§ Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out, stand part of the Question."
§ 6.20 p.m.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I was about to observe, when Business was interrupted, that I regret very much to find myself, both on personal and political grounds, in opposition to my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping. [An HON. MEMBER: "Where is he?"] I think that it would be fair to realise that my right hon. Friend has made a long speech, and naturally desires a little recreation afterwards. I have no doubt that he will, in due course, return to our deliberations. Nevertheless, I propose in his absence to pay him the compliment which I am about to pay, that is, that all through the 1906 Parliament I felt, in common with many others who sat on the Conservative benches, that it was a, great misfortune that we were deprived by his attachment to the Liberal Party, which fortunately proved only temporary, of a vigour, courage and initiative, which is all too rare in our political life. Further, I must observe quite frankly that sometimes in recent years, and indeed in this Parliament, I have felt that he expressed the real point of view of those who sit on these benches more clearly than some of our titular leaders.
1061 For all these reasons I greatly regret that I am in opposition to my right hon. Friend. I oppose his judgment simply and solely because I believe that his views on the Indian situation, the views which he has held during the last five years, to be fundamentally wrong from beginning to end; and if I thought those views wrong before I heard his speech this afternoon, I think so doubly after having listened to him to-day. My right hon. Friend, who is now happily again with us, possesses, like the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), oratorical guns of a range and calibre which are unsurpassed by almost anyone else in this House, but those guns are open to attack from the bombs of the records of their own past deeds, the damaging quotation, the devastating parallel. No two men in this country, or, for the matter of that, in any other—because most of the men who held high office after the War have gone—are more responsible for results and events all over the world—for which they had a prime responsibility—that they spend a great deal of their time in condemning and deploring them. That is as true of India as it is of other matters. If I may change the metaphor, I will say that with all the experience of my right hon. Friend in manual labour, he cannot shovel enough earth over his past to obliterate it from human view. His colourful and arresting personality has been indissolubly bound for the last 25 years with constitutional experiments and evolution in South Africa, in India and in Ireland which, whether we like it or not, have left an indelible mark on the situation at present existing in India and affect the means for dealing with it.
My right hon. Friend evidently anticipated that I and subsequent speakers in the Debate would make some reference to his responsibility for the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms. Like the rest of us who were in this House at the time, he does not seek to absolve himself from that responsibility. I was sure that my right hon. Friend would not do so, but he must not isolate the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms from the rest of his political career. There are other things for which he is responsible in different parts of the world besides that, and I shall ask him later on how he reconciles his views and actions on those occasions with the actions and atti- 1062 tude that he has taken to-day. I am not twitting my right hon. Friend with inconsistency. Nothing is more mean or small than to tell a Member that he has been inconsistent when he frankly admits that he has changed his views. But my right hon. Friend does not admit that he has changed his views. He is still proud of his part in the constitutions of South Africa and Ireland, and I ask him to reconcile the action he took in those cases with the attitude that he has taken, with all the great powers at his command, in the House to-day.
He said that the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms had definitely failed. I think that that is rather a tall statement. I do not think that it is true to say that they have definitely failed. I cannot for the moment recollect what my authority for the quotation is. I am not sure that it is not in the Simon Report. At any rate, I have seen it in some official document, where it was stated that it would be difficult to say whether the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms had failed or succeeded. My right hon. Friend will believe me, who have had a longer experience of Indian administration than anyone in the House, when I say that it is not those who have been working those reforms in India, either official or unofficial, British or Indian, who will say that they have failed in the sense in which the right hon. Gentleman used the term. He gave us an unduly gloomy view, a picture which was too gloomy to be true, of the situation in India as a result of those reforms.
I will point out to my right hon. Friend these facts. We have in India to-day, of all the great countries in Asia, one which is most free from trouble and disturbance—and that under the Montagu-Chelmsford system. I regret that the Dominions Secretary, in a rather incautious phrase the other day, referred to China and India as two countries in which there were turmoil and revolution. Surely anyone can distinguish between the conditions in India and in China, and surely no large country in Asia is more free than India is of those troubles. The credit of India stands as high in the markets of the world as any comparable country, the Budget bears comparison with that in any other part of the world, and the country shows progressive economic advancement. All this has 1063 taken place in circumstances which the right hon. Gentleman described to the House amid the cheers of his friends, who seem to be getting more and more gloomy every day, as deterioration. My right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) gets even more gloomy both about the present and the future in India. Amid the cheers of his friends my right hon. Friend said that this country, where all these happy things are occurring, was in a deplorable state as the result of the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms.
Although I do not want to pursue the matter, I must refer to one most calamitous reference which my right hon. Friend made to the Civil Service in India. Deeply as I regret to be so much in opposition to him, I must invite him to give an explanation of what he meant. He told us that for the last five years men in high office in India had been carefully chosen because of their particular opinions. There is no question about it that that is what he said, and he went on to say that he might even have said "for the last 10 years." I regard that as a most serious reflection on a number of people, and I am going to say who they are. First and foremost, there are our civil servants, those who are not here to reply for themselves. This is not the first time he has made charges against the Civil Service, because he made them previously against officials of the Foreign Office. This is a serious charge also against the Viceroy, both the late and the present Viceroy. It suggests that they chose their principal advisers because of their particular political opinions and not because of their capacity for their office. Lastly, I must tell the right hon. Gentleman, quite frankly, that he is reflecting on the present Secretary of State, on the late Secretary of State and on Lord Peel and Lord Birkenhead. I really think my right hon. Friend should offer some explanation, outside this House if he does not desire to do it in the Debate, of this extraordinary charge which he made against persons in high office. I am sure that my right hon. Friend will explain by a letter to the "Times," or in some other way what exactly he meant by this. I am very sorry. I must apologise to the House for suggesting that my right hon. Friend should write to the "Times." I ought to have said to 1064 the "Morning Post." To-day that is a much more favourable breeding-ground for the right hon. Gentleman's doctrines than it was 10 years ago.
§ Earl WINTERTON
Events will prove in the future whether that be true or not. It is a long way to Tipperary, however much one's heart may be "right there." If I may say so, the Lord President might well say to my right hon. Friend, if I may quote an old cliché "They will never kill me" etc. That is a matter for the future, but I am concerned to-day to make this answer to my right hon. Friend.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
My right hon. Friend is unduly complimentary in entering me into such an exalted competition.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I was tempted into doing so by the right hon. Gentleman's actions outside. I venture to suggest that my right hon. Friend has approached this matter of self-government for India from a wholly wrong standpoint right from the beginning, and I am going to take a line which, I think, has not been followed before in this Debate, but which I believe to be a sound one, and that is to say that there are only two possible systems of relationship between Western democratic Powers and the peoples of Asian and African territories under the same flag. One is the French system, and the other is the system we have pursued towards India, and it would be well, in considering possible alternatives to the Government's plan, to consider, in a sentence, what. the French system has always been. For years past the French have said to their North African fellow citizens, "We admit you to membership of our nation, with all that it implies—its obligations and sacrifices and a fair share in its advantages. We admit you to its Legislature and its culture. You can enter our Parliament, be received on terms of equality in our homes. But you must fight for us and do trade with us." That is the attitude which France has always taken to its North African colonies, a very different attitude from that which my hon. Friends—I do not use the term in any disrespectful sense, because I have been one myself—who are popularly known as "Die-hards" have 1065 always taken, in all their speeches, towards our fellow-subjects in Asia.
The British, on the other hand, speaking generally, have said to our Indian fellow subjects through the mouths of successive Governments over almost 100 years, "You shall fit yourselves to govern yourselves, and we will show you how to do it through the education we will give you, and in a thousand ways. We will not control you for ever, but rather guide you to the goal of self-government in the British Empire"—or in the British commonwealth of nations. Either of those two systems is possible. If the right hon. Gentleman had come forward and advocated the French Colonial system, I should have listened with attention to what he said, and I can well imagine that a man of his vigour and initiative would be one who might put that system into operation in our case. But what is not possible is for western democracy to say to another race, or conglomeration of races, within the same allegiance, which has any tradition of civilisation, however different it may be from the civilisation which we have in this country: "Though our own Government depends on popular support, often ignorant, usually capricious, in no circumstances will we grant you representative or responsible Government for your population, which from its very nature can never support responsible Government." That is an attitude which this House cannot take up, and those Members who in their speeches imply it, are attempting to force upon the House a, policy which neither this House nor any of its successors can possibly take. Even if the thesis were true without qualification, and it is not, though there is a measure of truth in it, the mere existence of huge masses of unattached electors in this or any other western democratic country makes it sooner or later certain that there will be in power a Government of the Left which will concede everything to that overseas country which its most extreme nationalists demand, because its domestic policy would preclude it from putting an unpopular policy into operation by force.
Therefore I say, and this is my first point, that I cannot think that any person even of in the House—and I am sure there is no person with ill-will here—can possibly deny that that makes 1066 it the more necessary that in this Parliament, especially as being a Parliament with a National Government, we should try to devise a permanent system of Government for India, which subsequent Governments here, whether they be of the Right or the Left, would be unlikely to abolish. That is the main task before this Parliament—to establish a system which has general support, not perhaps the support of everyone in every party, because that is impossible, but which has general support. I would only say this, that it would be deplorable that the nature and form of Indian constitutional government should become for long years a tilting-ground in the controversies of British political parties, and, worse still, a subject of internecine party strife. My right hon. Friend seemed almost to favour the idea. I hope it is not his intention that we shall have a long period of fighting, going on for years and years.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
What I meant was that I gather that several months will be occupied with the proceedings of the Joint Committee. Then next year, I presume, probably not till after the Budget, a Bill will be introduced which will have to be passed through all its stages in both Houses. That means 15 or 18 months of severe argument upon this question. In addition to that, several years have to pass before the federal system can be brought into operation.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I am much obliged to my right hon. Friend. I hope he agrees with me that the sooner this question is settled the better it will be for all of us, because I cannot imagine anything more calamitous than to have a cat-and-dog-fight over it. We have avoided that in the past. Nothing could be worse for the British-India connection, and, above all, for British trade, than a long period of dispute about the form which the new Constitution should take, and therefore it is all the more necessary that it should be settled. I would only make this reference to British trade, to Lancashire trade, and say that, after all, the Lancashire cotton trade, like export trade everywhere in the world, depends upon having a willing buyer, and we certainly shall not have willing buyers in India or anywhere else unless the people are favourably disposed to the Government in power at home and to the political situation which is imposed upon them. 1067 The idea that we can compel India to buy our goods, as some people seem to think, is wrong. How are we going to do it? No nation has ever been able to compel another nation to buy its goods. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about the French system?"] They do not compel their subjects to buy unwillingly; they do it willingly. I was talking about willing or unwilling buyers, and I say that there is no such thing as an unwilling buyer in foreign countries.
§ Earl WINTERTON
My hon. and gallant Friend is a great authority on the Army, but not a great authority on economic matters. I submit that you cannot logically or reasonably differentiate in aim, however much you may properly do so in method, in the system of government for the different overseas communities within the Empire. I find myself in a very isolated position. I believe in the inter-dependence, not independence, be it marked, of the Empire. We can have a self-dependent British Empire, in a strategic and economic sense, with as many units as possible having self-government. I say my position is an isolated position, because the Liberal and Labour parties clearly do not believe in it. They do not believe in the Empire as an economic and strategic whole, and a great many of my hon. Friends do not accept the other part of the policy which I put forward—they do not believe in an extension of self-government to these different units of the Empire, which I believe essential if we are to have a real Commonwealth of Nations within the Empire. As regards the aims to be pursued, my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping would, I think, be the last person to deny, from the whole circumstances of his political career, that that should be our aim alike for those portions of the Empire predominantly peopled by those of European descent and for other parts of the Empire where the people are of a different race. I do not think he does deny it. He said in a very notable Debate in which he took a very notable part, in his comparatively early days in this House—the Debate when we gave a constitution to the present Union of South Africa: 1068No responsible statesman and no British Cabinet, so far as I know, ever contemplated any other solution of the British South African problem than that of full self-government.Mutatis mutandis this applies to India: I ask the attention of my right hon. Friend to this matter. Surely with all the authority and weight that he commands he will not let it go out of this House to-night to our fellow-subjects in India that our ultimate aim there should be different from that pursued towards the Dominions. I hope he is not going to do that, because if he does he takes a very serious, responsibility on his shoulders; it would make every Indian wonder whether it was worth while being one of the Indian subjects of the King. I am sure that my right hon. Friend does not deny that our aim should be the same. I hope that the difference between those members of the Conservative party who are supporting the Government and those who are my right hon. Friend's supporters is one of degree and of kind, and not of aim. I say that, because there were some passages in the speech of my right hon. Friend which left me in very considerable doubt as to whether he did approve of the aim which I quoted from his speech on the South African Constitution. It is utterly illogical for the right hon. Gentleman to take a different point of view.
To those who take a different view I would say how would you argue with an Indian of loyal and Constitutional opinion, who was defending his point of view. Suppose you said to him: "I am not going to give self-government to you in India because of your racial divisions." His reply would be: "Have you never had racial division in the British Commonwealth? Have you not had it in Canada, and have you not got it in South Africa to-day?" The person arguing this point of view might go on to say: "But look at the difference in efficiency between Europe and Asia." The Indian would reply: "Have you ever contrasted Japan with Portugal, for example?" Then you go on to say: "But look at the difference in the ability and courage of the individual man between Europe and Asia." The reply to that would be, "Have you never heard of the work done by the Indian soldiers in the War?" Finally, using the argument very popular in what are known as Die-hard circles outside, the person tak- 1069 ing up this anti point of view might say: "Yes, but nepotism and corruption in administration—"
§ Earl WINTERTON
"Hear, hear," says my hon. and gallant Friend. Let him listen to the answer. "Nepotism and corruption in administration are the very bone and fibre of Asiatic life." What would be the reply? The Indian would say: "Can you point to an example, in any of the Indian-controlled municipalities, of a city so flagrantly corrupt in its administration as the cities of New York and Chicago?" If you take the line of the superiority of the European over the Asiatic, you not only render it almost impossible for the British Empire to go on, but you are inviting very dangerous replies. The difference can only be one of method. I would like to ask my right hon. Friends one or two questions in regard to their attitude towards the White Paper. I listened very carefully to what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping said. It was obvious that he was trying to be sincere and frank with the House as to what his attitude was. We all know that. After a full study of the White Paper, and with some knowledge of administration in India and some responsibility as a member of the Third Round Table Conference, I fail to see how the plan of the right hon. Gentleman, so far as it has been shown to us—and I say that we are not very clear about it—[Interruption.] I am just proceeding to discuss the plan.
§ Earl WINTERTON
Is that quite worthy of my right hon. Friend? Here you have one of the most powerful figures in politics in this or any other country. Here is the right hon. Gentleman, with immense power and ability to sway masses outside, as certainly, in my 30 years' experience, I have seen them swayed. Here is the man who gets a longer report in any newspaper than any other living man. He has a great position outside, and he has been leading a group within the Conservative party against its accredited leaders, and when he is asked what his plan is he 1070 says: "I am only a humble private Member, and it is not for me to disclose my plan." I really do not think that that is quite worthy of my right hon. Friend's reputation.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I thought I said that we would be guided by the Statutory Commission's Report, subject to amendments that might be made in Parliamentary discussions, and that we would make an advance in provincial self-government as advised there. If that were a success, we would be ready to consider a further step after it had been proved that the Recommendations of the Simon Report had been turned into actuality.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I fail to understand my right hon. Friend's grievance. I said that I was going to proceed to discuss the plan, and he immediately interrupted me.
§ Mr. GEORGE BALFOUR
The purpose of the interruption was to correct the noble Lord when he said that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) brought into being this group, or that he led it. The right hon. Gentleman has been well known to express his views in this House, and when this group was formed, chiefly through the instrumentality of the hon. and gallant Member for Wycombe (Sir A. Knox) and one or two others and assumed considerable proportions, the right hon. Gentleman joined it as a back bench Member of this House.
§ Earl WINTERTON
Even to my limited intelligence the whole situation is now quite clear. I really do not wish to pursue that further, but I only wish to be allowed to discuss the plan of my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping, which he seems rather to dislike my discussing. He seems to wish to disabuse my mind about it. Let me not refer to his plan but to his general thoughts. I fail to see how his general thoughts are likely to give more security and more chances of stability in India than the Government's proposals. I wish to discuss that point. The right hon. Gentleman's plan, or thought, or the right hon. Gentleman's scheme, suffers from the great and supreme disadvantage of being unacceptable to the very people a proportion of whom you 1071 must have on your side to work any system, and they are the men in public life in India.
Let me face the situation frankly. It may be true, according to the underlying idea of all the speeches of those who are opposed to the White Paper, that the real evil in India is the politician. It is only fair to observe that quite a number of people outside this august Assembly say exactly the same thing about this House. I do not wish to refer to myself, but when I made a speech some 18 months ago criticising His Majesty's Government, I ventured to say that if the Members of all the front benches, or who had ever been on the Front Bench, were sent to sea and were drowned, than nobody would mind. I had numbers of letters taking my re marks quite seriously. Some of them made references to the Front Bench on this side and the other side as well, to the bench below the Gangway and to other parts of the House, and said that they hoped that they would be included in the cargo. It is only fair to say that contempt for and suspicion of politicians is not confined to India. You have to work with the men in public life, in order to operate any constitutional system—Moslems, representatives of depressed classes, representatives of the anti-Congress Hindus, the anti-Brahmins and the Sikhs, are all of them more bitterly hostile than many hon. Members realise to the Congress all say that.
To give provincial autonomy with an unchanged Central Government would be to give far less security to that country than the Federal Constitution proposed by the Government, for the simple reason that it would mean continual friction between the provinces and the centre. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping made a rather slighting and injurious reference to European business men, when he suggested that, as a result of the administration of Lord Irwin and Mr. Benn—who are as a red rag to a bull to him, these European heads of great businesses in India, had lost their nerve and become défaitistes. That is really absurd. I can assure my right hon. Friend that the business men in India know far more about what is good for India than some of his more vociferous 1072 supporters. They have said that this federal system, with all the defects and imperfections which can be stated about it, offers a far better chance of bringing permament peace and security than does any alternative scheme that has yet been put before us.
