arms. It is a matter of time.
When you come to the disturbances in the East, there is no doubt that it would be of enormous advantage if peace could be made with the Turkish Empire. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Lord Curzon) hopes in the course of the next few days to take up the matter again with our Allies with a view to seeing whether it is not possible to arrange a satisfactory peace. But it must be a just peace. There is nothing to be gained by unjust concessions to fear. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I emphasise the word "unjust." We have held the balance even in India between various religions. The strength of British rule in India comes, not because we have given way to one faith, because it was menacing, at the expense of another, but because we have quite fearlessly held the balance even between Mahommedan and Hindu and every other religion, and the principle we have applied in India we roust apply in the settlement of the Turkish Treaty. We must be fearlessly just to both religions and both races. Otherwise, in the end, no good, but much harm will be done. We shall sow the seed of future trouble, in order to purchase a temporary solution of our difficulties.
What is a further cause of unrest, and how is it to be dealt with? There is the 959 material cause; there is the fact that India is poorer through the War, like every other country. Her burdens are greater, but that is not all. The customers of India are poorer. The people who bought from India are no longer buying, and India is suffering, just as we are suffering, in that respect, only the population is very much poorer, and there is not the same margin for impoverishment. There is only one way of dealing with that, and that is a general one, a universal one, which applies to India and applies to Britain. That is that peace must be established throughout the world, and there must be an international effort to reconstruct trade and put it on its own normal basis again. To that end we have invited India specially to send a representative to assist the British delegation at the forthcoming Conference, when we are discussing the question of the economic reconstruction of Europe. That is not enough. There is no doubt that a good deal more can be done for the material development of India.
I was talking to a very distinguished foreigner—and let us face facts—who, if I mentioned his name, would be recognised as one of the best friends which this country has ever had, who told me, after he had returned from India, that he was very disappointed at the extent to which the material resources of India had been developed. How many Members of this House have read the report on the Indian railways? I earnestly advise my hon. Friends who seem to think that the whole trouble in India has arisen from the Act of my right hon. Friend to read that Report. There is enough cause in that alone to account for a great deal of the Indian trouble. I am not attributing it all to that. I would be committing a mistake in saying so. I am only putting this as one of the causes, but let my hon. Friend read the Report. It is a very remarkable document, and points to one of the things that call for a remedy, and an immediate remedy. There you have the danger. There are complaints from great provinces in India that tens of thousands of tons of grain, sugar, cotton and cotton seed are rotting in sheds at railway sidings and in the bazaars, because there are no wagons and no locomotives. They cannot get coal in order to run their factories, mills 960 are closing, down, and docks are crowded. And that is not merely since the War. Here is a quotation from Sir John Hewett, who in 1913 writes:I am directed to address you regarding the congested state of the railways, which has caused, and is causing continually, immense loss to the agriculture and trading community in this Province—the United Provinces—and has also seriously affected the administration of Departments.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I am not going into the question of who is responsible—whether Government control or private enterprise. All I am pointing out is that this is the condition of things which ought to be remedied. If private enterprise can remedy it, let private enterprise take it in hand. I am not in the least quarrelling with my right hon. Friend's view in this matter. What I do say is that this is undoubtedly one of the causes of Indian unrest. Men are thrown out of employment, the labour of a year is rotting, workmen are suffering in the mills, peasants are suffering, and development in India is retarded.
We have only got to take the figures of what has been done in national railway development. With a population of 300,000,000, India has a total of 36,000 miles of railway. Canada with a population of 8,000,000 has 39,000 miles of railway. That will give an indication of one of the directions in which something ought to be done, in order to improve the condition of India, and to remove the causes of unrest. We have communicated with India on the subject, but no one knows better than those associated with India how very difficult it is to get a move there in these matters. Certainly, I am not reflecting on any official who is now there. I am simply talking of having things done over these vast territories. That is one cause.
