Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [11th December],
That this House accepts the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Indian Constitutional Reform as the basis for the revision of the Indian Constitution and considers it expedient that a Bill should be introduced on the general lines of the report."—[Sir S. Hoare.]
§ Question again proposed.
§ 3.46 p.m.
§ Mr. COCKS
I beg to move, in line 1, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:is of opinion that any legislation for Indian Constitutional Reform should be based on the proposals contained in the draft report submitted to the Joint Committee by members of His Majesty's Opposition so as to make provision for the recognition of the right of India to Dominion status and for its attainment by a progressive development and expansion of responsible government, and for placing in the hands of the Indian masses the possibility of obtaining political power by constitutional means, in order to achieve their emancipation from the injustices and hardships of the existing social and economic system.In moving this Amendment I feel, as every hon. Member must feel who has taken part in this Debate, that whatever I say should be said with the gravest sense of responsibility, knowing that speeches made on this occasion do not merely find their resting place in that most pathetic of all publications, the unread volumes of "Hansard," but are read and pondered over, 7,000 miles away, by the representatives of a proud, an ancient and sensitive people. Those who served as I did on the Joint Select Committee, and who sat through all those discussions, must have felt overwhelmed by the enormous mass of facts put before us in connection with this difficult and complex problem. Many of those facts are of the greatest importance, but still they are matters which can be more appropriately dealt with during the Committee stage of the Bill rather than in the general Debate, and I, therefore, propose to devote myself to certain main broad principles which are enunciated in the Amendment.
404 There are four points to which I desire to draw the attention of the House. The first point referred to in the Amendment alludes to the draft Amendment put forward by the Labour Members which will be found in the proceedings of the Joint Select Committee, and can be read by anybody who is interested in the matter. Nothing will be gained by trying to paraphrase it now, and, therefore, I will proceed to deal with the other three points in the Amendment. First there is "the recognition of the right of India to Dominion status"; secondly, the demand for its "attainment by a progressive development and expansion of responsible Government"; and, thirdly, the demand for "placing in the hands of the Indian masses the possibility of obtaining political power by constitutional means, in order to achieve their emancipation from the injustices and hardships of the existing social and economic system."
Take the first—the demand of the Indian people for equality of status. It is a demand of profound importance. India, as we all know, is rapidly changing. The days when the poet would speak of "the unchanging East" and of an India lapped in slumber from Cape Comorin to the Himalayas have gone for ever. Even the India which to our generation has been made familiar by the brightly coloured cameo pictures of Kipling's stories, has practically disappeared. The advance of political education, the results of the Great War, the events that have taken place and are still taking place in Japan, in Russia and in Turkey, the development of such mechanical devices as the motor omnibus in rural India, the spread of the cinema and wireless broadcasting—all those things have made an enormous change in the Indian situation, a change the meaning and direction and consequences of which are as yet unknown to us, perhaps unknown even to them. Anyhow, it is a rapid change. I do not think I need go for any further evidence of this change than to the speech which was delivered by the Lord President of the Council at the Queen's Hall a few days ago. The right hon. Gentleman said:There is a wind of nationalism and freedom running round the world, and running as strongly in Asia, as he who runs may read, as in any part of the world.405 I think that that point is proved and I need say no more upon it. We are all agreed as to the reality of the change that has taken place. One of the consequences of that change is that the demand is spreading amongst educated Indians for equality of status. That demand was described very well in the pages of the Statutory Commission's Report, sometimes known as the Simon Report, in the following words:We should say without hesitation that, with all its variations of expression and intensity, the political sentiment which is most widespread among all educated Indians is the expression of a demand for equality with Europeans and a resentment against any suspicion of differential treatment. The attitude the Indian takes up on a given matter is largely goverend by considerations of his self-respect. It is a great deal more than a personal feeling; it is the claim of the East for due recognition of status …..While the experienced Indian member of the services will admit the benefits of the British Raj, and realise the difficulties in the way of complete self-government; while the member of a minority community, putting the safety of his community first, will stipulate for safeguards; and while the moderate may look askance at extremist methods which he will not openly denounce; all alike are in sympathy with the demand for equal status with the European and proclaim their belief in self-determination for India.That is in the Simon Commission's report. One consequence of this demand for equality of status is a demand for Dominion status. It is quite certain that pledges have been given in this country to India to grant Dominion status as a goal. First of all, of course, there is the very well-known historic declaration of Mr. Edwin Montagu on 20th August, 1917, when he said this:The policy of His Majesty's Government, with which the Government of India are in complete accord, is that of the increasing association of Indians in every branch of the administration, and the gradual development of self-governing institutions with a view to the progressive realisation of responsible government in India as an integral part of the British Empire.That was followed by a statement in the revised instrument of instructions from the King-Emperor, of 15th March, 1921. One passage runs: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 true place among our Dominions.406 That was shortly followed by the well-known declaration from the Viceroy, the present Lord Halifax, on 31st October, 1929. It was a statement made with Cabinet authority behind it. The Viceroy said:Implicit in the declaration of 1917 that the natural issue of India's constitutional progress, as there contemplated, is the attainment of Dominion status.We come to a very interesting speech made in the House of Commons on 7th November, 1929, by the right hon. Gentleman the Lord President of the Council, in which he said this:We have promised India, in our Declaration, responsible Government.A little later on he said this:None can say when responsible Government will be established and none can say what shape it will take. But can there be any doubt whatever that the position of an India with full responsible government in the Empire, when attained…must be one of equality with the other States in the Empire…Surely no one dreams of a self-governing India with an inferior status…nor can we wish that India should be content with an inferior status, because that would mean that we have failed in our work in India.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 7th November, 1929; cols. 1310 and 1312; Vol. 231.]Lastly there are the words of the present Prime Minister at the final session of the First Round-Table Conference, in January, 1931, a declaration which he affirmed a year later as head of the National Government, with the approval of the Cabinet. The Prime Minister said this:Finally I hope, and I trust, and I pray, that by our labours together India will come to possess the only thing she now lacks to give her the status of a Dominion amongst the British Commonwealth of Nations—what she now lacks for that—the responsibilities and the cares, the burdens and the difficulties, but the pride and the honour of responsible self-government.We feel, therefore, in view of the demand of the Indians for equality of status, that the Government should insert in the Preamble of the Constitution Bill a solemn declaration that they regard Dominion status for India as the goal, and that that status should be attained within a measurable period of years. That was not the view taken by the majority of the Joint Select Committee. It was, however, the view which was very strongly urged by the Indian Delegation on that Committee, and it was the view taken by the four Labour 407 members of that Committee. In view of the statements that are sometimes made in this country to whittle away these declarations, to take their content out of them, to suggest that they were never literally meant, it is necessary that the Declaration should be inserted in the Preamble in order that Indian opinion may be reassured. I do, we all do, most earnestly press that proposal upon the attention of the Government. But in our Amendment we go further than that. We say that we also want provision made in the Constitution Bill in order that Dominion status shall be attainedby a progressive development and expansion of responsible government.In other words, we consider that the new Constitution which is to be given to India should contain within itself the seeds of its own development. The impression abroad—and when we read this report and hear speeches upon it, we cannot help getting the same impression—is that the scheme is a static plan, a rigid plan, a rather cast-iron plan, even perhaps almost a final plan. It does not contain within itself provision for its own development. Looking round for precedents, and turning to the constitutions of our other Dominions and how they have developed, what do we find? Here I quote again from the excellent report of the Simon Commission, in which there is this passage:The Constitutions of the self-governing parts of the British Empire have developed as the result of natural growth, and progress has depended not so much on changes made at intervals in the language of an Act of Parliament, as on the development of conventions, and on the terms of instructions issued from time to time to the Crown's representatives.We want a similar sort of plan inserted in the India Constitution Bill. We want a plan by which from time to time, in accordance with the desires of the Indian people as expressed through their elected institutions, and in accordance with changed circumstances in India, that Constitution can develop and grow to full responsible government by a method either of Orders in Council, or by alteration of the letter of instructions sent to the Governor-General or by the growing up of Conventions, and that any change in the development of that Constitution should not entail all this cumbrous machinery of a Royal Commission, three Round Table Conferences and a Joint 408 Select Committee. We do not think that that machinery should have to be called in, whenever a change in Constitution or whenever more self-government is desired. We think that, as in the Constitutions of other Dominions, there should be inserted in that Constitution provision for its natural growth. Upon that point, may I commend the words of Sir Francis Younghusband in a letter to the Press in which he said:Above all, let us keep open the gate of hope. Without hope no people can flourish. Let India be able to look forward to a time when she can be mistress of her own destiny.Let us also look forward to that time for our own sakes, for the sake of our own country, when India, self-governing, with full Dominion status, will take her place by the side of Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, at once the youngest and the most ancient of our Dominions.
But the demand for equality of status on the part of educated Indians goes deeper than the mere desire for the attainment of Dominion status. As the Simon Commission showed, educated Indian people resent any suspicion of differential treatment, that Indian Ministers should not be treated in the same way as Ministers of our Dominions and at home. I am afraid that the feeling of suspicion that they are being subjected to differential treatment is not removed by the report of the Joint Select Committee. It seems to me that throughout that report and in discussion of the various machinery which is being erected there is a note of over-caution, a feeling that we have not got full confidence in Indian Ministers or in the capacity of Indians to govern themselves.
Take, for example, the question of Safeguards. As I have said, I am not going into detail on all these questions of Safeguards. They will be discussed in detail in the Committee stage of the Bill. We think that, generally speaking, there are too many Safeguards, that they are too loosely drawn and that the language in which they are expressed is too vague. Powers are given to the Governor-General in many cases which I do not think the people of this country would desire that he should always have. I am going to take only one point as an example of what I mean. The House will remember that under the White Paper 409 proposals, and adopted by the Joint Select Committee, there are four or live certain special responsibilities which are imposed on the Governor, and in order to carry out those responsibilities he has the power to go to the Ministry and say that certain Bills must not be proceeded with. The first of these special responsibilities isthe prevention of any grave menace to the peace and tranquillity of the Province.That sounds very well. If it only means that where there is an insurrection or seditious movement in any Province or any part of a Province the Governor can take steps to put it down, and arrest the ringleaders, no one will have any objection to it. But it means a great deal more than that. It may possibly mean that if the Government in one of the Provinces brought forward a land reform Bill to curb the powers of certain landlords, and if as a result the landowners caused a lot of trouble and uttered threats—as they always will, not only in India but in this country—and perhaps even raised a small riot, some people might go to the Governor and say, "This may lead to a disturbance of the peace and tranquillity of the Province," and, acting upon that, the Governor might go to the Ministry of his Province and say that the land reform Bill must be withdrawn, because it would cause a great deal of disturbance. I say that if that sort of method operated in this country, I am sure a Measure like the Budget of the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) in 1909 would have been withdrawn by order of the Governor. So with the Land Taxes, which were imposed several years ago by the late Chancellor of the Exchequer.
That is the danger. The Indians feel that it is the danger. We believe that governments ought to have the power to govern. They ought to have to bear the responsibility of their own conduct. They ought to have to realise that they might have to carry through unpopular Measures, because if they were right Measures they ought to be ready to face the unpopularity. On the other hand, as I say, if they make mistakes, they ought to suffer for them. They ought to learn the practice of government by the old method of trial and error. But if the Governor can come in and tell them 410 that they must alter their Bill, or even withdraw it, you are weakening the sense of responsibility in administration, and you are treating the Indian Ministers as if they were of inferior status, and as if they had not got the power to govern themselves.
There is one other point before passing from this matter, and that is the question of terrorism. Many of us believe that the terrorist movement, which is chiefly, as the House knows, in Bengal, could be better dealt with by Indians than by ourselves. Many Indians feel that. I have talked to many distinguished Indians who say, "Give us a free hand; give us responsible government and we can put down terrorists. We can take action which you white people would never dare take, and we can use methods you are not prepared to adopt." Moreover, any action which an Indian Minister takes against his own terrorists is strengthened by the fact that his methods are not suspected. Our methods are suspected; people think we are not trying to put down terrorism, but Indian national feeling. There would be no feeling of that sort when Indian Ministers were acting on their own authority.
Apart from that, under the scheme the Governor is given power to take special measures to put down terrorism. He is given power, if necessary, to take over the whole machinery of government—not only the department of law and order, but any other department of State which may be necessary to fight terrorism. That was in the White Paper, and also in the Joint Select Committee's report. The Joint Select Committee have gone a step further. If hon. Members will look at paragraph 96 of the report they will see that the Governor is given this power, and almost given these instructions. He has not to wait to find out whether the Indian Ministers are capable or incapable of dealing with terrorism, or whether they are not acting efficiently. In Bengal, he can take over the whole machinery of government the very day the Constitution is started, without having to wait to see whether the Ministry is capable or not. This addition was put into the plan of the Majority of the Joint Select Committee but vigorously opposed by us. There are many people in this House, including members of the party opposite, who will agree that that is going 411 too far, and certainly shows a very strong lack of trust in the capacity of Indian Ministers.
Over and over again in the course of the report, and in the various machinery that is being set up, the Ministers are not being given a status of equality. Some very distinguished Indian representatives, men who have held very high office, and are still holding high office in India, ministers of native States, some of them certainly quite equal in calibre to any European statesmen, distinguished representatives, too, of British India representing a moderate view—not an extremist view by any means—have asked that the White Paper should be modified in certain directions. They thought the Safeguards too stringent. Such things as I have just mentioned they thought ought to be modified. They talked and argued with us, and put their case very ably, and I think I am right in saying that they did not gain a single point of anything they desired and put before the Committee. Not one concession however small was made to those Indian ministers. On the contrary, the White Paper was stiffened up in various particulars. Those moderate-minded statesmen took a great risk in coming here. They took it because they felt it their duty to do what they could for their own country. They were sent back to India empty-handed and, as a consequence perhaps, they have been defeated in the elections which have just taken place in India. Although I associate myself with all the tributes which have been paid to the members of the Joint Committee and its Chairman and although I know that the Committee worked earnestly and assiduously at its enormous task, yet it seemed to me all through those proceedings that those who represented the Government were, if I may say so without offence, more concerned in conciliating their own diehards of Epping and Hatfield than in pleasing moderate opinion in India.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Sir Samuel Hoare)
That is a wrong impression.
§ Mr. COCKS
I am only saying that that is the impression which I gained and although the Secretary of State denies that that is what he was trying to do, and although I accept entirely what he 412 says, yet I cannot help that impression which I gained during the sittings of the Committee and it cannot be removed in one moment just because of the statement of the Secretary for State. I feel that we ought to try to get the support of the moderate people in India. Unless we get their support for the scheme our work in India is finished. I am sure it will surprise people in this country, as it surprised me when I became a member of the Committee, to learn that in the whole Indian Civil Service, the Europeans number just over 800, and that there are only about 500 Europeans in the police. That is to say, there are only 1,300 Europeans in the Civil Service and police, administering that vast country of over 300,000,000 people. Does it not show that unless there were behind those Europeans, thousands of able Indian administrators and business men giving their support to the administration, it would be impossible for the work to be carried on under such a system? If you disappoint those able and moderate people who have up to now been supporting the administration, if you deprive them of the hopes which they most legitimately hold and if they withdraw their loyal support from the Indian administration, the whole structure as far as we are concerned will collapse and we shall lose India, not in two generations but now.
It seems to me that if in the future we are to rally to the side of the Government of India moderate and responsible opinion in India, we want to place greater trust in the Indian people and in Indian ministers. Although some safeguards may be necessary, we should never forget that the strongest safeguard is the good will of the Indian people. Without that, other safeguards are brittle things and of very little use. When we are speaking of India we are not speaking of some petty German State but of an ancient Imperial people with royal blood in their veins. We ought to speak to them as equals and then, with India and England joined together in bonds of love and loyalty and mutual service, who shall disunite them? Not the sword of Japan. Disraeli once said that the key of India was not in Herat but in London. The key of India's loyalty is not in Delhi but here in Westminster. Do not let us throw that key away in the desert sands of mistrust.
413 I come to my second and last point. The last part of the Amendment runs thus:and for placing in the hands of the Indian masses the possibility of obtaining political power by constitutional means, in order to achieve their emancipation from the injustices and hardships of the existing social and economic system.All through those prolonged and sometimes painful proceedings of the Joint Committee in His Majesty's Robing room and in the Committee room in another place, we had great masses of detail before us and we had interesting and complex discussions but I always bad in my mind's eye during those proceedings one or two little pictures of India. The first was a picture of the Indian ryot, the peasant toiling for a small and inadequate pittance all his life from birth to the grave burdened by the many evils of the economic system under which he lives, by a very bad land system and by the exactions of moneylenders and of gentlemen who, having taken tribute from him, spend most of their time in London. Another picture was that of the factory workers who—although there are I know, factory regulations—are herded together outside the factories under the most abominable conditions. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain) moved the whole House by a speech which he made on the slums of Birmingham, but they are nothing to the slums of Bombay and other industrial centres in India. A third picture which came before me was that of the Indian woman and her children suffering as they are from social evils which are unknown in this country. We can help these people very little indeed. We have not been able to help them very much for the last 40 or 50 years. They can only be helped by themselves. They can only be emancipated by their own efforts and they can only do that if they are given political power—the power of the vote.
Let us consider what is proposed in the Government's scheme. Take first the legislative structure. There are to be two-chamber legislatures in five of the Provinces, and in each case the lower chamber will be very strongly, almost overwhelmingly, representative of wealth, while the Second Chamber will be exclusively representative of wealth. In Bengal there will only be eight Labour 414 special seats out of 250 in the lower chamber and I have been told by leaders of Indian trade unionism that there is very little hope indeed of Labour winning any of the general seats. In Bihar there will only be three special Labour seats out of 152 in the lower chamber and Labour will have no hope at all in the upper chamber, as a very simple mathematical calculation will show, except by nomination. Realising this position my colleagues and I put forward an Amendment at the Committee to the effect that of the six members of the upper chamber to be nominated by the governor three should be Labour members. Although that Amendment was opposed by the majority of the Committee yet the situation was so flagrant that we were supported by His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, whilst the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham very obviously abstained from voting.
At the Centre the position is much worse. I am not going into the details at this stage, further than to point out that at the Centre there will be two chambers both indirectly elected. In the lower chamber Labour will have 10 seats out of 250. The Under-Secretary of State for India admitted at the Committee that these is no possibility of Labour getting a single seat in the upper chamber unless again the power of the Governor-General to nominate is brought into play, in order that two or three Labour members may be included. But in the ordinary way Labour would not have a single representative in the second chamber. I ask the House to remember that the second chamber at the Centre unlike the second chambers in the Provinces will have practically co-equal powers with the lower chamber. It will have the power to reject or amend money Bills. In fact, it will have every power which the lower chamber will possess except that of initiating financial legislation. It was at first proposed that it should have that power also but we got that provision eliminated. As it is the two chambers are practically coequal and, as I say, Labour has no representation whatever in the second chamber.
We want to sweep away all second chambers in India. India is not used to second chambers and I do not see why they should be erected there. In fact I think that their erection in certain Pro- 415 vinces is almost going against the agreement reached at the Round Table Conference. In any case we consider that all the second chambers should be abolished and that in each case the lower chamber should be retained as a single chamber. We consider that Labour should have 10 per cent. of the seats in each of the single chambers in order that it may have a chance of working to eliminate from India those social evils the existence of which everybody admits. We demand too that in the towns there should be adult suffrage. I do not believe that there is any administrative difficulty strong enough to prevent that reform. Finally, we want for the women of India a more effective franchise and what we mean by that will be explained during the Committee stage. All these points we intend to fight for in the Committee and we hope that we shall not fight without avail. On the question of the women, I think everybody who has been in touch with the women's movement in India must realise that its development is perhaps the most remarkable feature of all the change which has been coming over that great country. The progress which has been made towards the emancipation of women in India has been remarkably swift. Many people think, and I am not so sure that I disagree with them, that the future welfare of India lies very largely in the hands of the women of India.
My right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) the other evening made an attack on the communal system. Nobody in this country wants the communal system, if we could possibly get rid of it. Then my right hon. and gallant Friend made a prophecy. He said we were handing over India to the rich, to the millionaires and leaving the workers unprotected. As I have shown, there is a great deal of truth in that. He said that in future you will have the capitalists of India using the great masses of native cheap labour, exploiting it, cutting out our trade, and selling cheap goods in this country. The growth and development of the Labour movement and the women's movement in India cuts right across the communal difficulty. The trade union leaders assured me that there are working side by side in India, in the same factory, people of different castes, 416 different religions, and different races and that they have no communal difficulties among them. All the women, without exception, who came over here as witnesses said that the women in India do not want communal differences and will have nothing to do with them. Therefore, I say that the development of the franchise in India will cut right across the communal system.
Secondly, when you hear of this danger of the exploitation of the masses of cheap Indian labour, what is the way to prevent it? It is by giving Indian labour the vote, more electoral power, by giving them the power so to improve their conditions that they will not be exploited. I would suggest to Members of the Conservative party that, although they are naturally opposed to the growth of the Labour movement in this country, they ought to support whole-heartedly the growth of the Labour party in India, in their own commercial interests. I understand that factory legislation in India was largely brought about by pressure from Dundee in order that labour should not be so cheap and the competition so intense. That is a point which I urge on my Conservative opponents.
I want to make two appeals, one to my friends in India, the other to the Government. One of the greatest evils, one of the things which has caused many historical tragedies, is the attitude of mind which says "If I cannot have a whole loaf, which I desire and perhaps deserve, I will not take a half, I will not even take three-quarters." The Bill which will be founded upon this report will not, in our opinion, be a good one. We shall work to improve it, and we hope we may improve it in certain particulars, but even at the end I do not think it will meet the desires and wishes of the Indian people. I think it will be an imperfect Measure, but I hope that the Indian people will work it. If I have any influence among Labour friends in India and the people whom I met on the Joint Select Committee, I would implore them not to regard the Constitution as untouchable, and as a member of the British Labour party I hope that they will work it and try to improve it, and we hope the time will come when we here shall be in power to help them to another stage on the road to self-government.
The other appeal, which I am afraid will have less response, is to the Con- 417 servative Government. There is another historical tragedy, and that is the fact of gifts, good in themselves, being given too late or given in too grudging a spirit. It may be, some people may say, that this gift of the form of government suggested by the Joint Select Committee is even now perhaps too late, as the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms were too late, that India has gone forward to another stage, and that we ought to give her a wider and more generous Measure. Most of us remember that when we were children we had relatives who used to give us small sums of money, small tips, sometimes a 6d., or sometimes it may have been as much as half-a-crown. But among those relatives there was often one, usually an aunt, who, although she gave the money, gave it in such a grudging way and hedged it about with so many restrictions, about not spending it on ourselves but putting it in the savings bank, that we felt no gratitude for the gift and no affection for the donor. I feel that the danger is that we are giving India a Measure so hampered by restrictions, which might never have to be used, but which are wounding to the self-respect of the Indian people, that they may take the gift without giving in return the gratitude which we should all desire.
I therefore implore the Government, between now and the time when they draft the Bill, to remember once again the precedent of South Africa, and I would particularly ask the Lord President of the Council to remember that precedent and what the late Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman did then. I have sometimes had the impression—it may be wrong—that I have seen a resemblance between the career of the Lord President of the Council and that of the late Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. The late Liberal Premier was at one time underrated, but afterwards he became the shrewdest party manager of his time. At one time he was rather scorned and despised by some of his more showy colleagues, and I believe the Lord President has had that experience also. Yet each of them mastered the House of Commons by gifts of simple, common sense speech, illuminated, in the case of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, by a pawky Scotch humour, of which the Lord President of the Council possesses the 418 Worcestershire variety. Curiously enough, they were both affectionately known by two letters, the one as "C.B." and the other as "S.B."
At one time Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman rose to great heights of statesmanship, when, in spite of doubts and protests, he gave freely, even generously, South Africa to the inhabitants of South Africa, to the Dutch and the British who had till then been fighting each other, and so bound us, I hope for ever, to their hearts. I do therefore ask the Lord President of the Council to use what influence he can, and I ask Ministers generally, and particularly the Secretary of State for India, who has worked so well and so long upon the Joint Select Committee, to pay attention to the suggestions which we are putting forward, which Indian moderate opinion is putting forward, and to act in such a way that India will be given a better Measure than this, a Measure which she will accept with gratitude and work with loyalty.
§ 4.40 p.m.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir John Simon)
I apprehend that, notwithstanding that the Amendment has been moved and seconded and put by you, Sir, from the Chair, on this the third and final day of this great Debate, the broad field of discussion still remains open, and most of what I have to say—I will endeavour to compress it within a reasonably brief interval, for many others wish to take part—refers to the issue which I think is, in the mind of the House and the country, the main issue at present, namely, whether the recommendations of the Joint Select Committee shall be accepted as a basis for legislation, or whether the criticism, which is set up against them, of those who think they go too far shall prevail. While that is, I think, the main issue which the House and the country wish to have examined, I could not turn to that without first saying a word about the Amendment which has just been moved and about the speech in which it was presented to the House by the hon. Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Cocks). I hope the hon. Gentleman will permit me to say that 419 I believe the whole House recognises with great approval and sincerity the moderation and the careful terms in which he has presented this important Amendment. It would have been very easy, in a speech advocating that Amendment, to raise possible misunderstandings and to start feelings which would go far beyond the confines of this House, and I think we owe it to the hon. Member to say at once, as I do most gratefully, that he set an example in the care, statesmanship, and moderation with which he presented his Amendment.
