HC Deb 12 July 1934 vol 292 cc587-660

Again considered in Committee. [Captain BOURNE in the Chair.]

Question again proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £99,519, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1935, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of His Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies.


When Black Rod summoned us to another place I was questioning the recommendation of the commission with regard to the Kikuyu Land Reserves. I was on the point of saying that, looking broadly at the reports of the commission, one cannot help but feel doubtful whether the proposed allocation of land for the tribe, having regard to the character of the land and the fact that so much is already in occupation, and the tendency of the tribe to increase in numbers, will really suffice for more than a temporary settlement—possibly for not more than a. few years—of this very difficult question. The hon. Member for Rothwell (Mr. Lunn) asked whether the Kikuyu had been consulted. It would be of great interest to the Committee if the right hon. Gentleman could say what were the reactions of the people to these proposals. Perhaps it is possible to give some indication of the feeling. Another matter upon which there appears to be room for two opinions is that of the European Highlands.


The immediate issue is that,, the commission have recommended that certain additions should be made. We propose to adopt the recommendations of the commission and to make these Additions to the reserves. It does not follow, and I do not think anyone would presume to say, that, in the fulness of time, as things develop —there is a great deal of other land which is called D land—the reserves, even with these large additions, will be sufficient for ever and ever. That is not the issue at present. That would be an issue if one said that no one is ever to have any part in the D land. That is not said at the moment. Here and now we are making additions to reserves which the commission recommended, And upon that, I think, we are all agreed.


I do not think that that meets my point. It was on the actual recommendations of the Commission as they stand at the moment, and I doubt whether they will suffice for more than a comparatively short space of time. If I understand the point of the B land, and that if the case arises there may be a further addition to the reserves, it would appear to safeguard the future, as far as one can possibly see it. On the subject of the European Highlands, it seems to me that the foundation of the Commission's report is not quite historically sound. The establishment of a privileged position for the Europeans in the Highlands, as I understand the position, has been defined from the earliest times. It was defined by Lord Elgin in his despatch, and in the well-known despatch of the Duke of Devonshire in 1923. Lord Passfield, before the Committee on Closer Union, made it clear that the privileged position of the Europeans in the Higlands was vis-à-vis the Asiatics and not vis-à-vis the natives of Kenya itself. The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head, and as this is a matter of opinion one can only agree or disagree. I think that that is the historical basis of the whole thing. I certainly agree that the only sensible and desirable course is that the boundary should be fixed as clearly and definitely as possible, but this inevitably raises the question whether the allocation of 17,600 square miles is the right proportion in respect of the 16,800 Europeans now in the country, and whether it preserves the proper balance between the future requirements of Europeans and the probable requirements of the natives living on this populated land.

In order to form a clear judgment upon that point, one would require to know how much of the land has been alienated already and what proportion is already in occupation. I addressed an inquiry to the right hon. Gentleman for some information and he has been good enough to give me some figures, and it appears that roughly one-third of the total area of the Highlands as recommended by the Commission is already alienated. There is something like one-sixth which is forest area, the user of which, presumably, will not change, and the remainder is some 10,000,000 acres or nearly two-thirds of the whole. That raises the question as to whether there are not available plots of land in the unalienated portion which might be suitable for natives and which could be held in suspense and not ear- marked in advance, and made available for future use by the natives as the need arises. There are two opinions upon this matter. The Hilton Young Report dealing with this subject definitely advocates that certain further areas should again be mapped out—that has been done as a result of the recommendation of the Commission—definitely and immediately for alienation to non-natives, leaving the balance to be retained by the Government for disposal to native reserves, and, if necessary, for further alienation to non-natives or sale to natives. I quote that to show that there is room for two opinions on this matter.


The Com-mission were asked to define the boundaries of the European Highlands having regard to all the pledges given in the past. They were not asked to express an opinion as to whether the pledges themselves were right or wrong, and it is relevant to observe that if you compare the map in the evidence which shows the differgrit proposals put forward from time to tine as what was a proper area, of the Highlands, having regard to the pledges given in the past, with the map in the body of the report, in which the land delimited by the Commission is shown, you will find that the actual delimitation shown by the Commission is a smaller area than any of the previous proposals.