I come to another—a cause which has been referred to in speeches from both sides of the House—the racial cause. This cause aggravates every other cause of unrest, whether it be economic or religious. I do not know whether my hon. Friends who took part in this Debate, and criticised the Government suggest that the experiment, which was initiated two or three years ago should be scrapped. I 961 do not think that they have gone so far as that.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
Then I really do not see what is the complaint. Let us be quite clear about this, because a discussion in this House, as my hon. Friends know, has a great repercussion in India; and anything which will lead the people there to believe that we are going to break faith with them would have the most disastrous astrous effect upon the friends of British rule in India, the genuine friends. Therefore it is important to make clear that, as far as we are concerned, we mean to give that experiment a chance of succeeding, and that, if it fail, the failure must not be attributed to our default. The educated classes in India must be given the best opportunity for making this experiment a success, and there must be no suggestion of breach of faith on the part of the British Government. That would be fatal to our prestige.
But further reform must await the result of that experiment. Democracy, in its modern acceptation of government of the people for the people and by the people, is a recent experiment even in the West. Within living memory of many Members of this House, the majority of the people of this country had no more voice in the government of their native land than the peasants of Bengal. All they had to do was to accept rules, obey rules, and pay taxes; and it is only three years since that part of the population which was liable not merely to pay taxation, not merely to obey laws, but to give their lives to the country, had for the first time a voice in declaring what the policy should be. Democracy is a Western experiment, and, in the full sense, it is only a recent experiment in the West.
India has never been a democratic country. It never had democratic government, and it has to be seen yet whether democratic institutions suit the Indian mind. Here, democratic institutions have grown slowly. They have taken centuries to develop, not merely in the numbers who took part in government, but in the actual powers which are conferred upon the people. Here you have the best trained, the best educated democracy in the world. In India the vast majority of the people are illiterate, and those who imagine that you can precipitate 962 events, that you can develop in India something which it took centuries to develop here, are guilty of propounding doctrines which are dangerous. They would mislead the Indian population, and mislead them to their ruin. If the experiment in India is to be a success, it must be a gradual one, as it has been in the West. In the one or two cases in Europe where democratic institutions went beyond the capacity, for the time being, of the population, they were a failure, and those who initiated them had to withdraw. Even Russia has discovered that. I am all for associating the Indian with ourselves in the government of that great country, but we must take care not to throw away reality whilst pursuing the form. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for India quoted Macaulay. I have a quotation from Macaulay, which I think very much to the point. It is a very unflattering review of the greatest of the ancestors of the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin (Lord R. Cecil). Macaulay says:It is a common error in politics to confound means with ends. Constitutions, charters, petitions of right, declarations of right, representative assemblies, electoral colleges, are not good government, nor do they, even when most elaborately constructed, necessarily produce good government. Laws exist in vain fur those who have not the courage and the means to defend them.If we withdraw from India, does anyone who knows India believe that those among whom there is the most turbulent demand for an extreme measure of self-government would unaided be able to defend their liberties? We must take care not to weaken authority when strengthening liberty.
The next point is this: Authority must be maintained; the authority of Government must not be challenged. It is idle to talk of this as if it were merely a policy of repression. You cannot allow in India a challenge to authority which would not be allowed in this country, nor in any civilised country in the world. India owes much to the substitution of law for lawless force. Anyone who reads its history knows that, and it is no kindness to the people of India to permit a subversion of Government authority. Therefore I welcomed, and so did my colleagues, the declaration of the Viceroy which was read by my hon. Friend the 963 Member for Twickenham, in which he declares that civil disobedience is fraught with danger to the State, and must be met with sternness and severity. As to the action of the Home Government, our position has never varied. It is to support the Indian Government in any action which they may think fit to take to establish authority and government in India. Every despatch sent to India has been couched in those terms. But as my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for India pointed out, you cannot at this distance interfere in individual instances with the responsible rulers on the spot. How are you to decide whether in one case action should be taken in a particular direction, and whether it should be taken now, or whether it should be taken later on? Before you intervene to supersede, to override decisions taken at that distance, there should be a most overwhelming case. But our position is a clear one. Unless the authority of government and of law be established in India, no one will suffer more than the Indians themselves. Any action which may be taken to establish order throughout the whole of that vast Dominion will get the full, unqualified support of His Majesty's Government.