As regards the proposal of the Amendment, it is really nothing more than an invitation to the House to approve of the minority report which was added to the main report of the Joint Select Committee, as indeed the hon. Gentleman himself frankly said. We cannot, of course, discuss all that to-day, nor would he wish us to do so, but perhaps I might be allowed to make one observation before I turn to the main subject of the Debate. I think it is important for us all to realise that neither the Amendment nor the minority report which was presented to the House from certain Members of the Committee, proposes to establish here and now complete self-government in India. Neither of them does that. That is to say, there is a recognition from that side of the House as well as elsewhere that in this matter it is inevitable that we should proceed by stages, that there is a goal, which was proclaimed in the declaration of Mr. Montagu and in the Preamble of the Government of India Act, which was described as working towards the progressive realisation of responsible government in British India.
But be it noted that the Opposition in this House, I think very sensibly, if I may say so, is in agreement with the rest of us that it is not possible by legislation here and now to declare that that goal is attained. The Opposition, following the Minority Report, recognises that this can only come in the future, but, while recognising that, there does appear to be a feature in the proposal which the official Opposition puts forward which deserves comment here. If hon. Members examine the Minority Report, they will find that it contains 420 this feature: It suggests that here and now Parliament can fix a precise timetable laying down that 10 years from now certain changes shall be made and that 30 years from now other changes shall be made; that 10 years from now adult suffrage shall be universal over India, and that 30 years from now the present reservations in regard to the Provinces shall cease to exist. My own experience, and it was the experience forced on all those who were on the Statutory Commission, is that the worst of all errors in providing for the Constitution of the Government of India is to imagine that the rate of advance depends on nothing more than a time-table.
The Statutory Commission during its two or three years of very arduous toil constantly found how embarrassing their work was because the Government of India Act had enacted that 10 years from the coming into operation of the Act there should be a Statutory Commission. I am clearly persuaded that, however far we may go, however we may fix our choice with the undoubted risks on the one side or the other, there is one thing we must not do. We must not proceed as though we could fix calendar dates when some constitutional change must come about. These changes do not depend on the passing of time. They depend on what happens, on the way in which the co-operation between British and Indian elements enables the scheme, whatever it may be, to be advanced rapidly or otherwise. I make that observation now, because, although the hon. Member for Broxtowe naturally did not expound the contents of the Minority Report, it does seem to me—reading it I can assure him with a great deal of interest, respect and sympathy because I know something of the difficulties of this subject—that it is a fundamental mistake to contemplate legislation which will provide to-day exactly the rate of advance by calendar years in the future.
I should like to address the House for a short time on two or three specific matters only. It is impossible to survey the whole of the field. Many important parts of it have been admirably treated in the last two days of the Debate. If I may be so bold as to make a selection, the speech which created the greatest effect, apart from the speeches of my colleagues 421 on this bench, was the valuable contribution of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy). If anybody will read it, he will find a great deal of the philosophy and truth of this matter most persuasively and admirably stated. I can best crave the indulgence of the House if I deal with a particular aspect of this matter. I hope that it may be of some little service if I am allowed to deal briefly with the comparisons and contrasts between the report and the views of the Statutory Commission, over which I had the duty and honour of presiding, and the report of the Joint Select Committee which the Government now invite the House to approve as a basis for legislation. I am glad to have this opportunity, because it is the first time that the House of Commons has ever devoted five minutes to discussing the report of the Statutory Commission. I will give some of the most important points of comparison. I am the more concerned to do this, because the fiercest critics of the Joint Select Committee's report and of the proposals of the Government do us the honour of constantly calling us to witness as being one of the buttresses—I do not venture to say one of the pillars, but one of the external buttresses—of the edifice which they are engaged in erecting. I am much obliged for the compliment, but I do not want to receive any compliments which I do not deserve.
In the first place, the Statutory Commission unanimously recommended, so far as the Provinces were concerned, responsible government over the whole field—what is sometimes, though not quite accurately, called Provincial Autonomy. If we used words strictly, "autonomy" would refer to the relations between an autonomous unit and some authority outside. What is really meant here in part is that within the boundary of the Province, and so far as provincial subjects are concerned, the method of responsible government should be adopted. There are minor differences between the recommendations which we made and the present scheme, but substantially, as far as the provincial field is concerned, there is a very close resemblance between the views of the Statutory Commission and the views of the Joint Select Committee. I may carry this first point a little further when I remind the House that both the Statutory 422 Commission and the Select Committee took the view that the Provinces should, as far as possible, be autonomous units in the sense that they should not merely have delegated from the Centre certain powers—the comparison with local authorities in this country is grotesque—but that they should themselves, as great important areas corresponding to European States, have in their own right within the limit of their proper powers very great responsibility discharged on the principle I have described, subject to some measure of control from a higher authority. The House will agree that the first point of comparison is very important, and I call attention to the fact that, so far as that goes, the Statutory Commission and the Joint Select Committee found themselves almost exactly in the same position.
I take the second point. I now pass to the Centre. I must remind the House that by the very terms of the Statute under which the Statutory Commission acted, by the very terms of the mandate which we were given, our purview was confined to British India. We not only had no authority to examine the situation in the Indian States, but we were expressly directed by the terms of the Statute to confine ourselves to the Provinces of British India. There is a second point of resemblance. The Statutory Commission rejected the idea of responsibility at the Centre of British India for British India, and so does the Joint Select Committee. There is a complete identity of view in respect of that second point, and the importance of it cannot be over-estimated. Anybody who has studied this subject with the care that many Members of the House have done will appreciate how absolutely impossible it is to regard British India as though it were a separate entity to be dealt with by itself at the Centre without regard to the Indian States, which are interlaced and bound into it like the items of a filigree puzzle.
When you get into the railway train in Bombay for the purpose of going to Delhi by the express, you will not find as you pass from British India into an Indian State that there is some change in physical scenery or that there are natural boundaries of the area; you bowl along through the plain full of interest in this new and wonderful world which you 423 may be seeing for the first time, and as the train goes rushing along you see a great board beside the line announcing, "Here you are entering the State of Gwalior." It looks like the country through which you have just been passing. It has not a boundary that represents any natural and physical difference. You come to the capital of Gwalior with its great hill fortress facing the railway station, one of the most historic and wonderful buildings in the world, and you resume the journey. Soon you come across a second board stating, "You are leaving the State of Gwalior." So it goes on all the time. The truth is that the boundary between British India and the Indian States is not a boundary that has been drawn on any scientific principle, but is due to a hundred little incidents and pressures and conquests and withdrawals in times past, so that I have often declared that there are not two Indias but only one India. There is that second point of complete agreement. I might put in here a point which may be of interest, particularly to my hon. Friends below the Gangway, namely, that there is complete agreement between the report of the Statutory Commission and the Joint Select Committee's report on the subject of direct or indirect election. That is really a minor point of machinery, and it is a great mistake to spend too long in discussing it on this last day of the Debate.
There is a much more important point of analogy. It is the third and most important of all. Both the Statutory Commission and the Joint Select Committee consider that the only really satisfactory conclusion of the Indian constitutional problem is a Federation which embraces all India, both Indian States and British India. There is an absolute identity of view on that point. The only difference is simply this: first, that the Statutory Commission were not directly concerned or authorised to deal with the Indian States in any way, but we were perfectly satisfied that you cannot make a great development at the Centre without them; and, second, that since our report, beyond any question a new prospect has arisen, estimate it as you may, as a result of a number of declarations that have been made which have caused the possibility of All-India Federation to come considerably nearer. We developed 424 in our report, at the risk of going outside our proper terms of reference, an elaborate argument to show how necessary it was that All-India Federation should be pursued. We took the view, and I think anybody being our companion at the time would have taken the view, that while that was the ideal it was the distant ideal. But we went thus far, in our confident belief that this was the thing to aim at. The Statutory Commission recommended what we described as a Council of Greater India which should contain representatives of the Princes as well as representatives of British India, and we made a list of 13 subjects, which we described as coming into the common concern, to be the subject of consideration by such a council, and on looking now I observe that every one of those 13 subjects is included as proper for an All-India Federation in the scheme presented by the Joint Select Committee.
We come now to the real issue which has to be decided. It has given me, and I daresay other hon. Members, much cause for reflection. The question to be decided is: "In the light of this new prospect of the Indian States coming now within an All-India Federation, is the wise and politic course to provide that opportunity in our new legislation, under conditions which are the only conditions which would secure the adhesion of the Indian Princes, or should we say: No, it is a danger even in order to secure All-India Federation, even in order to attain sooner than anybody thought we could the carrying out of that solution, that step is too dangerous and too risky, and we must decline it"? That is the real issue, that is the thing which really matters, and that is what we are going to vote about to-night.
I would like to make one further observation about the Statutory Commission. I hope that hon. Members will not think that I seem to be attaching too much importance to the Commission. A good deal has happened since, but, after all, hon. Members will not forget that those who constituted that body did devote a great deal of time to the subject. Every single surviving member of those who served on the Statutory Commission four years ago, is to-day of opinion, for what it may be worth, that, instead of standing stiffly by the proposals contained in those two volumes, we should at any 425 rate advance as far as the Joint Select Committee propose. The question cannot be decided by citing names or counting heads. It is a question for statesmanlike consideration and reasoned judgment. I would be the last to claim to speak with any special authority about it, but I am entitled to call attention to the facts. I was gratified to find that that body of seven men—two from the House of Lords, two from the Conservative Benches of the House of Commons and two from the Labour Benches of the House of Commons, with myself, as a Liberal, presiding—produced a report without a single dissentient minute.
I think it is even more remarkable to find that every single surviving member of that body—two unhappily have left us, Lord Burnham, and a man whose name I must be allowed to mention, because we all hold his memory in high regard in this House, Mr. Vernon Hartshorn—is agreed about this. The hon. Member for Finchley (Mr. Cadogan) spoke on the first day of the Debate and told the House, as I have told it, that after going through a period of very considerable anxiety of mind he had come to the conclusion that it would be right to support the report of the Joint Select Committee. I am informed that the same view is taken by the surviving member of the House of Lords who served with us. I have explained to the House my own view. The hon. Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee), who was a most admirable colleague and whose pen, if truth were known, is responsible for a good deal of what is in those volumes, also supports that view, though we know that in some respects he and his friends would like to go further. I present that set of considerations to the House purely for the purpose of inviting the House and the country to observe how far it can truthfully or plausibly be said that this is a fight between people who are standing for what is called the Simon Commission solution and other people who are standing for the report of the Joint Select Committee.
Now I want to take a different point. If it were true that the scheme now recommended to the House, so far as the Centre is concerned, while it contemplated and hoped that the Indian States would join, proposed that even if they did not join we should go on just the same, I, for my part, would oppose it, 426 so deeply am I convinced that the future development of government at the Centre of India, such as I should like to see, can only take place if we recognise that India is one, and that the Indian States must contribute to and form part of the whole. If anybody were to say—I do not know whether they are going to do so or not—that even if the States drop out we shall be able to go on with the scheme, I should not agree. That is not the proposal, and it cannot be too clearly understood that it is not the proposal, and that nobody inside or outside the House should imagine, or pretend or represent that it is the proposal. The proposal is that as far as the change at the Centre is concerned this scheme depends upon the adhesion of the Indian States.
§ Sir J. SIMON
I must make my own points in my own way. I will say something about the Indian people later. I know that my right hon. and gallant Friend feels most deeply for their lot, and so do I. I say that the new Constitution depends upon the Indian States saying, when the time comes, and the time is coming now, that they are prepared to implement the prospect which has been held out. The new Constitution proposed for the Centre depends upon a majority of the Indian States, having regard to their importance and their population, coming in, and I say here, as far as I am concerned, and I am sure I say it with the approval of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for India, who has had a bigger burden in handling this matter than any other man in the whole history of Indian Constitutional reform, that such a Constitution would not be possible, and it is not proposed, unless the Indian States do come in. Whether they come in or not remains, I agree, to be seen. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Chichester (Major Courtauld) made a speech yesterday in the course of which he took a very despondent and cynical view of that prospect. That is not a matter we have to determine to-day.
It is essential that it should be realised that the plan presented for the approval of the House of Commons is one which will only operate if the Indian States do 427 come in in the way I have defined. If they do, what is it that we shall establish? We shall have helped to establish the federation of Greater India upon its only possible basis, we shall have ended a separation which any one who knows India intimately knows is, from many points of view, unreal, and—I venture to add my own view—a separation which if it be perpetuated may easily become dangerous. That is the prize which can be gained if things go well. The risk is not that this scheme, as it stands, could be carried through at the Centre if the Indian States drop out. The risk we see is a different risk, and it is a serious risk; it is a risk as to whether or not, even with the Indian Princes coming in, so immense an additional advance—a tremendous advance, by far the biggest single advance in India's constitutional development—is a risk that ought to be taken. On that I will say a word or two before I sit down, but I hope I have made clear to the House what, as I see it, is the real character of the issue which we now have to face.
Returning to the provincial field, I would like to say a word on a very curious use or, as it seems to me, an occasional misuse, of the recommendations of the Statutory Commission. This has to do with the most difficult subject of law and order. I have read a great many speeches made outside this House by critics of the Government plan which have appeared to represent that the critics were prepared, in the provincial field, to adopt the unanimous recommendations of the Statutory Commission but would not agree that the subject of law and order should be put under the control of an Indian Minister. I wish to make this matter entirely plain to the House. Do not let us have a misunderstanding. Hon. Members are perfectly at liberty, if they like, to say they reject the recommendations of the Statutory Commission in the provincial field—and there may be strong arguments for doing so—and they are at liberty, if they like, to say that they approve, but there is one thing that they are not at liberty to do, and that is to say "Yes, I am in favour of what some people call the Simon solution, but, of course, I am opposed to the transfer of law and order." That means absolutely nothing at all.
428 I wish to present to the House as I have seen it, and as it presented itself to my colleagues and myself in India, what the real position is, because there is an enormous amount of misunderstanding about it. No man who understands the work of Indian Government and administration will doubt that the administration of law and order is the key. There is nothing in Indian life that can compare with the importance of securing that the peasant, the poor man, the depressed class man, the man who is unpopular, the man in debt is not made a victim of oppression. My right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme interposed an observation on this point. I go with him all the way. He is quite entitled to say that he is convinced that this matter cannot be safely put into the hands of an Indian Minister and that we should keep it where it is now as a reserve service, but, if we do that, we must not at the same time tell the Indian people that we are in favour of provincial autonomy, because that would really be deceiving them in a way that is not in the least likely to take them in. Law and order in India is not a departmental subject.
The Noble Lord the Member for Aldershot (Lord Wolmer) made a speech the other day which struck me as, perhaps, the most powerful presentation of the case from his point of view. His sincerity and his dispassionateness in all he said gave the greatest pleasure to the House. The question of the police runs through the whole of the provincial administration. Law and order in an Indian Province, if I may give an illustration, is no more a departmental question than is law and order in the Saar during the next few weeks. It pervades everything. You may have disputes about education, roads, water, or other things, but at every point it is the law and order administration which determines whether a government is to be supported or not.
What happens now? There is the provincial legislature. As the hon. Member for Broxtowe said just now, it is surprising to find what a very small element the British administrative element is. You have Indian Ministers who are doing a series of very important departmental jobs in regard to education, roads and local government, but up to the present they have not had charge of the police. 429 What happens? I have not only read about this, but I have seen it in provincial legislatures. The whole force of the criticism of the elected legislators of the Province is addressed to this very subject of the police, and the whole of the blame is thrown upon the authorities responsible for the police, while the Ministers who have responsibility for the separate departments are content sometimes to let the blame dwell upon the heads of others. They have the easier part of the administration without any of its difficult responsibilities.
There are only two ways in which that can be cured. One is frankly to take away from the Indian Ministers the departments which they have now. I expect there are hon. Members in this House who think that that is the right way. To my way of thinking it is a wholly impracticable way, and it is the wrong way. If you do not do that, there is only one other way, and that is to say to the Indian Ministers in the Provinces: "We cannot leave you and your friends of the legislature to spend the whole of your time throwing the whole burden upon those who have the difficult work; you must share the burden and the difficulty as well as the advantage, the honour and the opportunity." In no other way is it possible to secure in the Provinces of India that which is described as responsible government.
I will tell the House, if hon. Members will forgive me, this anecdote. Perhaps they will take the trouble to turn to a passage in the Report of the Statutory Commission—it is in the second volume, paragraphs 57 to 64. I remember how my colleagues and I began writing paragraphs which set out as fully and as forcibly as we possibly could the arguments against transferring the police to the Provinces. If anybody requires a text book on the subject he will find it, in my opinion, in those paragraphs. I remember when the work was finished that I showed those paragraphs confidentially to a very distinguished Indian administrator, and that he read them and said, "Well, Simon, if the arguments for keeping the police away from Indian Ministers are as strong as that, you will never be able to write a sufficient argument on the other side to overthrow them." My friends and I then proceeded to write the paragraphs which 430 follow in the report, and which I most respectfully commend to anybody who really desires to get to the heart of this subject. It is quite plain that we all unanimously took the view that transfer must take place, but my colleagues thought that it was just as well to set out the arguments in full force against it, because only so could we ever be able to persuade—as I think we shall persuade—the people of this country that if provincial autonomy is to be transferred it is necessary that you should transfer also the subject of law and order.
I want to say a word or two about another subject, which has been more particularly raised by the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot) and yesterday by the hon. Member for East Birkenhead (Mr. White), that of direct or indirect election. I will only spend a moment upon it, because, as I have said, it is not really the point upon which our decision to-night should turn. It is a matter upon which, no doubt, we shall have some discussion later on. My hon. Friend the Member for Bodmin, in one of the most eloquent passages of his speech on this subject, was remarkably bold. As I gathered from him—I have the report here—that Liberal principle in this matter was, "no indirect election." I listened with growing surprise, because I know that my hon. Friend is a student, as I heard from him that it is one of the fundamental Liberal principles which commend themselves to all just and wise men, that in no circumstances should you indulge in what is called indirect election. I did not know it before, because I thought that that was just a question of electoral mechanics.
I suppose my hon. Friend will agree with me that if there were two recognised repositories of Liberal philosophy of the purest kind to which we can refer in the last generation and the one before, one would be John Morley, and the other John Stuart Mill. At any rate we might begin with them. What was the view of Lord Morley, who was the most distinguished Liberal concerned in the administration of India? We all know his attachment to Liberal principles, but Lord Morley was the statesman who introduced into India the Morley-Minto reforms which, both in the Provinces and at the Centre, make a 431 most extensive use of a system of indirect election. It has remained for my hon. Friend the Member for Bodmin, so many years after Lord Morley is in his grave, to discover what a traitor and an apostate he was to true Liberal principles! Even more ancient is the case of John Stuart Mill who wrote a book about representative institutions. If the chapter is consulted I think it will be found that John Stuart Mill, in express terms said—I have it here:Here is a case in which indirect election appears to be an extremely good method.It is interesting to note what his illustration was. I am sure that he would never have agreed with manhood suffrage for India. His illustration came from the United States. For over 100 years since the Declaration of Independence in the United States, the system of indirect elections prevailed, in composing the Senate at Washington. The Upper House of the many States composing the United States proceeded to elect two members to the Senate at Washington. John Stuart Mill, while point-out objections to this method, in other cases, goes on to say:The elections thus made, have proved eminently successful, and are conspicuously the best of all the elections in the United States.He also says:Under certain conditions it is the very best system that can be adopted, but those conditions are hardly to be obtained in practice, except in a Federal Government like that of the United States, where the election can be entrusted to local bodies whose functions extend to the most important concerns of the nation.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
I think I am within the recollection of the House when I say that I dealt with indirect election and stated what the arguments were against it. I stated that indirect election was contrary to Indian opinion, contrary to the opinion of the Government of India and contrary to the recommendations of the Franchise Committee set up by this House. I do not recollect that at any time in that speech I was basing it upon Liberal principles. I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman, instead of dealing with what I did not say, should meet the argument I put forward.
§ Sir J. SIMON
I have spent far too much precious time on this point, but I 432 will read a passage from the hon. Member's speech:This House set up a Franchise Committee a few years ago and sent it out to India under the chairmanship of Lord Lothian."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th December, 1934; col. 85, Vol. 296.]The hon. Member was quite wrong. The House did nothing of the kind. The committee was appointed by the Prime Minister. There was a committee which this House appointed, and which went out to India and made a unanimous report. I will tell the hon. Member what its name is: it is the Statutory Commission.
§ Sir J. SIMON
The hon. Member should listen. He is quite wrong when he tells the House that the House appointed that committee. Nothing of the kind. The hon. Member is quite right when he says that he confined himself to pointing out the objections to indirect election. Perhaps he will forgive me if I point out what is the real difficulty the other way. There are 260,000,000 people in British India. How many members is British India to have in the Central Legislature? According to the plan now proposed the number will be 250 or, shall we say, 260. If the House will be good enough to divide 260,000,000 by 260 they will find how many people are to be within the constituency of every member. That would be true if the population were spread equally over the whole area, but people are concentrated in great towns returning many members, and the rest of the population is mostly spread over the country. That means that many of the rural constituencies will have to be far larger still. Then there is the difference between Hindu and Mohammedan, and according to the system which has prevailed, and which I am very sorry must continue, we must group the Mohammedans into constituencies by themselves. Have hon. Members any idea how big those constituencies will be? The Statutory Commission worked this out for everybody. They pointed out that whereas the county of Yorkshire, with an area of about 6,000 square miles, returns 57 Members to this House, each one of whom can get to his constituency in a few hours, under a system of direct representation at the Centre in India, not one rural constituency is less than 6,000 square miles, and 433 many of them contain an ever more enormously wide area.
The hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension if he thinks that this point is raised for debating purposes. I would say to him, in a final word about it, that there is such a thing as a Member being responsible to his constituents, and one of the things about which we have to be careful is whether we can help India to devise a system which as a fact will enable Members to be responsible, in the real sense of the term, to those whom they represent, as well as themselves take part in a responsible Government. I apologise for this digression. It was merely designed to correct what appears to me to be a slightly disproportionate excitement about this new proposal, which the hon. Gentleman tells us the Liberals intend to fight at every stage. We now know that, when they go into battle, they will go under a banner with the strange device:This is the Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt not have any indirect election.I should like now to say something to which, possibly, those who oppose these proposals from the point of view of my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping and others may be prepared to assent. I have tried to point out that, if it is a question of being anxious about the risks involved, I share that anxiety. I am entitled to say that, considering the part which I have had to play in this matter. I have examined it with the very greatest care, and I know something of the immensity of the issues involved. But, after all, what is it that we are to choose between? If it were a choice between a great risk, on the one hand, and something which involved no risk, that would be another matter; but that is not the choice at all. The real choice that we have to make—and it is one of the greatest choices that Parliament has ever been asked to make in hundreds of years of its history—is between two courses both of which present very considerable difficulties. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment concluded his speech with a passage which, as I thought, was full of wisdom. He declared, speaking for the Socialist party in this House, that their words would reach India, and that they would advise their friends in India to do their best to work this Constitution 434 in spite of its imperfections. If I may say so, that was well said; it was a very statesmanlike declaration to make.
I want to address one word to those who are criticising the proposals from another angle. I would say to such hon. Members that I understand very well that, if they were not convinced that this system was right, they would, quite naturally, determine to carry on a fierce conflict in opposition to it. That would be quite right. But there may have been a time when they thought that the arguments they could use, and all the influences they could most honourably bring to bear, would be such as to cause the present Government to deflect from its course. It may have been thought by loyal members of the Conservative party that this matter raised an issue which would seem to split the Conservative party in such a way as to compel a change of course. If at one time these were the calculations, they cannot be the calculations any longer. It is quite obvious that this scheme, coming into force after full and careful consideration, and after the passing of a Bill in Parliament—that this scheme, in substance, will pass. I cannot believe that those who have thus conscientiously raised their objections desire to use an immense period of the time of this Session in continually repeating in every possible variation objections which they sincerely entertain, but which they now see, or will see to-night, are not in fact embraced by the vast majority of Members of the House. I know that they, like the rest of us, want to do this work thoroughly and well and deliberately, but desire that it should be done in a way which will enable other work to be done too in this Session of Parliament.
I wonder whether, in response to that wise declaration which was made just now on behalf of the Labour party by my hon. Friend opposite—I wonder whether it is not possible for us, while of course discussing the main issues as they arise in all proper fullness, none the less to co-operate to do the one thing which remains to be done by the House of Commons, and that is to show public men and public opinion in India that we, too, recognising the course that events are bound to take, add to the gift which we are prepared to give the grace of acquiescence if not of support, and the 435 highest possible degree of unanimity. It is now 150 years since Edmund Burke, in one of his great speeches about the Government of India, used a sentence with which I will close. I owe it to my hon. Friend the Member for Bodmin, who is the greatest authority in this House on Edmund Burke. This is what Burke said in this House on the 1st December, 1783:Depend upon it, this business cannot be indifferent to our fame. It will turn out a matter of great disgrace or great glory to the whole British nation. We are on a conspicuous stage, and the world marks our demeanour.
§ 5.49 p.m.
§ Sir ROBERT HAMILTON
The right hon. Gentleman is, I supose, more than anybody else in this House entitled, both by virtue of the position he occupied on the Statutory Commission and of the reputation which he enjoys in his profession, to analyse the points of the position which we have before us to-night. To one of those points I shall refer later. The Debate is now drawing to a close, and before long we shall be taking a Division, with all the momentous results that it will have for India, the British Empire, and, I may say, the whole world. I wish that India could have listened in to this Debate. If she had been able to listen in, she would have heard, I am afraid, some statements with which she would have disagreed, and she would have heard expression given to certain sentiments which would have affected her susceptibilities; but, at the same time, I think she would have carried away two impressions. The first would have been that, from whatever quarter of the House a Member might have been speaking, whatever views he held, whether he belonged to what I believe to be the great majority of the House, who support the proposals, whether he belonged to the Labour party, or whether he was to be numbered among the followers of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill), there ran through all the speeches a sincere undercurrent of desire to do what is right and fair by India.