I am much obliged for the explanation. There is the further point as to the compensation to the natives who are now living on the land within the area. Money compensation is really no compensation at all to the native for land, and the question I wish to ask is whether the sum of money, a small one, £2,000, is really adequate to meet these claims. The whole object of the Commission was to try to get good will and allay unrest. I question whether the procedure in paragraph 13 of the White Paper is the best way to set about it. The natives are our fellow-subjects, and the question arises whether procedure by Order in Council is the best way to deal with the matter.

I now come to the most important matter in the report. The whole object was to allay the suspicion which has been aroused, to remove the fears of the natives, and give them as good a title to the land as they can get, short of the legal title prohibited by the Courts enjoyed by Europeans. If we fail in that we fail in everything in Kenya. The Commission were wise in dividing its functions in the way they did. I am sure it will meet with the unanimous approval of anyone who gives the scantiest attention to the matter. Government must deal with development and details and the Lands Trust Board will be left with the function of protecting native rights in the area. That, of course, raises at once the question whether the board should be situate in London or in Kenya. I have read with great care the portion of the report dealing with that matter, and I am convinced by the statements and opinions of the Commission which led them to the conclusion that the board should be situate in London. Let me quote one or two of the points they make. They point out that the work of the board was not arduous and that occasions will be rare on which practical issues will arise; that the chief requirements in any board appointed as trustees for this purpose are that it should be independent and just, should command confidence, and they conclude their observations by saying that they see nothing in the list of duties which demands that the board should have a close local knowledge, or should of necessity be resident in the Colony.

The hon. Member for Rothwell suggested that the Governor should be a member of the board, and I think he also said the legal adviser. On that point the Secretary of State did not express any opinion, but I think it is most unsuitable that the Governor should be a member of the board. In the discharge of his duties he might make some proposal which would conflict with the duties of the board in protecting the interests of the natives, and in that case the matter would have to come to the Secretary of State for his decision. It is, of course, of the first importance that it should be independent and just, and that the, members of the board should be entirely free from contact with local interests and local politics, and, indeed, that, so far as the natives are concerned, they should be free even from a suspicion of such contact. If the board were situate in London, the native would say that it was entirely independent, he would have complete reliance on its justice. He would say, "The King is looking after our affairs." The right hon. Gentleman has decided otherwise, and proposes to deal with the matter in another way. I am not impressed with the difficulty of keeping in touch with the Colony, particularly in these days of rapid communication, when these difficulties are becoming less every day. I think, on the whole, that the balance of advantage is in having the board in London, the Commission themselves decided in its favour, and one member, Mr. Hemsted, went so far as to make it a definite recommendation. I have ventured to bring before the Committee some matters on which there is obviously room for two opinions, and, having regard to the history of the matter, I hope the Secretary of State will be prepared to receive memoranda from those who are particularly interested in this question and give it his serious consideration.


I understand that the hon. Member for Bothwell (Mr. Lunn) wished to move to reduce the Vote by £100. Unfortunately, I was not aware of the fact, and I will ask him formally to move the reduction now.


I beg to move to reduce the Vote by £100.

6.38 p.m.


We have just been reminded of the fact that we are discussing an Amendment for a reduction; in other words, a Vote of Censure. An atmosphere palpitating with excitement, these crowded benches, are the measure of the danger which the Secretary of State is running this afternoon. All the same, I rather wish that no reduction had been moved. After the wide measure of agreement arrived at by members of all parties on the Joint Select Committee three years ago, and after this report which has been discussed to-day, a report so careful, so exhaustive and so fair-minded, I should have hoped that Kenya, after many years, might be allowed for a space of time, at any rate, to be left outside the sphere of party controversy. I do not propose to follow that question any further, but rather to say one or two words about the general problem of the development of our Colonial Empire, on which my right hon. Friend touched so interestingly and so encouragingly in the earlier part of his statement.

In the present condition of the world we have to consider what are our assets and our opportunities. As the sphere of international trade, on which we relied in the last century, is steadily narrowing down, it is worth while remembering that we have open, existing, and within our power to create, a market which will compensate—perhaps more than compensate—for anything we may lose. Our Colonial Empire is even to-day an immensely important asset from the point of view of the trade of this country. Its total trade before the present depression set in was approaching a figure of £500,000,000 a year. In 1929, before any preferences had been begun, the trade of this country with the Colonial Empire amounted to something like £133,000,000 a year, and though with the general fall in prices that figure has dropped heavily, yet it is bound to recover, and, relatively to our trade with the rest of the world, has already shown a most remarkable advance. To-day, if we treat our Colonial Empire as a single market, it is definitely the biggest market for British goods in the world. In the first quarter of this year our exports to the Colonial Empire amounted to just under £9,250,000—more than our exports to India, our other largest single market, which amounted to £8,700,000. It was almost as large as our exports to Canada and Australia together, which were £9,500,000. That market and the Colonial Empire market in each case take three times as much from this country as the Argentine.

