§ Mr. DALTON: I beg to move, in page l., line 12, to leave out the word "Kenya."
I move to omit Kenya from the benefit of this guarantee. It has been explained in the Debate on the Financial Resolution, and shown by the fact that my hon. Friends did not divide against that Resolution, that we have no hostility, in fact quite the reverse, toward sound and equitable developments, equitable as between the native and the white population, under this British guarantee. But there are certain things that call to be said about Kenya, and which I think it best should be said now, so that there shall be no misunderstanding as to our opinion of the conduct of a number of persons connected with that colony and its policy. In Kenya there is a small minority of white planters who would get a considerable part of the benefit of this guarantee and who in our opinion should not so benefit. We are not impressed by the formation of a conscript Fascist militia in that colony nor by developments in the penal code, introducing capital punishment for sexual offences. But leaving that aside and merely commenting upon it as the sign of an unhealthy temper and spirit, we are particularly adverse to the labour and land legislation of the colony, and still more particularly to the Ordinances which have been recently adopted for promoting the flow of labour from the native reserves on to the estates of the white planters. It is in view of the development of these Ordinances that we submit to the Committee that Kenya should be excluded from the scope of this Bill.
In February, 1926, there was a conference of the Governors of the five
British Dependencies in East Africa at which various decisions were taken. It was laid down in the report of that conference that
every able-bodied native who showed no tendency to work"—
I am quoting from the official report—
should be given to understand that the Government expects him to do a reasonable amount of work, either in production in his own reserve or in labour for wages outside it.
If we were satisfied that it would be possible for the native to work effectively in his own reserve without undue pressure and to take that alternative course rather than the other, our attitude would be different, but I shall hope to show, as a matter of fact, that recent Ordinances in Kenya and recent pronouncements by responsible people in the colony suggest that the native is not being left to work in his own reserve, but is being steadily pressed by discreditable devices to leave his reserve and work on the estates of the white planters. The same report from which I have just quoted goes on to say that the Governors in their conference approved of the established practice in Kenya of prohibiting natives from growing in the reserves what is apparently the most profitable crop to grow, namely, the Arabica variety of coffee. The Governor of Tanganyika was unable to approve of that, and thereby showed his enlightenment, but the Governors by a majority appear to have taken that view, and I submit that this, among other considerations, is discouraging the natives from working in the most satisfactory way in their own reserves, because they are prohibited from growing the most profitable crop. I hope that we shall have some explanation of that from the Under-Secretary, whom we recognise as a great expert in these matters, when he rises to reply.
Hon. Members on the other side of the House have frequently suggested that industrial conscription, which is what this amounts to, is one of the disasters which would befall us under Socialism, but apparently it is taking place now in East Africa with Conservative approval. If we are to apply the principle that people who show no tendency to work shall be compelled to do so, it is easy to suggest various sections of the population of this country to whom it might be applied. What is sauce for the African native
should be sauce for the Duke and the royalty owner, but so far as I am aware it is not yet part of the Conservative party's policy. On the subject of forced labour, I wish to draw attention to further observations which were made in the Kenya Legislative Council so recently as 18th October. Lord Delamere, whom I ventured the other day to characterise as the Mussolini of that Colony—I think a not inaccurate description—said:
The coffee picking is on now, and I appeal to the Government and to its officials in the reserves to help to get it picked.
He then went on to say:
Natives are tremendously open to the proper kind of influence and suggestion by their official mentors in the reserves without any question of forced labour being even thought of.
That seems to me to be a little disingenuous [do not think it really takes in the hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth (Sir Croft). I do not think that he is quite so simple as not to see through language of that kind.
§ Mr. DALTON
Then I am afraid that the hon. and gallant Member is more simple than I gave him credit for being. [Interruption] I dare say that firsthand experience is in some ways very valuable, but to the ordinary observer it appears very like bribing the native chiefs to do recruiting by various means among their tribes. Later in the Debate the Colonial Secretary of the Kenya Legislative Council said in reply:The Government entirely endorsed what the Noble Lord has said. The Government did believe that an attitude of positive energy on the part of administrative officials was of the greatest assistance in aiding the flow of labour from the reserves, and also that an attitude of hostility or even of neutrality hindered the flow of labour. Administrative officers had been instructed generally and individually that they were to do their utmost to promote the flow of labour.One of the means by which the flow of labour is being promoted is an Ordinance, a quite recent Ordinance, regarding con tracts between employers and employed. In practice, of course, it is a contract between white employers and native employés. Under the Ordinance a breach of contract is a criminal offence punishable by two months' imprisonment or a fine amounting to some seven months' 2330 wages. Whereas hitherto these contracts have applied only to natives of 16 years and upwards, they are now to be extended to children of 12 and upwards. Children of 12 years of age are now, under this recent Ordinance, to be punishable by two months' imprisonment or by a fine of 100 shillings which, I have said, is equivalent to about seven mouths' wages, if, having been beguiled out of the reserves to Lord Delamere's estate, they subsequently go back again to the reserve before the period of contract labour has terminated. I know it is very dangerous to quote any pronouncement by any religious person to hon. Members opposite. I know that Bishops are not held in very great regard since events of a few months ago. But although the remark may be greeted with derision, I am going to quote a missionary member of the Legislation Council in Kenya who said:He could testify front experience how labour went out of the reserves. It affected the School attendances, which showed a constant stream going out, and the district officials were encouraging it.It is difficult to resist the conclusion that the whole policy of the Kenya Government, whatever it may be in verbal form, is, in practice, a continual squeeze to get the natives out of their reserves on to the estates of Lord Delamere and his friends, and Sir Frederick Lugard, whom we respect for his enlightened policy in another and happier part of Africa, recently stated:If the planter has a powerful share in the legislation and policy of the Government, strict impartiality, despite the best intentions, becomes difficult.We are asked in this Bill to guarantee money advanced by loan for railway and other developments. With regard to Kenya, in particular, we are not satisfied that it will be spent with equal and equitable advantage for the natives as compared with the bite planters who have got a twist on the governmental rope in that Colony. I propose to give one further fact, based upon answers given in this House by the Colonial Secretary, to the effect that the railways which have been constructed in Kenya run, as to 80 per cent., through land alienated ed to white planters, and the branch lines that have recently been laid only pass to the extent of 24 per cent. through native reserves. It would appear, therefore, that one reason why the natives of Kenya have developed so 2331 small an amount of purchasing power, is that they have not had their fair share of railway and transport facilities as compared with white planters in that Colony.
I propose to submit one further consideration to the Committee in support of this Amendment. We are not at all satisfied that the system of taxation and public finance generally in Kenya is what it ought to be. A good deal has been said about the hut tax payable in money by natives, which is, of course, an additional lever for getting natives out of the reserves on to Lord Delamere's estate, but less has been said about the cattle tax, and I wish to refer to that for a moment. To quote again the Report of the Governors at their recent conference, the Governors say thatthere was no objection to a tax on native cattle, where the stock was sufficiently numerous; and that such a tax was desirable where natives had surplus cattle and a suitable market existed, in order to promote the economic use of stock and the development of animal industry.That seems to be the ancient Tariff Reform argument, that if you want to encourage trade you tax it. But the Governors go on to say:It was generally felt that, while Europeans should not enjoy any special exemption, the taxation of European-owned stock must be based on revenue considerations, and was not necessary as a means of promoting development.It is not clear to me, and I think it will not be clear to a number of my hon. Friends, that what, in effect, is an argument in favour of the taxation of native cattle in order to promote native develpoment, should not apply to European cattle, and, as in the case of the hut tax, and the refusal of the Kenya white planters to submit to even a mild form of Income Tax, it is not clear to us that the finances of the country have been conducted in a proper manner, and it is not clear to us that any advantages that will accrue to the Colony through this guarantee will be used in a manner of which we ought to approve, having regard to our trusteeship for the native population. It is because the complaints which have come to hand from Kenya are so much more serious than anything we have had from other Colonies proposed to be assisted under this guarantee, that we have thought it right to put down 2332 this Amendment, in order to emphasise the lagging behind of Kenya Colony in all the principles that should govern the administration of the tropical dependencies of the Empire. We think it desirable to emphasise the disapproval of a considerable section of this country at the tendencies now operating in Kenya, and therefore propose that, until a better record can be shown, Kenya should be removed from the benefits quite rightly proposed to be conferred on other and better conducted dependencies.
§ Mr. W. BAKER
I beg to support the Amendment which has been so ably proposed by the hon. Member for Peckham (Mr. Dalton), in the belief that the influence of the Government of Kenya has recently been thrown very heavily on the side of the white settlers, instead of being held as a balance between the white settlers and the natives. If the Committee will bear with me, I want to read a short extract from the "Manchester Guardian" of 30th November, which I believe has a very important bearing on the subject under discussion. The first part of the quotation is the report of the speech which was delivered by Sir Edward Grigg in Kenya during the month of October, in which he said:Steady progress cannot be secured in some areas unless every able-bodied native who shows no tendency to work is given to understand that the Government expects him to do a reasonable amount of work, either in production in his own reserve or in labour for wages outside it. In areas where the first alternative is not within his reach, the native should be definitely encouraged to go out to labour.I noticed that when that quotation from Sir Edward Grigg's speech was referred to by the hon. Member for Peckham, it met with applause and approval from the Under-Secretary. But the part of the quotation which I regard as so important is the "Manchester Guardian's" comment on that particular statement:The picture of native life suggested by these two sentences is a parody of the truth. Condemned by poverty and ignorance to use inadequate toofs and methods, every native of Kenya has to work quite as hard as the workers of other countries to support himself and his family. In addition, he has to pay direct taxation amounting, for each adult male, to ten weeks' wages each year. In other parts of the world, if a man supported his family, and had to pay, however great his poverty, a fifth of his income to the State, no Government would dream of asking more of him.2333 In our view, the position in Kenya at the moment is very far from being satisfactory. We consider that every possible encouragement should be given to the natives to stay on their reserves, and that they should be given every possible assistance to enable them to develop along the lines which have been successful elsewhere, and we entirely disapprove of any effort which is made in the contrary direction in the hope that the removal of native labour from the reserves to the estates of the planters will be for the advantage of the white settlers. We want to ask for a definite assurance from the Colonial Secretary that everything possible will be done to secure a righting of the balance in Kenya, and I sincerely trust that assurance will be forthcoming during the present discussion. Lord Delamere can be quoted with regard to the influence of the policy to which the quotation refers. In the Legislative Council, in October, Lord Delamere said:Natives are tremendously open to the proper kind of influence and suggestion by their official mentors in the reserves.That action of the mentors to which Lord Delamere refers as being a proper kind of influence is, we believe, an entirely objectionable influence, and should not be exercised by the Government of Kenya, if it is to hold the balance fairly between the whites and the natives. We do sincerely trust that everything possible will be done to prevent undue influence being secured and maintained by the white settlers on whose behalf Lord Delamere speaks.
§ Mr. RENNIE SMITH
When we were discussing the Money Resolution which preceded this Bill, I ventured to ask the Under-Secretary a number of questions. I gathered from what he said in the course of his reply, that he intended to defer the answering of some of them until the Committee stage of this Bill. I am very glad, therefore, that my hon. Friend who introduced this Amendment has repeated and underlined some of those questions, and I take it we may look forward to an answer from the Under-Secretary to those questions. I want, if I may, to press further two or three of the points which have been raised with regard to Kenya in particular under the form of this Amendment. It is clear that, from the point of view of the application 2334 of this loan in ways that will promote the general welfare of the people living in East Africa, what happens in Kenya will be the test for the whole of the rest of the Colony. I take it we are entitled to the view that it is because Kenya is the key position for the European population living in East Africa, because it is a population which is not migratory, but is a settled European population, that we are entitled to the view that if things go badly in Kenya with the natives, they are bound to go badly throughout the whole of the rest of East Africa. More than that, I think it is not an unreasonable view to take, that because there is the largest European population settled in Kenya, we ought to expect that from Kenya should emanate every kind of good example of native treatment.
Therefore, I think it quite proper that on general grounds we should have a specific discussion with regard to Kenya in relation to this loan. I asked the Under-Secretary a number of questions with regard to dual policy in relation to Kenya. We have heard again this afternoon the very serious statement made by responsible persons which implied the abandonment of that policy. I hope very much the hon. Gentleman will deal with these allegations, and say quite definitely whether he does intend to have carried out, as far as he is concerned, the definite regulations laid down with regard to that policy. I would like to ask, in the second place, whether the Under-Secretary can say to us anything about the conditions of labour under which men will be employed under this loan scheme as far as Kenya is concerned? I gather that there are at least 100,000 natives already employed by Europeans. I think that that, in relation to a total population of something like 2,500,000 natives, taken in conjunction with the very small European population, is already a very large number of natives to be employed by Europeans. I would like to ask, in drawing upon labour power for the purpose, of the harbour development proposed under this loan for Kenya, what are the conditions which it is suggested should be laid down; whether he proposes to use some kind of compulsion defining these as public works, or whether, if he is not going to do that, 2335 he is prepared to offer wage conditions and general conditions of labour which would be effectively competitive with the labour conditions now prevailing on European estates; whether it is the intention to draw the labour power mainly from the native reserves, or whether we can expect such conditions as will influence a movement of labour away from the worst conditions that obtain on the European estates at the present time?