The second impression that, I think, she would have drawn is that, whatever our sentiments, whatever our political theories and affiliations may be in this Debate, we have been anxious above all things to grapple with realities. I think that India, listening in, would have realised 436 that we have attempted throughout, not to deal with India as it might be, or with India as we would like it to be, but with India as it really is to-day, and that we are devising, or attempting to devise, a scheme that will work. After all, that is the great test that time is going to apply to the result of our labours—will it work? That is what we are bending ourselves to do.
The structure that we are attempting to build is one of unprecedented size, and is composed of very diverse elements. From none of our minds has there been absent a sense of the diversity of those elements with which we have to build. That, again, is one of the realities of the situation which we have tried to keep before us. During the last seven years, in which an intensive study has been made of the Indian problem, I have sometimes thought that Indian politicians have been inclined to underrate the difficulties of framing such a Constitution as that which we are now in this House attempting to frame. That is, perhaps, because they are a little apt not fully to keep in mind the realities of which I have just spoken, and also have been somewhat inclined to underrate the opposition that might be raised to any such proposal in this country. To-day they can be under no delusions on that score. The opposition to the schemes which are before us have been very vocal, not only in this House but in the country, and, although we have, with the greatest advantage to either side, been in close contact with representatives from India, and have adopted the system which was initiated at the Round Table Conference, with the resulting benefit of raising the whole question of India and its discussion on to a higher plane—although that has been a great advantage, and Indian representatives have discussed the problems with us across the table, I think they have very often felt, perhaps all the more for that reason, that the opinions for which they were asked, and which they put forward, have been disregarded when they might have been adopted. I think that in many cases we should, perhaps, have done better to pay fuller attention to some of the Indian opinions that have been put forward, but I should like here again to remind my Indian friends that the disregard of some of these opinions was necessary and in- 437 herent in the position if we were to succeed in arriving at the greatest common measure of agreement in this country. The difficulties of the problem are two-fold. There are the difficulties inherent in the building of the structure in India, and the difficulties that have to be met in facing the political situation in Great Britain.
We have before us the labours of the Joint Select Committee. I should like to take the opportunity of joining with all those who have paid a tribute to the great care with which the members of that Committee, under the distinguished chairmanship of Lord Linlithgow, carried out their duties. We have had very frank discussion of the proposals contained in the report. It is eminently desirable that we should frankly discuss these questions. There is nothing to be gained by pretending that difficulties do not exist, or trying to slide round difficult corners. All these difficulties have to be probed to the bottom and thoroughly discussed, and I would ask our Indian friends again not to find fault with us if, in the discussion of these very difficult questions, we use the utmost frankness between ourselves in looking at the problem from every possible point of view. The actual Motion before the House is that the proposals in the report be accepted and that they form the basis for a Bill for the new Constitution for India. When the House votes on it, I certainly do not take it that means that every Member who votes for the Motion is prepared to cross every "t" and dot every "i." I certainly do not. There are many matters which are dealt with in the proposals, and which must be contained in any Bill that is based on those proposals, which will need the very closest scrutiny and on which I am sure Members will be apt to take sometimes very different views, and though we may vote wholeheartedly for the general Motion, the Government must not imagine for a moment that we are content to say ditto to everything that may be put before us in the Bill.
At this point I should like to refer to the very important point that was raised originally by my hon. Friend the Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot) and which was dealt with in a very cavalier fashion by the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken. It is a matter to which 438 the Indian representatives attached the very greatest importance, though not one to which Liberals as such attach particular importance. It was never suggested that this question of direct or indirect election was a sort of test for Liberals, but it was what the Indian Office put forward originally. It was what opinion in India wanted, and it is a most unfortunate thing, at the very moment when we are offering a new Constitution to India, that we should deprive the Indians of a franchise which they already have and have enjoyed for the last 12 years. The right hon. Gentleman, in making fun of this subject and pretending that, after all, it was only a very small one, tried to point out the absolute impossibility of ever having a federal assembly elected on a direct franchise, but I would remind him that the very report itself envisages the possibility of this in five years' time. Why should we, therefore, fly in the face of Indian opinion in the matter and, by doing so, create what I am afraid will be a fossilised and dug-in assembly at the centre quite irresponsive to Indian opinion? It may be said that, after all, this is a Committee point, but it is a big Committee point and one which will be fought, I am sure, very stoutly when we reach it in the Bill.
I now come to what the Secretary of State called the three pivotal points—Provincial Autonomy, Federation and Responsibility at the Centre. Those who vote for the Motion to-night will vote in favour of those three pivotal points, and, put like that, I am sure if there were any Indians in the House to-night they could not vote against it. They would be bound to vote for those proposals, because they are proposals on which any Indian constitution must inevitably be based. If you desire to have a united India with federation, a policy which was made possible by the announcement of the Princes at the first Round Table Conference, and if you desire to have Provincial Autonomy, you must have some binding element, and that binding element can only be found in a responsible centre. The point is so obvious that it seems to me futile for anyone to try to argue that you can have a part of the proposals without having the whole, because the three points hang or fall together.
I should like to say a word or two on the question of Safeguards. The Secre- 439 tary of State argued that on the facts of the situation Safeguards and Reservations were an inherent necessity if we are to secure the greatest measure of common agreement. Anyone who has studied the framing of Constitutions in any shape or form knows that what are called Safeguards are necessities. You must have checks and reservations in any constitution if it is to be a workable one. We have them, of course, in this country, but they are not very prominent, because we have learnt a certain amount of political responsibility in the course of centuries and we work our Constitution in such a way that it is seldom or ever necessary to have regard to them. But, if I were an Indian politician and were listening across the seas to some of the talk that goes on and, further, were to see some of the safeguards that are being introduced in these proposals, I should say, "I think you are going rather too far. You are making too much of these safeguards and you are putting in safeguards which may be entirely unnecessary." An Englishman replying on this side, rather timid and walking very cautiously a new road, would say, "You will never get your new Constitution unless we are satisfied that there are plenty of safeguards in to prevent the machine breaking down." It is between those two points of view that we have to consider these safeguards. As regards Safeguards generally, I think it is fair to say that unnecessary safeguards will never be used and, equally, necessary safeguards will never be used if Indian Ministers rise to their responsibilities. I have particularly referred to this question of Safeguards because the First Commissioner of Works last night said something which, I am afraid, must give a very wrong impression abroad. He was speaking of his experience during the time that he was at the Colonial Office. He said:Let nobody imagine that under these proposals any more than in any of the Colonial Constitutions safeguards and special powers are put in with the idea that they will not be used."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th December, 1934; col. 342, Vol. 296.]He laid very great stress on the fact that the safeguards were put in with the intention of using them. I am quite aware that he was speaking on the point of responsibility and irresponsibility, but I think it is very necessary that attention 440 should be drawn, on the other hand, to what the report says on this very important matter.It is in exact proportion as Indians show themselves to be not only capable of taking and exercising responsibility but able to supply the missing factors in Indian political life of which we have spoken that both the need for safeguards and their use will disappear.I do not wish to labour the point further, but I think it was very necessary that any possible misapprehension should be cleared away at the first opportunity.
I should like to say a word or two on the Labour Amendment. I join in what the Foreign Secretary said about the admirable way in which the case was presented by the hon. Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Cocks). I look upon the Amendment as rather in the nature of a demonstration than of a practical alternative to the proposals of the Joint Select Committee. There are various points in it with which, no doubt, I should feel myself fully in accord and, when we come to disputes, questions and divisions on the Bill, I daresay we shall sometimes find ourselves in the same Lobby, but the test that I would like to apply to the Amendment is, Is it in fact related to the practical politics of the day? Is it a proposal which would reach the greatest common agreement in this country? To both those questions I am afraid I should have to answer in the negative. The Labour party is looking a great deal further ahead than the point that it is possible to look to at present. We may all see the possibilities of development in the future and may be glad to welcome them, but because we see them and shall be glad to welcome them, that cannot be used as an argument for taking a political step at present which would not be justified by the realities that we have to face.
I think that the hon. Member for Broxtowe was not quite fair in saying that the proposed Constitution does not contain the seeds of development. Anyone who considers the matter fairly and without bras must realise that all possibility of future development lies in the hands of the Indian Ministers who will be appointed under that Constitution. If I believed that that Constitution did not contain the seeds of future development, I should be the last person to vote for it. It is because I firmly believe that 441 such a Constitution as is outlined here is one which contains every possibility for the advance to greater and greater responsibility on the part of India, that I am so cordially a supporter of it. The Labour scheme is at least constructive. We have had, on the other hand, a great deal of destructive criticism without any attempt at all at construction. I refer to speeches to which we have listened. There was the speech of the Noble Lord the right hon. Member for Aldershot (Viscount Wolmer), in which he admirably put forward the case he was representing, and which was still more admirably answered by the Noble Lord the right hon. Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy). Then we had the speech of the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft), which was a speech delivered on a very narrow and unsound basis, and far more fitted to a platform where he wanted to arouse the fears of the old ladies of Bournemouth or elsewhere, than suited to the discussion of the problems we have before us. It was a speech which was admirably answered again by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery), who, at the same time, made a very satisfactory answer to the speech, which one might say was one of inspissated gloom, of the Noble Lady the Member for Kinross (Duchess of Atholl), in which every attempt was made to pick out everything that could be criticised and found to be bad in the past few years in the great sub-Continent of India, without giving any hope of a single constructive idea or of anything which could be accepted by this House.
No one will deny the sincerity and honesty of the views of any hon. Member who desires to put them forward. But I wish to take this opportunity of saying how much one objects to the use in this connection of such a word as "abdication" which is used up and down the country, and to the suggestion that those who favour constitutional advance in India are runing away from their obligations and responsibilities. Which, I ask, requires the greater courage. To sit still and do nothing, or to attempt to do what is perhaps the biggest thing that has ever been attempted in political history? Perhaps those hon. Gentlemen who desire to take an entirely negative attitude and to take no forward step will realise 442 that there is something in the pledges which this country has so often given. I should like to remind the House again of the instructions given to the Governor-General of India in 1921 which have already been referred to by the hon. Member for Broxtowe because they are very important. Just 13 years ago the instruction from His Majesty said:Above all things, it is our will and pleasure that plans laid by our Parliament may come to fruition to the end that British India may attain its true place among our Dominions.I am not one who quibbles about the meaning of "Dominion status," but I look forward to the time when India may take her place among the Dominions. We are now in 1934, and Parliament, I am glad to say, is making further plans so that India may attain her true place among our Dominions. Some people think that we have gone far too slowly and been too timid and cautious. If we have gone slowly, I hope and trust that we are going surely. Indian opinion desires that we should go much faster, but it is often wise on the part of the master of a ship sailing on an un-charted course to go somewhat slowly in the midst of his difficulties if he hopes to arrive safely.
In conclusion I would like to say a word which, I hope, will reach Indian ears on the other side of the world. I would ask Indians to remember that the granting of a Constitution can be made, and must be made, by Parliament alone. It is only Parliament which can grant this Constitution. It may have many imperfections and may not fulfil the immediate aspirations of India, but let Indians remember that we are handing over to them immense responsibilities in asking them to become joint partners with us in this common enterprise of enormous magnitude. Fancy the idea of a federation of one-fifth of the population of the world—a stupendous conception! If that enterprise is to be made a success, it will need the utmost confidence and good will on either side. India may be assured of the good will of this country. I hope that she will not withhold hers when she realises that her destiny is in her own hands.
§ 6.8 p.m.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Everyone will agree with the Foreign Secretary when 443 he speaks of the importance of this Debate, dealing, as I think he said, with a subject as momentous as any upon which the House has had to come to a decision in the last hundred years. Who touches India touches history, and when, as the hon. Gentleman the Member for Orkney and Shetland (Sir R. Hamilton) reminded us, we are dealing with the lives and fortunes of one-fifth of the globe or one-sixth of the human race, we touch not only history but world history. I feel that it will be the endeavour of all who take part in these Debates to try their best to raise them as far as possible to a level worthy of the subject and worthy also of the tradition of this House, which in former generations has lavished time and thought upon the study and discussion of the affairs of India. Those of us who are in a minority here will certainly exert ourselves in that way.
I may say that, speaking for this minority, we claim in this matter belligerent rights. We are concerned in defending a cause and putting a case whose dignity and magnitude are such that we are entitled to those rights, but we realise that it is quite impossible—it would, indeed, be intolerable—that the settled will of the House of Commons should be arrested by merely dilatory procedure. Let the Government give a fair opportunity for discussing this great controversy. Let us discuss it in such a way that the 20 or 30 items of principle and cardinal points of method can be debated fully, and I am sure that the Government will find that those who differ the most strongly from them will be the first to render them aid in achieving the execution of their plans within a reasonable and orderly period of time. I hope, indeed, that it may be possible to come through the whole of these Debates on the India Bill which, when we consider the procedure in the other House as well as the procedure here, may well take us into the latter part of next year without the application of those processes of Guillotine and Closure which were introduced in the latter part of the nineteenth century and are an excrescence on the traditional Procedure of the House of Commons.
444 I know that there is a mood in some quarters to ride rough-shod over the minority, and I am very glad to find that it has received no encouragement from the Prime Minister and from the Government. I have also heard it said that modern democracy takes no great interest in India—it is too remote, too vague, too complicated—and will resent the occupation of our time upon the Indian problem. I hope that that is not true. If it were true, we should have ceased to be an Imperial people and shown ourselves unfitted to continue to fill that considerable place in the world to which the exertions of previous generations have raised us. I was so much encouraged by the fine Parliamentary action of the Prime Minister in regard to a suggestion which was made to send the Bill to a Standing Committee, that I will persevere on this favourable wind, and I am emboldened by the speech of the Attorney-General a few days ago in the country in which he talked about the splitting of the Conservative party from end to end. The Attorney-General—who is a great authority on these matters, though not so great an authority as the Lord Chancellor, who keeps the King's conscience, but still always ready to advise on matters of correctitude as well as law—the Attorney-General laid down the principle that it was unworthy for anyone in dealing with this India question to consider such an issue as the unity of a party. Unworthy! I think that it is a very heroic doctrine and a very heroic mood, and I hope that we shall rise to it. As far as we are concerned, I may assure the Government that there is nothing that we should like better than that this issue should be decided on its merits according to what Members really think about it, and without any introduction of adventitious or extraneous influences or suggestions from anywhere. I hope that the Government, following the high line which the Attorney-General sought to take, will ask my right hon. Friend the Patronage Secretary, who is very busy these days, to desist from his systematic and official "unworthiness" and allow us all to have a free and open vote this evening when the Division is called.
I listened, as did all the House, with deep attention to the speech of the Foreign Secretary. I listened to his 445 lucid, luminous explanation of such points as he considered it was necessary to draw our attention to on this occasion, but when he had finished I am bound to say-that there came across my mind this feeling: Here is the greatest event for 100 years. Is this all that you have to say to induce Parliament to take the step which it is now being asked to take? Is this all the reason which you are prepared to give us before we embark upon this, as you admit yourselves, hazardous voyage? As I listened to his speech I had the feeling that the right hon. Gentleman with his sweet reasonableness was reducing this matter to petty proportions, to the mere matter of a few provisions here and there, putting the Liberal soul at rest on the troubles of indirect election; and that these were insufficient arguments to induce the House to launch this country into something which may well turn the whole history of the State. The feeling came across my mind that I was on a ship which was going down in a calm sea, and that some very reassuring observations were being addressed to the passengers, because there were no boats, I will not say by the captain but, at any rate, by the chief steward.
Let me say, first of all, that I do not think the Socialist Opposition have treated the Government very generously or even very fairly. Whatever advance has been made at any time to meet them, and immense advances have been made, they have accepted it only as a starting point for a new departuree. Take the Statutory Commission. Representatives of all parties were on the Statutory Commission. They reached a unanimous conclusion. Many of us did not like the report of the Statutory Commission. Many of us thought that it might have been well said that the use made of the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms did not warrant at this stage a further advance. Still, when a commission of that quality goes to India, travels all around, comes back and makes its report, people try to submit, even if they cannot have their own point of view given effect to. I suppose the Conservatives on the commission made derogations from their view. Certainly members like the late Vernon Hartshorn did. To his memory a very worthy tribute has been paid by the Foreign Secretary, He was a charming, 446 gifted and patriotic man. Members from all sides came back and endeavoured to produce, and did produce, a unanimous report. That was a very considerable fact, and it marked a great advance on the part of those who are doubtful whether further advances should be made.
What happened to that report? The Foreign Secretary reminded us that it had never been debated by Parliament. No sooner had the report been presented—the ink was hardly dry upon it—when the Prime Minister pitched it into the wastepaper basket and called together a Round Table Conference, which reopened the whole topic from the beginning; true, in the light of the information collected by the report, but, still, a complete reopening of the whole subject. Out of this Round Table Conference came the point that really divides us to-day and really has caused the trouble and the whole division which is growing in the country. The cause has been the additional surge forward, the lurch downwards I should describe it, at the first Round Table Conference from the basis which had been reached by the Simon Report. Again, I must point out that it was the Socialist party who had their way. It was their plan. It was their plan which was accepted. It was their plan which was recommended by the first Round Table Conference. It was their plan which was embodied substantially in the White Paper, and it is their plan which emerges, with certain additions and improvements, from the report of the Joint Select Committee. Does anybody dispute that it is the Socialist plan, the plan of the Socialist Government?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I am glad to hear that remark, because there is a certain amount of controversy as to the parentage of the interesting progeny before us. The hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot) laid claim to it for Lord Reading, and he was rather controverted from the Socialist benches. Now there is another competitor for this dubious honour. As there is some difference on the subject, I will read the perfectly plain statement which was made by the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. M. Macdonald), whom we know as the most popular, agreeable, and competent Under-Secretary of State for 447 Dominion Affairs. This is what he wrote in a newspaper in his constituency. It is very important that we should know these facts, because there is a dispute. This is what he wrote three years ago:How accurate was the Government's calculation of what would be the ultimate conclusions of the Conference, and of what policy it would finally be able to announce with the approval of all delegations, is illustrated by an interesting fact. The drafting of the Prime Minister's concluding statement of the Government's policy, actually delivered on the 19th January"—that is, January, 1931—was already in hand before Christmas. The text of the statement was completed during two all-day conferences between the Prime Minister and his principal Government advisers which I attended at Chequers on 27th and 28th December. This was several days before the Conference itself began to consider the all-important question of Indian responsibility in the Central Government. It was before the Indians themselves had stated their ideas in detail,Here I must disappoint the hon. Member for Bodmin—before Lord Reading had made his famous speech announcing the Liberal party's support of the Indian claims, and before the Conservatives' definition of their policy. Yet only minor alterations had to be made in the Government's statement as a result of these events following its original drafting. So much for the tactics of the Government.So much for the statement of the hon. Member for Bassetlaw. There can be no dispute about the origin and the genesis of this scheme which we have before us, on the part of anyone who will consider that frank and open avowal. It may be asked: Why bring this up? I bring it up because it is challenged in some quarters. I also bring it up to show hon. Members opposite what obligations they have towards this scheme. Their paternity is proved without any doubt, and they are not going to escape the consequences by merely abusing the wretched brat which has been foisted on the guileless Conservatives. What did we then see? No sooner had the compliance of the Conservatives been achieved, no sooner had they agreed—no doubt they agreed of their own free will, and no doubt they agreed with the scheme on its merits; I do not argue that it was done under any duress—but no sooner had the matter been pushed forward to this stage than hon. Members opposite started moving on another downward march along the slope.
448 I must really warn His Majesty's Government that they will never be able to reach an agreement with the Socialist Opposition. The more they go forward the more they will be led on. Even now, if they were to meet all the suggested amendments which were made by the hon. Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee) in the Joint Select Committee, it would only be the starting point for a new departure. The Socialists are ready for that. The right hon. Gentleman who leads the Opposition is much ahead of the hon. Member for Limehouse, and is careering along on the path towards the abyss, with a policy all of his own. I am told that the highest caste in India boasts of the distinction of being twice born. The party opposite—if they will allow me to say so in no offensive way—have been twice brought in regard to this matter. What is the result? The result is the formal opposition of the whole of the Socialist party and extreme denunciation by that party of the whole of this scheme, after the Government have done so much to meet them, and which they have carried on so far at such great risk. That is a very formidable fact.
We hear a lot about national unity and the importance of acting as a nation and not as parties in this matter. Where is the national unity if a party which represents a very large proportion of the country and is advancing confidently, as it believes—there may be more to be said about that before they reach that point—to power, definitely dissociates itself from such a scheme, and denounces it and opposes it formally in the House of Commons? My hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury made a very thoughtful speech the other day. He does sometimes make very thoughtful speeches. He referred to the Irish parable. Let me say, as I am going to quote his words, that I do not intend to shirk my responsibility for any concern in that. The hon. Member, with great force and great cogency, said:We allowed the Irish question to become a party question, and from that moment we were lost. Once the Irish realised that they had two opposing parties to contend with their success was assured, for they could, and did, play one party off against the other until Great Britain was reduced to the most shameful surrender in her history. The Indians are not lees astute than the Irish. They are more numerous and more powerful. 449 Once allow them to believe that they can get more from one party than from another and there will be no end until we retreat from India with the same ignominy that attended our retreat from Ireland.There you have the analogy. Here you have the alternative party, the only party which can replace this Government, and it has definitely come forward in direct opposition to and denunciation of your policy. The Government are entitled to review the situation in the light of the fact that what they have to offer now to the Indian people is not any more the gift of the nation. It cannot be pretended to be so. It is only the gift of a number of gentlemen who at the present time are able to marshal a Parliamentary majority in the House of Commons.
Many false analogies are drawn from past events, and we have had in these Debates continuous references to Ireland and South Africa. Of course, we all try to learn lessons from the past, but in extracting those lessons we naturally draw and extract the ones which are the most agreeable to our mood at the moment. I had something to do with most of those decisions. It fell to my lot to carry the South Africa Constitution Act and the Irish Free State Act through this House. I will tell hon. Members the particular lessons which have remained in my mind from them First as to the South Africa Constitution Act. The lesson there was that it is not enough to be right and well meaning, but that you must find big men with whom you can make a bargain which will be faithfully observed. In General Botha and General Smuts we found two great men, two great warriors, and fathers of their country, who, for a quarter of a century, have used their extraordinary gifts in order to preserve the solemn compact which was signed between the two belligerents in the Treaty of Vereeniging, and subsequently in the South Africa Constitution Act. It is no use comparing the South Africa Constitution with what we are now asked to do for India. It is only to darken counsel to bring that in. I am sorry that General Smuts, for whom I have such admiration and a long friendship, seemed to make some comparison the other day. I wonder what the distinguished General would say if a proposal was put forward to give seats in the Union Legislature 450 to Indian immigrants to South Africa, or to the native inhabitants of South Africa? I think the fine and expansive phrases of his Liberalism would shrink to a very much more narrow and effective practical demonstration of his will.
In Ireland also, I shared in that sombre decision, and I am not going to attempt to elaborate it to the House now except to say that there, again, we tried to make a bargain with the men who really controlled the opposite forces, and, if that has failed, it is largely because those men, Michael Collins, Kevin O'Higgins and Arthur Griffiths, gave their lives quite soon in an effort to maintain the honour, as I believe it to be, of the Irish people in the faithful execution of Treaties entered into with good faith on both sides. We have had great disappointment and disillusion in Ireland. I wonder whether the then leader of the Conservative party, the right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Sir. A. Chamberlain), feels that disappointment. I certainly do, poignantly, and every reproach which naturally attaches to it; to the prophecies which were made, the hopes which were aroused, but which the passage of time and the march of events have falsified. I feel it very much indeed. Although one must act according to the circumstances of the moment, and grave indeed were the circumstances of that moment, I cannot feel that one ought not to accept to some extent the hard teachings of experience.
But how much worse lies the Indian situation? There you have no one to deal with, nobody that can execute their side of the contract or agreement. There you have no one who can answer you; you have only vague noises coming back to us across the ocean, incoherent noises, as the result of all we say and do. The House must ask itself: How shall we stand on this Indian matter, not in a year or two, but 10 years hence? After all, the lesson that you may learn from Ireland is that at the beginning things may go fairly well, that the first lot of men you deal with will keep their word. There are in India men trained under your system, their minds habituated to a certain course. But the second lot of men, who come along and get into office by attacking the first lot, cars nothing for the contracts which have been entered into or the agreements which have 451 been made; they brush them all aside; they are nothing to them. And thus we have been insulted, derided, defrauded and mocked in our Irish policy.
Where shall we be 10 years hence in our Indian policy? Ten years is a very short time. I have been twice engaged in big matters in my experience as a Minister in which 10 years was the limit when they were to be reconsidered—the Washington Treaty and the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms. It seemed to be all right and that we need not worry about them any more. They are both here. Where shall we be 10 years hence in this Indian matter? That is the question we must ask before the House votes to-night. In 10 years time the foundations and pivots of British authority will have simultaneously weakened in every part of India. You will have shifted the axis of India. You will have altered the focus of Indian loyalty. Everywhere the waves of so-called popular government and democratic movements will be lapping against the foundations of your institutions and pressing upon the structure of your power. Where will hon. Members in this House find themselves in 10 years time? If you resolve to proceed upon this path, to take this step now, it will be absolutely no use afterwards complaining of the consequences. We were criticised, the Lord President of the Council, the right hon. Member for West Birmingham, and I, for what we did in regard to Ireland, sometimes very harshly. Believe me, what you are going to do now is far more risky and ten times as large and lasting.