Those are interesting figures. What is also important is the character of the trade. The Colonial Empire produces raw materials and foodstuffs which are not produced in this country. As far as I can see, it will be a long time before the Colonial Empire to any appreciable extent will be interested in protecting domestic industries against British competition. It is essentially a complementary trade which it is in our power to develop. It is a long-distance trade which is already of great value to our shipping and can be made of even greater value to it. We are only at the very beginning of the development of our colonial resources. That is particularly true on the Continent of Africa, where a territory of 1,500,000 square miles, not including the Sudan, possesses immense undeveloped resources, with a population of something like 50,000,000 whose innate resources, in numbers, in ability and in purchasing power, are also capable of immense development.

We are undertaking there one of the most important and most hopeful and also one of the most humanly interesting tasks which any nation ever undertook. We are offered a wonderful field both for our industries at home and for the men who are prepared to go out there from this country, to throw themselves into that work and to continue the splendid tradition of the Colonial service, to which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has already paid tribute. That task of development can only be carried out by the utilisation of many factors. One basic factor is accurate, full and up-to-date information. I congratulate my right hon. Friend most heartily on the production of a monumental piece of statistical information which must be the foundation of all reasoned planning of development in the Colonial Empire. I also congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for the Tradeston Division (Dr. McLean) for his most helpful and useful part in working out the statistics. I also suggest, without in any way being critical of what is clone in other parts of the Empire, that my right hon. Friend might draw the attention of the Dominion Governments and of the Government of India, and even the attention of some of our Departments here at home, to the advantage that it would be at an Imperial Conference if every part of the Empire were as adequately documented as the Colonial Empire now is. That is one essential task.

The other is the whole task of development that falls upon the administration. For the purposes of the Colonial Empire the Colonial Office is in some measure a Ministry of Health, a Ministry of Transport, a Ministry of Agriculture and a Ministry of Education, and, as my right lion. Friend has pointed out, matters of health and agriculture and education are very largely one and the same problem. It is only when you teach the natives how to attend to the problem of health and how to make the best use of their soil, that you get proper development, and at the same time you are giving them a form of education that most helps the development of their minds at their present stage of progress.

Behind your administrative work you must have a general economic policy. That policy now must be effective mutual preference. My right hon. Friend has pointed out how valuable the preferences we are giving have been to the Colonial Empire, and the difference that preference has made between the depth of depression which they were passing through years ago and the very substantial measure of recovery which they have already achieved when all the world is still in the depths. I do not believe it is possible to get effective development without substantial preference. It is only if there is security of market for the products of the Colonies that the people in this country are going to take a personal interest in the development of those Colonies. They will go out to see for themselves what the opportunities are and to prepare for capital to go out. On the other hand I doubt whether in the long run you will get this country finding the capital, private and public, that is required for development, unless there is same mutuality about it, unless there is a corresponding direct advantage to our development from the development of the Colonies.

That brings me to a moral issue which we are bound to face as trustees for the population of our Colonies. Are we entitled to use our control over these populations in order to establish a system of preference in the Colonies? There was a time when we believed Free Trade to be the ideal system for any country, and naturally wherever we were responsible as trustees we applied it. There was a time also when there was such a thing as a world market for primary products. No one could produce a primary product who could not sell it. All that has passed away. To-day the position of a primary producer in a world of quotas and restrictions is the worst position of all, especially for small Colonies that have no large home market of their own. In the case of Colonies that are mainly dependent upon producing one particular article, the only chance of success and development is that someone with a great market will make that market secure to them.