I would put forward the view that as labour is so very scarce in Kenya at the present time the best service the Government can render, in securing reasonable conditions for the use of this loan, is to see that care is taken that good conditions are secured for the labour which will be employed on these undertakings. Not only should the very grave criticisms which have been levelled against the use of native labour in Kenya be dealt with by the Under-Secretary of State, but we hope that we may have a suggestion that Kenya is going to lead the way with respect to the standard of native conditions, that Kenya is going to set up a white man's standard for the treatment of natives throughout the whole of East Africa. As having a bearing on that, I would like to ask what is the implication of this loan upon the educational provisions made for the natives. I should have thought that after all these years of white influence in that, Colony it would easily have been the most advanced in East Africa in educational matters, but I find, according to a statement made by Sir Frederick Lugard in 1924, based upon the best information he could obtain, that only one out of every 174 children of School-attending age was receiving any kind of education at all in Kenya. I think the Committee will agree that a figure of that kind reflects seriously on the white man's administration of Kenya, particularly when it is borne in mind that the conditions for the education of Europeans in Kenya are so excellent, and that, as was said the other day, the major portion of the finances are provided out of native taxation.
Some time ago I read in the "Encyclopædia Britannica" a statement about the conditions of the Europeans in Kenya. When one hears in mind what must be the lot of the natives from the point of view of train- 2336 ing and education, the picture that was given of the European settlers 10 years after the going there of Lord Delamere provides a very impressive contrast. This is the statement:In 10 years after the first settler, Lord Delamere, had made the highlands his home, that region was provided with churches, schools, hospitals, newspapers, substantial farmhouses, fenced farms, and race and goff courses.I am not trying to set up any kind of melodramatic contrast, I am not making any complaint that the Europeans in Kenya have piled up all the traditional and well-recognised facilities of culture and civilisation implied in that statement, but I do suggest that to set that up as a standard for our satisfaction is to adopt a. very deplorable point of view. On a very low conception of what is becoming to us in the treatment of persons of another colour we are warranted in pressing very strongly the claim that under this loan pressure shall be brought to bear by His Majesty's Government to see that improved educational conditions shall be provided. I know that the birder: of complaint all the time has been. "We are willing enough in principle but we have not got the money" and in view of the great need there is for the development of education by the erection of buildings and the institution of educational schemes in the south-east and south-west and all the way down the coast, where practically nothing has been done, apart from the efforts of isolated and, as I think, heroic missionaries, ask the Under-Secretary to see to it that the capital foundation of a scheme is laid down in Kenya, either directly or indirectly, such as v ill be worthy of the admirable professions which have been made on paper.
§ Sir ROBERT HAMILTON
As the question of bringing pressure to bear upon natives to induce them to work has been raised here, would like to say a word upon it. I myself have seen it in practice. I have seen pressure used through the chiefs and through the local administration officers, and I have no hesitation in saying that in every case the result was distinctly bad. It is a bad result for labour itself, and in the long run there will be this even worse effect, that if the Government are looked to as a means of bringing pressure to bear 2337 to obtain labour from the reserves for the use of the white farmers the inevitable tendency will be for the natives to regard the Government not as their parents and friends but as their taskmasters as well as the imposers of taxes. From every point of view we should endeavour, as far as possible, to avoid the policy of bringing pressure to bear to induce labour to come out of the reserves. We know by experience that those reserves which supply the best labour for plantations are the industrious reserves where the natives have the fullest opportunity of following their own methods of plantation and growing the crops they are accustomed to grow, and I suggest that the policy that ought to be followed and encouraged is that of free production by natives in their own reserves. Once a native is able to produce and get the value of his labour in his own reserve, he becomes naturally an industrious person, and we get a body of labour in the country that is able, not only to produce in its own reserves for the needs of the tribe, but to go out and supply the labour that is necessary on the white plantations.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I ought, in the first place, to say to my hon. Friend the Member for Peckham (Mr. Dalton) how delighted I, as a back bencher, was to hear such a straightforward, admirable statement from the Labour Front Bench; but I must warn him that after that speech he will vie with my cousin Tom Mosley for the position of the best hated member of the Labour party. He has burnt his boats; he has positively shown up Kenya, and that is fatal. It has never been done before. Norman Ley tried to do it in a book, but it has never been done, because the difficulty is that Kenya is occupied by settlers belonging to a very high aristocratic caste. You may criticise almost anything in the British Empire except Kenya. I do not propose to join in the criticism I have done it so often and have made myself so intensely unpopular aver it —[HON. MEMBERS: "Not at all!"]—that I feel now I can leave it in the hands of other Members, like the hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) who, when once they have heard the truth, cannot fail to maintain it in the face of all mankind.
2338 But there are one or two points I wish to make in addition to those made by the hon. Member for Peckham. In the first place, is there anybody in the House, whether he be Labour, Liberal or Conservative, who really differs from the point of view of my hon. Friend the Member for Orkney (Sir R. Hamilton)? Surely everybody on the Treasury Bench agrees that our duty is complete when we allow the native in Kenya to do as he likes, whether lie likes to work on his own land or whether he likes to work for us. If the native is free to work either for himself or for us, I believe all on these benches would wash their hands of Kenya and believe we had done our duty. Does the hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth really think that would be unfair to anybody?
§ Sir H. CROFT
I quite agree with the hon. Member, but what would he do in a case where an enormous number of natives refused to do any work at all in their reserves or for planters, and forced their womenfolk to do work, a thing which he would be the first to condemn?
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I should still do as my hon. and gallant Friend would do in this country—I should still say that that is not the duty of the State to make a man work who does not want to. The hon. and gallant Member knows perfectly well that he would be the first to protest against any such action in this country. He would call it "Communism" and "Moscow" at once. All we can do is to leave the native free to work for himself or free to work for us. So long as he has land of his own he is free to work for himself, and that is why I hope we have at last secured that the native reserve in Kenya shall he held sacrosanct and not to be further diminished. But while everybody in the Committee agrees that we ought to leave them free to work for themselves or for a master, everybody on the Treasury Bench knows very well that even the Government of this country cannot secure that liberty for the natives. They know that in dealing with every other Crown Colony in the British Empire, and with every mandated territory, what the Secretary of State thinks is law, but in Kenya it is not so, and that is one of the reasons why I support this Amendment for leaving out Kenya.
§ Sir H. CROFT
The natives, will not be able to get their crops to the sea until we construct these railways.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
The hon. and gallant Member has not read the Report or the Bill, or he would know that there is nothing in this Bill to construct a fresh railway in Kenya. The railway is already there. That does not affect the issue. What does affect the issue is that we are, by this Bill, guaranteeing a loan to a State which repeatedly, not merely once, has threatened to secede from the British Empire. I remember at the time of the Wood-Winterton agreement, when there were schemes drawn up, not merely for secession from the. British Empire, but for interning the Governor and all the Secretaries of State of that State—interning them in quite the Continental manner—and when the Colonial Secretary has made efforts, over and over again, to give justice to the natives in Kenya he has been beaten over and over again by the strength of the feudal aristocracy of Kenya Colony. We should take all these things into account when we guarantee a loan to anybody. We have not been lucky with our loans in Ireland, and I would only lend money where I feel certain of it being paid back with interest. Let the Committee look for a moment at the indebtedness of Kenya already. The indebtedness of the population of Kenya per head is very nearly 50 per cent. more than any other Crown Colony. They are already overburdened with debt. They have borrowed beyond the limit, and in addition to their borrowing, they have had a present from our taxpayers of the full value of the Uganda, Railway.
No doubt we shall be told by the Under-Secretary that presently, about the year 1929 or 1930, that debt is going to be reconsidered, and they may then begin to repay not the capital but the interest. Of course that prospective debt is not taken into account in working out the present indebtedness of Kenya Colony. We ask the Government not to include Kenya in this Bill because it has already borrowed far more money than any of its neighbours, and it has had a gift in the shape of a railway amounting to some £7,000,000 or £8,000,000. After all, the security for this money is not very good in Kenya, and they have already borrowed considerably more than other 2340 people. For these reasons, together with those given in the admirable speech made by the hon. Member for Peckham, I trust the Government will exclude Kenya from this Bill.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for COLONIAL AFFAIRS (Mr. Ormsby-Gore)
I have been rather amused by the speeches made in support of this Amendment, which, as a matter of fact, finds its chief supporter in Lord Delarnere. It is curious that Members of the Labour party should be anxious to leave Kenya out of this Bill. I do not think that objection is very deep-rooted, and it seems to me to be founded upon the fear that, if Kenya comes under this Bill, the Secretary of State for the Colonies will require certain conditions to be observed which would not otherwise be required. I am very much surprised that hon. Members opposite should wish to leave out Kenya, seeing that they have pressed at several stages of this Bill for more scientific research work and foe native welfare work, and matters of that kind. They have pressed for those reforms and the Government of Kenya have put forward proposals for carrying them out under this Bill. Those proposals have been received since the Committee met.
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
That is not so, because it is definitely proposed here that a part of the loan should be earmarked for the two projects which have yet to be carried out at Tanganyika, and there is also a more far-reaching scheme for research in Kenya.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
May I draw attention to the items under research on page 40 of the Report. I find that Amani is mentioned and Tanganyika and there is a sum of £30,000 for the Northern Rhodesia Research Station at Mazabuka.
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
If the hon. and gallant Member will read a little further he will find it is fully explained. If you cut out Kenya from this Bill, it will have the effect of cutting out all this research work as far as Kenya is concerned, and it would mean that all the new works at Kilindini Harbour would have to be financed entirely by Kenya, and no doubt 2341 they would raise a loan for that work. It may be that that course may be taken eventually, but that is not the proposal of the Schuster Committee, which considered this problem in the light of the fact that Kilindini, although in Kenya, was the natural outlet for Kenya and Uganda products, and the increasing area of Tanganyika territory. Therefore under these circumstances to separate Kilindini Harbour from this loan would really be rather ridiculous. As I have already stated, there is no proposal before the House or before the Colonial Secretary for any further railway construction in Kenya. There is a certain proposal for the making of roads, which are very badly wanted, and it may be that further buildings will be required. Whether these buildings would be of so permanent a character as to justify expenditure out of loan money is a matter which we have still to consider. Therefore to cut out Kenya from participating in this loan will not do the slightest damage to those gentlemen whom hon. Members opposite seem to object to very strongly.
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
The objection to Kenya raised by hon. Gentlemen opposite seems to be almost entirely due to the existence of Lord Delamere. The whole speech of the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Sir R. Hamilton) seemed to be an objection to these settlers, because he contends they are aristocrats and people we do not like, and they develop a class consciousness. With regard to the men who work for Lord Delamere there were 600 or 700 ex-service men, most of them private soldiers, and a good many of them got commissions during the War and have had nothing since but their gratuity. Having visited most parts of that country, I am able to tell the Committee that it is not a case of getting labour for Lord Delamere, because he is not a coffee grower, and he has his own native settlers and has had them for years. Certainly he is never short of labour, and, in fact, always has an excess of labour, and has never asked for more labour. With regard to Arabica coffee-growing, very little labour is required at first, but every autumn there is a great demand for labour for a short period as is the case in the hop industry, 2342 and the result is that all those who have gone in for this particular crop of coffee find they want labour at the same moment, like the hop-growers in Kent, and there is always a difficulty arising in regard to labour at that time. I am able to give on behalf of the Colonial Secretary the definite assurance that there is no intention to modify in any way the dual policy. We are definitely committed to it, and we do mean that emphasis should be laid quite as much on native production as upon working outside the reserves. I agree, from my own experience in different parts of Africa, with the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland, that it is a remarkable fact that the most industrious and progressive tribe in Africa are those who do both classes of work.
The Kavirondo, who are the highest-skilled agricultural producers in that part of the country, are the people who have been most willing and ready for work of this kind. There are other reserves where the standard of agriculture is immeasurably lower than in the Kavirondo reserves, and where it is the duty of the Government not to compel labour. I entirely agree that we should not use compulsion. We set our faces against it, and as a matter of fact we have definitely given an undertaking against that policy. I think it is the duty of everybody to try and educate these people and encourage them to become better agriculturists. There are places in Kenya where that doctrine can be preached, and should be preached, without anything in the nature of compulsion, in the interest of the people of those reserves.
