§ I want to-day to say a word or two about the pressure that has been brought to bear from India to secure this solution at which the Noble Lord has arrived, and to which this country is, I hope, now committed. I have said that we on this side always wanted that solution, because we believed it to be the right solution. I think it is very unfortunate that we have given the impression now to the whole world that 1056 we have only taken up the position of justice to Turkey in deference to the pressure brought to bear by the Moslems of India. It is an example of feebleness which ought not to have been given. As a matter of fact—and I think that this ought to be said here in this House—people who have studied the question in India know perfectly well that you will not be able to soothe down Moslem opinion in India by giving way to the demands of the Khilafat agitation as regards the settlement of the Turkish question. The Khilafat agitation used the Turkish question, but it was; not the cause of the Moslem unrest in India. The Moslem unrest in India will continue. They will find some other excuse, and they will merely despise the British raj which has given way to them so obviously on the Turkish question—which has given way to pressure instead of accepting the just solution. We should not have convoyed this impression to the Moslems of India. I am certain that the founders of the Moslem agitation will not be mollified by your settlement of the Turkish question. Their attitude towards England remains now what it was before the Paris Conference. It is one of insistent hostility, and you cannot soothe down that hostility by accepting the telegram from the Viceroy or the theories of the bureaucracy in India. For the last three years every Anglo-Indian official in India has been begging this Government to accept the Moslem demands—the Khilafat demands—on the Turkish question. They have hoped that thereby they would be able to placate the Moslems. Let me assure the House that they will not thereby be able to placate them. The Moslems of India are committed to something far more tremendous than the settlement of a country which shares their faith, but in which otherwise they have no direct interest. They are out for their swaraj. They are out, I am afraid, in the case of the Moslems, with very frank hostility to this country, to get rid of the English control over India. I do not think you have improved the situation by giving way to the pressure, by accepting as gospel what has been stated in the Viceroy's despatch and advocated by Sir Wm. Vincent and others of the permanent officials in India.
§ The fact of the matter is that India is becoming day by day a more dangerous 1057 problem for this Empire, and while I am very glad to see the Noble Lord opposite in charge of Indian questions, I do not pretend that the change which has been made in the conduct of the India Office has made things any easier in India or has thrown any more hopefulness into my attitude towards the Indian difficulty. I am afraid those of us who love India, and justice for India, and the development of real democracy in India, must say that the late Secretary of State was of all the Members of this House far and away the best fitted to hold that post, and that the substitution for him of the Noble Lord in the other place, who knows nothing of India and whose past has been reactionary in this House—I do not know what it has been in the other House—is not likely to bode good for India or for the tradition and reputation of this country. We have put our hands to the plough in India. The Montagu-Chelmsford reforms are not a step which can be withdrawn. We have got to go on on those lines. You are pledged by the August declaration of 1017, honourably pledged to set India on the road to freedom and to work for Dominion Home Rule in India, not at once, but by stages. That has been our declaration. Our honour is bound up in it. I see the "Times" pointing out that the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms show signs of breaking down in practice, that the attitude of the Indian Legislature towards the Budget, towards the question of raising additional money for the Army in India, is an intransigeant attitude taken up through hostility to the British rule, and must make it more difficult to pursue the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms and may lead us to reconsider the whole question of those reforms. That alone is lamentable. That alone will give grist to the mill of the non-co-operation movement in India. It will be used on platform, after platform as an illustration of what they are always throwing in our teeth, namely, British bad faith. They will say, "Here you see again. There was a promise of the British Government, and now a suggestion has already been made in unofficial quarters that the step should be reviewed, and the policy should be revised." That is not all. It is a matter of enormous pity that the very day that the Secretary of State, who loved India, resigned, there was notified in India the arrest of Mahatma Gandhi. Anybody who has closely studied the 1058 Indian question recently will know that the Government in India, Lord Beading's Government, was playing a very difficult game with extreme skill. For month after month they were urged by irresponsibles in this country to deal with the non-co-operation movement by force, to imprison the agitators, and to close down the agitation. Of course, you cannot close down an agitation by imprisonment. Lord Reading and his administration were dealing with the agitation on proper lines.
§ The House should understand that the agitation in India is not an agitation solely against Western rule, but that it is an agitation against Western civilisation, and not merely against Western rule. Gandhi's agitation, if carried to its logical conclusion, means the abolition of Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras. It means the abolition of civilisation and the return to Tolstoyan institutions of the Middle Ages. As that agitation proceeded people in India who possessed a stake in the country became alarmed. As the agitation developed, in one case by means of the Moplah rebellion, where the Moslem murdered the Hindu, and in the next case by the massacre of the police in the United Provinces, more and more of the moderates said: "It is all right to be anti-English, but this is too serious." They became naturally reconciled to the Government as the excesses of the non-co-operation movement went on, and then, just as things were moving admirably, the disaster came. The Viceroy forced—I will not say how he was forced—to do exactly what Gandhi was playing for, imprisoned Gandhi. There is no lack of people in India who are prepared to go to gaol. You can fill every gaol in India five times over, voluntarily. That is what Gandhi did in South Africa. He filled the gaols in South Africa in order to break the Transvaal Government, but in South Africa the Indians were in a minority, and they did not succeed altogether. At any rate, they only succeeded partially. In India the Indians are in the majority, and if you once get it into the heads of people in India that the most patriotic thing that they can perform for their country is to go to gaol you will fill all the gaols.
§ That is what is proceeding in India. The agitators have now been arrested, but the agitation goes on. There is no end to the repression, just as there is 1059 no end to the agitation. You have locked up Gandhi and given him six years' imprisonment. My friend Lajput Rai and every one of my friends in India are in gaol. It is, unfortunately, becoming almost the right thing for an Indian to be in gaol. That is a horrible thing. Instead of, as there was a chance three months ago, working through the Montague-Chelmsford reforms, and gradually getting the Indian people in favour of those reforms, and getting them out of the non-co-operation movement into cooperation and friendship with this country, the future there is black, and one does not know what is now to be done. I urge upon the Under-Secretary of State that he should take every possible measure to alleviate the lot of the political leaders who are in prison. It is all very well to imagine that an Indian prison is like an English prison. It is not. An Indian prison is more nearly an approach to hell than any prison in this country. Anybody who has read the reports of the Andaman and other Indian gaols will not consider that going to prison for conscience sake in India is to be compared with going to prison for conscience sake in this country.