But we are told by the Secretary of State for India that the case of India is different, that we are keeping an Army in India and kept none in Ireland. I do not believe that that really affects the issue. At this stage of the difficulties in front of us it is not a question of the Army. If it comes to that the British Army is not so far away from Ireland. If the Irish trouble could have been settled by the use of military forces, we should not have put up with the treatment which we have received. No one dreams of using military forces against Ireland, great and grievous as are our complaints against the Irish Free State; nor would anyone. Once you engage yourself in this constitutional process 452 and deliberately hand over power, set up a responsible Government with Ministers and Cabinets, who may present to the Governor-General their minutes according to the Constitution, you are upon a path where you may suffer mortal injury before any situation arose, and without any situation arising where military power had to be employed.
One other lesson I learned from the Irish Treaty proceedings, and I am sure that the Lord President of the Council learned it too, and a great deal better than I did. It was this. On a great Imperial issue the votes which are given by Conservative Members in the Lobby or at the National Union of Conservative Associations are no true measure of the feelings of the party on the subject at stake. They are naturally influenced by their trusted and honoured leader. I well remember when we were both engaged in the Irish matter that everything seemed to be going very well—I think there were only 30 or 40 who voted against us in the Lobby on the decisive Division—we had the great advantage of Lord Derby's assistance in bringing Lancashire along quietly and in turning the opinion of the National Union, and at the Liverpool conference only 70 delegates voted against the Irish decision out of 1,800 delegates. The "Times" newspaper recorded this with lively satisfaction. But the right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that underneath the surface passions and feelings were boiling and that deep injury was done to the structure of unity and harmony within the party. So well did he judge this that within less than a year he went off to the Carlton Club and blew the Government sky high.
I venture to draw a lesson also from the Montagu-Chelmsford Commission, and it is this. It is not the slightest use the House of Commons depending on a Joint Select Committee to give them good advice about India. We had a very fine Joint Select Committee, not quite so loaded, arranged and marshalled as the one over which the Secretary of State for India has reigned, but it was a very authoritive Committee and contained many men of intelligence, experience and authority. We took its advice. Many people think the advice given by that Committee has been the seed of the difficulties and evils we are 453 suffering from to-day. For a long time I felt some reproach when hon. Members came along and said: "Mr. Churchill, it is all very well your coming forward now, but what were you doing when the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms were passed." There, we took the advice of a Joint Select Committee, and the lesson I draw is that the House of Commons should not allow itself to be too easily gulled by an array of complacent notabilities and dignatories, but should address itself with earnestness to the topics which come before it and form an opinion of its own. That is what we shall endeavour to do in the months before us.
I will not linger longer upon the past, although I have, I hope, extracted some gleams of guidance from it. The past is over, the long process of examination has come to an end, and with it many hot controversies which were associated with it. When the House has approved of the report of the Committee, which no doubt it soon will do, the Constitution Bill will be brought before us, and then we shall have to take a new view of that piece of work as a whole. We shall have to try it, as I ventured to say out of doors the other day, by the test of a few simple questions. Will it work? Will it last? Will it satisfy the people for whom it is designed? Will it make a better government in India and a more assured and permanent connection between India and the Crown? These are the questions we shall have to determine next year, and we must go into them fully in the time allowed, which is enough to make it possible for us to do so. It is by the results of its work that the House will be judged. It is no good saying that we were at it for seven years, that we had a Joint Select Committee, and that we took enormous pains, the test by which our work will be judged will be: Is it good? Is it vital?
The great Napoleon said that a Constitution should be short and obscure. Although we have not yet seen the text of the Bill, we know enough about it to know that this particular Constitution will never fulfil one of those desiderata. But you may ask of any Constitution two questions: First, will it make a better Government; and, secondly, will it be acceptable to those for whom it is intended? Justification is, I think, possible on either of those 454 counts. You may say that it will be unpopular in the country, that they will not like it, but that it will be a much better Government for the great mass of the people; or you may say that the people will have to put up with a lower level of administration, that the conditions will not be so good, but that it will gratify their ideals and that that is what they really want. Either of those defences can be made. But can His Majesty's Government make either of them upon this proposal? I believe it is possible to demonstrate that your policy fulfils neither of those conditions in any way. I know what we are going to hear. We are going to be told: "Here are the extremists of the Labour party; here are the Die-hards; and in the middle this great central phalanx of the sober-minded, steady, prudent, patriotic, matter-of-fact, common-sense, British Members of Parliament moving forward along the middle way." But it does not always follow that the middle way is the best way, as the man found who fell between two stools.
That is the difficulty of the Government. However large may be the number of people with them, they are still confronted with that difficulty. I do not agree with the party opposite; I disagree violently with the proposal they put forward. But at any rate they have a theme. Their theme is to do what the Indians wish. We also have a theme; it is to discharge the mission of Britain in the East. But what is your theme? That is what we want to find out in the months that lie before us. This scheme offers neither efficiency nor consent. We are launched upon a project which political India rejects. We parade it as grand and magnanimous; they reject it as a hollow sham. We consider that it is an immense relinquishment on our part of vital control; they accept it, if they accept it at all, only as the means of wresting further controls from us. We have deserted our duty to the Indian masses. Well I know that. But we have not gained the consent or gratitude of the Indian intelligentsia. We have wrested, wrenched, plucked the roof-beam from our house in the hope of building a bridge across a gulf, and when we have torn it down we have found that the beam is much too short. That is the answer which I give to those who say: "Go along in the middle with 455 the moderate people." It is not the least use doing so unless they have a policy which somewhere or other achieves a definite purpose.
I was very glad to see that the report of the Joint Select Committee does not in any way under-rate the importance of provincial government. It speaks of it as a fundamental departure from the present system, and indeed Indian Ministers who have had so little experience can really not consider themselves slighted when they are asked to take over the government of countries as great as France or Germany, or Spain, or Italy, and when they have the whole of these vast populations and their affairs submitted to them. No one can complain at all that these tasks are unworthy. On the contrary, they constitute, I believe—provincial Governments alone, whether the police is fully transferred or not—a rulership as great and as august as is being exercised by any body of men in the world.
But there is this objection to the provincial scheme. I should have acquiesced in it and supported it and submitted to it, although from many points of view I do not like it, but there is this objection to it: Absolutely no provision is made for ensuring that we discharge our responsibility to the mass of the Indian people—none whatever. It is quite callous and disgusting the way in which the whole of their services are transferred without any desire to follow up and see what happens and to make sure that efficiency is maintained. I ventured to submit to the Joint Select Committee a proposal to have a system of grants-in-aid similar to those which we have in this country, which ensure the efficiency of our education system, and inspectors from the centre who would get in touch and make the conditions of the people between one province and another attain a certain standard. This could be done without the slightest derogation from the dignity of those whom it affected. There is not the slightest derogation. It is only what the Chancellor of the Exchequer and other Ministers here, who are giving money to local bodies, are continually doing.
There is no reason why something should not have been done. But the right hon. Gentleman yesterday boasted in a very pointed way that there would 456 be no question of grants-in-aid or inspectors following up or anything of that kind. He can do that, and no doubt his Indian friends, as he rightly called them, will be pleased. Of course they will be pleased. But where does he stand himself? He stands himself in the position of one who has announced that the British Government completely disinterests itself in the welfare of this great mass, handing them over without caring even to inquire whether or not their hospitals, their schools, and all their different social services undergo a great deterioration. I call that a lamentable thing.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Yes, but there are many other things that are going to be transferred. At any rate, the right hon. Gentleman in rejecting the suggestion I made at the time made it clear that he did not interest himself at all in any way in what happens there. I noticed that the hon. Member for Limehouse made a very far-reaching and rasping statement upon this subject. He said: "Let us suppose that we have this Constitution"—he was speaking generally of the Constitution—"what will be the position of the masses under it? Self-government is only a means to an end. We do not want to hand over the workers and peasants of India to the Princes, the landlords, the moneylenders, the industrialists and the lawyers. I fear that that is what we are doing." It is a very serious matter for the Government that that should be said by the official speaker of the Socialist party, because it is going to be repeated on hundreds of platforms throughout the country, and I believe it will find an echo in many Conservative hearts when it is known, especially among those who have great personal experience of India, that a lot of this talk about liberty for India only means liberty for one set of Indians to exploit another.
But the crux of the dispute between us is the question whether you should limit yourself to the provincial scheme or whether you must go forward and have federal autonomy. My Noble Friend yesterday put that very fairly. He said: "That is the great issue between us." It is true that without that undoubtedly the Bill would have an easy passage, even among those who very much dislike many features of it. But the Government are 457 very conscious of this weakness, and an elaborate argument is being fabricated to prove that you cannot have provincial autonomy without central autonomy, that provincial autonomy without central autonomy would be rejected by the Indian people, and even that it is impossible—some go as far as that—not only is it pernicious but physically impossible to have the one without the other.
Evidently this is the sensitive spot. Anyone who has listened to the Debates will see that this is the point upon which the advocates of this policy feel most uncomfortable. They have to prove that the one form of autonomy is inseparable from the other, and it is this link between the two that causes them the greatest anxiety. Consequently there is a regular chorus of protestations whenever it is approached. I have heard the Secretary of State here, the Chancellor of the Duchy at Manchester, and the First Commissioner of Works here last night, and my Noble Friend, and no doubt we shall presently have my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham, all engaged in proving that you must have the central if you are to have the provincial, and if they cannot have the central some of them even go so far as to say that they would rather have nothing at all and drop it all. It is rather rash to put the case so high.
After all, the Statutory Commission made a plan which presumably was a watertight plan, which envisaged provincial government only. They might have liked to have had something more, but they never said provincial autonomy alone was impossible, and Lord Irwin's Government in India, writing an elaborate critique upon that plan, went even further and treated federation as even more remote than the Simon Commission did. They contemplated a workable scheme without it being necessary to introduce this federal scheme. How can you pretend that it is unworkable when these bodies definitely made their plans upon that basis, and put them before us at such great length and with so much force? Besides, supposing in the course of our Debates we are able to prove, as we may well be able to do, that the federal structure and apparatus will not work, will not stand and will break down because of the many anomolies and contradictions and unsolved difficulties; or supposing that the 458 Princes do not come in. What happens then? The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs placed that in the very forefront of his argument and held it up as the most notable fact.
I am not now going into the question of the Princes' action, because we shall see in due course, before the Second Reading of the Bill; but if we are able to show that the scheme is unworkable, if we riddle it and hold it up to the censure of Parliament as bad workmanship, or if the Princes do not come in even in the reduced number that you want to come in, where will you be after you have been persuading your followers that the provincial scheme is impossible without the central, and in a few months time you have to come to this House and say what a splendid thing the provincial scheme alone is all by itself?
I must address myself to this weak point—the junction between the two schemes; because that is the point on which all our batteries will be firing in the months ahead. Talk of the unity of India! We hear a great deal about it and of the danger of centrifugal forces from the Chancellor of the Duchy. He is very much against them. But my right hon. Friend must remember that, after all, it is the centrifugal force which now keeps the earth, including the Duchy of Lancaster, from falling into the sun, when our destruction would be total and immediate. But we are told that the unity of India must be the goal. The unity of India is not an end in itself. I think there is danger in assuming that it is axiomatic in our arguments that we should work for the unity of India as the end. Unity is not the end in itself. The welfare of India is the end, and the unity may or may not be the means of attaining that end, according to circumstances. However, let those who seek the unity of India listen to these words of John Stuart Mill. I knew that my hon. Friend the Member for Bodmin would like to hear them, so when I came across them I thought I would save them for him. They are taken from the volume on Representative Government already quoted by the Foreign Secretary:When nations thus divided are under despotic Government which is stranger to all of them, which … chooses its instruments indifferently from all, in the course of a few generations, the identity of situation often produces harmony of feeling and 459 the different races come to feel towards each other as fellow-countrymen … but if the era of aspiration to free government arises before this fusion has been effected the opportunity has gone by for effecting it.These are remarkable words from a remarkable man, whom Lord Morley said he approached as a calm lamp of benignant wisdom at which he was glad to kindle his rushlight. These are remarkable words. Are we to hand over the unity of India which is simply the result of British rule? There is no real, practical unity in India apart from British rule. Endeavour as you may to diminish British control and influence and Indianise the services of Government, to that very extent, step by step, you will see the unity of India decline. The only unity left when your rule has sunk will be a unity of hatred of all foreigners, particularly the foreigners with whom they have been brought into close contract. Then we used to be told that if provincial autonomy were offered without central autonomy, it would be rejected. As they are rejecting everything offered, obviously that argument has lost some of its force. If provincial autonomy is set up without central autonomy we are told that provincial governments, instead of concerning themselves with the great responsibilities entrusted to them, will be occupied in trying to obtain control of the central administration, and that they will exhaust themselves in that. I think that that is a very far-fetched and unconvincing argument. If Indian political classes who control provincial legislatures are not satisfied, if the Congress party, who are the same party throughout the country, are not satisfied, obviously they will endeavour to press for changes in the central legislature. Will they not be able to use more power if, in the central legislature, they have already got an advance guard, a dyarchy established, and have got their foot in the door, not only in the central legislature but in the Cabinet? You will not escape this agitation; you will only arm it. On the contrary, if you are to look at this question of the interests of the Provinces as compared with the dual system of the Provinces and the Centre, I have heard great authorities on India say what a pity it would be if in the provincial legislatures the best men were drawn away from their work and 460 forced to engage in the sterile constitutional struggles which, on the passage of this Bill, will begin at the Centre of India.
But then we are told—"Alas, the central government is so weak. The poor, weak central government cannot continue like it is; we want a stronger government." What do you mean by a stronger government? The Secretary of State must declare whether he seeks an act of liberation or to have a stronger government. Never was there a government so strong in relation to its subjects as the existing Government of India. It is quite true that it does not use its strength, that it defers more than is desirable to the opinions of the unsatisfactory representative legislative assembly which has been gathered together at Delhi. But the inherent, latent power of the Government is indisputable. We have seen that power exercised, and skilfully exercised. Why, the whole of the formidable movement of civil disobedience led by Mr. Gandhi, was completely defeated without the use of a single British battalion, and with hardly any loss of life. Such a demonstration of power, of strength of the central government has never been surpassed. Of course we are told that reforms are needed, that members of the legislature ought to become members of the executive council and so forth, but to pretend that the condition of the central legislature is so weak that you cannot allow it to continue, that you must strengthen it by setting up a dyarchy, a parliament of 600 men with, as the hon. Member for Limehouse told us, "Very little to do or few subjects to deal with," is an argument which ruptures the bounds of reasonable thought.
Lastly, we are told that the Princes have offered to come into the Federation, and that the opportunity may never return. Why will the opportunity never return? Do you anticipate failure in the Provinces? If you go on with them alone, will failure be so marked that once the Princes see it they will not consider the possibility of re-entry? For only if you anticipate failure must you expect they will not return. If provincial governments are a success, there is a far greater inducement for them to associate themselves with it. When the units are found to be of real purpose, the Princes will surely wish to join in the central system. However, we are told that when 461 the Princes made their offer to come in they stipulated that in return there must be responsible government at the Centre. I thought it was a very odd thing that these autocratic Princes with lineages that go back for hundreds of years insisted that the central government must be responsible. I share the objection of my Noble Friend to the word "irresponsible." I note the curious terminology which describes as "responsible" the antics of the parliament of Ceylon, while the Select Committee dubs on page after page as "irresponsible" the majestic policy which has raised India from the misery and anarchy of former centuries. How anyone can abuse the English language, the English achievements in that way, passes my wit. What they meant was "non-responsible." Consultation of a dictionary would have relieved them from that error.
How was it that the Princes made their offer? In the dark and dismal days of the Irwin-Benn regime in India, a feeling, quite unwarranted, that the English really meant to hand over their responsibilities in India resulted in a tremor passing through the country. Every toiler who could spare a moment stopped to find out what was happening. Everywhere people were thrown into confusion. You saw one manifestation in the second horror of Cawnpore. You saw another manifestation when between some Princes and the Congress party there was an agreement reached, that if the Princes asked for responsible government the Congress party would guarantee them their hereditary despotic power in their own States. The idea that the Princes were enthusiastic about the proposal is arrant nonsense and humbug. It could never have been put across if there had been a Conservative party in this country doing its duty. But when "The Times," the "Daily Herald," the "News-Chronicle" and the "Manchester Guardian" all sing the same tune in cacophonous chorus a great imposture can be maintained against the public for a considerable period of time. I could go further into this matter, but I will not, for I do not wish to trespass on the time of the House. But I have tried to put some arguments forward which, in my opinion, show that no case has been made out that Federal and Provincial Governments are inseparable, and that the 462 desperate efforts made to bridge the gulf between them have not succeeded.
I hope that the right hon. Member for West Birmingham will, perhaps, be able to address himself to that. One other favour I would venture to ask him is that I do hope he will tell the House the charming story of his conversion. I have heard it myself before, but I would enjoy it very much again. There are some in this House who have never had the opportunity of hearing it at all. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to tell us what sturdy feelings of independence led him to undertake the task of joining the Select Committee, with what grave misgivings he viewed the kind of policies and proposals upon which he might have to pronounce, by what infinite soul-stresses, he was forced inch by inch by the logic of inexorable fact to come to the conclusion that he must vote in the Government Lobby on this subject as he had always done on previous occasions.
The Lord President told us that unless we accepted this scheme we should lose India in two generations. That is a long way to look ahead. I do not know what is the exact measurement of a generation; it has never been computed. It seems to me that a remark of his old friend the late Mr. Bonar Law would be applicable—That you cannot argue with a prophet; you can only disbelieve him. As a matter of fact, looking even a few years ahead, it is a great mistake to assume that the future is a mere continuation and extension of the present and the past. The most unexpected turns back are taken by mankind in their journey. The trees do not grow up to the sky. Very often we see the sharpest zig-zags here and there, saving nations and saving great areas of the world from disaster at the last moment by sudden revulsions. You cannot look as far ahead as that but you ought to look ahead as far as you can, and ask yourself where you will be in 10 years time? This particular scheme which no one believes in really, not even the most enthusiastic Samuelite Liberal, is by no means the only way in which we can maintain our connection and our honourable contact with India.
I should like to point out to the House that we are now asked to adopt this scheme of Federal Home Rule at the Centre, and that not one of the condi, 463 tions which were envisaged at the time when it was first discussed, has been made good. There is no acceptance of it by the Indian political classes. There is no agreement betwen Mohammedans and Hindus upon the communal issue. The communal award made in default of their agreement has not been accepted by them. The anomalies of in-and-out voting in the Federal Assembly have not been solved. The franchise is wholly unsatisfactory. I daresay I prefer the one which you have now adopted but consider what it is. You are adopting a franchise which the Secretary of State and the whole India Department and the Commission which you sent to India considered was not the right franchise. He tosses to and fro on his feverish bed, now to one side and now to the other, finding nowhere in which to rest. All that is unsolved and unsettled. The financial stringency is unrelieved—though we have not heard much of it in these Debates—and there is not the wherewithal even to start the Provinces off with certainty still less the Federal conditions.
Nevertheless, in spite of all that the House of Commons is now asked to sign, as my Noble Friend the Member for Aldershot (Viscount Wolmer) has said, what amounts to a post-dated cheque, to be presented three or four or five years hence, by unknown hands, in circumstances which no man can foretell. That is what we are asked to do. Of course, the Government will win. We do not doubt that. But when they have won, when their vast majority has shuffled through a hundred lobbies, what will they have gained? They will have gained the right to impose upon India a system wholly unsuited to the welfare of its people and abhorrent to all who speak in their name. They will have plunged vast regions into prolonged political agitation and disputation which will proceed, not only in every Province, but also at the centre and summit of the Government of India. Meanwhile, every political agitator in India will look forward to the arrival in power here of a Socialist Government which has announced beforehand that it is prepared to out-bid your proposals at every point. Meanwhile, you will have injured, baffled, discouraged and divided the great political force and 464 party which, in a world of gathering fears, must remain one of the chief instruments of British strength, and, more important than any question of party, you will have depressed the vital heartbeat of Britain all over the globe.
§ 7.19 p.m.
§ Sir AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
Members in all parts of the House will feel that my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) has made a speech worthy of the great traditions of this House on one of the House's great occasions. He has been good enough to address some invitations to me, and I shall endeavour to accept them as far as is possible in the course of the short time for which I propose to ask the indulgence of the House. May I begin by remarking upon a statement of his with which I find myself in the most complete sympathy. I hope for the credit of this House that we are going to conduct the Debates, when we come to the Committee stage of the Bill, on the lines which my right hon. Friend has indicated; that we may concentrate upon the great issues which undoubtedly are raised, discuss them at reasonable, but not obstructive length, and avoid all those various forms of torture which our exuberance of speech has forced us to devise against ourselves.
I feel that we cannot obtain much help in dealing with the problem now before us from the analogies to which so much allusion has been made. Hon. Members of His Majesty's Opposition are wont to cite the South African precedent. But they are not prepared to follow it, and it is therefore irrelevant. My right hon. Friend appeals to me as one who shared with him responsibility for the Irish Treaty and asks me whether I do not feel grave disappointment at the results. Of course I do—profound and grave disappointment. But if he means to say that if he were faced to-day with the conditions which confronted us at that time he would refuse to attempt any form of settlement, then I do not share his views and I say that, even badly as it has turned out in many respects up to the present time, I do not lose hope yet that in that Treaty the ultimate reconciliation of our peoples will be found. But what bearing has the Irish Treaty upon these Indian reforms? The treaty may have been right or wrong, but it contains no conditions and no safeguards 465 except for Ulster, and the position of Ulster to-day is inexpugnable. The suggested analogy would seem to be introduced for prejudice and not for reason.
I leave that analogy, and I come directly to the question before us, and the point which I wish the House to consider for a few moments is: What is the policy which my right hon. Friend and his friends commend to us and upon what basis are they going to ask the support of the Indian people for it? Something was said earlier in the Debate, I think by my Noble Friend the Member for Aldershot (Viscount Wolmer) in that very remarkable speech of his, about settling this question in a day. Surely no more careful or prolonged preparation and consideration has ever been given to any question before the House has approached its definite solution. Let me say in passing that my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary performed a useful service when he disposed once and for all of the idea that my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping is a faithful follower of the Statutory Commission or that there is, anywhere, contradiction between the Statutory Commission and the Report of the Joint Select Committee.
The Statutory Commission declared in favour of Provincial Autonomy, including the transfer of law and order. It declared for a Federal Government for all India as the ideal at which we should aim and on the realising of which responsibility at the Centre could alone begin. My right hon. Friend can find in the Statutory Commission's Report no authority to which he can appeal in support of his policy. He can find none in the Round Table Conference. He can find none in the Report of the Joint Select Committee. All have united in support of the main principles of the Measure which the Government will presently introduce. With what moral force then can the right hon. Gentleman go to India to ask support for principles of government which have been condemned by all those authorities? What support does he expect to get from the rest of the world for a Parliament which, having caused all these inquiries to be undertaken and made, rejects the united and unanimous advice of them all in order to go back to ancient prejudices rather than look facts in the face?
466 I have sat in opposition with my right hon. Friend. I have sat with him as a colleague in Government. When he is in Government he judges questions under a great sense of responsibility and brings a much cooler judgment, if I may say so, to bear upon problems than he does when he is in Opposition. Above all, when he is working with colleagues like that on an equality, he cannot ride himself in blinkers as he is too often disposed to do. My right hon. Friend is apt to form swift and decisive judgments and, when he has once formed them, he excludes from his vision any fact which tells the opposite way and shuts his ears to any argument which does not conform to his preconceived notions. Until my right hon. Friend can get over that mutilation of his own talents he will never rise to that height in the Government of this country which his brilliant abilities might cause all of us to wish him to hold.
It is not merely that the supporters of the Minority Report can find no basis in the judgments of that long series of bodies for the policy which they have recommended. They do not believe in that policy themselves. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) said that for his part he saw no reason for any reforms. My Noble Friend the Member for Aldershot did not, I think, go quite as far as that. But take my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping. He is ready to concede provincial government. But, tried by his own test, does he think that it will work? He does not. Does he think it will satisfy the people to whom it is given? He has never pretended that he does. Is it going to be better government? He asserts loudly that it will be worse. Will it strengthen the connection between this country and India? He asserts that, on the contrary, it will weaken that connection. But then, if those are his views, with what right does he come to us and advise us to adopt that policy which he himself expects to fail and hopes will fail?
I take a different view. I am not in the least disappointed at or surprised by the result of the recent elections in India. I venture to think they have some lesson for the moderate politicians of that country. If they will not defend that which is reasonable, that which marks a great advance, they will derive no profit from their timidity or their cowardice. 467 The advantage in attacking, in opposition, will always go to the extremists, and a party places itself in an impossible position when it takes its stand upon a platform which it has not the courage to defend. I do not regard these elections as the considered opinion of India on the reforms which are proposed, and I say that, even if I did, there is one significant fact which is worth considering. It is that the idea of refusing to work the reforms has vanished, or practically vanished, from the Indian stage. It is so generous an offer, it affords so wide a field for the legitimate activities and ambitions of India's public men, that there is no section of public opinion that will not try to work it, even though they look forward to expanding in the future the liberties which are now granted to them.