We have made this clear again and again in a succession of Treaties. Let me say that I cannot accept the gloss put by the "Manchester Guardian" on Sir Edward Grigg's speech, nor can I accept the statements made about the hut tax. Why has it always been Kenya that is singled out? Why has it become fashionable, in so-called progressive circles, never to study what goes on in any other part of Africa? Why is it always Kenya? It is a curious thing that it has become fashionable to wax indignant against a Britisher in Kenya. He is always the plunderer; not the settler in Rhodesia or elsewhere, but the Kenya settler has been singled out to be black- 2343 guarded by people who have never been to those countries. It is so unfair to say that these Britishers are different from any other Britisher.
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
The hon. Member objects to all British colonists, quite irrespective of whether they are—
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
The hon. Members object to all settlers. If that is his view we must say, according to him, "Hands off all these countries; keep the white man out." That is the logical conclusion of his policy. I can assure him that that will not be to the ultimate advantage of the natives, or to the ultimate progress and development of native industry. In Kenya you have special difficulty in the fact that you have a special impact of white civilisasation for the most part on an extremely primitive variety of African civilisation. Compared with Rhodesia or South Africa, the contrast is most extraordinary. I remember saying when I was in Kenya that it struck me that the Masai people were at least a quarter of a million years behind the Kavirondo, and you have more primitive tribes in Kenya than you have in other parts of Africa. Therefore, all these questions do require constant supervision and constant care.
But one thing, undoubtedly, has made the problem more difficult; that is these kind of attacks upon both the Government and particularly upon the administrative officers, who do their very best to hold the scales even. They are still regarded, and rightly regarded, as the friends of the people who look after their interests, and the attacks upon Kenya will only succeed in bringing out, one side of the question and they will ignore every other factor. The promoters of these attacks are determined to make out that these people have wrong intentions and that they are simply land grabbers and do not care twopence about the natives. If that is the attitude taken up and if to these people are going to he attributed nothing but base motives, well, God help us!
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
Well, honestly, if the hon. Member will go and see who some of these settlers are, he would find that the vast mass of them are small people who never come out of the country, whose whole lives and living are bound up in the country. Many of them live in small bush-made huts. I have seen them. Their holdings are from 120 to 200 acres; they work entirely with their own hands and with the help of a few boys. I have seen them opening up their country, and to imagine that they are the slave drivers of Kenya is really ridiculous. I hope the Committee will take a more charitable view of Kenya. We shall never help Kenya to get on the lines of progress—and progress has been very rapid in the last few years—unless there is really a little more sympathy and unless rather fewer attacks are made. I am perfectly convinced that if a little more sympathy were shown and a little more interest in the problems and difficulties before the Government were forthcoming, we should get greater co-operation. The Government are unable to accept this Amendment. It really defeats the object which hon. Members opposite have in view and stultifies the whole position they take up. I ask the Committee, in view of the speeches made and especially the kind of arguments used, to show by their vote that on this side of the House we do rather resent this perpetual lecturing of Kenya and this singling out of that particular dependency for this particular kind of attack.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
The hon. Member who has just sat down is very anxious to know why Kenya is being singled out in these debates regarding East Africa. I think it will be fairly easy to provide him with the answer and I will attempt to do so immediately. When we come to discuss these questions, and particularly the East African settlement question, we have to start from some common ground. I think it will be acceptable to hon. Members on the other side of the Committee as well as to those on this side that the good common ground from which to start would be the declaration made by the Duke of Devonshire, when Colonial Secretary, in 1921. In that 2345 declaration the Duke of Devonshire, who was then Colonial Secretary, made it abundantly clear that in our future relationships with those areas the interest, of the natives should be paramount. Taking that as a standard of judgment in regard to this particular problem before us this afternoon, I propose to show that, as a matter of fact, that declaration of the then Colonial Secretary has been departed from, if not in spirit, certainly in substance. Kenya has become in these debates almost the acid test of our policy in Eastern Africa, and the reason for that I think is pretty clear. The Under-Secretary seems to think that our special bête noir in that particular part of the world is Lord Delamere. We have no particular objection to Lord Delamere as such. We merely regard his as representative of a certain type of mind. He represents a point of view, he represents a certain philosophy, and I think I shall be able to show that Lord Delamere by that philosophy represents many among the citizens and settlers of that area, and that that philosophy is reflected in some measure by the public statements of officials governing that area.
Let us take some three or four quite good and sound and fair standards of judgment. What has been the attitude in recent years in Kenya in regard to native labour? Who has not heard in this House of, I had almost said,, the disgraceful story in regard to the turning out of the Masai tribe, how they have been moved from one place to the other and how now they are finally settled in a portion of that country which everyone will admit is the least productive part of that area. Here are people "whose interests," says the Duke of Devonshire, "are paramount" and yet they are moved from the more productive part of the area to the less productive part. Will the hon. Member tell us who has gone there instead? Will the hon. Member tell us who is there? Will he deny that people like Lord Delamere have that land? Are we not entitled to argue that the coming of Lord Delamere in this way is significant of a definite movement which, if it is not arrested, will very soon land us in very considerable difficulties in these areas. I take another fact. In the official report of the governors' conference we 2346 have the statement that the highlands of these areas are lands which are not suitable for the natives of the area at all; they are not equipped, either mentally or otherwise, for living and earning their living in these particular areas, and therefore we presume that these areas are to be reserved for non-native settlers. We submit that if this point of view is held in this part of the world, not merely by Lord Delamere and his friends, but by the representatives of the Government of that area, we, are entitled to entertain some measure of misgiving. It does not hurt us or disturb us to hear that, for the moment. Lord Delamere takes our point of view in regard to this particular Motion. He has his own reasons for taking that line. We know that on account of the repeated discussions in this House Lord Delamere and his friends just now are extremely anxious to get up a movement in favour of self-government for Kenya so as to remove the discussion entirely from the House of Commons in Britain to a much more agreeable atmosphere where Lord Delamere and his friends will be more in control. Take the test of taxation. Will the hon. Gentleman deny that it is a fair statement to make that the burden of taxation as regards natives and settlers is extremely unfair? Is it not fair to say that man for man the native bears a far heavier share of taxation than does the settler. Is not that true?
§ Mr. ORMSBY-G0RE
Let us get this point quite clear. Does the hon. Member suggest that the head tax for natives is lower than the head tax for Europeans. man for man?
§ Mr. JONES
Perhaps I have stated the matter wrongly. Let me put it in this way. Is it not fair to say that the proportion of taxation of the native, having regard to his earning capacity, is much greater than the measure of taxation borne by the settler. That is a point I make. If that be true, are we not entitled to say that it is indicative of a policy which, if it grows, will land us in a condition of affairs where the pledge of the Duke of Devonshire, the then Colonial Secretary, will be brought to naught? That is the point I want to make. What happens, as a matter of fact, in regard to this taxation? As I said on Tuesday, the native can only pay 2347 his taxation in one or two ways. He can either pay it out of the products of his own land, his own crops, or out of his wages which he receives by working for other people. Everyone knows perfectly well that—I had almost said it is the custom, but perhaps that is putting it too highly—but everyone knows that pressure will be brought to bear upon the native to leave his own settlement in order to work for other people. I want to fortify myself with an official pronouncement in this matter. Mr. Denham, the Acting Governor of Kenya, made the statement, which appeared in the "East African Standard" of 14th March, 1925, and he used much the same words as those used in the pronouncement of the Duke of Devonshire. This is what was said by the Acting Governor of Kenya, as reported in the "East African Standard" of the 14th March, 1925—some years after the declaration of the Duke of Devonshire:There is the strongest possible moral obligation on the Government of the country "—I would ask the Committee to mark that—a moral obligation—to give the fullest possible assistance it can in securing to the European settler in this country the benefit of the developments which he has created to the lasting advantage of the Colony. I wish to make it perfectly clear that such is the policy of the administration, and that the Government expects every administrative officer to give all possible encouragement to the labour within their district to work on the lands which have been opened up by the settlers.Had it been some insignificant, citizen who was expressing his own personal opinion, it would not have mattered, but when a Government official is definitely invited to use his governmental authority and influence, obviously we are in an entirely different situation, and our ground for misgiving—or, shall I say, suspicion—in regard to the condition of affairs in Kenya is, indeed, well founded. Apropos of this policy of bringing pressure to bear upon natives through the medium of taxation, may I quote the words of the Governor of Tanganyika Territory? I admit that this applies to his territory, but let me assume that the conditions in this matter are the same. In a despatch covering a Report by Major Orde-Browne, he says, on page 10: 2348To my mind it is of vital importance, in a country like this, that. no attempt should be made to force the native to work for others by imposing taxation which he cannot earn the means to pay sinless he leaves his district to work on the non-native plantations, and I have steadfastly refused to increase the tax in the districts in which the natives cannot augment their earnings by working for themselves or on such Government works, if any, as may offer. Coercion of labour by pressure of direct taxation is little, if anything, removed from coercion of labour by force. The latter is the more honest course.That, I submit, is a judgment arrived at by a responsible officer in that part of Africa, and a judgment, therefore, which is entitled to every possible consideration, and which is based on his own experience of the operation of this type of taxation. I submit, therefore, that we are entitled to know how the labour for these particular pieces of work is to be recruited. We are told already—indeed, if I remember rightly, it is in the hon. Gentleman's own Report—that the reservoir of labour in German East Africa, and particularly in this area, is very limited. If it is limited, then the number of men who can be relied upon in the normal course of things to offer themselves Voluntarily for this form of labour is, therefore, limited. What guarantee is there that there will be an adequate supply of labour for the particular schemes which pertain to the Kenya area?
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
I apologise for not dealing with that. The particular schemes dealing with the Kenya area form part of the Kilindini Harbour works. A comparatively very small force of native labour is required on those works down at the coast. All that labour will be local and Voluntarily recruited there will be no compulsion there; but there will only be a few hundred, because much of it is not the sort of work that natives can do. For all the under-water work. the construction of big cement blocks and harbour equipment, and that kind of thing, we have had on the existing works from the first almost entirely European labour.
§ Mr. JONES
I am obliged for that explanation, but may I add this point? On the assumption that the labour will be entirely Voluntary, can we have a further assurance from the hon. Gentleman that that labour will he paid at a reasonable rate, which will guarantee to these people a sufficiency of the things they require?
§ Mr. ORMSBY GORE
The hon. Member knows, of course, that the rates of wages down at the coast at Mombasa are a good deal higher already than in the interior. The coast rate is a good deal higher than anywhere else in the country.
§ Mr. JONES
I have directed attention to two tests, the first in regard to native labour, whether conscript or otherwise, and the second in regard to taxation. I want, if I may, to put a third test, as indicative—I will put it no higher—of a trend of mind which still prevails in official quarters in that part of the world. In the Report of the Governor's Conference there is a paragraph on page 9 which I find it extremely difficult to understand, and of which I should like some explanation. It is in regard to the construction of roads, and it reads thus:That rules should he drafted to protect the roads maintained at the public expense from destruction by animal-drawn transport, either by limiting the weight of vehicles or by compelling the use of certain types of tyres.I want to ask whether, if these public roads are going to be constructed out of public funds, and ultimately paid for in part by the natives themselves, it is to be understood from that paragraph that the native, who will not be able to provide himself with mechanically-propelled vehicles, and will be compelled, I presume, to fall hack on animal-drawn transport, is to be, cleared off the roads for which he has had to pay? It occurred to me in reading the paragraph that that might be so, but I may have drawn a wrong conclusion. I should like to have an assurance on the point.
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
There is practically very little wheeled transport of any kind in that country other than the European-owned mechanical transport, and it is absolutely essential to protect the lighter roads from heavy lorries by prohibiting the use of solid tyres and insisting on pneumatic tyres. The wheeled vehicle, of course, was unknown until our introduction of it; the native did not know it, and hardly uses it even to-day. Most of the native transport is done by head-carriers and pack animals.
§ Mr. JONES
I am still not quite clear. Even assuming that the ordinary vehicles that we know are not very common there, what form of transport will the native 2350 be able to use on these roads if the use of the roads is going to be limited very largely to vehicles which have tyres in the ordinary sense? How is that to be done, and how is the native going to be protected? Does it not mean, in effect, that, if this be applied, the native will not be able to avail himself of the roads, and will be driven off the roads entirely?
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
That is not a true picture at all. The native producer in the Kavironda reserve, for instance, carries his property to the nearest market and sells it there, and the Indian trader, or, in some cases, the European trader, provides such transport as is necessary to take it away. There is a certain number of Dutch transport drivers from South Africa, but they are the only people who use the old-fashioned ox wagon and things of that kind.