§ I do hope that the Michael Collins's of India are not being treated as felons, but are being treated as gentlemen. It may be necessary to put them in prison—I do not say anything about that—but let there be no indignity; let there be no unnecessary hardship. Let there be a deliberate distinction drawn for the first time in India between the political offender and the ordinary common felon. At present there is no distinction in regard to food, and there is no distinction in regard to quarters. The attitude of the administration towards the political offender is almost, one might think, one of vengeance. That will not do. It will not do for this country, and it will not do for our future relations with India. We have got to the imprisonment stage. These people have gone to prison, they have filled the gaols, but the agitation goes on. The next step has already been advocated from the benches, below the Gangway, and that is to muzzle the Press. The Press Act is to be repealed. You are now having an agitation to prevent the repeal of the Press Act. The Press is becoming daily more important in India. Its circulation is going up, and, what is 1060 far more important, the Press is being read in the agricultural villages, and is being used for agitation purposes among the cultivators and among the uneducated people in India as never before. Every stroke of policy which led you to lock up the agitators must drive you inevitably to proscribe the Press as well, and when you have proscribed the Press and when you have proscribed meetings, there comes the next stage, far more damnable than anything that has been gone through in the past, and that is, the stage of secret organisation and assassination. You will get to that just as you have got to the other stages.
§ What is the future of the British Empire to be if we are going through all these stages? It will be worse than the Irish terror, because when you get a race war it is much worse than war between two white races. When you get to that the end is the same. You may hold on for a few years, but the end is the same contemptible surrender to force what you would not surrender to justice. That is what I want to avoid. The Noble Lord the Under-Secretary of State; for India is a Tory, but I think he agrees with me on nearly every subject of foreign and colonial affairs. I do put it to him that ho might attempt to use all his influence with his Noble Friend the Secretary of State to get something done that shall not be mere repression. Something can be done, and I am quite certain that what ought to be done is to give the pledge of a time limit for the granting of the next step in the reform scheme. The next scheme in the reform scheme is complete autonomy for the provinces and control over finance in the Legislative Assembly. They have control over finance in the Legislative Assembly now, not by law but by practice. The next best thing that can be done now is to insist on fresh elections both for the Legislature and for the Council.
§ I believe that if fresh elections were held now that the non-co-operation movement, so far as the Councils were concerned, would break down. You have now already in the Councils, and in the Legislatures, the beginning of a regular Opposition. For the first time Indians are beginning to realise that acting through the Councils does not mean going into the Government, that it does not mean taking part in the governing 1061 machine, and that there is just as honourable service to be rendered in the Opposition as in the position of a right hon. Secretary or Minister. If fresh elections could be held now it would not be a repetition of 1920. You would get these people returned to the Councils, and taking part in those Councils as an Opposition, and as part of a democratic machine. Our fight now is to graft direct democracy upon India, and not to save for ever British administration in India. It is no good either giving any pledge for the future, or having new elections now, unless at the same time the non-co-operators dropped their non-co-operation. What I would do would be, though Gandhi is in prison, to approach him, now that the Khilafat business is out of the way, with a view to putting an end to non-co-operation, provided that he would be satisfied with a pledge as to when the next step will be taken to give complete Dominion Home Rule, coupled with an immediate opportunity of taking some part in the administration by having fresh elections to the Councils and to the Assembly. Though it is a risk, though unfortunately things may be so far embittered that there is no chance of any settlement by agreement, that is the best chance we have got of avoiding that Irish terror, which is the alternative as I see it to an amicable settlement of this problem.
§ Two things are necessary if we look forward to a British Commonwealth in the future, of which a free India shall form a part. First of all complete self-government, complete Dominion Home Rule. Second, for, unfortunately, Dominion Home Rule is not enough, that all citizens of the British Empire, whether they be European or Indian, shall have equal rights throughout the British Commonwealth, because they will not stop inside the British Empire, if Indians are not treated as equals in the Empire. That is the obvious test that every patriotic Indian would apply. "Is it worth while being in the British Commonwealth? If we go into Kenya and are not treated as equals then, as soon as we get Dominion Home Rule we will take the next step and declare an Indian Republic." The only chance of keeping them in is to show that there is no colour bar, and that there are advantages in being a British citizen just as in the old 1062 Roman Empire there were advantages in being a Roman citizen. That can be done still, but is being blocked at present. The whole future of the British Empire is being endangered at present by the ridiculous prepossessions of a small band of settlers in Kenya. I know that the Under-Secretary of State for India likes those settlers. I know them myself and I like them, but you cannot have all these risks, you cannot have the prospect of ruling for the British Empire weighed in the balance against the prejudices of a handful of settlers. It is not good enough.
§ Kenya is under our rule. It is a Crown Colony. The Legislature has a minority of elected members and a majority of nominated members, so that the Colonial Office, which means this House, can still dictate the policy of the administration of Kenya. We pass the laws and unfortunately we have got to force through the equality of citizenship in Kenya which was recognised by the Conference of Premiers last year as being the Magna Charta of our Commonwealth, and is only being resisted at present by the Colonial Office and by the local administration of Kenya. If the Noble Lord is going to play the game for the Indians he must put up against the Colonial Office as good a fight as the right hon. Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Montagu) put up. It had become before he resigned a duel between the right hon. Gentleman and the Colonial Secretary, a duel in which the whole future of this Empire was the stakes. This is a small point, but it is typical of the struggle that has got to be settled one way or another. The late Secretary of State for India was not going to accept defeat. His attitude in the last resort was that this question of Kenya must be decided by the Cabinet and that he could not submit to defeat from the Colonial Office without the Cabinet deciding the matter. If he had been outvoted in the Cabinet, undoubtedly he would have resigned, and I hope that the present Secretary of State and the Noble Lord will fight the same good fight. It does not much matter whether they are consistent with their past. What does matter far more are the traditions of our Empire and the future of the amicable relations between India and England.1063
§ Colonel Sir C. YATE
I listened to the address of the hon. Member with some astonishment. I suppose that it is the result of his visit to India when he went round for two or three months with his friend the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Spoor).
§ Sir C. YATE
As we all know, the hon. Member was met by the principal agitators and non-co-operators in India, and he and the other hon. Member were led around India, like a couple of tame bears with strings in their noses, and whenever the string was pulled they had to cry, "Agitate, agitate" from one Congress meeting to another. That visit is the source of all the knowledge of India that the hon. Member has got. The hon. Member has told us that the non-co-operators and Ghandi's men are full of what he calls "insistent hostility" against the British Government. That I think is correct. They are out for getting rid of the British Government. If I were a Governor in India, and the hon. Member came into my province, he would be put in prison, and when I put a man in prison I never let him out unless he was impotent to do further mischief. He told us that we are pledged by the August, 1917, declaration. So we are. I am one of those who are most ardent advocates of self-government for India, but I am for the real and proper self-government—that is, a unified government. I have always been dead against that form of diarchy which was introduced by the late Secretary of State. Nothing was said in the declaration of August, 1917, about diarchy. That is an excrescence which was put on entirely by the late Secretary of State for India, and you will never get peace in India until that form of divided government, which has never been tried before in any part of the world, has been eradicated. In India, as in every other country, you must have one undivided Government. You cannot have a divided Government.