I want to say something about that. There has been an astounding misuse of terms and of appraisements of value in this Debate, or rather in the discussions in the country generally, among Conservatives who are opposed to the Government scheme. These Conservatives are willing to concede responsible autonomous Government in the Provinces, as recommended by the Simon Commission, with the important qualification that the new provincial Governments are not to control it; in other words, to leave to someone else the delicate task of carrying out unpopular measures. Just for a moment, imagine the happy position that a Minister would have in India, under the scheme propounded by my right hon. Friend and others, who want entirely to ignore the recommendations of the Simon Commission. The Minister would be able to bring in a Bill, however unpopular it might be. His advisers would go to him and say: "You must not bring in this Bill, because you will never be able to put it into operation. You will have the mass of people against you, and you will have to double your police." The reply would be: "Never mind about that. I am not responsible for the police. The British Parliament in its folly has kept the police under the old Government. Unpopularity will not rest upon my shoulders; it will rest upon the police." That is the answer to the rather astounding reference made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Horne) to the Home Secretary in this House yesterday. It was not true to say, when we discuss matters appertaining to the Home Office, that we are all full of embarrassment. On the contrary, it is part of our ordinary duty. It has been well said by a great speaker that a system of representative Government without responsible ministers and without responsible powers has led to endless friction and inconvenience wherever and whenever it has been employed. No one could deny that, least of all my right hon. Friend, because it is from the speech that he made in this House 1073 on the South African Constitution. That is the real answer to Ibis point about, the giving of a form of autonomy to the Provinces. I would make this observation before I leave this subject: If the danger is so inherent as to make it, criminal to risk responsible Government in India, why is it much more risky to grant an All-India Government; hedged about with careful safeguards in vital subjects; and representative of the most Conservative forces in India than it is to give Provincial Autonomy?
I was rather amused yesterday when the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) was speaking. He referred to this new Constitution as being most conservative and reactionary, and received cheers from the hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth. Since when it has been a crime in my hon. and gallant Friend's eyes to set up a Conservative constitution anywhere in the world? The right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme was attacking the Constitution, from his point of view, for being so Conservative. The hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth evidently agreed with him that it was a deplorable thing.
§ Brigadier-General Sir HENRY CROFT
I am afraid the Noble Lord quite misunderstood any applause I gave to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman. It is not because I think the Princes will be a Conservative element; it is because I am convinced they must ultimately vote with their religion.
§ Earl WINTERTON
The hon. and gallant Gentleman cheered the remarks about this being conservative. The hon. and gallant Member has a great reputation in the country, in Bournemouth and elsewhere. Let him never refrain from cheering references to a Conservative constitution being set up. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping sees inherent danger in All-India responsible Government hedged about by most careful safeguards, and representing the most responsible people. But if the Provinces are misgoverned by the new Ministers, it will destroy the whole structure of Indian government equally. Yet responsibility at the Centre is described as a great betrayal and abdica- 1074 tion. I must make an observation. The combination of my right hon. Friend and the "Morning Post" using a word like "betrayal" strikes me as extremely humorous, in the unconscious sense. Eleven or twelve years ago the "Morning Post" was opposing the grant of self-government to Southern Ireland. I was among those—there were not so many in the Tory party—who lifted up their voices in support of a wise and courageous cause. In those days the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping was not only one of the betrayers, but might be described as the captain-general of the betrayers. The House finds it very difficult to reconcile the two situations. I do not want, to pursue this part of my speech, or to embarrass him more, since some of his supporters never make a speech from a platform without referring to the "great surrender" in Ireland. It does not seem to me that the "Morning Post" and my right hon. Friend can have been right on both occasions. If any of my hon. Friends are nervous and doubtful because of this newspaper, for which I have a great admiration, and if they are nervous of the effect upon the opinion of their constituents, let them rely on an equally Tory paper, with three times the circulation, the "Daily Telegraph," which has from the first supported this scheme of Federation for India, as being the safest and best scheme which can be proposed in the circumstances. I must make one further reference to my right hon. Friend's past speeches.
§ Sir A. KNOX
On a point of Order. Are we discussing the future of India or the past of my right hon. Friend?
§ Earl WINTERTON
It may be that he supports provincial autonomy, and I think it is a fair question to ask, believing that if it breaks down the status quo ante can be restored. I am not going to take what is called a "soppy" or sentimental attitude. I want him to see what are the difficulties. My right hon. Friend said it was perfectly easy to get Indians to come in and assist in any form of Government. That is quite true. They would be prepared to come forward, but they would say they 1075 wanted an answer to one question, which is "How long are you going to apply this system, and will you give a guarantee that you will not be succeeded by a Government which will upset the whole apple-cart?" No one knows better than the right hon. Gentleman, who was a member of the Government in 1906, that it was by the action of that Government, between 1906 and 1910, that they destroyed the whole of the admirable administration of Ireland by Unionist Governments.
My right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme was in the midst of his peroration yesterday, and I did not interrupt him because I have a very great admiration for him and an old friendship, when he pointed across the Floor of the House and said, "You are responsible for the South African Constitution." We are not responsible. There is the man, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping, who, more than any other, is responsible. I am not saying whether that Constitution is a good or bad thing. You could have governed South Africa as Lord Milner did for many years. By so doing you might have avoided the worst dangers of racialism that exist to-day. What upset that was the existence in power of a Government of the Left, of which the right hon. Gentleman was a member. Supposing the right hon. Gentleman found himself the head of an Administration, he could put his views into operation, if he had a majority, but they would be upset by the next Government of the Left, either Liberal or Socialist. We should be in a worse position than before. We live in s; very different world compared with that which existed before the War. There are tremendous changes of opinion. One day you have a huge majority on one side, and next day, almost, you have a majority on the other.
The proposals in the White Paper represent, I think, the best scheme that can be put forward in the circumstance. It is not a cast-iron scheme, or a reinforced-concrete scheme. It is there to be considered by the best means open to this House. It is to be considered by a Joint Select Committee of both branches of the Legislature. I regard as rather unfortunate the reference which the Minister of Health made to this proposal. Perhaps 1076 I do not know what he means, but I do not think we should approach it from the point of view he seemed to state. We should say, there are our proposals, and we think them the best, but they are open for reconsideration. The Minister of Health is a new recruit to the Conservative party, and perhaps attaches undue importance to the views of the "Morning Post" and those who read it. He was making a speech in Kent where the "Morning Post" is largely read. The Government have put these forward as the best proposals, after years of most careful consideration. It is for others to put up a better plan if they can produce it. I sincerely hope that even, at this last moment, my right hon. Friend may give his really great assistance to find a solution, because the aid he can give is enormous. I do not know anyone in this House who can give more aid.
We talk of Privy Councillors and ex-Cabinet Ministers, but there are only two who really count. They are the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon and my right hon. Friend. He has got immense power and influence, and I beg him to use it, in the cause he has supported throughout his political life—the cause of reconciliation and healing. He has been far more successful in construction than in purely destructive criticism. It is not too late for him to help. Most calamitous rumours are abroad to the effect that he will refuse to have anything to do, directly or indirectly, through his influence, or in any other way, with the Joint Select Committee. I hope that is not true. I think it would be in the highest degree contrary to the public interest. I wish to recall to his mind his words about reconciling the spirit of the Irish people to the British nation, in the same way as Scotland and Wales are reconciled, and that then we might secure a bargain which would repay the troubles of the time. I deny that this scheme is one of sabotage of a long and honourable connection between Great Britain and India. I say it is a renewal of the great trunk line which has always joined the welfare of the peoples of the Indian peninsula to Great Britain.
§ 7.15 p.m.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I will not detain the House for more than a few minutes. I do 1077 not propose to examine the details of the White Paper, but my hon. Friends and I propose to cast our votes against the Motion which the Government have put down; and we do not propose to cast our votes for the Amendment which has been put down by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway. In these circumstances, we do not wish to give a silent vote, which might easily be misunderstood both here and in India. I congratulate the Noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) on his very witty speech. He does not intervene frequently, but, when he does, he is always witty. I think, however, that his speech to-day was largely wasted, because, as we view the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill), the speech of the Noble Lord, and the proposals of the Government, we cannot see any such essential difference as need arouse any heat in the Conservative party; nor, indeed, do we see, in the proposals put forward by hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway, any difference that would be sufficient to justify their putting an Amendment on the Paper. They all stand for British Imperialism in India. Hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway speak of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and of bringing India into the British Commonwealth of Nations, but those are the exact words which the Secretary of State used when he was putting the proposals before the House, and all that has been discussed so far is the question of how much England is going to interfere in the affairs of India.
No body—not even the official Opposition—is suggesting that England should not interfere with the affairs of India at all. The right hon. Gentleman suggests a maximum of English interference in Indian affairs. Indians, he says, still need to be led by the hand; they are our children, who have not yet grown up sufficiently to walk by themselves, although we have been their wise parent for 150 years, which is longer than the average infant takes to learn to walk. The right hon. Gentleman would give them a minimum of Indian liberty and a maximum of English interference. Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway suggest a minimum of interference, but the Dominion link, and in their Amendment there is no reference to the time factor. The Government position as defined in 1078 the White Paper I should describe as one of "backing it both ways." It would, perhaps, not be regarded as a proper expression if I said that it was an attempt at "double-crossing." Presumably, however, the attitude of the Government is that they want a policy which can either increase the Indian share of self-government or diminish the Indian share of self-government—which can either strengthen or reduce the amount of English interference. We take the attitude quite definitely that England has no right in India at all, and that the one decent thing that England can do for India is to get out.
It has been asserted by many speakers, including the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, that during England's period of interference in India many great things have happened in India. It would be difficult to roam the world's surface and find any country where things have not happened in the last 150 years. It would be difficult to find a country anywhere that is farther back to-day than it was 150 years ago. But, if there is one country in the world where the amount of advance is of the most limited nature, that country is India under English rule. The Under-Secretary to-day, in opening the Debate, referred to great hydroelectric schemes fostered and developed by the Government. If I remember aright, the Under-Secretary of State in the Labour Government used to hold that up as our great magnum opus, and also the irrigation schemes. But every country in the world has been developing hydro-electric stations during the last few years, and all the drier countries have been developing their irrigation methods. It is not distinctively English. Ireland has developed hydro-electricity, and I believe it has been done there by German engineers. Surely, we are not going to claim that this particular scientific development, which is taking place in every corner of the world in the natural course, and to which scientists and technicians of all countries have contributed, is something—
§ Mr. BUTLER
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Member, but my point was that this scheme was developed under the transferred departments under Indian control, working in collaboration with European experts.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I am sorry if I misunderstood the hon. Gentleman. He was, therefore, giving the credit of it to the Indian people themselves—
§ Mr. MAXTON
That is exactly my point. The suggestion is that this wonderful combination of the English and the Indian characters has produced a hydro-electricity system in India. But such a system has been produced in Norway, where it is much more highly developed and efficient; it has been developed in the United States, and in Russia. Therefore, while it would be foolish to say that improvements have not taken place in India in the 150 years during which there has been British occupation, and latterly British government, it would be foolish for us, and it would be a mistake, to pat ourselves on the back and say, "Look what we have done." [An HON. MEMBER: "What about China?"] China is at least in this position, that there has been developed in China during these latter years a real, genuine, militant struggle among the common people for liberty, for modernisation. I see an hon. Member shake his head, but that is my impression, and that is my information with regard to the type of Chinese with whom I am in contact, the man who is struggling there to liberate the people of China; and the fact that there are such men—I read their writings and correspond with them—is an indication to me that the Chinese people, the common people of China, are awakening and alive to the fact that the struggle to-day is not a struggle about constitutions, but a struggle about economic things; that it is not a struggle as between nationalities, but as between classes in the same nationality. That constitutes the superiority of China over India as I see it to-day. It is not much, but it is there, and, in my opinion, it will develop.
I am not giving what will be helpful to the Select Committee when it comes to work. We take the line absolutely that the one thing we can do is to leave India to work out her own salvation. That is described as "scurry," as "cut and run." It is described by all the awkward terms that suggest cowardice and the shirking of responsibility. Describe it in as ugly language as you like. I describe 1080 it as giving human beings, to whom the resources of the civilised world are as open as they are to any one of us here, the responsibility of conducting their own lives and running their own affairs. So far as the White Paper is concerned, the one over-riding criticism that we make is that it is a machine-made Constitution. You can feel it; you can hear the wheels grinding round, the ball-bearings without the proper amount of oil, and all the rest of it. It is cranky. It is the only kind of Constitution that an alien people could make for somebody else. Probably the reason why the South African Constitution did not work, why the Irish Constitution did not work, and why the German Constitution is not working to-day, is that in those Constitutions there is no evidence of an actual outgrowth of the people themselves. The constitutional instrument that is going to express a nation's will has to grow out of that nation's characteristics. It cannot be made in some back room in Whitehall by any civil servant, however skilful.
That brings me to my final point. We want to see the people of India free and independent. We want to see them wiping out the rule of their Princes, their moneylenders, their millionaires. We want to see them on a higher level of comfort and freedom. We want to help them all that we can. But their fight must be their own fight. It must be the fight of the common people of India They must banish from their minds entirely the idea that the getting of any right to govern themselves will remove from them the major problems of poverty and exploitation. They will still have to fight against the economic exploitation which is the real evil from which they suffer. In my view, the age of Imperialism is past. The age of the great magnificent Empires is going. Britain, which has had the longest experience of Imperialism, should be the first to tell the Japanese and others who are struggling now to build an Empire that this idea is greatly over-rated—that there is nothing to it in the long run. It is like the personal riches of the individual, which are more trouble than they are worth. The laying up of large wealth only makes you worry about the moths and the dust.
A promise was given to India in 1917. We said in that Declaration that a 1081 Statutory Commission had to be set up within 10 years. The British Parliament took the whole 10 years, the maximum limit that it was allowed, before it set up that Commission. The Commission did its work in a very leisurely fashion. The House of Commons has taken any amount of time and has had numerous Round Table Conferences to discuss the Report of the Statutory Commission. Now we are setting up a Select Committee. The Simon Commission was set up, I think, in 1927. In 1933 we are getting a White Paper, and now we are passing a Motion to set up a Select Committee and, if I understand the Leaders of the present Government, as I think I do, the instruction to that Select Committee will be, "Do not rush it. There is plenty of time. It is slow, careful, very gradual work. Perhaps by the time you have finished we shall be out of office altogether and another Government will have to take the next step." From 1917 to 1933 the Indian people have been waiting to see the promise of freedom that was given them being realised in fact. To-night again we are shirking responsibility. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping is shirking responsibility. He knows that he ought to vote against this proposal now. If he does not mean India to have more liberty, as he does not want India to have more liberty, he ought to vote to-night and not wait until the Select Committee produces something else and it comes before the House of Commons in concrete terms. He ought to show now, and every Member of the House who does not want to proceed along those lines ought to show to-night, as we propose to show, that we are not in favour of the progress to Indian liberty along this route.
From 1917 to 1933, 16 years have already been exhausted and the proposals to-day give at least another five or six years of delay. The Government have plumed themselves on the fact that they have got quietness in India by putting men in gaol. I admit that that always works. In my own experience, when a few leaders are put into gaol the particular movement for which they stand quietens down for the moment, but very shortly there is a rally and they go forward again with greater vigour and with greater anger in their hearts. The movement that I am concerned about is not 1082 that very decent, respectable movement of the Congress led by Mr. Gandhi. The movement that I want to see developed in India is the movement that is represented by the men of Meerut, now locked up for long terms of imprisonment because of their attempt to bring about the beginning of a working-class movement. These men are not being treated al; first-class prisoners. They are being treated as desperate criminals. Not one of them has committed a crime. Their crime was that they dreamt of developing a great working-class movement which would overthrow not merely the British but the rule of the Princes, the rule of the jute magnates, the mineowners and all the great exploiters of the Indian people. That is why they are in gaol, and the movement for which they stand is temporarily still, but it will grow again and, while the Select Committee is quietly and comfortably perambulating along, discussing all the details and taking time about it, trying to make the scheme more perfect, trying to conciliate every possible section and only dissatisfying more sections as they satisfy one, this movement will grow in strength and by the time your legislation is ready I hope, and my friends hope, that it will not be required by the Indian people.
§ 7.37 p.m.
§ Sir ROBERT HAMILTON
The hon. Member has very clearly explained the views that we all know he supports. I should like to remind him that the Motion before the House is to set up a Select Committee to consider the Government proposals, and not to consider the policy of leaving India, which is a very different matter. The proposals that are coming before the Joint Select Committee are the proposals of the Government policy for establishing rule for the people in India in co-operation with Great Britain.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I understood that what we were discussing was whether we would or not set up a Select Committee as a means of conferring self-government on India.
§ Sir R. HAMILTON
I was only drawing attention to the fact that the Gov- 1083 ernment proposals do not contain the policy put forward by the hon. Member. The Noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) made a very witty speech, but I think we must all admit that it contained a great deal of very sound sense as well, and, after the way he dealt with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill), I do not think it will be necessary for anyone else to touch that subject. This setting up of the Joint Committee definitely marks a stage in the journey an which we have been going, and nothing has astonished me more in the course of this Debate than to observe how much the critics of the Government seem to have forgotten, or to have tried to wipe out from their minds, what has been passing during the last 15 years. I will quote two famous declarations. There was the King's Proclamation in 1919 in which His Majesty declared:The Act which has now become law entrusts the elected representatives of the people with a definite share in the government and points the way to full responsible government hereafter.Two years later again by His Majesty in the Instrument of Instructions to the Governor-General:Above all things it is Our will and pleasure that the plans laid by Our Parliament may come to fruition to the end that British India may attain its due place among our Dominions.That was at the beginning of our policy at a time when we were only dealing with British India. The road we were travelling on became wider but more difficult to travel when the first Round Table Conference was called and the Princes made their famous declaration that they were ready to come into a federated India. That definitely changed the whole political position, and that policy which was laid down at the first Round Table Conference, was definitely accepted by Parliament, a point which I should like to recall to the memory of the critics of the Government. That policy was accepted only a year ago. Since the first there have been two further sessions of the Round Table Conference which have been considering the general lines of policy. Now we are getting down to the matter of machinery.
