HC Deb 26 November 1930 vol 245 cc1297-300

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in view of the statement in the Secretary of State's Memorandum on Native Policy in East Africa, that persons of every race, coloured no less than white, have a right to equal treatment in accordance with their several needs, the Government of Kenya Colony has yet advised him as to any amendments which will be required in existing legislation in order to bring it into strict conformity with the policy laid down in the said memorandum?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Dr. Drummond Shiels)

Yes, Sir. A telegraphic statement has been received from the Acting Governor of Kenya. From this it appears that a few amendments in the Colony legislation may be desirable; but the matter cannot be dealt with satisfactorily by telegraph, and the Acting Governor will forward a comprehensive statement by mail for ray Noble Friend's consideration.

Rear-Admiral BEAMISH

Does the hon. Gentleman accept the implication in the question that the several races are not receiving equal treatment?


I did not notice any implication.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in view of the dissatisfaction which has been caused to the white popu- lation of Northern Rhodesia by the issue of Command Paper 3573, the Memorandum on Native Policy in East Africa, the Government will issue at an early date a further document to modify or to explain more fully the native policy expounded in that memorandum?


His Majesty's Government have no intention of modifying their native policy. The memorandum has been fully explained to the elected members and other residents of Northern Rhodesia by the Governor, in a statement of which a summary was published in the Press of the 29th October.


Does not the hon. Gentleman realise that the people living on the spot are much the best judges?


If that were true, and if that advice had always been acted upon, we should still have had slavery in the West Indies.


Has the hoe. Gentleman's attention been called to the fact that the permanent European population of Northern Rhodesia is being increased at the present time to the extent of something like 4,000 a year by immigration of British subjects from Southern Rhodesia and the Union; and does he not think it highly desirable, if a serious crisis is to be avoided, that the Europeans should be taken into consultation?


We have had full evidence of the views of those to whom the Noble Lord refers, in the memorandum, of which he is well aware, and a reply by His Majesty's Government has been sent.


Does not the hon. Gentleman know that we have starvation in the West Indies under the present Government's policy?


In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply to my original question, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the question of native policy in Northern Rhodesia on the Motion for the Adjournment of the House at an early date.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations have been invited to express approval or disapproval of both White Papers issued by the Government in regard to East Africa before the proposals therein contained are considered by the Joint Select Committee of both Houses of Parliament; and whether the Permanent Mandates Commission has been asked to express views on the White Papers generally or only on the limited point as to whether the policies proposed are compatible with the terms of the actual mandate for Tanganyika Territory?


No, Sir. The statement of conclusions with regard to Closer Union in East Africa has been communicated to the Permanent Mandates Commission, who have thus an opportunity of commenting on it if they so wish. The other White Paper, on Native Policy, has not been communicated officially.


Do I understand that the White Papers which have been issued are having a very serious and far-reaching effect upon the future policy of His Majesty's Government in mandated territories; and do I understand that they were issued without consultation with the Mandates Commission of the League of Nations?


I do not admit that there will be a serious effect in the sense which the hon. and gallant Member seems to indicate. The real point is that the statement on Closer Union had a definite relationship with the work of the Mandates Commission, but the other Paper was a general statement of policy which had no specific reference to mandated territories.


What does the hon. Gentleman understand by the word "communicated"? What does the phrase "communicated to the Permanent Mandates Commission" mean? Are they asked to express an opinion, or are they to take it as a decision of His Majesty's Government?


I should not have thought that the right hon. Gentleman would require me to define what "communicated" means. It means "sent." The papers have been sent to the Permanent Mandates Commission. As I have said, if they care to make any comment upon them, that is their affair, but they have not been invited to do so.


Will the hon. Gentleman publish tile covering letter that went with the documents?