§ Sir C. YATE
The hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) draws a distinction between political prisoners and other prisoners. It is absolutely necessary for the Government of India to insist that the man who in- 1064 cites men to rebellion should get exactly the same punishment as, if not greater punishment than, his unfortunate dupes who carry out his incitement. The hon. Member instanced the case at Chauri-Chara, when some 20 policemen were captured by a mob, who stripped them, poured oil on them, and burned them alive. Do you mean to say that a man who incites to horrors of this sort should not get the same punishment as the man who carries them out?
§ Sir C. YATE
All right. Then let him be stripped and oil put on him, just as was done to these men, and then you will stop this non-co-operation immediately. The hon. Member also referred to the Press cuts. There is no country in the world where the vilification of servants of the Government, British and Indian, has gone on to such an extent. It has developed in the last two or three years to an extent which is beyond the knowledge almost of everyone in England. I urge the Secretary of State to see to it that the Government of India secures full power to stop this vilification and persecution, especially in the vernacular Press. The hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme also spoke about an Indian Republic. He said that unless we did exactly what he suggested there would be a declaration of an Indian Republic. Good Heavens! Could an Indian Republic last for a day? Suppose a Republic were declared to-morrow. Were the protection of the British Fleet taken away would not the whole of India be opened to attack by everyone, whether from East or West? You would have the whole of the Punjab swept by an Afghan army and by the frontier tribes, who would come down in their hundreds of thousands, and sweep aside Sikhs and Hindus and everyone else. You would have Bengal and the United Provinces overrun by the Nepalese, who would take the whole country from Calcutta right up to Delhi, or wherever they met the Afghans. Yet here you have the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme urging that there should be an Indian Republic!
§ Sir C. YATE
Then there was the question of the Indians in Kenya. The 1065 only interest of the Indians in East Africa was that a few of their merchants had been on the coast there for a few years. The English opened up East Africa, and they have done everything there. When the British Government took Uganda and made the railways the Indians went there. These are the man who are now agitating. Why? Because they are put up to it by the non-co-operators in India. The whole movement apparently is organised from India. The Indians in Kenya are artisans, coolies, labourers on the railways, and men of that sort. They are none of them men of standing compared with the English settlers in the uplands. If the English settlers can live in the uplands, why should they not be allowed to do so without disturbance from Indians of an altogether different class? There are two sides to the Kenya question. To-day we have heard far too much of the Indian side and not nearly enough of the British side.
An hon. Member spoke of the settlement of the Turkish question as necessary. I am one of those who from the start urged a speedy settlement with Turkey. I join entirely with what was said by the hon. Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy) as to the disastrous result of delay in that settlement. Had we only made a settlement at the end of the War we could have had any terms we liked. I think that the Prime Minister's pledge that we should not interfere with the Homelands of Turkey either in Anatolia or Eastern Thrace ought to be carried out. I hope that something of that kind has been arranged in Paris. I think Constantinople should be retained as the capital of an independent Turkey, but an arrangement of that sort is absolutely impossible so long as the boundary of Turkey is fixed at the Tchatalja lines. They are only a few miles from Constantinople, and no capital of any independent State can possibly exist if it is within range of the field guns of an enemy. I hope we shall see the question of Eastern Thrace and Anatolia amicably settled.
The hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) referred to the question of the Indian Moslems and the way in which they looked at this settlement. He spoke of the disastrous consequences of turning 1066 the Greeks out of Smyrna. I would draw attention to the disastrous consequences that may arise if the Greeks are allowed to remain in Smyrna. One thing that the hon. Member said had a certain amount of truth in it. He said that the Indian Mahommedans a few years ago paid no attention to this question. A few years back the Indian Mahommedans—I mean the Hindustani Mahommedans, the Mahommedans of the Punjab, the United provinces and Bengal—knew little and cared little about Constantinople and the Khilafat question. The only people to whom the question of the Sultanate of Turkey and the Khilafat was of real importance, and to them it was the very essence of their religion, were the Afghans and Pathans, roughly the people who live to the west of the river Indus. They were fanatics on the question, and nothing could drive out of them their ideas about it. Allowance should have been made for that. If the Government had had knowledge of it I do not think they would have made the Treaty of Sevres in the way they did. I certainly hope that the question will now be fully considered. We must remember, as regards the Indian Mahommedans, that although they knew little about the Sultan or the Khilafat a few years ago, a great change has come of late years. The Punjab and Hindustani Mahommedans fought against the Turks in Palestine without questioning, but since then they have been influenced by the friends of the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme, the Ali brothers and Gandhi, and all these men in India. It is right to say that this agitation is not a bonâ fide agitation.
This Khilafat agitation now going on in India is a trumped up agitation to carry out the seditious measures of the Ali brothers and Gandhi and others. We all know what terrible destitution was caused by the agitation which impressed on the poor and unfortunate Mahommedans of India that it was illegal and against their religion for them to live in a country governed by a non-Mahommedan power. By that agitation thousands of them were induced to emigrate so as to live under a Mahommedan Amir in Afghanistan. There they suffered great hardships, many of them died, and such of them as found their way back to India had to be provided with agricultural implements and estab- 1067 lished in new homes by the Government they had so foolishly left. The Ali brothers had to be interned during the War because they had been in correspondence with Germans and enemies of the Allies. The pity of it was that they were ever let out. All the Indian Mahommedans are being excited now by their agitation. I trust that when the agitation is taken in hand and appropriately strong measures are enforced in India, and when men who are imprisoned one day are not liberated the next day, this agitation will be brought to an end. I trust that the Secretary of State for India and the Under-Secretary will see to it that what has been called by an Indian member of the India Council the culpable weakness of Lord Chelmsford and Lord Reading is ended, and that we shall now have no more criminal weakness, but a strong and definite policy in India.
§ Mr. SUGDEN
To-night I want to place before the House the viewpoint, not of the hon. and gallant Member for New-castle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), who adorns the Front Opposition Bench—and I say that quite sincerely—but rather the viewpoint of India's place in the Empire, because, whilst we hear frequently and much from the hon. and gallant Gentleman and those who support him of our place in regard to India, I suggest we have an equal right to claim from India a recognition of her place in the Empire, of her responsibilities and of her duties, both to the remainder of the sister nations, and to the mother nation. It is with very great pride that one can say here to-night that when, in 1919, the Government of India Act was enacted the whole of the Lancashire Members supported that Measure. We have heard from many quarters in this House that Lancashire has a selfish viewpoint concerning her relationship with India. I should like hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who hold that view to study very carefully the history of the County Palatine for the last 300 years in its relation with India, and I challenge any one of them to put their finger on a definite and major instance of selfishness in respect of our arrangements with the great Empire of India. The time has come when it is right and proper that the relations between the County Palatine 1068 and India should be carefully reviewed and considered, and the bearing of the one upon the other looked into.