Therefore to-day, from the point of view of our own outlook as well as from the point of view of the direct interest of the populations that are dependent on us, it seems to me obvious that it is not only our right but our duty to establish an effective system of preference between themselves and us. After all, if we believe that mutual preference is a good thing in the relations between ourselves and any Colony or Dominion that has the power to decide its destiny, it must also be a good thing where the responsibility for deciding that destiny still rests with us. Or are we to assume that we are so incapable of governing fairly that we must continue to enforce a disastrous system upon dependent populations because we have not that confidence in our own ability to give them a fair and equal share in the advantages which would accrue from any mutual arrangement? From what I know of the traditions of the Colonial Office, from what I know of the intense local patriotism of every colonial administration, I am not afraid that local interests will be overlooked or forgotten in any mutual arrangements made between this country and the dependent Empire.

Our task is not only to promote trade between this country and the Colonies, but to help the development of the Colonies by any other trade that we can promote for them. First and foremost with the Dominions. I would congratulate my right hon. Friend on the very valuable work he did at Ottawa in seeing that inter-Empire preference included Colonial preference in the Dominions as well as preference in this country. It is very satisfactory to know that several of our recent trade treaties have made special provision for the interests of Colonial products. I have put down a Motion critical, in one aspect, of the recent Treaty with Lithuania, but I was delighted to see that, no doubt tat the instigation of my right hon. Friend, the Treaty provides special terms for bananas, limejuice, cocoa, tea and spices, all likely to be of real value to one part or another of the Colonial Empire.

If, therefore, we believe that it is our right and our duty to develop a system of preferences in the Colonial Empire, it is surely our task to get rid of those obstacles to the extension of preference which at present restrict our action over almost the whole of Africa. Those obstacles come under three heads. There is, first of all, the Anglo-French Treaty covering the greater part of the West African possessions; secondly, there is the Convention of St. Germain-en-Laye, superimposed on the old Brussels and Berlin Acts, covering the Congo Basin conventional zone, most of French Equatorial Africa, the Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Tanganyika, and a corner of Northern Rhodesia; and lastly there are the economic stipulations in the various mandates which we have pledged ourselves to fulfil. Of these the easiest to get rid of are the provisions in the Anglo-French Convention. We could denounce them at a year's notice, and it is only France and ourselves who are concerned. As far as the trade position goes, as between France and ourselves, the arrangement is one that has not worked in our disfavour. The imports in our West African territories from France are undoubtedly less than the imports to that part of French West Africa which is affected by the treaty. It is difficult to quote exact figures, because our figures only give the exports to the whole of French West Equatorial Africa, which are about six or seven times as large as our West African imports from France. But undoubtedly the area covered by the treaty takes more British exports than the corresponding area of British territory takes of French exports.

That, however, leaves out of account the working of the most-favoured-nation clause, under which we import from other countries vastly more than we import from France or France imports from us. In British West Africa in 1932 we imported only £150,000 worth of French goods, but we imported £3,750,000 worth from other foreign countries. There are two ways in which we can meet that difficulty. One is to follow up what we have done in the case of Japan and denounce the most-favoured-nation clause in respect of our West African Colonies. The other alternative is to denounce the treaty itself, which we can do at 12 months' notice. I am not prepared to dogmatise as to which is the better way, or which would better promote the general policy of developing effective preference not only between this country and West Africa, but between West Africa and Canada, which some day may become an even larger importer of tropical produce than ourselves. But I do hope that my right hon. Friend will take into con- sideration the need of immediate action on this matter.

A much more difficult problem is presented by the Berlin and Brussels Acts. They were part of a whole scheme for internationalising tropical Africa, in the days when people believed in internationalism and international Free Trade. A great part of the area was set up as an international free State. We all know that the international State became an international scandal, and in the interests of humanity, of the native inhabitants of the Congo, and of the good government of the world as a whole, that territory was taken over by Belgium as a Colony. The whole international system broke down in 1914. It was to be a system of international neutrality, but no one thought of that when the War broke out. To-day the economic restrictions on the full development of those territories are, from the point of view not only of the responsible Governments but of the native populations as well, a real hindrance. These restrictions lapsed after, in respect of the enemy Powers, but the end of the War they were renewed by the Treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye as far as Belgium, France, Portugal and Japan were concerned. Italy and the United States, though they signed the treaty, did not ratify it. Belgium, France and Portugal are no less interested than ourselves in getting rid of the economic restrictions imposed by this treaty, and the only question is of the way in which Japan may be met in order to induce her to waive her rights in that area.