I am not discouraged about the results of the elections, and my course will not be altered by them. My course has been altered, and my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping particularly desired that I should once again tell the story of my conversion. When is my right hon. Friend going to tell the story of his frequent conversions? I am sure that you, Mr. Speaker, to whom my right hon. Friend appeared to think these matters were peculiarly interesting, would say at once that the story of my right hon. Friend's career, how he got round the many sharp corners in it, at such opportune moments, was more worthy of your attention and afforded you both more instruction and entertainment, than anything in my more humdrum career. My conversion, if you call it so, was a process of reasoning, founded on facts which were impressed more and more upon me in the course of the sittings of that committee. The right hon. Gentleman denies that the present Government of India is weak. That is not the opinion of the Lieutenant-Governors and Governors who have to uphold law and order and the British Raj in the Provinces, and I should be surprised if it was the opinion of the Central Government itself. We were in that committee, I should think without exception of party or of ultimate view, struck, not by the strength, but by the weakness. I think that is a paragraph in the report which was not 468 challenged from any quarter in the committee.
I do not say that that Government would fall if we did nothing, I do not say that we cannot rule India by the sword if we wish to, or repress disorder and discontent with the mere force at our disposal, but I do say that we have never tried to govern India in that way, that we conquered India with Indian allies and Indian soldiers, that we have governed with Indians and through Indians, and it will be a new departure, unknown in the whole of our long connection, if you reject and refuse the natural development of the institutions in which you have bred them, the hopes which you have instilled into them, the education which you have given to them, and say you have reached the limit at which you are prepared to make concessions to them. I was reading the other day the volume which Lady Minto has devoted to the memory of her husband, which sets out for the first time his full share in the initiation and framing of the Morley-Minto reforms. I am not going to claim for a moment that he foresaw within any measurable time, or indeed foresaw at all, a Measure of the nature that we are discussing to-day, but he laid down a principle which I think is as applicable to-day as to the day in which he wrote it. He said:There is no doubt a great deal to be uneasy about, and I am more and more convinced that our control of the future will rest largely upon the mutual action of ourselves and the thoughtful portion of the Indian community, but we cannot count on their support unless we trust them and enable them to share our responsibility with us.The weakness of the Indian Government arises from the divorce between the critics, the great mass of the Indian public, and the Government, the divorce of power to annoy from any responsibility for the consequences of the annoyance. Is it contended that Indians are not fit to take their part in government? It is common ground to everyone that not only the Indian police have done their duty magnificently, that not only the Indian Army is a loyal, disciplined, trustworthy force, but that throughout the Services there are Indians innumerable, in enormously greater numbers than Europeans, whom we trust with the highest responsibilities and duties, who 469 sit in the High Courts and do justice over the European as well as over the Indian, and do justice fairly as between man and man and race and race. There are Indians who, in these difficult days, have filled posts which have marked them out for the animosity of the terrorist and have discharged their duties with a courage that no one in the House or out of it could exceed. That is common ground. Why do you suppose that those men differ from the politicians whom you distrust? They are of the same race, they have had much the same training in their early years, they come from the same family sources. Why do you trust the one and distrust the other? Because you have put the one in positions of responsibility, and you have left the other entirely without any responsibility. Unless you can bridge the divorce between the Indian politician and the responsibility for the action which he takes and the consequences which will follow, you will govern India, but you will govern it always with increasing difficulty, and the longer you delay to attack that problem the more difficult it will be ever to solve it. My right hon. Friend and those who act with him refuse to follow the Simon Commission even in respect of Provincial Autonomy.
I come now to the question of law and order. What is the result of freeing the politicians and the Indian Legislature from all responsibility for law and order? It is that the police become the target of all the bitterest attacks, of all the racial feeling, and that they can draw no support in the discharge of their duties from any popular source. As Lord Zetland said upstairs, you can do nothing which will have a more sobering influence on Indian politicians than to make them responsible for law and order. It is really absurd to talk of a Government as responsible if it is deprived of the means of discharging its first duty to a civilised community. We have a right to take precautions that, if they fail in their charge, law and order will still be maintained. The Joint Committee have taken them. I say, in the same way, that if you want to strengthen the Government of India, you must bring a body of Indian public opinion to support it, and that you can only do that by initiating them into the responsibilities which 470 hitherto you have carried alone, leaving them no longer to a barren criticism, but inviting them to fruitful co-operation. There too, we have a right to take security, and we have taken it. Progress must be gradual. Some services are to be reserved for an indefinite time. There must be a breakdown Clause, and there must be special authorities and responsibilities vested in the representative of the Crown to meet any grave emergency. I am confident that if you decline on this occasion, after all these committees and their reports, to do more than my right hon. Friend, unwillingly, unbelieving even the wisdom or safety of what he proposes, suggests, you will concentrate an ever growing force of Indian public opinion against your rule; you will widen instead of narowing the gap which racial conditions and different traditions place between us.
There is one other thing that I should like to say. I am no more competent to interpret the minds of the Princes than any other Member of this Assembly, except in so far as their motives have been explained to me by themselves or their representatives, but if I were an Indian Prince I should join the Federation. I should join it because I should feel that it was in the interests of my dynasty and my State. Those who for their own purposes encourage the Indian Princes to hold aloof take a great responsibility. I should join it if I were they. If they refuse, there can be no responsibility. The scheme of government would be that which my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping desires to see adopted by the Government.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
No, it is not the Simon Commission. The chairman of that commission may be credited with a surer knowledge of that report than even so shrewd a reader as my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Bournemouth. There can be no responsibility at the Centre if the Princes refuse to federate, but, for my part, if that happens, I shall view the future with the greatest anxiety. It is within the power of this House now to satisfy the claim of those who ask that Indians shall be admitted to a share of the responsibility in the Central Government and a share of 471 responsibility in the Provincial Governments. It is in the power of this House to lay down here and now the conditions on which it thinks it is safe to grant them. If you leave that issue undecided, if you leave it to drift for five, ten, I know not how many years, are you sure, the hands of this House will then be as free? Are you sure that the conditions which you can now obtain and maintain will be within your reach then? I see, on the contrary, the downward path of British rule not in refusing that which so many purely British authorities have combined in thinking fair and reasonable; I see the danger to our rule in shrinking from doing what is safe and prudent to-day because some other party at some other time may do something which is foolish and unwise. We can only strengthen government in India and preserve our connection if we are true to our own selves and to our own tradition. It is not our tradition to be fearsome or grudging in welcoming, as they become fit, the assistance of what have been subject peoples in the government of their own country, nor in due course in resigning to them a large share of the burden of our responsibility.
§ 7.50 p.m.
§ Mr. BAILEY
Before I subject the remarks of my right hon. Friend to the criticism which I am afraid it is my duty to subject them to, I should like to assure him, on behalf of those of us who hold views in the strongest opposition to his own, that, although we disagree with his conclusions, we nevertheless appreciate the selflessness of his labours and the great distinction he has brought to bear on his task. If I venture to criticise with freedom, as one must if one is to criticise at all, I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will know it is from no desire to belittle him, because no one can do that, but from a desire to examine this question thoroughly from every point of view. At the outset of his speech the right hon. Gentleman—I will not say taunted, but very severely criticised the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) and those of us who share his views in that our position was one of complete illogicality and unreasonableness. I tried to take down his words, and I understood them to be these: "You do not even believe in your own policy 472 in regard to Provincial Autonomy. You yourselves do not think it will work, you have no faith in it, and you even hope it will fail."
There is only one emendation that I should like to make to this picture. We certainly do not hope that provincial autonomy will fail. We hope it will succeed, and no one will be more pleased if it does succeed, though our better judgment tells us that it will fail. What we feel is that to some extent we have been committed by the mistakes of a previous Joint Select Committee and that we have to make an experiment of some kind which would give to the Indian politician a reasonable opportunity of showing whether our views are right or wrong. We must take a risk of some sort, and we say that since we have to take a risk, and since we have even reluctantly to give Indian politicians the chance of showing whether we are right or wrong, let us not take a risk from which there can be no retreat. Let us not completely cross a Rubicon which we can never recross. Let us, if we find that we are mistaken, and that the risk was not as serious as we thought, then face an extension of the system of self-government. Let us, however, be in a position to be able to recede from our attitude if we were wrong. Our policy enables us to watch and to control what would be the results of self-government in India. The Government's policy only enables them to watch but not to act if the results prove to be disastrous. That is why we think our policy is to be preferred to the policy of the right hon. Gentleman.
The right hon. Gentleman made a certain number of criticisms of what I might call a subordinate character, although they were of considerable importance. One thing he said was that if we do not hand over the police, the police will become the target of the Indian politicians against which all the forces of Congress or agitation will be concentrated. I accept that, but if you transfer the police and if you have to exercise your safeguard and take them back, will they not trebly become the target of the agitators whom you ask them to suppress? If the fears in the one case will be such as almost to deflect them from their duty, the task which you would impose on them by your safeguards would make their 473 position almost impossible. If their position in the one case would be unworkable, in the other it would be unworkable too. That is why we think that what is proposed on paper will be meaningless and impossible when you try and put it into practice.
The right hon. Gentleman also said that our rule has been to take Indians into our confidence. Actually, that has been done in a subordinate and not an executive capacity. They have followed and we have led. That has been the secret of that great and glorious partnership. It has not been a ease of their leading and our following as is proposed under this scheme. Then the right hon. Gentleman asked if we make a distinction between these Indian politicians and the great servants of Empire, the value of whose work no man can seek to diminish. I say without any hesitation that we do, and I draw the most profound distinction between the two. The ones have showed their worth as soldiers, as loyal servants, as men who have risen by honourable toil; and the others are claiming power as the result of assassination and by instigating the shooting of officers' wives. We know that to be true. There is the widest distinction between those who have served us loyally and those who have sought to destroy our rule and to whom we are now conceding all that we have won so gloriously. I read with the utmost interest the article of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain) in the "Daily Telegraph" of Monday week. In it he laid bare with complete lucidity the processes of his own reasoning. I listened also to the speech of the right hon. Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy) yesterday, in which he also set out the processes of his reasoning. It is difficult to argue with two supporters of the report of the Joint Select Committee who seem to support it for entirely different reasons. The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) gave as one of our main reasons for opposing the reforms that no section of Indian opinion wanted them. The right hon. Member for Hastings suggested that the argument was hardly a fit one, and he used these words:Our case against Provincial Autonomy and nothing else is not that the Governor General in Council is an irresponsible 474 Governor, or an unfit person to administer the affairs of the Central Government, nor is it our case, as he seemed to think, that the mere fact that we are not going the whole way will cause such popular feeling in the Provincial Legislatures that they will continually agitate in favour of going further at the Centre. That is not our case at all. Our case is that certain functions of the Central Government are so intimately linked with provincial administration that to attempt to separate them between two authorities, each responsible to a different constituency, is a form of dyarchy, probably the worst form of dyarehy conceivable."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th December, 1934; cols. 262–3, Vol. 296.]That is the view of the right hon. Member for Hastings. The right hon. Member for West Birmingham tells me he does not dissent from that view. Yet the right hon. Gentleman in laying bare his soul in that article in the "Daily Telegraph" said that at one time he would have accepted Provincial Autonomy, but he had come to Federation because he did not think that Provincial Autonomy would be acceptable to the Indian politicians. The right hon. Member for Hastings said, "That is not our case." The right hon. Member for West Birmingham, when laying bare his soul, said his reason for accepting Federation as well as Provincial Autonomy was that he did not think Provincial Autonomy would be acceptable to the Indian people. I do not wish to score debating points, but I feel that we are entitled to know which of these two points of view is really the point of view of the Joint Select Committee. If they think that Provincial Autonomy and Federation are essential, and that Provincial Autonomy without Federation is the worst form of dyarchy, is it reasonable to suppose that we should have had a unanimous report from the Simon Commission in favour of Provincial Autonomy? I do not think the Simon Commission would have committed themselves to that. I think a little more highly of the Foreign Secretary and the others associated with him on that commission than to think they would have committed themselves to the worst form of dyarchy. I admit that the alternative of Federation was not then open to them, but I say that if Federation was not open to them they had no right to commit India to the worst form of dyarchy, and therefore I find myself unable to accept the arguments of the right hon. Member for Hastings and in sympathy with the arguments set out by the right hon. Mem 475 ber for West Birmingham in the article to which I have referred.
I will examine that article a little more closely, because I think it is so illuminating. What are the arguments of my right hon. Friend against Provincial Autonomy? Is it that Provincial Autonomy does not provide a fair field for the Indian politician to operate in? Is it that it does not provide a fair field for him in which to exercise his responsibilities? I think there is much in the argument that unless you give people an opportunity to co-operate they will remain aloof. But do not we give them an opportunity to co-operate under Provincial Autonomy? Let me quote the words of the right hon. Member for West Birmingham, which are better than any words I could utter. Speaking of Provincial Autonomy he says:There is work and ample scope for Indian patriots and reformers in the field allotted to these Provincial Governments if they will settle down to the task which is nearest to their hand. There is a career here which is as useful and interesting as any that is open to all but a few Englishmen in the public life of this country.Is not that enough as an instalment for co-operation—an opportunity equal to that which only a few people in the public life of this country have got? I say that if they will not co-operate on those terms, when they have only had self-government for ten years, they will never co-operate. That is our fundamental objection to the whole thing. If the Indian politicians will not accept these terms the onus is on the Government to show that they will accept any terms. As to treating the statements of these Indian politicians as being bluff, are the Government quite so sure that the Indian politicians are bluffing as much as they are? I am very much more inclined to think that the men who organised terrorism throughout India will stick to what they desire rather than co-operate with the hand of weakness. It may be said of these Congress leaders that they are the "rough necks" of Indian politics. When I listen to those arguments I think that some hon. Members would suppose that if we let the convicts out of Dartmoor and put them in charge of the police they would respond to the responsibility placed on them. I do not believe it myself, but I am not a Liberal. I say that we might ignore the Congress leaders as men who, like 476 de Valera, will accumulate wisdom with responsibility, but what about Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, that peerless son of Indian democracy, that person about whose ability there has never been a shadow of doubt, one of the elder statesmen, a man with 30 years experience of Indian public life, a man who is always spoken of in terms of exaggerated reverence? What did he say about our handiwork when speaking at Allahabad University on 16th January, 1933? His observations upon the present report of the Joint Select Committee, we are told in the "Times," were unfavourable, but for some reason or other, whether it be distaste or lack of complete information, the "Times" has not published these observations in full, and so, not to do the right hon. Gentleman—I refer to Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru—an injustice, I do not quote them, but quote what he said on the 16th January, 1933. In advising the Conrgess men to accept the White Paper he said:It places such a powerful weapon in your hands that if you can send into your legislatures the right sort of men"—A nice sort of definition—the right sort of men"—I have not the least doubt you can achieve all you want probably much quicker than you imagine,"—and much quicker, I should say, than we or the Government imagine—because the cumulative weight and effect of these changes will be such that they dare not resist your demand for the further extension of the Constitution, its natural and logical evolution being Dominion status. I am approaching the question from the point of view of a practical man who wants what you want for this country but who differs from you in method.That is the most significant sentence of all—"who differs from you in methods."It is far better that you should send those who oppose you to gaol than suffer yourself to be shut up.So, according to the anticipations of Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru he will send the Governor who invokes the safeguards to gaol. It will not he a case of the Governor sending Indian politicians to gaol any more. But, seriously, because I do not want to make debating points, if the great Indian moderate, not the school boy of Indian politics, says that, can we place any faith upon the proposed co-operation of the Indian Congress and Indian politicians generally? Of course we cannot. I challenge the 477 Government or the right hon. Gentleman to produce a single statement by a single Indian politician of repute that he or his party will co-operate in these reforms, and will not use them as a lever to get whittled down the safeguards which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham tells us are essential if this scheme is to be carried out.
The right hon. Gentleman in his article, writing of provincial autonomy, says that the Indians will not co-operate if we do not give them Central Government. He says the provincial Governments will become instruments for the overthrow of the Central Government. I say that the new power we are setting up at the Centre will become an instrument for the overthrow completely of all the safeguards by which the right hon. Gentleman sets such store and the complete ruin of the British connection.
Take the question of the transfer of responsibility for law and order. The right hon. Gentleman says in that article there are grave risks, but he thinks the way to deal with the matter is by safeguards sufficient and efficient enough to eliminate those risks—I am epitomising what he said. The first of the Safeguards is that if a Minister is inefficient or corrupt or unsatisfactory in any serious way he may be dismissed by the Governor. That is only a paper safeguard, because if you dismiss the Minister you have no alternative, you have to exercise your final Safeguard. So that is only an imaginary safeguard—I do not say the final Safeguard is imaginary. The next Safeguard is that the Secretary of State can still recruit Europeans for the higher offices in the police and other Government services. That, I admit, if carried out, is some measure of safeguard. Again, the rules and regulations of the police force are not to be altered without the consent of the Governor-General or the Governor. We have already been told by the hon. Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Cocks) that these Europeans are only a mere drop in the ocean of Indians employed as police. These Safeguards will be of the utmost value if they can be carried out, but can they? The efficiency of a police force does not depend upon the rules by which it is governed, but whether those rules are carried out. Can those rules be carried out?
478 I will give one or two illustrations of how, in my mind, that Safeguard will work. Perhaps four or five Europeans will know that things are going wrong with the police in their Departments, that things are deteriorating and the rules are not being carried out. They go to the Governor-General and say to him that he must put his foot down, because the efficiency or loyalty of their subordinates is being undermined by the policy of the Minister. The Governor-General sees the Minister, the leader of Congress, or whatever agitating party is in power. The Minister meets him with a flat refusal to alter the position. What a terrible situation the Governor-General will be in. For the sake of efficiency in five or six Departments he has either to have a first-class constitutional crisis or to let the matter go by default. He will communicate with the Secretary of State for India—it may not be the-present Secretary of State. Is the Secretary of State, especially if he happens to be one committed to the abolition of safeguards, going to risk a terrific campaign in the British Press and a first-rate crisis in India, the upshot of which he cannot foresee, for the sake of five or six European officials who say that their Departments are being corrupted or being made disloyal in some way or other? We know perfectly well how, as British citizens, they have been let down in the past under our present weak Administration at home. That is why we are weak in India—because the Government are weak here, not because they are weak there.
I say the Government will be weaker still in the future, and that one by one these officers, recruited by the Secretary of State, will know that it is no use appealing to Caesar to see that their position is kept as it should be. One by one they will give up the fight, as I believe many have done now, because they do not believe there is any hope. I say the regulations will go by default. It is not as if we shall have a sudden crisis, but day by day there will be infiltration until, finally, when it is required to use the forces of law and order, it will be found, as was found in the case of Ireland, that all the safeguards were nothing but a scrap of paper. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that the Irish situation does not lend any analogy to the Indian situation. I do not say that the Coali 479 tion Government could have found a better policy for Ireland, but I do say that the unanimous opinion of our party leaders, with that of the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) thrown in, that the estimates they formed of the results of the Irish treaty have proved completely wrong. I do not say the Treaty itself should not have been entered into, it may have been the only thing possible in a terrible situation, but the views they formed as to the results of it have been completely falsified. I will read to the House one or two very short passages showing the views they formed, because I never think it is fair to attribute views to other people in your own words. The right hon. Member for Chelsea (Sir S. Hoare), who was an architect of that Constitution, said in moving the Address:Henceforth the scene of the triumph of Irish statesmen will be transferred from the sterile deserts of opposition in this House to the fertile fields of reconstruction in Ireland. We are taking to-day a long step forward on the path of peace."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th December, 1921; col. 10, Vol. 149.]Was he right? I wonder what the Dominions Secretary thinks of the long step forward on the path of peace. What do the Irish people, who are suffering to-day from the duties, think of that long step forward on the path of peace? What did the architects of the Treaty themselves think of that long step forward on the path of peace? They may have been right, but the predictions that they made as to the results of their policy were completely wrong. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham who was leading the Unionist party on that occasion, also made some references to it. He said:My hon. Friend the Member for South Antrim says—I do not quote his exact words—that the Government have shamed themselves, and have brought, I think he said, dishonour on their country, by signing a treaty which deserted their friends and curried favour with their enemies. That is the judgment of my hon. Friend speaking under great stress and amidst difficulties of a very peculiar character. I will give no expression to a judgment of my own. Is my friend so free from partiality, so detached in mind from all that is going on at the moment and all that has been going on in these last bitter years, is he so detached and impartial that the judgment of history is to be written by him? I appeal from his judgment—an honest judgment as it may be, but profoundly unjust as I think it—I 480 appeal from his judgment to the judgment of the world, and what I care more for than the world, the judgment of the Empire, which has hailed this treaty as a great act of statesmanship, a God-send to the Empire, and a new addition to its strength."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th February, 1922; col. 208, Vol. 150.]Has it proved to be a new addition to its strength? I do not read these quotations in order to revive unhappy memories of battles long ago, but I am bound to ask myself, when the right hon. Gentleman says that all the weight of authority is on his side, whether the weight of authority was not on his side then, and were not we who were alone—not myself, but those who took that view—right as to the consequences of what was being done? Those who opposed them were wrong in thinking that they had a better policy. They thought they were the best judges of the future.
I wish to judge no man. Every Member must act according to his own conscience, including Members of the Government, but will Members act according to their own consciences when, tonight, they go into the Division Lobby to support the Government? Or are they, on the other hand, following the line of least resistance? To resolve that doubt I suggest that they should put this question to themselves: Suppose Lord Salisbury and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping were to-day at the head of the Government. Hon. members may say "Impossible," but many things have happened that the Liberal party have thought impossible. Suppose that we assume the impossible—if it be not too difficult a feat for the intellect—and that those two right hon. Gentlemen were at the head of the Government and had the Conservative party machine in their hands. Suppose that they were able to use that party machine in opposition to these proposals. Would hon. Gentlemen be voting still with their consciences, or would they find, after grave misgivings, that their consciences had suddenly seen another light?
I do not know, but many of us feel that the Government have not given us a fair deal and that they have tried to force this matter through. We believe that the sort of pressure which cannot be proved has been exercised both against us and the Princes. We believe that. If there were a free Vote, the situation would be different, but we feel that it is our duty 481 to resist and to have no part in it. We feel that this is the product of an unprincipled Coalition, a spineless party and an indifferent people, and that when we look back on the part that we have played, it will be one of the brightest passages in our public life.
§ 8.18 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Commander AGNEW
I have not previously intervened in the Debates upon India, but if I had it would have been with the intention of criticising the course which His Majesty's Government have from time to time invited the House to take in regard to this very great problem. Outside in the country I have taken some part in the active campaign which has been waged against the proposals contained in the White Paper. Since the publication of the Report of the Joint Select Committee, with the weight of evidence and of argument that it contains, and with its modification of the original scheme, in the way of extra safeguards, I have dissociated myself from my Noble Friend the Member for Aldershot (Viscount Wolmer) and his Friends, because, in broad principle I have accepted the Report and am prepared to consider favourably a Bill which the Government may see fit to produce on the general lines of Provincial Autonomy, federation and Central Responsibility. I think the hon. Member for Finchley (Mr. Cadogan) in his speech on Monday, feared to be egotistical, but his fears have proved groundless. I am expressing a similar anxiety, and I ask for the indulgence of the House if I prove guilty.
When, in my short political life, India first came into prominence, the Statutory Commission had made its report. Following very soon upon that, a further step had been taken in the inauguration of those Round Table Conferences which had been provided for and recommended by the Statutory Commission. Therefore I was never in the position of considering the report upon its merits as an isolated production which we should have to judge as to whether it was wise or not. My own inclinations, in the matter of reform of a kind that we could impose upon Eastern peoples, were very much against democracy, and I think they still are. I have spent some time in the Service in Eastern countries, though not in India itself, and I had only to compare 482 the conditions that you would find in one of those Eastern countries, namely China, with conditions in Japan. I make no comment upon the forms of their respective internal governments, because the question is not whether we like their form of government or whether we do not. The fact is that anybody who may be called upon to serve in His Majesty's ships in Far Eastern waters never knows at any time whether he may have to take part in some Force, landed for the sole purpose of restoring law and order which the Government of China have failed to keep; whereas you know that any visit which you may make to Japan will be purely of a ceremonial nature. The lesson which was indelibly stamped upon me was that democracy in China had failed. That was nearly 10 years ago, and I took the view that there was no chance in the future of that democracy coming to success. It seems true that the traditional form of Eastern government is authoritarianism.
I was therefore inclined to take a view quite opposed to democracy in India. Another factor exercised my mind. The Prime Minister came down to this House quite soon after the National Government was formed, and when our attention was taken up in surviving as well as we could the national crisis which was then before us. He said that his policy with regard to India was the same as it had been in the previous January, at a time when he was Prime Minister of another administration. In the short time that we had then to consider such a problem as India, I felt that the Prime Minister's declaration was not altogether free from the risk that he had not shed some of the ideas in which his former colleagues had enshrined him; and, for the sake of preserving certainly a continuity with regard to policy in India, but an unwise continuity, had come down to a new House of Commons and had endeavoured to get its Members to endorse that view.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Has he not altered every one of his views, because he came into the National Government?
§ Lieut.-Commander AGNEW
No; he altered a great many of his views, and we know how the country has benefited. Taking the question at its face value, without looking into it too deeply, it would seem as if he had changed his 483 view upon almost everything at that time, but he took the right course. Then came the White Paper. It is a grandiose scheme; even those who support it wholeheartedly say that. My first reaction to it was one of great disgust. I considered that the advance made in it was too rapid. I knew that the authoritative document which we had at that time in our possession—the report of the Statutory Commission—had recommended in substance an immediate grant of provincial autonomy, and that anything else which it went on to advise was purely for the future, and purely in the direction of an ultimate ideal. Therefore, I felt that it was right to attempt to associate myself with those who, equally sceptical and with far greater experience than I had myself, were organising something in the nature of a public consciousness, with a distinct and strong tinge of opposition in it, up and down the country. It was because it was desired to organise in the country an opposition to these proposals that two bodies were formed, the one in support of the Government proposals, and the other against them, the latter of which I joined.