There has been a certain amount of criticism directed to various points in the Government proposals. I do not think 1084 this is the occasion to go at length into detailed criticism of the actual proposals. That is definitely the business of the Joint Committee,. The Under-Secretary, in a speech which the whole House enjoyed, made replies to certain criticisms which had been directed against various proposals, and, because I do not make any criticisms now, it must not be thought that I have not several criticisms which no doubt will be developed when the Joint Committee comes to sit and the various points are brought before it for its consideration. Criticism has, of course, been delivered from all angles, and particularly from India, where each interest concerned has naturally looked to see how it would be affected.
I only propose now to make a few remarks on one or two of the broader aspects of the position. I am certainly prepared to give full credit for the honesty of conviction of the critics of the Government. People have very different views on this very difficult question. We all feel the great responsibility that lies upon us, but, when critics of the Government say we are going too fast, we know how the critics of the Government on the other side say we have been going far too slowly, and, after all, the criticism that you are going too fast is the one that always comes from the man who does not want to go forward at all. Then again it is urged that it is too great a risk for us to take. But these are the occasions when we have to take risks and very often, as we all know from our own private affairs, as well as in public affairs, when there is a question of taking a risk or not the safest course generally is to take that risk and I, for one, feel confident that the House and the country will be taking the safest course in taking the risk of all that is involved in endeavouring to set up this great Federation.
The alternative that has been put forward is either to stand still and do nothing or a half-hearted alternative like that put up by the Noble Lord the Member for Aldershot (Viscount Wolmer) to try out responsibility in one or two selected Provinces, quite regardless of the fact that that is an impossibility having regard to the present state of affairs. It could not be put into work, and it has been definitely agreed by the 1085 whole of political opinion in India, and accepted on this side, that we must make an advance both in the Provinces and at the centre together. It should not be forgotten through all these Debates that what was definitely put forward and accepted by the Round Table Conference was a responsibility in the Provinces, responsibility in the centre and a Federation with the Princes in it. That is the policy of the Government. Those are the general lines of it. The Joint Committee will have to consider the particular machinery for giving effect to it.
There are always some people who think that they can keep the pot from boiling over by sitting on the safety valve, they may succeed for a time, but when the explosion comes, as inevitably it will come they will go up with the burst. To the critics in India who complain that we are going too slowly and who are always asking for dates as to when this scheme can be brought into effect, I would say that you cannot give definite dates. Never, I suppose, has a task of such unprecedented magnitude been undertaken, and it would be ridiculous to attempt to give a specific date that on the 1st of such and such a month, of such and such a year, such and such a thing should come into effect. We have to go slowly. We are bound to go slowly in these matters. I hope that although we are bound to go slowly, the Government will always bear in mind the importance of going as fast as possible with safety.
In India a great deal of attention is naturally being centred upon the safeguards. White Papers are never very attractive reading in the style of bright journalism, but this particular White Paper must have been rather gloomy reading to the ardent souls in India who are anxious to see progress made very quickly. They must have felt considerable disappointment when they read the speech of the Secretary of State in that very clear exposition on the first day of the Debate of the proposals of the Government. Apparently every contingency has been thought out and every possible eventuality, and the safeguards are all detailed and written out until they make a most formidable list. It rather reminds me of the man who reads a medical book and sees all the diseases from which he might suffer. He does not feel very well 1086 and he realises from the symptoms what an awful thing life would be with all those diseases around him all the time. We have to remember that there is such a thing as normal health and normal life.
We should ask our Indian friends on the other side not to regard these safeguards not as the normal exercise of authority by Great Britain in India, but rather as the necessities—which they have agreed are necessities—which should be included in the Constitution, but which, as responsibility is exercised by Indian Ministers and as the sense of responsibility grows, will inevitably and properly fade further and further into the background. The transitional period to which the Indians attach so much importance must depend upon the amount of success which the working of the Constitution will achieve, and in order to achieve success they must remember that it depends upon co-operation with us. It is only this country which can give India what it really wants, and it is by cooperation with us that they will best achieve success and shorten the transitional period.
The point which we are reaching now is really the most difficult one. We are getting away from the vaguer lines of policy and getting down to the hard facts of the position. It is no use blinking difficulties. We have to look at the difficulties, and we have to face them. Though Parliament may be legally and technically responsible, the responsibility is, after all, a joint one between India and ourselves. On this particular point, I hope that we may have some fuller information than we have had so far as to the position which the representatives from India who are to be called into consultation with the Joint Committee will occupy in that committee. The Under-Secretary of State to-day made a slight reference to the matter in his opening speech, but I hope the position will be made very much more clear than it is at present. We all know, and some of us regret most deeply, the mistake which was made some years ago in not associating the Indians who will be responsible for the working of the future Constitution more closely with our Statutory Commission. I hope most sincerely that we shall not do anything in the way of repeating that mistake when it comes to the work of the Joint Select Committee. As a matter of fact, I know that that 1087 point is very much in the minds of leading statesmen in India. It would reassure public opinion in India very greatly if it could be pointed out, and pointed out with authority, that those Indians who will be invited to consult with Members of Parliament in this country will have a joint responsibility with them, although the legal and technical responsibility may rest on Parliament, and that their responsibility will obtain with that of the Joint Select Committee in helping to set the machinery of the Constitution which they, after all, will have to work.
I should like to refer the House to a Joint Select Committee which has only recently sat and of which I had the honour to be a member. That Joint Select Committee was appointed to consider proposals made by the Government with reference to closer union in East Africa. The Government put before that committee very definite proposals and very definite policy, but at the end of two or three months, after very close consideration and after the calling of a number of witnesses from Africa, the committee very materially modified the proposals of the Government in a great many directions. I would remind the House that it is in the Joint Select Committee that the machinery which is proposed is to be most closely examined, and not only is it to be most closely examined, but it is to be altered, where the Committee thinks that it should be altered, in the interests of the future Constitution which is hoped to set up. I am sure that, although the Government are not bound to accept the proposals of the Joint Select Committee, any proposals which are put up by that committee after full consideration with the representatives of India can hardly be ignored by any Government which may be in power.
The Secretary of State has had to steer a difficult course. He has done it with a balanced judgment, very considerable skill and great caution, but I would like him to have a little more faith, or to show a little more faith and courage, in his actions and-let people outside believe, as we believe, that he is acting in the full interests, both of England and of India, and that he is acting with a faith and courage which will prevent this enterprise of great faith and moment being turned awry and losing the very 1088 name of action. If we need courage ourselves as a nation to act greatly in this great enterprise, courage will no less be needed by the Princes and peoples of India to make mutual concessions for the common good and to act in co-operation with us, for by that means alone can a lasting foundation for a federated India be laid.
§ 7.56 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Sir WALTER SMILES
I find myself in agreement with much that was said by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Orkney and Shetland (Sir R. Hamilton), but I am not in agreement with the point which he made that the Indians must be associated with the report of the Joint Select Committee. I think that that is a responsibility by which the committee alone must stand or fall. I hope that the hon. Member will pardon me if I do not follow him any further into his arguments because time is short, and I have been asked to compress my speech into the smallest possible time. I listened to the speech of the Noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton), and I am sure that if we had had him with us on the Assam Legislature Council his eloquence would have converted every non-co-operator on that council. After that we listened to the speech of the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) and his eloquence, I dare say, would turn the whole lot of the council then into non-co-operators instead.
I want to give the House a few facts, for, after all, a pound of fact is really worth a ton of theory. The only three matters to which I particularly want to call attention are, the cotton trade, opium, and oil. We know the history of the Fiscal Convention in 1919. We heard the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Molson) and the hon. Member for Hulme (Sir J. Nall) discussing this question and the reasons for the tariff conventions last night. We also know that the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms have been expensive, and the new reforms which are coming will be more expensive, though not possibly as expensive as the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) made out when he said that the cost of election to a candidate might be £10,000. I think he might divide that by five or more and then be nearer being accurate.
1089 However, these schemes are very expensive, and I want to point out to the House who pays for some of the reforms at the present time. You have only to go as far as Lancashire and see in front of the Employment Exchanges the queues of weavers and spinners who are out of work. Those are some of the people who are now paying for the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms. Look down the list of bankruptcies in Lancashire during the past two or three years and you will see the number of cotton mills. Those are some of the people who have paid for the reforms. Only last week the matter was forcibly brought home to me. On Thursday last I was in my constituency and met a, friend who owned five or six mills and who had gone bankrupt about six weeks before. He said to me: "You know the reason why I have gone bankrupt." I said: "I suppose it is the usual thing—bad trade, and you took on too many commitments." "No," he said, "it is not that. It is the 25 per cent. import duty into India." After his examination in bankruptcy that man was discharged without a stain of any kind upon his character, and I understand that at the present moment the people in his town are subscribing money in order to put him into business again. He has a very high character indeed. Those Lancashire weavers and spinners and the people who own the mills are the people who are having to pay for those reforms.
When old Boudhoo, up in Assam, buys his wife a new saree, he cannot, owing to these duties get as good value as he used to get. Little Phulmonie, his wife, when she takes her clothes on the Sunday morning down to the stream to wash them, lifting them over her head and beating them on the stones, does not understand why the clothes only stand two or three washes now compared with what they used to do. It is because she is not getting as good value for her money as before. The spinners and weavers in Lancashire, and these poor people in India who wears the clothes, are paying now for the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms. The right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) said that the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms had failed. In many things I agree with him, but, as a humble member of the Assam Legislative Council for six years who had the privilege of trying to work these reforms, I say definitely that they have not failed. 1090 Most certainly they have not failed in Assam.
It is our duty to explain to our constituents what is going to happen under the new reforms. In 1919, when the Convention went through, every Lancashire Member knew what would happen to the cotton trade of Lancashire, and he explained it to his constituents. If they did not do so, they had not much foresight, or else they were dishonest. It is our duty now as Lancashire Members to explain the present position to our constituents. We were not responsible for what happened in 1919, but we are taking a new step to-day, and it is our duty to explain all its implications to our electors. I am one of those who fear the Princes, even though they are supposed to be bringing the gift of constitutional stability at the Centre. There are a few questions that I should like to put to the Under-Secretary. What is going to happen in regard to the Customs Duties in those Indian States that are on the sea coast? It may be said that that is a Committee question. On many of these points that I find difficult I am told that they are Committee questions. It is because I am trying to speak on matters that are worrying 'me that I am putting these questions to the Under-Secretary. I must confess that I almost agreed with many things that he said to-day in his speech. Is it intended to let off any of the States from the tribute which they now pay to the Central Indian Government, as a, bribe to make them come into Federation? Some of these States pay a very heavy tribute now. Is it intended to let them off?
The other question is a big question, namely, that of opium, and it concerns us very much in Assam. The right hon. Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) said yesterday that we were discussing these big constitutional questions, and he asked where is the Member for Madras? Where is the Member for the -United Provinces? I claim, here and now, to be the Member for Assam. If my old friends and fellow members of the Assam Legislative Council were listening to me now I would say exactly what I am about to say. I am very worried about the question of opium. What about the two States of Malwa and Udaipur? Much of their revenue comes from the growing of opium, which is sent contraband into 1091 Assam. Opium is not a western vice. I am ashamed, as an Assamese, to say that opium is a weakness of some of my friends in Assam. Everybody there, official and non-official, European and Indian, from the decent Naga, who may steal your dog to take it home for his Christmas dinner, down to the holy Gossains at Majuli, all have tried their best to stamp out the curse of opium, but they are being hampered by some of the native States. What are you going to do when the federation comes? Are you going to prevent Malwa and Udaipur from growing opium and ruining the people of Assam? They have made an honest attempt there to shut down this vice.
When a Finance Committee was sent out to India they found that Assam was a deficit province. They found that we were 38 lakhs down during the last three years, simply because we had lost revenue from opium. That is why we claim something in return. Is there any report of opium smuggling into Assam? If so, has it been shown to the Assam Legislative Council, because my friends who write to me from Assam have never seen it. The Finance Committee which found that Assam was a deficit province suggested giving us a subvention. It is not a subvention that they want, it is not charity that they want, but justice. There are two provinces in India which produce oil, the Punjab and Assam. I exclude Burma, because I anticipate that there will be a separation of that province from India. When I make remarks about Assam oil I am making no accusation against the Burma Oil Company. I am not financially interested in that company. They have done an enormous amount of good work for the people of India, they have supplied revenue for the Government and cheap kerosene oil for the people. At the present time the Central Government draws 110 lakhs a year from the Assam oil, and the estimate of the Finance Committee is that Assam's deficit may be as much as 92 lakhs a year. That is why Assam asks that half the excise duty on oil should be transferred to the Assam Budget. I have the support of every Member of the Assam Legislative Council in that claim. I daresay the Under-Secretary has seen some of the debates that took place during the past month 1092 on that subject. I received the reports last night.
At the present time Assam is a very backward Province. We have more lepers in Assam than there are in any Province in India, and the facilities for treating leprosy are much less than in any other Province. We have a smaller number of roads per person or per square mile than any other Province in India. We have no High Court or University, and there is no women's hospital in the whole of Assam. The Under-Secretary may say that it is a mere matter of luck that Assam found oil within its boundary. Is it also luck that the disease of kala-hazar is prevalent in Assam and not in other Provinces in India? It is worse than malaria, though perhaps not as bad as yellow fever, but it has absolutely decimated the Province in the past. They have had to spend lakhs of rupees in trying to stamp out kala-hazar there. Therefore, it is justifiable for Assam to claim to receive one-half of the excise duty on oil. Assam produces oil and Bengal produces jute. What about the export duty on jute? You are going to give one-half of that export duty to Bengal. What are the records of Assam and Bengal? Have we in Assam any murders like the two which took place at Chittagong? Have we anything like the murder of Mr. Lohman, the superintendent of police, or the murder of the political officer in Hill-Tipperah and of the two Deputy-Commissioners in Midnapore—all in Bengal? Are the Government going to act as the British Government acted in the South of Ireland, where they let down the Loyalists Are they going to deny justice to Assam whilst they bribe probably the most disloyal Province in India, Bengal I hope that the Under-Secretary, who is steeped in Indian tradition, will see that there is fair play for our Province of Assam.
There is an idea prevalent in this House that every Province in India immediately wants to jump into the Federation. I will quote from a short extract from "The Sylhet Chronicle"If Assam cannot come up to the level of the other provinces she will be a weak spot in the Federation, and it should be the interests of the Federation to see each unit strong enough to march along in perfect equality. Otherwise Federation or 1093 autonomy would be a curse to Assam, and the last thing we would desire would be a Federation which would break down under its very weight.That is a quotation from an Assam newspaper and shows what they think about Federation. Therefore, it is wrong to assume that the whole of India is anxious immediately to jump to the idea of Federation as being necessary at the present time. You must have the provinces financially independent before you can make certain of having successful Federation. I do not believe in subventions, but I believe in justice. Remarks have been made about Lord Irwin's statement on Dominion status at the end of 1929. I have never seen anything wrong in that statement. I believe that the ultimate goal of India is Dominion status within the British Empire, and I hope that we all agree that our ultimate goal will be that. It may not come in my lifetime, but probably it will come in the lifetime of the Tinder-Secretary, who has told us that he belongs to another generation. However, it will not come for some lime. If the provinces are successful in their autonomy, I wish them God-speed towards the early fulfilment of their ultimate destiny, but I want to see their autonomy proved success first.
The Simon Commission report has been rescued to-day from the bottom of the waste-paper basket. I should like the members of the Joint Select Committee to rescue some other papers. There is one paper for which I was partly responsible, namely, the report of the Select Committee 'appointed by the Assam Legislative Council to co-operate with the Statutory Commission. There are also reports there from the various Provincial Governments. It is not every Government or every committee that recommended the immediate transfer of the police. In Madras both recommended transfer, in Assam both Government and Committee recommended transfer, but in the Punjab the Government recommended only the transfer with safeguards. In Bombay the committee advised that the police should be a reserved subject for the present, and in Bengal the Government also said that it must be reserved. It is not true to suggest that every province advised the immediate transfer of the police. Conditions in every province are not the same. 1094 I fear for justice when communal differences are in question. I quote now from the Bihar and Orissa Report, page 576, Vol. III. of Statutory Commission:Specially deplorable is it that owing to the fact that the accused was of one community and the gazetted officer and the head clerk were of another, a communal favour was recklessly imparted into the case; and thereupon so many Government clerks and peons, all belonging to the community of the accused, covertly perjured themselves without scruple in support of the egregiously false and cruel defence evolved that the embezzler had made over the money to the head clerk, a Muslim, and the Hindu magistrate had not only rejected the simple and straightforward case of the Crown.That is the judgment of Justice Macpherson, and it can be seen in the report of the Statutory Commission. There was also an incident in Assam which I remember quite well, you will see it quoted on page 255, Volume XIV of the Statutory Commission's report. It happened during the time of the search for terrorist arms. Every one admits that it is not the non-co-operators who are murderous; it is the terrorists, the people who are actuated by Bolshevism, and such a menace does exist in India. A Mohammedan sub-inspector went searching a house for arms and during the search the Koran was torn. There was a tremendous outcry and for six years it went on in the Assam Legislative Council. Eventually the council passed a resolution that the sub-inspector of police should be immediately dismissed. It may be a Mohammedan sub-inspector to-day; but who may it be to-morrow? It may be an inspector general of police. The Legislative Council will want the Governor to dismiss; and he will be placed therefore in a difficult position. That is one of the possibilities which may face any Governor in future.