There are certain other countries who were not participants in the War or in the Treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye but who, it may be presumed, still retain their old rights under the Berlin and Brussels Acts, namely, the three Scandinavian countries, Holland and Spain. Considering our close trade relations with those Scandinavian countries and the smallness of their trade with tropical Africa, I should have thought that it was not impossible at the first favourable opportunity to snake some trade bargain with them to waive their rights in this respect. The same thing could also be done with Holland and Spain; it is simply a matter of facing the fact that certain countries have rights which have their value, which cannot be simply brushed aside, but which can afford scope for reasonable bargaining, where we can give concessions, whether they be economic or of any other kind.

The same reasoning applies to the restrictions imposed upon us in Tanganyika, Togoland and the Cameroons under the Mandates. Here, if I may digress for one moment, I should like to clear up a misunderstanding which, in spite of the clear facts of the situation, continually crops up in speeches and in writing: that is the idea that we hold of these territories in some way as tenants of the League of Nations. These territories were surrendered by Germany irrevocably, just as they surrendered any other territory, at the close of the War as the price of their defeat. Those territories were surrendered to the Allied and Associated Powers, who proceeded to partition them. They did so on the understanding among themselves that these territories were to be taken over not for exploitation but for fair development in the interests of their inhabitants themselves. In order 1,o give greater security and a safer guarantee for their pledge, the pledge was to be not merely one among the Allied and Associated Powers, but one given to, the League of Nations, which was to be satisfi,ed that the undertaking was one which in the fullest sense protected the interest, welfare and future development of the inhabitants of the territories. At the same time the pledge taken differs in no essential particular from any other pledge concluded with or guaranteed by the League of Nations. It in no case created a tenure. It is open to he modified with the consent of all who have rights under it, just like any other treaty or, let me say particularly, the St. Germain-en-Laye Convention. What we have to do, with the help of the other Powers interested and of those interested on behalf of the countries themselves, is to see whether they cannot be brought into closer and more fruitful union with the countries responsible for their administration. I am quite clear that, from the point of view of the interests of the territories themselves, it is essential that this particular restriction against preference in the Mandates should be waived.

There is also another condition—the question of the rights of other members of the League of Nations. There are certain members, Japan and Germany, who by leaving the League of Nations are, presumably, held to be willing to relinquish their rights without compensation. Others will undoubtedly have to be dealt with fairly and reasonably from the point of view of finding for them some corresponding advantage in trade or otherwise that will make up for anything that they lose. I do not believe that there is any insuperable obstacle to getting rid of the present restrictions on the development of our African territories when once we definitely make up our minds that to do so is a major part of our economic and foreign policy. That is the point which I rose in order to put before my hon. Friend. In more than one direction—for instance, in recent clauses in foreign treaties, which include mandates among territories which stand outside the most-favoured-nation clause, paving the way, my right hon. Friend opposite and myself hope, to the possibility of giving effectual preference to Palestine—he has shown that he is all in favour of a liberation of our Colonial Empire from some of the out-of-date obligations which still restrict its development. All I am suggesting is that he should go on with the good work with greater vigour and with more despatch and enlist the support of all his colleagues in seeing that that work is effectively carried out. We are entering, I believe, upon a wonderful new era of development of our Colonial Empire, an era which will mean prosperity and well-being to those populations for whom we are trustees, but which can also, and without a shadow of detriment to our primary task, result in immense benefit to British shipping and British trade.

7.10 p.m.


I am fortunate in having to follow my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery). I should like to make just a few remarks upon the economic situation, and I also desire to add my congratulations to the Secretary of State for his very comprehensive survey of progress in the Colonial Empire. He described the economic measures he has taken which have made this progress possible. He also described the sound economic principles on which the future development of the Colonial Empire is being planned. Great interest is taken to-day in the development of this Empire as a means of carrying out our obligation as trustees for the native races. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Bothwell (Mr. Lunn) that this is of great importance. Moreover, one who reads the speech of the Secretary of State will find that the measures he has adopted also take account of the fact that the welfare of the natives is of primary concern. Another point of view, also an important one, is that this Empire provides a market for our exports.

