Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £117,483 (including a Supplementary sum of £10), be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1926, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of His Majesty's Secretary of Stat) for the Colonies, and of the Department, of His Majesty's Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs."—[NOTE: £60,000 has been voted on account.]
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Amery)
I ask the indulgence of the Committee if on this, the last occasion when the Estimates are submitted in their present undivided form, I am compelled to make a somewhat longer statement than I hope will be necessary in the future. I think the Committee will wish, to begin with, for some explanation of the reasons which have led to the creation of a new Secretaryship of State and Office for Dominion Affairs separate from the Colonial Secretaryship and the Colonial Office, and of the exact nature and extent of the administrative changes involved. The step we have taken is a recognition justified, not only by the general sentiment of the Dominions, but also by urgent practical necessities arising from the profound transformation which the structure of the Empire has undergone in the last generation.
Of all the changes which the political complexion of the world has witnessed in our time, none has been more remarkable than the emergence of the younger nations of the British Commonwealth. The only event of comparable importance in its bearing on the future was the birth of the United States a century and 66 a half ago. But whereas that great transaction took place in an atmosphere of strife, the scars of which have taken long to heal, and involved a complete separation, the birth of these new nations has come by a peaceful process of evolution based on mutual understanding and sympathy and on a growing intimacy of co-operation in maintaining the unity and strength of the whole Imperial fabric. That is a fact which only enhances the significance of the change, but which also has largely tended to conceal it from our own observation as well as from that of the outside world. Concurrently with this development there has been another, little less remarkable, in the growth of a new colonial Empire, mainly in South Africa, which, in view of its extent and resources, bids fair in course of time to vie with our Indian Empire in its economic and ultimately, perhaps, even in its political importance.
These developments have inevitably had their reaction upon our administrative machinery here at home. The work of the Colonial Office has had to develop progressively on two entirely different lines. There has been, on one side, the work of communication and consultation between the British Government and its partner Governments over the whole field of their mutual relations and of the common interests of the Empire as a whole. On the other hand, there has been the work of administration and development in that great Colonial area for which this House is directly responsible.
These two spheres of work differ, not merely in degree but in kind. The one is political, consultative, and, if I may say so, quasi-diplomatic; the other is administrative and directive. They call for wholly different methods and qualities of mind. It is the consciousness of this difference, and the feeling that it was not always adequately recognised, which, much more than any mere sentimental objection to the word "Colonial," has always created a certain amount of resentment in the Dominions against the idea that their relations with the Mother Country should be dealt with by the Colonial Office. The demand for more definite differentiation was raised at the Imperial Conference of 1907 by Mr. Deakin, the then Prime Minister of Australia, and his eloquent and forcible 67 appeal for a better arrangement of our work in dealing with the Dominions was at any rate partially met by Lord Elgin by the establishment within the Colonial Office of a separate Dominions Department under its Assistant Under-Secretary. I cannot say that this arrangement met the case in the view of the Dominions or in actual fact. The issue was raised again at the next Imperial Conference in 1911 by Sir Joseph Ward, the then Prime Minister of New Zealand, who, on behalf of his Dominion, brought forward a specific resolution, which was endorsed by General Botha on behalf of South Africa, urgingThat it is essential that the Department of the Dominions be separated from that of the Crown Colonies, and that each Department be placed under a separate Permanent Under-Secretary.4.0 P.M.
This proposal was rejected, and the matter has remained there ever since, not so much because the position has been regarded as satisfactory, as because the Dominions have felt it hardly consistent with the principles on which inter-Imperial relations are based to go beyond a certain point in expressing their views as to the internal administration and organisation of another part of the Empire. Meanwhile the constitutional case for separation has been reinforced by very practical considerations. The work of the Colonial Office has increased beyond all measure in recent years. On the Colonial side the standard of what is expected of our administration, not only in regard to ordinary good government, and the promotion of trade, but in regard to transportation, the promotion of native agriculture, of health and education, has risen out of all recognition. It is rising, and rightly rising, all the time, and all the time demands more attention and more consideration from headquarters. The addition of Tanganyika, of Palestine, and of Iraq to this side of the work of the Colonial Office has certainly not diminished the strain on the Department. On the Dominion side, the work of liaison, of keeping the Dominion Governments posted on the progress of foreign and Imperial affairs, has been continually growing in volume and in importance. A new Dominion, the Irish Free State, with problems all its own, and not even historically connected like the 68 others with our old Colonial Office, has been added to the work of the Department in the last two years. Last, and certainly not least, a whole additional Department, requiring not only a staff of its own but the constant supervision of a responsible Ministerial head, has come into being in connection with Empire settlement. The development of that most important work has, I am sorry to say, suffered seriously owing to the fact that it has never been able to enlist more than the merest fraction of time of some overworked junior Minister. My right hon. Friend opposite knows well how heavy, how unfairly heavy, has been the burden upon those at the head of the Colonial Office upon whom all these various aspects of the work has converged, and who have been responsible for the duty of advising and assisting the Secretary of State.
Under these circumstances, I felt it my duty to urge upon my colleagues the immediate necessity of a change which, personally, I have for the last 20 years regarded as desirable in principle. The change approved by the Cabinet is, constitutionally, as far reaching as any advocate of the recognition of the new status of the Dominions could desire. The Secretaryship of State for Dominion Affairs and the Dominions Office will be constitutionally separate entities from the Colonial Secretaryship and Colonial Office, and will, as such, in future submit separate Estimates for the approval of Parliament. I think the House, when that time comes, will realise the great advantage of no longer mixing up in a single Debate the great problems of our inter-Imperial relations with the no less interesting but entirely different problem of administration in our Colonial dependencies. It is true that for reasons of practical convenience the new Dominions Office will for the present continue to be housed in the Colonial Office, and that the two Secretaryships of State will be combined in the same individual. But there is nothing to preclude the appointment of two different individuals for the two Secretaryships of State, if and when circumstances should warrant such a step, or the combination of the Secretaryship of State for the Dominions with some office other than the Colonial Secretaryship.
It has often been suggested in this connection that the importance of consulta- 69 tion with the Dominions ought to be recognised by assigning the work to the Prime Minister. The suggesion is at first sight an attractive one, but I doubt if any one, who realises the immense burden thrown upon a Prime Minister under modern conditions and the necessity for him to keep his hands free from Departmental work in order to be able to supervise all the Departments, or in a time of external or domestic crisis to be free to concentrate his whole endeavours upon a particular issue, would suggest that such an arrangement would secure either as full or as continuous an attention to inter-Imperial affairs as if they were made the specific responsibility of one of the Prime Minister's Cabinet colleagues. What is, I think essential is that the Prime Minister should regard Dominion affairs as a Department over which his supervision should be peculiarly intimate and constant. That object is, I think, secured by the practice which has developed since the War, and which will, of course, remain unaffected by the present changes, of direct communication between the Prime Ministers, a practice which does insure that the subject concerned is not merely dealt with departmentally but does come directly under the Prime Minister's personal cognisance.
There is another objection, I think, to confining the work of dealing with inter-Imperial co-operation to the Prime Minister. That work—and I am sure my right hon. Friend opposite will agree with me in this—is very largely of a personal character. It requires a great deal of time, not only for full discussion with Dominion representatives and public men who come over here, but also, I venture to suggest, for visits to the Dominions themselves. It is hardly consistent, after all, with the much-talked-of equality of status between the Governments of the Empire, if all the travelling for purposes of personal consultation has to be done by Dominion statesmen, and if there is to be no reciprocity on our side. I know that my right hon. Friend opposite, who gave me such a good lead by his visit to South Africa last year, will not quarrel with me in that statement.
As regards the actual method of inaugurating the new system, we are advised that the creation of a new Secretaryship of 70 Stats requires no legislation, but follows directly upon His Majesty's pleasure in conferring seals of office. There is, however, a small addition of expenditure involved in respect of the appointment of a new Under-Secretary of State and of a permanent Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, and the token Supplementary Estimate for this is now in the hands of Members. I might, perhaps, add that these changes, though strictly speaking a purely internal matter for this country, were, of course, informally discussed with the Dominion Governments, and have been welcomed by them as well as by public opinion in the Dominions generally as evidence of our desire both to recognise the constitutional status of the Dominions and to improve the machinery of inter-Imperial consultation.
May I now, with apologies to the Committee for having kept them so long with this preliminary explanation, deal briefly with some of the actual subjects which will in future appear on the Dominions Estimates. One of the main and increasingly important problems before us is that of reconciling the equality and autonomy of the partner nations of the Empire and their right to an adequate voice in the common external policy of the Empire, as laid down in the well-known Constitutional Relations Resolution of the. Imperial War Conference of 1917, with the effective and prompt conduct of foreign affairs. The problem is, I believe, essentially a practical one, calling, not for the devising of new constitutional machinery, but for the development of working methods to enable the existing constitutional system to work smoothly and continuously. It already works with complete efficacy whenever it is possible for the responsible representatives of the different Governments to meet for personal consultation round the same table. No one who has had the privilege, as I have had, of participating in any of the series of Imperial War Cabinets or Imperial Conferences since 1917, or of the meetings of the British Empire Delegations, whether at Paris, at Washington, or at Geneva, can really regard as insoluble that combination of constitutional autonomy with unity in policy and action which has invariably characterised those gatherings.
The real difficulty lies in the intervals when the principals cannot confer 71 together in person. Our predecessors were confronted with, it in relation to the conduct of foreign negotiations and also in relation to the problem of securing continuity in Imperial policy in spite of the changes of Government which are bound to occur in different parts of the Empire in the intervals between the Imperial Conferences, and which in their particular case made them feel unable to give effect to certain of the Resolutions of the Conferences of 1923. The late Prime Minister suggested to the Dominions last summer the holding, not of a full-dress Constitutional Conference, but of something in the nature of a sub-conference or an inquiry by expert representatives in order to study the problem, and himself put forward for consideration certain suggestions, more purticularly one for the representation of opposition parties at Imperial Conferences. This proposal for an inquiry was, after very considerable hesitation on the part of some of the Dominion Governments, eventually accepted in principle, subject to finding a date which would suit all the Governments concerned; and this it was not possible to find before the last Dissolution. The conclusion to which we came in view of the correspondence, which has recently been published as a Parliamentary Paper, Command Paper 2301, and whom will, I think, well repay study by anyone interested in Imperial affairs, was that on the whole the problem would be more usefully explored a stage further by actual day by day working, postponing the kind of inquiry proposed to the accumulation of a further volume of practical experience.
Well, of such experience we have had a good deal during the last eight months. In connection with the Geneva Protocol and still more in connection with the problem of how to establish security and the atmosphere of peace on those frontiers of Western Europe which are of such immediate interest to ourselves, we were so anxious to secure a really united and common Empire policy that we endeavoured to ascertain whether it might be at all possible to hold a special Imperial Conference last March. We were not surprised, however, to find that such a Conference could not be conveniently arranged, and so we were, perforce, thrown back on to making a much fuller 72 and freer use of the method of telegraphic communication and consultation than we had ever attempted before. How close and regular that method of consultation is to-day may be grasped by the Committee if I tell them that over and above the mass of information which is sent to the Dominions by every mail over 120 telegams, many of them of great length, have been sent to the Dominions in the last eight months, fully a third of which have been directly concerned with the question of the Protocol or the problem of security in Europe. I think that does show, at any rate, a real effort on the part of the Government of this country to keep the Dominions fully informed of the progress of international events.
At the same time, I cannot help thinking that information circulated by the British Government to all the Dominions may not, however full and frank, always be exactly that which each particular Dominion Government wishes to have. It could, I am sure, be supplemented with advantage by information sent individually to each several Government by some representative directly under the orders of that Government, who had full and free access to all the sources of information upon which our communications are based, and who would know what his Government was particularly interested in and what it wanted to be kept posted about most closely. Australia has for the last six months had such a special liaison officer in this country, detailed from the Australian Department of External Affairs, who has the fullest access to all our Government Departments, and who will undoubtedly be able to be of great service to his Prime Minister in keeping him in touch with the progress of affairs. I need not, of course, say that we are equally willing to give the same facilities to any responsible representative whom any other Dominion may wish to appoint for a similar purpose.
§ Mr. AMERY
Yes. to a very large part of all the confidential papers, including Cabinet papers. He is, I may say, regarded as a personal representative of the Prime Minister of Australia, and in that capacity can see whatever 73 the Prime Minister of Australia himself might wish to see or might wish to be informed about.
§ Mr. J. H. THOMAS
What happens in case it is necessary to summon the High Commissioners? Does the gentleman referred to in the case of Australia attend with the High Commissioners from the other Dominions, or does the High Commissioner for Australia attend alone?
§ Mr. AMERY
I am very glad my right hon. Friend has asked that question. This liaison officer is here to deal with those specific matters of high policy which are communicated directly to the Dominions, but which, at present at any rate, and until the Dominion Governments themselves decide otherwise, are not, as a matter of fact, dealt with by the High Commissioners, and, therefore, the particular occasion which my right hon. Friend suggests has not yet arisen. But I would add this: I would say that, valuable as this fuller and more individual information may be to a Dominion Government in the case of a relatively junior official like the one whom Australia has appointed, we should be equally willing to extend the same principle, if desired, to more senior and authoritative representatives, be they High Commissioners or any other representatives whom each Dominion Government may care to appoint—whomever they wish to depute for that purpose—not only for the purpose of securing first-hand information for their Government, but also for the purpose of confidential consultation with the British. Government on any matters on which their Government might wish to be advised or might wish to have discussed.
There is one form of consultation, quite unofficial, I admit, but one which goes very far to meet the late Prime Minister's desire for a non-party discussion of Imperial problems and for continuity in the Imperial handling of these matters— a method which has developed greatly in recent years—and that is the direct intercourse, both here and overseas, between Members of the different Parliaments of the Empire, which has been so much stimulated by that most valuable organisation, the Empire Parliamentary Association. I think all of us who have taken advantage of that organisation, whether to make use of the opportunities which it affords us of meeting here in 74 London men engaged in public life in other Dominions, or of visiting the Dominions themselves, realise how much we have gained both in knowledge and understanding of Imperial problems through those opportunities. In this respect there is one Member of Parliament—I think I am technically correct in describing 'him by that title—who has set a peculiarly good example to us all, and whose intercourse, not only with leaders of Governments and public men, but also with the masses of the people with whom he has been in contact, has been of immense value in bringing about a closer understanding and creating underlying conditions of effective co-operation. I mean, of course, the Prince of Wales. The wonderful scenes of enthusiasm with which he was welcomed everywhere in our West African Colonies are a striking testimony of the affection with which the natives of these Dependencies regard the Crown, which, to them, at any rate, personifies all that they have gained by British rule in the last generation—an affection which has only been quickened and deepened by the Prince's own personality. In South Africa he has, since then, successfully carried out, and has now almost concluded, a tour where he has been throughout received with a welcome truly royal in its universality, and, I think, truly democratic in the way in which all classes of the community have united together to welcome him.
Our co-operation and consultation with the Dominions is not confined only to external matters. We are just as much concerned in working together for our mutual development in every phase of our national life. The British Empire is a Commonwealth, not, only for defence and security, but for well-being and better living, and no aspect of that co-operation is more important than that which concerns the better and healthier distribution of the population of the Empire, from the point of view alike of the well-being and opportunities of life of the individual, of the development and economic defensive strength of the nations concerned, and of the markets which each one of them can offer to the rest. I need not detain the Committee by traversing again the ground that was so admirably covered by the last Report of the Overseas Settlement Committee, but, since its publication in April, there have been some im- 75 portant developments. Agreement was finally reached, almost immediately after that Report, on the details of a comprehensive scheme of settlement in Australia, which was first inaugurated by my hon. Friend the Member for Rothwell (Mr. Lunn) when he was Chairman of the Overseas Settlement Committee, and I should like personally to congratulate him, both on the work he did during those months and on the completion of the scheme which he initiated. By that agreement the Commonwealth Government undertakes to raise loans not exceeding a total of £34,000,000 for issue to the State Governments at a low rate of interest during the course of the next 10 years. Those loans are to be expended on agreed development schemes in rural districts of Australia—schemes calculated both to promote direct settlement on farms and also a general influx of immigration. The scheme is a comprehensive one. It aims, if effectively carried out, at the settlement in Australia during the ensuing 10 years of some 450,000 assisted emigrants from the United Kingdom, including in that total at least 34,000 families of an average of five persons. The British Government, on its part, undertakes to contribute, over and above its share of the cost of assisted passages, a sum of £130,000 for every principal sum of £750,000 issued to a State Government under this agreement, this being approximately equivalent to a contribution of half the interest for the first five years, and one-third of the interest for the next five years, on such principal sum. For every £130,000 thus contributed, 10,000 assisted emigrants, including their due proportion of families, are to be satisfactorily settled, either as farmers on their own account—and for this purpose at least one-half of any farms made available under the various schemes will be reserved for them—or in other suitable occupations. Special arrangements for the reception, training, and after-care of assisted emigrants will be made by the State Governments concerned, and the British Government have undertaken to contribute one-third, both of the capital cost and maintenance, of such reception depots as it may be found necessary to establish in country districts. A special representative of the Oveasea Settlement Office will be estab- 76 lished in Australia to advise us as to the schemes which we can agree upon and as to their subsequent working. This agreement, which subsumes various lesser agreements made by various Australian States, most of which have not in practice been put into operation to any very great extent, will—always provided that it is effectively carried out—mark the largest advance yet made in Empire Settlement since the passage of the Empire Settlement Act three years ago.
§ Sir CLEMENT KINLOCH-COOKE
May I ask whether any of the States, or all of the States, have agreed to carry out this arrangement, especially New South Wales?
§ Mr. AMERY
The general scheme was the result of conference between the Commonwealth Government and the States, and it was the course of the discussion between the Commonwealth Government and the States, which was, in part, at least, responsible for the fact that it was myself and not my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby who signed this agreement. It will now be necessary to consider specific schemes; and I do not think we can expect any specific schemes to be fixed up between the different Governments concerned, and to secure the support of the British Government, at any rate, before the end of the year. I think that in these matters it is much more important that the schemes should be satisfactory and should work, than that we should rashly embark upon schemes which in the end we may find to be unworkable. As for the extent to which the various Australian Governments may go on a particular kind of scheme that they would favour, we can only be guided by actual developments. As my hon. Friend knows, one Government, at any rate, has already indicated that there are certain types of schemes which it is not inclined to favour.
Another most hopeful line of development has been inaugurated by the constitution of the Church Council for Empire Settlement. After all, this problem of Empire Settlement, as all of us who have had any contact with it know very well, is essentially a human one. A friendly personal reception, sympathetic interest, and the provision of a congenial and helpful social and also spiritual atmosphere, matter no less than the 77 actual material conditions in securing success. In these respects the co-operation of an Empire-wide, universally distributed body like the Church of England can only be of incalculable benefit in the success of a policy which aims, not only at helping the individual, but at the healthy up-building of the national life of the Dominions. Of course, I need not say that what applies to the work the Church of England is undertaking applies equally to the work which any other of the great religious denominations may feel called upon to undertake, following that example.
There is just one other scheme to which I should like to refer, and that is the scheme for the settlement of 5,000 selected families on the land in Canada—another scheme arranged by my predecessor. That scheme is being carried out by the Dominion authorities on lines which, I think, ought to assure its success, in so far as care in selection and help and sympathetic advice at the start can assure the success of any scheme.. I wish I had time to read to the Committee some of the dozens of letters received from settlers, all of which lay special stress on the surprising and unexpected kindness with which they have been treated, not only by all the Government agents but also by their new neighbours in their future homes. Rut I am tempted to read a five homely sentences from one West countryman's letter:I have quite a good farm. I have a real good cow and a calf, 18 chickens and one cock.All these are supplied to them—I bought one pig which is due to have little ones next month. I see the papers in England say one cannot get work in Canada. I have had five farmers after me to work for them. In any case I am downright pleased with my place and can make money out of it.I could go further. He is not prepared to keep this information entirely to himself but wishes the advantage of it to be shared by those at home, at any rate by those who are worthy of it—I should like for Devon and Somerset to read this letter.
§ Mr. AMERY
That is in Alberta, but letters from Ontario are practically all equally enthusiastic about the reception with which they have met. The only fault 78 I can find with the scheme is the smallness of the scale on which it is conducted. That is a failing that does not apply to that scheme alone. I know my regret in this matter is widely shared, and that the feeling of the House with regard to the extent of our operations under the Empire Settlement Act was very fully voiced in the interesting Debate initiated by my hon. Friend the Member for Grantham (Sir V. Warrender) on 2nd April.
The reasons for the fact that the Empire Settlement Act has never been worked to anything approaching the full extent of the expenditure sanctioned under it were very fully and ably stated by my hon. Friend beside me (Mr. Ormsby-Gore), and therefore I hardly think it necessary to go over them again in detail. They lie partly in the fact that public opinion overseas has not yet grasped with sufficient clearness the conception of a policy of settlement as an essential to the building up of their national life. Immigration is too often regarded overseas by one class as a means of securing cheap labour, in which case the immigrant from Central and Eastern Europe is both cheaper and more prepared to submit to discomfort, and by another class as a potential source of wage competition, resulting in the demand for restricting all assisted emigration to farm workers and domestic; servants. My right hon. Friend opposite rightly laid his finger on this weakness in the message he issued on the subject of Empire Settlement at the opening of this year's Wembley Exhibition, when he asked:Can we hope for success unless we encourage migration and settlement on broader lines? Is it enough to encourage only the man who is prepared to work as a farm hand and the woman who is prepared to work as a servant? Is this the best way to build up nations?I fully agree with that question and I hope sooner or later the right answer will come to us from every part of the-Empire. In some part the cause may also lie in the ever increasing inducements to stay at home which are held out by our whole modern system of health and unemployment insurance, and now widowhood and old age contributory pensions. I think the necessity for devising some reciprocal arrangement within the Empire to prevent these beneficial social measures exercising a seriously 79 retarding effect upon the healthy movement of population within the Empire must be seriously considered. Meanwhile, I think it only fair to state that at present those who are willing to go overseas if assisted are still very considerably in excess of those whom the Dominions are prepared to assist.
Underlying those reasons, however, there are much more powerful and decisive economic factors. The flow of migration to the Dominions has fallen from 224,000 in 1913 to 88,000 in 1924, in spite of the fact that the latter figures include some 40,000 who would not have gone but for the assistance afforded by the Empire Settlement Act, and it has fallen because the Dominions, like ourselves, have not recovered from the effects of the War, and because their development and their capacity to absorb immigration is restricted by the lack of markets for their produce, just as our capacity to support our own population in employment and at the standard of living which we aim at is restricted by our inability to find markets for our own manufactures. There is another serious factor working in the same direction. Our lessened exports and our increasing consumption, sustained by a higher standard of living and by the social measures to which I have just referred, leave an increasingly dwindling margin for the investment of capital overseas which is an essential condition of emigration and settlement. The fact is that in the policy of Empire development the three essential factors of men, money and markets are inseparable, and it is of little use professing to favour a policy of Empire settlement unless we are also prepared to favour a policy of Empire marketing and Empire investment. It is of little use helping to set the man on the land overseas and expecting him to help us by his purchases unless we are prepared to help him to succeed in his new life as a farmer by purchasing what he produces. We have been very successful in making this policy of Empire settlement one entirely outside and above party, and one in which the right hon. Gentleman and hon. Members opposite and ourselves have during the last few years co-operated in complete mutual understanding and harmony. Is it too much to hope that we may be able, before it is too late, to 80 arrive at some similar general agreement in finding ways and means of framing an Imperial economic policy based on the mutual development of our common resources of nature and human skill and on the maintenances of a standard of living which we set for ourselves and are not simply content to have set for us by the unlimited and unregulated competition of the world outside?
