HC Deb 19 June 1933 vol 279 cc461-3

asked the Secretary of State for India whether any decision has been reached with regard to the future administration of Aden; and what action the Government of India propose to take with a view to implementing their pledges to consult the Legislative Assembly before the matter is decided?


I must apologise for the length of this answer. His Majesty's Government have recently received representations from different communities among the inhabitants of Aden as well as from certain quarters in India, expressing their various views in regard to the transfer of the administration of Aden from the control of the Government of India to His Majesty's Government. The matter is one which is now receiving the consideration of His Majesty's Government and of the Government of India in connection with the impending constitutional changes. Full opportunity will be given for discussion in the Indian Legislative Chambers at their next session and for all the interests concerned to state their views. Meanwhile, His Majesty's Government think that it would be convenient that the considerations which suggest the desirability of a transfer of the administration and the conditions that would be entailed by such a transfer should be made known so that the problem can be discussed with a full knowledge of the facts.

The reasons which suggest that Aden should not remain linked with India under the new constitution are, that it is an-area geographically remote from India; that it would not naturally fit into the new federation; that it is already to some extent under Imperial control, and that it is inseparable in practice from the Aden Protectorate, which has already passed wholly out of Indian control. If it should be decided that the administration of Aden should be separated from that of India, His Majesty's Government contemplate that the following conditions would be established:

  1. (1) India would be relieved of the annual contribution of approximately £150,000 sterling, or Rs.20 lakhs, at present payable towards the military and political administration.
  2. (2) The right of appeal in judicial cases to the Bombay High Court would be maintained.
  3. (3) His Majesty's Government would maintain the existing policy of making Aden a free port unless some radical change in the present economic situation should take place. From their own point of view the abandonment of this policy would clearly in existing, economic conditions be financially unsound, since the prosperity of Aden depends largely on its transit trade.
  4. (4) His Majesty's Government would do their utmost to maintain the present standard of administration and would 463 not impose any additional taxation unless such a course became, in their opinion, absolutely necessary.
  5. (5) A proportion of Indian service administrative personnel would be retained in Aden service for some years after transfer took place.
  6. (6) No racial legislation or segregation would be permitted by His Majesty's Government.