Keeping in mind in what fashion the 1919 Government of India Act has worked, I would call the attention of every thoughtful Member of the House to the procedure which is now obtaining. I am perfectly cognisant of the fact that the new 1922–23 taxes which it was suggested should be increased not only on Lancashire goods, but on other manufactures of this country, have been eliminated, but I am under no misapprehension concerning the reason, purpose and cause for that. It is definitely for the purpose of weakening the Gandhi power and also to resist any step, whether military or other type, which the Government may find requisite in India. It is from that standpoint, and not from any generous consideration, that this elimination of extra taxation has been accepted by the governing classes of India. What are the Empire obligations resting upon India? Very right and proper is it that she should call on us to give her full opportunity, but I wish to remind hon. and right hon. Members that, when we are dealing with the problem of India, we are dealing with one of the greatest racial and religious problems which the world contains. I have some little general knowledge of the Irish problem, and I know that it has been a grave and serious problem. But the Irish problem pales into insignificance when we consider all the questions of caste and of religion and all the different viewpoints of Orientalism which obtain in the great Empire of India. It is worth our while to consider the fact that of 237,000,000 population in India, only 187,000 have voted. We must remember that its Government has been formed by a Western type of book-learned lawyer and journalist, and that the well-being and the future of India are in the hands of certain minor numerically interested sections of the community in India. When we consider all these matters, we see that it is indeed a great and far-reaching problem to which the House will do well to devote its closest attention.
What is the bearing of the Indian question upon this country? I want to say first that we have a financial stake and responsibility in regard to India. We have provided her with, and she owes us at the present moment, £187,000,000, which 1069 we have supplied to her at a lower price than money at which we have supplied some of our own county boroughs and urban districts. Last year we provided for her (at a lower rate of interest than we charged local authorities in Lancashire) £7,500,000 in respect of irrigation, railways, posts, telegraphs and some other departments of Indian governmental activities. That to my mind calls for definite, careful and sympathetic consideration on the part of the Indian people for their fellow-workers in this country. The India Office too has a right to consider the position of these my Lancashire people to whom they owe some responsibility. May I take this opportunity of congratulating the Government on the choice of their representative in this House as the Under-Secretary of State for India? Frequently some of us have held views differentiated from those of my Noble and gallant Friend, but to my mind the Government have done well in choosing him for this position. Few men have so wide and cosmopolitan an outlook as the Noble Lord (Earl Winterton). I compliment the Government on the fact that in the other House also they have one who understands the Lancashire point of view, one who ably represented in this House a Lancashire constituency, and who knows something of Lancashire's trade and industry (Viscount Peel).
When that is said, however, I should like to press home with great definiteness upon both these Noble Gentlemen the fact that up to the present the Government, whilst they have given helpful support to the employés of Lancashire, as regards raw materials, cotton growing within the Empire and in Egypt can still do much in respect of general work and labour by giving fair play in respect of markets for our cotton goods in India. The House must remember that we provide one-fifth of the taxation of this country. Lancashire finds one-fifth of the finances required in the governing of Great Britain. It is the industrial classes, more than the agricultural classes, who have to find that whereby the Chancellor of the Exchequer is able to finance the Government of the country. It is only right and proper that the labouring classes and the employés in India therefore (for England accepts the cost of Imperial protection and some other charges in respect of India) should remember Lancashire's position 1070 and should give permissibility of life (for that is what it amounts to) to that great industry, the cotton trade of Lancashire. Let them give us in Lancashire the opportunity of earning our living, and we will continue to stand just where we stand now in relation to these problems of taxation. I am not here to say that the Indian worker is definitely antagonistic to the Lancashire workman. I know the Indian worker has sympathy towards his Lancashire fellow worker, and if the Government of India Act is given its full opportunity, if it is so enfranchised that the worker himself (not just a few of them) protected from the paid agitator can give expression to his views, concerning taxation and other matters, he will see that his brothers and sisters in Lancashire should have a fair opportunity to benefit by the output of their industry.
What is obtaining at the present time? We find that a certain wealthy section are utilising their immense power in respect to taxation in India to suit their own particular purposes and ends. It may be said that not very many years ago the Lancashire millowners made profits, but those profits pale into insignificance compared with those which have been made by certain Bombay cotton operators, some American operators, and other German operators in India during the last six months, and that, forsooth, against the wellbeing and will of the majority of the people in India. In the preamble of the Government of India Act, 1919, I find this phrase:It shall be gradual development of self-governing institutions.I, and those who support me, say "Amen" to the whole of that. We desire to give the fullest opportunity, the greatest democratisation that is possible to India, but we do say that if you are placing in the hands of ignorant children—as I suggest these poor illiterate Hindus and Indians are—sharp-edged tools, not only are they going to do injury to themselves, but they are going to place in jeopardy the very Empire itself. It is further stated in the preamble to the 1919 Act that "progress can only be achieved by successive stages." My advice to the Noble Lord the Under-Secretary of State for India is that we should make haste slowly, that if power can be given and used, as it has been used, illegitimately, for example, 1071 the non-co-operation movement, which has spread through the use of ill-conceived and ill-considered opportunities illegitimately used, when we remember that our products and cloth are being burned in the very centres of the cities, boycott (under threat) of our products, when we see deliberate disloyalty offered to the noble son of our great King, who, with a courage which he instanced in France, has visited his people in India, then I say we call "Time," and call the attention of this House to the great problem that lies before us asking for their support, not only for Lancashire, but for the Empire. I call to the mind of the House the fact that a certain section of Lancashire is suffering as a result of an illegitimate power which has been used under that Act in India, I call attention also to the fact that there are sister trades—coal, machinery, engineering and transport trades—all interlinked with the great cotton trade also are suffering. I therefore suggest that we should very carefully consider how we can protect the 97½ per cent. of illiteracy in India from being used by a small vested interest against their will and well-being and against the Imperial right of protection of English workers.