Another question, to which the right hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme referred, is the constituencies for labourers. I am thinking now about the tea-garden labourers, about one million of them in Assam, to whom there has been allotted four seats. It will take you nearly a week to get from one end of the Province of Assam to the other, and if you even divide the province into quarters it will be extremely difficult to fill these positions by popular election. I suggest that the Joint Select Committee should consider allowing some 1095 form of nomination to the Governor. In the original report of the Assam Committee we advised that five seats should be in the nomination of the Government, so that if the depressed class, or any other class, did not get representation they would be able to get such representation through the Governor's nomination. One point we had in view was, of course, the representation of women. We then recommended adult suffrage and open voting, and I remember discussing these questions with the hon. Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee) and the late Mr. Vernon Hartshorn. They said that it was a sensible proposal, but that they did not think the British Houses of Parliament would ever agree to open voting. At any rate, I have an open mind on this subject, and am prepared to change my mind now. We cannot afford to break any pledges, although the Secretary of State has said that so far no pledges have been made. I remember an Irishman, Mr. O'Donovan, speaking in the Legislative Assembly in Delhi about terrorism. A Bengali Swarajist later said that there were only two races in the world who really understood politics, one the Bengalis and the other the Irish. I notice that Mr. Patel is taking his postgraduate course in politics in Dublin. I should feel much more comfortable if he had chosen another university, and taken his post-graduate course at Stormont Castle with Lord Craigavon in Northern Ireland.
I should like to see a certain amount of elasticity in the Constitution. After all, the provinces, before they transfer the police or join the Federation, should have a chance of deciding the matter for themselves. If you make your own bed do not complain about the lumps in the mattress it is said, but one should also have a chance of choosing one's own bedfellow. Only the Princes and Burma are given any option, and I can foresee a small province like Orissa being overlaid and suffocated by her neighbours, Bengal and Madras, and my own province of Assam, at another corner of the map, having the bed clothes' stolen by Bombay, and being left in the financial cold. Some latitude should be given to all the provinces to decide whether they will come in or not. The Lord President of the Council who leads the Conservative party may say that it is easy enough to vote 1096 for your leader when you agree with him, but what I am sure he wants is people who will vote with him even when they do not agree with him. There have been cases where we have voted with our leader although we did not agree with him; the Statute of Westminster Act, the London Passenger Transport Bill, the £4,500,000 to Austria, and last, but not least, beer. We feel extremely glad that the Motion has been so framed that we can vote in the Government Lobby tonight.
§ 8.22 p.m.
§ Mr. E. T. CAMPBELL
The Secretary of State for India in his epoch making explanatory speech on Monday made it possible for all reasonable minded Members of the House to vote for the setting up of the Joint Select Committee, with the Government proposals as the terms of reference. I was in the East when the Montagu-Chelmsford agreements were made. I deplored them then, and I have deplored them ever since, but I would remind hon. Members that the people who made the Montagu-Chelmsford agreements are the people responsible for the proposals of the Government now before the House. The responsibility, therefore, to a great extent is taken out of our hands, although the responsibility for the future is entirely in our hands. We have, therefore, to proceed with due caution. The White Paper is not perfect although in general I approve of it.
I shall have some criticisms to offer for the consideration of the Joint Select Committee. I take it that this is the only opportunity we shall have of expressing our views, and I hope that the Joint Select Committee when they meet will go through the OFFICIAL REPORT, and read the various speeches which have been made so that any suggestions that are made with a view to improving matters will be taken into consideration. I would remind the House of the advice given to the purchaser of a new motor car. Run it slowly for the first few hundred miles, keep the engine and gears well oiled, and the brakes well adjusted. In this instance we must bear in mind too that the machine is to be made suitable for a tropical country and will be driven by Indians, with a gradually decreasing number of Englishmen. We must take care not to get rid of the skilled English mechanics too soon.
1097 A great deal of the success of this scheme depends upon Viceroys and Governors. We have had some very excellent Viceroys and Governors, and we have had some who have been less wise or tactful or strong. But, generally speaking, I maintain that our Governors have been some of the finest men that this country has ever sent out. There are as good fish in the sea as ever came out of it, and when one looks around this House and the other House, and imagines some of the young men as future Governors or Viceroys, I feel every confidence that these gentlemen will be just as capable as any of their predecessors.
Then we have the Indian Civil Service and the police, two of the finest Services in the world, with some of the best products of this country in them. I regret deeply the nasty insinuations cast upon them this afternoon by the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill), an insinuation which he did not even withdraw when he was asked to do so. When his remarks reach India they will cause a great deal of harm and heart-burning among some of the finest men—I have amongst them my own relations—who have served this country well and have served India equally well. The Civil Service and the police will be indispensable for many years, especially in the agricultural districts, if the new Constitution is to succeed, and perhaps even more so now than before. On page 36, paragraph 72 of file White Paper it says that a statutory inquiry with regard to their future equipment will be held in five years after the Act commences. I hope that the Joint Select Committee will not agree to that proposal. If an inquiry must be held, do not let us tie it down to any particular date. The fact that we were tied down to the Statutory Commission after 10 years of the Montagu-Chelmsford scheme has put us into the difficulties in which we are to-day. We feel that there is a moral obligation on us to go forward. This is a result of the Montagu-Chelmsford Report stipulating that we were compelled in 10 years time to appoint a Royal Commission.
I have been asked to state the views of the European Association of India, after a preliminary investigation of the proposals contained in the White Paper. These have been received in this country by telegram within the last 48 hours. The European Association consists of 1098 some 8,000 members, who form a large proportion of the European population in India. The Association gives its full general support to the proposals. They say that the proposals represent a very great advance, but the British in India have, from the outset, believed that such an advance was necessary, and that it would prove to be not only in the best interests of India but of the Empire, provided arrangements could at the same time be made to localise and isolate the results either of inexperience or of perversity on the part of any of the new authorities to be set up in India.
With regard to the police, the European Association states that it should be made implicit in the Bill that every head of department will have the right of direct access to the Governors, who will remain as heads of the Executive. This is especially necessary in the case of the Inspector-General of the Police, and the Police Department. With regard to the Services the European Association is of opinion that the new Governments will be far more dependent on the efficient administration of the district officer than the old bureaucratic system was. Owing to their impartiality and efficiency the Indian Civil and police services are respected by Indians and Europeans alike.
With regard to European representation, the Association complains of the insufficient representation of the British, who bring to the Legislatures qualities which are the result of generations of experience of Indian administration. This is a very important subject and I hope that it will have the special attention of the Select Committee. The Association finally suggests that power should be taken in the Act to enable the Federal Government to establish its own police force, to which the Association attaches great importance.
While supporting the Government whole-heartedly in its endeavour to formulate a sound scheme in fulfilment of our obligations to India, I have ventured to put forward some constructive criticism for the consideration of the Joint Select Committee. I trust that the Government will have the help of all sections of the House in producing a really first-class Measure, so that when the Act is entered upon the Statute Book it may be acceptable to all reasonable people in India. The more unanimous we are in this country the greater the 1099 chance of success in India; and the reverse is equally true. I would warn some of my hon. Friends against taking the right hon. Member for Epping too seriously. I regret that he is not in the House, because I do not like making uncomplimentary remarks when the person concerned is not here. Perhaps someone will draw the right hon. Gentleman's attention to what I say, and he can tell me what he thinks of it afterwards. I would not like anyone to be led away by the right hon. Gentleman's oratory. I admit him to be the most brilliant speaker in the House, and the most attractive, but hardly the most sincere, consistent or reliable. I read the following in a weekly illustrated last week—the article was not pro-Government either:Even Mr. Churchill's denunciation of the Government's Indian policy is 10 or 12 years late. He may thunder, but he can do little. He is handicapped by his own past; and however much he talks in private—and is he entirely circumspect?—he knows in his heart of hearts that be cannot bring the Government down.A few weeks ago the right hon. Member for Epping was tackling the Government on their unemployment policy, last week on their foreign policy, and to-day it is India. In a few weeks, when the Budget proposals are being debated, it may be beer, or perhaps the right hon. Gentleman prefers cider. The Government have a difficult task. Do not let us allow mere oratory, based on personal animosity and ambition, to turn us from our duty to India.
§ 8.33 p.m.
Duchess of ATHOLL
I do not think that my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) will be unduly abashed when he reads the rather censorious remarks just passed upon him by my hon. Friend. I hold no brief for the right hon. Member for Epping. I am not a member of the India Defence Committee. I was not asked to join it, and I have no intention of joining it, but I think that any hon. Member who has heard my right hon. Friend's speeches to-day and on former occasions, however much he may disagree with the right hon. Member for Epping, does him less than justice if any doubt is expressed as to his sincerity. In the short time at my disposal I wish only to touch on two or three points in regard to this tremendous question. First of all, I wish to touch 1100 on what the Secretary of State said on Monday. I refer to a statement that I heard with great relief, that the pledges of the past leave full liberty to Parliament as to the time and manner of constitutional advance. But with all humility I find it difficult to understand my right hon. Friend's farther statement that the continuous history of the last century puts upon us the moral obligation to grant further stages of constitutional progress.
It is so important that we should be clear as to the groundwork of facts in discussing this question, that I feel bound to ask the Secretary of State to remember that the only pledge given to India in the last century was that contained in Queen Victoria's Proclamation of 1858, which had no relation whatever to self-government, but admitted Indians to offices in the various Services, subject to their being qualified in education, ability and integrity. When we come to the 20th century we find that when Lord Morley was piloting through the House of Lords the reforms known by his name, he made an emphatic declaration to the effect that if they were to be regarded as leading to Parliamentary government he would have nothing to do with them. So, we find no pledge whatever given by Government or Parliament, in regard to progressive self-government in India, until we come to the Declaration of 1917 and the Act of 1919. No one wishes to go back upon on or to weaken the pledges contained in the 1919 Act, but I need hardly remind hon. Members that the Preamble to that Act contained some very important provisos. There was a proviso that self-government could only be achieved by successive stages; that development was to be gradual; that the time and manner of each advance could be determined only by Parliament and that the action of Parliament in such matters must be guided by the cooperation received from those on whom new opportunities for service were being conferred, and the extent to which it was found that confidence could be reposed in their sense of responsibility.
I remember that in the Debates on the Government's former White Paper, in December, 1931, my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne) specifically asked the Secretary of State if those qualifications 1101 would still stand, in the new proposals then under discussion. He received a specific assurance from the Secretary of State that they would, and, on receipt of that assurance, the hon. Baronet said he would recommend his friends to vote for the Government's White Paper. The first feature of this new White Paper, from which to my very great regret, as a loyal Conservative and Unionist, I find myself obliged to dissent is that the whole of the 1919 Act is to be swept away and with it goes the whole proviso of which I have just reminded the House. This seems to be equivalent to launching a boat on a rough and largely uncharted sea, without the rudder by which hitherto it had been steered. It seems to me a tremendously important feature of the White Paper and it is one to which little attention seems so far to have been devoted.
I now come to the statement of my right hon. Friend that every responsible public man in India believes that Western institutions, and particularly British institutions, are suited to Indian development. He rightly points out that this view is due to our teaching. I do not wish to dispute the truth of that statement but, taken by itself, it is incomplete. It leaves out of account the fact that responsible men, or, to put it more widely, the whole of the politically-minded classes in India are a small section of the population of that vast country. Because illiteracy is so widespread and such a large part of the population live in remote scattered country villages, the desire for Western institutions is very much less general than is sometimes supposed.
Only a week or two ago, a man who has recently retired after 35 years service as a district officer and afterwards as a commissioner in the North of India, told me of the great difficulty he found in getting the people of his area to understand the power which they could exercise through the possession of a vote for the district board. He instanced the fact that when a road had been swept away by the floods, the district board received a grant of £75,000 from the provincial Government; that, somehow or other, that money disappeared into the pockets of someone connected with the board, and nothing was spent on the road. It was w ell-known that the money 1102 had been misappropriated but all the same it was impossible to bring home to the people the fact, that they had the power to turn out the board by their votes, although it had proved itself dishonest, and the people still came to the district commissioner to ask him to put the road right.
I do not think you could have a more striking instance of the difficulty which many of the country people in India have in realising what public institutions mean and what power they can wield through the exercise of the vote. I believe that if one could ask them, one would find that what the masses in India want, before all things, are security, impartial justice, and protection from the moneylender, or sometimes even, I am told, from certain minor Indian officials. These are, after all, fundamental things which everybody wants. They are things which we all want for our protection in our daily lives. But I find it difficult to believe that the demand for Western institutions is nearly as widespread in India as is sometimes suggested. Quite recently, a well-known Englishman who knows India well and has been visiting the West and South of India, has written that both the classes and the masses there have never been more appreciative of the British than now when they fear their abdication "in response to an imaginary demand."
I would next refer to the statement of my Noble Friend the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) that trade depends on good will. We must all agree that you cannot make people buy from you, but there may be occasions on which people want to buy from you but cannot do so because of intimidatory action, and we know that that is exactly what has been taking place in India. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Blackburn (Sir W. Smiles) speaking out of his great personal knowledge of Indian life told us how the people of Assam want to buy Lancashire cloth because they find it more durable. Only two or three weeks ago a partner in an important British firm in India told some of us Conservative Members of the difficulties which his firm had had to meet in recent years owing to various boycotts organised by the Congress party. In view of the wording of the Labour party's Amendment it is interesting to recall that he told us of one boycott which 1103 ended when Mr. Gandhi was arrested. When it ended, the dealers who had been afraid to do business with his firm during its progress resumed business at once. Then Mr. Gandhi was released and the dealers came to this firm—a very important firm, long established in India and employing a large number of Indians—and said: "We thought you were mad before, but we never thought you were as mad as this." The boycott started again; shops were picketed, people were beaten, cloth was burned and the dealers were unable to buy. The workers employed by the firm said: "We do not like Congress but if you will not protect us from Congress we must give them false allegiance."
This gentleman went on to read to us a document which had been sent to all firms—I believe both Indian and British—in India two years ago, requiring them to sign humiliating pledges. One pledge was to the effect that they should not in any way interest themselves in the importation of foreign yarn or piece-goods; another was that they would pass as far as possible all their insurance, banking, and shipping to Indian companies or bankers; and a third was that no person connected with the management of the mills would participate in any activity organised voluntarily or at the instance or on behalf of the British Government in India in opposition to the National movement. We understood that this firm had resisted signature of this humiliating document for six months, but as the boycott cost them some 50 lakhs, they were obliged to sign, and I believe that that was the case with most other British firms in India. It is interesting to know that the organiser of that boycott was Mr. Jawarharlal Nehru, who is at present in gaol in the United Provinces, but who would be liberated if the hon. Members opposite were able to carry their Amendment.
I have had other indications that Indians want to buy our goods if only they are left alone. The ex-Commissioner to whom I have referred told me how, in one town in which a great deal of cloth is accustomed to be sold, even in the height of the boycott Lancashire cloth was coming in. The dealers could not buy it openly in the big towns, as it would be too risky, but they bought it in the lesser towns. They could not 1104 bring it in through the front door, or place it in the front of their shops, but they brought it in by the back door and sent it away to the hills on mules. We have the specific statement of Sir Charles Innes some years ago that if the rural masses were in a position to make their voices heard in the Assembly he would not be bringing forward proposals for a tariff against Lancashire goods, nor would the Assembly give them a hearing.
It seems to me that these are facts which we have to keep clearly in mind and to realise that what we have to do is to give effective protection against intimidation and boycott, which have cost Lancashire so dear in the last few years, which must have caused so much loss to many workers and traders in India, and which, after all, are only designed to put money into the pockets of the mill-owners who finance the Congress party. If that is so, if what is needed is to allow good will to operate and show itself where it exists, surely we must think most carefully before we hand over the police, as is proposed in the White Paper. It. is true that my right hon. Friend proposes to make arrangements which will safeguard the conditions of service for police officers, and that is most important matter, but in tae, same breath he told us that the police would work under the Ministers. That might very well mean working under men whom they had arrested in the last year or two, and, knowing the strength of communal feeling and of Congress feeling and the way in which this has already shown itself, can we feel confident that men who may have had to arrest these Congress leaders will really be sure of a fair deal and be able to carry out their duties effectively when they are working under the men whom perhaps they have put in gaol and who belong to one of the rival communities?
In this matter of the transfer of the police, the situation to-day is very different from what it was when the Statutory Commission recommended the transfer. When that report came out, in the summer of 1930, we had heard little or nothing of the maltreatment and intimidation to which the police were subjected during the whole of the civil disobedience movement. We had heard little of the "Red Shirt" movement, which I believe has behind it Communist influence, in the North-West Frontier Pro- 1105 vince. Speaking for myself, I can say that I understood that communal feeling was dying out. I had heard of the Luck-now Pact, and I believed that that still held the field; and it is only since the terrible happenings at Cawnpore two years ago that some of us have realised that communal feeling, far from dying out, is much stronger than it was some years ago. I am afraid there seems to be general agreement that it has been revived by the reforms which we have given, which have given Hindus and Moslems a political prize for which to contest, and I am told by those who have spent their lives in India that communal feeling is likely to be further exacerbated, if responsibility is given at the centre, because the prize for which to compete will be so very much greater.