Before I sit down, I have one more word which I must say in consequence, not so much of what has been said in this Debate, as of what I hear said outside. There is an impression created by a very mischievous propaganda in India, and by an equally mischievous propaganda at home—with a totally different purpose—that we mean to give up India. I have heard it said. I have heard it said that this has permeated the Indian Civil Service. I have heard it from Indian civil servants. There ought to be no doubt in the mind of anyone upon that point. I should not have thought it was necessary to make it clear were it not for the fact that I have undoubted evidence that there was doubt on the point. But let me say, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, we wish to make it clear—and I feel that in saying this I am voicing the opinion not merely of every section of the House of Commons, but of every section outside—that, under no circumstances or conditions, do we propose to withdraw from, or to impair, the full sovereignty of the King Emperor in India. In terms, 964 no agitator in India puts forward that demand.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I have not seen that. I think the more important agitators have always acknowledged the sovereignty of their King-Emperor. However, in substance that would be the ultimate effect of their proposals if they matured. But the British Empire, although it has come out of a great, a terrible, and an exhausting War, is not so exhausted that it can discuss such a proposal, or anything that could lead to it. We accepted a great trust as a people when we occupied India. We invested ourselves with that trust to the exclusion of all others. We cannot divest ourselves of that trust without shame and dishonour. This is a country which for centuries has had peace guaranteed to it by an over-ruling Power. We went there about two centuries ago. We swept aside its traditional guardians, and we stepped into their trust. It is perfectly true that their guardianship was inadequate. It was often nominal; it was mostly ineffective; but, still, there was a certain prestige, a certain authority attached to it. We swept it away, and took it upon ourselves with a firm hard. We overthrew the Mogul Empire. We defeated and broke military adventurers who ruled by the sword. We eliminated Dutch. Portuguese, and French, who held sway over vast territories, and we took upon ourselves the responsibility for the government of this vast territory. There was nothing left between India and confusion except British rule. That we established, and we gave peace to its helpless inhabitants.
My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Melton (Sir C. Yate), than whom no one has a better right to speak on Indian questions, and who speaks with knowledge and authority, rightly referred to a series of very remarkable men who have governed great territories without any recognition, not even with the fame which they would have won in any other country. No land ever sent such a succession of great rulers from its shores to govern an Empire as Great Britain sent to India. Take anyone of her stories. It is a romance. Get it written. What would be left if British authority were removed? Could Mr. Gandhi 965 govern? Would he be able to protect, to defend from the inevitable pillage, one of the millions of those whom he leads? You have only got to see what happened in the Moplah rising—even with the British authority there. Take China, with its warring factions, and what is China to India in variety of race and in variety of religions? You have as many, if not more, languages and races in India than you have in the whole of Europe. You certainly have many more religions. Nominally, here we all belong to one faith—although no one would think so? But in India there is a multitude of fundamentally different religions as well as races. Anyone who talks of India as if it were one race, one people, one religion, one aim, and one ideal is grossly ignorant of the history of that country. There is a greater difference between Sihk and Bengalee than there is between the German and the Englishman or the German and the Frenchman, and fundametally greater than there is between Trotsky and some of my hon. Friends opposite.
Coming to Europe, as far as I can see, we are all fighting races. There is not a pacific race on the whole continent. It is with the greatest difficulty that you can keep them from flying at each other's throats. In India there are essential differences of temperament, outlook, qualities, texture, blood. You cannot talk of India as if it were just one people. The only unity created in India has been by British rule. If Britain withdrew her strong hand, there would be chaos, confusion, and desolation indescribable. Anyone who reads the history of India just before we went there can see that.