Before the War Germany was the eighth in point of the trade status in India, but to-day she is one of the greatest traders there. I want us to remember also that America in those days occupied a very insignificant position in respect to industry in India, to-day however she comes second only to Germany: whilst England, which carries the responsibility, both financial and Imperial, of the protection of India, takes quite a back place in respect to industry and supplies to India. I agree the Government of India has to be carried on, and that her Budget has to be met, but for the last four years she has not faced the position, she has not given full opportunity in respect of her Budget; she has in fact always budgetted for a deficit. She has taxed her poor people, and left that small wealthy American and Indian section, to which I have already referred, almost entirely alone. At any rate the rates of burden carried by the Hindu employee and by the Bombay millowners has not been equitable. The time has come when there should be a reconsideration of 1072 their status in respect of these matters, and whereas in the past these poor Hindoos and Indians have been taxed, there should be relief given to them, and whereas the manufacturers and men in industry in this country have paid Super-tax, a 6s. Income Tax, Excess Profits Duty, and Corporation Profits Tax, in India the tax against these great millowners has sometimes been only one-seventh what it is in this country; there should also be a near proportion of relative taxation between the cotton manufacturers of both countries. When I tell the House that they pay their employés often one-tenth of what we pay our employés, when I inform you that our employés have far better opportunities in respect to education, training and welfare care than their employés have, I say the House must accept its own Imperial responsibility, not only to India, but also to the County Palatine and to all our own country as well. What are the financial calls of India? First, she wants us to finance some of her wars; secondly, she expects us to subsidise her railways, which never have paid, because, although the passenger fares have been raised to the travelling public, the great millowners have not had a single penny put on their freightage on the Indian railways. I suggest that the Home Government must accept responsibility for these matters, and that if these poor illiterate people of India are not able to protect themselves against the exploitations of American, German, and Bombay millowners, it is only right that we in this country should give them definite guidance and protect them through the Secretary of State for India.
If I am asked how we propose to deal with the trading relationship between this country and India, I reply all we ask is that Imperial preference in respect to taxation be given to us and cease to be given to Egypt, Germany, and other countries which are disloyal in competition to us in certain sections of trade, and whose employés are paid less wages and have a lesser standard of comfort than is the case in Lancashire. We ask for the same treatment as Canada gives to us—the Empire Nation favourable tariff. When the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme tells us that India should have a Dominion status, I ask him to balance and compare the type of education in some of 1073 our self-governing countries and in India. I do not mean book-learning, but I mean the status and position and character of the people of these great Colonies, as compared with these poor illiterate Indian natives, many of whom do not even know the very rudiments and elements of civilisation. If we Lancashire people are to carry the taxation and financial responsibility which we do to-day, if our relationships are to be as they should be, as worker to worker, Indian to Lancastrian, with opportunity for all, we have a right to call for protection for these people, and while some hon. Members may suggest that this is only a class interest, I strongly deny such assertion and repeat that for over 300 years the people of Lancashire have supported the growth of democratisation in India. We ask for Imperial preference, for complete opportunities of trading one with the other, for a revision of the system of taxation so there can be that view-point given which is vital and essential for improving the burden we now carry in respect to the handicap of cotton duties, and which has so important a bearing in respect to prices, we claim to be considered as loyally and as patriotically, and with as much care as at least you consider the workers in India. I ask the Noble Lord to consider these methods and to adumbrate, remedies whereby the progress of the 1919 Government of India Act may proceed, but proceed on right lines, which shall give full opportunities for the majority of the people there, and also give a place and position in the great centres of industry and work for this nation.
§ Lord H. CAVENDISH-BENT1NCK
I do not rise to put before the Government the particular Lancashire point of view with respect to the Indian cotton duties, although I deeply sympathise with the Lancashire operatives, except to say that I cannot help feeling the only way to a solution of their troubles is for the Government to realise that there is a very close connection between economic prosperity and political sentiment. Really, at the bottom of their troubles is the existing discontent in India. I cannot help feeling, with all due respect to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Melton (Sir C. Yate), that this question is not to be solved by any of the methods which are so dear to his heart, by marchings and counter-marchings of troops, by 1074 arrests and imprisonment, or by scolding or any display of petulant autocracy. This question can only be solved in the same way as any other political question can be solved in any country, whether inside or outside the British Empire, that is, by sympathy and understanding, by securing the co-operation of the Indian people themselves with your Government, identifying your Government with the aspirations, both political and economic, of the people, and satisfying their great longing for an improvement in their own social conditions, and in the standard of their lives. After all, I cannot help thinking that the basis of the discontent in India is the same as in this country. It is entirely economic. We are dissatisfied with our Government, because we feel that they are squandering our money in armaments—squandering money, which otherwise might remain in our pockets, might be improving the trade of the country, or be expended in social improvements of the people.
So far as I can gather, the Indians have exactly the same feeling, with this difference that here the anti-wasters and economists are patted on the back by our Press, whereas in India the economists, when they are taking the, only constitutional way of expressing their dissatisfaction, are accused of a refusal to co-operate with the Government of India, and of displaying what Lord Castlereagh once alluded to as "an ignorant impatience of taxation." The chief duty we have to follow, it seems to me, at the present time in India, is to see ourselves as the Indians sec us. The position which we are up against is that we are ruling a people who, as the hon. Member has said, are not ignorant people, but a people who have made an uncommon advance in political consciousness, and who are extremely acute and extremely clever, and, what is more, extremely sceptical of our methods, and of our claims to a monopoly of political wisdom. They ask these questions, which no doubt are answered, but which I, ignorant person as I am, find it very difficult to answer. They ask us, for instance: "Why is it, if you have a monopoly of political wisdom, you spend 40 per cent. of our Revenue on the Army, whereas you only spend 1 per cent. on our education? How is it that three villages out of four are without any schools at all, and how is it that one boy 1075 in three in India is illiterate, and one girl in fifteen? And if our agriculture in India is backward and in a hopelessly antiquated state, how is it you spend so little upon our agricultural education? After all, you send flying columns into the country districts in order to cure the discontent. Would it not be better to get to the bottom of that discontent, and alter the land system, which, in the United Province of Agra, is really a scandal to civilization? If you are such financial experts, why do you allow the rich mill-owner to remain almost entirely untaxed, while you raise the great bulk of your revenue from the ryots, who have the greatest difficulty in keeping body and soul together?" It is all very well to imprison Gandhi—and here I am perfectly in accord with the Government; I think they had to imprison Gandhi—but, after all, what we have to understand is that there are in India all the elements that make for discontented people, and very few of the elements that make for contented people.