I should like to make a few further observations on the principles now being adopted, which the Secretary of State referred to in his speech. It will be found that there has been, as my right hon. Friend said, a revolutionary change in the economic situation of the Colonial Empire owing to the measures adopted by the Government. The crisis in 1931 showed the weakness of the economic position of the Colonial Empire. Since then markets have been assured by preferences and other arrangements and in addition, as we have seen, an economic survey of the Colonial Empire has been made which will facilitate trade development. It is only by the expansion of trade that we can provide the means for raising the standard of life for the native races, and only by the measures adopted by the Government can their standard be maintained and protected from the violent fluctuations and consequent distress of past experience. Owing to the absence of assured markets and of sufficient economic information in the past, development was necessarily haphazard, and it often proved to be uneconomic, because, under the conditions which existed, there could be no coordination of production throughout the Colonial Empire. As the Secretary of State pointed out, without such information at command there could be no encouragement to grow what would profit them most, or, on the other hand, discouragement of a particular Colony from growing commodities which could not be profitable, owing to ignorance of the market conditions. In order to be in a position to give advice and guidance in these matters the Secretary of State has prepared the necessary information and taken the necessary measures.

The Survey is obviously of use to business men not only in this country but also in the Colonies, and to the Government here as well as to the various Colonial administrations. It shows, briefly, the economic situation in each Colony and the possibilities of its trade development. The production, actual and potential, is dealt with and the question of markets is examined, as well as the labour available and the other miscellaneous factors which in the aggregate affect development. Again, as we have heard, a study of the commodities produced in various Colonies is included. It is to be noted in the first place that this Survey supplies information which the Colonial administrations could not easily obtain for themselves, and that each Colony is now enabled to see how it stands with regard to the rest of the Colonial Empire. It can ascertain, for example, what commodities it is most suited to produce and what might pay it best. It is also shown how it can select secondary products and so widen the basis of production in relation to markets available.

Again, the Survey provides information which enables Colonial administrations to prepare or revise plans and programmes of general development, coordinating all Departments. Being an annual publication it will indicate the trend in any trade development which it is essential to know, especially in what may be called long-term planning. Such plans and programmes of general development in the Colonies must be related, I think, to the possibilities of trade development and to the markets for Colonial produce. Those markets, as we have seen, have recently been assured as far as possible and trade development is thus put on a more secure basis. Further, business arrangements are assisted such as the co-operation in marketing which is now taking place in many Colonies—a most encouraging development. It might be of interest to examine briefly the nature of these colony-wide development plans. It is already recognised that there is need on the part of Colonial administrations to prepare such plans as will co-ordinate the development programmes of all departments. For example the report of the Kenya Expenditure Advisory Committee of 1933, paragraph 121, contains the following recommendation: We have been struck by the absence of any province-wide or colony-wide plan of development activities embracing all departments. This we regard as a serious deter- rent to organised progress which should be remedied at the earliest possible date. This recommendation is, I believe, being carried out. In such plans the policies and programmes of development in agriculture, transport, public works, education and public health should be related to each other and all should be based upon trade and available markets, that is on the possibilities of trade development in the Colony. It has, for example, been. found by the Advisory Committee on Education in the Colonies, in considering questions of educational development in a colony, that the educational programme was limited by, and had to be related to, the potentialities and possibilities of development in other directions. For instance, the nature of the education given and the numbers trained had to be related to the requirements of the colony and to the nature and extent of its probable development.

I could go into details to show how it is necessary that the nature of a technical school, for instance, should correspond to the industrial needs, and the nature of an agricultural school should correspond to the agricultural needs, of a particular colony. It will also be found that there are simiar economic conditions which determine the programmes of agricultural development, communications, public works construction, and public health work. I submit that a balanced programme of development in a colony is necessary to avoid too much expenditure in one direction while other essential work is starved. That, within my own experience, has happened in more than one country. Unbalanced development generally results in waste. The recent report on the financial and economic position of British Honduras discloses an example of development based upon an insufficient foundation of trade. The report in paragraph 233 states that there has been "failure to plan ahead," and again that the policy of development works has resembled a succession of impulses inadequately thought out. Until now, the Colonies have not been, in possession of information which would provide an economic basis for planning development. It will be seen that now they are not only enabled to prepare colony-wide plans but—and I would like to call the attention of the Committee specially to this important fact—that a definite approach has been made by the Government towards a development plan for the Colonial Empire as An economic unit. The measures taken have put the development of that Empire on a solid economic foundation and the advancement of all its peoples has thus been made more secure. It must be remembered, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook has said, that Colonial trade with us is complementary, that is, they supply us with raw materials in exchange for our manufactured Articles. That there is much progress in this direction is evidenced by the improved position throughout the Colonies, and by the orders placed in this country as a result of development due to the recent trade arrangements of the Government. My own constituency, happily, has had a share of these orders And much-needed employment has thus been provided.