§ Mr. JONES
I am bound to say I am still unconvinced on the matter. It looks to me as if the native is going to be, reduced to carrying his merchandise, whatever it may be, upon his head in the way that is usual in those areas.
My fourth test is with regard to education. Sir Hugh Clifford, who himself is very well known in those parts of the world, has already said that the provision for education is pitifully small—those are his very words; and the Phelps-Stokes Commission also emphasised the extraordinary paucity of the arrangements with regard to education and development. The hon. Gentleman has directed our attention to page 40 of the Schuster Report. As I understand it, the total sum allocated on page 40 for research is £39,000. The hon. Gentleman told us for the first tibia this afternoon, I think, that there is an intention to put aside a certain sum for research. Are we not entitled to know what is the exact sum which is to be set aside? If we refer to the hon. Gentleman's own Report on East Africa, we see that he reiterates—and in that matter we all agree with him—that the first condition of progress in that part of the world is that the native himself shall he equipped educationally for the work that lies ahead of him. For these reasons I entirely associate myself with the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Peckham (Mr. Dalton), in the hope that before this Debate comes to an end we shall have a definite assurance, 2351 from whichever representative of the Government speaks later on, that Kenya will be brought into line with the pronouncement made on behalf of the British Government as long ago as 1921 by the then Colonial Secretary.
§ Mr. GILLETT
The speech of the Under-Secretary was, I think, satisfactory to some of us on these benches, and we were very glad to hear some of the statements he made in regard to policy; but when he came to deal with the question of the views held by the settlers, and accused us of constantly attacking them, he seemed to be trying to shut his eyes to certain fundamental differences which, if I may say so, are possibly differences between himself and the settlers as well as between the settlers and those who sit on this side of the House. The hon. Gentleman has laid down the policy, and I can only say that I hope the Government are going to carry out that policy, hut, while I believe that he himself intends that it shall be so, I have serious doubts whether in coming years it will be the policy that the Government will finally carry out. I do not, myself, believe in the slightest that the views expressed by the Under-Secretary for the Colonies on this question of native labour are the views held by the vast mass of the settlers in Kenya itself. I should like to know whether the hon. Member himself would deny that. As a matter of fact, there were points in his speech which really agreed with it, because he accused us of agreeing with the view of Lord Delamere. But why did Lord Delamare not want to have this loan? It was because he did not want the control of the Colonial Office. Why does he not want the control of the Colonial Office? Because the views of the Colonial Office, if we may take them as being the views of the Under-Secretary, are not the views of Lord Delamere. If the Noble Lord were in agreement with the Colonial Office, he would have no objection to taking these loans, but would say the more of them the better, and that is what I want to suggest to the Under-Secretary.
I am rather fortified in this by a speech which was delivered earlier this year by one of the members of the Legislative Assembly. He said:After thinking the matter over very carefully, I have come to the conclusion that 2352 the time has arrived when the people must make up their minds to take a firm stand against the Government's policy."—He is dealing with the question of native labour—It is entirely a question of the Government's policy. If the natives were given to understand that the Government wanted them to come out and work for the settlers, they would come. We know that from our experience. In the past it was always possible to recruit in reserves where the official in charge was favourable to European settlement—there was no compulsion about it; his personal influence was enough. And we always had difficulty in getting labour from reserves where the official was anti-settler. This so-called dual policy that we hear so much about is farcical. It is being made an excuse to allow tens of thousands of adult male natives to idle their lives away in the reserves while their womenfolk do the work for them and while valuable crops rot on our estates and farms. What is the use of talking about fresh development …?He goes on to say:At any rate, so far as I am concerned, I have made up my mind that it is entirely a question of Government policy; that the people have got to make a firm stand against the present policy; and that we should refuse to consider these loan proposals, or any other loan proposals, or any increase in taxation, until Government adopts a labour policy that will provide the labour required for our present development and the big schemes of development that are under consideration.What does that mean? He may be quite irresponsible, as some Members are in the House of Commons, and the Under-Secretary might suggest that he does not represent the view of the settlers. It seems, to me from all we hear from Lord Delamere, that his policy is very much the same and that this represents the policy of the settlers and that they want the Government to bring the natives out to do the work they require. We are not attacking the white settlers. We are simply saying we believe this is their policy, and it is not our policy. We are not reflecting upon them. They may be patriotic and keen on doing what is for the benefit of their country but we do not agree with their methods. The principles laid down by my right hon. Friend as to whether a man should be compelled to work or not are our views. They are evidently not the views of the settlers. It seems to me the Under-Secretary has ignored this point. I should like to have heard whether the Government really think the views expressed by the Under-Secretary with regard to native labour 2353 represent the views of the settlers and whether they command the support of the settlers in the policy they have laid before us. We have only to look at one or two other questions that indicate it. One of the Reports of the East Africa Commission said the native reserves were in a state of stagnation. Complaint was made in Kenya that the natives had not been encouraged to become agriculturists, producing the crops they export. These are the reports that we have received.
§ Mr. GILLETT
This Report is two years old. It seems to me these factors support the argument I was laying before the Committee, that the Government policy is not the settlers' policy. There is a good deal of point in what was suggested by my right hon. Friend that we are going to lend money to a Colony which in a short time may have self-government, or at any rate will be asking for it, and the Government might extend the concession to them. Satisfactory as many parts of the Under-Secretary's speech were, I repudiate his attack upon us for attacking the settlers. We are perfectly at liberty to express our views. The only thing we are saying is that they disagree with the views we hold, and we shall continue to disagree with them and to maintain that the first interest is that of the vast mass of the population, who are the blacks and not the few white settlers.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Amery)
We have had a Debate of some length on the general administration of Kenya and the policy of the Government. I am not complaining about that, but I should like to bring the Committee back to the actual Amendment and the subject matter of the Bill. I will only say, on the question of general policy, that the Government adhere to the dual policy of giving to the native the fullest chance in his country, but also giving the white settler a chance to succeed, that being the fairest policy in the long run to both sides. It may involve more difficulty at the moment than absolutely excluding the white man and keeping the country a kind of game reserve for the black man, but I believe we can carry it through. Anyone who 2354 went out there would find that among the great mass of moderate men—not necessarily represented in some extreme speeches—there has been a growing recognition that, after all, they can only be a small proportion. They have always got to live together with the natives. Co-operation with the natives is essential to the well-being of the country. There is a growing recognition that the dual policy is the right one and that they have a duty towards the natives. I would ask hon. Members opposite to believe that our fellow-citizens out there are not only concerned with their own immediate advancement, not only with what I might call the idealism of economic development, but they are also increasingly recognising their duty towards the native inhabitants of the country and taking an increasing interest in the welfare of the country.
If I may came back to the actual proposals of the Bill and the general scheme of development in Africa, the transport scheme is admitted by everyone to he in the interest of the native at least as much as in the interest of the whites. That scheme is to be carried out under the general guarantee of the House. The loans raised do not necessarily correspond with the area that is benefited. The improvement of the port of Kilindini is at least as much to the benefit of the natives in Kenya, as it is to the benefit of the white settlers of Uganda. Mention has been made of research. Since the Schuster Committee reported, the Government of Kenya have laid before us proposals for research, more particularly into the welfare of the natives, into the whole social life and conditions and the education of the natives on a far larger scale than any proposal that has ever been made in arty country. They are proposing that something like £100,000 should be set aside for research, mainly into the conditions of native welfare. From what I know of the present feeling of the settlers, they will in the main support proposals of that kind and I believe that is the right way to do it. Criticism with imperfect knowledge at this end creates a dogged antagonism and an unreasoning attitude, but where we can get the settlers in Kenya to help on the same lines and become enthusiastic about the things 2355 we are keen on, we on this side can help Kenya with our guarantee, to embark on this project of research, and the settlers, like reasonable men, will he ready to accept it. I hope, having had this very full ventilation of the general position in Kenya, and hon. Members opposite having drawn attention again to their justifiable feeling that the interest of the natives ought to be carefully watched, we may now proceed with the main business of the Bill.
§ Mr. HARDIE
I should not have intervened but for some remarks that fell from the hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill. He seemed to me to be trying to score a point in a way I do not think very gentlemanly. He seemed to suggest that I was less intelligent than he was because I had not been to Africa.
Mr. 0 RMSBY-GORE
I apologise to the hon. Member most humbly. It never entered my mind, and if I were so bad a speaker as to convey so absolutely false an impression, I was quite wrong. I did not go to Africa with my own money. I was sent by the Labour Government, with a former Labour colleague, and I much regret that he is absent.
§ Mr. HARDIE
I am glad to have that, but the language the hon. Gentleman used made that impression general on these benches. Of course, it would never do to have that kind of measure. If we came to measure that way—take your own benches, packed as they are by your 200 majority—
§ Mr. HARDIE
Not your benches, Sir, but the benches occupied by the present Government. They have not a knowledge of mining, but they assume they have a knowledge of everything connected with mining. If they use that kind of argument see where they would land themselves. We also had remarks from the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft). He was trying to draw crocodile tears about the women in Kenya. I was thinking about the women in Lancashire and in some of the mills in Glasgow. I was thinking about the slavish conditions that women, even in households, 2356 have to go through in carrying out domestic duties under all kinds of difficulties, both as to the condition of the house and economic conditions. Where they have such weather as they have in Kenya the women are freed from the slavish labour that takes place here. There are other people in the House who may not have been in Africa but who have their observation here, and surely it is a very silly thing if you cannot make comparisons.
Coming to the question of labour itself, you cannot call labour free labour when you have to impose taxation to get some of it. The question is, if it were not for the tax could you get that labour. If you could get it otherwise why have this compulsion through the tax? You cannot say under present conditions that the workers are absolutely free to do this or not. You know they would not come near that class of work. The native has an aversion to he changed on to different crops, but it has been admitted that when you leave him free to the work he is used to he goes on in his own way. The only way that you are getting labour there is by using a form of compulsion, which comes from the fact that you put a tax upon him. I think it is a terrible thing that the Government, claiming to be enlightened and Christian, is going to use methods to enforce labour. We are asked why we take up Kenya, and it is suggested that we do not know the conditions and that we want to injure Kenya. We do not need to study the conditions of Kenya alone to know what land robbery is. We know what land robbery is here, and when the same sort, of gentlemen who do that sort of thing here go out there—
I am afraid this is hardly in order in connection with the question of a loan to Kenya.
§ Mr. HARDIE
We only know Kenya by a name which is applied to certain land. I was dealing with the question as to whether or not we should do certain things. We on this side are against any kind of loan in a way that will find itself into the pockets of the landlords through the filching of other people's land, and that seems to be what this thing comes to. For these reasons, I am glad to oppose this loan.
§ Mr. SOMERVILLE
The speeches to which I have listened tempt me to say a few words. Elaborate theories have been built up on the other side of the House, especially by the hon. Member for Peckham (Mr. Dalton) and the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) from Reports and Blue Books. It seemed to me, from the little I know of the subject, to have very small relation to the facts of the case. I have not been in Kenya, but I heard a great deal about it when I was in South Africa two years ago. I had the advantage of traveling for a short time with Lord Delamere, who seems to be the motive of the speeches of hon. Members opposite. Lord Delamere is doing very considerable work in the useful development of Kenya. In South Africa generally and in East Africa, as I understand it, the natives are very glad to work for the white settlers. By so doing they make a little money, go back to live patriarchally among their wives, and get their wives to work for them. I suggest to hon. Members opposite that the slavery of the natives, of which they talk so much, does not exist. The real slavery is of the wives of the natives to the natives themselves. I would suggest to the hon. Member for Peckham and the hon. Member for Caerphilly that they should go out to Kenya and preach to the natives the emancipation of women. I do not promise that they would be very well received. It might be well for them to take a bodyguard of those adherents who have been so much to the fore in recent elections, especially in Hull.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
I should not have risen, but for one or two remarks made by the hon. Member for Windsor (Mr. Somerville). He said—and I think it would be a mistake if we allowed it to be recorded without its being denied— that he had met Lord Delamere and had been favourably impressed with Lord Delamere's practices and policy, and that he had come to the conclusion that the natives in Kenya were very pleased to work for Lord Delamere. Here is Lord Delamere's policy in a nutshell:If the policy was to be continued that every native was to be a land-holder of a sufficient area on which to establish himself, then the question of obtaining a sufficient labour supply would never be settled.2358 In other words, if we allowed the native to produce for himself, he will not produce for Lord Delamere. One further word as regards slavery. The hon. Member says that there is nothing like slavery there. What does he call it? Sixteen shillings a month wages for Voluntary labour; 14s. a month for compulsory labour, and a fine, a penalty, of 150s. for disobeying any lawful order given by the head-man. That is, a tine of lq months' wages for disobeying the order of the boss. It is absolute rubbish for the hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) to say that we have any hostility towards the development of Kenya by British settlers. Not at all. We are as keen on giving everyone out there a chance as he is, but we believe we can prove that the way not to develop the British Empire, the way not to have prosperity, the way not to have increased purchasing power, but the way to create misery, oppression and, M the end, dispersion of the Empire, is the Delamere policy. We believe that the way to promote prosperity in the Empire is to pursue the West African policy, the policy that has been pursued in Nigeria and the policy that is being pursued in the Gold Coast. We ask the Ministers in charge to do everything possible to obstruct the Delamere policy and to do everything possible to allow the native to produce for himself, to increase his purchasing power, because by that means, and that means only, do we believe that prosperity can come there.