Before leaving the field of Dominion affairs there is one other matter I want to refer to. The hardships suffered by loyalists in the Irish Free State in connection with the disturbances of the last few years have often been brought to the notice of the House. As far as pre-truce cases are concerned the obligations of the British Government have been fulfilled, and I think reasonably fulfilled, by the establishment, in conjunction with the Free State Government, of the Wood-Renton Commission whose awards have exceeded £7,000,000 in respect of damage to property, while, as regards injury to persons, decrees awarded to supporters of the Crown have been met by His Majesty's Government to an amount exceeding £3,000,000. In all, His Majesty's Government have made payments for hardships suffered in Ireland to the extent of something like £10,000,000. It is, however, in connection with post-truce cases that anxiety has been most freely expressed, and as regards these the situation is governed, as far as we are concerned, by the letter which His Majesty's Government addressd to the provisional Government on 26th July, 1022, which stated thatWhile responsibility for meeting claims to compensation must rest with the Irish Government, His Majesty's Government cannot divest themselves of a duty to see that such claims are met equitably and as promptly as the inevitable difficulties allow.Subsequent pledges confirmed the pledge then given, but in no case, I think, implied or suggested that the grant of compensation in post-truce cases would be on exactly the same lines as in pre-truce cases. The reply to that letter was the Free State Act of 1923. That Act is based on the assumption that, within certain limits and with certain exclusions—in respect of which, however, ex gratia compensation may in certain cases be given— the measure of compensation should be the actual financial loss incurred by the 81 claimant. Successive British Governments have decided that, in the circumstances prevailing in the Free State, that Act, so far as the Free State Government was concerned, must be regarded as an adequate discharge of that Government's obligation towards those of its citizens in whom the British Government was legitimately interested and on whose behalf the letter of 26th July, 1922, was written, and that there was no ground on which His Majesty's Government could properly ask the Free State Government either to amend or extend the Act, especially in view of the fact that that Act is applicable without discrimination to all sufferers in Ireland, of whom those in whom the British Government are particularly interested are an actual minority.
That, I admit, does not dispose of the whole question. It remains for us to consider whether the obligations and pledges of the British Government are adequately discharged by the operation of the Act of 1923. One of those obligations was that relief should be prompt. In the circumstances prevailing in the Free State, obviously there might be great delay in the hearing of cases before the Courts, and for that reason, amongst others, what is known as the Irish Grants Committee was established, which has made advances on the security of unheard claims amounting to over £200,000. Further it was recognised that there were bound to be cases of special hardship arising under the Act of 1923, as indeed they were bound to arise under any Act however carefully framed, and the British Government thought it right to empower the Irish Grants Committee to make special grants in cases of this kind which have already come to their notice. Again, in order to meet any hardship that may arise owing to the temporary depreciation of bonds issued by the Free State in payment of compensation awards under the Act, the Irish Grants Committee can make advances on the security of such stock in cases where they are satisfied that the claimant would otherwise be compelled to sell the stock at a discount. Finally, in order to satisfy both ourselves and Parliament on this question of our own obligation towards the loyalists, His Majesty's Government have now asked Lord Selborne and others who are specially interested in the question to join with representatives of the Government in an informal Committee to consider the 82 whole question and make recommendations to the Government if they think fit. I wish it to be clearly understood that this Committee is not appointed to review the awards of Free State Courts or to report as to the adequacy or equity of the Free State Act. His Majesty's Government are satisfied on that point, and in any case has no authority to pronounce on this question. It is a Committee solely for the purpose of considering whether our own obligations have been adequately discharged, and, if not, to make recommendations on the subject. I hope that, incidentally, the Committee may be of real assistance to the Government in dealing with these exceptional and difficult cases of hardship to which I have referred.
§ Mr. THOMAS
There is considerable misgiving about this almost unprecedented course that the Government is adopting. If it were done in Canada, there would be a tremendous row, and Ireland is in precisely the same position. I want to make it perfectly clear that this Committee, whatever it is, is not enabled in any way to review the situation as far as Irish legislation is concerned. Secondly, that any recommendations made are made independent of and have no bearing upon the recommendations applicable by the Government. Thirdly, are they joining with members of the Government? Are they going to take evidence, or how is the matter to be determined? Is it to be determined by the people themselves I Everyone up to now have made claims themselves, and the British taxpayer will want to know what is the position of any individual who ha9 already made claims and is now going to sit as a judge on the claims that he himself has made. How is the British taxpayer going to be protected?
§ Mr. AMERY
I am glad the right hon. Gentleman has put these questions. As regards the first two questions, the answer is unhesitatingly in the affirmative. I thought I had made that clear. There is no question whatever of reviewing or controverting either the decisions of the Free State Courts or the principles upon which the Free State Compensation Act is based. There can be no question of criticising in any way the policy of the Free State Government in this matter. The only question is one of our 83 own obligation to ourselves. One of the difficulties with which we have been faced is that we are continually hearing of cases of individual hardship, and there is a very widespread feeling that a great mass of genuine hardship has never been fairly considered. In order to meet that, we have asked some of those who have been most interested in voicing it to come and examine with us a certain number of specific cases that have been brought to their notice, and really find out what they amount to. The right hon. Gentleman knows very well that a case may often seem one of intolerable injustice as presented by the claimant, but a certain amount of investigation may put an entirely different complexion upon the matter.
§ Mr. AMERY
It may interest the Committee if I remind them of that case where a certain claimant pointed out that under the old Compensation for Malicious Injuries Act he might have got £38,000 compensation in order to rebuild his house in Ireland. It undoubtedly would cost £38,000 to rebuild it, but it was afterwards shown that that house had not been inhabited by the owner for, I think, 20 or 30 years, and that it had with adjoining property been let for a total of £100 a year. Therefore, the compensation of £4,000 which was given in that particular case was not so unreasonable as it might at first sight appear. It is in order to clear up some of these points that we have agreed to this small informal inquiry. The result of that inquiry will guide us as to whether the particular measures that have been taken, and to which I do not think my right hon. Friend or the Free State Government can take exception, are sufficient, as I hope may prove to be the case, or whether they may require to be to some extent amended. It is only in that respect and in that way that we wish to make clear to ourselves how far we have really fulfilled our obligations, so that we can feel that we have not behaved unfairly to those who stood by us through very difficult times.
I do not think I need say any more about the affairs of Ireland, the youngest of the Dominions, and yet, in another sense, one of the Mother Countries of the 84 Empire, and part of what to millions throughout the Empire is still comprised by the single word "home." I believe there is universal agreement in this House, whatever views we may have held as individuals or as parties in the past with regard to the momentous controversies which have centred in Irish affairs, that we are only concerned to-day in wishing success to the Free State as one of the partner nations in the British Commonwealth.
I am ashamed to find that I have been nearly an hour in discussing the Dominion aspect of affairs, that aspect which will no longer figure in future Colonial Estimates. I do not think it would be fair to the Committee if I dwelt at great length on the wide range of subjects on which hon. Members wish to speak in regard to Colonial affairs, and in regard to which, I understand, there are one or two Motions down for reduction of the Estimates. But I hope I may be permitted a few observations with regard to the whole problem of our administration in the Colonial Empire. From the point of view of our own interests it is worth while keeping in mind that the economic possibilities for us in the development of that tropical Empire are perhaps greater than those available to us anywhere else in the world. We have there immense territories with immense natural resources. Our trade with that Empire is purely complementary. It is a trade that brings us articles practically none of which we produce in this country and many of which are not produced in the Dominions; a trade, moreover, which in the nature of things is bound to be complementary for many years to come.
Again, we are dealing in the development of that Empire, in the equipment of it, with railways, bridges, harbours, the whole material framework of civilisation, with things which cannot be supplied by those countries themselves and must or, shall I say, ought to be supplied from this country. It is a development which is only just beginning. It may be of incalculable importance to us in many ways. I will only dwell in a sentence or so upon the danger that threatens the great Lancashure cotton industry by the increasing demand made upon the American cotton supply by the American cotton industry. We have in our African Empire and elsewhere all the possibili- 85 ties of growing all the cotton we need. But that development cannot take place in a moment. The years during which we have to create it are rapidly diminishing, and unless we begin early and begin with a real determination to make rapid progress during the next 10 years, we may be caught by a state of things little less disastrous to Lancashire than that which Lancashire suffered during the years of the American Civil War.
There is another thing which is worth referring to in connection with the development of our tropical Empire and of our Empire generally, and that is with the immense payments we have to make to the United States, and with the present position, in which our capacity to lend money for investment abroad has almost disappeared, it is essential that we should diminish our dependance upon foreign sources of supply, and depend increasingly upon sources of supply within our own Empire, and more particularly upon those sources of supply which, coming from countries which have a sterling exchange, involve no strain upon our supplies of gold and, therefore, no difficulty in maintaining the gold standard, however large our investments may be in those countries and however large our purchases may be from those countries.
That aspect of economic development, as it interests ourselves, is very naturally one part, and in some respects a lesser part, of the task which we have to perform. We are, I think, agreed in all quarters of the House that we are whore we are in those countries not simply for our own interest—
§ Mr. AMERY
—but in order to give to the people in those countries the best form of Government that we believe can be given to them, and to help forward their progress as far as we can. Whether we hold territories under an actual mandate from the League of Nations or not we stand in a mandatory relation to all those territories, a mandatory relation which Sir Frederick Lugard has very interestingly described in his book as a dual one—one to the particular population which we may find in those countries when we undertake the task of Government, and on the other hand for the 86 development of those countries and all who may live within them, and for humanity at large. The question how we are to interpret that duty does, of course, create many difficulties and problems in detail, some of which are to be discussed this afternoon. The problem itself is not capable of being settled by a single general rule. You can only interpret your duty as trustee or your duty as mandatory in accordance with the different conditions which prevail in different countries.
Let me take, for instance, a region like West Africa. There you have a dense native population already established on the soil. You have a climate which prevents a European really becoming a permanent settler. He can only be there as an official, as a missionary, as a trader. He cannot acquire any real sense of local responsibility and local patriotism. Therefore, our whole policy must be guided in a country like that by the one idea that we must develop the native to his fullest extent, in every respect—
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Mr. AMERY
Help his development. There is really no room for European settlement in such a country. But nobody suggests that the West African policy should have been pursued in Australia, and that it is a bad thing that Australia should be the home of a British population, and that it ought to have been reserved on West African lines for a very slightly increased number of Australian aborigines. Nor can anyone seriously suggest, however difficult be some of the problems which have arisen out of the relationship between white and black in South Africa, that it would have been better for the world or better for South Africa that it should have remained entirely a black man's country.
The same considerations are also worth keeping in mind in conection with such a problem as that of East Africa, which is to a large extent essentially and permanently a native country, but which also contains areas where white men cannot only live healthily but can live as permanent residents, bringing up their 87 families and acquiring a permanent sense of responsibility with regard to the affairs of the country. However great may be the difficulties and dangers involved in the contact between black and white in such conditions, I cannot help myself believing that in the long run, from the point of view of the native himself the benefit of white civilisation will be more enduring than when it is merely implanted from without by a purely transitory contact. It would be difficult to answer the question how much white civilisation would remain in West Africa 20 years hence if we withdrew. So all that I would lay before the Committee in the consideration of this problem is that it has to be regarded from the point of view of the circumstances of each particular place, and that no general rule can be universally applicable.
There are certain other great problems which are no doubt pressing. There is the problem of transportation. In that immensely interesting Report which my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Mr. Ormsby-Gore) and his colleagues brought back as a result of that Commission which my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas) appointed, and on whose appointment I should heartily like to congratulate him. definite proposals have been put forward for the construction of railways in East Africa. These proposals—I need not go into them in detail—involve the raising, under the guarantee of this House and with the advance of certain sums for interest from the British taxpayer during the earlier years, of some £10,000,000. I do not think that the Committee can expect me to say that such a proposal can be settled in a moment. There are of course a great many details which must necessarily be discussed and worked out, and though I know that there are large bodies of men in this country who are rightly anxious that this work should be. pushed forward as rapidly as possible—and the case for that work could not be better stated than it has been stated in the special report issued by Sir Arthur Balfour's Committee on Trade and Industry—I will only say that we will naturally push on this matter as rapidly as we can. It would indeed be inconsistent with the whole line of policy which we laid before the country at the 88 last election, and which I believe guides us equally to-day, if we did not regard this matter of railway development in East Africa, and indeed in every part of Africa, as one of the most important charges to which we must lay our hand.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
Before the right hon. Gentleman leaves that point, would he mind telling the Committee what justification he can give for the conscription of labour?
§ Mr. AMERY
That is one of these particular matters which I understood were going to be raised in the Debate, and to which either myself or my hon. Friend beside me will reply. I have already detained the Committee much longer than I had hoped to do, and that is my only excuse for not dealing with that and a number of other important points in connection with East Africa, and other particular places. I could say a great deal, if I had time, of the immense importance of the development of research. I will only say that this is one of the matters which are specially engaging the attention of the new Committee of Civil Research which has been set up. The problem of how to deal with the tsetse fly in Africa is one which that Committee is now closely investigating, and I hope that the temporary scheme of investigation, which will be carried out during the next year under the League of Nations, will be followed up by a much more comprehensive, and effective campaign in subsequent years. In the same way there is an immense field for research in tropical agriculture. The new Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture, in which Lord Milner took so much interest, is another matter which deserves the fullest support both of the public and I think also, even in these difficult times, of the Government. There is much which I could say on the subject of health besides the tsetse fly campaign, but I will refer to one particular matter.
I do not know whether my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Dartford (Licut.-Colonel McDonnell) is in the House, but during the Debate on 2nd April he referred to the increasing diversification of the work done in our Colonies and the need of some corresponding diversification in the central 89 organisation in this country more extensive than the old method of dealing with all these problems such as agriculture and education by civil servants responsible for every aspect of life in a particular group or area of colonies. I do not know that I am not inclined to agree with him, and at any rate in this matter of health I have decided that we shall establish in the Colonial Office a chief medical officer, and at least the small beginnings of a health department which will enable us to keep in far closer touch with the health and research work which is being done all over the Empire, and will give more direct guidance and assistance to the medical officers who are working, often in great difficulties, all over the Empire. I feel, with regard to the great question of education that we all owe a great debt, not only to the Phelp-Stokes Committee, which has been studying the work of education in the Colonies, but also to the Advisory Committee on Education in the Colonial Office, which has been sitting now for a considerable period of time working hard, and, indeed, is an integral part of the machinery of the Colonial Office. I believe that the effect of its work in leading to better educational methods all over the Empire may well be incalculable.
Of the other specific matters before the Committee, there is one to which I think I ought to refer, as there have been a number of questions about it during the last few weeks. I refer to the question of rubber. The Committee is aware, of coarse, that our great British rubber industry in Malaya and Ceylon, in which millions of capital have been invested, was threatened with practical destruction four years ago by the accumulation of excessive stocks and an increased production beyond the then capacity of the world markets. Prices had fallen to below the level of the cost of production, and there was the danger that the greater part of that industry might go under. In order to meet that danger, and in order to secure a stable and reasonable price at which rubber could be profitably produced, the Stevenson scheme was introduced in October, 1922, covering not only Ceylon and Malaya but also the British growers in those Colonies elsewhere who voluntarily joined that scheme.
90 The basis of that scheme is that only a certain proportion of the standard total production, at the inception of the scheme, should be released in any quarter according to the price at which rubber stood, originally 60 per cent. of the whole production, with the condition that as the price rose above 1s. 3d. an extra 5 per cent. would be released, and if it rose above 1s. 6d. an extra 10 per cent. Conversely, if it fell below a certain point restriction would be increased. That scheme has certainly not had the effect of leading to any undue rise in rubber prices during the last few years. Prices were so low that in 1923–24 the percentage instead of being increased actually was reduced from GO to 55 per cent. on 1st August last year, and to 50 per cent. on 1st November, and even in February last, when a rise was anticipated, the fall in prices, whether natural or due to ill-advised speculation on the part of some purchasers, led to only 5 per cent. increase in the amount released.
In those conditions, during the greater part of the present and all the past year all the requirements of the great rubber buyers have been met at moderate prices, but there is now an immediate and temporary shortage, of which advantage has been taken by speculators, to force prices up to a level which is admittedly altogether undesirable. It is not our object to maintain unduly high prices. On the contrary we believe that moderate and reasonable prices for rubber will give the British industry in Malaya and Ceylon the best opportunity for holding its own against outside competitors, and we are-well aware that the continuance of unduly high prices would lead to extensive plantation of rubber in other countries. At the same time we have not so far had sufficient, evidence that this level of high prices is anything but temporary. I know that it has had a serious effect on particular individuals and I know that there have been certain manufacturers in this country who have had to face, serious disadvantages arising from the present state of prices, and undoubtedly I know that certain firms are already considering closing down certain branches.
The situation in the circumstances does require the most careful scrutiny and consideration on our part. I think everyone will agree that a sudden change of policy 91 could be carried out only with great unfairness to those who have made contracts in the last few weeks or months on the assumption of a continuance of the present state of affairs. But certainly, if a close investigation of the problem in the next few weeks should reveal a prospect of grave shortage even with the existing rates of release, then, of course, we should have to consider very carefully whether any change would have to be made. All that I would say is that our one concern in the matter is the maintenance, not of undue profits, but the successful maintenance of a great industry in which millions of British capital have-been sunk, and at the same time the supplying of this country find the world with an essential raw material at a reasonable price.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that when the Chancellor of the Exchequer made his recent speech be said that it was stability that the Government had in mind, that the price which they thought to be a fair price was 1s. 3d., and that (he present price of 4s. a pound was not due to the restrictions?
§ Mr. AMERY
I have endeavoured to show that the result of the scheme during the last two years has in fact been stability, and stability at a fairly low price. The price during the last two years has fallen at times considerably below 1s. 3d. Therefore, I do not think that the temporary and acute rise in the price is necessarily the result of the operation of the scheme of restriction. We had very wide fluctuations before the scheme was enforced, and we have had a period of comparative stability at very moderate prices during its enforcement until within the last few weeks. Our aim certainly is to maintain stability as far as we can do so.
There are many other subjects on which I might touch. I had hoped to have said something at this stage about what I saw in the Middle East, the admirable work of administration which is being carried out with such impartiality and such success by British officials both in Palestine and in Iraq. I should have liked to pay a fuller tribute to the work which Sir Herbert Samuel has carried out during five years in Palestine. The record of those five years has been set forth by him in a very remarkable report. 92 I only regret that that report has not attracted more attention. I hope that Members of the Committee will read it, and will gather from it how much has been done for every section of the community in that country, and how much the Arab population as well as the Jewish immigrants have gained from Sir H. Samuel's able and impartial administration. Again I would like to say a great deal as to what has been done in Iraq, a country left almost derelict after the War and now restored to a reasonable degree of prosperity, and certainly restored to peace, order and good government. I may have an opportunity later in the Debate of saying a few words on these matters. But I do not feel that it would not be fair to the Committee now to trespass longer than I have done on their patience, and I therefore' lay these Estimates before the Committee for their approval.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
The right hon. Gentleman need make no apology for the length of his opening statement, for the very length of that statement makes it clear that the decision of the Government to divide the Colonial Office in its Crown Colony duties from the new Dominion Department is a wise one. It is quite clear, from the range of subjects which the right hon. Gentleman has covered, that it is now well-nigh impossible for any one Department to perform all the multifarious duties, so different as they are in their range and in the principles which must be applied to them. The right hon. Gentleman's statement on the creation of the two Departments is one of momentous importance in the development of the government of the Empire. I am sure that in every quarter of the House there will be satisfaction in the knowledge that the Government have decided, in the first place, to have two quite distinct Departments dealing with these problems, and ultimately to have two persons, one acting as the head of the Dominions Department, an3 the other responsible for all Crown Colony affairs. The right hon. Gentleman gave us some of his views, and the views, I presume, of his colleagues, as to the relations which now exist between the Dominion Governments and the Home Government. That is a matter of great delicacy and difficulty, and certainly for the last 25 years has taxed the brains of 93 those who are concerned with the relations of the Dominions and this country, and particularly has taxed those who have had to deal with problems of Imperial defence.
I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman has not had absent from his mind also the questions that concern the economic development of the Empire, and the means which may be taken here at home or in the Dominion Parliaments for assisting in that development by fiscal organisation. I am voicing what I believe to be a universal feeling in this country, as it is in the Dominions, when I say that we naturally do not desire any outside interference in the arrangement of our own affairs, and that we would never think of attempting in these matters to interfere with the internal arrangements of the Dominions. I presume, therefore, that the new Dominions Department will act much less as an administrating department than as what I would call a Foreign Office with a family feeling. I do not know a better way of describing what I should most desire the Dominions Office to become. Its success must depend almost entirely upon the persons who manage, and particularly the Minister who represents it. There are two qualities that he must combine in himself. He must obviously be fervent in enthusiasm for the Empire, and he must be correct in his methods of dealing with the Dominions. I do not wish to suggest that the Dominions are more difficult to deal with than any other portion of the Empire, but they have rights and developments, and have reached such a stags of maturity that naturally a great deal depends on the manner in which the Home Government deals with Dominion Ministers and Dominion Governments. Therefore, the selection of the person who is to be the head of the new Dominions Department is a matter of the first importance.
I gathered from the announcement of the right hon. Gentleman that there would be no change made at present. I do not desire on personal grounds to see any change made at present, but I hope that an early occasion will be taken for appointing two separate and distinct Ministers as the heads of these new Departments. There are great advantages in the new arrangement, and although it may not be convenient now, I feel certain that in future it will be of great advantage not only to this 94 country, but to the Dominions themselves, that the head of the Dominions Department should have no other duties except those which are common to the whole Cabinet, and it will be to the advantage of the Crown Colonies if the head of that Department should be able to concentrate the whole of his attention on the development of those great un-exploited and at present rather feebly ruled portions of the world, particularly the large regions in Africa and East Africa, which are likely to play a large part in world development in the future. The one subject of Empire administration on which the right hon. Gentleman gave us little information was the Colonial Advisory Council I presume that the Colonial Advisory Council must work in close conjunction with both of the new Departments?
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
Perhaps I had better explain what I mean by reminding the right hon. Gentleman of the South-borough Committee, which has been dissolved. I do not know that it was an ideal preliminary Advisory Council, but it performed some functions rather of that nature, and I believe it has been suggested in another place that something of the nature of a Colonial Advisory Council was to be set up, and it would be a branch or part of the Civil Research Committee, which has been recently organised under the ægis of Earl Balfour.
§ Mr. AMERY
I think it was not that a particular Colonial Advisory Council should be set up, but that the Civil Research Committee, working like the Committee of Imperial Defence through various sub-committees, would be able to deal with problems of development and research in the Colonies, and, in so far as the Dominions wish to co-operate with us in the matter, even in the Dominions as well.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
With, I presume, some technical members added, who would be able to give their special know- 95 ledge, irrespective of change of Government, on problems that came up from time to time? What means are being taken to preserve its continuity? I hope I am right in assuming that one of the means will be that these technical members will remain where they are, even if Ministers change, as they will do from time to time. The Debate in another place on 20th July left the matter in considerable doubt, and I was not able to gather from the speech of Lord Balfour whether this new Council or Committee was to perform the full function of advice, or whether it was only to consider certain matters referred to it from time to time. Anything of that nature, if it takes on a purely non-party complexion and does not meddle in some of our home controversies, with which the right hon. Gentleman and I are familiar, will undoubtedly perform a great service to the Dominions and to the Crown Colonies.
I want to ask the attention of the right hon. Gentleman and of the Committee to some matters which are concerned, not with the Dominions, but with the Crown Colonies. The development of East Africa, which has become one of the most important economic facts of recent times, has brought very close home to us the Report of the Committee over which the Under-Secretary presided. I refer to the Committee which visited East Africa at the end of last year and the beginning of this year. That Committee produced a most valuable Report. I agree with the whole of it, except on the point where Mr. Linfield, who was recently a Member of this House, disagreed with his two colleagues. I prefer the views expressed by Mr. Linfield to those expressed in the Report by the Under-Secretary, and by Major Church, who was a Member of the Labour party. Some of the points which have been brought to our attention as the result of that inquiry are common to all Crown Colonies, and they call for the constant supervision and attention of the House of Commons. In the first place, there is the whole question of the holding of land. There is no part of the world, and certainly no civilised country, where land owning and land use is of greater importance than in these great territories in East Africa, and particularly in Kenya. In Kenya very large tracts of land have fallen, from time to time, into 96 the hands of private owners, and in some cases of land syndicates.
Many of the landowners have done their duty not only by the natives who live on the territory but also in the development of the soil and the production of material. They have a reputation or justness, fairness, and humane treatment which has made them popular in their own areas, but, I regret to say, there are some land syndicates who have withheld from use large tracts of territory. They have been holding that land for speculative purposes. I think the time has come when the land syndicates should be compelled by one form of pressure or another to put their land to use. It should either be developed or it should be sold in lots, or it should be taken over by the Government. May I point out to my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) that here is an admirable area for trying the experiment to which he and I have long been wedded. I have had the advantage of some 20 years' experience in connection with that question, and I have been greatly influenced by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman's views. The development of these territories should not be impeded by any landowner, whether a private person or a syndicate. There Is great wealth which lies to the hands of those who are prepared to work with skill and to organise and to make use of all the beneficent sides of our modern civilisation and, certainly, the world has need of anything that can be produced from East Africa.