Finally, there has been a recrudescence in Bengal of the terrorist campaign. Those who read Sir Charles Tegart's speech will realise the new and terrible factors which have come to light since the Simon Commission reported—
Duchess of ATHOLL
Some of those conditions may have existed before the commission reported, but if the hon. Member will read Sir Charles Tegart's admirable speech, to which I referred, he will see that at the time that the commission reported terrorism in Bengal had died down. Sir Charles now tells us of. a third terrorist campaign, and the most formidable, because it is aimed specifically at Government servants, which has been revived since the commission's report. It was also difficult, when the commission reported in June, 1930, for them to have heard very much about the maltreatment of the police, which went on some months later than that. Equally, the "Red Shirt" movement was, I believe, in its infancy, and certainly the Cawnpore massacre, to which I also referred, had not taken place. The Cawnpore massacre was in March, 1931, whereas the commission reported in June, 1930. I do not doubt that the hon. Gentleman and his colleagues took the fullest possible account of all the facts that were before them, but I do not think they can deny that at the time when they reported things were distinctly quieter than they have been since, and that a great deal 1106 of water has flowed under the bridges since they reported, to make us realise with what serious trouble the police often have to contend.
In conclusion, I know the point of view is held by some Members that if Parliament did not make all the changes for which the Indians in the Round Table Conference have asked, a difficult situation might arise, a situation with which it might be very difficult to deal. I am authorised by a distinguished military officer, General Sir John Shea, who has lately retired after many years' service in India, during the last years of which he commanded the Eastern Command, to say that the actual military problem under present conditions, in his view, does not present any difficulty; and that view has also been confirmed to me by an officer who has now left India after many years' responsible service in the police. It seems to me that these are opinions which we are bound to weigh and to place against the facile expressions of defeatism that we too often hear expressed. Statements of that kind, made by men who have been responsible for the maintenance of the public peace in their different ways, over a large part of India for many years, seem to me to represent a background or solid bedrock on which we can take our stand and consider what is best for India. Therefore, I hope that Members of the Joint Select Committee in their deliberations will not only feel that they are absolutely free of any Parliamentary pledges, except those contained in the 1919 Act, to discuss this matter, but that they will feel that it is possible to consider what is best for the welfare of the masses of the people of India, sure that the prestige of the Government in India is sufficient to make it unnecessary through panic or loss of confidence to give measures which we might not think at the present moment to be in the interest of the people of India.
§ 8.56 p.m.
§ Major COURTAULD
I have no personal knowledge of India whatever. My feelings are formed entirely on speeches of men who are better informed than I am, by reading books and articles, and especially by listening in private conversations to men who have spent a great part of their lives in India. For that reason I would not have ventured to 1107 intervene in the Debate unless I had felt that there were a good many hon. Members in the same position. I am cheered to think that even the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State has only a somewhat distant and nodding acquaintance with the great subcontinent. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary is, of course, in a different category, because, if I am not mistaken, he was born there. Apart from that, I think that there are a few important considerations which occur to one on examining this problem on a wider basis altogether, and which do not need an intimate knowledge of the life of the country itself. The first thing that occurred to me in looking at the White Paper was to ask how much hope of success is there for any hard-and-fast, cut-and-dried constitution written out beforehand and implanted on a nation like India?
If my knowledge of history, which is rather sketchy, does not deceive me, I think that there has been no case where a country has had a written constitution planted on it, entirely hard-and-fast and not susceptible to very great changes, which has in the long run not proved unsuccessful. We know that the United States of America has a written constitution, and I think that very few people would say that that constitution has never given any trouble. In fact, in a time of stress and stringency that constitution, if not in abeyance, has been considerably modified; indeed, quite unconstitutional powers will probably soon be in the hands of one man. Italy, I believe, had a written constitution which failed. Germany certainly had, and we know where that constitution is to-day. When I think of all those failures in countries which are comparatively homogeneous and nothing like as large in area or in population as India, it appears to me that to expect to hope that a constitution such as the Government have worked out will succeed is to hope for something which is very nearly impossible.
I have nothing particular to say against this Constitution as set forth in the White Paper. I think that members of the Government, with no doubt admirable assistance, have probably made as good a case as they can, but I do not think that all the jurists and theorists in 1108 the world are capable of making a constitution which is so rigid, so hard-and-fast, so good and inelastic, as to be successful in the long run. There is another point, into which I need not go very deeply, as time is short, which has been raised by other Members. Are we justified in hoping that a form of self-government on Western democratic lines is likely to be successful in India? It has not of late been very successful in the West, and one country after another finds itself groping about trying to find an alternative. It is, of course, arguable that the mere fact that democracy or democratic government is unsuccessful in the West, makes it more likely, owing to the great difference between West and East, that it might be successful in the East. I have not heard that argument by any spokesman on the other side, and I hardly think that it is an argument that can be supported. I do not take it any further, but it ought to give us pause, for deliberately to try and give India a democratic government on Western lines is taking a risk which may be justifiable, but it is no doubt a risk.
Another point, which is, to my mind, the most important of all, is this. In all the speeches I have heard, in all the documents which I have read, and in nearly all the statements inside the House and without, there is hardly any mention made of the effect of these proposed changes on the great masses of the Indian people. One would have thought that that was, or should be, the very first consideration in any change of government. After all, the only justification for a change in government, or the most important justification, is that the present government is not succeeding and that you are quite sure that your alternative will be better for the people—not for the people who are to govern, but for the people who are to be governed. I read the other day a pamphlet by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State addressed, I think, to his constituents, which was very clear and set forth his case in great detail. I read it through twice, and I could find no reference to that important subject at all except that he said that the politically-minded minority were clamouring for a change of government and for self-government, and that as far as he could tell the 'majority of the illiterate population seemed tacitly to accept it. How, 1109 being dumb, they manifested their acceptance of the right hon. Gentleman, I do not know. I rather suspect that no step has been made to find out what is really the opinion of 90 per cent. of the population, and that if any attempt were made to find out it would be unsuccessful, because probably they would not be able to understand the implications.
I know that there are hon. Members—we have heard them during the Debate, and they are mostly Liberals—who think that the blessings of the ballot box will compensate for anything else, and that if 7 per cent., or whatever the number is, are permitted at stated intervals to put a little voting paper into a painted box, their feeling of privilege and uplift and so on will make them blind to any possible disadvantages in their ordinary life. I do not agree with that view; I never did. I do not think that the man who invented the ballot box had the last word in human progress. I think that there is something more than that. I really believe that although it is absolutely necessary to consider the view of a small politically-minded minority, who, if they feel strongly and like to agitate can make so much trouble that government becomes difficult—although we have got to consider the politically-minded minority and try to give gradually some form of self-government for the Indian. continent, yet to consider only the view of the politician and the vocal minority and to ignore the welfare and the ordinary well-being of the masses of the population is entirely wrong. It may be politics, but to my mind, it is not statesmanship.
We are told, and have been told repeatedly lately, that the unchanging East is now changing. Of course it is changing, because it always has been changing. There is no such thing as "the unchangeable East." It may change slowly and almost imperceptibly, and I have no doubt it is changing now, but that it is changing with the dazzling rapidity of which we have been told by certain spokesmen in the Government I do hot believe. I think there has been a great change during the last three or four years in the attitude of the peoples of India, from the Princes right down to the peasants, and I think that change does not so much indicate a change of heart or a clamour for popular government or anything of that sort, but is a change which has been induced by a change of 1110 attitude in the people or the Government of these Islands. I believe the Indian peoples during these post-war years have gradually felt more and more that they no longer have the same strong feeling in Parliament and England binding them together as they had formerly. I believe they are feeling that the bonds are loosened. The regime of Lord Irwin obviously had that effect.
It must have come as rather a shock to most of the peoples in India when Lord Irwin made his announcement about Dominion self-government. During the time of the Socialist Government no doubt they were encouraged in that feeling, and when the present National Government came into office and we were told by the Prime Minister that it had accepted the Socialist programme as regards India, I think the peoples of India must have felt that those bonds really were weakening, that Parliament and the British people themselves had not the same idea of government or the same feeling that they must keep a hold on India. and the Empire, and came to the conclusion that they must think out something for themselves. I do not believe in this rapid change which we are told is happening in India, but things are changing and we have to go forward. Personally, I am quite prepared to see a gradual proceeding towards final self-government in India. I think the Constitution which is adumbrated in the White Paper would probably, if brought into law, hold that final solution back rather than put it forward. I think there would be very swift failure, which would put progress back for many years. As long as we are content to take reasonable steps, slowly and with due consideration, and with full control, I think the majority of people in England will be behind us, and that we shall have a good chance of advancing finally to the goal which, I suppose, we all are seeking.
§ 9.8 p.m.
§ Sir H. CROFT
I rise with great diffidence to take part in this Debate, because I think it has been marked with a great sense of solemnity, and I realise as well as anyone else in this House the responsibility resting on us for the thoughts expressed and the words spoken on an occasion like this. But before I say anything else, I feel I must express 1111 my regret that in a Debate which has been carried on with such good feeling among all parties there should have been a carefully-prepared attack upon my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill). As some hon. Members know, I have been as much at variance with the right hon. Member fur Epping as anyone in this House. He was a man who thwarted many of the ideals for which I was working over a considerable period of time, but I think it is only fair to him to say that the very moment these new India reforms appeared—I go back to the time when they originated with the Socialist Government—although at that time I was no friend of his in politics, he told me that he believed that this was going to be the one absorbing question, and that he was prepared to make any sacrifice in order to prevent what he considered was so great a national danger. It is only fair that we should recognise that the sincerity of the right hon. Member for Epping on this great issue is beyond any question of doubt.
I do not want to cross swords with my Noble Friend the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) who, I am sorry, is not here, because I remember him, as young Lord Turnour, winning a by-election more than a quarter of a century ago, when he and I were both candidates fighting under the banner of Joseph Chamberlain. I remember how heartened all of us were to think that a young man of 21 had won that remarkable victory for Imperial unity and holding the British Empire together. For many long years he remembered the motto of Mr. Chamberlain, and was a very ardent apostle of that policy, and I am a little saddened to think that the right hon. Gentleman, in the company of boon companions on the Front Bench, should have been led into these tortuous paths of democratic futility when we all regarded him as a very stout Constitutionalist. I, for one, always think of the Noble Lord as a gallant leader of the Camel Corps in defence of Britains' Eastern possessions, and I hope that no one will judge him too seriously for what I believe to be a temporary political aberration. I believe that before long we shall have him fighting again just as strongly as ever for the preservation of British rule in the East.
1112 He made one or two remarks in his speech to which I must take friendly exception. He said the right hon. Member for Epping and I were painting terrible pictures of gloom about India under the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms. I have never made any speech, and I have never heard one from the right hon. Member for Epping, in which we spoke with gloom about the present position in India, and certainly we have not attributed it to the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms. We were gloomy enough when Lord Irwin was there, but I see no cause for gloom to-day, under the strong, sane Government of the Viceroy and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. Then, a great deal of play was made with regard to a, phrase used by the right hon. Member for Epping when he was interrupted by the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne) in which he suggested that for the last five years those chosen for high positions in the Civil Service and elsewhere had been chosen with regard to the policy of the Government. It is all very well to raise the ire of the incorruptible House against the right hon. Gentleman on this point, but was that statement so very far from the truth of affairs as we know them? For instance, would the Prime Minister welcome persons in his Government unless he thonght they were going to carry out the policy of the Government? Would the Government appoint any high official—
§ Sir H. CROFT
Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will wait. I was coming to that point. Would the Government appoint any high officers of State in the Services in India to carry out its policy if it were known that they were fundamentally opposed to it? Such an attitude seems to me almost inconceivable. I have always regarded the right hon. Gentleman as having very great wisdom, and I cannot believe, even if a Governor of a Province were going to be appointed, that the right hon. Gentleman would appoint him if he knew that he would be directly opposed to the policy which is now—
§ Sir S. HOARE
I hope the hon. and gallant Gentleman will forgive me for 1113 interrupting him, but I tell him in a, single sentence that considerations of that kind would not enter my mind at all.
§ Sir H. CROFT
I am very glad to have the right hon. Gentleman's statement. Now we know that future Governors of the Provinces will nevertheless be appointed to these great positions, even if they believe, as I do, that this scheme should never have been entered upon. I cannot see why. If you are committed to this scheme, the Services, high or low, should be ready to carry out your policy. I cannot commend the right hon. Gentleman's wisdom in that respect. Some hon. Members think that this is the most favourable time to carry out this policy. I suppose that that is because we have a National Government in which parties are more or less united in carrying it out, and there is very great good will, up to a point, on the part of right hon. Gentlemen sitting on the Opposition Bench. It is rather a dangerous doctrine that you are to abandon your main principles just because you think the moment is favourable in the House of Commons. Why not let us go right ahead now with the nationalisation of the railways, the banks and the mines, as is advocated by hon. Members of the Socialist party 4 I have far too friendly feelings for the Noble Lord the Member for Horsham to use any harsh words of him, but I was a little bit sad when he seemed to think that (my efforts to defend the Conservative faith in the country were so liable to criticism. I can only say that I should be very much relieved if some of those who sat around him and cheered him would not press me quite so often to assist them in their constituencies.
I desire to congratulate His Majesty's Government, because they have got back to sound constitutional ground. The setting up of a Select Committee of both Houses of Parliament is a procedure which every one of us must support. I rejoice to think that His Majesty's Government are setting up a Committee, and that we should have had it clearly intimated that no hon. Member is bound by any of the proposals which appear in the White Paper. I congratulate His Majesty's Government very much on having secured the return of one who was so great an advocate at Geneva, and who came down to this House yesterday and, with remarkable skill, convinced many 1114 hon. Members of the infallibility of the report of the Statutory Commission, with regard to law and order, and its fallibility of government at the centre, more especially when I recall that the Simon Commission says that the unity of the Central Executive must be preserved at all costs. This great advocate told us how utterly ungenerous and unjust were the attacks on some of the recently-promoted Indian legislators, because of their complaints of the police force as agents of an alien bureaucracy. In the same breath he told us that, for that reason, we must get rid of that imputation by handing over the police to their detractors. I can only say that this kind of reasoning is somewhat illogical, and I regret that we should be influenced by any such considerations.
All through these difficult decisions we ought to be influenced by one supreme reason above all others, and that is the welfare of the Indian people. For that reason, it is imperative that the police and the forces of law and order in that country should be kept in our hands. When the Foreign Secretary concluded his speech, which in many parts was very helpful, by saying that Parliament must decide these questions openly and freely, I rejoiced. Whatever those words may mean, I hope that they may be taken literally. I remember on a previous occasion, right at the commencement of this Parliament—I hope the House will not think that one is saying anything that is too critical—when we were ill-informed and suddenly had these great proposals thrust upon us, we were somewhat strictly compelled to vote upon this subject. So it was with a Private Member's Motion a few weeks ago, when the attempt was made for the first time to get a vote in this House in support of the Simon Commission, with certain temporary reservations as to law and order. In the same way, the whole authority and the whole paraphernalia of Government authority were marshalled against me.
On that occasion I happened to be one of the Tellers in the Lobby, and I must confess that I never saw such an ill-assorted cavalcade coming through one Lobby in the 23 years that I have been in this House. [interruption.] Never mind. It was a Lobby for doing nothing. It was a full Lobby. If the House would like a fuller description, let me say that 1115 there was the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) leading his troops, there was the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) leading his generous allies, and there was the full strength of the Clydesiders. All of them, were there, and interspersed were a sprinkling of temporary sinners in the Conservative party. I only mention that to remind the Secretary of State that only a week before the Motion was moved in this House, Lord Irwin in another place said that Parliament was free and unfettered. All I can say is that if the freedom of the Whips was shown on that occasion, I hope that we shall never know what stern discipline is in the future. No wonder that when one read one's "Daily Herald" next day, one saw they were gloating over the sidetracking of my Motion. They had every right to gloat, because their policy held the field.
We have got back again to thoroughly constitutional procedure, that is to say, the Round Table Conference is demobilised, at any rate for the time being. In case there is any kind of feeling in the country that people can be lulled into a false sense of security because of the setting up of a Select Committee, I feel that now is the opportunity to warn those people that, from the nature of the case, it is almost inevitable that the Committee cannot be impartial with regard to the establishment of self-government at the Centre, for the simple reason that that is the broad policy of His Majesty's Government. To the majority you have to add the authors of the scheme, the Socialist representatives and some of the representatives perhaps of the Liberal party who, on this subject, are the lovers of His Majesty's Government, although some of us had hoped that the divorce had been made absolute some little time ago. I have no doubt that my hon. Friend the Chief Whip will say that there will be upon this Committee a strong minority of those who believe in British Rule in India; but how strong? Will they be 45 per cent.? We believe that we represent the majority of opinion in the country, and we feel very confident that we represent the opinion of the Conservative party. In the circumstances, 45 per cent. is not an undue demand. I make this claim 1116 with more confidence because the right hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench do not know what the opinion of the country is.
The Prime Minister, and the Lord President of the Council, did not mention the surrender of British Government at the centre in any of their election manifestos. I hardly think it was mentioned in any of their speeches; certainly the abandonment of government at the centre never appeared during the minute examination I made of these orations. While other countries have their dictators, we in this country are still under constitutional government. We have no right to part with British territory without the emphatic and overwhelming opinion of the people of this country. Here I think I can make a very special appeal to the Lord President of the Council. I can say, I think, that no man in this House, in my memory, has a cleaner record on the subject of mandates than the right hon. Gentleman. When he was Prime Minister he point-blank refused and, if he will forgive my saying so, he did so courageously when he refused to safeguard iron and steel which, at that time, was facing ruin. The sole reason he gave us was that he had no mandate for that policy, and that he could not do it. We did not agree with the right hon. Gentleman's contention, but there was not one of us who did not honour his meticulous determination to see that his mandate was not exceeded.
With the greatest respect, I ask him how he can square these views of 1927 with his present intention to go ahead with this policy of ending government at the centre in India, without the sanction of the people, or asking their opinion upon this vital revolution—vital not only to Lancashire but to British financial and trade interests in India, and vital to every man, woman and child in the Empire who is concerned with the fabric of British rule and is a partner in British destiny? I venture to submit that never before in the history of this country has there been an attempt by a Government to commit this House to so great a venture by the back door, without ascertaining the will of the people. We were told the moment the White Paper was published; "Ah! This changes the situation; look at the safeguards." I can find no new safe- 1117 guard in the White Paper. I think the right hon. Gentleman has been very consistent with his safeguards. I can find no new safeguards except those expressed in speeches, or in communiques which came from that extraordinary emporium of constitutional wares, the Round Table Conference.