That campaign which was conducted in the country was almost entirely and purely destructive in its character. It sought to set the proposals at naught, and to say that they were unwise. But it must inevitably happen that, when you set out to destroy anything, you will be asked what you intend to put up in its place, and that was the cry that came back to us a little later from the people who listened to the speeches that were made in the country. Then the body with which I was lately associated were trapped irretrievably, and they could not escape from the net in which they put themselves. They said to themselves, "What shall we do?" They took from the bookshelf the only thing that was to their hand—the report of the Statutory Commission—and they said, not "The whole hog," but "Half the hog." That was provincial autonomy.
It is of course quite clear that in saying that they entirely ignored the whole proceedings of the Indian Round Table Conferences and the new developments that had taken place at those conferences, culminating in the quite unexpected 484 declaration of the Sovereign Princes of India that they would take part in a Central Government of India, and a responsible Central Government of India. I would say in passing that there could be no question of Sovereign Princes taking any part in a Central Government of India where they were placing themselves in the position of being subordinate to a bureaucracy. That is a position which they would not contemplate. Indeed, in the past they have in some cases been only too fully inclined to resent the measure of bureaucratic control which, as they have sometimes maintained, the Government of India has exercised quite apart from its power of paramountcy.
The campaign, of course, went on in the country until the report of the Joint Select Committee was produced. I need not go into the broad provisions of that report, because they must be very well known to all hon. Members in the House towards the end of a three days' Debate, even if they had not studied them before. Now, as we have heard in the Debate, my Noble Friend the Member for Aldershot and his friends are prepared to accept provincial autonomy. The Noble Lord said in his speech that he would accept it, but that it would be a very different kind of provincial autonomy from that which was envisaged in the report of the Joint Select Committee. He did not, however, except on the one point of the transfer of law and order, go on to tell us where the difference would lie.
If we are to take our cue in that matter from the speech of the hon. Member for Gorton (Mr. Bailey), who is not here at the moment, we are to gather that it is to be left to the Indian politician to decide whether we risk right or wrong. In other words, the Noble Lord and his friends are prepared to grant provincial autonomy, but to leave it to the Indian politician to judge whether the experiment which they are prepared to make in provincial autonomy is a right experiment or a wrong one. Later on the hon. Member for Gorton went on to say that the administration will fail, and it will fail because we are weak here, not because we are weak in India. One can only deduce from that that, whatever kind of administration there is in India—whether the present one is left un 485 changed, or whether the proposal of provincial autonomy only is adopted, or whether the proposals of the Joint Select Committee are adopted—the cardinal point remains that, provided those who exercise the administration are steadfast, the dyarchy will operate according to the way in which Ministers in this country decide on the question whether the safeguards contained in the report are to be used.
That is bound to be the case. You can never eliminate dyarchy from India; you can only decide, in making your proposals, to put that dyarchy in the wisest place; and I believe that in giving this almost unlimited power—power such as certainly the Stuart sovereigns never had—we are saying to the men on the spot: "Exercise your own discretion and your own judgment—you have the power, whether by special responsibility or by Governors' Acts, to carry on the government of your Province or the Federation, as the case may be—and we will back you up." We say that now: "We will back you up." Hon. Members will ask at once what is to happen supposing that a Government of a very different complexion should come into power in this country, and did not back up their own Administration on the spot. That is no new story in the history of Colonial administration in this Empire. It has frequently happened that the men on the spot have not been backed up. There is nothing new in the success of our scheme resting on the carrying out of that principle.
This scheme will depend for its success on two things—first, on the co-operation which Indians give in its working; and, secondly, and equally and complementarily, on the fair backing up which those who are charged with the duty of administering it get from this end. It has been said that you could grant Provincial Autonomy and yet not give Federation, that you could employ a new and greater Indian Council as a unit which would bind together both your Provinces and your States. I do not believe, if you really do grant Provincial Autonomy, if you give the large measure of power which my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) has said he is willing to give, although he does not think it would succeed, you could possibly make that scheme work, because 486 you would have such a pressure coming from the Provinces, such an uprush of healthy but perhaps raw Parliamentary effort, that you would make the position of your bureaucracy in the Centre quite an impossible one. I believe the only real check on an unwise and rash policy pursued in the Provinces, the only check upon, shall we say, an undue demonstration of their nationalism in these provincial units, is to have exactly the same kind of men, just as astute, taking a full part and a responsible part in the government of your Centre also.
§ Brigadier-General Sir HENRY CROFT
How does the speech that my hon. and gallant Friend is delivering now work in with his declaration at Bristol on 4th October that he was dismayed at the policy of federal self-government to be forced through without the sanction of the electorate?
§ Lieut.-Commander AGNEW
Since that date at Bristol a most important fact has occurred, that is the publication of the report of the Committee and, if the hon. Baronet has not himself changed in his view—I know he has not—by having read that report, I admit that I have. I believe it is a most weighty document and one which not only makes its case out but absolutely proves it.
§ Sir H. CROFT
Is there anything between the Simon Commission and the Select Committee which alters this vital principle that my hon. and gallant Friend stated when he said he was dismayed that the Conservative Government should be a party to setting up central self-government in India?
§ Lieut.-Commander AGNEW
It has become clear to me, although perhaps I may not be able to make it clear to the House, that the Federal self-Government that you set up—self-government is the hon. Baronet's word and not mine—is a safeguard, a cheek and a break on the excessive steps that the Provincial Governments might try to take. Let me take another case, and perhaps the hon. Baronet will be persuaded himself. In the case of finance, there is no doubt that the principal tax collector will be the Federation, but, as time goes on, although there will certainly be important non-voteable expenditure which must be incurred by the Central Government in the form of the military 487 Budget, that part of the Budget that can be controlled at all will deal very largely with the expanding social services in the provinces. Therefore, with the tax collector as one authority and the tax spender another authority, it seems to me that, if you were to have Provincial Autonomy, a responsible and elected body, bringing pressure on a purely bureaucratic Centre you would have a position approaching chaos.
I do not wish to argue further the main provisions which underlie all this controversy. I am quite satisfied that federation is the right plan to support. The die is cast. I believe it was cast many years ago when, as the First Commissioner of Works said, politicians for the most part indulged in the policy of trying to see through their coloured glasses the same kind of civilisation springing up in India as they had in England. Instead of fostering the indigenous institutions that Indians had, although admittedly they were in a somewhat disorganised and disrupted form through many hundreds of years of civil war, they certainly set out to reproduce, as far as they could, an exact copy of the society and the life that we have here. I regard it as an almost disastrous error that throughout the latter part of the eighteenth century and the nineteenth century the British suppressed many of the native monarchies that existed in India and that we ourselves created this problem of two kinds of India, the British India and the India of the Indian States. If we were in the position now—but I do not think it would have been now; it would have been long before this—of desiring to federate merely a large body of Indian States, we could do it certainly far more easily and with far less apprehension than we feel now. But there the problem is and I believe the wise thing and the only thing to do now is to go forward with courage.
I believe my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping and his friends are going out into No Man's Land, and they will subject themselves, I am afraid, not only to the fire of the enemy in front but absolutely unavoidably to the rifles of some of their own men who are waiting to shoot straight at the objective. They have taken up a position which I believe they know themselves is an untenable 488 one and, when they find that the Princes will come into the Federation, as they most surely will, they will before long see that Federation set up. Much time must elapse before then. Provincial Autonomy will have to be put into working order. We have yet to know that the Princes have expressed of their free will a desire to come into a Federation. Letters written by Princes have been published; I have seen a copy of one of them. I should describe it as a letter of a Prince who had certainly taken the far wiser course than I took myself of waiting until the Joint Select Committee reported to see what the report was, and since the committee has reported I have yet to learn from any hon. Member speaking in this Debate that any one Prince has stated that he will not come into the Federation. Certainly it would be premature if individual Princes or anyone, so soon after the report was published, and before the Government have produced their Bill, were to state that they were willing to come into the scheme. We must go forward with courage, and I would say to the hon. Baronet who is the sole representative of his friends at the moment——
§ Lieut.-Commander AGNEW
I have fully admitted that fact in the course of my speech, but I would say to the hon. Baronet before I resume my seat, in the words of a minor poet:Man finds fulfilment never in retreat,Escape, in giving, not in taking, toll.
§ 8.46 p.m.
§ Sir REGINALD CRADDOCK
I regret very greatly, as a supporter of the National Government, that, because of their Indian policy I have to oppose them in this Motion. I feel that when this great question is out of the way, whichever way it is settled, there can be no reason at all why those who have differed from this policy and those who have maintained it should not join together and combine in the interests of good government in this country. It has been my lot to be consultant in the Morley-Minto reforms as head of an Indian Province, and in the case of the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms as a member of the Executive Council of the Viceroy, and now in the White Paper Report as a Member of this 489 House and of the Joint Select Committee. I will contrast these two countries with which we are dealing, the vast areas of arena with which we are concerned, the heterogeneous peoples, the divisions and antagonisms, the undemocratic outlook and the mass ignorance. Compare at the same time the gradual evolution of our own country and Constitution. Sixty-four years have passed since education became compulsory. We have mass education. Compare those two; look on this picture and on that. Is the criticism unreasonable that we are going too fast and too far—three upheavals of the Constitution in 25 years, a single generation? Surely in regard to the criticism that we are going too fast and too far, we stand on very sure ground.
What is the second criticism? What advantage will accrue to the 97 per cent. who agree with us and wish us to stay and who are behind us if we only knew their minds? Will their lives and property be more secure? Will landlords and moneylenders abate their demands? No, quite the reverse. It looks to me that when we have gone on a little we shall have reversed the Magnificat, and shall find that we have given good things to the rich and that we have sent away the poor man. Lord Reading, in his first speech on his arrival in India, said that he hoped that by reason of his race he would be able to hear the almost inaudible whispers of the multitude. He used striking phrases, but I should think that they have passed from his memory. It has always been so with us. We have listened much more to the clamour of the few than to the murmur of the many.
My Labour friends above the Gangway are ready to admit that we are creating in the country an oligarchy of self-seeking. I ask my Labour friends if the extended franchise will enable these ignorant people to defend themselves? In time possibly, but how long will it be? My Labour friends will chastise these people for their good, but will it be for their good? When Providence chastises us for our good it at least knows that it is for our good; my Labour friends do not. Some of the echos of the millions of people come across to me from serving officers who come home on leave. They give an illustration of what those masses of people understand. They tell us that there will be no justice then. 490 When Congress had been suppressed they said, "Why on earth did you not suppress it before? We do not want to be bothered with these things." One very bold peasant proprietor, who was extraordinarily blunt in what he said, described the oligarchy to whom powers were being committed as "a den of thieves."
I would like next to refer to the criticisms that are hurled at the Conservative minority of the Joint Select Committee. We are reminded constantly of statements made by authorised high authorities, the Viceroy and the Prime Minister and so forth, and that we shall be breaking pledges if we do not agree to the whole scheme and nothing but the scheme. As far as the statements of high officials are concerned, I would point out that the Joint Select Committee, on page 6 of their report, have already made it clear that in their opinion,all such statements of policy have added nothing to the substance of the 1919 declaration.That at once disposes of these subsequent declarations. In the opinion of the Committee they are all covered and they have added nothing to the substance of the 1919 preamble. They reproduce the whole of the preamble, and with it the special qualifications to which no notice has been paid. I wish to lay stress on one of those qualifications which says:And whereas the time and manner of each advance can be determined by Parliament, upon whom responsibility lies for the welfare and advancement of the Indian peoples.That is made clear. The responsibility for the welfare and advancement of the Indian peoples lies with Parliament.And whereas the action of Parliament in such matters must be guided by the co-operation received from those on whom new opportunities of service will be conferred and by the extent to which it is found that confidence can be reposed in their sense of responsibility.Those words are not verbiage to be cast away. They are the great safeguards which Mr. Montagu introduced to calm the doubts of the people at that time. It was said, "There are all those safeguards and you need not be afraid." Where are those safeguards now? No attention whatever is paid to them. Long periods of non-co-operation have elapsed, land there was the boycott of the Statutory Commission, which was advanced by two years. All these things were 491 done but that safeguard has never received due attention.
One thing is certain, and that is that the idea that we shall be breaking any pledge if we do not accept the whole Constitution put before us, is nothing but a myth. There is no truth in it at all. We are told that the minority policy is quite sterile, and that we give them nothing. We are told that the minority policy is a mere negation and contains nothing constructive in it. The concessions of the minority, they tell us, are mean and petty. The subject of land revenue, which we are willing to concede, is most important. Anyone who says that control over land revenue is a mean and petty concession, must either be wilfully blind or woefully ignorant. Land revenue covers half the whole administrative field and many subsidiary departments. It gives power to assess, collect, revise, suspend and remit the rent and revenues. It gives power over the administration of famine relief, covers land tenures and the rights of landlord and tenant, and deals with more than half the revenue of every Province. Therefore on the successful administration of this Department depends the future prosperity of 90 per cent. of the population living in small towns or villages.
Take the question of finance. Surely nobody would say that the control over Provincial finance is a mean and petty concession. Forests and Irrigation are two other great subjects which are to be handed over to the new tribunes of the people. I need not take time discussing the importance of these subjects. Not only are they well known but their importance is fully emphasised in the Majority Report. The first criticism that I have to answer on the question of our proposals is, why are we prepared to transfer land revenue, and why are we opposed to the transfer of law and order. I will tell the House as best I can what an extraordinary difference there is between these two subjects. The land revenue system is based on an ancient foundation which comes to us from the Moguls, entirely oriental in its conception. We have improved it, removed its harshness and it has continued on the old foundation. Therefore, there is no subject, no department of State, no section of administration which is better 492 understood by the cultivator. If the system is so well understood by the rural classes, and if the enfranchised peasant can make his voice heard, this is the one subject on which he will have knowledge.
As regards finance, obviously, any failures and deficiencies are bound to stand out. They cannot be concealed. Concrete figures and accounts have to be published. The Finance Member cannot hide his budget of the last year, with its possible failures or the budget that he is to pass in the following year. The failures of the one or the prospects of the other are known to his colleagues, to the Legislatures and to everyone who can understand figures. Therefore, however disagreeable they may be, they are not irretrievable.
We separate these departments and give them over to the people,, including irrigation and the land revenues, in order that we can carry out as far as possible what the Simon Commission advised. Although there is no pledge that compels us to do these things, we realise that expectations have been aroused and we want as far as possible to meet those expectations and to give the Ministers in the new provincial Governments powers so that mistakes that have been made may more easily be rectified.
When we come to law and order, that is a totally different matter. The lives and liberties of the people are at stake. The decline of respect for the law is insidious. You cannot say exactly how far it is going and how far it has gone. What is the record in regard to the maintenance of law and order in pre-British India? Is there anything to encourage us to think that the people have a natural aptitude for maintaining peace in their own country? There is one thing that we may be certain of, and that is that if the law does not overawe the law breaker, before very long the law breaker will overawe the law. Even in the Indian States we have been asked to lend British administrators to go in and restore law and order. Again, we are faced with the fact, and we must recognise it, that there are no municipal authorities, not even the great corporations, that have ever had the duty entrusted to them of supervising the police or taking any part over the control of crime. I ask this House, what confidence can we repose in handing over to unskilled hands, hands that may be 493 not only inexperienced but timid, and may be, unfortunately sometimes surrounded with graft, the master key of the stability of the Indian Empire?
The entire structure of the Pax Britannica is maintained by the chain of obedience from village headmen to Governor-General in Council at the top, and we cannot afford to weaken any link in that chain. The whole thing may break at one link. That is the reason why we of the minority are not able to agree to the transfer of law and order to hands that are so inexperienced and incompetent. We are told that there is the Army. How can the Army administer the peace of a whole Continent? You cannot administer a country the size of India with only the Army. The British Army in India is only 50,000 or 60,000 strong and, therefore, the number available for these purposes is very small. I should like the House to realise that internal disorders usually arise when there is trouble on the frontiers. How can the Army continue to function if several links in the chain should simultaneously go slack, and we may be sure that when frontier troubles arise internal disorders will also occur; they would be synchronised with design.
The right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary referred to the observations of the Statutory Commission on the subject of law and order. It is like bearding the lion in his den for someone like myself to deal with a subject which the Foreign Secretary, whose powers of debate and forensic eloquence we all admire, has already dealt with in his report. Nevertheless, I will not be daunted by my formidable antagonist, and, in order to show that I am quite right in my view, I will read the passage, about which the right hon. Gentleman was thinking, in which the Commission refer to the views of those who are opposed to the transfer of law and order. They candidly stated the case on both sides, and then said:There are British politicians sincerely desirous of helping India along the road stated in the Preamble to the Act of 1919, who may find great difficulty, whether from want of appreciation of Indian conditions or from an innate conviction of the curative effects of self-government, in realising why it is that many experienced and disinterested administrators, who are familiar with the actual situation, as well as important bodies of non-official opinion, hesitate to give their support at the present 494 time to the proposal. It would do a great injustice to these men to dismiss their view as mere bureaucratic prejudice, and it would be a grave failure in the discharge of the Commission's duty to the British Parliament if we did not state with fulness and candour the reasons which, in the minds of so many men with actual experience of India, have led them to advise against this step. We are bound to point out that it is a view by no means confined to the majority of British officers who are Inspectors-General of the police in the Provinces, or to others, whether British or Indians in important official positions, but it has been expressed or impliedly supported by large bodies of non-official Indian opinion.That shows that it is not mere blind prejudice of an obstinate bureaucracy. It is a knowledge of the country, a knowledge of the administration, upon which my doubts are based. I have worked with Indians, I have been in charge of small areas and large areas, and I am speaking from a practical knowledge of India. I have had thousands of conversations with them and thousands of opportunities to observe their actions and compare them with their conversations. Let me give another quotation in order to show that this view was also taken by the committees which were appointed by the Provincial Legislative Councils to accompany the Simon Commission through the Provinces. All of them, with the exception of Madras, proposed shifts and devices of one kind or another to mitigate the dangers consequent upon the transfer of law and order. The Bombay Committee, elected by the Legislature, was frankly opposed to transfer. They said:All subjects with the exception of law and order should now be transferred. With regard to law and order, we think that for some years this subject should continue to remain reserved. The existence of serious communal disorders between two major communities in this Presidency and elsewhere in India makes the immediate transfer of this subject to the control of a newly elected council difficult and dangerous. Such transfer may have a very serious and prejudial effect on the efficiency and impartiality of the police and magistrates.Let me give just one more quotation, a short one, from the Mohammedan members of the Bihar and Orissa Elected Committee, which was appointed to join the Simon Commission. This is what they said:We earnestly advocate the proposal contained in the confidential Memorandum of the local government that law and order should continue to be a reserved subject. We have given this matter our fullest con 495 sideration, and are confident that our community and a large section of the public outside will not consider our views reactionary, but will see in this recommendation the expression of a widely held conviction that not until our politicians proved in less important spheres of administration their ability to discharge their responsibility can we entrust them with the protection of our lives and property and the vindication of our rights in the courts of justice. We strongly support the proposal made by the local government in their Memorandum.That was the fear of these elected persons; and no doubt it was a genuine fear. The commission, after all, came down on the side of transfer, and gave two reasons for their attitude. One was that it was constitutionally inconsistent, and that it would be regarded by all in India as a proof of weakness if we were afraid to reserve law and order because of the pressure put upon us. We have been having pressure put upon us for years and years, ever since these councils began. We have been attacked in the Press, but it did not deter us from keeping the question of law and order in our own hands. This is the very reverse of a bold course. The second reason was that they decided to apply occidental considerations to an Oriental country. What Indian cares or understands whether it is a constitutional inconsistency or an anomaly? He does not trouble his head about that. There may be half-a-dozen lawyers and politicians in the country who may make a fuss about it, but these people do not care about constitutional anomalies. What they want is to be godly and quietly governed. Surely the British nation is not so devoid of courage as to incur grave risks to the peace and liberty of their fellow subjects rather than sustain the pressure which has been put upon them by a few glib politicians. That is not the way in which we either started our rule in India or have kept it since. These fears of the minority, not only as expressed then to the Simon Commission, appear again and again in all the later documents. The people of the country, the minorities, know far better than we in England can ever do the manner in which the powers conceded will be used to gratify every ancient feud according to the nature of the community to which the leading party belongs. Here is the last sentence in the Simon Commission's Report: 496In writing this report we have made no allusion to the events of the last few months in India. In fact the whole of our principal recommendations were arrived at and unanimously agreed upon before those events occurred. We have not altered a line of our report on that account, for it is necessary to look behind particular incidents and take a longer view.But the House has to take those events into account, and has also to take into account all the events that occurred later. We cannot call the revolutionary movement, the civil disobedience and the terrorist campaign "particular incidents" and neglect them. There were also the Cawnpore massacres, which lasted four days.
§ Sir R. CRADDOCK
I would not call that a "particular incident." Certainly it was not; there was a long history behind it.
I had intended to have made some remarks upon one or two other subjects, but I will conclude with a few words on the question of the Princes. I am not going to touch on the question whether pressure was put on them or not. I do not know. Anyhow, whatever happened, let us assume that it was some form of peaceful picketing. The question is not whether the Princes will come in or not. The much greater question is whether it is wise for the Government to urge them to do so. I agree with the swan song of the greatest friend that England ever had among the Princes, the Jam Sahib. He felt fears, which I think are very well grounded, that it might be dangerous either for the Crown to fulfil its obligation to the Princes or for the Princes to fulfil their obligations to the Crown. There is one reason behind all that which has not been referred to. It is well known that the politicians, especially the more advanced members, put pressure on the Princes to enter the Federation. Why was that? Does anyone suppose that if the politicians, Congress and their associates, thought that the inclusion of the Princes would help the British Government and thwart all their aims, they would exert pressure on the Princes to enter the Federation? Surely that is not so.
I wish the House particularly to take note of the dangers of that kind in the scheme before us. We in the Services have had as a guide all the years the 497 words "Justice, equity and good conscience." I would utter a warning after my experience during all those years. If we give these powers unduly early until Indians have proved themselves in some of the lesser fields, we shall have Ministers who are unable to carry on, even if they are honest, and no matter what precautions we take underground intrigues will be used. Those words have been our guide and inspiration for all those years, and I hope they will not be allowed under this dangerous scheme to fade away until they perish out of the land.
§ 9.24 p.m.
§ Sir JOSEPH NALL
My right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) reminded the House that during the three days Debate the financial situation has not been discussed. I do not propose at this time of the night to enter upon any analysis of the financial position as it affects the proposals now before the House, except to remind the House that it is generally accepted as the case that the inevitable addition to expenditure in India on the inauguration of the federal scheme and the raising of revenue to-day are not an easy matter, but a very acute matter governing certain questions of trade and fiscal policy. I want briefly to refer to matters of fiscal policy, and to remind the House that in the White Paper as it was first presented there was, in fact, no real reference to or provision for the continuance of what we know as the Fiscal Convention. An explanation of that convention is contained in the volumes of the commission's report. In the report of the Joint Committee it is observed that without some special provision in the new Bill defining the fiscal liberty of the new Federal Government, the Government under the White Paper proposals would have complete and absolute freedom to do what it liked in matters of fiscal policy. That matter has been to a certain extent cleared up.
I was one who joined in urging the trading community to deal with this matter of policy on its merits, and as trading organisations to avoid becoming mixed up in a political issue, which in all conscience has produced enough division among people of the same political party. I did say that I thought there was a confused amount of talk on the matter of 498 good will. My hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster visited Manchester the other day and told his hearers that you could not sell cotton shirts at the end of a bayonet. Nobody in his senses supposes that you can. To go down to Manchester and talk in that strain is really begging the question. The British manufacturer has never really lost the good will of the masses in India. If there be any lack of good will, it has been in official circles and in the delay in dealing with trade matters. The trade agreement has been under discussion for over a year. Certain modifications of the existing tariff were, if not agreed, arranged between the British and Indian interests when the British Cotton Mission was in India to the extent that the Indian interests would not oppose certain readjustments. Notwithstanding that, official circles have taken all these months to get on with the implementing of that understanding, which, in any case, amounts to a very small thing.
I want to remind the House of this, and put it on record so that we may have it in our minds. In 1931 the ad valorem duty on British cotton goods was raised to 25 per cent. and on foreign goods to 31¼ per cent. There were alternative duties, specific duties, of 4⅜ annas per lb. on English cloth, and the same duty per lb. on foreign cloth. These duties worked alternatively with the ad valorem duties, whichever was higher, having to be paid. In September, 1932, the duty on British goods remained at 25 per cent., while that on foreign goods was raised to 50 per cent. and a specific duty of 5¼ annas per lb. In June, 1933, the duty on foreign goods was again raised, this time to 75 per cent. or an alternative duty of 6¾ annas per lb. That was in 1933. These increases in the duties, although one would suppose they would have some effect on the volume of British goods entering India, did not in the particular circumstances of the case prove sufficient to give any real measure of preference to British manufacturers. In 1934, when the question of the negotiation of an agreement was reached, following the agreement with Japan the 75 per cent. tax on foreign goods was reduced to a tax of 50 per cent., with the specific duty to 5¼ annas per lb. The duty on British goods was not altered. Notwithstanding the talks and agreements, the duties have remained where they were ever since. 499 Not only was the duty on foreign cloth reduced from 75 per cent. to 50 per cent., but in May of this year on certain small special lines the 50 per cent. was actually reduced to 35 per cent. in the case of certain foreign goods.