It is because we are hostile to the Delamere policy in Kenya, because we do not believe that forced labour is any good, that it is alien to British traditions and that it cannot be successful anywhere, that we propose to do everything we possibly can, on every possible occasion, to raise the matter in this House. It is true what the Under-Secretary said, that Delamere wants to cut the painter. There is no patriotism about Delamere and his gang. They care nothing whatever about the British Empire or the prosperity of the natives. They are prepared to-morrow to cut loose. They actually do not want this loan, and the reason why they do not want the loan is because they are afraid, that is, Delamere and some of his friends, of the present Colonial Secretary and the Under-Secretary. 2359 They do not want to have any control exercised by the Colonial Office. I am surprised that the hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth in this House, by interruption and otherwise, should give support to the most reactionary gang of exploiters who appear to be operating in the British Empire, whether they were born in this country or not, and who if they were born in this country are actively desirous of getting out of it.
§ Sir H. CROFT
To try to pretend that Lord Delamere is the sole settler in East Africa, as we have heard suggested here to-day is absurd.
§ Sir H. CROFT
That is the suggestion that has come from the Labour benches. We are told that this is all a question of labour for Lord Delamere. I will tell the hon. Members why I would like to see Kenya developed. There are in East Africa 10,000 settlers. They are simply fighting for their existence. Of course, you can ruin them, but I believe the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston) wants to help them. At this very moment men who have been struggling for five and six years, and have just been able to pay their way, are unable to collect their coffee crops simply because they cannot get labour. I do hope we shall not have this hostility to 10,000 men who are just as British and just as great lovers of freedom as the hon. Member himself. Instead of having this perpetual criticism we should give them a little help. That is why I support the Government in regard to this loan.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I would not have intervened but for the statement just made by the hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft), for whom I have the greatest respect. He was the head and front of the accusation that the Labour party were opposed to any English settlers in Kenya. The Under-Secretary says that the Labour party always attack Kenya, that we are the sole source of natural vice, and that we have no arguments behind our criticisms of the Colonial Office attitude towards the Kenya problem. I would point out that Kenya is not the only Colony where British planters have to get 2360 native labour. If you go to Ceylon you find a larger number of British planters there than there are in Kenya. Do we ever attack the Ceylon planters? Do we ever have reason to attack them? The Ceylon planters get their labour on lines which do not involve protests from the Labour party, or the criticisms of humane persons. It is true that in the past there were certain difficulties in Ceylon. In Ceylon they do not have a hut tax to drive the native to work; they do not take the land from the natives in order to drive them to work; they do not have a pass law so that the native who goes away from his job goes to gaol. They get on without any of these things in Ceylon, and why not in Kenya?
It is because we see that in some Colonies the British planter can develop the country and develop it wonderfully as he has done in Ceylon without trenching upon the rights of humanity, that we ask the Colonial Office to try to see that the methods adopted in Kenya shall be more like the methods of Ceylon. We know perfectly well that our criticism is one which the right hon. Gentleman opposite and the Under-Secretary really have at the back of their minds. We do not like having to attack English people; but the Colonial Secretary and the Under-Secretary know perfectly well that, really, their criticism is exactly the same as ours, but the difficulty is that it is a very difficult policy to carry out. We want to strengthen them in what they believe to be the right policy. It is not fair, in these circumstances, for the Under-Secretary or for any hon. Member to attack the Labour party as being anti-British, anti-settler, because we try to secure that justice for the native of Kenya which is the real glory of British administration all over the world.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I beg to move, in page 1, line 21, to leave out the word "ten" and to insert instead thereof the word "five."
The adoption of my Amendment would mean that the guaranteed loan for East Africa would be 5,000,000 instead of £10,000,000. My object in moving the Amendment is that I think in this Bill we give the Colonial Office and the Treasury much too free a hand. When we read the Schuster Report we see that by far the larger part of the projects 2361 considered by that Committee have been turned down, provisionally depending upon there being a satisfactory future inquiry or survey. I have gone through the various items approved by the Committee and it seems to me that if we reduce the amount of the guarantee from £10,000,000 to £5,000,000 we shall give the Government power to guarantee finances for every scheme which is likely to be undertaken within a few years or which is likely to secure the approval of the Treasury in future. For instance, the Schuster Committee in dealing with the £1,400,000 estimate as being desirable for improving the main line in Kenya, very rightly point out that most of the improvements on this line ought to be carried out out of revenue, that the revenue is piling up and is being used as a sinking fund, that the sinking fund ought to be employed for making these improvements and that this is not a fair and proper occasion for floating a fresh loan. In spite of that definite recommendation by the Committee, we find £1,400,000 in the £10,000,000 for which we are asked to guarantee a loan. I go down the list. Tanganyika, general improvements on existing lines, £634,000.
Again, all this ought to be met out of revenue. If railway finance is carried out on sound lines charges such as these should be met year after year out of revenue. That would seem better than floating a special loan for what normally is current expenditure. Then I come to the Zambesi bridge and coal railway. We are now passing, definitely, a guarantee of £1,500,000 for the building of a Zambesi bridge and coal railway, and after we have passed this it will he absolutely impossible for the House to make any further protest. It will be in the hands of the Colonial Secretary to decide at any moment, without any further consultation with this House, the guaranteeing of this large sum of money. I sympathise with the objections to this scheme which have been put forward by an hon. Member on this side, and I want to offer one further objection. It is this. We have two rival schemes put forward for tapping this territory, one through Dodoma and Fife, and the other, the scheme involving a Zambesi bridge, a good part of which has already been laid. It is true that the Zambesi route 2362 is shorter than the other, but it ends in a Portuguese port, and I think the railway is Portuguese for the last part. The other railway ends in a British port, and I maintain that it is more desirable to spend this money on developing this export trade from the Zambesi through the British port of Dar-es-Salaam rather than through the Portuguese port. And a great part of this £1,500,000 will be spent in developing coal mines which, I believe, are in Portuguese territory.
If we are going in for guarantees of this kind for goodness' sake let us see that they are for the development of a British port, rather than a Portuguese port, and for British coalfields rather than coalfields in Portuguese territory, or which are partly in Portuguese territory. I am inclined to think also that the Zambesi Bridge itself is in Portuguese territory. This is one of the questions on which, I think, the House would like to reserve its power to check or perhaps alter later, if need be. Are we now to pass this, and allow the Government to spend this large sum of money without giving the. House an opportunity of saying whether it prefers the route through Dodoma and Fife, which will develop the same territory? I could go through the various items in this Report, but it is obvious that for £5,000,000 we can cover every single one of the schemes which is likely to be undertaken for the next two years. I do not like to give the Colonial Secretary a free hand. An admirable suggestion was made by the hon. Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham) that the whole question of trustee securities should be reconsidered, and that the Crown Colonies should have the right to issue their own loans. It would get over the necessity of our having to guarantee these different loans.
§ Mr. AMERY
I hoped I had made it clear on the Second Reading of this Bill that the only reason why we have put down the comprehensive sum of £10,000,000 was in order to enable the work on these various schemes to go on continuously without coming to a stop, with all the consequential waste and disturbance, by having to come again to this House and ask for a further guarantee. It is not easy to get a Bill of this kind through the House very quickly; this Bill was introduced a long time ago. The various projects approved 2363 by the Schuster Committee, including the expenditure on the bigger trunk lines, do amount to something like £10,000,000, and they are evenly distributed over the various territories. There is roughly £1,500,000 in connection with Nyasaland, £1,500,000 for Uganda, £1,500,000 for the Uganda Railway, £2,500,000 for the various ports, and about £2,000,000 for railways in Tanganyika, and if we only sanction a loan of £5,000,000 it would mean that we should scarcely have begun work on these various projects when we should have to come back to this House for further powers. I suggest that, as the House approved wholeheartedly these general projects, it should not stultify them now by accepting an Amendment which reduces the amount to £5,000,000.
§ Sir FREDRIC WISE
I agree with a certain amount of what the Colonial Secretary has said, but having studied the Schuster Report very carefully, I cannot see why £5,000,000 should not be agreed to at the present time, and the Colonial Secretary should come back in two or three years' time for a further £5,000,000. The hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) stated the various projects that are suggested in the Schuster Report. I propose to take rather a different point of view, and to deal with the Amendment from the point of view of this nation, Great Britain. We had a long Debate yesterday. The Chancellor of the Exchequer wound up the discussion and in his last few sentences, referring to our finances, he said:Our finances have been stricken and wounded by the long coal stoppage.Those are very important words, and I appeal to the Colonial Secretary to realise the financial position of this country. I know that he is keen on development, and I am most anxious for development. We cannot have proper development unless we progress by degrees. In pre-War days there used to be grants-in-aid. In 1911 there was a grant-in-aid of £250,000, rather different to a 210,000,000 loan, and when we consider that our national debt to-day is bigger than it was in 1919, that our interest charges on the national debt are bigger in 1925–26 than they were in 1921 and 1922, I feel confident the Colonial Secretary will understand the gravity of 2364 the national situation. In "The Times" of to-day we have a most interesting article with regard to the United States of America, showing that while our taxation is £15 2s. 6d. per head of the population, in the United States it is only £6 per head of the population. It is also shown that our National Debt is £160 per head of the population, and that the United States national debt is £36 per head of the population. What important figures! I know the Colonial Secretary will say that this money will never be needed, but that is not the way to look at it from a business point of view. I am sure he heard the able speech of the senior Member for the City of London (Mr. Greenall) two days ago. He struck a note of warning with regard to this continual finance, and also the Prime Minister stated at the Scarborough meeting in October:The last months through which we have passed have postponed for some time any prospects of ameliorative legislation which requires money.Again an important warning and words. Although this does not necessarily require money, it is a guarantee of the principal and interest, and it means our credit. I listened with great interest to what the Colonial Secretary said two days ago with regard to the Palestine loan. He said that Palestine was in a position to have the loan. It is not a Palestine loan; it is a British Government loan, a British taxpayer loan, and I contend that to say it is a Palestine loan is losing the whole gist of our national finance. It is most important that Members of this Committee should realise the enormous liabilities we have taken on in the last few months. Dominion history offers many warnings that over-ambitious schemes should be very carefully watched, and I think a loan of this sort, if it was for £5,000.000 instead of £10,000,000, could be worked on a more commercial basis. It ought to be on a sort of commercial basis. If only the Colonial Secretary will consider how capital, population and savings, are intertwined, I think he will agree to the Amendment.
§ Mr. WILLIAM GRAHAM
May I beg leave to say only a word or two on this proposal. While I appreciate what was said by the right hon. and gallant Member s For Newcastle-under-Lyme 2365 (Colonel Wedgwood) with regard to the suggestion that came from me in reference to the Colonial Stock Act, 1900, I cannot agree with him in the Amendment he has submitted to the House. The point before us is that this guarantee involves a contingent liability on the taxpayers of this country of £10,000,000, and the hon. and gallant Member proposes to reduce that amount for the moment to £5,000,000. It is perfectly true that the Schuster Committee, after reviewing all the schemes proposed in East Africa, came to the conclusion that only about £1,500,000 was immediately required, and that other schemes would call for a great deal of investigation and inquiry. But the point which seems to be before the Committee is this, that it is important to give such a guarantee as will make the schemes which are now to proceed secure and safe, and as far as possible, attractive in character. The idea as I understand it is that an Advisory Committee should consider each scheme, review the general prospects and look particularly to its finance, and then make a recommendation to the Treasury substantially on the lines of the Advisory Committee under the Trade Facilities Act.
Presumably the Treasury in this country will not sanction the guarantee of any loan at all unless they are satisfied that the general position is secure. If we in this Bill limit the aggregate amount to £5,000,000, what will happen will be this, that certain immediate schemes will proceed, but, as the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs has rightly pointed out, there will be doubt or delay in connection with some of the schemes as to getting another Measure through the House of Commons to guarantee sums which everybody knows will be required in the future, but for which legislative sanction has not been obtained. In the promotion of the earlier schemes, people will be inclined to argue that they are on a limited scale and that they have no guarantee that the next step will be taken. In my judgment, instead of helping the loan in the open market that will penalise it. Even with the British Government guarantee thrown in, the rate of interest may be raised which the Governments in the territories have to pay. That would be a very undesirable result. For that reason I oppose this Amendment. While £10,000,000 is a 2366 comparatively limited charge, and while we cannot ignore the argument that all these things add up, a case can be made here for £10,000,000 on the ground of economy in beneficial arrangement of the initial sums. Unless we undertake at least this contingent liability, we may not only make it more difficult for these territories, but actually prejudice a great deal of the development to which we are commonly committed.