That conference, I must remind the House, contained no single administrator, or soldier, of Indian experience, and no small landlord from India. It included no representative of ex-service men in India. I think I am not wrong in saying it included only one or two classes—the Princes, the higher aristocracy and a certain number of idealists. Here I want to take the strongest exception to the riot which occurred when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping referred to the possibility that, in the last five years, people had not been promoted in India unless known to support the Government policy. I wonder what steps the Secretary of State for India, and those working with him in India, have taken to get into touch with the civil servants in India. I am assured that, with the exception of a few at the head, the whole range of civil servants feel that they have not been consulted. It may have been impossible but it is wrong for the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Darwen to say that they are in favour. They have never been consulted.
The safeguards sound so well, but just once more I want to examine them before the Leader of the Socialist party gives his blessing to this policy. The Governor of a Province, this solitary British guardian of peace, finance, revenue, education, forestry, irrigation and all those services—I think the Secretary of State said there were 70 of them—has a great responsibility. But suppose a Hindu Legislature tries to force through a Measure which is considered oppressive and repugnant to the Mohammedan population. The Governor will certainly protest. If his protest is of no avail, what is he to do? I asked the Secretary of State, on Monday, what would be the position in such a contingency, and if the minority would then form a Government. With that courtesy, for which he is always remarkable, he said my question was pertinent, but lie did not answer 1118 my point, although he stated next day that the Governor could suspend the Constitution. The answer is that the Governor would send for the leader of the minority, who must, inevitably, be a Mohammedan, and ask him to form a Cabinet. That Cabinet could not last a day.
After all, religions do not change in the East in this manner. Dissolution follows, with the inevitable result that a Hindu Government is returned. The Governor, this lonely soul without a British ally, can do nothing but appeal to the Governor-General to suspend the Constitution. In this case the Governor, we are told in the White Paper, will be given plenary authority to assume all the power he deems necessary. You might as well tell the bather in the ocean, whose clothes have been stolen while he was in the sea, that when he came ashore he must assume all the garments he deemed necessary for the occasion. The Governor has no power; it cannot be done. The captains have departed, and no expert is standing by his side. He has not an Indian policeman, of whom there was 799 to one white. The policeman can claim his pension, and his pay, from the Indian Minister responsible for law and order, with whom the Governor at that time is at variance.
How can a Governor assume powers when he has parted with all the machinery of power? This is merely an interregnum because the Cabinet has fallen, and the row is going on. It is possible that there may be communal trouble, and you may have terrible massacres such as have been seen in India. The Viceroy may send his soldiers, but that is not the kind of way we desire the final clearing up of the mess. If they wanted to operate, how could they do so with the law courts and police in the hands of a Minister in conflict with the Governor? What consolation have you in these circumstances Here again I will tell you by reference to the White Paper. It says:The Governor should hear in mind the close connection between his special responsibility for peace and tranquillity and the internal administration and discipline of the police.What is the good of his bearing it in mind? You might just as well tell the wax-works at Madame Tussaud's to bear in mind their responsibilities in connec- 1119 tion with some particular question. I know there are colleagues of mine who say, "Yes, we realise these grave dangers in the Provinces, but we believe that if only you establish a Central Government as well, you will minimise these dangers." In other words, if there is chaos in the Provinces, you can perhaps help the situation by having chaos at the centre. I cannot follow that argument. If the machinery of law in this country breaks down, say in Yorkshire, then, if you have scrapped your Scotland Yard organisation and your Criminal Intelligence Department organisation, if your law courts are no longer in your hands in London, and you have not even your Metropolitan police to move up to Yorkshire, as you would have in other times, I am at a loss to see how it would help the situation if you had the same impossible conditions in London that existed in Yorkshire. I know that the authors of this policy are not concerned with these realities. After all, the men who backed the general strike in this country, and tried to bring the life of their own country to a complete cessation, are hardly likely to be deterred by the fear of any complete breakdown of government in India. They are possessed of all the valour of ignorance.
§ Sir H. CROFT
I beg the hon. Member's pardon. As I say, he has all the valour of ignorance. I want to ask what the Liberal party feels about this great problem, about this attitude in regard to dealing with this discordant humanity, this great mass of people whom some people so ignorantly call a nation, but whom, as His Highness the Aga Khan told us, it would take generations to become a nation. May I ask what, then, is going to be done if we find ourselves confronted with these great difficulties. Personally, I do not believe that the safeguards can ever be operated without the will of the governed, and that is where the right hon. Gentleman, I think, is altogether too optimistic. He has not read the speeches of those who are concerned with Indian politics, and, in coming to the House now, he has based his White Paper upon a mighty assumption. The House will remember the words: 1120The present proposals in general necessarily proceed on the basic assumption that every endeavour will be made by those responsible for working the Constitution to approach the administrative problems which will present themselves in the spirit of partners in a common Empire.How can the spirit of partnership be assumed when the only political forces which exist have made it crystal clear that they are hostile to your intentions? How can we mouth these words "in the spirit of partners," when even the Liberal and moderate gentlemen upon whom the right hon. Gentleman leans have made it absolutely clear that they require the fixing of a date for the handing over of the Indian Army, the complete Indianisation of that Army, the complete control of exchange, currency and economic policy, and the release of Gandhi and others? These are the words of bite leaders, the very men whom the right hon. Gentleman has again and again quoted as being of Liberal opinion. There was one passage—I do not propose to read it in full—in the speech of the Secretary of State, which really staggered me. It was a very moving and powerful appeal. He said:We cannot isolate these Indian questions from the whole field of Asiatic questions. India is not isolated from the rest of Asia. Hon. Members would be very unwise if they approached this question without reminding themselves of what has been happening from one end of Asia to the other in the years since the War—if, for instance, they failed to remember what is called the new tide in China, if they failed to remember, again, the efforts which Turkey is making to establish itself as a modern progressive Power, if they failed, again, to remember the events of only the last few weeks in which Japan has been challenging a big body of European public opinion. What wonder, when all this ferment is going on in Asia from one end of that continent to the other, that India should be raising its voice for recognition, and that India should be making a demand for a greater share in its own Government?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th March, 1933; col. 699, Vol. 276.]The right hon. Gentleman quoted Turkey. I would ask, where is the success of democratic institutions in Turkey? Mustapha Kemal put an end to them at the end of two years. Again, is Persia very successful with her democratic institutions? In Siam they were tried 20 years ago, but have been abandoned ever since. In Egypt, we forced democratic institutions upon the people, and it will be remembered that immediately we were 1121 invited to clear out. We rather assented to that proposition for a brief moment, but the Lord hardened the hearts of the Egyptians, and refused to let us go unless we would get out of the Sudan as well. In Syria, is there democratic Government? Are they pining for democratic instituions there? What is the situation in Iraq, whence we scuttled only a few weeks ago, discovering that the Iraqi were fit to help to govern the world through a great assembly like the League of Nations. Where is the Constitution there? People say, "Never mind; there is Japan, that great democratic country; and there is China." The Secretary of State quoted these and other countries as a reason why democratic Government should be given to India.
I want to remind the House that we are under no sort of pledge with regard to the kind of policy indicated in the White Paper. Fortunately, the Secretary of State made that abundantly clear to the House beyond any shadow of doubt. But we have to remember that the law of the land as it stands is the Government of India Act, in which it is laid down quite clearly that we should proceed step by step, that we can restrict, extend and modify the reforms in India as Parliament may decide. That being so, why did we rush to the precipice in this matter? I will quote a few words from the greatest songster of our race—the man who, perhaps, has more vividly brought the East home to us than any other living man. He wrote these words:At the end of the fight is a tombstone white,With the name of the late deceased;And the epitaph drear, A fool lies here,Who tried to hustle the East.'I commend those words of his distinguished relative to the right hon. Gentleman the Lord President of the Council, and I would express the hope that they will not be as prophetic in his case, and do not indicate that these proposals may mean that an epitaph may have to be found for the National Government.
Some of us feel very deeply on this question of India. There is no country in the world which have been invaded more frequently. One of its conquerors invaded India 17 times. It has been invaded by the Greeks, the Persians, the Mongols, the Tartars, the Arabs, the Afghans, the Turks, the Portuguese and the French, 1122 not to mention the Scythians and a few others. India has been more conquered than any other country in the world, not excepting Egypt. Alll these countries acted as tyrants towards India, and it was only after we had been there for some time, and the whole force of our Government had been exercised, that it became a country where peace ruled. If you go out of India—and the period of transition can have no other meaning—it is almost inevitable that Soviet Russia will walk across the frontier, and what moral right will you have to stop her?
Some of us had forbears who gave their lives in the service of India and gave all their experience and wisdom to the service of India. Some of us had forbears who actually sacrificed their lives for India. I can remember, when I was a very little child, sitting at the feet of my grandmother and being told the story how the sole survivor of that appalling disaster in the Khyber, in the picture made so famous in history by Lady Butler as the only man who reached Allahabad, came to our native town in order to console her in her great loss and to tell her how one of these men had died by Afghan spears. The name of the Khyber Pass to some of us is a tragic and glorious one. Are we quite sure that we are not selling that very pass to-day? Is it not possible that, if you carry out this intention of yours, the million hosts of that country which has declared war upon God will go through that very Khyber made immortal by the death of those heroic British dead? If that is so, it means that the cankerous blight of the uncivilised savagery will spread throughout the whole of that country of India which is in your trust. The weak man persists in going on when he is warned of disaster. The strong man has the courage to turn back. If you would have peace in your time and not risk terrible disaster in this great Asiatic sub-continent, I implore you not to go forward with this policy, which die country has given no sanction for, and which you have no right to put upon the Statute Book until England has given a decisive voice thereon.
§ 9.48 p.m.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
The hon. Baronet always attracts attention because of the downrightness of his speeches and his absolute sincerity. I can say that to 1123 him because I take an altogether opposite line from that which he takes. The statesmen of this country, not Socialist statesmen only but statesmen of all parties, over a long period of years have declared again and again and again that the end of British rule in India must and ought to be the rule of India by the Indians. I cannot make out quite why he should think that they are all wrong, and that he and those who think with him must be right. If this policy had been brought in by those who, he thinks, are so ignorant on this subject, I could understand the enthusiasm with which he opposes the proposal, but I cannot understand his opposition when I remember—I am much older than he is—that the first time I heard Henry Fawcett on the subject, the tenor of his speech was that ultimately, because of the British connection and because of the association with Britain, the people of India would set up a self-governing State, and it would be that sort of State which we in this country think the best Government. What I have said of Henry Fawcett was also true of the late Queen Victoria in 1858. The very inception of modern relationship with India has always been based on the assumption that sooner or later India would be governing herself and, therefore, I am at a loss to understand why the policy so long set forth should meet with the determined opposition that it is meeting with to-day.
The Labour Government entered into the business of trying to bring together the various elements in India as a sequence to the appointment of the Statutory Commission. Our Government did not appoint that Commission. It was in existence when we came into existence, and it is well known that the condition of India at that time was very bad indeed. I want to pay my tribute to two men who, I think, dealt with that very terrible situation not only in a statesmanlike but in a very sympathetic manner indeed. I mean Lord Irwin and Mr. Wedgwood Benn. I should think that Conservative and other Members who are not of our party would also agree that these two men faced a situation which had already become dangerous. It is true, and it has often been thrown up against me, that they were obliged to pass ordinances to suppress free speech and to imprison 1124 thousands of people, but all the time they both kept steadily in mind the fact that what they had to do was to convince the Congress leaders that they were in earnest in asking that they should help the Simon Commission to the end. The underlying note of their policy was that we should have continuous co-operation with the people of India, that is, the vocal part of the people of India, and that we should continue our discussions until we arrived at a conclusion satisfactory to them and to ourselves. I regret more than I can say that when the National Government took this business in hand, the Round Table Conference was wound up and Mr. Gandhi went home, and that the conference was never summoned again. Mr. Gandhi has been in prison now for about 16 months. We have had a very truncated Round Table Conference, not at all representative, and in the end we have this White Paper produced by the Government.
Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who have spoken to-day have all tried to impress us, as has the hon. Baronet the Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft), that this is one of the most vital and serious questions that this House is likely to have to discuss for a long time. We are as conscious of that as anyone else in the House of Commons. We understand quite well that, for weal or woe, this White Paper or some propositions will have to be passed in order at least to attempt to bring about a settlement and to restore confidence between the people in India and the rulers in this country. We also join in paying our tribute to the right hon. Gentleman and to his assistant the Under-Secretary of State for their statements on Monday and to-day. I would particularly congratulate the Under-Secretary because he is relatively young and very few men with his experience would have made a better and clearer statement than that which he made to-day. I want also to say that in all these congratulations I can only join to that extent. I cannot join in the congratulations of the right hon. Gentleman that peace reigns in India. I rather deny and question that altogether. When you suppress a people, wipe out free speech and the right of public meeting and deny all sorts of contact between very large 1125 sections of the people and you have no disturbance, I do not call it peace, but death.
I would remind the right hon. Gentleman of a saying I used to hear when I was a boy of a Tsarist general who sent a message to the Tsar that order reigned in Warsaw because he was holding the people down by brute force. To-day you are keeping in prison the men who, if they were called into conference on this subject, might even now help us to find a solution. Other people may hold what views they please—and although I have not been to India, I know a very considerable number of Indians of all sorts and conditions—but I am confident that whatever you may pass in this country, and whatever may be passed in India, unless you have the consent of the great mass of organised opinion in India and unless you have the co-operation of Congress you will not be able to administer whatever laws you may be pleased to pass. It is not merely Mr. Gandhi that you have to consider. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman knows young Nehru probably much better than I do. The Under-Secretary of State this afternoon said that he hoped that the young men—he was speaking of the young men of Britain—serving in India, and serving perhaps in this House, would give themselves to the service of the people of India when these proposals became law. Has he forgotten that there is a huge mass of young Indians in India, and that it is they who want to have the right to build a new life in their own country? It is they who are making the struggle for self-government. It has been my privilege on several occasions to go to the meetings of young Indians in the universities and what has always struck me is that, just as the hon. Baronet the Member for Bournemouth speaks to-day for our country, so they speak for their country. The one thing which boils up in their minds is that they may go back to India and serve her as the hon. Baronet serves our country in this House. And why not?
The Noble Lord rebuked some of those who were talking of lawyers and politically-minded people as if it were a crime in India to be in politics, and something very virtuous to be in politics in this country. When I look around this House and also look at myself in the looking glass I honestly cannot take such 1126 self-conscious pride in myself, and think that I am superior to the people in India who only want to do exactly what I think that I want to do in this country. I would beg of the right hon. Gentleman to remember that young Nehru and his friends are the people you have to enlist in this campaign. It is they whom you have to bring in to administer and to make the laws of their own country. Unless you do that, it is certain that, no matter what laws you pass or who passes them, your proposals will be bound to fail. I am certain that they will fail unless you have the co-operation of young India, and that at present you have not got. We are not dealing with a country which is naturally a poor country. India is naturally a very wealthy country. It has enormous potential wealth.
I would like the right hon. Gentleman to bring to the House—and I am saying this because of those who continually boast of the conditions of India—a report from all the villages in India as to the housing conditions, and the general living conditions of the people. I should like to see a return up to date as to how far we have proceeded in getting rid of illiteracy. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) spoke to-day about the vast increase in the population of India, but no one has denied the statements which were made by the hon. Lady the Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone). Her figures and statements were appalling. When you hear of the great blessing which we have brought to India, you must set against it the terrible indictment which the hon. Lady made and which no one has attempted to controvert.
I want to raise another question, and I hope that the House will forgive me because it may touch, I will not say the vanity, but the self-esteem of many hon. Members. The Lord President of the Council, speaking, I think, during the Debate to which the hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth called attention, said that whenever God had a job to be done He looked round for an Englishman to do it. I admire most of his speeches as speeches, but I admired that speech best of all because it was such a, courageous one, and he laid down some very fine principles indeed. As he made that remark I said to my- 1127 self: "That is the secret not of our greatness but why many people do not like us very much." There is a self-conscious unctuousness about it. It reminded me of Cecil Rhodes, who rebuked people for their unctuous rectitude. Here are we, saying that we are the chosen people to rule India, to rule Egypt, to rule the world. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I knew that I should get that cheer. Of course, it is all nonsense. Let us clear our minds of that. We have not yet managed to manage our own affairs. We 'have to face up to the fact that although we may believe that sort of thing, although the right hon. Gentleman and the Government may believe it, and hon. Members may believe it, other people do not believe it, and as the world progresses fewer people will accept such a doctrine. Certainly, the people in India will not accept that doctrine.
The people of India do not believe that you have given them unmixed blessings. They know perfectly well that individual Englishmen and individual Englishwomen have given tremendous service in India in one way or another, but they know one thing, which the Lord President of the Council has said, and that is that you cannot govern any country without the consent of the governed. The people in India who are vocal say: "We want to govern ourselves. We do not think that you know enough to be able to govern us." There is nobody in the world who really can manage another sentient human being. No one can really improve a man or a woman; that man and woman must improve themselves. Goodness cannot be pumped into people; it has to be drawn out of people. This attempt on the part of any race to say that they alone have a divine right and a sort of divine knowledge to rule people, is quite beside the point.
I have heard of many wonderful things which have been done in India. There have been many wonderful things done in India in the material sense. No one denies that, but when I listen to the serious conditions of the workers in Bombay, Calcutta and elsewhere; and I am told that those wretched mills, those mines and factories are owned or run by Indians—they are run by Indians and other people—I ask myself who was it that took capitalism to India? Who 1128 started India on the road that has produced the evils of which we hear? It was not something that India grew out of her own ideas. The Indians learned it from the West. That is one of the curses that we have given to the people of the East. [Interruption.] Certainly. I say that it is one of the curses that we have given to the East. I think that modern capitalism is the curse of the East. I hear statements about the competition of the East, the competition of Japan, China, or India, and I remember the discussions that we have had as to the right of India to exclude or to let in certain goods.