It is right that these things should be brought home to Indians as well as to ourselves. One ruthless adventurer followed another. There was pillage, looting, destroying, ruthless cruelty, intolerance, devastation. That welter would be reproduced if the British hand were removed, and the poor peasant would think with regret of the great days when he was protected by the King-Emperor from the cruel hand of the maurauders. We accepted the trust. We must execute it. No honourable man gets rid of a trust the first time the beneficiaries lose their temper with him, and think they can manage the thing themselves better. We have no right to part with our 966 responsibilities. The result would be disastrous. Here, again, I should like to quote from my Noble Friend Lord Morley—and with this I will conclude—words which are pregnant, words which are a warning. He was a man who believed in reform. He believed in a sympathetic treatment of India, but he knew the dangers of the course which has been pursued by some of the leaders in India. These are the words which we adopt as a declaration of our task:How should we look in the face of the civilised world if we turned our back on our duty and our task? How should we bear the savage scorn of our consciences when, as assuredly we should, we heard in the dark distance the storm and confusion and carnage in India?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Owing to the speeches having been rather long, I have not had the opportunity of calling upon more hon. Members to speak. I ask the hon. and gallant Member (Lieut.-Colonel Croft) to leave room for a speaker on the Opposition side.
§ Lieut.-Colonel CROFT
It is difficult to reply to the Debate in the space of time still remaining, but I shall do my best to leave a few minutes for my hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Wedgwood). We have listened to a remarkable speech from the Prime Minister. [HON. MEMBERS: "Divide, divide!"] I do not see why hon. Members should interrupt me.
§ Lieut.-Colonel CROFT
The speech of the Prime Minister was one of the most remarkable speeches to which we have ever listened in this House. It was one of extraordinary power and will have a good effect throughout the Empire. It was a remarkable speech because it had nothing whatever to do with the Amendment before the House. If a grave indictment of the policy of the Secretary of 967 State for India be needed, if hon. Gentlemen, who are very vocal just now will read the Prime Minister's speech they will find there an indictment of the ideals of the Secretary of State which we here cannot desire to improve upon. The Prime Minister spoke of the moderate part which the Secretary of State had played. I would ask the House to remember the Debate on the Dyer case, and on that I would ask hon. Members to decide if that part has been really moderate. The Prime Minister told us that Lord Morley was constantly bringing before the Cabinet the question of the unrest in India in 1910. If the right hon. Gentleman and his Cabinet really consider that the position in India to-day is comparable with that in 1910, then I am afraid we must despair of a change of policy at the present time. There is one point I will ask the Prime Minister to remember and it is in what the position from 1919 differs from that in 1910. In the latter year the whole of the Army and the whole of the Civil Service in India were contented and believed that in whatever they did they would have the British Government behind them. But at the present moment the officials in India are suffering from the fact that they feel that their future is uncertain, and they do not believe that if they get into trouble the Secretary for War will stand behind them. In dealing with this great question we must deal fearlessly—as the right hon. Gentleman told us—as between both the great religions in India, but I suggest also that we have to deal fearlessly with and to be just to our own people in that country. As I have the privilege of representing probably more retired Indian civilians and Indian soldiers than any Member of this House, I can only say that their fears are widespread and they feel they are not receiving just treatment at the hands of the Secretary of State for India.