All this time the question of the Indo-British trading agreement has been dragging on, and month after month the trading community has been expecting to be told what is to be done. I understand that, if not actually completed, the agreement is in process of completion, but I sincerely hope that when the completion of this agreement is announced there will be something more useful and material than a mere reduction of 5 per cent. in the ad valorem duty, because without an effective increase in the duty on foreign imports this would be of little or no use. I would remind the House that this question of an ad valorem duty only relates to part of the trade. What still remains is a specific duty per 15. Any agreement that does not achieve a substantial change in this will not be worth the paper it is written on. It is this question of duties to which we ought to address ourselves. The good will of the masses has never changed. All through the Congress boycott they wished to buy from us, and it was only by violent intimidation that the boycott was pursued. It collapsed when Lord Willingdon applied the Ordinances in 1931. The moment a strong Government took the place of vacillation, order was restored and the boycott collapsed. The market has to some extent been restored, but as long as the duties remain at their present high level, neither can this country sell what it should in India, nor can the consuming masses buy what they require.
I mention that subject because I feel that this good will, about which Lancashire and the British trading community in general have been so much lectured, ought to begin at home. We want to see, even under the present Government of India, a bigger display of good will in this matter of trade and trading relations. If we cannot get a better display of good will under the Government as it is, what on earth will it be like under the Federal proposals? I do not know that any of my hon. Friends have said so in these Debates but some of them have certainly said on other occasions, 500 "If you have a Federal Centre in which the Princes and the States are represented is it not obvious that you will get a better understanding of this matter and that the needs of the consuming masses will be better considered"? In British India to-day the consuming areas are far greater than the manufacturing and industrial areas. If this question of the preponderating interest had any influence in the matter at all, the present Government in British India ought to be able to effect a change, but, in fact, such a change has not appeared.
That brings me to the point relating to discrimination. It is laid down—and this is a point to which further attention will have to be directed by the House—that the proposed Federal Government is to be free to engage in trade agreements with any country, with certain restrictions about imposing unfair disadvantages on Great Britain. We must have regard to the fact that in the East to-day we are faced with a competition which hardly existed, not so many years ago. We have to realise that in Eastern Russia, Manchuria and China, Japan has been penetrating commercially and industrially in a manner which was never contemplated in this country a comparatively few years ago. The same kind of penetration may go on in India, through the medium of Indian agencies, to the great detriment of this country unless special care is taken to preserve our relations with the Indian market. It is a fact that big financial interests concerned in Eastern trade are gradually clearing out of British industrial securities. Why are they doing so? Because they view this question of our trade in India and the East with misgiving. They realise that unless this country takes more care in these matters, particularly in regard to India, we are going to lose ground not only in cotton, in which we have lost considerably already, but in other sections of our export trade. The last Coalition Government made the great mistake of abrogating the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. I should be out of order in discussing that matter now and I only make the comment that that blunder of the last Coalition Government set up reactions from which we are not yet clear. Let it not be said that this Coalition committed the consequential blunder of weakening 501 our control in India, throwing together a combination which might be disastrous to us in the years to come.
I pass from these matters to the questions which have been under debate regarding the Federation and the Provinces. It is difficult to reconcile the arguments of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen who support this scheme. The Foreign Secretary and others have said that the provincial scheme will not work unless the subject of law and order is handed over. On the other hand, we are told that the provincial scheme will not work unless the federal scheme is inaugurated at the same time. My right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain) and others have continually told us that the present Central Government is weak and that there must be a stronger Central Government. It is just as logical and cogent to argue that the Centre should control defence and foreign affairs, and that there is no real responsibility unless the Centre has control in these matters, as to argue that the provincial governments must control the police. If the provincial governments cannot function without control of the police, how in the world is the Federal Centre which is not concerned with defence or foreign affairs going to be stronger than the present Centre which does control those things? I hope that the Lord President when he replies will indicate how that anomaly can be explained away.
We are told on the one hand by my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham that unless the federal scheme is inaugurated at the same time, the provincial scheme will never work. We are told by the Foreign Secretary that progress must depend upon events and that it is no use trying to work to a time-table. Which is right? We are told to-day that the provincial scheme set out in the Joint Select Committee's Report will not work unless the federal scheme is passed at the same time. How, then, did the Statutory Commission come to suppose that their provincial scheme would work without any federal scheme at all? On the one hand, it is argued that there is no difference between the two provincial proposals. On the other hand, we are told that there is a considerable difference. When the Foreign Secretary said, as I understood him to 502 say, that the Statutory Commission had proposed complete provincial self-government with control of the police in the manner indicated by the Joint Select Committee he might have made it clear that in the Statutory Commission's Report there was a very important qualification on this subject of law and order. If hon. Members turn to Volume II of the report, page 46, paragraph 63, they will find this passage:It will be recalled that we are not suggesting that a provincial Government must be deprived of the strength and experience which official training supplies, and we contemplate that at any rate in some provinces, an administrator of this experience would be in charge of the Department of Law and Order, though the Statute would not enact that this must be so. It will, of course, be understood that an official member of a provincial Cabinet is not necessarily a man of British birth; in fact, the Department of Police has been administered with acknowledged success in more than one province by an Executive Councillor who was an Indian and moreover was not a member of the Civil Service.Pursuing the same question we find on page 48, paragraph 64, of the report the following passage:We are unanimous in presenting the views that provincial dyarchy should now come to an end in the sense that a unitary Government should be established, composed of members appointed by the Governor and that the Statute should be in such form as to make it possible for such a Government to include an element drawn from official and other non-elected sources.How does the Foreign Secretary reconcile that with what he was telling us this afternoon? The fact is that this argument that the provincial scheme or any advance in the provincial field cannot be effected without enacting a federal scheme at the same time is a latter-day S.O.S., dragged up at the last moment to try to stampede the people who have misgivings on the whole scheme.
I am sorry the time does not permit me to say all that I would wish to say on some aspects of this matter. It has been said, and said very truly, by the Secretary of State and by other Government speakers that unless the Princes come into the federal scheme, it would be impossible to let a federal scheme work as a purely British-India Federation, but under the provisions of the scheme we have already heard how the half-dozen States with the largest population are being specially enticed into the Federation, and if those half-dozen 503 States, or the necessary minimum proportion of States, indicate their wish to accede to the Federation, and the Federation is in fact inaugurated on that basis, it follows that unless some special provision is made to give an entirely undue loading and weighting to the representation of those States, the Federation must in fact and for all practical purposes be a British-India Federation, and that difficult mosaic, of which the Foreign Secretary spoke, of little States intermingled in among the Provinces would still be there, the only difference being that in the actual Legislature there would be representatives of Princes from the larger States.
I suggest that it is a most unfortunate, indeed a humiliating, coincidence that at this time, when the question of the accession or otherwise of the States is under discussion, the India Office should have thought it necessary suddenly to try to adjust with several States those incidents of ill-feeling and irritation which in some cases have existed for many years. We heard in this House on Tuesday night about the negotiations for the retrocession to Mysore of the settlement of Bangalore, and we heard about the negotiations with Travancore for the retrocession of Tangasseri. Why should these matters come to a head just at this time, and why in particular should this question with Travancore arise at this time? I will admit at once that there is a difference between it and Bangalore, but the French and the Portuguese are not being asked to give up their settlements on the coast of India. They are not in the Federation. Pondicherry and the other French Settlements and the Portuguese Settlements are not asked to pay their quotas towards the purchase of the Princes. Why then should these matters of adjustment with the States suddenly arise at a time when the States are showing unwillingness to come into the Federation? I suggest that where these matters require adjustment, they should, in the ordinary British way, be discussed and be put right, independently of and without any regard to the federal question or the pending legislation.
§ Sir J. NALL
The right hon. Gentleman says that that is what is happening 504 now, but it has already been made pretty clear that it is only after many years in the case of Mysore that this thing has come to a head at this time, and while my right hon. Friend may be convinced that it is merely a coincidence, opinion outside will not quite accept that view. I suggest to the House that in the arguments that have been advanced upon this question of the Federal Centre, we have not been shown any real reason why an advance should not be made in the provinces. I do not accept at all what was said this afternoon by my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham that we who are opposing the whole scheme cannot logically support an advance in the provinces. We can and we do criticise what has happened in the provinces. It may well be, as I believe is the case, that it is because they have not been guided by a sufficiently strong hand in the early years of provincial autonomy in certain departments, it is because the British element has been too rapidly withdrawn, that things have gone wrong in so many departments, but there is no reason why that should not be put right and why further departments should not be transferred, provided the guiding hand is retained and chaos is avoided.
The whole history of the association of this country with India is in the balance. I believe that not only is our association with India in the balance, but our prestige throughout the East is in the balance too. Let us not, in a moment of hurried reform, relinquish that essential control upon the brightest jewel in the Imperial Crown, but let us rather continue with a guiding hand to advance, and to encourage Indians to participate in the government of their own country.
§ 9.53 p.m.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
It is said that adversity makes strange bed-fellows. We shall find ourselves to-night, in the second division, if there be a second division, with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) and his cohorts supporting us in our vote against this Motion. We shall be glad to welcome their assistance.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I cannot help saying that I have certainly enjoyed the 505 right hon. Gentleman's attack on his friends on the Treasury Bench, but I wish it had been in connection with another subject, because, although we are going to vote against this proposal of the Government, I think it is a rather terrible thing that it should go out to India that a right hon. Member of this House, with all his record behind him and knowing quite well what the position of things in India is, has so little faith, so little confidence in the people of India and their good will. His attitude of mind is the most reactionary that I think I have ever listened to in this House. It is a long time since I first heard him here, and I believe I have heard him box the compass on almost every question. Certainly, when I have listened to him in the past, when he has stood at that box speaking for the Government of the day, I never thought that I should live to see the day when he would be the leader of a band of—I do not know know how to describe them—nondescript die-hards. I think I may as well leave him to the tender mercies of his friends in the Conservative party. It is certain that if they follow him, the Socialist party, which he loves so much, will soon exchange places with his friends. We are grateful to him from that point of view, but from the point of view of the well-being of the people of this country and of India, I think that, brilliant as his speech was to-day—it was one of the best which I have heard him deliver—it was far and away the most mischievous speech he has made. Our friends in India and in this country will quite understand that he is with us, because in the House of Commons there are only two Division lobbies.
I should like to say a word about democracy. People always support democracy when democracy does what they think it ought to do. I do not think any of us have any complaint about our personal relationships with hon. Members, but I am always amused when they talk about our political action. When we do something of which they approve, we are good, common sense and reasonable people, but, if we say something of which they disapprove, we are something totally different. We have grown out of that sort of nonsense. It is exactly the attitude adopted towards the Indians. I want to make a plea to Members who have served in India and others to have a little regard 506 for the feelings of Indian scholars and the Indian people generally. It has been my privilege to know a great number of Indians for the past 40 or 50 years, and I am always ashamed when they address meetings in first-class language, which is up to that of the right hon. Member for Epping, that I, as an Englishman who is helping to rule them, can hardly say a word in any language but my own. I raise my hat to them for their acquirements, education and knowledge.
At the end of nearly every speech in this Debate it has been asked whether, as democracy is on trial everywhere in the world, this is the time to give more democracy to the people in the East. Democracy nowhere has really failed, for nowhere in the world has it really been tried out. Even in this country true democracy—that is, with the whole of the people with universal suffrage—has been in operation for only a relatively few years, and it is beside the mark to say to us, who are always taking our stand on the side of democracy and asking for its extension to other nations, that democracy has gone so far and that it must now be arrested. I think it was Mr. Gladstone or someone like him who once said that you should apply more democracy, not less.
There is a lot of talk about our making this a party question, and we are told that we ought not to take the party view of it. That is sheer nonsense, because what question is there, unless the nation is at war, that is not a party question? The worst of being old and having come to this place as a listener and a Member for a very long time is that I remember all these things being said on both sides of the House against one another. What political advantage will my friends here gain by our action in regard to India? It may be said that there are votes in the country. I will say a word on that later. When Iord Durham was fighting on the Canadian question he was almost on his deathbead before the party opposition was overcome so that the proposals with regard to Canada could be carried. With regard to South Africa, I remember that famous election when we were all indulging in "terminological inexactitudes," as the right hon. Member for Epping described them, in regard to Chinese labour. Was there ever a more furious party conflict than that? And the issue was South 507 African Confederation. Does anybody imagine that if the Liberals had not won at that time we should have got out of these difficulties in the way that we did? Then, in regard to Ireland, this House was divided for 40 years, and this sort of nonsensical rhetorical charge was made against one another. Is it not time that we learned a little wisdom? I try not to make those charges either outside or inside the House, because, strange as it may seem, I am trying to learn wisdom, even as old as I am. I daresay many hon. Gentlemen think that it is time.
The fact is, however, that I have always understood that people are divided about great principles. We as Socialists are internationalists. We are as nationalist in our love for our country as anybody in the House, but we also respect those who love their own countries. Someone said something about obstruction when this Bill comes in. We shall not obstruct, and because we take that attitude the right hon. Member for Epping has once or twice chivvied us by saying, "You are not an Opposition; you do not fight the Government. It is we who fight the Government." One of his friends on the mountain behind me described us as a rabble. I said many months ago that, as far as this party was concerned, we would not attempt to try and obstruct the business of the House. We have never taken the view that it was the business of the Opposition to oppose merely for the sake of proving that it was an Opposition. We have tried hard in this Parliament to fight on matters of principle. We have been told during these discussions what certain people will do when the Bill comes forward. I only want to say that I hope the House will not remain a sort of Tory caucus in which members of the Tory party will continually bring charges of selling the country or doing the Princes down, and that sort of thing, but that they will allow us to discuss the Bill in a rational manner. We at least will do that, and will stand the "chivying" of the right hon. Gentleman when the time comes.
I may remind the House, amid all these rhetorical fireworks, that it seems to have been forgotten that we have been discussing questions affecting the lives of 350,000,000 people, and that no voice from India has been heard in these debates, no Indian has been able to take part. 508 [HON. MEMBERS: "Why should they?"] I think they ought to have taken part. The Secretary of State knows, and he has admitted it, that a large proportion of those who came here to give evidence and to assist the Joint Select Committee with information are entirely dissatisfied with the report, and I want to ask the Lord President—and I hope the answer will be in the affirmative—whether the Government will not ask the British Broadcasting Corporation to allow representatives of the organised parties in India to broadcast their opinions, so that the voice of India may be heard. It may be said that the Government cannot control the British Broadcasting Corporation. I say the Government can. The Government have the right, according to the charter, to ask that certain things shall be done, and if we want to be fair to the Indians we ought to allow them to choose their own speaker or speakers. I am perfectly certain that if there were a general strike on and the right hon. Member for Epping were in the Government, we should see what the British Broadcasting Corporation could do. One thing for which I really admire him is that he does do things, especially if they tell against us. In all seriousness I put it to the Lord President that the Government should make representations to the British Broadcasting Corporation that persons in India representative of Indian opinion shall be allowed to broadcast their views. Unless something of that kind is done the people of this country will not be in a position to judge fairly. I also want to ask the right hon. Gentleman a question which my hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Cocks) put to the Foreign Secretary. One of the main reasons why this report is being rejected in India is that those who came to give evidence, and those who did not, believe the Government have given up all idea of dominion status in the true sense of the word. The right hon. Gentleman will remember that the Indian delegates put before the Committee a Memorandum in which they said:Indian public opinion has been profoundly stirred by the demands made during the last two or three years to qualify the repeated pledges by responsible Ministers.And I think this is worthy of the attention of the House and of the Government: 509Since it is apparently contended that only a definite statement in an Act of Parliament would be binding on future Parliaments, and that even the solemn declaration made by His Majesty the King-Emperor on a former occasion is not authoritative, we feel that a declaration in the Preamble is essential in order to remove the present grave misgivings and avoid future misunderstandings. My colleagues say we therefore consider that this country is bound to implement this pledge of honour.The Viceroy, the present Lord Halifax, said on 1st November, 1929:The goal of British policy was stated in the declaration of August, 1917, to be that of providing for the gradual development of governing institutions with a view to the progressive realisation of responsible government in India as an integral part of the British Empire.Then there is something in between which I need not read, and the final paragraph says:But in view of the doubts"—and this is the Viceroy who is speaking—which have been expressed both in Great Britain and in India regarding the interpretation to be placed on the intentions of the British Government in enacting the Statute of 1919 I am authorised on behalf of His Majesty's Government to state clearly that in their judgment it is implicit in the declaration of 1917 that the only issue of India's constitutional progress as there contemplated is the attainment of Dominion status.In 1930 the Prime Minister, speaking at the Guildhall Banquet on 9th November, said:We shall be in conference with men and women who are representative of a people with whom we have been thrown into contact, and the closest contact, for centuries, whoso history we have moulded, the ways of whose destiny we have changed, whose minds we have influenced, and with their representatives and with their Princes we shall be engaged in the same task of broadening liberty so that we may live with them under the same Crown, they enjoying Dominion self-government which is essential for national self-respect and contentment.The people of India have a right to know implicitly and definitely whether that is still the policy of the Government. I hope the Lord President will tell us. I asked him this in the last Debate on India in which I took part, in April, 1933, I think. I want to recall to the House what Dominion status really means. Dominion status was defined by the Imperial Relations Committee of the Imperial Conference of 1926. They said that the members of the British Commonwealth are 510autonomous communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations.I want to know whether the Government accept the position that India is entitled to come into the British Commonwealth of Nations and become a partner, with the status laid down in that statement, Thirdly, I want to ask whether the Government accept the statement made by the late Mr. Bonar Law who, speaking on Dominion home rule which, I submit, means the same thing, said: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"—that is Great Britain—would not try to force them. Dominion Home Rule moans the right to decide for themselves.I have always held that that was the policy of the late Labour Government of which the right hon. Gentleman was Prime Minister. Whenever I was charged with being a member of a Government that had put 60,000 people in prison, I pointed out that the late Lord Irwin and Mr. Wedgwood Benn were doing their best in very difficult circumstances to bring about co-operation between those whom we were imprisoning at the time and others in India, and ourselves, in order that the people of India might attain this status. When the Round Table Conference was on, the GoGvernment of which I was a member took their stand on the declaration made by the Labour party conference in 1927, before any of these events, in which it was explicitly laid down that the Indian people had the right to self-determination, not as a privilege but as a right, and to self-government, and that we would pursue that policy by co-operation between the Indians and ourselves. The Labour party stand by that policy, and the Government have not implemented it and have not even repeated what the Indians who came here asked them to repeat, namely, the pledge that the policy which the Government had adopted was to lead on to Dominion status. When the Foreign Secretary answered us, he passed on to the statement made by my hon. Friend, the minority of the Joint Select Committee, and asked, "How can 511 you say 10 years? Or how can you say any period?" Suppose that you do not say any period, but say what you really mean, just to clear this up. Whether it is 10 years or 1,000 years, let us know exactly what the Government mean, because the matter should be cleared up.
A great deal has been said about the lack of education and so on of the Indian people, and some people have said something about the ability of the Indian people to fight. Everyone knows that I am not much of a person at that, but I was told during the War by one gentleman, whom I went to see and whom I wanted to enlist in the Home Rule for India campaign: "Let the Indians come and fight in this War and then they will be considered in the day of peace." Now let us see. Lord Birkenhead's memoirs have just been published, and in the "Daily Telegraph" of 9th November there was this:F. E. Smith served with the Indian Corps from October, 1914, until the late spring of 1915…. He could never forget the poignant tragedy of the Indian Army Corps"—I would call the attention of every Member of the House to these words—which, as surely as the Expeditionary Force and with as terrible a toll of life, saved the British Empire by blocking the first terrific German assault in the late autumn of 1914. Perhaps more was demanded of the Indian Corps than of any other troops in the War. The circumstances of their use were terrible and pathetic. So in a sense were the troops themselves. They were brought from their sunny homes in India; they took ship and sailed across a strange ocean which many of them imagined to be peopled with malignant gods…. They were wanting in the revengeful fury of those who were to see their country desolated by artillery, their cathedrals razed to the ground, and their civilians shot. Many of them were, indeed, ignorant of whom they were to fight; some thought it was the Russians. Without the slightest' experience of modern warfare they were projected suddenly into the ghastly slaughter of Ypres.I would also point out that these men were brought to fight for freedom, for the right of small nationalities to self-government. Probably they went back to their homes having heard this from Belgians, Frenchmen and Englishmen. And people sneer and jeer at them to-day as if they were incapable of managing their own affairs. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] I have heard some 512 statements in this House about the corruption of Indians, the bribery of Indians, about what will happen when the jobs are going, how they will be after them, and so on. I do not believe it. I believe that the Indian people are as capable and as cultured as any nation in the world. They have behind them a great tradition. Finally, I would remind the House of something that was said by Mr. Sheil, the great Irish orator, in defence of Irishmen, when in rather similar circumstances his people were demanding rights which were denied them in this House. He said this—and I am going to put in India as well as the other nations, because I want to apply what he said to the Indian troops who fought in Flanders and elsewhere:The blood of England, Ireland, Scotland and India flowed in the same stream. On the same field their dead lay cold and stark together. In the same deep pit their bodies were deposited, partakers in every peril; in the glory shall they not be permitted to participate, and shall they be told as a requital that they are estranged from the noble country in whose defence their life's blood was poured out?I challenge this House in regard to India. You have sent Viceroys, you have sent Princes—you sent the Duke of Connaught—and carried a message to them that they would be given Home Rule. You have told them that this country would not concede, but give them freely, the right to manage their own affairs. These proposals are not proposals which mean that. They do not give power to the common people. They do not give the right to Indians to manage and control their own affairs. They were good enough to fight for us. Surely to goodness even now you will take this Measure back and bring forward one which will make them equal partners with the rest of the British Dominions.
§ 10.26 p.m.
§ The LORD PRESIDENT of the COUNCIL (Mr. Baldwin)
We have just got to the end of one of the most interesting and certainly one of the most important Debates that have taken place in the House since I have been a Member of it. I should like to express the feeling which I have, and which I think is common to all Members of the House, that I remember no Debate where the speeches have been more worthy of the greatness of the occasion and where almost without exception they have been 513 argued with conviction, with sincerity, and with moderation. In regard to the question that the right hon. Gentleman put to me, the Government stand by all the pledges that have been given. They make no distinction between pledges. What this House has to do to-night is to decide whether it agrees with the Government that a Bill shall be framed on the report of the Joint Select Committee, which is clearly and distinctly the step which it recommends the House to take at this time, a step not so long as the right hon. Gentleman desires but longer than is desired by some of my hon. Friends.
The real opposition to this recommendation comes from a number of my own supporters. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] I am going to address myself mainly to them to-night—we shall have an opportunity of discussing our differences when we have the Bill before us—but there are some things that I feel I must say to the House to-night. It is always a serious matter to any leader of a party when a number of his followers decline for the time to follow him. It must be. It must make him put questions to himself as to whether there is anything in his leadership that is wrong, whether he is wrong himself, and generally what the fault is. But I feel this very strongly, that in a matter of such importance as this, and in a party like ours—again, I apologise to the House for mentioning our party, but it is by far the largest party in the House at present—
§ Mr. LANSBURY
On a point of Order. This is not a Tory caucus meeting. Have we not a right to ask the right hon. Gentleman to reply to our Amendment?
§ Mr. LANSBURY
The House of Commons has some rights left. If the right hon. Gentleman desires to meet his supporters, let him meet them outside.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
Is there not included in the rights common to all Members of the House the right of the Leader of the House to the same courteous hearing that we gave to the right hon. Gentleman?
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I do not intend to allow the right hon. Gentleman to lecture me. I should not have risen if the Lord President of the Council had not said that he was not going to speak to us but was going to speak to his own supporters.
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I can assure hon. Members opposite, who generally give a courteous hearing to me, that I shall say nothing which will justify my being shouted down from those benches. I have listened to this Debate, and I think that the ruling was given on this Amendment that the discussion might continue being general, and I must claim the right of taking my own method of defending my own case, my object being to get to-night the best majority I can for the cause I am supporting, because I believe that it will be of great importance both to India and to this country. I have not the least objection to addressing my general remarks to the House. I have not very long, and I do not wish to say anything which will lead to interruption in any quarter of the House and thereby curtail what I have to say. Just as my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain) gave the reasons for what my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) called his conversion, I should like to give reasons to the House which make me take the view I do and recommend it so strongly to my party, many of whom take an opposite view. I do not expect to convert them to-night any more than I expect to convert hon. Members opposite, but I want to put to the House as clearly as I can the reasons why I support the course recommended by the Joint Select Committee.
First of all, I start from the Declaration of 1917 which hon. Members will remember was quoted in the introduction of the report of the Statutory Commission, and they took that as their instruction. That is, to make a step towards responsible Government. That was in the Preamble of the Bill. I recognise at once that there was an equal right of anyone to investigate the matter, to stand still, to go back, or to go forward. The Statutory Commission recommended a long step forward, and much stress has been laid in the course of the discussion upon the immediate reception in India of the first accounts of the 515 contents of the report—the first reactions. There is one thing of importance for us to remember here. First of all, I yield place to none in my recognition of what this country has done in India, and had it not been for what we have done you would not have the demand from India which is causing us all this difficulty, the demand which some hon. Members are prepared to meet much more quickly than hon. Members in other parts of the House, and the demand which some hon. Members of the House are hardly prepared to meet at this moment at all. It is we, after all, that gave India, for the first time in her history, or at any rate for the first time in the century, that sense of unity which is now being so strongly echoed from one end of India to the other. It is our rule that gave her these. It is our rule that gave her law and order and justice, and it is our rule that has filled her with admiration for it, so that she wants to take her part more and more in it, until such time as she is competent to rule herself. That is, in effect, a great tribute to us.