Hon. Members who are worried about Japanese competition would do well to remember that a few years ago the only industry that was busy in Lancashire was the engineering industry which was producing a special kind of textile machinery for producing the lowest standard of cloth for the Japanese and Chinese people. It was sent out by British capitalists, who employed British capital, to compete with Lancashire and Yorkshire in the markets of the East. It is no use our thinking that we get over these difficulties merely by blaming the Indian people or the Japanese people. We have to blame that system of moneymaking which says: "We will make money anywhere and under almost any conditions." Therefore, the people in this country who are discussing this question from the point of view of British trade or from the point of view of benefit to British trade only, are making a very great mistake.
I want to leave enough time for the Lord President of the Council, but I wish to say a few things as clearly as I can as to our attitude in regard to the Joint Select Committee proposed to be set up. In the event of our Motion being defeated, as it very well may be, we most certainly would prefer that no Committee be set up. We do not think that it is any use trying to carry this business through without the Congress being represented. We think that it will waste the time of Parliament, waste the time of the Committee and waste our time in trying to do the impossible. I would not choose the course of the hon. Baronet, as it were, and throw up the sponge, but I would try another way, the way that was adopted, I believe, with Australia. I 1129 would say to the Indians, "You Princes and commoners, frame your Constitution. Tell us how you wish this great sub-Continent to be managed." I notice that the Noble Lord feels the pride of the Englishman and thinks that it is a ridiculous thing to ask the Indians to frame a Constitution. When he next speaks on the subject I would ask him to tell us why not. Surely we would not want Indians to frame a Constitution for us.
They know better than anyone else how to manage one another. It is said that they will destroy one another. That may be said of us, and although we say a lot of nice, nasty things about each other very often, we would not dream of allowing a foreign Power to frame a Constitution for us. Why should we not allow Indians themselves to frame their own Constitution? It has been said to me, in regard to the Round Table Conference, that these wretched Indians do not know what they want. We have stated over and over again the policy of the Labour party, and it is a policy which the present Prime Minister helped us to formulate. He will no doubt remember it quite well. I will read it again, because it is important in view of what was said earlier in the Debate:Since the commencement of British control in India successive British Governments have given pledges to the peoples of that country. The Labour party desire to gee these pledges honoured, and we stand by the declaration made at our Blackpool conference in 1927.This is the Declaration; and this is what divides us from hon. Members opposite and from the White Paper:We reaffirm the right of the Indian people"—It is a right, not a privilege—to full self-government and self-determination and, therefore, the policy of the British Government should be one of continuous co-operation with the Indian peoples with the object of establishing India at the earliest possible moment and by her consent"—I want hon. Members to notice the phrase "by her consent"—as an equal partner with the other members of the British Commonwealth of nations.What do we mean by the British Commonwealth of Nations The Inter-Imperial Relations Committee of the Imperial Conference of 1926 said: 1130The members of the British Commonwealth are autonomous communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or internal affairs though united by a common allegiance to the Crown, freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations.The late Mr. Bonar Law defined Dominion Home Rule as follows:If the self-governing Dominion of Australia or Canada chooses to-morrow to say," We will no longer make a part of the British Empire,' we would not try to force them. Dominion Home Rule means the right to decide for themselves.We take our stand upon that, and say that the Indian peoples themselves must decide whether they will come into this Federation. If they choose to go out they have a right to go out, just as Canada and South Africa have the right. The Lord President of the Council ought to make it crystal clear whether their proposals in the White Paper mean that ultimately, I do not say to-day but as soon as is ever possible, the people of India, under the new Constitution which you are going to set up, will have the same status, the same rights, the same duties, if you will, as any other member of the British Commonwealth. Finally, I believe with many others who have spoken, that the world is at the parting of the ways, not only in regard to the question of Government by democracies or by dictatorships, but also on the question of imperialism. I do not believe it will be possible in future to have the sort of Imperialism that Rome held, that Greece and other great civilisations practised in the past. When I spoke here on the Japanese question I said—[Interruption.] I can understand the courtesy of the Noble Lord and his friends at this time of the evening. I am trying to make a speech and they are trying to interrupt me by talking all the time.
§ Major the Marquess of TITCHFIELD
If I interrupted the right hon. Gentleman in any way I apologise. I am very sorry. I only happened to say something to an hon. Friend beside me.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Then I am very sorry, too. It is extremely difficult to make a speech with a continual run of conversation. An hon. Friend who spoke earlier to-day had to submit to a running fire of talk the whole time. Sooner or later there will be the sort of protest that none of us will care to make. We 1131 felt to-night that we ought to go on talking while everyone else was speaking because of the treatment of my hon. Friend earlier to-day. I was saying that I believed Imperialism had had its day. Everywhere those who have pinned their faith to Imperialism have utterly failed. I do not believe that this country has gained anything by Imperialism, or that the masses have been benefited by it one bit. I believe that this civilisation will have to change its form, its methods, its relationship with the rest of the world. Most of all I believe that we of the white races will have to change our attitude of mind towards those who are called the subject races. If you believe that you are stronger and cleverer than they are, if you believe that God has given you more brain than they have, the only thing you should do with those brains and talents is to be of greater service to the community, and not masters and dominators of it.
§ 10.23 p.m.
§ The LORD PRESIDENT of the COUNCIL (Mr. Baldwin)
In my first words I would like, on behalf of the whole House, to offer our profound sympathy with, and admiration of, the right hon. Gentleman for the courage he has shown in coming to address us to-night. Now we are reaching the close of a momentous Debate, a Debate which in my view—I have sat through most of it—has been conducted admirably from every point of view. We have heard hon. Members in all parts of the House give their views with clarity and sincerity. Indeed, the whole Debate is in strongest contrast with a Debate that many of us remember, on an even more momentous Bill, the Government of India Bill of 1919. I agreed with my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) when he spoke of the interest our ancestors took in this question in this House. It is not an interest that we have taken—neither he nor I nor many of us who are here. I have refreshed my memory as to what took place in 1919 on the Government of India Bill. The Second Reading passed in one day. Among the few speakers was my right hon. Friend the First Commissioner of Works, who is in the House to-night, and he said, speaking on 5th June, 1919:As one who has sat through the Debate continuously I do feel that it is 1132 very sad that the attendance has been so sparse this afternoon on what is in all probability the most important and far-reaching Bill that has been introduced into this House for several years. It is no use blaming Members of the House for not attending Debates of this important character on Imperial subjects, when the Treasury Bench is empty during the whole Debate, with the exception of the Minister in charge of the Bill, and another Minister who has a faithful and good record in his interest in Indian affairs. Otherwise, the whole of the Ministers have been away."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th June, 1919; cols. 2383–84, Vol. 116.]I was a junior Minister then, and I assume I was one of them. My right hon. Friend the Member for Epping, who was a very important Minister could not have been there either. In the time left to me, I think perhaps I can best devote myself to giving the House secondarily and my own party primarily, the reasons that induced me, in 1929, to take the line which I have taken and why I adhere to that line now. I am the more disposed to do that because of the speech of my noble Friend the Member for Aldershot (Viscount Wolmer), because I am quite aware that what he said in his speech, although I do not think it has been expressed in any other speech, is latent in many minds. I wish to make some observations before I have finished on what he called my sentimentalism. I think I can prove very clearly to this House that I have been actuated by realism, and that sentimentalism lies with those who oppose me. For the information of Liberal Members on this point, I would like to explain to them that when my noble Friend called me a sentimental Liberal he really meant "a sentimental ass."
I may begin by saying that, great as is my friendship with, and my admiration for, Lord Irwin, it was not that friendship nor that admiration which made me take that view. I have never yet adopted a political view from a personal friendship nor, on the other hand, have I ever allowed personal friendship to prevent me from separating from my political friends if I thought it right. I think I am absolved on that charge. The question that I asked myself was this: For one who adheres to Tory principles, as my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) does, I asked myself, what is the right course to preserve one of the first principles of 1133 the Primrose League, the maintenance of the Empire? I decided, after mature reflection, that if we went forward we might save India, to the Empire, but, if we did not, that we should lose her. It was that belief that actuated me, and I propose to give the House the reasons why I came to those conclusions. I should say here, and I hope it is not impertinence to my friends to say it, that I take no exception to the line that many of my friends have taken. I do not expect them for a moment to feel the strength of the reasons that moved me. I know the depth of their feelings, I know the sincerity of their feelings; I think they are wrong, but I respect them. So far as I am concerned, there will be no bad blood between us for anything that may have been said or that may be said later On.
Let me preface what I am going to say by alluding to the close of the long but interesting speech delivered by my hon. Friend the Member for the Combined English Universities (Sir R. Craddock). He quoted from a pamphlet that I do not suppose anyone reads now, but with which I was familiar when I was young, and that was Carlyle's "Shooting Niagara." It made a great sensation in its time. Well, we have shot Niagara now, many years ago, and we are in the rapids, and likely to be in them for a long time. In spite of what one of my hon. Friends said, I do not believe that the salvation of man lies in the ballot box. I do not think I have ever paid lip service to democracy, but what I always have said is this: A public man in any generation has to work in the environment in which he is found. The environment in which we are living is that of democracy, but it does not follow that it is a perfect system. I do not wish to criticise it to-night. It may be good or it may not, but it is what we have to work with, and it is the bad workman who complains of his tools. If he has to work in a democratic system, the wise man not only makes the best of it himself, without complaining, but tries to make everybody else feel the same, and he tries to make the best of the tools that he has. Because we none of us know, whether we sit here or on the other side of the House, whether any change, particularly any revolutionary change, is not going to land us out of the frying pan into the fire. So much for that.
1134 Well, we shot Niagara before the War. At least, Carlyle would have said we had shot it, had he lived. But, of course, there are many hon. Members in this House who do not remember the days before the War—not as grown men. It seems remarkable to many of us here. Before the War we lived in the early 20th century, which was a continuation of the late 19th century. To-day, what many of my hon. Friends have never realised, and will not to the day of their death, we are living in the 21st century. I have said times without number in the last 14 years, both on the platform and in this House, that during the War we passed through one, two, and it may be three generations of political evolution. That is why many of us are still giddy: we have never been able to reconcile ourselves to the age in which we live. This post-War world is full of pre-War minds.
Many people in this country will never realise the direction in which the world is going, and particularly our own country. We are still in the middle of the evolution, which is not over yet, and will last for many years, and may last for the best part of a generation. Things are changing round us and under our feet more quickly than some people realise, and the party that does not realise it does not stand much chance of being returned to power in this country. I always think that that is one of the greatest mistakes of my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping, for whom I have the greatest admiration for his multifarious gifts. We worked together closely and intimately for four or five years, and I do not think that we had any dispute during that time. We worked well together. But this one thing always remains in him. He was brought up, as I was, a Tory. For reasons that seemed good to him, he was not one of us during all the years when we were in the wilderness. When we were in the wilderness, and especially at the end of the War, those of us who believed in our party had to think hard to see how we could align our party to the forces that came into existence after the War.
Who thought when the War began that in 10 years we would have universal suffrage in this country? Who would have thought in 1903, when my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Bourne- 1135 mouth and I were supporting Joseph Chamberlain that in 1926 we should have an Imperial Conference when the only threads remaining were threads of gossamer? These changes were brought about by Mr. Balfour, my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery) and many others whose Toryism was unimpeachable. My right hon. Friend the Member for Epping was not with us in those years, and has not quite understood what has passed through our minds, or the point from which we moved. When once more, to our delectation, he was able to help us again after our great victory, there was a natural tendency on his part to revert to the Toryism in which he had been brought up. It is the Toryism of that time that is reflected to-day in his views on India, because those were the views of the Toryism of the times when he and I were young. We have had long talks together, and I have enjoyed his conversation. I remember that George "Wyndham, who was much loved and admired in this House, was an admirable talker, but he was a bad listener, and he often thought he was listening when, as a matter of fact, he was only talking. My friends are good enough to tell me that I am a good listener, and sometimes a man who is not a good listener is apt not to have revealed to him some of the wisdom that is revealed to babes and sucklings.
I was speaking about the conditions of this country and about democracy, and as I have often said here and on the platform, that contraction of the world which began some years ago has increased with lightning rapidity since the War. It is a contraction which applies not only to Europe but to the whole world. The motor car, the films, the aeroplane and the gramophone brought a revolution in the world, and to-day there is no idea that is started among men that does not flash from pole to pole with the speed of light. That is the great difference between this age and the age before the War. Not only has it altered our country, but it has altered our relations with every country in the world. It has altered the unchanging East. The unchanging East is not unchanging. The defeat of Russia by Japan caused a new spirit to burn in the whole of Asia; the fall of the ancient Chinese monarchy shows that. There is 1136 a yeast at work in the whole of the East, and India cannot be isolated. That yeast is working there. It is not the India of our childhood, it is not the India of our young manhood; it is a new India, and that is the thing with which we have to reckon. My right hon. Friend was delighted the other day when somebody quoted, not quite correctly, the lines about:The legions thunder past.I saw the glint of pleasure come into his eye. It is no longer true, however, that thought is static in India. Her thought to-day is dynamic, and that is so not only in India but throughout the whole of the East, and it has been one of the greatest difficulties with which we have had to contend, and is our greatest difficulty to-day in foreign politics as between this country and the whole of China and the whole of Japan, and it will be so for many years to come. Whence came the democratic ideas into India that form part of this yeast? They all came from this country. Rightly or wrongly we gave a literary English education to an Eastern people, and we are reaping now what we sowed 100 years ago. Everyone in India who is educated has had an education of that kind. The whole of their political education, broadly speaking, has been in English political Liberalism, the democratic idea. We have raised that plant. We have taught India the idea of unity, which did not exist when we went there. We have taught the Indian people the two things that to-day are the strongest motive power in the country, and now they are asking us for that responsibility which we have said time and time again is the goal to which they are to look forward.
I do not mind confessing that one of the strongest arguments in favour of responsibility proceeds whence many strong arguments come, and that is from my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping. My Noble Friend the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) did not quote this one, though he gave a very pertinent quotation. I have one which I think is much more pertinent. It is from a speech made by the right hon. Member for Epping during a Debate just before I became a Member of this House when our party, on political grounds, were opposing the grant of the Constitution to the Transvaal. The right hon. 1137 Member for Epping made the most powerful defence of those proposals. I do not propose to give the House the reasons, admirable as they are, but his conclusion is one to which there is no answer. He said:On these grounds His Majesty's Government came to the conclusion that it would be right to omit the stage of representative Government altogether and to come directly to the stage of responsible government. It is the same in politics as it is in war. When one hard-pressed line has been left it is necessary to go to the next. It is quite idle to halt half-way in the valley between. That is to cause imminent and certain destruction. The moment you abandon the safe position of a Crown Colony, or of Government with a nominated majority, there is no stopping-place whatever on which you may rest the sole of your foot until you come to a responsible legislative assembly with an executive obeying that assembly.An Irish Member asked the rather pertinent question: "Why not in Ireland?" To which my right hon. Friend, ever an adept in answer, replied: "I do not attempt to localise the logic of those arguments." Frankly, no more do I. I said that we might lose India from the Empire if we did not take a long step forward. I will not enumerate here the reasons—hon. Members can imagine many of them—such as exist in India. I will give you in a few words, as I have done before and has been done in this Debate, the reasons at home.
The moment that a question like this becomes a keen political question, you have the Irish situation over again. What was the position in regard to Ireland? From 1886 onwards, two political parties were lined up in opposition. It was a political question of the first water. I fought on it as a young man. The Liberals could not advance an inch towards us, and we could not advance an inch towards them. We fought and fought, until there was nothing left but husks to fight over, and we ended in 1021—an end that none of us wanted to see and that has made for few peoples happiness. I supported my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping at that time and I spoke in favour of the proposals. I believed that they were the only thing to be done. It was not an end that one of us 10 years, or even five years, before would have desired to see. What will happen here? Suppose we did not step forward, and suppose we had India in domestic politics as Ireland was, and 1138 that you alternated between what is called firm rule and relaxation of authority; you would have chaos in India, and you would have a position before long that would make the holding of that country absolutely impossible. You would end in exactly the same way as you ended in Ireland. It is suggested that we might have had wiser leading at some time in our party on this matter. We may have waited till it was too late, as we did with regard to the Trades Dispute Act that helped to lose the 1906 election. I am not going to be too late this time. If I may say so to the Noble Lord the Member for Aldershot, what' ever faults I may commit, I am not going to adopt a policy of "missing the bus" every time.
I come to what I call the sentimental part of the speech by my hon. and gallant Friend. There was a very moving passage in his most interesting speech, in which he said what he remembered when he was a small boy. His whole vision of India is coloured by those memories. I call it a sentimental memory in the best sense of the word. What has been the history of India? In two words: We went there primarily for trade. Then we fought. Why did we fight? We fought, largely with the help of Indian soldiers now of one race and now of another. We fought where the local chiefs, or States, were fighting, not to conquer thorn, but to get peace, because fighting interfered with our trade. That was the sole idea which existed at the time. That was the first stage which brought us into India. We remember the great men the East India Company had. They were the men who kept the peace in India. Then there came some of the greatest administrators we had in India. It is interesting to remember that they did not visualise a, British Raj. They visualised an India which, ultimately, taught by ourselves, would stand on her own feet. Among these men were three: Munro, Mountstuart Elphinstone and John Malcolm. They are three of the biggest men that ever went out to India.