It must be confessed by every one in the House that although we have listened to one of the most brilliant speeches ever delivered it was really a red herring deflecting the thoughts of this House from the real issue—the action of the Secretary of State. The Prime Minister gave a most interesting account of the failure to develop railways in India. We are grateful to him for that. I remember 968 within a week of the Armistice making an urgent appeal to the Government to do everything in their power to stimulate railway development in India as the one and only means of providing work for the unemployed in this country. I urged them to give orders for rails and rolling stock, but we see nothing of that in the administration of the Secretary of State. The Prime Minister also wagged a warning finger at my hon. Friends in telling them that they really should not suggest that the Government of India Act is going to be undone. That was never suggested, and I would only remind the Prime Minister that there is no mention of that in this Amendment. It is the ghastly mistakes of administration with which we have been dealing, and it is to them that we desire to confine our remarks. The Secretary of State's speech did not answer the charges we have brought against him. What are those charges? The right hon. Gentleman made a violent speech from that Box when he was, I presume, a supporter of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley, against the policy of the present Lord Privy Seal and his predecessors, and endeavoured to make, before the right hon. Gentleman had stepped out of his boots, a frontal attack on the policy of the British Government in India. He was then accepted as a sort of prophet, and was embraced as the Secretary of State for India; and I believe I am right in saying that from that moment he joined the Coalition. Our charge is that he set to work to revolutionise ideas in India. Whether the policy of his Government was right or wrong, we are not going to discuss to-night; it is there, we want it to succeed, and it cannot he undone. But the right hon. Gentleman rushed that policy through without giving the House due opportunity to study the question, and we submit that from the moment the reins of office passed into his hands the state of India has gone steadily back.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
May I remind the hon. and gallant Member that, owing to the unexpected course which the Debate has taken, hon. Members of the Labour party have been unable to get an opportunity to take part in it; and may I ask him so to limit his remarks as to afford them that opportunity, if they desire it, before we divide?
§ Mr. S. WALSH
After the appeal which you have made, Mr. Speaker, we think it only right to say that, as the Debate has taken such a course as entirely to preclude this party from taking any effective part in it, we neither intend taking part in the Debate nor in the Division.
§ Lieut.-Colonel CROFT
It was my intention to sit down, and I still am ready to do so if my hon. Friends wish to speak. The Government's own admissions prove the serious state of India. The Prime Minister, it is true, used phrases which were not so serious as have been used in another place, but he said he regarded the whole situation with grave concern, and Lord Curzon, in another place, described it as dangerous. We can only ask the right hon. Gentleman how has it come about that we have seen this great change since his right hon. Friend took charge? We charge the right hon. Gentleman with the fact that when he entered office the contentment of India was described by himself as pathetic. There was no grave unrest in India at that time; there had been no serious outbreaks. We say that under his administration crime of an unexampled character has broken out and is rampant; that there is mass disobedience, and mass attempts to destroy British trade; and that there has been, in the three years of his administration, more crime and more disturbance than in the previous 100 years of our history. [HON. MEMBERS: "Divide, Divide!"] Supporters of the Government say "Divide," but am I exaggerating when I say that? Those are the facts which are now being admitted on every side, and which Lord Curzon describes as dangerous. The right hon. Gentleman replied that Macaulay said 100 years ago that India should be given self-government when the population of India had proved themselves fit to govern. The Secretary of State has interpreted that as the day when 2½ per cent. of the people of India are able to read and write. I agree with what the Prime Minister said when he pointed out the large number of people in that country who unfortunately are not yet educated, and I can only say that I wish the wisdom of his words as to progressing slowly had been borne in mind a little earlier, when his right hon. Friend forced this Measure upon the country. 970 When we asked the Secretary of State for India why it was that in the native States there was so much more peace than in the States under British rule, his only retort was that on a recent occasion the peace was only preserved in a native State by calling in British officers to assist, yet his whole policy has been gradually to take the power out of the British Raj and put it into the hands of the natives, as witness the fact, not generally known outside, that under his régime 2,000 British officers are being dismissed from the Indian Army by March, unless any alteration in policy has been come to within the last few weeks.