There is another consideration of great importance. Kenya has a large native population and we owe a duty to the native population in advance of that which we owe to the proprietors of the land syndicates. The native population should be our first concern in this and in all other Crown Colonies, and there should be no exception to that principle. What must strike intelligent natives in the colonies of East Africa is the extraordinary contrast between the amount of taxation raised from them and the amount raised from the white settlers. I quite recognise that the number of white settlers is small, but when all is said and done, on such information as we have before us now, these white settlers are the least heavily taxed white citizens in the world. 97 There is no country where men can live comfortably, drawing large incomes from the territories which they command or which they exploit, and where they are taxed so lightly as in Kenya. Indeed, in one large tract—that which is known as Tanganyika—there is no direct taxation at all. I know there are Customs Duties, but then, according to the doctrine of my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary, these are paid by the importers. They are not paid by the English settlers in Tanganyika. According to the right hon. Gentleman's doctrine, nothing whatever is raised from the English settlers there and yet £550,000 per annum is raised by the hut and poll tax. It is true the white population is small and the coloured population is large, but these figures show that the Government of Tanganyika is supported entirely on black shoulders.
You may turn, if you like, to Northern Rhodesia, and you find very nearly the same state of affairs. It, I think, has a larger number of white settlers than any of the other East African possessions, but even there the amount raised by the poll tax is £100,000 and from the white population the taxation raised is something like £35,000. In Nyasaland the hut tax produces £115,000 in the course of a year, and the white population only pay £15,000 in taxation. In Kenya itself £517,000 will be raised by the hut and poll tax, and only £25,000 will he raised by the direct taxation of the white settlers. In Uganda no less than £379,000 will be raised by poll tax, and only £7,000 all told will be raised from the white settlers. These facts, which are somewhat astonishing to us, will become known, not in exactly the same form, but certainly producing very much the same impression on the minds of the natives themselves. They will know that they are the people who are providing the revenue by which the Government of these great territories is conducted, and they are entitled to ask that the money so raised should be expended, in the first: place, upon services which are of direct benefit to the native population. Of course, there are many departments in which expenditure would be of advantage both to the white and the coloured populations, such as the development of transport, making of roads, cutting of railways, construction of bridges, deepening 98 of ports, preservation of health, draining of land and other services which will be of advantage to both, but even when all that can be spent on these great services has come to an end, there will still remain such great and predominant services as the preservation of the health of the native population, among whom disease is now rife.
More should be spent on the education of the native population. It is not altogether to the credit of this country that in some of these great areas the only education given to the natives is provided by the voluntary subscriptions of missionary societies, supported here at home. The incomes of these great areas themselves should provide to a large extent for the educational work which is to be done in them, and that educational work should be done not only in the primary schools but also in their little technical establishments, showing them how to care for and develop their gardens, the advantages of manuring and of keeping the ground clean and so forth, and a great deal might also be done towards teaching them the first principles of hygiene. I am quite sure my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary must have found, while in Kenya, that one of the very serious factors—which, by the way, does not appear in the Majority Report, but is printed in Mr. Linfield's Minority Report —is that the population is not going up, and that there is a very serious drop in the birth-rate.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Ormsby-Gore)
I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon, but that point was stressed in the Majority Report, and it has not been forgotten since. The only difference is that Mr. Linfield gave certain figures which I do not believe are correct.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
I do not know that he is responsible for the figures. They were provided for him. He was on the spot, and, I presume, obtained the figures from much the same source as that from which the other information was obtained.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
I will not quarrel over the figures. The fact remains that a low birth-rate is one of the most serious 99 problems that has to be faced in Kenya, whether that is due to the spread of disease or to the very large numbers of the younger population who were taken away during the War years and never returned. That only leads me to emphasise the fact that one of the best services to which the revenue of Kenya could be devoted is the medical service. Instruction in hygiene might be given in any establishment which is available for the collection of the natives for instruction, of any kind. May I add a word in favour of the expenditure of some of this revenue on the veterinary service? There is nothing which the native of East Africa values more than his own herd of cattle. It plays a largo part, I am told, even in the poetry of East Africa, and the native-worships his cattle almost as he does his deity. Anything that can be done to prevent the spread of cattle disease, to assist the battle against the tsetse fly, to clear marshy areas and if necessary to keep livestock away from the unhealthy and wet portions of the great native reserves will be a great contribution to the native for which I am sure he will show his gratitude in due course. When one speaks of the shortage of labour, it is only fair to say that the shortage of labour applies only to three of these Colonies, Uganda, Kenya, and, I think, Nyasaland.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
Certainly, in Northern Rhodesia there is a surplus of labour. How is it used? In some of these areas undoubtedly a considerable amount of harm has been done by the system of forced labour and the Colonial Office will have to face up to this grave problem sooner or later. The distinction between forced labour and slavery is a very narrow one. Lord Cromer used to point out that if you forced labour for work on a public utility scheme it was not slavery, but if you forced labour for private enterprise it was slavery. I am too much an individualist to accept that doctrine. I do not know what are the views of hon. Members above the Gangway upon the matter, but I daresay that under a Socialist system there will be the right to conscript labour. I do not believe in this doctrine. I believe you 100 have no right to force labour in any part of the world for any purpose whatever. I have a much greater belief in the absolute freedom of the individual than to accept forced labour, and I believe the Colonial Office will find that they will have to abandon forced labour and make their opposition to it as much a part of Government policy as opposition to slavery. It is quite true that in a great many areas the doctrine is still held— and it is held by settlers as well as by those who pay occasional visits to East Africa—that the only way to get the native to work is by forcing him. I do not believe that view for a moment. From our experience in West Africa we know there are other and better incentives to work than pressure. In West Africa the development has been perfectly amazing in recent times, not under forced labour but in the ordinary ebb and flow of trade
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that there is compulsory labour anywhere in East Africa or West Africa for private profit, or that there is any compulsory labour other than labour for public work in West or East Africa?
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
No, I never suggested there was forced labour for private profit. I pointed out that you can get better work out of the natives in East Africa, just as you got better work in West Africa by providing incentives other than the incentive of pressure, if you wish them to work either for private profit or public utility. Let me give one striking group of figures. They are a little out of date now, but I use them because they are comparable with the figures which could be obtained at the time for the German Cameroons. In the seven years preceding the War, the natives of the British West coast, by native production from small holdings—their own, and under their control and worked in their own way—multiplied their produce seven times in seven years. The produce went up from £336,000 in 1906 to £2,489,000 in 1913. Side by side with our position in West Africa we had the experience of the 101 German Cameroons under a system which was nothing more nor less than a system of white exploitation and forced labour for private profit. This was an area twice the size of the Gold Coast, and its production only increased from £48,000 in 1906 to £150,000 in 1913, or only three times as compared with seven times. I believe that is entirely due to the beneficent influences of freedom granted to the native, and the opportunity of knowing what he can obtain in return for his commodities, and a full chance of selling them at their real value. These are the best incentives you will provide to any native in any part of Africa to get good work out of him.
The only other point to which I want to draw attention at the present moment is this: If we are to deal with native land—and that, after all, is the problem which must dominate the mind of anybody who has any knowledge of East Africa—we come back to the administration of that land, the means by which it is to be held, the officials who are to control it, and the rights of the white settlers who are the neighbours of the reserves and who at present exercise very great influence over the government of these territories. I cannot believe that anything better can be, or has been, suggested than that of the Central Trust Board, which the hon. Gentleman, I know, favours, and which can undoubtedly do good work in Kenya. But how is that board to be composed? It certainly ought to consist of a number of officials who would devote their whole life to the development of these territories, and who would care for the interests of the natives, but I should also like to see, naturally, that there should be native representation upon that board. I do not know how it is to be obtained, but there certainly is a class of white settler in Africa who does not work for private profit, who gives up his whole time to the interest of the natives, often at very great sacrifice—I mean the missionary—and I believe that among the missionary class it would be possible to find three or four excellent representatives of the native. If that were done, much would be done towards calming the minds of the natives in these very important matters, and, undoubtedly, there should be great care taken over the way in which native leases are dealt with.
102 There was a very bad instance given in the Report, of the clearing of an area which led to native cattle being driven back into the native reserve, with the result that 20,000 or 30,000 cattle were lost. That was not only a very great loss to the Colony, but a very great loss to the natives, and it probably meant more to them than we can describe here at home. That sort of thing ought to be absolutely impossible, and I hope the time is rapidly coming when the whole of that territory will be held so securely and so much in the interests of the natives alone that an accident of that kind can never be repeated. If we are claiming to safeguard the rights of the native as well as our own rights here—we who regard the Crown Colonies as one of the best examples of what can be done by good and just government—it is clear that we should do what we can to get better organisation. There must be a better definition of native rights, and also a closer delimitation of native areas or, conversely, of white areas, and the creation of the Native Land Trust will do much to enable both of these systems to work side by side, dealing not unfairly or unjustly with the one and not partially with the other.
The whole of these problems are all clustered around the attempt which is made by the white man to use up some of the richest portions of the world's territory for himself. That has not been the principle on which some of the best portions of the British Empire have been developed, and if we see to it that these great tropical areas, which were originally the possession of the natives, are administered primarily in their interests, we shall not go far wrong. There is plenty of room for both white and black there. There is not the very least doubt that the economic development of the one can be of use to the other, and it is quite certain that the improvement which takes place, not only in the material condition, but in the mental outlook, of some of the natives in East Africa is little short of a miracle. The change which has come in Uganda in our own generation is an example of what can be done by good government, good government in every sense of the word, not only by giving lip service to sound political principles, out by using our modern organisation and scientific knowledge, particularly our 103 medical knowledge, for the benefit of these peoples and for the improvement of their territories.
There is no necessity for us to be constantly talking about the incentive to be given to the native to work. The whole question of industry and idleness does not depend entirely upon incentive, and I have no doubt that we shall have to return sooner or later to the doctrine of Booker Washington, expressing very clearly what ought to be the attitude of the new Colonial Department towards all these territories, and what I hope will be the ultimate attitude of the settlers who live in them, namely, that there is all the difference in the world between working and being worked. If that be fully grasped by those who are on the spot. and if it be the principle which dominates those at home, I have no doubt we shall be justified in the great loans that we are making for these Colonial purposes, and that we shall be amply repaid for everything we pour into them, whether in wealth or in personnel.
§ Mr. THOMAS
Let me first congratulate my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies upon his very lucid explanation. He intimated that this is the last occasion on which the Estimates would be presented in their present form, and I want to say that I have no hesitation in supporting the changes that have been made in the Colonial Office. When the right hon. Gentleman talked of the tremendous overwork and pressure amongst the higher officials at the Colonial Office, it is literally true to say that one of the. greatest public servants this country ever knew, a man who has rendered wonderful service previous to the War, during the War, and since the War, is, unfortunately, at the moment in a very bad way, and not, I am told, likely to return—I mean Sir James Master ton Smith—due to the tremendous pressure. When, as we so often do, we hear sneers made against the civil servants, and all that they do and do not do, it is only right for those who know something of the tremendous work that they do, and the obligation of the nation to them, to speak up, and when one knows a man who has given his life, as this man has given it, it is due that some tribute should be paid to the work which they perform for the country.
104 My right hon. Friend dealt in his last words with the rubber position, and I want to make one or two observations upon that question, because it appears to me that a very clever propaganda is taking place in this country. I have never known propaganda so cleverly done, and so calculated to deceive people, quite innocent people who want to do the right thing, as the propaganda on this subject that is now taking place. I will only deal with the situation as it existed during my term of office, because it has a particular bearing upon the present abnormal situation. My right hon. Friend pointed out that the first agreement was this, that when rubber reached the price of 1s. 6d., an increase of 10 per cent. in production would be sanctioned.
§ Mr. THOMAS
Yes, but here let me observe that all the evidence I have obtained on this subject leads me to believe that, prior to this scheme being introduced, there was a tendency to bankrupt most of these concerns, so that people in America could have bought up the whole lot, and exploited the situation. And I say that for another reason. I say it because it is not generally known that 75 per cent. of the total rubber produced in the world is consumed in America. The consumption, so far as this country is concerned, is practically infinitesimal, but when you keep in mind the position of the pound sterling and the dollar prior to the gold standard being introduced, I hope the Committee and the country will appreciate what a tremendous bearing this rubber restriction scheme had in maintaining our position during that period. In fact, I go so far as to say that a tremendous debt of gratitude is due to Lord Stevenson for the scheme, but here is the curious situation we get. Last year, while we were in office, the price varied as between 9d. and 1s. 3d., and for one. short period of about two months, three weeks, and four days—because the days are very important in this matter—it touched 1s. 6d. Had 350 tons of rubber been purchased in those two days, the price being then 1s. 6d., we would then as a Government, under the scheme, be compelled to release the additional 10 per cent., which meant putting 45,000 tons of rubber on the market.
105 I put it to the Committee and the country that if these people speculating now are right, I refuse to believe that the present shortage is abnormal, and was not known then, and the fact remains that they did not avail themselves of the opportunity. They refused to do it, and deliberately jockeyed the market then, and by jockeying the market then they deprived themselves of 45,000 tons of rubber being placed upon the market. It is important to keep that in mind, because I do not think that any of us can justify— and certainly the Government cannot— the present abnormal situation. While I am defending the general Stevenson scheme of restriction, pointing out, as I hope the Committee will remember, the tremendous advantage that accrues to this country from it, I do not think anyone at the Colonial Office would be prepared to say that the buying forward at 4s. or 4s. 6d. is something that can be contemplated for a moment, and all that I would say is that I hope that, notwithstanding the propaganda that is taking place, we will not lose our heads and fail to understand that, while I think America did not charge us for any of the things she provided and sold us during the War under cost price—I have no evidence to believe that that took place, and I certainly know that we are redeeming that debt equally not under market value —I would say that we cannot be expected to sell even this 75 per cent. under cost price, so far as we are concerned. I say that because I think it is due, as the situation arose during my own term of office, to say to the Government what my own view is. I, sitting in that place, would probably have done precisely as they are doing, namely, not, in the panic and propaganda, abolish the scheme, but apply themselves to the abnormal circumstances as they arise at this particular moment.
My right hon. Friend said, in his opening, statement, that he felt the division in connection with the office to be of vast importance to the Dominions as a whole. In that I entirely agree, but I am glad he turned down the proposal that the Prime Minister himself should intervene in these Dominion matters. I am sorry that he abolished the Conference that we had suggested. I see no justification for abolishing it. When I say that, 106 prior to my own visit to South Africa, South Africa had refused, and that in consultation with the Prime Minister, I had persuaded him and his Cabinet as to the advantages of attending this Conference, I think a profound mistake was made by the Government in abolishing it. I say that, because I believe that my right hon. Friend is departing from a policy that I deliberately adopted, that while there are many party divisions and party conflicts on many matters that arise from time to time, broadly speaking there is so much work at the Colonial Office that ought to be to the common interest of all, as distinguished from party, that I am sorry my right hon. Friend in many respects, as I will endeavour to show, has departed from that policy.
What was our difficulty? Nothing has happened since the right hon. Gentleman's term of office comparable with the position in which we found ourselves. We received the Dawes plan. We knew that, so far as the Dominions were concerned, they were not only interested, but they were vitally financially affected by the scheme. We, on the other hand, felt that to miss the opportunity of making a settlement then would be fatal. There would be difficulties in trying to communicate with the Dominions, and the real difficulty, as I see it, is this. No Dominion Government entrusts big responsibility—I will call it for short—to their High Commissioner. The High Commissioners are not vested with the power to discuss these questions authoritatively with the Government. That is the whole difficulty. I am not saying anything disparaging to them, but I am merely stating the fact that they are not vested with this authority. The result is that these telegraphic communications take place. I think my right hon. Friend said that 126 during the last couple of months have taken place. We realised the difficulty of that, and we were faced with this difficulty, that actually while we were negotiating, there was a debate taking place in the Canadian Parliament. We got over the difficulty but, having got over the difficulty, we said, "Surely there ought to be a discussion to avoid this in the future." We took the responsibility of issuing the invitations to that Conference, and we deliberately said, "We have no policy of our own."
107 That did not mean that we were not prepared to put proposals when they came, but we wanted to convey to them that this was to be a free and an unfettered Conference whenever the Dominions would come and exchange views, and hammer out something to meet the situation. [An HON. MEMBER: "Both parties?"] We left it open to all. You could not send an invitation to the Opposition; my hon. Friend must know that. But, so far as we were concerned, if any Dominion wanted to send a Leader of the Opposition, or anyone representing the Opposition, certainly there was no barrier so far as we were concerned. But our invitations went to the Governments themselves, and I want to put it to my right hon. Friend that the advantage that would have accrued, had they continued that Conference, would have enabled him to have got over the very difficulty he has now explained to the House. That Conference would have taken place somewhere about March of this year, and, therefore, you would not only have had the advantage of hammering out this difficulty at that Conference, but you could have availed yourselves of the opportunity to discuss the Protocol, instead of sending the 126 telegrams already mentioned.
At all events, I am convinced that something on these lines must be done. There are many ways. For instance, it has been suggested that every Dominion should have a representative, a sort of Minister in London vested with Cabinet responsibility and attached to the Dominion Cabinet. At first sight, that would appear all right, but, on the other hand, one can see many difficulties, because the Australian Minister, so many weeks away from his own country, would probably be out of touch with the position there. But it is because of all those difficulties that I am absolutely convinced they have got to be faced, because one thing must be kept in mind. We can have a repetition of the incidents that-happened two years ago. Canada is not only sore, but bitter, and it is the duty of this Parliament, and of all parties, to say, when one of our Dominions was driven to discuss openly three alternatives, though it was turned down, the very fact of that happening is in itself sufficient to warrant us in saying that 108 some steps ought to be taken to see if we cannot get over the difficulty. I put it to my right hon. Friend that he might even now consider how best the meet the situation by such a Conference as we ourselves contemplated.
I cannot help expressing profound disappointment with the first action of my right hon. Friend with regard to administration. I think there will be general agreement, and I will meet much of the criticism that we shall probably hear by saying that no greater mistake can be made than to assume that you can govern this Empire from Downing Street, or that you can sit in a chair at the Colonial Office and assume that you can give instructions on everything, without having some regard to the local circumstances, known only to the people on the spot. I go beyond that, and say that the advice that the Colonial Minister ought to welcome more than any other is advice that is not tendered by a mere party, but tendered by all parties free and independent so far as their political position is concerned. I had not been in office long before my right hon. Friend the Under-Secretary accompanied a deputation, one of the most representative deputations that ever went from the Colonial Office. They pointed out to me these difficulties, and I said, "Very well, what is it you want? What exactly would you like done?" They said, "We would like you to avail yourselves of all the information that is possible by expert gentlemen who are prepared to give time and consideration, quite voluntary, to help you in all these difficulties." I considered the matter, and I agreed to their proposal, and I set up what was called the Southborough Committee. I think there will be no dispute when I say there was never a Committee the names of which were more acceptable to this House. It was a non-party Committee. Every party was represented, and every business interest was represented on that Committee, and, as a result of that Committee's work, three of the members from that Committee representing all parties, were appointed as a sub-Committee. Now I find that my right hon. Friend has come to the conclusion, "Oh, no, I do not want advice. It is quite true Thomas may want advice." Immediately he comes into office, nothing is required. I have a great opinion of his ability and knowledge, and I will call him, if he likes, a little super-man.
109 But I also put it to him quite seriously, that it was a bit discourteous—to put it no higher—without even asking for consultation—and I may say I never once appointed any Committee in the Colonial Office on party grounds. I never appointed a Committee of any kind representative of one party. There was no Committee, but every party was represented—but, having acquiesced in a request made by the right hon. Gentleman and hon. Gentleman who are now re-presenting the Department, well, to put it no higher, it was a bit thick, that my right hon. Friend should have come to the conclusion so hurriedly, that he did not want the assistance of these gentlemen. I understand that part of his explanation is that, now we have got the report of my hon. Friend, there is no need for the Committee. I think that is one of the reasons he has given. Let us see how that works out. A sub-Committee to a bigger Committee go to investigate on the spot, so that the bigger Committee have the advantage of their first-hand knowledge, and so conscious are they of the situation that they say in their Report— these are my hon. Friend's words on page 7—On almost every subject of discussion which we examined there is room for controversy. Further, we learnt that to nearly all the major questions, such as land policy, native production, labour, education, the direction of medical and veterinary science, methods of administration and taxation, there are not merely two sides, but many sides. We cannot hope that this Report will be able to deal in any final or comprehensive manner with many of these subjects, or to do more than make some further contribution to their study.That is my hon. Friend's suggestion, to which his right hon. Friend says, "Humbug; leave it to me." I am fortified in that, because he follows it up. Everything I have just read out from the Report, my right hon. Friend knows, was practically embodied in the terms of reference to that Committee. Every single point that my hon. Friend says in his Report was a matter of controversy, was embodied in the terms of reference, which were not only wide enough to cover all but which would have enabled this body to have considered my hon. Friend's Report, as he admits. But my right hon. Friend, says "No," and ho follows it up, because if there be one thing about which the Commissioners were satisfied, it is that the land ques- 110 tion must play a vital part in the future. Yes, I recognise that, but I knew nothing about it, and did not pretend to know anything about it. Many Ministers would do better if they did not pretend they knew so much about things. Therefore I did not pretend. I said I knew nothing about it. But I knew I had to deal with it.
In addition to the Southborough Committee, I decided to set up a Land Committee with special and specific terms of reference. A member of that Committee was the late Member for Dundee (Mr. Morel), and a more painstaking and authoritative person on this question no one would find. The first thing, again, my right hon. friend says, is: "What is the use of these people talking about the land? I am the Land Authority. Leave it to me." He promptly abolishes that right away. I want to say that I hope he will be able to justify that not only in his speech but by his action, because I dc believe that both these Committees could have done valuable work. I still believe that if you are going to do the right thing towards African and tropical affairs generally, you might go further and fare worse if you had the advantage of the advice, not of the particular authority that happens to be in power at the moment, but of nil the parties who are trying to find a solution independent of party consideration.
§ Commander BELLAIRS
What, might I ask the right hon. Gentleman, was the precise size of the Committee that ho set up?
§ Mr. THOMAS
The main Committee numbered 17, with special powers to appoint sub-committees. The Colonial Secretary can give the names if need be. He has them. I read them out to the House at the time. I am not going to say more than that they were generally accepted as being a representative body. I want in passing, whatever may be said about the Report of the Commission, to say that I think that some of the criticism has been manifestly unfair. The suggestion that they only had official opinion which was partial and biased I do not think is justified by any fair study of the Report as a whole. I think they are to be congratulated on the Report, and I only want to say one or two things because we will deal with it later. I am glad that they came to the 111 conclusion that federation is impossible at the moment. I believe in attempting the impossible it would not only be a mistake, but absolute madness. All the evidence, I think, tends to show that while federation is impossible, consultation, more consultation and conferences, are absolutely essential; because, however much you may attempt to differentiate between one Colony and another, and whilst it is true there are different races in each, it is equally true that you must never attempt to solve the problem of one Colony, so far as the native labour is concerned, without having regard to its repercussion and effect on the whole.
Equally, they have drawn attention, as my hon. Friend drew attention, to the need for more education and more attention to the question of disease. Here I would especially urge that some attention should be given to the question of venereal disease. Examination of the figures shows the terrible mortality. I put it to the right hon. Gentleman that it is no good talking about money in this connection. It is up to him to tackle these matters. I regret that m the struggle for economy that, although we have a Research Department, and although it was confidently anticipated that £100,000 at least would be spent in that direction, when that gentleman, with all his expert railway knowledge, come to the Government Departments— Mr. Geddcs—he thought that the best public service he could render to the obligation we had as trustee for the natives with all the terrible mortality then existing—we have paid since for it— was to suggest that that £100,000 should come down to £2,000 per year. That only shows where a stunt can lead to. It is because of that I hope that my right hon. Friend, when he examines the figures, both with regard to the tsetse fly and the venereal question, will take the appropriate act-on that all these and other questions proves conclusively is needed. It is not a question of the cutting down of money. Remember the natives are paying, and they are entitled to it.
Secondly, I agree entirely with the argument, and the tendency, that we should be less dependent upon the foreigner than we are. Just as I have given an illustration of how this is reversed in labour and hon. Gentlemen 112 opposite squirmed; equally, I want to apply it the other way about so far as cotton is concerned. Not only is it true that good cotton can be grown, but it is proved conclusively that the best cotton, so far as Manchester is concerned, can be produced there. That brings me to the third point about transport. It is no good growing any of these crops, developing them and spending money, unless you have got the means and facilities for transport. Again, any study of the existing situation based on the Report leads to the absolute conclusion that the recommendations should be seriously taken up by the Government. Also I do not want to miss the opportunity of 6aying that if they are going to spend money and reap the tremendous value that will accrue from the land in the building of these railways, this must not be handed over to particular individuals who are urging this reform. The Government must see that they at least participate in it.