The India which the right hon. Gentleman remembers in his childhood, and the India I remember, was still developing. It was a time of gradual evolution. We have passed through that stage. My most sentimental recollections are of the country as I knew it as a child—the 1139 country before there were motor cars on the country road, and nothing but horses. I remember when home was the centre of a circle with a 10 mile radius, and beyond that you could not go. That is what I would like to see come back, but it is passed and gone for ever. The period of paternal government of India has gone. It went nearly 20 years ago and it cannot come back. It is no good looking back on that and thinking that that is what we are throwing away to-day. We are throwing away nothing of the kind, for evolution has swept past. We are now in a period when, gradually, and by degrees, more and more responsibility is being put on Indians themselves. I sympathise with the sentimental attitude, but my head tells me it is not true to-day. All we have to look at is what is true to-day. We want a policy of realism and not a policy of sentiment. Those were some of the thoughts which passed through my mind.
I was glad to hear the tributes paid from every quarter in this House to my right hon. Friend and Lord Willingdon, the Viceroy. I am perfectly convinced, as has been said in some quarters of this House, although, I think, it would be denied in others, that by no means on earth could you have got improvement in India and a practical cessation of civil disobedience, had it not been that the firm policy of the Viceroy and the Secretary of State was accompanied by progress in preparing for constitutional reform in India. Without that you had constitutional reform, I doubt whether the trouble you had two or three years ago would not have been intensified from one end of India to the other. A great mistake is sometimes made. Hon. Members on the benches opposite would concede to those, who many of us call the more extreme parties in India, all they want. They believe on those benches that they really represent India.
In the same way, hon. Friends of mine who differ from the hon. Baronet believe that India consists of Congress and its supporters, and that all the rest of India consists of Princes and apathetic peasants. I do not think that that is a true conception. It must be remembered that it is always the extreme party that 1140 is the first to form an organisation and to agitate. They have to do it from their nature. There are any number of political people in India, of Indians in the Services in India, who are as moderate-minded as we are ourselves, but they are less vocal than the extremists. It will be a profound disappointment to all who believe in these reforms if those elements, together with the others, do not make their weight and their counsel felt when responsibility is once thrown upon the shoulders of the Indians themselves.
The Joint Committee will be set up almost at once. Upon it will be laid, as has been said throughout the Debate, one of the gravest responsibilities that has ever been placed upon a body representing the two Houses of Parliament. The object of its work will be peculiarly appropriate to the Conservative party—rational, progressive reform. The Conservative, as I understand him, is no Junker and no Fascist. He is a man who believes in constitutional progress, who wants to serve his country, and who wants to see people contented and happy. There can be no better work for our party than to devote themselves to, and see what they can make of, this vast problem. There are countless materials with which to build the edifice. The architecture is left fairly free. It will tax the powers of our best, and of all our best. Let this work be taken in hand in a spirit conscious of the responsibility, and determined to do a piece of work for this country, for India, and for the Empire, which may, through times of doubt and difficulty, cement the bonds between us and lead to a real union. I know and realise as well as anyone the dangers and difficulties in the course we are pursuing. I should not be speaking honestly to the House if I did not say that in my view both dangers and difficulties lie ahead. But, convinced as I am of that, I am still more profoundly convinced that the difficulties and dangers that would be around us if we did not take this step would be infinitely greater.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 475; Noes, 42.1145
|Division No. 94.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke||Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Glossop, C. W. H.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Christie, James Archibald||Gluckstein, Louis Halls|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Clarke, Frank||Goldie, Noel B.|
|Ainsworth, Lieut.-Colonel Charles||Clarry, Reginald George||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.|
|Albery, Irving James||Clayton, Dr. George C.||Gower, sir Robert|
|Alexander, Sir William||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Granville, Edgar|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Colfox, Major William Philip||Graves, Marjorie|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Colman, N. C. D.||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter|
|Apsley, Lord||Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Greene, William P. C.|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Conant, R. J. E.||Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe||Cook, Thomas A.||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Cooke, Douglas||Grimston, R. V.|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Cooper, A. Duff||Gritten, W. G. Howard|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Copeland, Ida||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.|
|Atkinson, Cyril||Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Gunston, Captain D. W.|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Guy, J. C. Morrison|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Cove, William G.||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Hales, Harold K.|
|Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J.||Cranborne, Viscount||Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Craven-Ellis, William||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd)|
|Balniel, Lord||Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Hammersley, Samuel S.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Hanbury, Cecil|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Hanley, Dennis A.|
|Bateman, A. L.||Cross, R. H.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Crossley, A. C.||Harris, Sir Percy|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Hartington, Marquess Of|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Culverwell, Cyril Tom||Hartland, George A.|
|Beit, Sir Alfred L.||Curry, A. C.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Dalkeith, Earl of||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)|
|Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)|
|Bernays, Robert||Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset,Yeovil)||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Davison, Sir William Henry||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsf'd)|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Dawson, Sir Philip||Hepworth, Joseph|
|Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbsy Division)|
|Bird, Sir Robert B. (Wolverh'pton W.)||Denville, Alfred||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller|
|Blaker, Sir Reginald||Despencer-Robertson Major J. A. F.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.|
|Borodale, Viscount||Dickie, John P.||Holdsworth, Herbert|
|Bossom, A. C.||Donner, P. W.||Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Doran, Edward||Hopkinson, Austin|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Drewe, Cedric||Hore-Belisha, Leslie|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Duckworth, George A. V.||Hornby, Frank|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Sir Archibald||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.|
|Bracken, Brendan||Duggan, Hubert John||Horobln, Ian M.|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E.R.)||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Dunglass, Lord||Howard, Tom Forrest|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Eady, George H.||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.|
|Briant, Frank||Eales, John Frederick||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Eastwood, John Francis||Hume, Sir George Hopwood|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Eden, Robert Anthony||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Hurd, Sir Percy|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen.H. C. (Berks.,Newb'y)||Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Elmley, Viscount||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Iveagh, Countess of|
|Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)|
|Burghley, Lord||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Jackson, J. C. (Heywood & Radcliffe)|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.|
|Burnett, John George||Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Janner, Barnett|
|Burton, Colonel Henry Waiter||Essenhigh, Reginald Glare||Jesson, Major Thomas E.|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)|
|Caine, G. R. Hall-||Everard, W. Lindsay||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Falle Sir Bertram G.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Fermoy, Lord||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Fleming, Edward Lascelles||Ker, J. Campbell|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)|
|Carver, Major William H.||Ford, Sir Patrick J.||Kerr, Hamilton W.|
|Cassels, James Dale||Forestier-Walker, Sir Leolin||Kimball, Lawrence|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Fox, Sir Gifford||Knebworth, Viscount|
|Castle Stewart, Earl||Fremantle, Sir Francis||Knight, Holford|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Ganzoni, Sir John||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton||Law, Sir Alfred|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Gibson, Charles Granville||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S. W)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm.,W)||Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Leckie, J. A.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Glimour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Lees-Jones, John|
|Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Gledhill, Gilbert||Leigh, Sir John|
|Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.)|
|Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Ormiston, Thomas||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Lewis, Oswald||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Liddall, Walter S.||Palmer, Francis Noel||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Lindsay, Noel Ker||Patrick, Colin M.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-||Peake, Captain Osbert||Somervell, Donald Bradley|
|Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Pearson, William G.||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Llewellin, Major John J.||Peat, Charles U.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick||Penny, Sir George||Soper, Richard|
|Lloyd, Geoffrey||Percy, Lord Eustace||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hn. G.(Wd. Gr'n)||Perkins, Walter R. D.||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'ndswth)||Petherick, M.||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.|
|Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley)||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.|
|Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada||Spens, William Patrick|
|Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Pike, Cecil F.||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)|
|Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Potter, John||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Mabane, William||Power, Sir John Cecil||Stevenson, James|
|MacAndrew, Lieut. Col. C. G. (Partick)||Pownall, Sir Assheton||Stewart, J. H. (Fife, E.)|
|MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Procter, Major Henry Adam||Stewart, William J. (Belfast, S.)|
|McConnell, Sir Joseph||Pybus, Percy John||Storey, Samuel|
|McCorquodale, M. S.||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)||Strauss, Edward A.|
|MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Stuart, Lord C, Crichton-|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Ramsbotham, Herwald||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.|
|McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Ramsden, Sir Eugene||Sugden, Sir Wilfrld Hart|
|McKeag, William||Rankin, Robert||Summersby, Charles H.|
|Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Ratcliffe, Arthur||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|McLean, Major Sir Alan||Rawson, Sir Cooper||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Ray, Sir William||Templeton, William P.|
|Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Rea, Walter Russell||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Macpherson, Rt. Hon. Sir Ian||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Magnay, Thomas||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-||Thompson, Luke|
|Maitland, Adam||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot||Remer, John R.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Renwick, Major Gustav A.||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Marsden, Commander Arthur||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Martin, Thomas B.||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Robinson, John Roland||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Ropner, Colonel L.||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Meller, Richard James||Rosbotham, Sir Samuel||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Ross, Ronald D.||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Rothschild, James A. de||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.|
|Milne, Charles||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Mitcheson, G. G.||Runge, Norah Cecil||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-|
|Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Moreing, Adrian C.||Salmon, Sir Isidore||White, Henry Graham|
|Morgan, Robert H.||Salt, Edward W.||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Morrison, William Shsphard||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Most, Captain H. J.||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Muirhead, Major A. J.||Savery, Samuel Servington||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Munro, Patrick||Scone, Lord||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Nail, Sir Joseph||Selley, Harry R.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Nall-Cain, Hon. Ronald||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Newton, Sir Douglas George C.||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.||Womersley, Walter James|
|Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Shute, Colonel J. J.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Normand, Wilfrid Guild||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|North, Captain Edward T.||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Nunn, William||Skelton, Archibald Noel||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|O'Connor, Terence James||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter O.|
|O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Captain Margesson and Mr. Blindell.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Cape, Thomas||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur|
|Banfield, John William||Cripps, Sir Stafford||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)|
|Batey, Joseph||Daggar, George||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Groves, Thomas E.|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Grundy, Thomas W.|
|Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Leonard, William||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Logan, David Gilbert||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Hicks, Ernest George||Lunn, William||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Hirst, George Henry||McEntee, Valentine L.||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Jenkins, Sir William||Milner, Major James||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Nathan, Major H. L.||Williams, Thomas (York. Don Valley)|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Owen, Major Goronwy||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.|
|Kirkwood, David||Parkinson, John Allen||Mr. D. Graham and Mr. John.|
|Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Price, Gabriel|
Main Question put,
That, before Parliament is asked to take a decision upon the proposals contained in Command Paper 4268, it is expedient that a Joint Select Committee of Lords and Commons, with power to call into consultation representatives of the
Indian States and of British India, be appointed to consider the future government of India and, in particular, to examine and report upon the proposals in the said Command Paper.
§ The House divided: Ayes, 449; Noes, 43.1149
|Division No. 95.]||AYES.||[11.15 p.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke||Caine, G. R. Hall-||Eastwood, John Francis|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Eden, Robert Anthony|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Edmondson, Major A. J.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.|
|Ainsworth, Lieut.-Colonel Charles||Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey|
|Albery, Irving James||Carver, Major William H.||Elliston, Captain George Sampson|
|Alexander, Sir William||Cassels, James Dale||Elmley, Viscount|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Castlereagh, Viscount||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Castle Stewart, Earl||Emrys-Evans, P. V.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard|
|Apsley, Lord||Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe||Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Essenhigh, Reginald Clare|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)|
|Atkinson, Cyril||Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Christie, James Archibald||Fade, Sir Bertram G.|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Clarke, Frank||Fermoy, Lord|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Clayton, Dr. George C.||Fleming, Edward Lascelles|
|Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J.||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Cochrane, Commander Hon A. D.||Ford, Sir Patrick J.|
|Balniel, Lord||Colfox, Major William Philip||Forestier-Walker, Sir Leolin|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Colman, N. C. D.||Fox, Sir Gifford|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Fremantle, Sir Francis|
|Bateman, A. L.||Conant, R. J. E.||Fuller, Captain A. G|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Cook, Thomas A.||Galbraith, James Francis Wallace|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Cooke, Douglas||Ganzoni, Sir John|
|Beaumont, Hn. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Cooper, A. Duff||Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton|
|Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Copeland, Ida||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)|
|Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel||Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Gibson, Charles Granville|
|Bernays, Robert||Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Gillett, Sir George Masterman|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Cranborne, Viscount||Gledhill, Gilbert|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Craven-Ellis, William||Glossop, C. W. H.|
|Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Gluckstein, Louis Halle|
|Bird, Sir Hobert B. (Wolverh'pton W.)||Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.|
|Blaker, Sir Reginald||Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Goldie, Noel B.|
|Borodale, Viscount||Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Cross, R. H.||Gower, Sir Robert|
|Boulton, W. W.||Crossley, A. C.||Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Graves, Marjorie|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Culverwell, Cyril Tom||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.)||Curry, A. C.||Greene, William P. C.|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Dalkeith, Earl of||Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)|
|Briant, Frank||Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Gritten, W. G. Howard|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Guinness, Thomas L. E. S.|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Davison, Sir William Henry||Gunston, Captain D. W.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Dawson, Sir Philip||Guy, J. C. Morrison|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Denman, Hon. R. O.||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Denville, Alfred||Hales, Harold K.|
|Brown. Brig.-Gen.H. C.(Berks., Newb'y)||Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Donner, P. W.||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Doran, Edward||Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd)|
|Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Drewe, Cedric||Hanbury, Cecil|
|Burghley, Lord||Duckworth, George A. V.||Hanley, Dennis A.|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Burnett, John George||Duggan, Hubert John||Harris, Sir Percy|
|Burton, Colonel Henry Walter||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Hartland, George A.|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Dunglass, Lord||Harvey Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Eady, George H.||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Eales, John Frederick||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.|
|Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Hendenon, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsf'd)||Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Hepworth, Joseph||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division)||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Walter||Martin, Thomas B.||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)|
|Holdsworth, Herbert||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Salmon, Sir Isidore|
|Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Salt, Edward W.|
|Hopkinson, Austin||Meller, Richard James||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)|
|Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Hornby, Frank||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Horobin, Ian M.||Milne, Charles||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Selley, Harry R.|
|Howard, Tom Forrest||Mitcheson, G. G.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Shute, Colonel J. J.|
|Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Moreing, Adrian C.||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)|
|Hurd, Sir Percy||Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)||Skelton, Archibald Noel|
|Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Hutchison, w. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Morrison, William Shepherd||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.)|
|Iveagh, Countess of||Moss, Captain H. J.||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Muirhead, Major A. J.||Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Jackson, J. C. (Heywood & Radcliffe)||Munro, Patrick||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Nail, Sir Joseph||Smithers, Waldron|
|Janner, Barnett||Nall-Cain, Hon. Ronald||Somervell, Donald Bradley|
|Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Nathan, Major H. L.||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Johnston, J, W. (Clackmannan)||Newton, Sir Douglas George C.||Soper, Richard|
|Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Normand, Wilfrid Guild||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||North, Captain Edward T.||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.|
|Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Nunn, William||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Ker, J. Campbell||O'Connor, Terence James||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.|
|Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Spens, William Patrick|
|Kerr, Hamilton W.||Oman, Sir Charles William C||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)|
|Knebworth, Viscount||Ormiston, Thomas||Stanley Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|Knight, Holford||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Owen, Major Goronwy||Stevenson, James|
|Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Palmer, Francis Noel||Stewart, J. H. (Fife, E.)|
|Law, Sir Alfred||Patrick, Colin M.||Stewart, William J. (Belfast, S.)|
|Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Peaks, Captain Osbert||Storey, Samuel|
|Leckie, J. A.||Pearson, William G.||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Lees-Jones, John||Peat, Charles U.||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Leigh, Sir John||Penny, Sir George||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Percy, Lord Eustace||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Perkins, Walter R. D.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.|
|Lewis, Oswald||Petherick, M.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Liddall, Walter S.||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)||Summersby, Charles H.|
|Lindsay, Noel Ker||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-||Pike, Cecil F.||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Potter, John||Templeton, William P.|
|Llewellin, Major John J.||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick||Power, Sir John Cecil||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Lloyd, Geoffrey||Pownall, Sir Assheton||Thompson, Luke|
|Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hn. G. (Wd.Gr'n)||Procter, Major Henry Adam||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'ndsw'th)||Pybus, Percy John||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley)||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Loder, Captain J. de Vera||Ramsbotham, Herwald||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Ramsden, Sir Eugene||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Rankin, Robert||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Ratcliffe, Arthur||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Mabane, William||Rathbone, Eleanor||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Mac Andrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick)||Rawson, Sir Cooper||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Ray, Sir William||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|McConnell, Sir Joseph||Rea, Walter Russell||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|McCorquodale, M. S.||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.|
|MacDonald, Rt. Hn. J. R. (Seaham)||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham.||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Renter, John R.||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-|
|McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|McKeag, William||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)||White, Henry Graham|
|McLean, Major Sir Alan||Robinson, John Roland||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Ropner, Colonel L.||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Rosbotham, Sir Samuel||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Macpherson, Rt. Hon. Sir Ian||Ross, Ronald D.||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Magnay, Thomas||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Maitland, Adam||Rothschild, James A. de||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl||Worthington, Dr. John V.||Captain Margesson and Mr. Blindell|
|Womersley, Walter James||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Lunn, William|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||McEntee, Valentine L.|
|Banfield, John William||Groves, Thomas E.||McGovern, John|
|Batey, Joseph||Grundy, Thomas W.||Maxton, James|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Milner, Major James|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Buchanan, George||Hicks, Ernest George||Price, Gabriel|
|Cape, Thomas||Hirst, George Henry||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Jenkins, Sir William||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cove, William G.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Daggar, George||Kirkwood, David||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Thomas (York., Don Valley)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Leonard, William|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Logan, David Gilbert||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. D. Graham and Mr. John.|
That, before Parliament is asked to take a decision upon the proposals contained in Command Paper 4268, it is expedient that a Joint Select Committee of Lords and Commons, with power to call into consultation representatives of the Indian States and of British India, be appointed to consider the future government of India and, in particular, to examine and report upon the proposals in the said Command Paper."—[Sir S. Hoare.]