The right hon. Gentleman has encouraged the agitators. His glowing tribute to Mr. Gandhi in this House was made—I think I am right in saying—less than a month after he had been warned out of the Punjab as being the inspirer of a rebellion there. What can be the effect on the Oriental mind when the right hon. Gentleman gets up in this House and describes him in these glowing terms and talks about him as his friend? He tells us he has since then denied him as his friend. How long did it take him before he got up and denied the friendship of which he had boasted on a former occasion? The Prime Minister told us, in weighty words, that authority must be maintained. We submit that authority in India has not been maintained under the right hon. Gentleman. When the Secretary of State got up this evening he opened his remarks by saying, "I am responsible to this House for law and order in India," but he immediately proceeded, as the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Gwynne) said he would do, to put the blame on his subordinates or on his friends. He told us how he never interfered himself, but in the next breath he said that it was on his suggestion that Sir William Vincent had made the speech he did two or three days ago. Was it not interference again when he suggested, against the wish of the Government of India, in humiliating and ruining General Dyer? That was interference on the part of the Secretary of State for India. Was it not interference when he demanded—I think almost directly he went into office—the release of the prisoners in the criminal prisons? Did not he himself interfere in the matter of the school—the question 971 of which we heard this evening—and was it not he who demanded that Colonel Macrae should be censured? British rule, certainly, cannot stand in India if we are to have a Secretary of State who is always taking the part of the enemies of our country and always calling for the censure of British officers and officials. He told us a rather different story from that of the Prime Minister. He said the reasons for the trouble in India were, first of all, that the spirit of liberty had been invoked, and that the people of India were watching with so much concern the demand for self-determination in Silesia and Poland. [AN HON MEMBER: "And Bournemouth."] No, we have not got a republic in Bournemouth. We think of having a free state there, with your assistance.
Does the House believe that the natives of India, 97 per cent. of whom cannot read or write, are really concerned with the self-determination of Poland or Silesia? I think the Secretary of State is trying to delude the House. He tells us that one of the great questions which is worrying the situation is the fact that we have not made peace with Turkey. That is one of the reasons for which he may blame the Prime Minister and the rest of the Government, because it is a question of policy and the Prime Minister has backed Greece. He told us that another great trouble was that the Bolshevik agents were all over India stirring up this trouble. I think he might have told the Prime Minister that before the Genoa Conference was arranged, because it is almost inconceivable that we should be suggesting to set up diplomatic relations with Lenin himself and with his Government advisers at the very time when the Secretary for India says that all, or most of his troubles, are due to the fact that the Bolsheviks are conspiring to break up the Indian Empire. Really the right hon. Gentleman ought to write to the Duke of Northumberland and apologise for the speeches of the Lord Chancellor, who endeavoured to make a ease that the
§ Duke was putting a red herring across the track with regard to India
§ The Secretary of State gets up in this House and endeavours to make out that things are not really very much worse than when he took office. I ask whether the fact that there have been 10,000 deaths since he became Secretary of State and that 8,000 men have been thrown into prison under his régime, does not constitute a pretty fair bag for a pacifist Secretary of State. The fact is that the whole condition of India, the whole atmosphere, has changed since he came into this House. The Prime Minister has reminded us this evening of our grave peril in wavering in our trust in India, and surely that is true. India brings us no direct advantage, but if British rule was withdrawn from India, we all know, judging by the recent massacres and the horrible forms of torture that have taken place, that India must he given over to absolute despair and destruction. I would also like to remind this House and the super-taxpayers and the multi-millionaires who are the particularly enthusiastic supporters of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for India, that India is the greatest trade asset to this country, and is there anybody who knows anything about India who believes that if we withdrew from that country it would not mean that a vast amount of British trade would be immediately cut off? Under the present system we can keep peace, but if we waver, and if we fail to administer the law in India, we shall have trouble and misery, not only in India, but in this country, and it will cost us millions in money and hundreds of thousands of lives in order to restore the position. The only way to restore peace is a change of heart and Government, and no single individual in India will believe we are going to have a change of Government so long as the right hon. Gentleman remains Secretary of State for India.