I want to put a few questions to my right hon. Friend. I found some 12 months ago, on an examination of the figures in regard to some of the mines, that the mortality was terrible. I was so shocked at the figures, which meant something about 3o per cent., that I came to the conclusion that I would absolutely stop any more recruiting if the miners had to go down under such conditions as those shown. The result was that I sent out a Commissioner. He reported. I want to know from my right hon. Friend what exactly is the situation. Are the reforms that he recommended being carried out, because the Commissioner proved conclusively, notwithstanding all that was said to the contrary, that this terrible mortality could be eased by proper methods? I want to know exactly, because it has another bearing upon the same situation in our mandated territories. I am told that the mortality in the mines there is almost as bad, if not worse than on the Gold Coast. The difficulty the Government have is that the Government are not absolutely free agents in the mandated territories as compared with the others. I hope, however, that the experience gained in the one may be used in the other, because the Government have no right to allow these things to take place.
§ Mr. THOMAS
Yes, and the adjacent lands. I have not got exact figures but an estimate. I believe the exact figures show 30 per cent. What I am concerned about is that it was proved conclusively that this thing ought not to continue; therefore, if it can be prevented in the one case it can be in the other. My light hon. Friend talks about emigration I do not take the view that it is a crime to be even a supporter of, to advocate, or to encourage migration within the Empire. On the contrary, as my right hon. Friend admitted, no man did more than did my hon. Friend the Member for Rothwell (Mr. Lunn) when he was in office, not only in pushing but in being responsible for the scheme that the right hon. Gentleman himself has now taken over. But I think it should be clearly understood that there is a lot of sentiment talked, as if the Dominions were all anxious and waiting, and if all the fault was on our side. That is simply not true. For instance, how many people know that there is to-day, and has been for at least nine to 12 months, 50,000 persons registered in this country all willing and anxious to go? Therefore, the fault is not on this side. We are, however, entitled, even in encouraging this question, to say to the Dominions: "You have no right to demand the absolute pick of the basket." I think that is a monstrous and an unfair situation. I think we are entitled to say to them: "You ought to take a fair average." In the same way, I should say, encourage more family migration than any other, because, again, it is absolutely wrong for men to go out leaving their families here. They are much more likely to be comfortable and to settle down better if their families go out with them. I want to conclude by a reference to the right hon. Gentleman and the general situation, what he calls developing the Empire. That is usually associated, so far as he is concerned, with tariffs — quite conscientiously — for he believes that the only possible means of dealing with this question is by tariffs. I want to ask him what has become of the scheme that the Prime Minister had in his mind a few months ago, when he talked about marketing Empire goods? I 114 think my right hon. Friend can get information which will show him that all the Australian farmers are grumbling at the fact that they get on an average about 4d. or 4½d. per lb. paid to them for meat in Australia, and they cannot quite understand how it is sold here at 1s. 8d. and 2s. per lb.
§ Mr. THOMAS
It may be hard frozen stuff, but it is frozen people that are getting it. They not only do not understand it, but we do not understand it. The margin is too great. What, in conclusion, is true about the meat is true about many other things from other parts of the Dominions. I would like to see Government tackle this question seriously, because not only would it be an advantage to our own people, but it certainly would be an advantage to the Dominions themselves. Having, therefore, made these criticisms, I finish by congratulating my right hon. Friend on his speech, by condemning him for what he has done, by telling him that if he is to be the embodiment of all the brains that I collected for him, then he is indeed going to be a success at the Colonial Office. But I conclude by saying, "I hae ma doots!"
On rising to address the House for the first time, I would ask the indulgence which, is usually given to a first offender. As a West Indian sugar planter and as the treasurer of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, I have a double interest in questions of research agricultural and research medical, and I was particularly pleased to hear the not unkindly references made to them by the right hon. Gentleman the Minister in his opening statement. As regards agricultural research, we have now an Imperial School of Tropical Agriculture at Trinidad, which was the subject of a deputation recently to the Colonial Office. It was a powerful deputation, backed by agricultural interests in the tropics all over the world—the cotton interest, the sugar interest, cocoa, cocoa-nuts, every kind of tropical produce. I think it was kindly received, and I hope its representations may have some effect. Many things might be done at that school if it were properly endowed and properly looked after. There is great 115 ability among the staff of the school. Dr. Martin Leake, the head of affairs, is an extremely able and talented man, who, with proper resources at his disposal, might do much for the immediate interests around him in Trinidad as well as for the whole field of tropical agriculture, both in West Africa, in the Straits Settlements for rubber, in the West Indies for sugar, and for the various cotton and cocoa products of Ceylon and the South Sea Islands.
For many years past the United States have endowed agricultural research. Possibly their Department of Tropical Agriculture, having the whole of the cotton belt in the Southern States within is purview, has more incentive to work on those lines than we have had. The agricultural endowments of the United States have been enormous compared with ours, and the same may be said of the Dutch endowments of their agriculture station in Java, where some of the finest improved varieties of seedling canes known anywhere have been produced. By contrast, in our Crown Colonies and in some of our self-governing Colonies our botanical stations are miserable little pettifogging concerns. We have the ability and the energy. To mention only a few names, there are Professor Sir John Harrison and the late Messrs. Jenman and Quelch in Demerara, Messrs. Bovell and d'Albuquerque in Barbados, and Dr. Martin Leake in Trinidad. All the ability is there, but all those concerns have been starved for lack of funds and have never got very far. Private enterprise has been busy for years past in producing improved seedling varieties and in introducing new methods of cultivation, but we want the help of the Government, and I think if the institution in Trinidad to which I have referred were properly endowed we should see big changes in the near future.
We require, for instance, a lead in such matters as the production of new and improved varieties of almost every kind of cultivation. We require a lead, also, in showing us how we may employ implemental tillage and in utilising various forms of mechanical traction; and I hope that this tropical school of agriculture will also show us something in the direc- 116 tion of the utilisation of fuel alcohol which, on the estate with which I am concerned, forms the motive power of almost all our internal combustion engines. Fuel alcohol at a strength of 57 over proof can be produced from the stills on most of the sugar estates in the West Indies, and at that strength it forms an admirable fuel by itself, but unfortunately the very expensive methods of denaturing which are required by the Customs authorities prevent its use in a number of cases where it might be of service. Its extended use would also help the exchanges, because we should require a smaller import of petrol. I hope that in this country we may have some legislation on the lines of what has been done in France, where, I understand, an admixture of a certain amount of native-produced fuel alcohol with all petrol is required. If there were an extended use of fuel alcohol here our tropical Colonies would benefit very greatly, because from sugar and other things, such as starch, we can produce within the Empire as much fuel alcohol as could possibly be required.
The question of the better utilisation of molasses, if it is not solved by means of fuel alcohol, might also be dealt with by an extension of the present method of looking for absorbents with which to utilise molasses as a cattle food. At present there are numbers of these foods on the market, but I do not think any absorbent has been found which renders molasses as good a food as it is if used in the plain form and mixed with green feed in this country. If some agricultural college could investigate that question and give us a lead it would be doing a very great work.
To pass on to the question of medical research, with which that of agricultural research is closely interlocked, I would point out that the health of native labourers is a vital consideration. We need a thoroughly efficient medical service and thoroughly efficient sanitation to get the best out of the plantations on which we have to employ coloured and East Indian labour. It is a very easy thing for a medical man in the tropics, particularly if he be newly arrived from England, to say, "Publish regulations'" but it is quite another matter to see that the black man or the East Indian obeys them. The greatest sanitary officer who ever lived, Moses, accomplished a great deal by 117 wedding religion and sanitation, and I am convinced that if we could get medical officers who come out from England to enlist the help of the priest they could accomplish much. You can call it religion or superstitution, or whatever you like, but let us get the thing done. Let the doctor and the priests get together and see whether they cannot "Put Juju on it," or make it taboo to pollute water or to do any other of the things that we do not want done. I am quite convinced that a great deal could be done in that way which has not so far been accomplished, or accomplished only by penalising the offence, the necessity for which the black man does not always understand.
The Liverpool Tropical School of Medicine has taken a leading part in the investigation of a great many diseases. Though Sir Ronald Ross is in London now, he did a great deal of his early work when connected with Liverpool, and I think that his pamphlet on the means of preventing malaria was used by the Colonial Office, who distributed large numbers of copies. I hope to refer to that later on, because I am trying to sell the Colonial Office a book produced by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and this will show that there is a precedent for it. Then there is the question of ankylostomiasis, a long word, but possibly a pleasanter term than hook worm disease. Sir Joseph Godfrey, lately Surgeon-General in British Guiana said this was the cause of much of the inefficiency of our native labour there. In the old days, when we used to get indentured East Indian labour, shipments were in some cases affected to the extent of 80 or 90 per cent. when they went to the plantations. As is no doubt known, every plantation has to maintain hospitals in which these men were treated on arrival. When they were repatriated 10 years later hardly one of them left the Colony infected with ankylostomiasis, and I am told by Anglo-Indian gentlemen who saw these returning emigrant ships arriving that it was a marvellous sight to see these natives queueing up before the Bank of Bengal to put in their savings and become the happy possessors of banking accounts, which they would never have obtained if they had stayed in their own country. This is by the way, but it is connected with the cry of "slavery" which is 118 occasionally heard in connection with indentured labour.
Other matters which have been investigated by the Liverpool Tropical School of Medicine are black water fever, trypanosomiasis, and so on. They are at present the subject of investigation by the Rockefeller Institution, who have sent Dr. Noguchi, a distinguished Japanese doctor, to the West Coast of Africa. The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine is placing at his disposal all the facilities of its Sierra Leone laboratory, and it is hoped that he will be able to make use of it and to do something in connection with Dr. Blacklock, our director of the laboratory there. We are sorry that owing to our lack of funds we cannot get all the kudos ourselves. No doubt the Rockefeller Institute will take most of it, but that cannot be helped. All these organisations dealing with tropical medicine, excepting the Rockefeller Institute—the London Tropical School of Medicine and the Liverpool Tropical School of Medicine, are to some extent subsidised by the Government; and the London School, I regret to say, takes by far the lion's share of the spoil. The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine has its endowment from the late Sir Alfred Jones's estate, and it receives from the Colony of Sierra Leone, where we have erected this local laboratory, a certain subsidy per annum. That subsidy, however, is conditional upon our undertaking certain services for them, and they get pretty fair value for what they give us. At the laboratories they do research work and look after all matters that are turned over to them by the Government medical officers. That laboratory is efficiently staffed, and I think if we did not have to undertake the Government research work we should probably reduce the staff. As that laboratory is of benefit not only to Sierra Leone but also to the Gold Coast Nigeria, and the other Colonies, I think the light hon. Gentleman might suggest to them that a contribution from them would be acceptable.
At that laboratory Dr. Blacklock is engaged at the present time on investigation of the tumbo fly, which is analogous, I understand, to the warble fly. It destroys hides and renders them valueless by holing them. If the investigations result in controlling the tumbo 119 fly, they will be of considerable value to the tanneries of this country, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will use his influence to see whether the tanneries would not find it of value to support this particular institution. I have been trying to get the Colonial Office to buy a book, by the first authority in this country or in the world, on the tsetse fly. We have heard a great deal about it this evening, but very little about the people who are working on this subject. For the past 20 years or so, Professor Newstead, a most able man, has been working on that particular subject, and he has produced an excellent handbook on the tsetse fly, which is the most authoritative work on the subject, and he has received letters of congratulation from Germany and elsewhere on it, although I have not seen it so much as mentioned in this country. A prophet has no honour in his own country. I hope to see that book going forward, and I hope the Colonial Office will make more use of our services, because we try to give the best service we can. We have this college, and we have one of the finest staffs anywhere, with as good brains as are to be found anywhere in the country. We have sent out many expeditions and we will send out more. In addition to this, some of our men have given their lives, such as Dr. Walter Myers, in the investigation of yellow fever, and Dr. Dutton, in the investigation of trypanosomiasis. I hope all this work will not be thrown away, and I trust the time will come when we shall be enabled to expand our usefulness.
§ Mr. FISHER
I wish to extend my congratulations to the hon. Member for Wavertree (Mr. Tinne) who has just sat down on a most successful maiden speech. This House always listens with very great interest and pleasure to a maiden speech containing so much information as that which has marked the first deliverance of the hon. Member. May I say, as one of the representatives of the University of Liverpool in this House, that I listened with special pleasure to the encomium passed upon the School of Medical Research in Liverpool, which is one of the glories of that flourishing University. I do not propose to follow the hon. Member into the sugar plantations of Demarara or Trinidad, but I wish to direct the 120 attention of the Committee to another part of the world and to a problem which has been causing considerable anxiety on these benches, and indeed among men of every political complexion who have given any serious attention to this question. I allude to the situation in the Colony of Kenya.
I am well aware that the problem in Kenya excites the fiercest passions and involves urgent interests, but I think I shall be able to deal with it in quite a non-controversial spirit, and indeed it is a matter which does not raise or should not raise any party issue in this House, because the situation in Kenya has been the result rather of a certain carelessness in the Imperial Parliament at home than from any fault or dereliction of duty on the part of any particular administration. We are now faced with a situation which has grown up under successive Governments of every political colour, and consequently we can afford, I hope, to lay party feelings aside and to study this problem with complete detachment and in a spirit of scientific inquiry. I confess that if this Debate had been held three months ago I should have approached the problem of Kenya with a far greater measure of anxiety than I now feel. My apprehensions have been to a very considerable extent allayed by two facts. In the first place, by the Report of the East Africa Committee associated with the name of the hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. Ormsby-Gore). It is an admirable Report which I have read with unbroken assent, and which does exhibit on every page an enlightened sense of our Imperial responsibilities to the native races of Africa. In the second place, I am greatly-reassured by the recent appointment of Sir Edward Grigg to be Lieut.-Governor to the Colony of Kenya. I believe no better appointment could have been made. But, Mr. Speaker, it is not sufficient that we should have a good Report and a good Governor. Those are-admirable things in themselves, but what we have to see to in this House, and what I believe is a great and urgent political necessity in the country, is that the recommendations of the East Africa Report should be carried into effect, that they should be supported here by a large body of public opinion, and that the Lieut.-Governor, in any measures which he may take for the furtherance of an 121 equitable government in the Colony of Kenya, should receive the support of this House.
What is the problem in Kenya? It is, I submit, in essence primarily a problem of government. The situation there, so far as my knowledge goes, has no parallel in any other part of the Empire. Apart from an inconsiderable body of Indians, I think amounting to some 23,000, there are in the Colony 10,000 Europeans and about 2,500,000 African natives. the whites are, of course, in a dominant position, and I do not complain of that. But the white settlers have an influence in the Colony of Kenya over the Government which would certainly not be permitted to the indigo planters in Behar or the tea planters in Assam or Ceylon, and it is only natural that, when cases arise in which the interests of the white section of the population either conflict or appear to conflict with the interests of the black section of the population, the white community exercises its preponderant influence with the Government to weight the scales in their own favour.
I will give one illustration which I think has been given already by my right hon. Friend the Member for West Swansea (Mr. Runciman), and it is a very significant illustration. My right hon. Friend has already pointed out the extraordinary fact that there is not only in Kenya but in other African colonies a fiscal system which is heavily weighted against the black element and in favour of the white elements of the population. In Kenya itself the only direct tax levied from the European centre is a 30s. poll tax, whereas move than half-a-million is levied upon the African natives. You cannot have a clearer instance of the way in which the frame of government in Kenya lends itself to a travesty of the elementary principles of social justice. It is not at all my intention to bring an indictment against the white settler. I remember that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, speaking on the fiscal question some years ago, said that this Parliament was chaste because it was unsolicited. If there is any Lack of chastity in the Government of Kenya, it is because the settlers, who have the major voice in the determination of their affairs, are subject to temptations and to solicitations which it is beyond human 122 nature to withstand. Neither in our own interests nor in the interests of the settlers themselves should we allow this state of things to continue.
What is to be done? The settlers are there. They came there with the encouragement of our Government, they have taken risks and have taken up land, have invested their capital on that land, and have carried out great improvements in the Colony, and they are, as the Report points out, in the main an admirable body of men. They are, however, placed in a position in which, human nature being what it is, they naturally use their political influence to further their own material advancement, and most other people in the same position would do very much the same thing. Obviously, we cannot reverse the large measure of self-government which we have granted to the white settlers in Kenya. Equally obviously, we cannot govern them from Downing Street. It is also a practical impossibility to go on ruling this Colony by the use of official majorities, and yet it is quite clear that if we are to relieve the Colony, not only of the reproach which at present in my view attaches to its Government, but also from future danger of injustice, some redistribution of power ought to take place. I rust then that the Government will seriously examine the problem of the constitution of Kenya. Would it not be possible to detach the white section of the Colony from the African section, and bring the natives more directly under the control of the Lieutenant-Governor, just as there was at Cape Town a High Commissioner who had special responsibilities with regard to the native population?
I do not venture to suggest the particular form which the reconstruction is to take, but I hope that whatever is done the Government will be able to carry the enlightened section of the European settlers with them. I am sure that there is among the European settlers in Kenya a body of men of wise, generous, and enlightened views who would be willing to associate themselves in any measures which were likely to produce a better balance of government in that part of the world. The hon. Member for Stafford, who is to reply on the Debate, will probably tell us that he hopes to achieve whatever is necessary 123 by the ordinary process of administration. I admit that in the course of his excellent Report he has made some important and valuable recommendations. He has recommended the introduction of an Income Tax, and to that Mr. Lindfield adds a recommendation that there should also be a tax on undeveloped land. The adoption of these two measures would undoubtedly remove the grave fiscal inequality which at present exists. The Report also recommends a number of important reforms in connection with the registration of natives. It recommends again—I think this was a recommendation that has already been touched upon by my right hon. Friend the Member for West Swansea—the establishment of a land trust, and I venture to hope that there will be no delay in the setting up of a land trust for the securing of native rights in land, for the delimitation of those rights, and for the removal of the grave unrest which at present exists by reason of the unsettled condition of the land question in Kenya. I trust that when my hon. Friend rises to reply he will be able to say something under that head. Then, again, the Commissioner recommends a loan of £10,000,000 for the purpose of improving communications in the Colony of Kenya. That is a recommendation to which nobody would take exception on any side of the House.
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
I think there is a misunderstanding on the part of the right hon. Member. The loan of £10,000,000 was for the whole of East Africa, and not Kenya alone. In fact, it is mainly for Tanganyika and Uganda. If that went out to Kenya uncontradicted, it might lead to misunderstanding in East Africa.
§ Mr. FISHER
I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for his contradiction. He is less generous than I had imagined, and Kenya, owing to its labour shortage, might find very great difficulty in spending such a loan. I think it will be wise to lend them rather less. The suggestion which I wish to press upon the Government is that a certain portion of that loan should be earmarked for educational purposes in the broad sense in which educational purposes are defined in the course of the East African Report, hygiene, and education proper, technical, 124 agricultural, literary, and so on. My hon. Friend has already suggested that a portion of the revenue raised from the African population should be expended upon African needs. That no doubt is also a valuable recommendation. I ask myself the question whether, without any constitutional change in Kenya itself, you will get these reforms, not only embodied in legislation, but actually carried out. It is one thing to have beautiful reforms on paper, and it is quite another thing to get them effectually and punctually executed. I should be afraid, the pressure being what it is from the angle of white interests, that it would be very difficult to give effect to the recommendations of the Report without some further change in the scheme of government.
I have only two other observations to make. Some mention is made in the course of the Report of forced labour. My right hon. Friend the Member for West Swansea has declared his opposition to forced labour whether for private profit or public purposes, and I wholeheartedly associate myself with that protest. I remember reading long ago a great book by Professor Cairnes entitled "Slave Labour." The argument of that book was that slave labour was always less economic than free labour, and I believe it will be absolutely essential for the progress of our African Colonies to root out from them altogether in the most emphatic way the idea that you can rightfully or properly or fruitfully employ forced labour either for private profit or on public works.
My other observation concerns the new Committee for Civil Research. I read Lord Balfour's announcement with the keenest pleasure. I believe that such a committee has for a long time been a crying need, and I look forward to its operations with great hopefulness. I much doubt, however, whether this committee will give us all we want, and I associate myself with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas) in the regrets he expressed at the suppression of the Southborough Committee. It seems to me that in addition to the Committee for Civil Research you do want a committee dealing specifically with African affairs from the point of view not only of science but of those topics in which science and social policy 125 intermingle their waters. I earnestly trust that the Government will consider whether a committee of this kind cannot be set up again. There are, of course, two schools of opinion in Kenya as to the labour question. There is the plantation school, on the one hand, and there is the school which desires the development of the reserves on the other. I fully realise the grave evils which do, or rather may, attach themselves to the plantation system, but we have got the plantation system in Kenya, and we cannot abolish it. Our problem is to give the plantation system all the improvements of which it is capable, to shield it against the abuses to which it is exposed, and, where there is a conflict between the interests of the reserves and interests of the plantations, to maintain first the interests of the reserves.
I was delighted with the views expressed in the Report on the need for native education. For the first time, we are getting an enlightened body of opinion as to the true character of the education which ought to be given to African natives. I heard very recently from a clergyman who has been out in East Africa that in his experience there are few young people who take to learning more quickly or readily than the natives of Africa. That, I must say, was a great surprise to me, but I gather that it is not an isolated view. It is very widely held, and those who have most experience of educational work in Africa are most hope ful as to its beneficial results. I have already detained the Committee long enough, but I will only conclude with one observation. I believe that the British Government has never been faced with a more difficult problem than now faces it in Kenya. I believe that the problem can only be solved by a scientific and humane view of all the issues involved, and that we shall get nowhere either by taking a pro-white view, or a pro-African view. We must take a balanced view of the whole situation, and, just as the present evil is great, so, great will be the credit of the Government which boldly and fearlessly resolves to remove it.
As a representative of a Lancashire division in which a great many cotton mills use enormous quantities of American cotton. I would like to bring before the attention of the Com- 126 mittee the question of Empire-grown cotton. This is to my way of thinking a question of the most vital importance to the whole of Lancashire, and not only to Lancashire but to the whole country, as at least one-fifth of the whole of the working people are either directly or indirectly employed by the result of what is doing in the cotton trade. That is a very important figure. Unemployment in Lancashire is very great indeed. Instead of working 48 hours, they are working 39, and this month they are going to have an extra week off, thereby reducing the hours again very considerably.
It is quite true that in parts of Lancashire, where they are spinning the fine counts, they are very busy. They have no competition; no one else can make these yarns yet, and tariff walls do not matter—they can climb over them. But a time may come when the other countries will begin to spin these yarns, and then they will do it under the protection of a tariff wall. It is, however, to the fine counts that we look mostly for employment in Lancashire. A good deal of the cotton for these fine counts, in fact, practically all of it, comes from our own overseas Dominions and from Egypt. One peculiar feature about the fine cotton that comes from these places is that it is the only cotton that will mercerise properly. In addition to that, it finishes better and dyes better. If we can get large quantities of this fine cotton, we shall be able to put our trade in Lancashire on an entirely different basis. I am quite an unrepentant Protectionist, and, as we grow this fine cotton, I would keep it for Lancashire and for Lancashire alone. I would not ship it to any other place at all. Let us keep our own people busy first, say I.
I should like now to analyse the position of the cotton crops of the world. To do so it will be necessary to introduce a certain number of figures, which are always boring, but I will try to make them as exciting as I can. I will take first the United States crop, and the position in America generally. In 1911–12 the total commercial crop, in 500-lb. bales, was 16,000,000 bales, grown on 36,681,000 acres. In 1913–14 that had come down to 14,500,000 bales, grown on 37,000,000 acres. In 1923–24 the crop was only 11,290,000 bales, from 38,700,000 acres. The crop, 127 therefore, has decreased very materially, although the acreage is larger. There is another point which is of vital importance to Lancashire. In 1912 the United States had 29,500,000 working spindles. In 1921 they had 32,000,000, and last year nearly 38,000,000. I will return to that question presently, but I want now to refer to the export position in the United States. During the period from 1900 to 1913, their average export was 7,000,000 bales, but in 1923–24 they only exported 5,000,000 bales. In 1910–13, Great Britain imported from the United States an average of 3,000,000 bales, but that figure has now come down to 1,919,000. The total exports of raw cotton from all countries to Great Britain during the period 1910–13 were 4,227,000 bales, but they are now only 2,968,000 bales. These figures are very interesting because they show that the decrease is almost in proportion to the decrease from the 55 hours that we used to work to the 39 hours that we are working now.