You are in a vicious circle in India. The more you spend on the Army, the more discontent there is among the people, and the more discontent you have among the people the more you have got to spend on the Army. The only way of breaking out of this vicious circle is somehow to diminish the political discontent among the people. The only way to do that is to secure their co-operation in raising their standard of life, and realising their political aspirations, and, what is more, giving them more responsibility in doing it, getting bureaucracy and the Army off their backs, and, therefore, having more money to spend on the social improvement of the people. My hon. Friend has alluded to the reform scheme. The reform scheme is a very good scheme, so far as it goes, and I hold that the late Secretary of State deserves a very good mark for the energy and ability which he displayed in getting a real scheme accepted by this rather reactionary House of Commons. But it is absurd to uphold it as a perfect work of man, so perfect as to make it almost sacrilege to alter or criticise it. The reform scheme, like every new piece of machinery, wants overhauling, and the quicker you overhaul it the better. Is it not evident now that it has led to a great increase of your bureaucracy, and a great increase 1076 in the cost of your bureaucracy? Even Lord Sydenham, in to-day's "Times," agrees. Your Provincial Councils, although they are ostensibly given the power of developing education and sanitation, in reality do not get that power, because three-fourths of the provincial revenues are taken by the Government of India for military purposes.
My hon. Friend below me has advocated the grant of a complete provincial autonomy at once. If the Government cannot see its way to altering by legislation the Indian reform scheme, would it not be possible now that the political situation in India is a little easier to make a sort of gesture of reconciliation, and to say to the Indian people, "Your reform scheme is a good scheme, but it may possibly want overhauling. We will send out a Commission at once to ascertain what is required." I am perfectly certain that the only way to kill non-co-operation is to get by every means in your power a greater measure of cooperation with you on the part of the India people. I have noticed lately a tendency to rate and scold the moderates for not taking a more active part. The late Secretary of State has indulged in that also. That sort of thing is futile. If you seek the co-operation of the moderates they will rally round you whenever you make it worth their while to rally to your side. The true method of getting better conditions and understanding in India, as well as greater loyalty, is to give the moderates an opportunity, as you are doing in Ireland, of seeing that there is a better means of realising their political aspirations than by political force and political violence. I was discussing this the other day with an Indian gentleman who was, I am bound to say, a great extremist, and I was horrified at the hatred he displayed of the English rule and of England generally. He was bound to confess, however, that if we gave the Indian people the power to diminish the cost of the Army and to develop education and sanitation, the Indian people generally would have very little cause of complaint against the British Government. That, I think, would be the key to the whole solution. As my hon. and gallant Friend said, let us rely in India, as we have relied elsewhere in the Empire, on liberty and self-government, and let us make it patent to the world and to 1077 Indians that we do really believe in liberty and self-government wherever the British flag flies.
§ Mr. ALFRED DAVIES (Clitheroe)
I find myself in a very difficult position, because, first of all, I would not in any circumstances subscribe to interference with the Government of another country, and, secondly, I realise the importance of bringing such moral influence to bear upon the Indian Government as will show some regard for a considerable section of the people with whom I am closely associated. The hon. Member for New-castle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) in the course of his observations made use of the statement that Gandhi was out for the abolition of Western civilisation. That may or may not be true. If it is his point of view that Western civilisation is undesirable in India, and if that point of view is endorsed by the whole of the Indian people, or by the majority of the Indian people, then I say that point of view ought to be accepted and endorsed by every advocate of democracy. There is, however, one thing certain, and that is that the activities of Gandhi, whether they tend towards the abolition of Western civilisation or not, certainly tend towards the abolition of the Lancashire cotton industry. I believe that attitude and agitation of his is largely due to the lack of foresight of our own Government. In 1917, when the Indian Imports Duties were being discussed in this House, the Prime Minister said:At the same time we declare the opinion that such changes as are proposed in the Indian Budget in the system of Indian Cotton Duties shall be considered afresh when the fiscal relationship of the various parts of the Empire to one another and the rest of the world comes to be reviewed as a whole after the War.We look forward to a review of the fiscal relationships of the Empire at the earliest possible moment so that the anomaly of wealthy Bombay manufacturers accumulating wealth from the enhanced price of commodities which the common Indian people are too poor to purchase will be done away with. We are looking forward to a time when a review of these conditions can take place with a view to making it possible by influence and persuasion to get a greater access of Lancashire cotton goods into India on a fairer and more equitable basis.
It has been argued in the course of many Debates in this House that the 1078 principal reason why wages are to come down in nearly all industries is competition. In regard to the Lancashire cotton trade, however, competition is practically negligible. If you take America, it can create little more than its own requirements. If you take Japan and compare it with the wonderful productive capacity of Lancashire, you will find that is negligible. Therefore the argument of competition reducing wages is not applicable to Lancashire, and yet we have at the present moment a demand on the part of employers, or a threatened application, of a reduction in wages to the extent of 70 per cent. We attribute this position in which the Lancashire cotton operative finds himself to the impotence of the Government in not taking steps at an earlier date for the purpose of bringing about a review of the fiscal relationships of the different parts of the Empire. It is therefore with some concern that we approach the Under-Secretary of State for India and ask him to use such influence as he can with the Indian Government to persuade them to view this thing, not from the standpoint of either one particular wealthy section in India or wealthy section in Lancashire, but from the standpoint of the common people of India itself. After all, we are being told time, after time that the reason why persons in other countries cannot purchase our goods is on account of their depleted purchasing power. Yet we permitted, we have allowed, to enter into the relationship between this country and India a system of taxation which enhances the price. Yet it is said that people are to buy at the price which obtained at the time the tariff was imposed. While my knowledge of racial relationships and castes that operate in India is, relatively speaking, infinitesimal, I do know that the economic aspiration of all men and all women in all lands is to be in such a position that they can live in something like decency and comfort. I am prepared to assert, and I believe I can prove it up to the bilt, that wherever tariffs are imposed they are of no benefit to the country that imposes them or to those upon whom they are imposed. I do hope this question of the Indian Import Duties will receive more consideration in the near future than it has done in the past.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Earl Winterton)
May I point out that both my Noble Friend the Secretary of State in another place and I in this House represent, not merely a great Department, but the Government of India, which as a result of the powers willingly accorded them by the Government and Parliament of this country, are performing most important new duties They have, admittedly, been passing through a period of stress and strain as great as that with which any Government in any country is faced. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), whom I thank for his particular references to myself, made a reference, which I regret, to my Noble Friend the Secretary of State for India. He said that the change in the Secretaryship of State would not make the position in India any easier; and he then went on to speak of possible reactionary tendencies. I think it is most desirable that at the very outset of my speech that I should clearly assure the House, which I have the greatest pleasure in doing—though I think it is hardly necessary—that the appointment of my Noble Friend the Secretary of State does not involve any change in the policy of the Government, and that, as before, the Government and the Secretary of State will carry out in the spirit and the letter the policy laid down in the Government of India Act, 1919. Speaking for myself—merely because I represent the Secretary of State in this House—I would call the attention of the House to the fact that I spoke and voted in favour of the Act of 1919 at every one of its stages through this House, and, so far as a private Member could be, was identified with its policy by voice and vote.