§ Mr. W. BAKER
I should be glad to have some more definite information with regard to the Government's policy. I am not in agreement with the right hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment, and I have no desire whatever to reduce the sum from £10,000,000 to £5,000,000. I endeavoured to make a point during an earlier discussion with regard to the Schuster Committee and the force which was to be given to the words which have been repeatedly used by the Secretary for the Colonies and the Under-Secretary, namely, that the Schuster Committee's Report has been accepted. My difficulty is this: If the Government have accepted the recommendations of the Schuster Committee are we to understand that the Governrnent are willing to recommend the Schuster Committee Report as the general basis which lays down the order of priority, the relative order of importance, of the various schemes and proposals? I believe that that is the basis on which the House is accepting the proposal which is before it now. But when I refer to the speech which the Colonial Secretary made in this House in July last I come to my difficulty. The right hon. Gentleman is reported to have said:The Committee also recommended in Tanganyika the Dodoma-Fife Line at an estimated cost of £2,700,000, in connection with which £46,000 is allotted for surveys, after which new methods of financing construction will have to be considered, if necessary."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st July, 1926; col. 1332, Vol. 198.]That seems to me to be very definite indeed. But when I turn to page 13 of the Schuster Committee's Report, I find these words:We are agreed that in the present state of its finances the Government of the Tanganyika territory could not support the burden of interest charges on this line, which, according to the evidence placed before us, could not be expected to become a paying proposition for a considerable number of years.2367 As I understand it, all that the Schuster Committee was prepared to agree to was certain preliminary expenses in respect of surveys and so on. These two quotations taken together make me fear that, whilst the House is under the impression that the Government has accepted the Schuster Committee Report as the basis on which future work is to take place, there is the possible danger that the matter of importance and priority may at some subsequent date be so adjusted that the whole balance of the scheme will be altered, and the sole point for the consideration of the Treasury will be whether or not the scheme is financially sound. I hope that that will be considered. It is a question of substance and importance, and I shall be grateful if the Secretary for the Colonies will give an answer.
§ Mr. AMERY
That is a perfectly fair point to raise. It may help the hon. Member if I remind him that the Schuster Committee is not proceeding by way of a single final Report. We had an interim Report in March last, in order to settle the things of immediate urgency. They decided on certain items, and they are actually being carried out. They produced another interim Report, which I thought of such general interest that, contrary to the usual practice, I published it so as to help the House to understand the whole situation. That, again, gave a very general indication of priority, subject always to the necessary surveys, where the surveys have not been made. We are following their sequence in carrying out the surveys, and we are generally following the line that they suggested. When the reports of the experts come back, the Committee will again report to us, and again upon their recommendation we shall be guided as to what is the most profitable and useful line to pursue next. I may correct one small misapprehension in the hon. Member's mind. He suggested that what I said about possible future means of financing the Dodoma-Fife Railway was inconsistent with what was in the Schuster Committee's Report. Paragraph 30 of the Schuster Committee's Report states:On the completion of the reconnaissance and survey work referred to above, it will be necessary to consider new methods of financing the construction of this line, when, 2368 with more reliable evidence than is at present available as to its cost and prospects, it is to be expected that a better case could be made out for assistance by the Imperial Government than is now possible.What I said then I repeated only two days ago in a paraphrase of that passage in the Report.
§ Mr. AMERY
In July I said what I said a few days ago, that this particular line is not one to be justified on financial grounds at the present time. What I said was that the time will come, after immediately paying lines have been initiated, when we can consider whether the necessary cost of that trunk line can be found out of East African revenues, or whether we must come to this House with some special proposals, if at that time it is considered a matter of urgency to carry that line through.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Obviously the hon. Member for East Bristol (Mr. W. Baker) ought to be supporting me on this matter. He is anxious now to find out what the Schuster Committee in future is going to do. Directly we have voted these £10,000,000 the future reports of future Schuster Committees, which will come out every year or every six months, will be undiscussable in this House. We shall have handed over all the £10,000,000 and it will then be outside the power of this House to criticise or to refuse to 2369 sanction. [HON. MEMBERS:"NO I "Yes; once we have voted this £10,000,000 the Secretary of State can spend it as he likes. If we voted only £5,000,000 we should still be able, when the next report comes out, to exercise a salutary check and to see that the money is spent to the greatest advantage of the people of this country. But seeing that in this matter the Labour party has adopted the entirely bureaucratic idea that the more you hand over to the Government to juggle with the better it will be for everybody, I do not feel inclined to dissociate myself from that view under the circumstances, and as thy right hon. Friend the Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. Graham) is against me, I propose to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Colonel BURTON
I beg to move, in page1, line 21, at the end, to insert the wordsProvided that no part of the moneys secured by the guarantees mentioned in this Act shall he expended on plant, machinery, or equipment which has not been manufactured in the United Kingdom or the British Empire, except in so far as any part of such sums guaranteed are to he applied to the purchase of already existing plant or machinery specified in the Schedule hereto. Provided that the provisions of this paragraph shall not apply in the case of any particular plant, machinery, or equipment in respect of which the Treasury thinks fit for any special reason to direct that they shall not apply, or in the case of any such plant, machinery, or equipment required for mandated territories.I rather gather that there is a general desire not to kill this Bill but to get it passed, if possible without it having to go to a Report stage, and my hon. Friends and I will not detain the House more than a few moments. I do not offer any apology for bringing forward this Amendment because a few weeks ago we put down a similar Amendment on the Electricity Bill, but unfortunately owing to our extraordinary Parliamentary procedure, which certainly baffled us as it often baffles older hands, we were unable to move that Amendment, and were thereby precluded from affording the Government and a very large number of our own colleagues of reaffirming their faith in the doctrine of the safeguarding of our efficient industries without launching out on the dangerous seas of a general Protective tariff. The other evening the Secretary 2370 of State for the Dominions said that Palestine had now reached a position that it was able to come into the money markets of this country to borrow money. I do not know what chance. Palestine would have of raising a loan in this country if it had not behind it the guarantee of the British Government. On the same evening the hon. Member for Ilford (Sir F. Wise) and the hon. Member for the City of London (Mr. E. C. Greenall) were at great pains to show that we were piling up potential liabilities in regard to guarantees in this country, some of which might accrue and others might not. But we are in such a state that we cannot afford to keep on piling up these liabilities one after the other.
I hope that we are entering on a new era of prosperity. After the unfortunate coal stoppage one thing that we can do to rehabilitate that industry is to develop our iron and steel industries. We are desirous that the money which is to be provided under these guarantees shall be spent in this country and afford work for British labour. In 1925 2,750,000 tons of steel were imported into this country. If that could be manufactured in this country we have it on the authority of the President of the Board of Trade that between 7,000,000 and 10,000.000 tons of coal would be used in the production of the steel. Shipments of pig iron from Middlesbrough which in 1913 were 1,340,000 tons, in 1925 had fallen to 300,000 tons odd. Our exports of steel which in 1913 were within a few thousand tons of 5,000,000 tons, have fallen below 9,000,000 tons in 1925. It has been computed that if that odd million tons of steel had been manufactured in this country and the returns of 1913 had been kept up we should have employed no fewer than 33,000 men in the collieries, iron and steel works, and limestone quarries, and a large number of men in the transport of the 6,000,000 tons of other materials which would have been used in the allied trades. In 1924 10,000,000 tons of coal were used in the production of pig iron and steel in this country. On 7th December the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham) said:Very few will deny that in all probability at this moment we are laying down the grounds of a financial programme which may operate on a large scale in the develop- 2371 ment of the British Empire."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 7th December, 1926; col. 1995, Vol. 200.]It is because we believe that we are now laying down a programme which will operate on a large scale that we desire to see the principle established that any money guaranteed by British credit shall be spent in the British Empire in order to employ British labour so that we may more rapidly enter upon that era of prosperity which we believe to lie before us. We have added to the Amendment words providing that it shall not applyin the case of any such plant machinery or equipment required for mandated territories.As I understand, under international w, that might not he allowed.
§ Mr. RADFORD
I beg to support the Amendment. I have felt it my duty from time to time in this House to oppose the giving of these British Government guarantees, but I am happy to say I do not rise in any spirit of opposition to the Government giving this guarantee. But I think it only reasonable and right that the patient British taxpayer, who is undertaking a contingent liability under these guarantees, should at least have assured to him that, so far as our industries can supply at reasonable prices the goods which will be bought by the money to be expended under these guarantees, that money should be expended in Britain and not in foreign countries. There is no question that the purpose of our guarantees is to enable this money to be borrowed more cheaply. It is only a very small thing for which we are asking, namely that subject to certain limitations which the Amendment provides the materials, equipment and plant required should be bought in this country. I invite the attention of the Committee to the words at the end of the original Amendment before the manuscript addition was made to which the Mover referred:Provided that the provisions of this paragraph shall not apply in the case of any particular plant, machinery, or equipment in respect of which the Treasury thinks fit for any special reason to direct that they shall net apply.These words are similar to words inserted in the Beet Sugar Measure and they were intended to prevent any exploitation on the part of the machinery manufacturers of this country of the fact 2372 that British machinery had to be bought for the beet factories if they were to be eligible for the subsidy. By the insertion of these words my hon. and gallant Friend and I submit that the territories in which we are interested are protected against exploitation. We are desirous that the Government should accept this Amendment and, as proof of our desire, we have made an addition to exclude mandated territories from its application. If we included mandated territories, we understand the Government could not accept the Amendment. We now feel that we can reasonably ask the Government to accept our Amendment. We also feel that we are justified in putting down this Amendment when we look into the figures showing the proportion of imports into these Crown Colonies and mandated territories which are of British origin. The Secretary of State for the Colonies, in his very interesting speech on the Second Reading of this Bill, said:I showed also that the prospects of development in these territories were such that the result of the railway and other schemes which the House is asked to sanction will be not merely substantial orders for material from this country, but also a very substantial advance in our general export and import trade."-[OFFICIAL REPORT 7th December. 1926; col. 1988, Vol. 200.]Unfortunately there is a big discrepancy between that optimistic statement and the figures of the actual imports into these territories during the six months from January to July of this year. These figures show that of the imports into Palestine only 12 per cent were British. In the case of Tanganyika the British imports were 40 per cent., while in the case of Kenya and Uganda the British imports were only 41 per cent. I think those proportions justify us as safeguarders and protectors of the British taxpayer in stipulating that if we give these guarantees we should at least have the very modest benefit asked for in the Amendment. We have been listening all the afternoon to speeches from the Socialist Benches, and hon. Members thereon appear to be greatly exercised in their minds lest under this Bill the natives of Kenya should be compelled to work. My hon. and gallant Friend and I are solicitous that under this Bill some of our fellow countrymen in this country 2373 shall have an opportunity to work. I have pleasure in supporting the Amendment.