7.22 p.m.


I am sure the hon. Member for Tradeston (Dr. McLean) will forgive me if I do not follow him on the subject of the economic survey about which so much has already been said. There are two general observations which I wish to make. First, I must express surprise and regret that so few Members on the Government side have thought it necessary or desirable to attend this Debate on our Colonial Empire to which they so frequently and so glibly refer on other occasions. During the greater part of to-day's proceedings, not more than a dozen Members on the Government side have been in their places.


May I ask the hon. and gallant Member whether he does not know, as a result of his legal experience, that when a shareholders' meeting is called and only a few shareholders attend, it shows that they are completely satisfied with the management?


I am obliged for the hon. and learned Member's explanation, but I doubt whether his constituents or the constituents of other hon. Members opposite would accept it in this case. The second general observation which I was about to make concerns the great difficulty of deciding on the matters to be raised in a Debate like this, on the Colonial Office or Dominion Office Vote involving such a vast number of questions affecting territories so numerous and populations so large. Those questions are highly technical and require an amount of detailed knowledge which few of us possess. I should have liked to refer at some length to the Kenya Report, but as a great deal has been said about it already, I only mention one point. I wish to ask whether we are to understand that the lands set apart for Europeans, and the reserves set apart for the natives in Kenya, are to remain for all time as they are settled at present. Is the native African for ever to be prevented from poking his nose into the highlands, which, we understand, represent the better part of that country and which have been allocated to the Europeans.

I want, further, to ask a question concerning an Ordinance recently promulgated in the. Gold Coast Colony relating to seditious offences. It is a curious thing, and one which requires explanation, that not only in this country but throughout a large portion of the Empire so much interest is being taken in the subject of so-called sedition and so many steps appear to be considered necessary by the Government to alter and strengthen the law on the subject. I understand that the recent ordinance in the Gold Coast Colony is founded on a similar ordinance in Kenya. I wish to know whether alterations have been made, are being made or are likely to be made in the law regarding sedition in any of the other territories coming under the Colonial Office administration. I submit that the Gold Coast ordinance is an intolerable piece of legislation for these so-called enlightened days. In many respects it resembles the Incitement to Disaffection Bill now before a Committee of the House of Commons, but it contains a preliminary paragraph prohibiting the importation into the Colony of any newspaper, book or document, which in the opinion of the Government contains seditious works or writings. That provision does not appear in the Bill now before Parliament. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman when he replies will tell us what has made this ordinance necessary. Many people both in the Colony and in this country take a serious objection to it on the ground that it constitutes a grave menace to public liberty and that it is unnecessary and some explanation is due to this Committee.

The second section of the ordinance is drafted in terms resembling one of the Clauses of the Incitement to Disaffection Bill and I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman should take the same steps as the Attorney-General has thought it right to take on behalf of the Government in connection with the Incitement to Disaffection Bill. The ordinance, as drafted, provides that it shall be an offence to be in possession of seditious documents and puts the onus on the accused person of proving to the satisfaction of the court that at the time when the documents were found in his possession, he did not know the nature of the contents. We all know that the onus in all these matters should be on the prosecution and not on the defence, and I suggest that this ordinance should be altered in the same way as the Incitement to Disaffection Bill has been altered in Committee upstairs so that the onus shall be placed upon the prosecution of proving seditious intent. Under Section 3 an innocent receiver of alleged seditious documents can be found guilty and be made subject to the penalties under the ordinance if, although the documents may have been sent to him without his knowledge and consent, he does not on receipt of them forthwith hand them over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station. Such an ordinance ought not to be brought into force in any British Colony. The ordinance is an extremely bad testimonial to the conduct of affairs in the Colonies for which Parliament and the right hon. Gentleman in particular are responsible. I know of no reason for such ordinances. I do not know what the Government anticipate may happen, but the right hon. Gentleman ought to have them looked into.