A very interesting speech was made by the hon. and gallant Member as to the position of the Governments in India, a speech with which in many parts I am not in great disagreement. He spoke 'of the arrest of Mr. Gandhi and other prominent people in India whom the Indian Government have thought it right to arrest, and he made a lengthy and theoretical statement on the duty of the Indian or any other Government when dealing with agitation. I think this matter may be best summed up by saying that the Government of India, like every other Government at the present time, and in the past, were obliged, in the 1080 exercise of their ordinary duties of authority and obligation both to India and to this country, to carry out the arrest of certain people. Every Government has primary duties which it is bound to perform, and while it is regrettable that in carrying out these duties there is sometimes involved the arrest of people whom one would wish in happier circumstances had co-operated with the Government, it is the duty of any Government which feels it ought to take certain steps to take them. My hon. and gallant Friend said he hoped I would be able to say something as to the action of the Government in this and other matters. I can assure him that any Secretary of State standing at this Box would say exactly what I am about to say, and that is that everyone connected with the Government of India, either in India itself or at the India Office in this country is anxious, as I have already said, to see the spirit and the letter of the Act of 1919 carried out by mutual good will on both sides and with as little as possible of what my hon. and gallant Friend opposite called repression. He then went on to say that in his opinion the best way of dealing with these matters, as I understood him—and I listened very carefully—was that we should buy off the opposition to the Government of India by giving a pledge that if certain people would abstain from opposition, we would immediately advance another step on the road to self-government. I, of course, could give no such pledge without consultation with the Secretary of State, but I cannot avoid saying that the suggestion was the least useful that could be made in the circumstances. Nor do I think that the primary duties of the Government in any country could be carried out by giving a pledge to agitation of that kind.
§ Earl WINTERTON
That is exactly the same thing: "buy off the agitation." I recognise fully that my hon. and gallant Friend is as anxious as any Member in the House to see the best done both for the interests of India and of the whole Empire. But I cannot think that the plan suggested is either a possible one that any Government could adopt, or that it would continue to receive the support of a large section of opinion in this country 1081 if it did adopt it. My hon. and gallant Friend made reference to what is admittedly the very difficult question of the position of the Indians in Kenya. I shall, of course, represent his views to the Secretary of State, but I can assure him that this question is engaging—and necessarily must engage—close attention. I do not think either the interests of India or of the Kenya Colony would be served by my making any statement on this matter at this stage. Quite obviously, it is a question which, from the point of view of India, of this country, and of the Indians in Colonies overseas, other than Kenya, is most acutely felt, and on which I hope sooner or later—I do not myself think it is outside the bounds of probability—sooner or later there may be an agreed solution. I speak unofficially. But looking at the question from several points of view, and from my own knowledge of Africa, I think there will be at some time or other an agreed solution. In order to arrive at that, it is very necessary at this stage that matters should be conducted carefully, and nothing done to interfere with the attempt to arrive at a solution.
Before I turn to the speech of two hon. Members representing Lancashire constituencies about cotton duties, I should just like to make one reference to the speech of the Noble Lord the Member for South Nottingham (Lord H. Cavendish-Bentinck). I was sorry to hear some of it, and I make mention of this because it will get copied into the Indian papers and go out as the views of Members of this House. The Noble Lord, speaking with the authority which appertains to a Member of this House, said that all the elements in India make for a discontented people and very few for a contented people. I can only say that I am very sorry that an Englishman with the advantage of the education and general knowledge possessed by the Noble Lord should have so described the work of thousands of his fellow countrymen, and so signally failed to realise that the work of the British soldiers and civil servants on India is not only a monument of national unselfishness, but a monument of national efficiency as well.
§ Lord H. CAVENDISH-BENTINCK
Did I ever say it was not? I said there 1082 are many elements of discontent in India and many causes for discontent.
§ Earl WINTERTON
The Noble Lord said there were all the elements which made for discontent and few for contentment. Speaking, as he does, with the authority of a Member of this House and with the position he fills, I say that his statement is not one which should be allowed to go without contradiction. I now turn to the speech made by the hon. Member for Royton (Mr. Sugden). Those who have spoken in this Debate for Lancashire have put their case for the abolition of the cotton duty with great moderation and force, although I must say I do not agree with all then-arguments. The hon. Member for Royton began his speech by regretting that there had been in the past accusations of selfishness in this matter against Lancashire Members, and they had been told that all they cared for was the interests of Lancashire. All I wish to say is that such an accusation has never been made by me, and, so far as I know, I do not think they have been made by the late Secretary for India, or by my Noble Friend in another place. I know the late Secretary for India has not made any such accusations, because I read recently the reply which he made to the deputation of which my hon. and gallant Friend was a Member about a year ago. Then my hon. Friend went on to use an argument, which I might describe as a sub-argument, because- it was not his main contention, and pointed out that India was able to obtain money in this country more cheaply than many of the English counties or boroughs. That is quite true, but he should have explained that that money is subscribed by public loan in this country, and if the people here subscribed so readily to those loans I think that is a tribute to the financial soundness of India. It is not a very sound argument to say that, because India is able to raise money more cheaply here than some English boroughs or counties, that that involves an obligation on India to make certain alterations in her tariffs. I think the hon. and gallant Member is stretching his example of financial soundness a long way in order to apply it to his argument. I am sorry that the hon. Member for Rossendale (Mr. Waddington) is not present, because I observe that he has been addressing some arguments to his 1083 constituents on the subject of these duties, which are based on a false premise to which I shall refer in a moment. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Royton spoke of leading the poor illiterate natives of India into better paths.
§ Mr. SUGDEN
I pleaded that they should be educated to give us that Imperial preference which I believe they will in regard to tax.
§ Earl WINTERTON
Surely my description was accurate that they should be led into better paths. I notice that the hon. Member opposite was somewhat restless when this reference was made in relation to a cause which he has always so valiantly championed in this House, but I will return to the argument that was used by the hon. Member for Rossendale the other day. Addressing his constituents, he said that the Government had power under the rules made under Section 33 of the Government of India Act, which deals with the powers, superintendence, and direction of the Secretary of State in Council, to safeguard Imperial interests against action taken by the Indian Government. I wish to point out that Section 33 of the Act refers to transferred subjects and not to central subjects such as these duties are, which is a most important distinction. I regret the hon. Member is not here, because he based his argument for interference by the Government on the powers they possessed under these rules.
Let me now come back to the speech of the hon. Member for Royton opposite. His accusation is that the Government of India ought to have raised this money by other means than by suggesting an increase in the cotton duties. I can answer that point very shortly. In the first place, he said that their taxation is protective. It is perfectly true, and we do not deny the fact that the taxation proposed is protective, but I wish to point out that it has not been settled yet, and there is a fiscal Commission sitting at the present time inquiring into this subject.