Coming back to the question of spindles, it will easily be seen, if the calculation is made, that by the year 1942 the United States, with her increased number of spindles and her decreased crop, will be using the whole of her cotton crop, and from now onwards, as has been the case for a few years past, the supply of cotton which she has to export to this country will naturally grow less and less, until we get none. We may, therefore, look forward every year, until the time when America can use all her own cotton, to increased prices for cotton. It is true that the acreage in America may increase, but the boll weevil has also increased. In 1911, the total damage done by the boll weevil was 1.28 per cent., and it has now reached the high figure of 34 per cent., though I believe that last year it was a little less. It goes on, however, getting worse. On the other hand, in Africa where cotton is grown they have so far not been affected by it.
Another question is that of black labour. Black labour in the United States seems to be making northward as fast as it possibly can, where it gets better paid, and this makes it increasingly difficult to get the crop gathered from the cotton fields. The growing of cotton in the United States is, as it would be anywhere else, simply a question of the price 128 obtainable for it. In the Atlantic States a price of 24 cents would result in the sowing of a bumper crop, but if the price came down to 20 cents maize could be grown to better advantage. That is another point that we have to look at. Again, the wages for picking the cotton are about a dollar and a half per 100 lbs., whereas in Africa the cost is only about 2s. per 100 lbs. Another point that makes the matter still more critical is the increased number of spindles in so many foreign countries. In Italy, for instance, in 1906, there were 3,500,000 spindles, while now there are nearly 5,250,000. France in 1906 had 6,800,000 spindles, but they have now increased to 11,656,000. In Germany the increase has been from about 9,250,000 to 10,152,000. None of these countries can grow their own cotton just now, and they also buy from the United States again putting up the price which Lancashire has to pay for American cotton. There is no doubt in my mind that whenever the United States want their own cotton for themselves they will put a tax on it, so that we can get none, and, personally, I think they will be quite right to do that.
The present rate of growing cotton in our Empire does not seem to be advancing so well as some growers appear to think it is. We have been at it for 22 years, and, with the exception of India, the total production is only 232,000 bales. We are all most anxious to get on with this question of Empire-grown cotton, which is absolutely essential to Lancashire. If we do not do so, the trade there will be strangled, and we have about 18 years in which to do it, as I calculate from the particulars I have given of what is going on in the United States. In 1923 we paid the United States about £48,129,000 for raw cotton, or about as much as we pay them for interest on the Debt. All that they took from us was £11,000,000 worth of cotton goods, which leaves them a pretty good trade balance. If we could grow cotton in our own Colonies so that we got a plentiful supply from them, it would mean more employment for our people here and an increased power of spending in the Dominions, because the money we got for the cotton would all be re-invested here, instead of its going to America and so 129 little of it coming back; and it would also have a most beneficial effect on the exchange value of sterling.
Let us see what advance has lately been made in regard to Empire-grown cotton. India's crop is a big one, but it is of a low grade, and not of much use to Lancashire. India turned out last year nearly 8,000,000 Bales, of which 4,750,000 were used for home consumption and the carry-over. Only 289,000 bales were exported to Great Britain. 1,490,000 bales went to the Continent, and that is an interesting figure. Did that quantity go there because the Continent was protected, and, therefore, could afford to spin these low counts? I think that that is the reason. Then 1,529,000 bales went to Japan. Indian cotton, however, is really not of very much interest to us. Moreover, it must be borne in mind that in the case of most of the Dominions the bales quoted are 400-lb. bales, as against the 500-lb. American bales.
The total production of the British Overseas Dominions and Protectorates in 1921 was 148,181 bales, rising in 1924 to 234,538 bales. That is the total quantity that we are getting from all our Colonies. Uganda alone is the bright spot. In 1921 the production in Uganda was 73,000 bales, and in 1924 it had increased to 128,703 bales. This latter figure, moreover, is only for 11 months. Coming to the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, the cotton produced there is of the class of which I have been speaking, which mercerises, finishes and dyes well, and the more of it we can get the better. The production has risen from 26,237 bales in 1921 to 47,290 bales. That is still a very small crop, and I believe it is very nearly the limit of what can be produced there unless a huge irrigation scheme is put forward. I would like to ask the Minister if he has any idea of what the cost of a large irrigation scheme in the Sudan would be, and what would be the number of acres that it would render available for the cultivation of this most desirable brand of cotton. In Queensland the production rose from 2,162 bales in 1922 to 6,800 bales in 1923. I now come to the cotton from Egypt, which, of course, is of the fine, long staple variety which is the most desirable and spins the finest counts. In 1921, Egypt turned out 130 445,000 bales, and in 1924, 931,000 bales. That is a very large increase, but the figure this year will be somewhat less, because of the limited supply of water. I should also like to know whether the production from Egypt could be in any way increased?
Although many of these figures show a substantial increase they are quite disproportionate to the needs of the case. We get from Empire sources a pottering 250,000 bales, as against the 2,500,000 bales that we want per annum. Something must be done about this matter. Uganda is promising, and the Minister has told me that he thinks he has got enough land out there to grow a very considerable amount of cotton. Why cannot we get on with it? It is cotton that we want, and not the knowledge that we can grow it. I believe, also, that in the Sudan there are 100,000,000 acres where rain-grown cotton would be possible, but I understand the trouble there is lack of labour. I have just been reading a speech by Lord Derby to the British Cotton Growing Association and extracts from Sir James Currie's and Mr. Himbury's speeches to the Empire Growing Association. The trouble they seem to raise there is twofold. One point is the question of transport. There is no doubt about the possibility of growing cotton, but it is no use growing the cotton till the transport is there.
To deal with transport first, it seems to me that, having had these Dominions for so many years, an extraordinary lack of imagination and confidence and push has been shown by this country in not developing these wonderful lands, which were going to give us so much raw material that we desire. I am quite certain that when the country sees that we must have cotton for Lancashire the funds required for producing railway transport will be forthcoming. Not only will cotton crops follow the railways but other crops as well, and this would mean enormous orders to this country for railway stock of all kinds and it would help our coal mining, our engineers, and our shipping. I think also that, as the other lands develop and crops are grown, there will be a very large demand for the necessary agricultural machinery to develop them. It does not seem to me that any part of Africa where we should be growing cotton is fully developed, and that is really the reason why the cotton 131 crop is so bad. I believe surveys for the railways are not in the forward state we should like to see them, and for that reason it will be several years before we can go ahead with the construction of these necessary lines. I see that Lord Hindlip recently talked about the railways, and it was not very good reading. He talked about what was going on in Uganda with the ports closed and bales of cotton lying unprotected from the weather. It seems to me there must be something wrong there, but there is probably a very good reason for it. They may have had a fire or something. But that is the sort of thing that makes you wonder if things are going on rightly out there.
Then we hear about political and administrative difficulties. I suppose there are many of them, but I cannot imagine that they are not surmountable. The land is held by the natives, and I suppose the native is a fellow who does not like to work more than he need. He has a good climate to live in and simple tastes, but surely he can be taught some mild form of vice which would make him covet a little more money to spend. That, of course, is simply a question of educating the native. I believe he can be educated, and that difficulty is not insurmountable. This is not a question of one party or another. It is a question of the needs of Lancashire, and I am certain the Government must come forward with a very big guarantee indeed of a loan. I do not think it matters very much how big it is. This is not a thing to economise on. If you are spending £50,000,000 in America on cotton, you will find it cheaper to spend a great deal more in developing our own Dominions. I am not a financier, but I do not think, from what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carmarthen (Sir A. Mond) said the other night, there would be very much difficulty, if the Government would come forward with some form of guarantee, in getting the Minister as much capital as he really requires to go ahead with. I wish the Minister could see it in his power to place some orders for rolling stock now, so that some engineers could get a little busier. It is possible to look ahead. I have no doubt that he has done it and that there are orders out. I should like to take us on to the year 1950. If Lancashire is in a worse position in 1950 than it is to-day 132 who will be blamed? [An HON. MEMBER: "Whatever Government is in power!"] No, I think we shall have a good share of the blame because we know better. [An HON. MEMBER: "We shall be dead!"] It is not a matter whether we are dead or not. Lots of us probably wish some of us were. What they will say if they do not have the cotton—and Empire-grown cotton—at that date is that we have buried our talent in a napkin and hidden it in the ground instead of putting cotton seed in the ground and giving them cotton, because it is cotton they want. I should like to urge that these transport difficulties should be got over and that the Minister should be given complete power to make any survey he wishes, with the feeling at the back of his head that as soon as he gets a survey he will get the money to carry out what is wanted.
§ Mr. SNELL
I should like to say a word about the East African Report. When we are judging of what it contains and what it omits we have to remember that, after all, 80 days is not a very long time in which to make an examination of such a vast territory as the Commission has discovered. Considering the difficulties and complexities of the subject and the different interests, native and European. that were involved, the Report is an unchallangeable certificate of industry and zeal and a proof of the enthusiasm that the members brought to their work. It contains here and there welcome appreciation of many of the things that are needed, and one may admit that without approving of everything it recommends. If one had to describe it in general terms, one would say it was essentially a polite Report issued by three amiable gentlemen, who hated to say rough and unpleasant things about anything or anybody. It is obvious, in reading it, that they wished individually, out of their own hearts, to say a great deal more, than they said, but it is discreetly official, and I intend no offence if I speak of what was, perhaps, more closely in their hearts. I do not propose to enter into the question of Mr. Linfield's addition to the Report. With characteristic Liberal prudence he contrived to make the best of both worlds. But it is possible to say a word of praise and of sincere regret that the Southborough Committee, of which I was a member, was not allowed 133 to finish its work. Its industry was not in question. It was very capable and very devoted, and almost massive in the knowledge and range of experience that its members brought to their work. The regret I have about it is, first, that it was not allowed to finish its work, and, secondly, the fact that it was abolished gave an unfavourable reaction to the East African Commission's Report. It inevitably suggests the idea that the Government have got the kind of Report they desired, and, therefore, have no further use for the Committee that was appointed.
Having said that, I think it is right to say the Report acknowledges the great principle of trusteeship, which is now the basic principle, one hopes, of our government of the Colonies. We have a very heavy and a continuous obligation that can neither be derogated nor ignored, and if one criticises things that happen in Kenya or elsewhere it is not to be assumed that one is anti-white because one is pro-native on these matters. The question is one of very serious difficulty. The impact of different races on each other, the impact of a vigorous northern race like our own upon the races that live in Africa, is bound to be a very serious thing, and to impose considerable hardships and difficulties and strain upon both. But the native is lees able to bear and to understand that impact than are the white races, and they do not understand or like all the rules that we desire to impose upon them. I gather from the last speaker that he would wish to encourage them rather severely to want more wants that we could supply. The natives have no great desire to part from their heritage of leisure and simple fare for all those strange and questionable luxuries which work for the white man might give them.
§ Mr. SNELL
I know what it was as well as the hon. and gallant Gentleman. There was a certain excitement and exhilaration about it that they do not get when earning sweated wages in the gold mines of the Transvaal. The question whether we have the right to force these extra wants upon them really depends upon the end that we are seeking 134 If we are seeking merely to provide a market for Lancashire or any other country, or to increase their material demands, we are on the wrong line There is only one thing that could justify action of that kind and it would be that we should try to give them an enlarged manhood and to develop in them those spiritual qualities which belong to them as they belong to all men, and if we are not prepared to do that it were, better that we had left them to their ancient ways, bad though those ways may seem to be to the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite.
In regard to the concrete recommendations of the Report, I should like to say a word or two on the question of transport. Whatever makes transport easier for the native who produces his crops is on the whole to the good, and we must therefore welcome the suggestions for harbours and docks and so on, provided that we have in these recommendations certain well-defined reservations, that these railways are not to be mere conduit pipes which are to drain away wealth from the locality without supplying the means of livelihood to those in residence. Take the case of India as an illustration. It is very doubtful whether the railway system that we have developed in India has not served chiefly to drain away the food products of the localities which were badly needed in the districts where they were produced.
These transport facilities should not be allowed to run ahead of the actual industrial situation. The shortage, of labour which exists now would be aggravated by every mile of additional railway that you pass through territory which depends on immigration for its development. The land through which these railways pass should be taxed to help bear the cost that is involved. In the matter of transport it has been the case, unfortunately, that the Europeans have acquired the idea that railways should be built solely for their benefit, and that money granted as loans or in any other form should be entirely devoted to the white races. If by any chance a railway passes through native reserves, the cry is immediately raised that the land contiguous to the railway is too good for native use, and the native is therefore driven away, or it is urged that he should be removed to some less accessible posi- 135 tion. It was on such a plea as that that the Masai were robbed of their country, and plots of land varying from 5,000 to 300,000 acres were given to Europeans for no other reason than that they were covetous of it and that it was in close touch with the railways.
These extra facilities for transport can only be justified if at the same time the native interests are completely safeguarded. At the present time the difficulties are immense. The native has to raise from 10s. to 16s. per annum for hut tax, and he has to pay this almost entirely out of the material he is able to sell. That involves him in carrying a load of 60 lbs. for 40 miles. To pay this tax he may have to go as many as five journeys of 40 miles, with the 60 lb. load on his head, making for the return journey a distance of 400 miles. That is economic slavery of a most indefensible kind, and of a kind worse than was ever known in the Southern States of America. The roads are very frequently impassable because of bad weather. While acknowledging the needs of these transport facilities, I hope that some attention will be given to what we may call light feeders which would go through the native territories in order to avoid these very long journeys with these heavy burdens.
The Report says very little about the dominant and present problem of taxation. In Kenya taxation of the native is altogether too heavy at the present time. The native pays far more than his proper share of the taxation of the country and he gets almost no return for what he pays. How different are the taxes imposed upon the white section. Even the richest among them, and many of them have made great fortunes there, pay taxes of about 30s. a year. The Income Tax, which was imposed in 1921, had to be abolished because the settlers brought so much presure to bear. I am glad that the Report recommends that the Income Tax should be reimposed. It is not only a question of how the money is raised but how it is spent.
A shamefully low proportion of the taxation that is raised is paid for native services. The social effects under this inequality of raising taxation and the way it is spent are in many resrpects 136 appalling. They result in the overselling of crops which causes the shortage of food, and many other social evils. The Masai, we are told, pay their taxes by sending their young women to brothels, because they cannot be induced to sell their cattle. These are social questions which we cannot omit from our consideration, so long as the principle of trusteeship abides in our mind, because we are trustees not only of their material but of their moral, mental and spiritual welfare. To pay these taxes the poorer natives borrow from those who are less poor, and they have not heard of the bankruptcy law which in our own country is an ever-certain help in time of trouble.
The hut tax and the poll tax may involve very great hardship. A man may have three wives. [Laughter.] I am afraid that that rather shocks hon. Members opposite in their British innocence, but such things do happen out there. A man may have three wives, and he may have an old mother to support, a mother - in - law…[HON. MEMBERS: "Three mothers-in-law!"] It is part of my case not to exaggerate. He may have also all the old wives of his deceased brothers to support. [Laughter.] It would be well if hon. Members opposite, who are amused, really understood the case. The man is compelled to support the wives of his deceased brothers by the custom of his tribe, which is not a bad custom from their standpoint. That is to say, the women cannot be turned adrift into the jungle. Someone has to support them. and the community there is the family or the tribe rather than the individual, as in our own country.
I will not say anything about the land question, because it will be touched upon by other speakers, beyond saying that whatever is done the land should be vested in the tribe and not in the individual, and that no further alienation of land should take place until the tribes have all the land that they can use to good purpose, and that will satisfy not only their present but their potential needs. The land which should be allotted to the tribes should be such as will give them a fair return on their labour, and they should not be fobbed off with land of an inferior quality which the whites will not have.
137 I should like to know how much money is devoted to research in the Protectorates and Crown Colonies. The right hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas) put it at £2,000 for the whole Empire. Of all the many follies which the Geddes axe committed, none was perhaps so disastrous to our future as that which restricted research in such matters as we are discussing to-night. If we do not produce the producer we shall not produce any wealth or any satisfactory result. In that respect, I notice that the Report does not earmark any of the £10,000,000 which it recommends as a loan, for the purpose of research. The question of vital statistice is extraordinarily important. We do not know whether the population of Africa is increasing or decreasing. In some respects we are behind our Belgian neighbours in our knowledge of our African possessions. I do not know whether hon. Members are aware that the Belgians recently had a Commission inquiring into similar things within their own area in Africa, and they made recommendations which it would be well if we took into account. For instance, they fixed the number of workers who can be taken away from a tribe at 5 per cent. of the adult males. I am afraid that our own Commission puts the number appallingly higher than that. There is some real need for care in fixing the number that can be drawn from a tribe for working purposes. If it is not possible to prevent forced labour, that labour should be restricted to what is required for public services within the native reserves themselves, and it should never be allowed for the white people to draw away from the agricultural areas workers who may be needed to keep up the vitality and efficiency of the tribe.
That is all I wish to say on this large and entrancingly interesting subject, except a few words on education. I agree with what was said by the right hon. Member for the English Universities (Mr. Fisher) in regard to the character of the education that should be given. There is a little too much emphasis placed perhaps in imposing our English ideas of education upon the African people. They have to develop out of their own line and experience, and it must rather be African illustrations which are given to them than British. I hope that, at the same time, 138 we shall not make the mistake of simply giving them a material education, making them more technically efficient as producers. That would be the greatest mistake. They, too, have their right to a heritage in the kingdom of the mind, and we are bound to see, whilst giving them this domestic, hygienic, practical education, that they are given also the elements of culture which can be drawn from their own life and be so useful in their development.
We should see that there is a vastly-increased number of European doctors in the reserves, supplied with medicines at cost price. We ought to agree to agricultural inspectors in each district, men who have practical experience in order to help the natives. Then we ought to prevent by law, rigidly, any system which allows the natives to be worked for 30 days a month. A month's labour should be, roughly, what it is in our own country. These are the responsibilities which rest upon us. We have learned so much from the Report of this Commission that I hope it will not be the last Commission that will go to the Crown Colonies and Protectorates and bring back reports at first hand, so that this House may know the problem with which it has to deal. These problems are constant in one sense, although they are changing from day to day, and we cannot rely upon reports that were issued 20 years ago. We have to know what the problem is at the hour on which we speak. Our responsibilities for the welfare of these places are very great. We are not only trustees for the natives, but for humanity, in our development of these races, and if we keep faith with our own best traditions and with our own Best desires we shall go very near to doing the right thing by the people whom we are seeking to govern.
§ 8.0 P.M.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
I do not propose to follow the last speaker into the many interesting questions which he raised with respect to native races. Neither do I propose to follow any of the more recent speakers, but I would like to recall to the Committee the fact that the Secretary of State for the Colonies devoted a considerable portion of his speech to the question of migration within the Empire. I have made a study of migration not only theoretically but practically for the 139 last 25 years, perhaps therefore I may be allowed to say a few words in reply to the right hon. Gentleman's statement. I would have liked to say something about the history of the Empire Settlement Act, but as there are so many speakers to come after me so historical a review would hardly be appreciated. I will, however, refer to three milestones on the road. One takes us back to 1874, when Lord Randolph Churchill said:The Colonial Empire of Great Britain offering as it does a field for the latent energy and labour to the sons of our overburdened isles will continually demand the attention of the Legislature. I will support all efforts which would tend to facilitate the means of emigration and at the same time strengthen the ties which unite the Colonies with the Mother Country.But neither Lord Randolph Churchill nor his successors in the Conservative Government did anything whatever to assist in bringing this country and the Overseas Dominions together so far as the exchange of population was concerned. Another milestone was the speech of Lord Oxford when he was Mr. Asquith, at an Imperial Conference here, at which (here was some discussion about emigration, and I take it that Mr. Asquith, desired to make some pronouncement on the subject. This is what he said:Emigration is a most important matter and a matter as to which there ought to be constant co-operation between the Imperial authorities and the different local communities. I only mention this as an illustration of the ways in which we not only might but ought to develop and provide better commercial relations between all parts of the Empire.That would be about 15 years ago. I have not got the exact date. Mr. Asquith has come and gone and neither he nor his party did anything to assist migration. Another milestone was the Minority Report of the Poor Law Commission which said:Unemployment is no longer seasonal or spasmodic, it is chronic, constant and growing. In production we are not keeping pace with the growth of demand, in employment we are not keeping pace with the growth of population.In spite of all these statements nothing was done to assist the movement of the people of this country overseas until the Act of 1922 was placed on the Statute Book. Yet it was common knowledge that the populations of Australia, Canada, and 140 New Zealand were small and were not growing as rapidly as they should grow. To-day I find that the population per square mile of the United Kingdom is 467, of Canada, 2.4, of Australia 1.9, and of New Zealand 12. Those figures are very striking and show that something more should be done than is being done to transfer a certain number of people from this country to those dominions oversea where there is not only plenty of work for them to do but plenty of land to be occupied and land which can be usefully applied not only to the purpose of assisting the individual, but also to the purpose of assisting the State and the Empire.
I must not only refer to the apathy of the Conservative party and the Liberal party, but, I regret to say, also to the open hostility of the Labour party. We have had to-day a very interesting statement from the right hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas). He told us that he was willing, and had been willing for some time, not only to talk about migration on the platform but also to act in the matter. He also referred to the hon. Member for Rothwell (Mr. Lunn) who was Parliamentary Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department in the late Government. I have not followed the career of the hon. Member long enough to comment on his attitude towards migration, but I have followed the career of the right hon. Member for Derby and a great number of Gentlemen on those benches, and I regret to say that I have never yet heard or read a single speech made by one of them to their own people in the trade unions advising migration oversea. I have no doubt that the time will come, but it has not come yet, when they will carry out the promise made by the right hon. Member for Derby that he and they are prepared to advocate on the platform migration within the Empire.
One of the Sections of the Act of 1922 says that £3,000,000 may be expended in any subsequent financial year, exclusive of the amount of any sums received by way of interest or repayment for advances previously made, for the purpose of assisting persons to migrate from this country to the oversea Dominions. The fact is that from 1922 to 1925, had we wished, we could have expended £9,000,000 on migration. This money could have been voted by this House, and if the House had been risked for that sum no doubt it would 141 have voted it, and it could have been expended, but it has not been expended, and it has not been voted. I find that in 1922–23 £350,000 was voted and £35,000 expended. In 1923–24 £1,159,100 was voted and only £447,691 was expended. In 1924–25 we had £853.500 voted and only £227,501 expended. The total expenditure was only £710,656—not even a million pounds. I do not know what money has been voted this year, but I would remind the Committee that the money, which has been voted, is not now available for expenditure, because, according to the ordinary practice, it has had to revert to the Exchequer.
The total number of persons who have received assistance under the Empire Settlement Act since the date on which the Act was passed up to the 31st December last was as follows: 6,992 in 1922, 37,353 in 1923, 41,384 in 1924, or a total of 85,924 in the three years. That is hardly what was expected when the Act was passed. I remember when the Bill was passing through this House hearing it debated, we were informed of its great possibilities and we all desired to see a very large number of people assisted to migrate. The right hon. Member for Derby has told us there are 50,000 persons awaiting migration. That is, they have been selected for migration purposes, and yet apparently they are unable to go. Why is it? It is not because we are not able to vote the money—because, we have voted it. It is not because we are not able to expend the money. Why then should there be 50,000 persons awaiting migration? Perhaps the Secretary of State for the Colonies, when he comes to reply, will tell us why there are 50,000 persons awaiting migration who are unable to get to the Dominions. From official returns made by the Commonwealth of Australia, I find that the total number of persons arriving in Australia from the United Kingdom in the five years, 1909 to 1913, was 308,475, and in the five years, 1919–1923, the number went down to 192,176.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
I do not wish to make a party point. What I have said about the Labour Party I am glad to know is past and gone, and the 142 Labour party will in future take their part in promoting migration. With regard to Canada official statistics show that the number of English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish settlers in the first five years was 614,088 in the last period of five years it was 280,312. Why have the numbers gone down so considerably in view of the fact that we have this vast sum of money ready to be voted by Parliament money we are able to expend but do not? The Secretary of State for the Colonies in answer to a question asked some days ago stated, that the numbers proceeding overseas for settlement during the years 1913 to 1924 to British North America, Canada and Newfoundland, had gone down from 164,000 to 47,000 in the case of Australia: in Canada the figure has fallen from 44,428 to 30,304. Before the Empire Settlement Act was passed no financial assistance was given to migration. When I was Chairman of the Central Emigration Board, as I was for 15 years, we had no financial assistance. We had ourselves to get the money as best we could, but during that time I was able to emigrate 2,500 selected people who all did well on the other side. If one individual can emigrate 2,500 people without financial assistance, some explanation is required as to why the Government, with all the money at its disposal and with all the assistance given from the other side, both by Canada and Australia, should not be able to emigrate more people.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
The right hon. Member for Derby has told you that there are 50,000 persons waiting to go, and I am assuming that if they are waiting to go they want to go. It is hardly useful to the Debate, therefore, to ask such futile questions. Now I come to the statistics of the United States and Canada. According to the statistics of the United States Department of Labour, 436,826 Canadians have entered that country during the past four years. During the same period only 15,312 returned for permanent settlement. From the same source, we learn from 1911 to 1924, 1,178,826 Canadians left for the United States and less than 300,000 returned. I would like to ask a question. Can the Secretary of State assure this Committee 143 that among the Canadians who went over the border and settled in the United States, there were not included many of the people who we had emigrated from this country to Canada and for whom the taxpayers of this country had paid? Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will go into that statement and give me some answer.