§ Question put, "That those words be there added."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 64; Noes, 248.975
|Division No. 4.]||AYES.||[10.59 p.m.|
|Adair, Rear-Admiral Thomas B. S.||Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Cobb, Sir Cyril|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole|
|Allen, Lieut.-Col. Sir William James||Benn, Capt. Sir I. H., Bart.(Gr'nw'h)||Cory, Sir C. J. (Cornwall, St. Ives)|
|Armstrong, Henry Bruce||Blair, Sir Reginald||Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)|
|Atkey, A. R.||Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Croft, Lieut.-Colonel Henry Page|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Child, Brigadier-General Sir Hill||Curzon, Captain Viscount|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S)||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander|
|Dewhurst, Lieut.-Commander Harry||Meysey-Thompson, Lieut.-Col. E. C.||Stewart, Gershom|
|Dockrell, Sir Maurice||Molson, Major John Elsdale||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Murchison, C. K.||Surtees, Brigadier-General H. C.|
|Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)||Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)|
|Gretton, Colonel John||Nield, Sir Herbert||White, Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W.(Liv`p`I,W.D'by)||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Wills, Lt.-Col. Sir Gilbert Alan H.|
|Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Hugh||Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)|
|Hickman, Brig.-General Thomas E.||Pain, Brig.-Gen. Sir W. Hacket||Windsor, Viscount|
|Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster)||Palmer, Brigadier-General G. L.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon, Cuthbert||Pennefather, De Fonblanque||Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward|
|Jellett, William Morgan||Poison, Sir Thomas A.||Young, Sir Frederick W. (Swindon)|
|Lloyd, George Butler||Ratcliffe, Henry Butler||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Sir|
|Lowther, Major C. (Cumberland, N.)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||W. Joynson - Hicks and Mr.|
|Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)||Reid, D. D.||Gwynne.|
|Lyle. C. E. Leonard||Remnant, Sir James|
|Lynn, R. J.||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis D.||Elliott, Lt.-Col. Sir G. (Islington, W.)||Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Elveden, Viscount||Lloyd-Greame, Sir P.|
|Amery, Leopold C. M. S.||Entwistle, Major C. F.||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n|
|Armitage, Robert||Evans, Ernest||Lorden, John William|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick W.||Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.||Lort-Williams, J.|
|Astor, Viscountess||Falcon, Captain Michael||Loseby, Captain C. E.|
|Austin, Sir Herbert||Farquharson, Major A. C.||Lowe, Sir Francis William|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Lowther, Maj.-Gen. Sir C. (Penrith)|
|Barlow, Sir Montague||FitzRoy, Captain Hon. Edward A.||Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie)|
|Barnes Rt. Hon. G. (Glas., Gorbals)||Flannery, Sir James Fortescue||McLaren, Hon. H. D. (Leicester)|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Foreman, Sir Henry||M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W.|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Fraser, Major Sir Keith||McMicking, Major Gilbert|
|Barrand, A. R.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Galbraith, Samuel||Mallalieu, Frederick William|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Gange, E. Stanley||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Gardner, Ernest||Manville, Edward|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||Marks, Sir George Croydon|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Martin, A. E.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Gilbert, James Daniel||Middlebrook, Sir William|
|Bigland, Alfred||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John||Mildmay, Colonel Rt. Hon. F. B.|
|Birchall, J. Dearman||Glanville, Harold James||Mitchell, Sir William Lane|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Gould, James C.||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Grant, James Augustus||Montagu, Rt. Hon. E. S.|
|Blane, T. A.||Gray, Major Ernest (Accrington)||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith-||Green, Albert (Derby)||Morden, Col. W. Grant|
|Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.|
|Bramsdon, sir Thomas||Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hackn'y, N.)||Morris, Richard|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Morrison, Hugh|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Gregory, Holman||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Greig, Colonel Sir James William||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert|
|Broad, Thomas Tucker||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. Frederick E||Murray, Hon. A. C. (Aberdeen)|
|Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.||Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||Murray, John (Leeds, West)|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Murray, William (Dumfries)|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Neal, Arthur|
|Burgoyne, Lt.-Col. Alan Hughes||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Newbould, Alfred Ernest|
|Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay)||Hamilton, Major C. G. C.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Hancock, John George||Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry|
|Carr, W. Theodore||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Pearce, Sir William|
|Casey, T. W.||Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hayward, Evan||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Birm., W.)||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Philipps, Sir Owen C. (Chester, City)|
|Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)||Herbert, Col. Hon. A. (Yeovil)||Pickering, Colonel Emil W.|
|Chilcot, Lieut.-Com. Harry W.||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Clay, Lieut. Colonel H. H. Spender||Hills, Major John Waller||Pratt, John William|
|Clough, Sir Robert||Holmes, J. Stanley||Prescott, Major Sir W. H.|
|Coats, Sir Stuart||Hood, Sir Joseph||Purchase, H. G.|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Hope, Sir H.(Stirling & Cl'ckm'nn. W.)||Rae, H. Norman|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Hopkins, John W. W.||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Horne, Sir R. S. (Glasgow, Hillhead)||Rankin, Captain James Stuart|
|Coote, Colin Reith (Isle of Ely)||Howard, Major S. G.||Raw, Lieutenant-Colonel Dr. N.|
|Cope, Major William||Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B.||Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, East)|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.||Jephcott, A. R.||Remer, J. R.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Jodrell, Neville Paul||Renwick, Sir George|
|Dalziel, Sir D. (Lambeth, Brixton)||Johnson, Sir Stanley||Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)|
|Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead)||Johnstone, Joseph||Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)|
|Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)||Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesail)|
|Davies, Sir William H. (Bristol, S.)||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes., Stretford)|
|Denniss, Sir Edmund R. B. (Oldham)||Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Lianelly)||Rodger, A. K.|
|Doyle, N. Grattan||Kellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. George||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Edgar, Clifford B.||Kenyon, Barnet||Royds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund|
|Ednam, Viscount||Kidd, James||Rutherford, Colonel Sir J. (Darwen)|
|Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)|
|Edwards, Hugh (Glam., Neath)||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H, (Univ., Wales)||Samuel, Sam[...]el (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert Arthur||Taylor, J.||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)|
|Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Thomson, F C. (Aberdeen, South)||Williams, Col. Sir R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbridge)|
|Seddon, J. A.||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir M. (Bethnal Gn.)|
|Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)||Thorpe, Captain John Henry||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|Shaw, William T. (Forfar)||Townshend, Sir Charles Vere Ferrers||Winterton, Earl|
|Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)||Tryon, Major George Clement||Wise, Frederick|
|Simm, M. T.||Turton, Edmund Russborough||Wood, Sir H. K (Woolwich, West)|
|Smith, Sir Harold (Warrington)||Waddington, R.||Wood, Major Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Smithers, Sir Alfred W.||Wallace, J,||Worsfold, T. Cato|
|Stanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)||Walters, Rt. Hon. Sir John Tudor||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Stanton, Charles Butt||Walton, J. (York, W. R., Don Valley)||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Stanton, Charles Butt||Ward-Jackson, Major C. L.||Young, E. H. (Norwich)|
|Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.||Ward, William Dudley (Southampton)||Younger, Sir George|
|Strauss, Edward Anthony||Waring, Major Walter||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Sturrock, J. Leng||Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.|
|Sutherland, Sir William||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)||McCurdy.|
|Sykes, Sir Charles (Huddersfield)||Wild, Sir Ernest Edward|
Main Question put, and agreed to.
That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, as followeth:
Most Gracious Sovereign,
We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the Gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament.
§ To be presented by Privy Councillors or Members of His Majesty's Household.