§ Mr. SUGDEN
Is it not a fact that we have no representation on that fiscal inquiry, and is it not also a fact that the two practical Lancashire men, who could 1084 have been sent over, will not get that representation we desire, and there will only be Indian representation?
§ Earl WINTERTON
That is most emphatically not the case; there is no more reason why the particular interest of this country should have representation in regard to this matter than there would be for India to have representation on a Royal Commission appointed to deal with factories in Lancashire. But, of course, the representatives of the Lancashire cotton interests will have an opportunity to give evidence before the Commission. This is a very important matter, and if my hon. and gallant Friend can point out to me that there has been any difficulty put in the way of the representatives of the Manchester cotton industry stating their ease—if he can show me that anything has been done to prevent their giving evidence before that Commission—1 will represent the matter to my Noble Friend, who, I am sure, will at once telegraph to India, and have it put right. I must say my information is altogether different from that of my hon. Friend. Every opportunity, I am told, was offered to the two representatives to give their evidence, and I understand they have decided not to do so.
§ Mr. SUGDEN
I and my co-secretary of the Lancashire Committee made representations to the then Secretary of State for India, asking for facilities for a deputation of employers and employed to go out to India to give evidence before the Commission. We were not granted those facilities; neither did we get any definite suggestion as to how we could present our case. We had further a direct indication that no official facilities would be offered in respect to that deputation.
§ Earl WINTERTON
My information is that an opportunity was given—and it was stated in black and white—to the great cotton industry of Lancashire to give evidence before that Commission, but for some reason with which I am not acquainted it has not been taken advantage of. For my part, I will discuss the matter with the Secretary of State. I am sure he will do all in his power to see that facilities are given. But this is a Commission set up by the Government of India. It must be realised that it is an 1085 Indian Commission, and not a Commission set up by the Government of this country, and it has to consider the matter specially from the Indian point of view. I now come to deal with the question whether or not we could have raised our revenue by other means than those adopted by the Government of India in its recent Budget. No source of revenue in India has been unexplored during the last few years. The only possible main sources are first the land revenues and opium, and as to the latter obviously we could not add to the duties. As to salt, the Government of India did propose to increase the salt revenue, but it was rejected by the Legislature. The Salt Tax in Eastern countries probably hits hardest the poorest people in those countries, and the taxation of salt is a form of taxation we ought to be careful not to increase too greatly. Then there is the Income Tax and the Super-tax. It was pointed out that these taxes are not so high in India as in this country, but can anyone suggest, having in mind the varying circumstances of the two countries, that the Income Tax and Super-tax in India should be on the same level as in this country? Then the Post and Telegraph Taxes have been considerably increased, and are as high already as we think they should be. The same may be said with regard to the railways, while as to the contributions by the Provincial Governments to the Central Government, they are fixed by Statute.
There remains that great source of taxation, Customs and Excise. The point is there was a general increase proposed to operate on all goods sent into the country and it must be borne in mind that the manufacturers of other goods might just as strongly object to these duties as the cotton manufacturers. We have to look at the great cotton industry from the point of view that it is one of our main props of taxation and livelihood. But manufacturers in other industries have to consider their own position, and their interests are as important to them as are the interests of the cotton industry to the cotton manufacturers. It is unfair to talk as if this was an increase only on cotton goods. It is a general increase. Now I must ask the House to give me every leniency in dealing with a delicate constitutional point, and not to request me to say more than I am going to say as 1086 to the relationship between the Government of India and the Secretary of State and Government in this country in the matter of taxation. I cannot do better than quote the Report of the Joint Committee which sat on the Government of India Bill under the chairmanship of Lord Islington. My hon. and gallant Friend does not, I think, agree with the Report of that Committee, but other people do and the Report shows the great attention which was given by the members of the Committee to the problem. The Committee say:Nothing is more likely to endanger the good relations between India and Great Britain than a belief that India's fiscal policy is dictated from Whitehall in the interests of the trade of Great Britain. That such a belief exists at the moment there can be no doubt. That there ought to be no room for it in the future is equally clear. India's position in the Imperial Conference opened the door to negotiations between India and the rest of the Empire, but negotiation without power to legislate is likely to remain ineffective. A satisfactory solution of the question can only be guaranteed by the grant of liberty to the Government of India to devise its own tariff arrangements which seem best fitted to India's needs as an integral portion of the British Empire. It cannot be guaranteed by statute without limiting the ultimate power of Parliament to control the administration of India and without limiting the power to veto which rests in the Crown; and neither of these limitations finds a place in any of the-statutes in the British Empire. It can only therefore be assured by an acknowledgment of a Convention.These are the concluding words to which I wish to draw the special attention of hon. Members:In the opinion of the Committee, therefore, the Secretary of State should, as far as possible, avoid interference on this subject when the Government of India and its legislators are in agreement, and they think that this intervention, when it docs take place, should be limited to safeguarding the international obligations of the Empire or any fiscal arrangements within the Empire to which His Majesty's Government is a party.Obviously these fiscal arrangements mean general Imperial preference. They have not reference to a particular fiscal view which is held in this country. I think that these conclusions are conclusions which may well be studied by every Member of this House, and I am sure the House will forgive me if I, not from any lack of desire, do not give any further information, especially as the matter of the relationship between the 1087 Government of India and the Secretary of State and the Government in this country in these matters of financial control will come up again on some future occasion. I should like to say, with regard to the whole question of the Indian cotton duties, that, while the two hon. Gentlemen who have dealt with this subject to-night have done so in a most moderate fashion, and neither I nor anyone connected with the Government of India has anything to complain of on that matter, the question has not always been so dealt with in this House or in the country, and there is no one who knows anything about India who does not agree that this is one of the most dangerous and difficult questions which can arise in the relationship of India with this country. While I assure the House on my own behalf, and I think the Secretary of State would like me to give this assurance, that we will do everything in our power to endeavour to meet the views of Lancashire, I must point out that the hon. Member (Mr. Sugden) was himself treading on dangerous ground. If he and those with whom he is associated say some of the things—I do not think they will say them, although I did not like his reference to the poor, ignorant and illiterate people of India—if they say some of the things which have been said by their predecessors, they will do more than anything else to put back the clock, and injure the cause of the policy embodied in the Act of 1919. I think that the vast majority of this House would regard it as a great misfortune that any such injury should be done. I would further point out that this subject has been one of bitter controversy for 50 years. The Secretary of State, the India Office, and the Government of India realise, as I hope the hon. Member for his part will realise, the stress and strain of the present period in India, and I hope we shall not be pressed to make, at untimely moments, further statements on this most difficult and intricate subject.