We are told by the Secretary of State that Empire settlement has suffered owing to the overworking of a junior Minister. I do not know whether he was referring to the junior Minister now on the Front Bench, the Under-Secretary. If so, I cannot accept that explanation. I am sure that no one has worked harder than the present junior Minister, and I am sure, too, that emigration has not suffered in any way because he has been the junior Minister. On the contrary, he is just one of those Members who would do all that he could to see that the Act was properly administered. Is not emigration suffering from causes other than the overworking of junior Ministers? Is everything well in Australia? Is everything well in Canada? What did the right hon. Member for Derby tell us just now I He hinted very strongly that all was not well on the other side, and he suggested that something might be done to improve matters in Australia, and no doubt to improve matters in Canada. The Secretary of State for the Colonies suggested that there was a want of appreciation of immigration in Australia. I am afraid that that want of appreciation of immigration has been going on for a very long time in Australia. I fear that many people in Australia are. for some reason or other, under the impression that if they allow any large number of migrants to enter Australia, that would have an adverse effect upon wages and employment.
When I gave evidence before the Dominions Royal Commission, I pointed out one difficulty, and said that we could never get migration on a proper basis without a continuity of policy. In Australia you have, first of all, one Government making certain arrangements with us, and then you have another Government, a Labour Government, coming in and undoing or suspending all that has been done before. That is the position to-day. You cannot 144 progress with migration unless there be continuity of policy. Most hon. Members will remember Sir John M'Whae, who was the Agent-General for Victoria in London for years, a man very well known here and in Australia. He described the policy as casual and really tragic, and said, "Australia is setting an impossible standard for migrants from Britain." There ought to be some form of inquiry made with a view of seeing whether this statement is correct. If it be correct, something ought to be done to put the matter right. While we are getting fewer migrants into Australia, large numbers of foreign migrants are entering that country. That is a very unfortunate state of affairs. The recent flood of Southern European and the tiny trickle of British migrants has caused a growing fear that there is something amiss with migration. The Australians prefer British settlers. Then why should they not get them? Why are foreign nationals able to get into Australia when our nationals are kept outside?
It is a wrong policy, and it ought to be part of the business of the Government to make inquiries and to see how it can be put right. When we made our arrangements with Australia, nothing was said about our people being restricted to those who were nominated from the other side. I am not going to say that a migrant who is nominated may not be a very good migrant, but there is no reason why he or she should be a better migrant than the man or the woman who is not nominated. Both have to be selected. Why should this preference be given to nominated people? In answer to a question I put, I was told that the main channel for migration to Australia was nomination, and that of 6,351 assisted emigrants to New South Wales in 1924, 4,590 were nominated settlers. Is that quite fair? No wonder you have 50,000 people waiting to emigrate, if they have all to be nominated. Everyone has not a friend or a relative in Australia; everyone is not connected with a church or chapel or muncipality in Australia, so that a nomination can be obtained. No doubt many of the 50,000 are without any of those advantages. But they are people who have been selected for migration. Our Government ought to look into the matter and stop the restrictions with re- 145 gard to nomination. The Secretary of State for the Colonies referred to the Church Council movement. The Church Council for Empire Settlement is a very useful society. It appeals for contributions, and everyone would like to send contributions to such an important society. But what is the good if it cannot send out any one without a nomination? It is appealing under a misapprehension. It should say:We can only send out nominated persons.The right hon. Gentleman should make this matter clear both to the Church Council and to the Committee.
On the question of child migration. Are we to assume that child migration has suffered owing to the Under-Secretary being overworked? Yet the hon. Gentleman told us he was giving special attention to the question of juvenile migration, but I fear he has had too much work to do up to the present because so far there does not seem to be any great result in that connection. In the report issued by his Department it is stated in connection with a delegation on this subject that they consider that the present system of child emigration in Canada works satisfactorily as a whole. When one sees a statement like that in an official report one naturally places some faith in that, but are we right in putting faith in that statement? I have here the Annual Report of the Committee on Immigration and Colonisation to the Social Service Council of Canada issued at Toronto which deals with the system of child immigration and settlement in Canada. That Report points out defects in the present system of a wide character and makes recommendations of a very useful kind. The Report states that it is vitally necessary that a system of safeguards should be set up to insure not only that strong healthy children are sent over, but that each child is placed with much more care than heretofore.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
No, but it has reported to the Government. The hon. Gentleman seems to suggest that this is not a Committee which should be quoted here, but I assure him it is a very important Committee and its recommenda- 146 tions have been accepted by the Canadian Government, because we find the Department of Immigration amending its regulations affecting child immigrants. It is now provided that the Canadian Council of Child Welfare will make a preliminary inspection of homes before any child is placed therein, and efforts will be made to secure that each child will have a separate bed, if not a separate bedroom. Precautions will be taken to ensure that no child will be placed in a home which has previously been rejected as unsuitable, and every child will be visited once a month. I should like to hear something about that matter from the Secretary of State. Surely it is a subject of great importance.
§ Mr. LUNN
I should like to intervene with regard to the report of the delegation which the hon. Gentleman has just quoted. Evidently he has not read the entire Report or he is endeavouring to misquote it. At the beginning of the Report it states what the hon. Gentleman has quoted, namely, that on the whole the care of children in Canada is quite satisfactory, but if the hon. Gentleman goes through the Report and sees the recommendations he will find there were some things which were not considered satisfactory, and as a result of these things not being satisfactory it was recommended that children should not go to Canada under the school-leaving age, unaccompanied, and that is really the policy which has been accepted by the Committee here since that time. I think it very mischievous to make statements like this without quoting the whole text.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
I omitted reference to the question of the school-leaving age because I did not wish to detain the Committee. I am perfectly cognisant of the matters referred to by the hon. Member, but it was not necessary to read the entire report. We know that children unaccompanied do not go out under 14 as a rule, and therefore the objection he raises is a bagatelle. If the hon. Gentleman opposite thinks he knows more about the question than I do, I venture to differ from him. I venture to think I know just as much on the subject as he does.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
There is a very important scheme about which I have no doubt we shall hear something presently, and which is now being put into operation in this country and in Canada. It is a scheme which has been brought before the boards of guardians by the Ministry of Health, and if that scheme is carried out we shall find more children being migrated by boards of guardians. From 1920 to 1925 only 1.606 were migrated. The report from which I quoted just now and which I am told I ought to have read in toto refers to the wonderful things which have been done in sending out children, but one finds that these are only children sent out with their parents. Those are not the children to whom I am referring. I am referring to orphans and deserted children under boards of guardians, and of these, as I say, only 1,606 have been sent out in five years. I hope the arrangement between the Canadian Government and the boards of guardians which is now about to be put into operation will prove of some assistance.
There is another movement about which we have not heard anything, namely, the "big brother" movement in Australia, in connection with which I understand a meeting is to be held to-morrow morning. There, I believe, lies the solution of a difficult problem. It gives the opportunity to boys of being taken from this country, placed in situations in Australia and brought up and looked after for several years until they are able to look after themselves. There is a "big brother" over there who looks after the boy, writes to him and sees that he is getting on all right. It is one of the most excellent schemes I have yet known, and I have no doubt the more it is known the larger it will grow. The pioneer of the scheme is now in London, and is arranging to take out 250 boys to make a beginning. Under this scheme you may migrate any number of boys and they will be placed in situations and each boy will have a friend to look after him as long as he is in statu pupillari.
I cannot help thinking the failure of the Empire Settlement Act deeply concerns the future of the British Empire. Some suggest that we should give up the attempt to deal with migration by Governments and place it under a 148 Migration Board or Commission. Whether that is feasible or whether, It would achieve what we all want I do not know, but our population is increasing at the rate of 1,000 per day and unless we can migrate some 250,000 persons per annum we shall have too many people in this country. I should like, therefore, to ask the Under-Secretary to look into this and to see what is the matter with the Empire Settlement Act, and, if nothing is the matter with the Empire Settlement Act, what is the matter with Australia, what is the matter with Canada, what is the matter all round. Here we have 50,000 people waiting to be migrated, and the money is ready to send them out, and yet we cannot get them sent out. Apparently they cannot get to Australia or to Canada, and meanwhile foreign nationals are flowing into Canada and Australia. Why is it? I have detained the Committee rather longer than I thought I should, but there was a very proper interruption by the hon. Member opposite, and this took up a part of my small time.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Unfortunately, I have to catch a train at 9.30, and, therefore, I shall not be able to hear the Undersecretary reply, but before I deal with the subject which I am particularly anxious to have discussed to-day, I would like to tell the hon. Member for East Cardiff (Sir C. Kinloch-Cooke), who is so anxious to emigrate other people's children, that we, on this side, are not anxious to emigrate other people's children to distant countries, but would prefer to see them in the land of their birth.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
It is no good to the hon. Member to have them in this country, but I can assure him that the parents and relations of these children would prefer to have them settled on the land of this country rather than go where they are apparently not wanted, and where they will have as great a difficulty in getting land as they have here. What we have to do to solve the problem of finding work for these people is to open up the resources of this country, without bothering about sending them out to other parts of the world. We have to discuss 149 to-day more prominently, I think, the question of the relationship of the Colonial Office and the present Government with our African Dependencies, and I am glad we have on the Front Bench the Undersecretary of State for the Colonies, who is responsible for this Report. I have known the hon. Gentleman for many years, and have had great confidence in him, but I am bound to admit that, since reading this Report, I can see that we have different standards and that in future we shall have to consider these problems of our African Dependencies on rather different lines. I am afraid that he will not appreciate, perhaps, the effect that this Report has had upon many people who have read it, believing that when he went to Africa he really understood and meant to carry out that principle of trusteeship about which we have heard so much, and about which we see so little in our relations with the East African Dependencies.
The worker, the native, of Africa is to him a prospective producer of wealth; to us, he is a man, and we have got. therefore, different eyes looking at the problem and a different standard by which to judge his Report. Looking at the native as a worker, the hon. Member in his Report has been consistently anxious to solve the claims of the different people who require his work, and I wish the hon. Members who are here to-day, and who are anxious to persuade the Colonial Office to develop the growing of cotton in East Africa, understood that we are indeed at a critical time. Just as the Under-Secretary, in his Report, has balanced in paragraph after paragraph the claims upon the labour of the African native, I wish they realised that at this moment the balance is tipping against them and in favour of the plantation system in East Africa. If cotton is to be successfully grown in East Africa, it will have to be grown as the cultivation of the natives themselves, an individual cultivation, as in Nigeria, as in Uganda, a cultivation by natives for their own profit, men working for themselves. That such a system can succeed has been proved over and over again, and hardly needs restatement in this House.
When we look at the development of the native on the West Coast of Africa. we see that there the natives are prosperous, contented, and increasing in 150 number. Can Lancashire assist those of us who are anxious to see the same system of native cultivation on the East Coast to tip the balance back, and to ensure that the native shall be allowed to grow cotton for export as well as his own food, instead of being driven by this consistent, persistent drive to work for the planters in Kenya and elsewhere? I do not put it merely as a question of whether they are to work producing cotton or whether they are to work for a master producing coffee. I say it is our duty to allow these natives the freedom to cultivate what they like, that we have no right to interfere, and say "You shall work at something" or "You shall work at something else." Give them the right to cultivate what they like.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I am glad to hear the hon. Member say "Hear, hear," find I hope he means something more than merely saying it.
Major-General Sir JOHN DAVIDSON
It is a fact that the vast majority of the cotton produced in those countries is produced by the natives themselves, not in plantations, but through their own production. I have just returned, and I know that it is so.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
The question is, for these natives to-day, whether they are to be allowed to produce cotton for themselves, or whether they are to be forced by the Government, of which the hon. Member is a member, to work for planters, producing coffee, maize, and other produce. What we are anxious for is that they shall have the right to choose for themselves.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
The hon. Member says "Hear, hear" to that. Then will he issue in Kenya Colony a notice 151 similar to the notice issued by the Governor of Uganda, telling all public officials that they are not to coerce labour for working outside the reserves for white men?
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
That demand is being made by the Kenya settlers, but we are just wondering whether it is desirable to issue as explicit instructions as those, practically telling administrative officers that natives are to work at something or other. We are quite ready to issue similar instructions, and in fact we are asked to do so by the Kenya settlers, but we are disinclined to let administrative officers have anything to do with this labour question.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
The instructions I wish to be issued are that the administrators are not to urge these people to work at any particular pursuit, but to leave them free to cultivate for themselves. That is what we want. When the Under-Secretary has got in Kenya sufficient power to enforce instructions which will give freedom of production to the natives, then, and not till then, will he be justified in looking upon himself as a trustee for the interests of the natives. In this Report, they talk about the available labour balance, and, as my hon. Friend has pointed out, that amounts to 50 per cent. of the able-bodied native labour in that Colony. He contemplates forcing from the reserves work for the Europeans from half the able-bodied population. Whether it be 5 per cent. or 50 per cent., we stand by the principle that you have no right to compel any man, and, at the present time, they compel the natives to go out to work by instructing the district commissioners to get the chiefs to advise, or recommend, or, in some way, induce their young men to go out to work. The chiefs are brave men, but I think are naturally anxious to please the Government. They have been instructed that, according to the number recruited from their district, they will be judged.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Let us see what Mr. Harold Cox says. He used to be in this House, and, although I differ from him in most points in politics, I have an enormous respect for him, as I think most others have. He writes.The Report of the East Africa Commission issued last week should be read in conjunction with a very remarkable book by Dr. Norman Leys, published at the end of last year …. Most Englishmen were under the impression that wherever their flag waved, slavery had disappeared. Dr. Leys shows conclusively that in effect a form of slavery still exists in British East Africa. The most damning document that he quotes is Labour Circular No. 1. dated Nairobi, 23rd October, 1919.
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
Will the right hon. Gentleman tell me whether that circular was ever operative? Is it operative to-day? Is he saying that that circular is now operative, and that on it he bases the charge that native chiefs are paid, or get support from the Government, in accordance with the number of men they get on that circular?
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Yes, I base it on that circular, and here is the extract:District Commissioners will keep a record of the names of those chiefs and headmen who are helpful, and of those who are not helpful, and will make reports to me from time to time for the information of His Excellency.I say an administration which sends out a circular such as that is one that does bring pressure to bear upon the natives, and until this Government get the Governor of Kenya to send out instructions to the District Commissioners that they are not to bring pressure upon the chiefs to recruit labour, circulars such as this, whether they are operative or not, will continue to influence the District Commissioners and officials who administer native affairs. But it is not necessary alone to bring this individual pressure. There are innumerable ways in which the pressure can be brought, as the right hon. Gentleman knows. The pressure can be brought by depriving the natives of their land, and anybody who can read the account of how the Giriama tribes, for instance, were driven off their land and largely exterminated, without a burning sense of indignation, is not 153 fitted to be an Englishman. Then there is the account of how the Masai were driven off their plains with the loss of 30,000 head of cattle. The Samburn tribe is now in danger of being exterminated, but whether it is being exterminated or not we cannot tell.
All these things show the general tendency to deprive the natives of land, partly in order that there may be land for white settlers, but partly in order that the natives may be driven, by the lack of opportunity of cultivating for themselves, into the position of a landless, exploited proletariat. This has been going on in Kenya until I, for one, despair of making an alteration, but I see in the "Times" only two days ago the same practice is, apparently, being started in Tanganyika. It is not two years ago since the hon. Member and myself drew up an Ordinance for the Tanganyika territory, an Ordinance which, I believed, would save the land for the natives of Tanganyika for all time. Today I see again the Colonial Office, apparently, unable to stand up to the demands of white settlers for land. I will read this telegram from Nairobi, dated 23rd July:Considerable interest is displayed in the Southern Highland region of Tanganyika, which the Government, it is understood, is preparing to alienate. A Nairobi firm has open a land agency at Iringa, and Lord Delamere and others are now visiting the district.We failed in saving Kenya. Are we going to allow Tanganyika to go the same way? It all begins by small pieces of land being alienated, I know the right hon. Member will say it is only leased for 99 years, but you are beginning on a small scale what is going to develop into another Kenya in the mandated territory, for which we are responsible not only to the natives but to the whole world. Everywhere the same results must inevitably happen if we give way to the drive which is going on to-day to increase the supply of labour for the planters in East Africa, and the only way to stop that that I can see, is to allow the natives to have the chance to develop as they have on the West coast. It has been said that you can judge of the success of a native race under a white race by whether its population is increasing or decreasing. Nothing, I think, stirred the blood of this country so much about the 154 Congo atrocities as the evidence that the population had decreased by more than one-half. Now we have a perfect picture of the two different sorts of British rule in Africa. In West Africa you have allowed the native to cultivate his own land. Their exports and imports have gone up year by year by leaps and bounds, their population, is increasing, and it is a prosperous country. That country was no sort of trouble daring the War. On the East coast you have a diminishing population. Both in Kenya and, I believe, in Tanganyika the population has suffered. What is happening shows that we are not governing the natives on the East coast with the wisdom which we display on the other side of Africa. You cannot go on driving people out of the reserves to the extent that we are doing at present without, in the long run, destroying that population. Even to-day you get over and over again evidence that there are not sufficient able-bodied people in the reserves to produce food enough for themselves—let alone produce for exportation. We are depriving them of actual sustenance in taking away so many people. Even if you take away one-half of the able-bodied population there is not labour enough to go round.
The right hon. Gentleman talks about the. course of railway development in Africa. I do hope that if there is to be this railway development, he will see that it takes place where the population is, where the work is being done. on the West Coast, and not solely on the East Coast. Do not commit the insanity of building your railways where there is neither population nor work. In the first place you want labour for your railways, and they have not got it in East Africa. Then you want labour for the development of the farms that are opened up owing to the railways, and you have not got it in East Africa. Your problem now is the problem of labour in East Africa. You cannot help disturbing the increasing demand for that labour.
If only for one moment hon. Members would think, they would realise that if it is a question of lending £10,000,000 for railway construction in East Africa, it does not make a halfpenny difference to the unemployed, or to employment in. this country whether that £10,000,000 is 155 lent to East Africa, or to Poland. Every haltpenny piece of that £10,000,000 lend by this country somehow or other must leave this country as manufactured goods; therefore the increase in the employment plea has no value whatever. We only have a certain limited and definite amount of capital, and if you are directing that into one channel it means there is less for other channels of investment. So far as the unemployed are concerned they will not be one penny better off by reason of that loan.
The real test of the value of the loan, so far as I can see—and I must apologise for using the argument from these benches—is: Is it something which will bring in dividends? The best investment of money is one that brings imports into this country, interest on the loans, goods from other countries.
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I am glad to have agreement with that; in that ease we shall have less Government interference in the placing of the loans, and we shall realise that we are better off by lending money with equal security to a country which pays a higher rate of interest. I think that the Government might even now see what can be done, with the help of Lancashire, to stop this drift towards using the black man as labour. That is at the bottom of the whole business. Ultimately it may be that to pursue this policy will mean that you kill out the black race. Just as they have vanished from Australia they will vanish from East Africa. It is a frightful responsibility to try to impose a form of civilisation which suits you best upon a savage people. Leave them alone. Give them freedom. Cease to try to press them into the labour market, whether by driving them off the land or by taxation. Give them the advantage of the taxes you take from them in the shape of improved education, improved sanitation, and so on. If you do that, you will build up a real tribute to British rule such as no other Empire in the world has ever shown.
§ Sir SYDNEY HENN
Nothing would give me give me greater pleasure, if there had been time, than to answer many of the observations made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle- 156 under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), who has just sat down. I feel sure, however, that he will be much better answered in due course by the Under-Secretary; therefore, I will confine myself to remarks on one or two small matters upon which I should like some information from the Under-Secretary. There are one or two items in the Estimate to which I would call the attention of the Committee. I know that a grant-in-aid of administrative expenses is being given again this year to Tanganyika. The amount is £350,000. This is the same sum as last year. There is no detailed information in regard to that sum. It is merely described as a loan on terms to be prescribed by the Treasury. I also note the payment, £319,112, from the National Debt Commissioners for Uganda Railway Annuities. These two items alone make up more than half the sum of money which the Committee is asked to vote this year for Colonial Services. I am sure that hon. Members will agree with me that that is a sufficient reason why I should take up a few moments commenting upon these two items. As to the grant-in-aid to Tanganyika, I should be the very last to wish to starve the administration of Tanganyika, but I think the Committee ought to know something about the financial position of the country. How has its revenue and expenditure developed? The automatic repetition of this round sum in the Estimates year after year does not suggest improvement in the financial position of the country. We all know from the East African Commission's Report that the country is progressing in the matter both of imports and exports. Surely that must denote improvement in its financial position. I would like to know what is the present deficit in the working of the Tanganyika railway? Is the deficit allowed for in this grant-in-aid? My information is that of late there has been a very steady increase in the railway traffic, and surely that should bring about some relief to the burden this country has to bear in regard to Tanganyika.
The payment on behalf of the Uganda railway is described as the final instalment of annuities in repayment of advances amounting to £5,502,592 made by the National Debt Commissioners under the corresponding Acts of 1896 and 157 1902. This seems a fitting opportunity to consider the operation of those particular Acts. I am aware that the method of construction and eventual cost of that railway have given rise, at times, to considerable criticism, but what I am concerned with here is the creation and the extinction of this debt. To-day we all applaud the foresight which led to the provision of funds for the construction of this railway, which made a profit last year of £438,139, after providing for all its obligations and also making provision for renewals. With the further provision for construction which was arranged for in the loan of £3,500,000 voted by this House, last year, the Uganda railway can afford for the future to pay its way out of income and provide for further extensions out of its own credit, without laying further burdens on the taxpayers of this country.
I would like to call attention to the fact that the more recent method of financing railways of this description has been to make loans to the Colonies, with the understanding that within a given period the Colony should return to this country the sums that were provided under these several Acts. I would like to ask in this case whether the Treasury have finally decided to waive the claim for repayment of the funds supplied under the various Uganda Rail-way Acts, and under what authority from this House they have so decided? The position of that railway, freed in perpetuity from the obligation to pay interest on the first £5,500,000 of its capital, should, under good management, be a sound one.
Here let me say a word or two with reference to the severe criticisms that have recently been passed upon the Uganda railway traffic. In new countries, where labour is insufficient to go round, and is certainly always lacking for the sudden needs of rapid development, no reasonable person has a right to expect the ordered conveniences of older and well-populated countries. It is a curious fact that the same public that demands fresh construction is always the first to complain when it finds that these new needs result in the depletion of labour required for existing services. Some sense of proportion should be maintained in this matter by those who, unreasonably as I think, expect the rail- 158 ways of a new country to provide services that should be more properly provided by themselves, especially such things as warehousing accommodation at the points of arrival and departure. The risks of delay and occasional damage on the railway or on the lakes, where lake transport is used, are inevitable from the very nature of the business. So far from their meriting the censure that has been generally passed upon the management of the railway, I have no hesitation in saying the management deserve every commendation for having moved a very greatly increased tonnage. The real remedy lies in the improvement of all these transport facilities, but one thing to be borne in mind is that increased facilities up-country ought not to go ahead of the facilities at the ports It is no use constructing rail ways and roads up-country if the railroad cannot carry the goods that come to it, and it is no use extending the railways unless the port is ready to handle the goods that the roads and railway bring to it. It is for these reasons that I earnestly urge the Government to try as soon as possible the practicability of putting into operation some of the recommendations, if not all of them, of the East Africa Commission.
