HC Deb 29 February 1932 vol 262 cc908-12

Again considered in Committee.

[Captain BOURNE in the Chair.]

Question again proposed, "That Item Class II, Vote 11 (India Office), be reduced by £100."


There are still one or two questions I have to deal with before the Debate comes to an end. There was the question raised by the hon. Member for Finchley (Mr. Cadogan). The Leader of the Opposition was terribly critical of the speech of my hon. Friend. I think he was very hard on him. It did not seem to me to be at all the unsympathetic speech that the Leader of the Opposition represented it to be. Be that as it may, my Friend asked me whether there was to be any sudden reversal of policy. I can assure him that the answer is, no. Then there were a number of points raised in the very interesting speech of the hon. Member for North Bristol (Mr. Bernays), who has already written a book about India. I read it with great interest, though I cannot say that I agree with everything in it. I listened with interest to his speech to-day. He asked me one specific question—whether we could give a date within which the new Indian constitution would be completed? With the best will in the world, we cannot. We cannot give a date, for the obvious reason that there are many factors in the problem that are out of our control altogether. Let me give him one. We are trying to create an all-India federation. That means a Government in which British India and the Indian States take part. We cannot dictate to the Indian States when they should come in, or how they should come in. A question of that kind must be a matter of negotiation, and with the best will in the world we cannot say when negotiations of that kind will be completed. What I can say is that we shall proceed with the work of building up the new constitution with all possible speed. We shall attempt to remove obstacles in the path of this difficult task, and there will be no unavoidable delay. But when it comes to giving an actual date within which that constitution will be completed, neither I nor he nor anybody else can possibly give it.

Lastly, there were serious criticisms made by the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones). He seemed to think we had gone back on the pledges of last winter, and that even if committees had been set up, they were not the committees contemplated by the Round Table Conference, and that altogether the chapter of co-operation was at an end. I can assure him that none of those charges is justified. He made great play with the fact that the committee that was at one time called the Working Committee is now called the Consultative Committee. The title makes not the least difference to the work of that committee. The committee is exactly what it was intended to be at the end of the Round Table Conference last December. He seemed also to criticise the fact that the committee was composed exclusively of Indian representatives. As far as I know, it was the desire of everybody concerned that the committee should be an Indian committee. The hon. Member is wrong. This particular Consultative Committee was always intended to be a committee of representative Indians from whom we could obtain the Indian view upon a certain number of specific constitutional questions, and the committee to-day, whatever its name, is exactly the committee contemplated last December.

When I come to the more general question of co-operation, there, again, I

Division No. 91.] AYES. [11.1 p.m.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Cripps, Sir Stafford Groves, Thomas E.
Attlee, Clement Richard Daggar, George Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)
Batey, Joseph Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)
Buchanan, George Edwards, Charles Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Grinfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Leonard, William

must draw his attention to the fact that this kind of co-operation is still continuing. There is the fact that a number of prominent Indian representatives are working with the British representatives of this House and another place on all three of these committees. The hon. Member can, therefore, take it from me that the chapter of co-operation is on no account ended and that we are just as prepared as we were last December to co-operate with anyone who is prepared to co-operate with us.

Another criticism that he made about our administration was in connection with what he described as the use of emergency powers. May I issue a word of warning in regard to this matter, a warning which was confirmed in the speech of the hon. Member for North Bristol (Mr. Bernays). Atrocities of this kind are very easy to fabricate. Our past experience has shown that in nine cases out of ten they are fabricated and that there is little if anything in them. Where there is a definite reason to think that there has been an abuse of powers, we certainly shall make an investigation. I rather regret the fact that the hon. Member did seem to take the responsibility for supporting a number of wild charges. I should be very much surprised if there is any substance in them. He also seemed to me to assume that the British Government and Congress were equal powers competing with each other. That is not so. He will remember, also, that he said that he would like to know the names of those responsible for the preparation of the Government reports in the Blue Books, which seemed to imply a doubt about their veracity. There is no justification for the criticism he made that our policy has been reversed and that we are now substituting the policy of conflict for the policy of co-operation which was supported by an overwhelming majority of this House last December.

Question put, "That Item Class II, Vote 11 (India Office), be reduced by £100."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 93; Noes, 195.

McEntee, Valentine L. Salter, Dr. Alfred
Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Tinker, John Joseph TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Parkinson, John Allen Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly) Mr. John and Mr. Duncan Graham.
Price, Gabriel Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Normand, Wilfrid Guild
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Grimston, R. V. O'Donovan, Dr. William James
Albery, Irving James Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.) Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Hales, Harold K. Palmer, Francis Noel
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford) Patrick, Colin M.
Aske, Sir Robert William Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd) Peat, Charles U.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Hanbury, Cecil Penny, Sir George
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Hanley, Dennis A. Peters, Dr. Sidney John
Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey Harbord, Arthur Patherick, M.
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Hartland, George A. Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bllst'n)
Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Pike, Cecil F.
Bernays, Robert Hillman, Dr. George B. Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.
Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B. Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Pybus, Percy John
Blindell, James Holdsworth, Herbert Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Borodale, Viscount Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston) Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Bossom, A. C. Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge) Ramsbotham, Herwald
Boulton, W. W. Hopkinson, Austin Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Hornby, Frank Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S. Remer, John R.
Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.) Howard, Tom Forrest Renwick, Major Gustav A.
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Robinson, John Roland
Broadbent, Colonel John Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Rosbotham, S. T.
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Hume, Sir George Hopwood Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H. Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.
Burghley, Lord Iveagh, Countess of Runge, Norah Cecil
Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)
Burnett, John George Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Ker, J. Campbell Scone, Lord
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Kerr, Hamilton W. Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Kirkpatrick, William M. Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Chotzner, Alfred James Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R. Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)
Christie, James Archibald Leighton, Major B. E. P. Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.
Colman, N. C. D. Lindsay, Noel Ker Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Conant, R. J. E. Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe- Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Cook, Thomas A. Little, Graham, Sir Ernest Soper, Richard
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Lloyd, Geoffrey Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Loder, Captain J. de Vere Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)
Dawson, Sir Philip Lyons, Abraham Montagu Stones, James
Denville, Alfred MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Storey, Samuel
Dickie, John P. McKie, John Hamilton Strickland, Captain W. F.
Conner, P. W. Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Drewe, Cedric McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Magnay, Thomas Templeton, William P.
Eastwood, John Francis Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Eden, Robert Anthony Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot Touche, Gordon Cosmo
Edmondson, Major A. J. Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Elliston, Captain George Sampson Margesson, Capt. Henry David R Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Emmott, Charles E. G. C. Marjoribanks, Edward Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Marsden, Commander Arthur Wells, Sydney Richard
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.) Weymouth, Viscount
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.) Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John White, Henry Graham
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Fraser, Captain Ian Millar, Sir James Duncan Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Mitcheson, G. G. Wills, Wilfrid D.
Fuller, Captain A. G. Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.) Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.) Wise, Alfred R.
Glossop, C. W. K. Moss, Captain H. J. Womersley, Walter James
Gluckstein, Louis Halle Muirhead, Major A. J. Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Munro, Patrick Worthington, Dr. John V.
Gower, Sir Robert Nall-Cain, Arthur Ronald N.
Graves, Marjorie Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Greene, William P. C. Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Mr. Walter Rea and Lieut.-Colonel
Sir A. Lambert Ward.

It being after Eleven of the Clock, the Chairman proceeded, pursuant to Standing Order No. 15, to put forthwith the Question necessary to dispose of the Vote.

Original Question put, and agreed to.

Resolution to be reported To-morrow; Committee to sit again To-morrow.

The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.

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