§ Mr. AMERY
With the object of the Amendment I am of course in entire sympathy, and I hope to convince my hon. Friends that we shall also be able to give effect to their purpose. Before doing so, I should, however, point out to the hon. Member for South Salford (Mr. Radford) that there are two entirely different problems, namely, the carrying out in this country of Government orders and the ordinary import and export trade. It is quite true that we have not got anything like a monopoly of the ordinary import and export trade either of East Africa or Palestine, though the figures mentioned by the hon. Member do not, I think, wholly correspond with the facts. I understand that he referred to figures of imports from Great Britain direct, but these exclude in the case of Palestine a great deal of indirect trade from this country via Egypt, carried over the Egyptian railways, and in the case of East Africa these figures do not include trade with other parts of the British Empire such as India and South Africa. Even so, I think an import of 40 per cent. is two or three times as high as our proportion in the case of most countries under other flags. The point at issue is not, however, general trade but public works, and with regard to that I am quite ready to give my hon. Friends the most explicit assurance that, broadly speaking, with the exception of some particular small item or some unforeseeable circumstances of urgency, the whole orders for the executing of these public works, apart from the work to be done locally, will be placed in this country. That, if I may say so, ensues quite naturally and automatically from the provisions already in force. The orders for these works will be issued through the Crown agents of the Colonies, and these Crown agents are under standing orders not to give any order outside this country, or outside the British Empire, without special reference to the Secretary of State. Therefore, the whole security, which is aimed at in the Amendment, is already assured in our normal procedure, and I am only too ready to give my clear and distinct assurance that the policy aimed at by my hon. Friends is the policy we have in view in the Govern- 2374 ment and in the Colonial Office. It is the policy which we have been carrying out and intend to carry out. As regards the mandated territories, I am not sure that it is desirable to raise that issue, or to go so far in laying down a definite proposition of this kind as the Amendment seeks to do. After all, when we have given export credit facilities or trade facilities to other countries entirely outside the British Empire, we have regarded ourselves as perfectly entitled to expect some return for that special financial assistance in the form of a stipulation of this kind, and I am not prepared to accept the sweeping suggestion that we are precluded from making any stipulation of this kind in a mandated territory by way of return for the guarantee. At any rate, I hope my hon. Friends will realise that all they are aiming at in this Amendment is already covered by the existing procedure, and that the whole purpose of myself and my colleagues will be to see that this policy is effectively enforced.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I am delighted to hear what the Secretary of State has said, particularly about the mandated territories, and more especially do I congratulate him on being able to stand firm against this Amendment. It is really remarkable to find a "dyed in the woof "Tariff Reformer standing up against this Amendment, yet there are still in this House a few people who understand that if we lend £10,000,000 abroad that £10,000,000 can only leave this country in British manufactured goods. [HON. MEMBERS: "Or gold!"] As long as economic laws work, let me assure my hon. Friends opposite that if you lend money from this country to a foreign country it goes out sooner or later in goods and, whether you make a stipulation like this or not, does not matter in the least. The sole question we have to consider is: Have we got the best possible investment for the money in the way of the production of goods by the use of that capital?
§ Mr. WOMERSLEY
I am sorry the right hon. Gentleman cannot accept this Amendment. I agree that whilst the right hon. Gentleman himself remains in his present office, we have nothing to fear as regard the treatment of British manufacturers in connection with the supply of plant for public works in the Colonies. But on some future occasion the right 2375 hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Newcastle - under - Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) may occupy that office and I wonder exactly where we should be in that eventuality? For that reason, I support the Amendment. We ought to know exactly where we stand. During the election in October, 1924, many people adopted slogans. I adopted a slogan, and it was "British work for British workers." As I happen to be one of those eccentric Members of Parliament who believe in keeping their pledges, I want to vote for this Amendment so that I may carry out the pledge which I gave that, if erected, I should do all in my power to see that work was provided for British workmen. The Amendment is a very reasonable one and the Government ought to accept it, if for no other reason than that we may have the right hon. Gentleman whom I have just mentioned in the office of Colonial Secretary, and we ought to see to it, with certainty, that British manufacturers and workmen get fair play in these matters.
§ Mr. RADFORD
The right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary said he could not accept the sweeping statement which my hon. and gallant Friend and I had made, that we had been compelled to exclude mandated territories in order to give the Government a chance of accepting our Amendment. I may say that we had a fairly high authority for that statement, in fact, the next highest authority to the right hon. Gentleman himself, for we understood from the Under-Secretary of State that such was the position. We would accept the undertaking of the right hon. Gentleman unhesitatingly and withdraw the Amendment, but for one thing, and that is that it is possible, though almost inconceivable, that the next. Government may be a Socialist Government, and with such a Member as the right hon. Member for Newcastle - under - Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) as Colonial Secretary, I fear that he would not feel bound by any pledge of this nature given by the right hon. Gentleman the present Colonial Secretary. We shall be compelled, therefore, to press the Amendment to a Division.
Mr. HILTON YOUNG
I wish to point out to the hon. and gallant Member for 2376 Sudbury (Colonel Burton), who moved the Amendment, and to the hon. Member for South Salford (Mr. Radford), who seconded it, that under their Amendment they would be no better off than they are at the present time in the circumstances described by the Secretary of State for the Colonies. Their Amendment allows the Treasury, in express terms, to rule that the restriction to British manufacturesshall not apply in the ease of any particular plant, machinery, or equipment in respect of which the Treasury thinks fit for any special reason to direct that [it] shall not apply.There is absolutely no protection in that proviso at all, either under a Socialist Government or any other Government After listening to what the Secretary of State has said, I think that what he has outlined as the procedure without the Amendment is yore much better for the purpose which we desire to attain, namely, the winning of orders for this country, than the procedure under the Amendment. He has said that under the existing administrative procedure, no order can be given by the agent of a Crown Colony for any except British goods without the express leave of the Secretary of State for the Colonies. I confess that in all these matters, in which I am not without some experience, I value very much more highly the necessity to obtain the express consent of the Secretary of State for the Colonies than the sanction of the Treasury, because, when you are considering the interests of the British Empire, it is better to have as your authority the Secretary of State for the Colonies than the Treasury, which has in the forefront of its mind's eye the question of economy. Therefore, if I have before me the alternative proposal of the Amendment, that the Treasury, with its single interest for economy, shall be the authority to rule where the orders are to go, and, on the other hand, the proposal of the Secretary of State that as it were the champion of the interests of the Empire shall be the authority to decide where the orders are to go, I much prefer the latter; and, with the same object in my mind as have the supporters of the Amendment, I very much prefer the undertaking given by the Secretary of State to the Amendment itself.
§ Colonel BURTON
After hearing the speech of the Secretary of State, I beg leave, with great respect and regret, to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Mr. HARRIS
I much prefer the attitude of the proposer of the Amendment to the rather Machiavellian point of view of the right hon. Member for Norwich (Mr. Hilton Young), who wants to get, by administrative action, what the Movers of the Amendment rightly wish, if it is to be the policy of the Colonial Office, to have done by Act of Parliament. If we are going to exploit mandated territories for our own purposes and make them pay more for their contracts than market price, let us be quite clear about it, and do not let us be insincere and make pretences. After all, the mandated territories are not parts of the British Empire. We hold them in trust, for their benefit, to the League of Nations, and we have to administer them, not in our own interests, but in the interests of the native inhabitants. It is said abroad that we took advantage of the War to enlarge our territory and add to our wealth, but our answer, I hope a right answer, has been that that is not the case, that we do not want to exploit those countries, and that we are merely acting in a disinterested way and administering them for their benefit. If a policy of this kind were accepted, it would be going right against that spirit, and it would be justifying foreign jealousy of, and antipathy to, the British Empire. While I agree that, if we make a loan to these countries, we get benefits, because, somehow or other, every loan must take the form of the export of manufactured goods sooner or later, to make mandated territories pay more than is necessary for goods that they require is not right, and I hope the Amendment will be pressed to a Division and defeated, so that it will be made clear to the world and to the mandated territories that we have no intention to exploit those territories, but that we will carry out our duties and responsibilities to the League of Nations without any thought of advantage to ourselves.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."2378
§ The Committee proceeded to a Division, but there being no Member Willing to act as Teller for the "AYES" the CHAIRMAN declared that the "NOES had it.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I beg to move, in page 1, line 21, at the end, to insert the wordsProvided also that the fair wages clause or principle shall be followed in paying wages for work done in connection with the expenditure of the principal of the loan, and that in particular no wage paid to able-bodied men in Africa shall be less than 16s. a month over and above the cost of maintaining the labourer.I am glad to think this Amendment will have the unanimous support of the Labour party. No one reading it can fail to see how moderate is the request. Every contract let by Government in this country is subject to a Fair Wages Clause. Might we not ask that similar contracts let for work in the Colonies should also embody that principle? I know that it will seem ridiculous to speak of a wage of 16s. a month, plus keep, but we know that wages are so low, particularly on the East Coast of Africa, that even 16s. will be better than they will get in the majority of cases if no such Clause is embodied in the Bill. I want particularly to draw attention to Palestine, where, if we can get a Fair Wages Clause in this Bill, it will mean that the work done at Haifa will be paid a reasonable European rate of wages, not quite so high as in England, but at least as high as in Italy. There you will yet a white standard of wage, and it will mean in Palestine that the standard of wage paid, not only by public authorities, but by private contractors, will rise, so that the work can be done by white men instead of being done by coloured labour. I move this Amendment because I think it is essential that, if we are throwing the.ægis of our protection over these people when money is lent or credit given to them, it should carry with it a stipulation of a fair rate of wages for the people employed, so that, particularly in Africa, where all his discussion about labour being forced or otherwise has arisen, a minimum wage at any rate shall be paid to the men employed on these works.
§ Mr. AMERY
I hope that my right hon. Friend will not accuse me of want of sympathy with the general principle of a fair wage when I say that this is not 2379 at all a workable Amendment. In Africa it is impossible to arrive at anything approaching a fair standard wage under present conditions, Conditions there vary immensely. You have on the coast at Mombasa a wage three or four times as high as the figure paid inland, and this wage scale is shifting rapidly as each area is being opened up, so that any standard established at this moment might be absolutely unreasonable later on, and it would tend to create a maximum instead of a minimum where naturally otherwise wages would be going up. In isolated regions like Nyasaland, wages are far lower than in other parts of East Africa, but I believe that the development, particularly of transport, will tend to raise and equalise wages all over Africa and improve conditions everywhere.
In regard to Palestine, there again it is very difficult in a country in which there are two elements to lay down proportions. We ought to trust the authorities on the spot who are anxious to see every section of the community getting fair play and certainly are not out to use those projects and developments for the purpose of depressing labour. The inevitable effect will be a large demand for labour generally, and it will help to raise wages. In that matter you can rely on discretion.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
That is exactly what I am afraid of. I am not going to talk about East Africa, because that will come up on the next Amendment. So far as Palestine is concerned, we are afraid that the Government will employ some of the Arabs at a very low rate of wage. We want to be certain that there is a rate of wage paid upon which Jews can live. Hitherto in the Public Works Department on the making of roads it has been almost entirely Arab labour.
§ The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Captain FitzRoy)
May I point out now that the right hon. Gentleman should wait till the next Amendment on the Paper.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I am prepared to withdraw the Amendment so that we may have the discussion solely on the East African Amendment if that would suit the convenience of the Committee. I would like, first, from the Government 2380 some assurance that the question of the employment of Jews on the harbour at Haifa will be taken into consideration.
§ Mr. SCRYMGEOUR
Before the Amendment is withdrawn, I would like to refer to the answer given by the right hon. Gentleman. If, as he says, the situation varies in different districts and in some parts there is a higher wage given, then under the Fair Wages Clause that would mean if it were applied, that the higher standard would be the one accepted where at present the pay is so low. Undoubtedly we need to raise the standard in those Colonial parts as well as in our own country to ensure that what is being clone with these workers shall be, as far as we can make it under present conditions, as rapidly as possible to prove the situation.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I understood the Secretary of State to nod his head with reference to the employment of Jews at Haifa.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I think it would be much better to have the discussion on the next Amendment, because that is a distinctly East African question. The question which I have raised on this Amendment is that of Palestine, and I have got satisfaction on it. I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment on that point.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. HADEN GUEST
I beg to move, in page 3, line 5. at the end, to insert the wordsand such advisory committee shall, in considering any case, have regard to the advisability of imposing conditions to safeguard the interests of the natives and to the necessity for securing fair conditions of labour for those employed on works in connection with the purposes for which the loan is to be raised.I am glad we have been able to bring the discussion to this point, because I 2381 submit that it puts the matter in a way more possible for the Government to accept than the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood). To fix a definite sum of money for a minimum wage is an exceedingly difficult thing when you are dealing with conditions so varied as those which stretch from Palestine all over East Africa, the country with which you are dealing under this loan. I do not myself consider it would he possible to fix a definite money wage as a minimum over a very extensive area. What is asked for by this Amendment is, as the right hon. Gentleman has said, a Fair Wages Clause, not only because we desire to safeguard the position of the natives themselves, but also because we feel that unless the conditions of the natives are very carefully safeguarded at this stage of our civilising propaganda, as it were, in East Africa, there will come a period at a not very much later date, when industrialism has gone forward, when the natives of East Africa will be competing in their products with white labour in this country, and when there will he a very serious danger indeed of the deterioration of the standard of life in this country because of the competition of black labour in East Africa and countries dealt with under this loan.
I understand I may be told that under the constitution of this Advisory Committee it will not be possible for the Committee to deal with anything but purely financial consideration. If Members will look on page 3 of the Bill it is stated that money shall not be raised until after consultation with an Advisory Committee appointed by the Secretary of State subject to the approval of the Treasury. I want to point that out because it makes it quite clear that the constitution of the Advisory Committee is not laid down in this Bill. It is an Advisory Committee to be appointed by the Secretary of State, and he can just as well, through the exercise of his function, appoint an expert who shall advise on native labour welfare as appoint another expert who shall advise on the question of finance. I submit that he should do so. The conception of labour being in partnership with capital, which is so much spoken of at the present time, can only become a reality if the interests 2382 of labour are looked after at the same time as those of capital. I submit that on this Advisory Committee there should be a representative who should safeguard the interests of labour—in this case labour largely in East Africa—as well as those who safeguard the interests of capital and of the State. I therefore suggest that the Secretary of State should add a native expert to the Advisory Committee.