I am neither surprised nor am I perturbed by reports that reach this country of some of the first reactions in that country, but it is a great mistake to say that no one in India wants the White Paper. That is an effective phrase, but I believe that it creates a wholly false impression. It is true that there has been a good deal of wordy denunciation from members of Congress, and it is a fact that other political parties have criticised it but this does not mean that there will not be responsibly-minded Indians ready to play their part in the new Constitution by the time that the Constitution is law. We have, as a mater of fact, made inquiries during the last few days and received assurances both from the Government of India and from all the Provincial Governments on two points: first, that in their view the proposals are workable and, secondly, that in their view there will be people to work those proposals. That is as far as we can go at present. The first reaction is a very different thing from the considered reaction that may come in India by the time they have had an opportunity of studying the report and also when they have studied the Bill which will be founded on that report.
516 I believe the implication of the phrase that no one wants the White Paper, is misleading. It is misleading because if you think from that that they are satisfied with things as they are, you will make a mistake fraught with danger if you allow your impression to lead you into action. It is quite true that a great many members of the Congress Party, although their precise programme at the moment is obscure, desire to get the immediate grant of full Dominion status and all that it implies. The moderates and the extremists ask not only for the fresh responsibilities that we propose to confer upon them but they would undoubtedly like more. They want more responsibility than we can give, and when the Bill comes forward we shall be prepared to argue that we are recommending what in our opinion is the furthest step that can be taken with safety to the prospects of democracy, which is the thing we are most anxious about in India. It goes further than many of my hon. Friends wish to go, but less far than hon. Members opposite would go.
We may take it for certain that the whole of India is desirous for a real political advance, and that real political advance is what we are prepared to recommend. I wish my hon. Friends particularly, because they are the only section to take that view, to realise that, although what you may call vocal political India is not large numerically, having regard to the population of India, yet the Indian, wherever he may be, looks for advice rather to the men of his own blood, of his own religion, of his own language than he does to the best of our own race. That you cannot help. That is a hard, stubborn fact that you have to realise. When you get this large element, an educated element, a political element, a vocal element, that element will always have more influence with the ordinary people in their own country than we can hope to have. That is a fact that we must recognise.
I must apologise for hurrying, but I have not very long to speak. I want to say a word on one subject, and I hope that I shall not have to allude to it again, which very vitally touches a great many of us. I want to say a word on the Irish analogy. The real analogy is not that of 1921 but an analogy of 50 or 100 years ago. One of my main reasons for advocating 517 a forward policy at this time is to avoid a repetition of 1921 in this Parliament, and without saying anything more about it I will just say this, that there can be no greater proof of the bankruptcy of statesmanship than what happened in 1921. The causes may be obscure, but there is no doubt that at some time and in some way the statesmen of this country missed their chance. You cannot afford to miss it in what is a much graver and much more serious question.
Apropos of that, I should like to utter one word of protest about the way in which many of my friends listen to all kinds of rumours which are running about now with regard to the Princes of India. They cannot do any good in the controversy, and they may do a great deal of harm. The hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) mentioned last night a story he had heard about the number of gun salutes allotted to certain Princes in order to elicit their support. When contradicted he most frankly withdrew what he had said. I am glad he did. I often think that in our criticisms—and we are apt to criticise sharply when our feelings are deep—of what may go on in India we are sometimes apt to make charges lightly, and charges that might have been made in this country against our own people not so very long ago. When I heard the story about gun salutes being offered to the Princes, I wondered what happened at the passing of the Act of Union with Scotland. Was anything offered on that occasion? The less we try to attribute motives in these things the better.
While I am on that subject I want to refer to the speech which I did not hear but which I have read very carefully, made by the hon. and gallant Member for Chichester (Major Courtauld). I regret that speech profoundly and I am sure that on reflection the hon. and gallant Member will regret it also. It has been common I know in journals which have been published, and in diaries, to give private conversations, but it has not been done in this House since I can remember. I should not allude to it now but for this one reason. I am an old and intimate friend of Lord Willingdon who is not here to speak for himself and who has sent, unsolicited and spontaneously, a cable which in fairness to 518 Lord Willingdon I must read. I am sure that the hon. and gallant Member when he reads this telegram and reflects on it will feel that he took a course which was not wise, and will be quite prepared to offer Lord Willingdon an apology, which I think is his due. Lord Willingdon sent the following cable this morning:I have just seen Reuters account of Courtauld's speech in the House of Commons referring to a private conversation I had with him and Lymington regarding the Princes and Federation. In the first place, I resent very much that use should have been made of a purely private conversation between gentlemen in a Debate in the House of Commons. But further than that I deny absolutely using the words that he puts into my mouth.Then Lord Willingdon quotes from Reuter a sentence beginning, "You fellows coming out here"—which I have verified as being in the OFFICIAL REPORT—and then continues:These words are a complete travesty of the truth. My attitude towards all the Princes has been all through, and will continue to be, that my advice to them is that it is to their own advantage to enter Federation, providing that they are satisfied that the Bill protects their interests but any suggestion of bribes or coercion on my part is without any foundation whatsoever, and this would I believe be endorsed by every Prince.Finally, Courtauld is reported to have said that it is clear that a substantial body of Princes, led by men of prestige and importance, do not accept the report. I do not know what is his authority for such a statement, since no Prince to my knowledge, either speaking himself or through his Ministers, has declared himself in any way whatsoever about the report, which incidentally goes a long way further to meet their demands than the White Paper.I apologise for having read that cable, but Lord Willingdon is a very old friend and there is no more honourable man existing, and I felt it only due to him to give his message when he has no chance of defending himself.
There is one more false analogy between Ireland and India. My right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham and my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping said, and I agreed with them entirely, that we have been most disappointed with recent events in Ireland. I hope, with my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham, that time yet may heal these old wounds; but it has been a great disappointment to us who took part in the events of 1921. We 519 have to remember this: There is an unhappy legacy in Ireland. There have been events between the two races that will take a lot of forgetting. Those things do not exist in India. There is no racial hatred in India. We have always had many friends in India. At the time of the Mutiny we had more friends than enemies in India. If that had not been the ease there would be no British India to-day. Therefore, there is not that background in India where you might look for some unhappy memories of old times dominating the political present, as unfortunately they sometimes do to-day in Ireland.
I think that that analogy is quite wrong. I may reassure my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping that what happened in Ireland, so far as I am concerned, had nothing to do with what happened at the Carlton Club. I only mention that now in order to say what I have never said in public, and to say it in the presence of my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham. At that time, which in many ways was a most fateful and difficult time for me, I like to think that from the moment of that meeting my right hon. Friend never imputed to me any motive but an honourable one. He recognised my action. It merely added in my case to the pleasure that I felt for five years in giving him all the support that a Prime Minister could give to a Foreign Secretary who was doing a great work in Europe.
I will pack as much as I can in the last 10 minutes that remain to me. I want to say a word or two on the statement that is often made, that democracy is on its last legs in Europe, and that we are trying to impose on India a system that is already passing away. It is quite true that in other countries in Europe democracy has passed away, but in no country where it has had roots. And it has roots here. The bad workman complains of his tools. Perhaps many of us might conceive an environment in which we might work with more success or better, but it is difficult to conceive it. I do not believe there is anyone in the House who, if he could, would, after consideration, put a different kind of Constitution into this country. The Constitution may, as years go by, be modified, as it has been modified, but it 520 is a natural and native growth. It is a system that we have taught India for a century to respect and revere. It has been her model. We cannot turn back now. We are here introducing her to democratic methods of the sort we believe to be the best form of government still in the world. A Government like ours is as clean as any Government there is in the world to-day.
People have expressed fears of corruption. In so far as these things are true, the only cure is a democratic system like our own. Our own system has been corrupt in time past, but to-day, with a free Press, a free Opposition and free Debate, and the knowledge in the world of what all of us are doing, you cannot be corrupt if you want to. I have had intimate knowledge of government in this country for many years, and I believe that with our politicians generally, though they have many faults, corruption is not one of them. Our Civil Service is incorruptible. We hand that tradition with its lesson to India. I have faith that when she has had a tithe of our experience she will learn to work it as we have learnt.
There is one other thing that has been principally dwelt upon by many of my hon. Friends, and that is the welfare of the Indian masses. I am just as anxious for that as any of them. If it is not secured by the proposals of the Joint Select Committee, it is no more secured by any of the alternative plans put forward. To-day, in the main part, the masses of India depend on services of their own country people. I put this to Members of the House: They know how few of our fellow-countrymen are in the Services of India; they know what the population of India is. I think there is room for a great deal now to be done by Indians themselves, men who are ready for this. The vote cannot make itself felt at once. Very likely at first it will be used foolishly or unwisely, but, after all, the Provincial franchise is to the extent of 14 per cent. of the total population, and it will not be long before that fact will make itself felt. Let us recognise that there are problems in India which we have never tackled. There are many social problems, and there is much to be said for the reluctance we have shown in dealing with them, but the fact remains that we have not dealt with them. There is growing up in India, as 521 everyone of experience there will tell you, a public conscience. I believe that in many of these matters progress and improvement will be made when the whole of the work is not our responsibility.
There is one more thing and that is the provision with regard to the position of women in India. The most remarkable development in the East has been the emergence of women. To anyone with the least spark of imagination the scope opened for women in political and social work in India is staggering. The Simon Commission said:It is not idle to think that the great influence of Indian women will be brought to bear on problems that have been and must be under the control of our own policy and administration.I apologise to the House for having had to compress so much of what I had to say, but the Debate has run a little longer than I expected. I will only say this, and I am sure that my hon. Friends opposite will allow me to say it, I recognise and have recognised the sincere convictions of those who are opposing me. I am not trying to convert them, and I know that no words of mine would do so, but to some of the older ones I would say this: We have fought in many great battles together in the past, and I hope we may be spared to fight in one or two more. I shall bear no malice to anyone who votes against me to-night. I shall refrain, so far as I can, from hard words or from anything which would make more difficult the reunion of that party which
§ I believe still has a great part to play in this country, and whose preservation and unity I believe to be essential to the prosperity of the country. We have to take our vote now in a few minutes. I commend the Resolution of the Government to the House. I commend it in all sincerity with a full consciousness of the risks, with a full recognition of the gravity of the objections raised against it, but yet with the conviction that in the circumstances and having regard to the time it is the right thing to do and that there is nothing for this House to do but go forward with courage and lend itself, all together as far as we can, to welding this report into the best instrument for the well-being of India that we can devise.
§ Mr. ANEURIN BEVAN rose——
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I am sorry that I have forgotten one question. I would say, in the first place, that it is entirely a matter for the British Broadcasting Corporation, but in any case I could not be expected now to reply to a question of such gravity and such far-reaching implication which was put to me just before I rose. I apologise for having omitted to mention it, but I was pressed for time.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 491; Noes, 49.525
|Division No. 20.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke||Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Brown, Ernest (Leith)|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y)|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Browne, Captain A. C.|
|Ainsworth, Lieut.-Colonel Charles||Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.|
|Albery, Irving James||Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Bullock, Captain Malcolm|
|Alexander, Sir William||Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel||Burghley, Lord|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Bernays, Robert||Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Burnett, John George|
|Allan, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Burton, Colonel Henry Walter|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh)||Bird, Sir Robert B. (Wolverh'pton W.)||Butler, Richard Austen|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Blaker, Sir Reginald||Butt, Sir Alfred|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Borodale, Viscount||Cadogan, Hon. Edward|
|Apsley, Lord||Bossom, A. C.||Caine, G. R. Hall-|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Boulton, W. W.||Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)|
|Assheton, Ralph||Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe||Bower, Commander Robert Tatton||Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Caporn, Arthur Cecil|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Boyce, H. Leslie||Carver, Major William H.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Boyd-Carpenter, Sir Archibald||Castlereagh, Viscount|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Bracken, Brendan||Cautley, Sir Henry S.|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.)||Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)|
|Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J.||Brass, Captain Sir William||Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)|
|Balniel, Lord||Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Broadbent, Colonel John||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A. (Birm., W)|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)|
|Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Goff, Sir Park||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul|
|Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Goldie, Noel B.||Law, Sir Alfred|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)|
|Christie, James Archibald||Gower, Sir Robert||Leckie, J. A.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)||Leech, Dr. J. W.|
|Clarke, Frank||Granville, Edgar||Lees-Jones, John|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Clayton, Sir Christopher||Graves, Marjorie||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Levy, Thomas|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Greene, William P. C.||Lewis, Oswald|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)||Liddall, Walter S.|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Lindsay, Kenneth (Kilmarnock)|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Lindsay, Noel Ker|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Grigg, Sir Edward||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Grimston, R. V.||Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Llewellin, Major John J.|
|Cooke, Douglas||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Lloyd, Geoffrey|
|Copeland, Ida||Guy, J. C. Morrison||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hn. G. (Wd. G'n)|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley)|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Loder, Captain J. de Vere|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Loftus, Pierce C.|
|Critchley, Brig.-General A. C.||Hammersley, Samuel S.||Lovat Fraser, James Alexander|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Hanbury, Cecil||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Hanley, Dennis A.||Lyons, Abraham Montagu|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Mabane, William|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Galnsb'ro)||Harbord, Arthur||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick)|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Harris, Sir Percy||MacAndraw, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)|
|Cross, R. H.||Hartington, Marquess of||McConnell, Sir Joseph|
|Crossley, A. C.||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||McCorquodale, M. S.|
|Cruddas, Lieut-Colonel Bernard||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)|
|Culverwell, Cyrll Tom||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)|
|Curry, A. C.||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||McKeag, William|
|Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||McKie, John Hamilton|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||Hepworth, Joseph||McLean, Major Sir Alan|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division)||Macmillan, Maurice Harold|
|Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. Sir Ian|
|Dickie, John P.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Magnay, Thomas|
|Donner, P. W.||Holdsworth, Herbert||Maitland, Adam|
|Doran, Edward||Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest|
|Dower, Captain A. V. G.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Drewe, Cedric||Hornby, Frank||Mander, Geoffrey le M.|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Horobin, Ian M.||Marsden, Commander Arthur|
|Duggan, Hubert John||Horsbrugh, Florence||Martin, Thomas B.|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Howard, Tom Forrest||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Dunglass, Lord||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)|
|Eastwood, John Francis||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. Anthony||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Meller, Sir Richard James|
|Edmondson, Major Sir James||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Mills Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Milne, Charles|
|Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Elmley, Viscount||Hurd, Sir Percy||Mitcheson, G. G.|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)|
|Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blk'pool)||Iveagh, Countess of||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Moreing, Adrian C.|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Jackson, J. C. (Heywood & Radcliffe)||Morgan, Robert H.|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Jamieson, Douglas||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Janner, Barnett||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Fermoy, Lord||Jennings, Roland||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univer'ties)|
|Fleiden, Edward Brocklehurst||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Morrison, William Shephard|
|Fleming, Edward Lascelles||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Moss, Captain H. J.|
|Flint, Abraham John||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)||Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Munro, Patrick|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Normand, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||Ker, J. Campbell||North, Edward T.|
|Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Nunn, William|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Kerr, Hamilton W.||O'Connor, Terence James|
|Gibson, Charles Granville||Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger||O'Donovan, Dr. William Jams|
|Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Kimball, Lawrence||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Kirkpatrick, William M.||Ormiston, Thomas|
|Glossop, C. W. H.||Knight, Holford||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Knox, Sir Alfred||Orr Ewing, I. L.|
|Glyn, Major Sir Ralph G. C.||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Palmer, Francis Noel|
|Patrick, Colin M.||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Peake, Osbert||Salmon, Sir Isidore||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A. (P'dd'gt'n, S.)|
|Pearson, William G.||Salt, Edward W.||Templeton, William P.|
|Penny, Sir George||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Percy, Lord Eustace||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Perkins, Walter R. D.||Samuel, M. R. A. (W'ds'wth, Putney).||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Thompson, Sir Luke|
|Petherick, M.||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)||Savery, Samuel Servington||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Potter, John||Selley, Harry R.||Todd, Lt.-Col. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Power, Sir John Cecil||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Pownall, Sir Assheton||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Train, John|
|Procter, Major Henry Adam||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.||Tree, Ronald|
|Purbrick, R.||Shute, Colonel J. J.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Pybus, Sir John||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Radford, E. A.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Unv., Belfast)||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Skelton, Archibald Noel||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Ramsay T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Slater, John||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Ramsbotham, Herwald||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Ramsden, Sir Eugene||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.|
|Rankin, Robert||Smith, Sir J. Walker- (Barrow-in-F.)||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Ratcliffe, Arthur||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Rathbone, Eleanor||Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dine, C.)||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Rawson, Sir Cooper||Smithers, Sir Waldron||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Ray, Sir William||Somervell, Sir Donald||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-|
|Rea, Walter Russell||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Reid, David D. (County Down)||Soper, Richard||White, Henry Graham|
|Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Remer, John R.||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Renwick, Major Gustav A.||Spencer, Captain Richard A.||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Rickards, George William||Spens, William Patrick||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)|
|Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'morland)||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Robinson, John Roland||Stevenson, James||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Ropner, Colonel L.||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Rosbotham, Sir Thomas||Stones, James||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Ross, Ronald D.||Storey, Samuel||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Stourton, Hon. John J.||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Rothschild, James A. de||Strauss, Edward A.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.||Strickland, Captain W. F.||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Runge, Norah Cecil||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.|
|Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Russell, R. J. (Eddlsbury)||Summersby, Charles H.||Captain Margesson and Mr. Blindell.|
|Rutherford, John (Edmonton)||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Gardner, Benjamin Walter||Mainwaring, William Henry|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Milner, Major James|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Banfield, John William||Griffiths, George A. (Yorks, W. Riding)||Paling, Wilfred|
|Batey, Joseph||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Grundy, Thomas W.||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, North)|
|Cape, Thomas||Hicks, Ernest George||Thorne, William James|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cove, William G.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||West, F. R.|
|Daggar, George||Lawson, John James||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lunn, William||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Davies, Stephen Owen||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Wilmot, John|
|Dobbis, William||McEntee, Valentine L.|
|Edwards, Charles||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. John and Mr. Groves.|
§ Main Question put.526
§ The House divided: Ayes, 410; Noes, 127.531
|Division No. 21.]||AYES.||[11.15 p.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke||Albery, Irving James||Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Alien, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Apsley, Lord|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Aske, Sir Robert William|
|Ainsworth, Lieut.-Colonel Charles||Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Assheton, Ralph|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Duckworth, George A. V.||Hurd, Sir Percy|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Duggan, Hubert John||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.|
|Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J.||Dunglass, Lord||Iveagh, Countess of|
|Balniel, Lord||Eastwood, John Francis||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Eden, Rt. Hon. Anthony||Jackson, J. C. (Heywood & Radcliffe)|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Edmondson, Major Sir James||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter||Jamieson, Douglas|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Janner, Barnett|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Jennings, Roland|
|Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Elmley, Viscount||Jesson, Major Thomas E.|
|Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato|
|Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)|
|Bernays, Robert||Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)|
|Bird, Sir Robert B. (Wolverh'pton W.)||Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Ker, J. Campbell|
|Borodale, Viscount||Fermoy, Lord||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Flelden, Edward Brocklehurst||Kerr, Hamilton W.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Flint, Abraham John||Kirkpatrick, William M.|
|Bower, Commander Robert Tatton||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Knight, Holford|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Fox, Sir Gifford||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Fremantle, Sir Francis||Law, Sir Alfred|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Ganzoni, Sir John||Leckie, J. A.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Gibson, Charles Granville||Leech, Dr. J. W.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Lees-Jones, John|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Glossop, C. W. H.||Lewis, Oswald|
|Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Liddall, Walter S.|
|Burgnley, Lord||Glyn, Major Sir Ralph G. C.||Lindsay, Kenneth (Kilmarnock)|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Goff, Sir Park||Lindsay, Noel Ker|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Goldie, Noel B.||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Gower, Sir Robert||Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)||Llewellin, Major John J.|
|Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Granville, Edgar||Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick|
|Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Lloyd, Geoffrey|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Graves, Marjorie||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hn. G. (Wd. Gr'n)|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)||Loder, Captain J. de Vere|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Loftus, Pierce C.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Grigg, Sir Edward||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Grimston, R. V.||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Lyons, Abraham Montagu|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Mabane, William|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Guy, J. C. Morrison||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick)|
|Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Mac Andrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)|
|Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||McCorquodale, M. S.|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)|
|Christie, James Archibald||Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)|
|Clarke, Frank||Hammersley, Samuel S.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hanbury, Cecil||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.|
|Clayton, Sir Christopher||Hanley, Dennis A.||McKeag, William|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||McKie, John Hamilton|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Harbord, Arthur||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Harris, Sir Percy||McLean, Major Sir Alan|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. Sir Ian|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Magnay, Thomas|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest|
|Cooke, Douglas||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Mander, Geoffrey le M.|
|Copeland, Ida||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur F.||Martin, Thomas B.|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Hepworth, Joseph||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division)||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Meller, Sir Richard James|
|Cross, R. H.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)|
|Crossley, A. C.||Holdsworth, Herbert||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)||Milne, Charles|
|Culverwell, Cyril Tom||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Curry, A. C.||Hornby, Frank||Mitcheson, G. G.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Home, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Molsan, A. Hugh Elsdale|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Horobin, Ian M.||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres|
|Davies Edward C. (Montgomery)||Horsbrugh, Florence||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Howard, Tom Forrest||Moreing, Adrian C.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Morgan, Robert H.|
|Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)|
|Dickie, John P.||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)|
|Doran, Edward||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Dower, Captain A. V. G.||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univer'ties)|
|Drewe, Cedric||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Morrison, William Shepherd|
|Moss, Captain H. J.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.||Rothschild, James A. de||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Munro, Patrick||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.|
|Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Normand, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid||Runge, Norah Cecil||Summersby, Charles H.|
|North, Edward T.||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|O'Connor, Terence James||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Ormiston, Thomas||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Salmon, Sir Isidore||Thompson, Sir Luke|
|Orr Ewing, I. L.||Salt, Edward W.||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Palmer, Francis Noel||Samuel, M. R. A. (W'ds'wth, Putney).||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Patrick, Colin M.||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Peake, Osbert||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)||Train, John|
|Pearson, William G.||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.||Tree, Ronald|
|Penny, Sir George||Savery, Samuel Servington||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Percy, Lord Eustace||Selley, Harry R.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Perkins, Walter R. D.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Petherick, M.||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Potter, John||Shute, Colonel J. J.||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Power, Sir John Cecil||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.|
|Pownall, Sir Asshetor.||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Procter, Major Henry Adam||Skelton, Archibald Noel||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Pybus, Sir John||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Radford, E. A.||Smith, Sir J. Walker- (Barrow-in-F.)||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour.|
|Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dine, C.)||White, Henry Graham|
|Ramsay T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Smithers, Sir Waldron||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Ramsbotham, Herwald||Somervell, Sir Donald||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Ramsden, Sir Eugene||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Rankin, Robert||Soper, Richard||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Ratcliffe, Arthur||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)|
|Rathbone, Eleanor||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Rea, Walter Russell||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Spencer, Captain Richard A.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Spens, William Patrick||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Renwick, Major Gustav A.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'morland)||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Rickards, George William||Stevenson, James||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'oaks)|
|Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)||Stones, James|
|Robinson, John Roland||Storey, Samuel||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Ropner, Colonel L.||Stourton, Hon. John J.||Captain Margesson and Mr. Blindell.|
|Rosbotham, Sir Thomas||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Craven-Ellis, William||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'g ton)|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Alexander, Sir William||Critchley, Brig.-General A. C.||Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh)||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Daggar, George||Kimball, Lawrence|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe||Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lawson, John James|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Davies, Stephen Owen||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Davison, Sir William Henry||Levy, Thomas|
|Banfield, John William||Dawson, Sir Philip||Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley)|
|Batey, Joseph||Dixey, Arthur C. N.||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Dobbie, William||Lunn, William|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Donner, P. W.||McConnell, Sir Joseph|
|Blaker, Sir Reginald||Edwards, Charles||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Sir Archibald||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||McEntee, Valentine L.|
|Bracken, Brendan||Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blk'pool)||McGovern, John|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.)||Everard, W. Lindsay||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Mainwaring, William Henry|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Gardner, Benjamin Walter||Maitland, Adam|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y)||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Marsden, Commander Arthur|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Maxton, James|
|Buchanan, George||Greene, William P. C.||Milner, Major James|
|Burnett, John George||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Nall, Sir Joseph|
|Burton, Colonel Henry Walter||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Caine, G. R. Hall-||Griffiths, George A. (Yorks, W. Riding)||Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)|
|Cape, Thomas||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Nunn, William|
|Carver, Major William H.||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh||Groves, Thomas E.||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Grundy, Thomas W.||Purbrick, R.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Hartington, Marquess of||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Hicks, Ernest George||Ray, Sir William|
|Reid, David D. (County Down)||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A. (P'dd'gt'n, S.)||West, F. R.|
|Remer, John R.||Templeton, William P.||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Salter, Dr. Alfred||Thorne, William James||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Thorp, Linton Theodore||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard||Tinker, John Joseph||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Unv., Belfast)||Todd, Lt.-Col. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)||Wilmot, John|
|Slater, John||Touche, Gordon Cosmo||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Smith, Tom (Normanton)||Wayland, Sir William A.||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, North)||Wells, Sidney Richard||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. John and Mr. Paling.|
That this House accepts the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Indian Constitutional Reform as the basis for the revision of the Indian Constitution and considers it expedient that a Bill should be introduced on the general lines of the report.