§ Sir ROBERT HUTCHISON
My hon. Friend the Member for Middleton and Prestwich (Mr. Sandeman) pointed out the value of cotton growing in the Empire and how very dependent we are on America for our cotton. We produce a product which, I venture to say, can pay for that cotton, and that is the rubber grown in Malaya, and, therefore, anything that we can do to foster the production of rubber and the price that the Americans pay for that rubber the better we shall be able to pay for the cotton which we require in Lancashire. Attention has been drawn recently to the price reached by rubber, and it may be germane to the subject to call attention to the price of cotton. In 1911 the price of raw cotton was 7.45d. per lb., in 1912, 7.32d.; in 1913, 6.6d. In July of this year the average price was 13.48d. If we take over a similar period the prices for rubber, we find that in 1911 it was 4s. 5d. per lb., in 1912, 4s. 5d.; in 1913, 2s. 9d.; and in 1925, 4s. 2d. The Stevenson scheme, I venture to say, saved the rubber industry when rubber was being sold at far below what it cost to produce. It un- 159 doubtedly saved the plantations by stopping the tapping of trees, it reduced the amount of rubber being produced in Malaya, and therefore stopped the deadly bark disease which attacked other areas not under restrictions.
Therefore that has done us a very great service, and I hope the Secretary for the Colonies will not rapidly change the present position which has done a great deal to stabilise the production of rubber and the labour employed in the production of rubber, as well as stabilising the price. The whole of the trouble of this rubber business has been that improvident firms have not made forward contracts, and now they find that they have to buy in a spot market. Any very rapid change in the present scheme would create a great deal of hardship for the producers of rubber in the Malay. Moreover, the Stevenson scheme undoubtedly will release a large quantity of rubber in the near future.
You will get an increase of production in August next if the present prices continue, but if we get 10 per cent. more production by August you will at once find yourselves up against the labour difficulty in the Malay. If in August you want another 10 per cent. more production of rubber you will want 15,000 more coolies, and it is almost impossible to get that amount of labour there. The only result will be that there will be a scramble after labour and the cost of production will go up, and you will place the industry on a bad and rotten basis. I hope from that point of view alone the Secretary for the Colonies will seriously consider the situation before making any change. I would also suggest that it is very desirable that as some 80 per cent. of the rubber produced has been bought by American companies it is just as well that they should pay for it and give us something towards the debt we are paying them annually. Our exports being so low recently in relation to our imports, this does not take into consideration the rubber which is going to America direct, although the bills for the same are coming to London. In my view, not only are the rubber producers in the Malay grateful to the Colonial Office for this scheme, but recently there has been a certain amount of agitation 160 for an alteration of the scheme. I hope it will not be altered but continued as at present, thereby allowing the purchasers to make contracts ahead as to what they are going to produce, and thereby place the industry on a far better basis than in recent years.
I also wish to raise the question of Empire communication inside the Empire, which is largely dealt with in the Report of the Commission which went to Central Africa. Anyone who has travelled there knows the great difficulties of communication. It is all very well to talk about the production of railways, but the real difficulty is to get from one part of the country to another. The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies knows perfectly well the difficulties of getting from Nyasaland into East Africa, and we want new bridges put there over the large rivers. This would not only allow the rapid transportation of machinery to those parts, but it would also allow products to be brought to the coast and this kind of development would be well spent money because it would speed up the trade of the Empire. We all have at heart the development of our Empire, and in these Central African States we believe we can get most of the raw materials we require, and in return they will become of the finest markets this country can look to. I hope the £10,000,000 which is going to be spent on that type of development will be spent quickly, because it is only by such development that we shall build up an Empire which we all wish to see second to none in the world.
§ Sir NEWTON MOORE
I very much regret that I had not the privilege of hearing the whole of the speech made by the Colonial Secretary, but I am pleased to hear from the last speaker that the sum of £10,000,000 has been promised for the development of communications, and I am quite sure that that expenditure will be very much to the advantage of the Empire. I happen to have been born in a Crown Colony which later received self-government, and it is largely due to the fact that the management of affairs in that Colony was left in the hands of the people living there that it was a success, because as a result of their own experience they were able to use the national resources to the best possible advantage. 161 After the rapid development of the gold-fields in Western Australia and the subsequent depression in that industry it was absolutely essential that we should look to our other potentialities in order to provide employment, and Western Australia is not unique in the progress that followed intelligent development.
I have listened with great interest to those hon. Members who have spoken about the possibilities that exist for the development of Empire trade in East Africa and other Crown Colonies, and I agree that a bold policy should be embarked upon. I know we are bound to have criticism in regard to all these schemes. I know that some time ago, when the intention of the Government was announced to construct 1,500 miles of railways in one of our Colonies for £1,500,000, the suggestion was received with a certain amount of derision and contempt, but we delivered the goods, and when these railways which are contemplated are built we shall find that the money expended on them will in the very near future prove greatly to the advantage of both the Colonies and the Empire. It is unnecessary to build railway lines such as we have in this country. What we have to do is to build them so that the producers may have an opportunity of competing in the markets of the world. Our policy was to construct a certain amount of spur line off the main line. Every 30 miles we constructed spur lines, so that no settler was more than 15 miles from railway communication, with the result that the producer, instead of having: to pay 1s. per ton in order to take his produce to the market by road ho only paid 1d. a ton by rail. It was not necessary to construct any wonderful station buildings but just sufficient to provide a dump, so that he could land his machinery and get his produce to market. I hope that in any scheme of development the Government may have in connection with the Crown Colonies they will realise it is essential that this communication shall be constructed on practical lines and, at the cheapest possible cost. £10,000,000 are to be spent in Kenya. What does that mean to this country? It means that they are putting down 80 tons of railway material from this country per mile of rail. They have also to get locomotives 162 and the rolling stock, and consequently it means considerable employment in this country. Every ton of steel they will want will mean 4.5 tons of coal to be mined. Every contract entered into by the Crown Colonies will react most favourably as far as the labour market of this country is concerned.
I heard the preliminary remarks of the right hon. Gentleman in introducing the Estimates to-day. When he intimated that it would be the last time that the Estimates would be introduced under the one head for the Secretary of State for the Colonies, I received that information —and I feel sure others did the same— with a considerable amount of pleasure, because we recognised, and I feel sure that the right hon. Gentleman who at the present time occupies the position of Secretary of State for the Colonies has recognised for many years past, how essential it is to make a differentiation between the departments that are controlling the Crown Colonies and the great Dominions that go to make up that wonderful entity, the British Commonwealth of nations. I may be wrong, I am subject to correction, but I do not think he went far enough, and as one who has the greatest admiration for his policy over since he accepted office as Undersecretary for the Colonies, I think he might have gone farther and provided that the Dominions Department should be placed under the control of the Prime Minister. It has been argued that the Prime Minister has no time to give consideration to these affairs. But we know that in the late Government the Prime Minister was also Foreign Secretary and seemed to have time to give his attention to very important matters. The dignity of nationhood which the Dominions have now attained should be fully recognised and the Prime Minister ought to be made the medium through which their views are presented to the Government of this country. What is the position at the present time? The channel of communication that exists, as far as I can gather, is that first of all a liaison officer is apparently in the confidence of the Prime Minister of Australia. I think that is the only Dominion at the present time that has a liaison officer. He is in direct touch with the Prime Minister hero. That is one channel of communication. Then there is another 163 officer here, a High Commissioner, who is supposed to represent the Government of the Dominion. He apparently is communicated with on certain occasions by the Colonial Office and he communicates direct with his Government, while at the same time I understand that the Secretary of State for the Colonies communicates directly with the Governor-General.
What sort of chaos are we going to have, if you have three channels of communication? It only leads to confusion. In what sort of position is the High Commissioner placed? A most humiliating position. Thus communi-cations go on between the Prime Minister of this country and one of the Prime Ministers of the Overseas Dominions without any knowledge on the part of the High Commissioner as to what has passed. I do not think that can be satisfactory or increase the good feeling that should exist between the Overseas Dominions and this country. The relationship that exists between Great Britain and those self-governing Dominions that go to make up the British commonwealth of nations has changed so materially in the last few years that the ordinary individual has hardly realised the altered status and attitude of these great communities since 1914. While not abating one iota of the love and affection that they have for this old country, they have now arrived at man's estate. They have shared her responsibilities and burdens, and now claim participation in her counsels. Prior to the outbreak of war, all diplomatic relations were conducted from 11, Downing Street, and the signature of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs bound the Dominions as well as Great Britain. Consequently, when the vital decision was made in 1914 and War was declared against Germany, the whole of the Dominions and the Colonies became involved, and, although no undertaking had been given as to what part they would play in that great struggle, and no agreement as to what their contribution should be in men and material, they all responded magnificently, establishing their title to independent nationhood by creating and equipping huge armies of their own, and, in the case of Australia, making a most valuable contribution to the naval forces of the Empire. When it is realised that, exclu- 164 sive of India, the Dominions raised no less than 1,350,000 troops, suffered approximately 140,000 fatal casualties and 050,000 wounded, besides contributing something like a £100,000,000 to the cost of the operations, it was not unreasonable that their representatives should be given a voice in directing operations and finally securing a direct representation at the Peace Conference.
It was thus established and recognised that, both in the organisation of the Empire and for internal purposes, the Dominions were equal partners and entitled to separate representation. Any other position would have been derogatory to their dignity as responsible nations under the British flag, and would have placed them in a subordinate position as compared with nations less advanced in development, possessing less wealth of resources and population, whose sacrifices in the War were not comparable with those made by these younger nations. It must be recognised, as far as foreign affairs are concerned, that the Empire must have a common policy. You must have agreement. I feel sure that the present Secretary of State realises that and is dcing all that he possibly can to induce the various Dominions to indicate the line of policy that he should follow. We realise that in so far as most of the Dominions are concerned, they would rather not at the present time indicate their views on the pact. New Zealand, by virtue of her isolation, and being a small nation, has indicated that as far as she is concerned she is prepared to abide by whatever decision may be arrived at by this country. She has no option. Lying away there with Australia, sharing an isolated position in the Pacific where there are other great nations surrounding her, naturally she realises that unless she can depend upon the British Fleet her position is a hopeless one. I think it was a wise decision of the Government to construct a certain number of cruisers. There are many people in Australia and other places who do not value the British connection as we and many Australians do. Until the recent decision that was arrived at by this country agreeing to recognise the Preference and to implement the resolutions of the recent Economic Conference, many people were indicating in the House of Representatives there 165 that there did not seem to be very much in giving preference to this country and getting nothing in return.
There are other countries that are prepared to give considerable preferences to Australia. We quite recently sent a small squadron round the world to show the flag. That squadron consisted, I believe, of six or seven vessels. But another country at the present time is sending a fleet round the world to show the flag, and it is not the Union Jack; it is the Stars and Stripes. That fleet consists of 11 battleships and 50 cruisers and submarines, and they are at present visiting Australia. We know that America has done all she possibly could to encourage trade relations with Australia, and why? History, perhaps, may say. I would only say this, that I think it was most unwise that the Treasury should have advised Australia, that so far as her loans were concerned, she should go to New York. A sum of £20,000,000 is not very much. We asked for £5,000,000 the other day, and it was subscribed three times over. If we had asked for £20,000,000 in two issues, it would have been over-subscribed in this country.
We hear a great deal about trade following the flag. No; trade follows the money, and if Americans put their money into Australia they are going to get a certain amount of trade. Notwithstanding that the Under-Secretary may smile at the suggestion, I think it is Bound logical fact, and I very much regret it, when it is realised that Australia has never gone back on any of her obligations, implied or understood. As a result of the inquiry the other day, we found how much France owes. What has France paid in the way of interest or redemption of debt? What has Australia paid? She owes about £89,000,000, at the present time, and she has paid the £450,000,000 that she raised to assist us in the War. I think it is far better to give consideration to the claims of the Dominions than to the claims of France. Recently 140 Australian boys went through France and the commander of those boys told me he could well remember the few men in France who raised their hats when the Australians and English, flag passed them. Yet how many brave Australian soldiers lie in the sodden fields of France and Flanders? How many thousands of 166 pounds have been raised at the present time to rebuild places in France? Let us look after our own people, and never mind France or any other nation. It is better to retain the loyalty and support of your own people than that of foreigners.
With regard to emigration, I think we are all bitterly disappointed that as a result of the Empire Settlement Act we have not had the amount of settlement that we hoped for. I remember the right hon. Gentleman introducing the Bill, and, in common with most others, I anticipated, as a result of the large provision of money that was made, that we should have had a greater amount of immigration. I agree to a large extent with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Mr. J. H. Thomas), who said that the fault does not lie altogether on this side, that there is not the amount of sympathy which we might expect from Australia, and I speak as an Australian. I do not know why it is. I do not know whether the change of Government has had some result on the number of people that have been received in Australia, but we do know that the number of migrants to Australia is very much less than it was before 1914, despite the expenditure of so large an amount of money in assisting passages and otherwise endeavouring to settle people there.
Regarding Western Australia, I had the opportunity, in common with many ofther Members of the House, of listening to Mr. Philip Collier, the Prim? Minister of that State, who indicated that, his Government were prepared to do all they possibly could to encourage the right class of emigrants. He is a Labour man, and his Minister for Lands is an Englishman, thoroughly acquainted with all the conditions and, in my opinion, very anxious to do all he possibly can to encourage immigration. I can only hope that the result of the representations that have been made will be satisfactory, notwithstanding that there have been a certain number of failures in connection with group settlement. There are bound to be such failures, just as there are bound to be a certain number of casualties in a battle. Australia has not been afraid of that. So far as ex-service men are concerned, her settlement schemen have 167 resulted in a loss of something like £20,000,000, which is a large sum for a small population of 5,000,000 or 6,000,000 people. I think there is no need to be disturbed by the occurrence of a certain number of failures. We know that in the old days the men who went out there and made Australia, Canada, and so on, were men who were prepared to endure a certain amount of hardship, and the man who goes out now and expects to make a success must go out into the country and not hang about the towns, which is what has happened in the case of a large number of emigrants who have gone out quite recently. In conclusion, I would congratulate the right hon. Gentleman upon his speech. It is the utterance of a man who knows his subject thoroughly, and it will be appreciated by the House generally.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
I will not venture, at this late hour of the evening, to advance what I conceive to be a Socialist policy for the Empire. Perhaps upon some future occasion such a policy will be boldly advanced from our own Front Bench, but there are many on these benches who hold the view that there are at least three Empires. There is the Empire of which the hon. Member for Richmond (Sir N. Moore) has spoken so eloquently, the Empire of our own flesh and blood overseas—the. Empire of Australia, New Zealand, and the other self-governing Dominions. I had thought at one time that the present Prime Minister was going to be farseeing enough and advanced enough to offer to purchase from those self-governing Dominions their surplus foodstuffs at cost price, and see to it that those foodstuffs were distributed in the cheapest way to the people of these islands. Had he definitely made such a proposal as that, there are many of us on these benches who would have supported him with both hands. Then there is the part of the Empire wich includes India, and of that I do not wish to speak to-night. The few remarks that I have to make are upon the Crown Colonies, where there is no self-government, where we have thrust ourselves in loco parentis, and where it is more than ever necessary that the House of Commons should take an active and intelligent interest to see that these 168 people are fairly, justly, and honourably treated. I want, first of all, to raise the question of the Masai.
In 1919 the Masai, with a total population of 45,000, owned 700,000 cattle and 2,000,000 sheep and goats. That is a prosperous country where every human being, man, woman, and child, has 14 head of cattle and 14 sheep or goats. It may not be a highly civilised prosperity, but there is wealth and prosperity of a kind. What has happened? Dr. Norman Leys in his book on Kenya says:Land worth several million pounds once belonging to the Masai now belongs to our countrymen. It is not taxed and its owners pay no direct taxation.How is it done? The Purko section of the Masai, evidently a sort of warrior caste, no doubt kicked up bothers of one kind or another and made themselves a bit of a nuisance to the self-imposed Government. I think it says something for them. There is some hope for anyone who will protest against an alien government. At any rate these Purkos made themselves a nuisance. I am prepared to believe they did something for which they deserved to be punished, but a collective punishment was imposed on the tribe. 10,000 head of cattle were taken from them. The Under-Secretary was asked a question on 6th July, 1923, and he replied:My right hon. Friend drew the attention of the present Governor to the apparent severity of the punishment, and A for this reason, as well as because a general inquiry into the position of the Masai is in prospect, the collection of the fine has been suspended.Last year I pressed repeatedly for the production of this Report. I knew it had been asked for. I knew instructions had been sent out for the fullest possible information to be supplied to His Majesty's Government, and still that Report has not been laid upon the Table of the House. I asked for it on 10th March last year and the then Secretary for the Colonies the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas) said:I regret that the report has not yet been received. I am telegraphing to the Governor, asking that it may be sent at once, and I am at the same time inquiring as to the exact position with regard to the recovery of the fine of cattle, including the method in which the cattle received have been disposed of.169 On 6th May, last year, I asked again for the production of that Report and I was told:The report has not et been received, but I am inquiring of the acting Governor how matters stand.Now we come to the summer of 1925, and there is the same refusal, on the part of someone, to own up publicly and openly as to what happened to the property of these poor people, and why it is that the statement of the Under-Secretary two years ago that this penalty was too severe has not brought forward any (response from the acting Governor, and why as the result of it all, "land worth several millions once belonging to the Empire now belongs to our country. It is not taxed, and its owners pay no direct taxation." I trust the Under-Secretary will have something to say about that.
I do not intend to speak about forced labour in Kenya beyond one passing reference. So far as my information goes I want to pay the present Colonial Secretary this tribute, that he has done his utmost—and I believe it will be proved when the Report is published in a day or two—to prevent the acting Governor and his friends in Kenya from imposing conscription of labour upon the natives, but he has backed down at the last. There is forced labour in Kenya. There are at least 4,000 forced labourers. The penalty is 60 days' forced labour per annum. The wages are less than those paid for voluntary labourers on the railways. They are 12s. a month. What is the condition of these labourers? I do not know, but I trust the Colonial Secretary will be able to assure the House that lie will continue be set his face like flint against this policy of labour conscription which has been so assiduously and persistently demanded by some white settlers in Kenya Colony. He ought also to tell us how he views the struggle that is going on there between the planter policy, the policy of hired labour on the big estates, and the policy of encouraging the native producers, as they have been encouragad by another Governor in Uganda.
I want to ask the Under-Secretary to make the statement he promised some time ago about this gang who are operating in the Bahama Islands. [Interruption.] I do not see the joke. The 170 good name of Britain is at stake. The pleasant relations between this country and the United States are at stake, and the. honour of the Colonial Secretary and the honour of the Governor and the Legislative Assembly in the Bahamas are at stake, and I trust this matter will not be regarded with amusement but will be taken very seriously indeed. The Under-Secretary for the Colonies assured the House in answer to a question some time ago that he had cabled for information on the point and that he would present the reply when it arrived. It has had time to arrive by post and I trust the Undersecretary will be able to give us the information to-night. What is the accusation? It is not an accusation. It is a fact. I have in my hand a prospectus of a public company registered in London. The Bahamas International Trading Company, Limited, and the Bahamas Trust Company, Limited, 14, Regent Street, London, S. W.1. They promised £400,000 profit upon £200,000. Of the £200,000, the whole need not be paid up How is this done? It is done because, as they boast in their prospectus, they have on their board of directors gentlemen who are members of the Legislative Council of the Bahamas. They give their names. They boast that they have succeeded in crushing out all their competitors in the rum-running business to America. They use their power in the Legislative Assembly to stamp out the little fellow, and now they say, in effect, "We have a monopoly. We are lying adjacent to the American coast. That great, dry, thirsty country." What are the sort of goods they are going to run? Johnny Walker, Bushmills, Heidseick and different sorts of whiskey and gin. They say that cargoes can be run across quite easily and that great profits can be made so long as their friends—they give the names—are in a position of influence in the Legislative Assembly of the Bahamas. They point out in their prospectus that members of their board are members of the Bahamas Legislative Assembly. The president of the company is George W. Armbrister, member of the Legislative Assembly. Mr. Frank P. Keisacker is another member of the board.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Is the hon. Member going to establish some connection between this matter and the duties of the Colonial Secretary? If so, he will be in Order; if not, he will not be in Order.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
I will make a desperate effort. I think the present Colonial Secretary has already tentatively admitted that he has some responsibility, when he cabled out to the present Governor and asked him for a report upon this scandal. That is an admission on the part of the right hon. Gentleman that he has some responsibility to the House in the matter. Mr. Frank T. Keisacker is the Treasurer. Another member of the Board is Mr. Eric D. Solomon, member of the Legislative Assembly. That is his qualification in this prospectus, that he is a member of the Legislative Assembly. Another member of the Board is Mr. Frank Duncombe, a member of the Legislative Assembly. All these gentlemen are resident at Nassau, in the British Colony of the Bahamas. I hope the Colonial (Secretary will regard this dirty business seriously. I do not know what the franchise is out there. I do not know how these people are elected or whether it is a democratic franchise or not; but the fact that a Governor is appointed from home signifies that to some extent there is a responsibility on this House for seeing that open, shameless, wicked, stupid corruption of this kind is stopped.
A thing like this is apt to embroil us with the United States of America. At any rate, it is not likely to make our diplomatic relations more smooth, when a Colony under the British flag, and lying adjacent to the American coast, is used as a base for a gang of corrupt thieves and swindlers, for they are nothing else, deliberately defying the laws of the United States of America, and using the British flag to carry on their trade. I trust that the Colonial Secretary will give the House an assurance as far as the British Government are concerned—I do not know what the British Navy is for if it does not go for these people—they are prepared to put their heel down upon this International Trading Company.
§ Lieut. - Colonel McDONNELL
This Debate having roamed all over the British Empire will have served a very useful purpose if it does nothing else than call 172 the attention of this House and the attention of the country to the potential value of the undeveloped natural resources of our Crown Colonies, and the need for using the requirements of those countries to increase our export trade. Nothing this House can do will have the slightest effect on the amount of goods that the foreigner will purchase from us by his own money or with his own credit. Consequently, it is absolutely essential to develop our own Imperial markets, to foster the privileges we enjoy in our Dominion markets, to increase the amount of exports from our Crown Colonies, to help our factories at home, and to increase the demands from our Crown Colonies for our manufactured goods. The House has done a.11 in its power, at least until the people of this country generally accept the policy of preferential Protection, to ensure the continuity of the privileges that we enjoy in our Dominion markets by the acceptance, free from party prejudice, of the principle of Imperial reciprocity. The next step for us to take is to do all we can to increase the demand for British goods in our tropical Colonies. It is in this way, more than any other, that I believe we can take practical steps to help the export business of this country.
The possibilities of development and the difficulties to be overcome in our tropical Colonies have been brought to the attention of this country by the Report of the Commission on East Africa. These difficulties and these possibilities are not peculiar to East Africa. They exist to a greater or lesser extent in all our tropical Colonies, certainly in Africa, and one might also say in such Colonies as British Honduras and British Guiana. I do not wish to undervalue the work of the Commission, but I think it is rather lamentable that it takes a Commission to go out to our Colonies to bring home to our people what are the difficulties and what are the possibilities in our tropical Possessions. I believe it is just because of this ignorance of the nation in regard to our tropical Possessions that the Colonial Office has been starved of the force that it should have, and that the machinery of the Colonial Office has not progressed concurrently with the needs of the Colonies. The result is that each Colony has had to work more or less on its own and give a lead to the Colonial Office with the policy started practically 173 by each Governor, whereas it is the Colonial Office that should give a lead to our Colonies and not the Colonies to give a lead to the Colonial Office.
As set forth in the Report on East Africa, the three requirements in the Crown Colonies are an increase in the native population, improvement in the public health and better and cheaper transportation facilities. The question of population and improvement of public health are really one, as the very diseases that make these countries so dangerous to the European are the very diseases that prevent the native population from increasing.
Generally speaking, the rate of infantile mortality in Crown Colonies is appalling. The adult native population really represents the veterans who have withstood the attacks of endemic tropical diseases during childhood. The native wealth, both mineral and agricultural, is lying under the ground only waiting for enough population to produce it. A wise application of medical science will decrease infantile mortality, and the population will increase. Somebody said during the Debate that the birth rate was down. I do not think that that is the case. Certainly in any part of Africa in which I have been there always seemed to be plenty of babies about, but great numbers of them die.
The Governments of the Crown Colonies themselves seem to realise what the value of population is, because if we look at the Budgets for the last 10 or 15 years we shall see that year after year they have spent more on their medical services. In the six chief tropical Colonies in Africa to-day they spend from 12 to 22 per cent. of their total tax revenue on these services. But each Colony and Protectorate has really been left to work out its own medical and sanitary salvation. My complaint is that there is little or no official co-ordination of the various medical services in the different Colonies in the Colonial Office. Up to the present it seems to me that the Colonial Office has been slow to assume its responsibilities in these matters, and furthermore to appreciate the value of increased native population in our Crown Colonies to this country.