We have not only got to consider our own particular Dominions in this respect. I am exceedingly anxious that nothing shall be done to interfere with the passage of this Bill. In East Africa we are not the only Power. There are other Governments there whose native policies will in the future affect us and the condition of whose natives will affect us. Vice versa, the condition of the native population in our territory will have a good deal to do with the native welfare of the whole of that enormous black population. It is of the utmost importance that we should set a very high standard in our own territories in the method of treatment. An expert on native welfare appointed on the Advisory Committee, considering, at the same time as financial questions are considered, labour conditions which should be the other half of the bargain, would be the best possible way to secure that the welfare of the natives from the point of view of their economic security and our economic security would be safeguarded.
We are only at the very beginning of this development. I do not think that we realise sufficiently what a very enormous development is likely to come about in Fast Africa and tropical Africa generally during the next 25 years. It is of the utmost importance that we should lay down a foundation of policy at the present time on which we can build into the future in such a way as not to have disturbances, such as have happened in other countries, occurring in tropical Africa. It is not very long since industrial methods were introduced into China. Because in China you have not had a proper regard for the conditions of labour—you have not a statesman with economic imagination looking into the future—you have a condition of turmoil and trouble there which seems likely to go on for a considerable period 2383 and have effects of a very devastating kind. If, now, from the very beginning on this Advisory Committee, we have a native expert to consider the question of native labour, just exactly, as the question of finance will be considered, then we shall lay down a solid foundation and be able to go on without the risks of trouble and of deterioration of great masses of people in tropical Africa itself and without the risk of the standard of life of white people in this country being affected by competition.
§ Mr. AMERY
I quite agree that there are risks in the development of Africa which we ought to foresee and avoid. We have already, whether it be perfect or not, the machinery on the spot which is based on local knowledge. We have special Native Affairs Officers. Any construction that is undertaken will be undertaken not only by the engineering constructional staff, thinking only of construction, but it will be under the closest supervision of District Commissioners and Native Affairs Officers who are not native experts in the abstract, but who are native experts in their own particular districts, and who will see that their own people in any district are properly treated. On the other hand, it really does seem very doubtful how a Committee at this end could deal with those quite broad conclusions. You would have to set up a much larger Committee, manned by any number of native experts, and the moment they began to touch on certain points, they would be bound to communicate with the Secretary of State and with the various Governments. I do submit that the existing machinery of local government, under the general control of the Secretary of State, and with the conscience of the House of Commons behind, is, on the whole, likely to produce the best results. I really could not feel justified in diverting myself of my responsibility in this matter, in order that it might be possible to find some native expert, who would really be an intrusive element on the Committee. I say that with every sympathy with the general object the hon. Member has in view.
§ Mr SAMUEL SAMUEL
I have listened to the speeches on the other side, and I am appalled at the lack of knowledge of the real condition of things in 2384 our colony of East Africa. We have a magnificent organisation. We have a British officer whose special duty it is to watch over and protect the interests of the native labourers. When we require labour in East Africa, it is generally arranged through the officer of labour affairs, who takes the trouble to investigate the conditions under which the employés of any company have to work. He investigates the sanitary arrangements, 'the conditions of the water supply, and so on, and I do say the Colonial Office hay instituted a far better arrangement in British East Africa than has been the case in any colony of any other nation. I can affirm the natives in the majority of cases, owing to the assistance they get in this way, have benefited considerably, and if inquiries were made, instead of statements being made in this House, as to the conditions existing among the native workers, it would, I think, save the House and those who make these statements a great deal of time, and they would be able to give to the Colonial Office the credit which is due to it.
§ Mr. R. SMITH
The object of this Amendment is not to discredit the very good work that has been done, and is being done, by our administration in East Africa On the contrary, the whole intention of this Amendment is to strengthen and carry forward that work. It is because we want to see that work still further developed that we are bringing this Amendment to the notice of the Committee. The hon. Member who has just spoken has referred to the good conditions in East Africa. He knows very well that, for example, the mortality rate is extraordinarily high in that part of Africa. I was reading some statistics the other day which point out that, taking East Africa as a whole, the death rate is So per thousand of the population as compared with 12 to 15 in this country, and whereas the mortality rate 'n children under one year in this country is from, 60 to 100 per thousand, in East Africa it varies from 300 to 600. I have read a very careful analysis taken in East Africa by people on the spot, and they came to the conclusion that, on an average, out of a family of six or seven children, only two ever reached beyond childhood. It is considerations of this 2385 kind, plus the economic factors, that we want to see something like a native code of labour introduced in connection with this loan. We know that the natives, notwithstanding the native welfare department, are not yet able to look after themselves. There is no such thing as a trade union or corporate group life whereby natives can take care of themselves. It is right, therefore, that we should suggest definite State care for these people. For those reasons, I support the Amendment.
§ Mr. SAMUEL
May I point out to the hon. Member that his reference was to the natives working by themselves, and not to the natives who are employed by the Europeans? If the Government interfered too much with the natives themselves, we should have trouble.
I think we ought to thank the hon. Member for his valuable, though unfortunately rare, intervention in the Debate. He speaks with great knowledge, but I do not know whether the Secretary of State would he particularly grateful to him for his candour. I understood it was the function of the native Commissioner to protect the interests of the natives, and not to provide labour.
It is no use the Under-Secretary shaking his head. Here is an hon. Member who tells us that it is the native Commissioner to whom he goes, and he is quite satisfied that too much Government interference will not do. I think if ever there were a justification for this Amendment, it is the speech of the hon. Member. If the natives are to be left to the tender mercies of the hon. Member, in view of his conception of what should be done, it is high time that some Amendment should be made to the Bill to protect their interests. It may be quite true, as the Secretary of State says, that the Advisory Committee is not a very good body to do it, but if the Secretary or State regards himself, as I am sure he does, as the guardian and the trustee of the natives, will he not accept some words in the Bill which will show that when Parliament is granting this loan, we do intend in this House—which is far more enlightened than the House of Commons has been in the past in these matters—that certain conditions shall be 2386 imposed which will protect the natives from the sort of exploitation we all desire to avoid?
§ Mr. SCRYMGEOUR
In support of the appeal made by the Mover the Amendment, I wish to join in emphasising the necessity of steps being taken of the kind indicated in the Amendment. Reference has been made to China, as 'an illustration of the necessity of handling our Colonial affairs in much better fashion. I regard that as a matter of the utmost importance. It has been suggested by Lord Incheape that the trouble there arises through the introduction of missionaries. My conception of the situation is that the difficulty arises in the application of Christian principles. If the application of those Christian principles were adopted, I quite understand it would be regarded as an impracticable step. We are a professing Christian country, and it is gratifying, from the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, that in this particular connection progress to some extent has been made. But, in view of the announcement made by one of the right hon. Gentleman's supporters, that you must be careful not to interfere where private employers are engaged in this exploitation business, we maintain that if a thoroughgoing Government wishes to extend the Empire in the way we would like, as a "land of hope and glory," it should be by a practical application of Christian principles, trying to deal by those people as we would have them deal by us.
Mr. H. YOUNG
It appears to me that if we were to follow the ignis fatuus of the hon. and gallant Member for Leith (Captain Benn), the discussion would get a little wide of the Amendment. Of course, with the general purpose of the Amendment, I suppose, the whole Committee is in absolute sympathy. Whether or not it would be possible to insert some general words to indicate the principle of protection of native labour, is another question, but the Amendment, it appears to me, would do positive harm for two reasons. It proposes to fix upon the Advisory Committee the duty of attaching conditions with regard to native labour That has two positive vices. The first is that the functions of the Advisory Committee are specific. They are the advisers and 2387 the watchdog of the financial interests of the British taxpayers, and eventually, of course, of the Colony itself. With that function of financial advice, it appears to me improper, and not beneficial, to combine these other functions. The second vice is different. It would clothe the Advisory Committee with administrative functions. Such an Advisory Committee cannot be treated as part of the wheel of government. It is disqualified, first of all, because it is a council, and, secondly, from the fact that it is sitting in London, and not operating on the spot, where these highly specialized matters are considered. It would be doing harm to the natives themselves it we put these matters in the hands of such a body as the Advisory Committee.
Mr. H. GUEST
I do not want to divide the Committee on a point in which there seems to be so much agreement all round, if the right hon. Gentleman will give me some sort of assurance that he will put in words in another place to safeguard the interests of the natives in the sense desired.
§ Mr. GILLETT
There is one question I would like to ask, and that is whether there is likely to be enough native labour forthcoming without having enforced labour before the railway is proceeded with? One idea we had in our minds was that, before a new scheme is put in hand, there should be some assurance that these questions, which affect a large number of natives, would be definitely considered by some body.
That, of course, is already the case. The recruiting of the compulsory labour of even the smallest number of men is never undertaken by any Government of East Africa without first obtaining the explicit consent of the Secretary of State, and I hope bon. Members will realise that on all these matters we do exercise a very watchful scrutiny. In substance our point of view is not actually different from theirs, only when one is dealing with local conditions one has to remember that they differ very much from conditions here, and that very often things which appear eminently reasonable here wear a very different aspect out there. Both my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary and I have given the Committee clear assurances as to the 2388 policy of the Government in regard to the natives, and it does seem to me that it is not unreasonable to ask the Committee to recognise the responsibility of Ministers in this matter. If Ministers seem to fail in their responsibility, then they can be called upon to answer either at Question Time or in Debate, but it seems hardly appropriate to include in a Measure based on a Financial Resolution which is narrowly drawn, and is concerned, not with the actual carrying out of the work, but with the giving of a guarantee, language of a general character to tell the Government that they ought to be a good and well-behaved Government. I do assure the hon. Member that the considerations which were in his mind when he brought forward this Amendment and ventilated it are considerations which are in our minds and will be in our minds throughout.
I would like to ask the Secretary of State what objection there would be to putting in a paragraph (4) in some words as these—In the case of such loan the Secretary of State shall be satisfied that conditions have been made such as will safeguard the interests of the natives.I do not ask him to make the conditions. It would be far better and more creditable to the Committee to put in this declaration in defence of native rights. I do not know whether the Whips are afraid of the addition of a Report stage if such an Amendment were accepted, but I do not think that need really distress them, because I dare say assurances might be forthcoming on that point. I do urge the Government to put this declaration in. Nobody mistrusts the right hon. Gentleman—certainly I do not—and I am perfectly certain that both he and the Under-Secretary would be most zealous in looking after the interest of the natives; but is it not better that Parliament should take this opportunity of making a declaration of labour rights for the natives?
§ Mr. AMERY
It cannot be left out of consideration that to accept this Amendment would involve another stage for the Bill; and further, as I said just now, such an extra clause would only be laying down that the Secretary of State should do what is already part of his ordinary duties. Also, if it were done in this case it would involve doing it in the case of 2389 every other Bill ever introduced. The Committee have done their duty, that is, they have taken the occasion of this financial measure to discuss the general position in East Africa at considerable length in order to get the assurance which they have got from the Government. I think that fully meets the situation and that it is not necessary to add to a financial Resolution what are, from the legislative point of view, purely otiose sentences.
§ Mr. W. GRAHAM
I appreciate what the right hon. Gentleman has just said regarding this matter but hon. Members behind me and in other parts of the House attach a good deal of importance to a provision of this kind. We must face the plain facts of the situation regarding the future of this Bill. It. is true that with the few days that remain, if there were a prolonged Report stage, we might not get the legislation through, and we recognise that the Bill must be passed at the earliest possible moment in order that these schemes may proceed; and accordingly my hon. Friends behind me—and I concur in this view—say that if the right hon. Gentleman will try to meet us on this point we will give a firm undertaking, so far as we are concerned, that nothing will be said at all on. Report, so that he would not be exposed to that difficulty. That is the best offer we can make in the circumstances, and having made that offer I feel that the right hon. Gentleman ought to meet us regarding this Amendment.
§ Mr. AMERY
I do not want to differ from hon. Members opposite on a point of form where there is substantial agreement in substance, and I will try to find some form of words—perhaps in consultation with hon. Members opposite—which perhaps might be introduced into the Bill in another place. On principle, I think it is unnecessary, but I do not want to differ on a point like that, and I will try to see if, on the basis referred to by the right hon. Gentleman, I can find some form of words.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."2390
§ Sir R. HAMILTON
Before we part with this Clause, I would like to put a question with regard to the financial arrangements during the construction of the line that is being built with the loan raised under the Bill. Will interest be chargeable upon capital during the period of construction?