I think that I am justified in making that statement as though the Colonial 174 Office has authorised in the four West African Colonies an establishment of 246 medical officers, still these establishments have always been under strength. Even now they are 13 per cent. below full strength. I understand that it is proposed to establish a medical director in the Colonial Office, and I welcome this most heartily. I hope that this director will be fully supported, and that this directorate will be responsible for the campaign against tropical diseases. This campaign is divided into three services which are all as inter-dependent on one another as are the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.
There is first the research to find out the cause of and the means of preventing and cure of tropical diseases. The second service is the medical administration and sanitary administrative work in the Colonies themselves, and the third is the construction of preventive sanitary works to make the unhealthy districts healthy. With regard to research work the responsibility should rest with the home Government, and the Crown Colonies should only be required to help as and when they can be really useful. Research work of necessity must extend to all tropical countries both British and foreign. Research activities and expenditure cannot be localised to one or two colonies. In all colonies there must be close co-ordination, and close touch must be kept with the various research bureaux both in this country and in foreign countries. For these reasons I am convinced that not only the direction but the cost of such research work should really be an Imperial obligation.
The value of research into tropical diseases has been proved over and over again. Though research work has not discovered a cure for malaria, yellow fever, or plague, yet it has revealed how the infection of these diseases, can be reduced to almost a minimum. Research has eliminated the hook-worm in the southern states of the United States. I believe that it is only a question of time when research work will find out how the diseases carried by the tsetse fly can be cured or prevented. As a nation we have not taken the lead which we ought to take in this medical research, considering that we have a greater 175 responsibility for the development of tropical countries than any other country in the world. It was a doctor and not an engineer who built the Panama Canal, and the United States were the first country to realise the value of the doctor when they paid their chief doctor a higher salary than their chief engineer on that work.
With regard to recurrent localised medical expenditure, each Crown Colony must be responsible for that expenditure, but if its resources are not adequate the Imperial Government, as trustees for the natives in those countries, should advance what is necessary until the resources of a Colony are adequate to maintain a proper service. Although the Crown Colonies are spending a very large proportion of their total tax re-venue on medical services, yet the number of doctors and medical staff which they employ, in proportion to their area and population, is nothing like as great as has been found commercially remunerative by a certain fruit company in Central America. Take the Gambia and compare it with the area the fruit company operates, the area and population of the Gambia are just one-third greater than the area and population controlled by this fruit company.
The fruit company has on its medical staff 44 doctors, 44 nurses and 442 other sanitary and medical personnel. Our establishment in the Gambia provides for eight doctors, three nurses and 22 other medical and sanitary personnel. It may be that that is not quite a fair comparison, because the territory owned by the fruit company is in different blocks, and the staff is not all in one place, but I should add that on the headquarters staff in New York the company has one head doctor, one consulting pathologist, one consultant for medical research, and one laboratory technician, while we have not any headquarters staff yet in the Colonial Office. The fruit company has this headquarters staff to administer a country which is smaller than one of our smallest Crown Colonies and for all our Crown Colonies until now, when we are going to instal this medical directorate, we have had nothing to compare with it in the Colonial Office.
In connection with the question of preventive sanitary works such as the 176 clearance of swamps, etc., the expenditure must be expenditure on capital account. It is quite easy to eliminate swamps. The worst breeding place for mosquitoes is ground which is subject to periodical inundation. All one has to do is to dredge the centre of the swamp and place the spoil on the bank and gradually reduce the area of swamp and stabilize the shore line and thus you eliminate all danger. I may now say a few words about transportation. In the development of railways in Crown Colonies you should have in mind some general programme and a topographical survey of the whole country, however rough it is, so as to be sure that you may know what are the main geographical difficulties which have to be overcome. That seems so very simple as to be almost unnecessary to state, but when one looks at the way in which some of the railways have been built it would appear that they were made just to meet a temporary need in one locality, and they will never be an integral part of the whole system.
In the present state of unemployment what we need is more markets for our exports. I submit to the Secretary of State that a Select Committee should be appointed to go into the question of instituting in the Colonial Office Directorates corresponding with the various technical and administrative services and public utilities under Government control in the Colonies themselves, keeping in mind that these Directorates should be staffed with officers having personal first-hand experience of the Colonies. The officers of the Directorates should pay visits of inspection to the Colonies, and act as advisers to the various heads of territorial Departments, permitting a general policy to be formulated for the development of our tropical possessions which would be acceptable to all parties in the House, so that continuity of policy might be ensured when Governments change at home, or Governors change in the Crown Colonies.
Mr. HILTON YOUNG
The long day wanes. The deep still moans around us, from many voices. The charm of the Debate on the Colonial Estimates is their infinite variety. We have proceeded from one end of the Empire to the other in seven league boots. I am sure that the 177 House felt deeply the argument addressed to the Secretary of State by the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston) in respect of the oppressive fine of cattle imposed on that peace-loving tribe, the Masai. Let me suggest this remedy, as no remedy was suggested by the hon. Member for Dundee—that when so oppressive a fine is imposed upon that tribe, there should be given the option of a short term of imprisonment. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State found himself in trouble with the police, as it seems that anyone nowadays might find himself, he would be given the option of a short term of imprisonment. Why not the Masai? I listened with the most pleasure to the very able, I might almost say the brilliant, speech delivered as a maiden speech by the hon. Member for Waver-tree (Mr. Tinne), who showed an acquaintance with some of the more unpleasant inhabitants of the Empire, such as the tsetse fly, which is almost uncomfortable. His colleagues trust that he is not in the habit of bringing his pets with him to the House. But what I particularly admired in the development of his argument was his recommendation that we should employ, in the promotion of hygienic minds in our African Empire, the services of the local clergy. I have recently had an opportunity of studying the portrait of one who, I believe, discharges functions analogous to those of a vicar in a quiet country village, in Southern Nigeria, and I am confident from his appearance that his advice to his flock would carry great weight.
I have observed that the course of this discussion has followed a double channel. On the one hand, there has been a current of opinion advanced under the direction of my right hon. Friends the Members for West Swansea (Mr. Runciman) and for the English Universities (Mr. Fisher) vindicating the just and equal rights of, not the inferior, but the less cultivated people of the Empire. Another current has developed itself. I have observed cropping up here and there an idea which shows a consciousness in the minds of Members of the House that there was upon this Debate a great opportunity. It was developed with great clarity by the hon. and gallant Member who spoke last—the idea that upon this occasion 178 time is to a certain extent lost which is not devoted to emphasising that the great necessity of our nation and Empire at the present time is the development of the resources of the Empire. It is upon this point that I rise to say but that short word which time allows, to do what I can to emphasise this: that upon such an occasion as this it is no longer enough to speak about the absorbingly interesting questions of the expansion of the Empire, but that in a Debate upon the relations between this country and her Dominions we are now confronted with a problem which is of vital interest to the welfare of this nation, which may be absolutely decisive in the future existence of the Empire.
Let me, as I have the privilege to stand here speaking through you. Mr. Chairman, to the Secretary of State, emphasise in the few moments that remain, the fact that no function of this House, and no function of His Majesty's Government at the present time can possibly transcend in importance the development of the trading and commercial relations of this country with the Empire overseas. What is the present state of affairs? Time is so short, let me put tit briefly. This country is in great difficulty. We debate from day to day such questions as the coal dispute, the question of the expansion of imports, and so on, and these Debates are very interesting, but they are very barren in suggestions as to a remedy. This is the occasion upon which one can really develop the remedy for the evils and the difficulties of the state of trade and the present position of this country—when we can talk about the expansion of our trade into that great potential area which is waiting for it in the Empire overseas. This country is in an artificial state. It has built up a great population, and it has built up an enormous elaboration of production by artificial means. We cannot support the population we have, we cannot support the plant we have without special advantages. We cannot support them simply by natural advantages.
In the past, we had special advantages. They were two. First, we had a start. Enterprise, brains, the thrust of those who went before us, gave us a start in the markets of the world, as the first great producing nation. We had another 179 advantage, in cheapness of production. Both these advantages we have lost. We have lost the start. Other nations have copied our methods and our organisation. We have shown them how to balance the egg and they can balance it now. In the second place, we have lost the advantage of cheapness of production. Our wage earning population have understood that it is possible for them to have a better standard of living They are right; they should maintain it. Trade was made for man and not man for trade, but granting that we cannot recede from that higher standard of living, we must recognise that we have lost the start of cheapness of production. If we are to maintain swollen population and elaborate plant we must seek other advantages to replace those we have lost. Gaze around and see what advantages you can find. You will find only one which is conspicuous, the possibility of developing your trade with the advantages which are given to you by the great extension of the British race overseas.
It may be said, "It is easy to point out the path of salvation of the Empire in vague and general terms, but what is the practical method of following it?" It has appeared in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State; it has appeared in many other speeches—a consciousness of how we can develop the advantage waiting for us in the Imperial markets. May I say but a single word to link it up? There are two things to do: to get a greater share of the existing markets in the Dominions of the British Empire, and to increase and develop those markets so that you will get an even greater share still in the future. In the first region, of how to get a greater share in the existing markets, that, of course, is a question of Preference, and I am not going to refer to that to-night. I should be out of order if I did, as that requires legislation, and we can concern ourselves to-night only with administration; but in that second region, of how to develop the markets of the Empire, it is not impossible to design a plan and to thrust forward. We have the one great asset to use, the asset freely at our service to develop and increase the markets of the Empire, and that is the asset of our credit. I know that, in speaking of this in the presence of the Secretary of State 180 for the Dominions, I am preaching to the converted. I know that he is fully conscious of the importance of that asset. His speech showed it to-night, but, if I may say so, I do not think that his speech to-night showed quite a full sense of how this really is the path of salvation and deliverance, and, in the language of the Evangelists, his speech showed that his Government has had a motion, but has not yet found grace in this matter.
My purpose in rising is simply to insist on this, that the time spent in finding ways out of coal troubles, time spent in discussing tariffs, time spent in all these things is really time wasted in comparison with any time that the Government can spend upon devising means for using our credit for the development of the Dominions overseas. We have lost the advantages we had, and we must seek new advantages in the future. I know of no means so direct, so simple, and so sure of finding those advantages as making use of this great asset. The common criticism, when you talk about Dominion trade as a help in our difficulties, is for people to say: "Too slow, too visionary, too much in the future." It is not so, indeed. Use your credit freely to bring capital goods to this country, and you will get immediate employment in this region in which it is most needed, in the engineering trade, in the iron and steel trade, in the coal trade. This is the real direction: this is the fundamental cure; other euros are but palliatives. Employ your credit freely to bring orders to this country, and you will get the immediate orders for the capital, and you will get the free imports of food and raw materials in the way of interest.
How true a word that was of the Secretary of State for the Dominions that the importance of this Colonial trade is because it is complemental. It is from this we get the raw materials and foodstuffs which we require, and in the third place, if one may venture to look ahead, and to be a little impatient with those who always desire immediate ends, by the use of your great asset of credit in that direction you effect an expansion of the markets of the Empire, you effect an increase of customers, and you replace the millions of customers lost in the War. How misleading an argument of my right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under- 181 Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), that it is indifferent whether you give a loan to a British Colony or to Poland! A first approximation to the truth, indeed! Yes, the orders are the same, but by the one you are giving an order to a foreigner, whose next order will go abroad; by the other, you are giving an order to one who breeds customers for the British Empire.
The last word. This Empire was built into its present position by enterprise and by courage, and not by hesitation, not by too nice considerations of such delicate balances of finance as the gold standard. It was the courage and the enterprise of men who put this country in the position in which it is. If one may venture on a prophecy, to retain it in the position, and to advance it to a position even more prosperous, needs courage and enterprise on the part of the British sovereign.
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
We have just listened to a very remarkable speech, which has been welcomed in every quarter of the Committee. The right hon. Gentleman has reminded the Committee that, on these small Estimates, a paltry sum compared, I think, with any of the other Estimates put from the Chair, we are dealing with a question of Empire development, and the potentialities of Empire development—with what is, probably, the only effective means of helping us in our own social, internal troubles. As I see it, it is only by the further development of the British possessions overseas, the self-governing Dominions, by a further increase of their population, their man-power, their capacity to develop their resources arising from migration on the one hand, and, equally, the progress and development of the tropical areas, which are only just beginning their real economic expansion which lies ahead—it is only by those two developments that we can recreate in the 20th century the conditions which enabled Great Britain to continue to develop her prosperity in the 19th. It was the expansion of the New World, South America and North America, in the 19th century, that enabled us, after the Napoleonic Wars, and later on in the century, steadily to expand British export trade and British import trade, and the investment of British capital abroad. And so, in the coming century, faced as we are with the highty- 182 protectionist development of industries of all foreign countries, it is only by the expansion of our own Colonial and Dominion possessions and everything we can do to that end that we shall really help the problem of unemployment in this country.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Norwich (Mr. H. Young), who has just sat down, is very wise, if I may say so, in complimenting my hon. Friend the Member for the Wavertree Division of Liverpool (Mr. Tinne) on his maiden speech this afternoon, dealing with the importance of medical research work in connection with our Overseas possessions. To my mind, probably nothing is more important, because it was the doctor as much as the engineer that made Panama. It seems to me that the most urgent thing, certainly as regards the development of all tropical countries, tropical Australia, as well as tropical Africa, is further work in the combating of tropical disease; not only this, but in the working out of all the various problems associated with the life of the different races of human beings in tropical Dominions. It is a fallacy to suppose that it is only the white man who finds it difficult to live in the tropics. Equally, the black man finds it difficult. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Swansea (Mr. Runciman) earlier in this Debate talked about the population question in East Africa. I think he was slightly in error when he talked about the birth rate. In that country the birth rate is extremely high, but the infant mortality rate is perfectly appalling. It is not that the babies are not born. It is the expectation of life that is so extraordinarily small. So far as I can get figures—and it is very difficult to get figures in connection with tropical administration—one has not got the staff, or the statistics in any of these countries which are practically new— but so far as I can get statistics, in many of the native areas, the more remote the country from civilised life the worse— you get a rate of anything from 400 to 500 per 1,000 of children born who die within the first year. It is a perfectly appalling figure.
These are the problems in which I find so puzzling the arguments of one of the Fundamentalist speakers who took part in this Debate—I call him a "Funda- 183 mentalist" because I know he does not like to be called a "Die-Hard "—namely, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), who has learned nothing and forgotten nothing in 20 years. He was discussing the Report, and he read the actual words of the Report, signed not only by himself, but also by a Member of the Labour party, and also by a Member of the Liberal party. We went into that question in this Report. The right hon. Gentleman is proceeding on, if I may say so, quite an idiotic idea in trying to put opposition between East Africa and West Africa, in endeavouring to show how much better West Africa is, and how West Africa is developing so much faster than East. It is not. As a matter of fact during the last few years, East Africa's rate of increase has been more rapid than the rate of increase in West Africa. But I am not going to argue from that, or from figures of that sort, nor put up that sort of argument in answer to that of the right hon. Gentleman. I do not believe it is worth it. I believe that in facing these questions the one great care should be to be thoroughly objective, to be thoroughly determined to face the facts, and to do the best you can to make the thing work; to do everything you can to help and not to cramp. [An HON. MEMBER: "Constructive work!"] Yes, constructive effort is equally wanted in West and East Africa. It is not only in East Africa that all the difficulties occur. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme said Lancashire ought to mark that, but the fact is that it is in East Africa that the great cotton development is taking place—a far larger development than in West Africa.
I hope it will be my privilege shortly to visit West Africa to try to issue for the benefit of him and others a report on the progress of West Africa, only I see he is so obsessed with the feeling that he is the only just man that he says, "Oh, the hon. Member opposite only thinks of man as a wealth producer; we on these benches thinks of him as a man. "How is it, then, that in my terms of reference, as given to me by the right hon. Gentleman who was Secretary of State for the Colonies in the late Government, the first item on which I was to base my report 184 was "the economic development and the acceleration of the economic progress" of these countries?
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
To have it thrown at me that the main part of this Report did not deal with the spiritual aspects of the question, which I quite agree are important and must be taken into account, because I reported on the terms of reference put up to me is, I think, drawing it rather high. I am perfectly convinced that the progress of the negro races of Africa, and I say advisedly "races," and not race, is bound up with their ability, and their increasing ability, to make use of the enormous resources of the country in which they live. It is only by their becoming physically, mentally and morally more capable of doing that that they will progress to a higher civilisation, not just like ours, but a civilisation of their own—in so far as they acquire the skill and capacity to master natural forces as we have in the past. The foundation of all their moral and intellectual progress is bound up with the economic control of those natural forces. It is our paramount duty, and it is recognised by this Government, and I believe by all parties in the State, to be our first duty, to help them to that end.
The Government can have no complaint of any of the speeches this afternoon, with the exception of that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme, for everyone has been singularly helpful. Respecting what fell from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Swansea, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Combined Universities (Mr. Fisher) regarding the importance of land in the consideration of these African problems, and the question of a fair apportionment of native taxation to immediate native welfare, on all these questions we welcome discussion in the spirit in which they were discussed this afternoon.
The one thing about which I think all Members want to hear something is the Southborough Committee. I feel a little diffident in dealing with that, as I was a Member of the Committee, though being Under-Secretary I should have to resign in any case from that Committee, as would my Noble Friend one of the Junior 185 Lords of the Treasury who represents the Fylde Division of Lancashire (Captain Lord Stanley). One of our chief difficulties was after the results of the last General Election and the lamented death of two members of the Committee the whole Committee would have to be reconstructed. In reference to the Report which we have submitted to the Secretary of State, to attempt to re-construct the Southborough Committee with new personnel and new terms of reference would have been extremely difficult.
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
Our terms of reference were practically identical with those of the Southborough Committee. We had on our Commission members of three parties, and they spent far more time than could have been done by the Southborough Committee in London, and what did they report? Simply that the matter was urgent and that action should be taken without delay. The first thing that struck me was that the Kenya land question brooked no delay. If we had referred that to a reconstructed Southborough Committee to report in two years' time, it would have been practically impossible to get anything done. To refer the Report of the Commission of which I was chairman to another Committee would have caused interminable delay in taking action. The Secretary of State is quite prepared to take responsiblity here and now for putting into force at the earliest possible moment those sections of the Report which he thinks should be dealt with urgently, and he is ready to give the matter his consideration and responsibility. I am sure further delay is quite unnecessary. The Government do not shut the door to future inquiries.
I have myself made inquiries as to whether a committee of inquiry in London into the very difficult question of native land in West Africa would be of any value, and I am advised that it would not, and that a committee out there would be of some value because a committee here in London could not envisage the change which is coming over the native system of land tenure, which involves the practical elimination of the head chief, and with all these various changes of the native systems of land tenure it could not be done in London, and this matter 186 requires a special ad hoc committee to make inquiries on the spot. Even with a committee of what I might call technical experts I doubt if that is really valuable in Africa to-day. I would rather see what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas) himself described as men of common sense sent out there. I would much rather see men of common sense consulting the people who are really up against these problems on the spot in order that they might bring back reports as to what is needed. When we presented this Report with regard to East Africa we did not pretend that we knew everything about it for all time. We came to the conclusion that we would sketch out a programme which would take two or three years to put into operation.
§ Mr. THOMAS
Will the Undersecretary say whether, when he and his colleagues framed that Report, they had anything else in mind except that the Report would be presented to the Secretary of State and considered by the Southborough Committee that was then in existence?
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
I cannot say that that was in my mind. I proceeded with the consciousness that the House wanted the Report at the earliest possible moment, but at that time the Southborough Committee was in a state of suspended animation. Remember, that it was a Committee of about 16 or 17 people. There were, of course, no possibilities of an agreement on that. I say that quite frankly. I did see enormous possibilities of delay, terrible possibilities of the whole thing hung up for about two years, and I may say with great gratification that the reception given by officers in East Africa to the criticisms and the proposals in the East Africa Commission's Report is one of the best reasons for endeavouring to act fairly quickly. That reception from many sections of opinion has been not only not critical but most appreciative of the suggestions contained in that Report. I only hope that there will be no suspicion or suggestion that East Africa is to be made the cock-shy of party politics or party recriminations, but that we can go forward on the basis of that Joint Report signed by Members of three parties and put into effect some of those practical reforms which I say are considerably overdue.
187 I really have only a few minutes in which to answer one or two quite specific points. I apologise to the Committee that the paper regarding the use of compulsory labour in railway construction has not appeared by to-day. It meant signing a special order for overtime, and I am afraid it will not be ready for two days. It has been in print for some time. That will give in full details the temporary circumstances under which my right hon. Friend sanctioned the limited use of some compulsory labour on a particular railway in order to get a new cotton railway through to Uganda started at the earliest possible moment. There is no intention on the part of the Government, as will be seen from these papers, to revert to compulsory labour whenever we can possibly avoid it, and it is only in an emergency of that kind. I must say, however, that I do not entirely agree with the general condemnation of all forms of—call it compulsory labour—all forms of the customary tribal labour being used for certain public works. I must put it to the Committee that the great development of native production and native welfare in Uganda is primarily due to the Uganda system of roads. The existence of these roads in Uganda and the absence of them in Kenya is due to the fact that the whole African population in Uganda by African custom has owed a month's labour to the chief. That has been diverted to works of public utility, namely, road construction and road maintenance, with the most wonderful results for the true welfare of the natives in that part of Africa. Similarly, in West Africa, the so-called employment of political labour, both on railway construction and on the construction of roads in Nigeria, has not been oppressive. It has been for a few days only in the year; it has been of limited duration, it has been under much better supervision than in the old days under the tribal chiefs, and it has been of real value to the progress of the country—so much so that, when the Covenant of the League of Nations on these matters was drawn up, it was included as being allowed. The British Government have made it perfectly clear that neither directly nor indirectly will they allow the recruiting of compulsory labour for any purposes of private profit.
188 I want to say one word about the question of taxation. My view of it, as clearly stated in the Report, is that the question of an increased contribution in direct taxation by the non-native population, European and Indian alike, is a matter for early consideration by all the Governments of tropical Africa. I do not think that trade, particularly, is pay-its share of the general expenditure of the country. I think the whole force of direct taxation in these Colonies is being borne by the direct native taxpayer. In the case of Kenya, for instance, the figure quoted by my right hon. Friend from an answer he gave this afternoon was £500,000 as the amount of native direct taxation. The total revenue of Kenya is £2,000,000. By far the larger share of the Customs duties levied on goods entering Kenya falls, however, upon the non-natives, because on whisky and things of that kind, and on articles of European produce and consumption, there are very high duties, indeed, so there is something to be said for the other side. I have promised to leave the hon. Member for Rothwell (Mr. Lunn) one or two minutes before Eleven in which to speak, so I will only say, in conclusion, that I regret very much that this Debate has not come on earlier in the Session, so that possibly we might have had more than one day for it, in order that we might have a bigger opportunity of covering the whole field. The Empire is growing steadily, and its diversity and responsibility are such an opportunity, both for the control of the House of Commons over the Executive and for the interest of the public in this country in an all-important question, that one deeply regrets the curtailment of this Debate to-day.
§ Mr. LUNN
I have listened to the whole of this Debate to-day, and I think what has been said as to the width and depth of the British Empire has been a good justification for dividing the Colonial Office as it is now divided. I want to say a word or two with regard to emigration. During the last 18 months I have lived with this subject, and have become fascinated with the question of emigration. I must say that we hear a good deal of nonsense talked on this subject. We hear very mischievous speeches, which are not helpful in the direction in which the Government and those who support their 189 policy would like to go. We are face to face with unemployment, with the coal problem, and with the depression in trade, and these are great difficulties. We cannot shovel our people overseas just as some people might desire. They are human beings, and we have to negotiate with the self - governing Dominions overseas, which, as was pointed out by the hon. Member for Richmond (Sir N. Moore) at the close of his speech, have their difficulties, as we have in this country.
We have remarkable agreements that have been come to between our own Government in this country and those of Australia and Canada for family schemes of emigration, which I maintain are a far more satisfactory and suitable way of building up the Empire than many of the schemes that existed before the War. We try to picture the position to our people in this country in its real colours, "and not in too glowing colours. 190 We have scores of thousands of people who want to go, we have £3,000,000 allowed by the Government on a 50–50 basis, but only on a 50–50 basis, and we who are members of the Oversea Settlement Committee are most anxious to take every means in our power to see that we encourage those who wish to go, and not only say we will help them to go, but try to see that there are proper means for their reception and settlement in the various Dominions, and that everything possible is done, not only by us, but in agreement with our fellows and friends and relations in the Dominions themselves.
§ Resolution to be reported To-morrow.
§ Committee to sit again To-morrow.