Another question to which I desire to refer, which was raised in another place a little time ago without, I am afraid, a great deal of satisfaction, is the "Discovery" Expedition Committee and the Research Fund which was set up 12 or 14 years ago to provide money for research in Antarctic regions with a view to preventing the extermination of certain species of whales from which valuable oil is obtained. That committee has done excellent work since it was set up. It is composed of a number of scientific gentlemen who have devoted a great deal of time and effort to it. The funds have been obtained by the taxation of vessels engaged in whaling operations, some belonging to other nations, and I am told that a little over a year ago between £300,000 and £400,000 was still in the hands of the right hon. Gentleman for the purpose of carrying on these researches. We on this side try to be long-sighted in these matters. We think that research is a valuable thing and that every effort should be made in the Antarctic and elsewhere to carry out research into everything that may advance the welfare of the human race. The right hon. Gentleman apparently, does not take that view, because in the early part of last year he decided to suspend the operations of the committee and not to engage in a further expedition.


I never decided to suspend the operations of the committee, which has sat throughout, and I decided very long ago that the "Discovery" was to go on.


The right hon. Gentleman is very fond of getting up and making interruptions, but I put it to him whether in January, 1933, as was stated in another place and was not denied, the right hon. Gentleman did not decide for the time being that no further expedition should be undertaken and that the operations of the committee should be wholly or in part suspended?




I accept what the right hon. Gentleman says. It is true that some months later he decided that a further expedition might go out, and I believe that it is now in the Antarctic regions. According to my information, the right hon. Gentleman, for reasons best known to himself, had previously thought it wise to limit the work of that committee. However, I desire to ask the right hon. Gentleman three questions on this matter. Has he any intention of suspending the operations of the committee? The whaling industry is worth something like £4,000,000 a year to this country, and there is still to be done a great deal of research which would be of value to the industry and to this country. What does the right hon. Gentleman intend to do with the money which has come from taxation for this purpose, and which amounts to £300,000 or £400,000? In looking at the ordinance which originally set up the fund, it is clear to me that it was set up on taxation levied primarily for the purpose of research. The right hon, Gentleman on at least one occasion has used money from the fund for some other expedition not having relation to whaling research. I am further told that sums are paid year by year from this money to the Falkland Islands. That amounted in 1922 to £5,000, and the contribution has now been increased to £9,000. I am informed that that money is paid to the Falkland Islands to recoup them for their expenses of administering the dependencies of the Islands. As these dependencies spend in the ordinary way only £5,000 a year, it is surprising that the Falkland Islands should be paid £9,000 in respect of them. How long is that drain upon this fund, which was established for a particular purpose, to continue at the same rate, and has the right hon. Gentleman any intention of using the money in the fund for any other purposes?

There is also the question of the late Chairman of the Committee. I understand that the gentleman who originated the Committee because of his experiences during the War was Mr. Darnley, who presided with great success since the Committee was set up in 1922 until a few months ago when, for some reason, the right hon. Gentleman summarily dismissed him without consultation or previous discussion. At the time no reason was given. An explanation was vouchsafed a little time ago in another place to the effect that this gentleman, who had rendered such valuable service, who was not time-expired and who had the confidence of all concerned in the industry and of the Committee over which he presided, had then left the ordinary Colonial Office service, and it was desirable that someone who was in closer touch with the work should preside over the Committee. I put it to the right hon. Gentleman whether the real reason was not that the right hon. Gentleman had decided to use for other purposes the funds contributed for a particular purpose, and that he not unnaturally anticipated some objection from this gentleman who had presided for so long and with such success over the work of the Committee. If that were the reason, the right hon. Gentleman might have dealt with the matter in some other way. It does not seem to be in accord- ance with custom in these matters for an officer who has served for so many years with complete success to receive a letter which practically amounted to dismissal at comparatively short notice, no reason being stated for many months afterwards. The right hon. Gentleman behaved generously in regard to some financial recompense for a period, but beyond that he treated Mr. Darnley with somewhat scant courtesy.

I now desire to refer to the representation of the people of Gibraltar on their local council. I understand that the Governor has an executive council, which is nominated, and that there is a city council, set up in 1922, when the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery) laid it down that an endeavour should be made to bring the social conditions of Gibraltar up to something like the social conditions in this country. The city council was set up with that end in view, five members being nominated and four elected. It seems to me that the time has come to make some alteration in that council. It is not right that there should be a city council running the affairs of Gibraltar upon which the people through their elected representatives have no power. The only people who have power are the Governor and his executive council, which is wholly nominated, and the majority of the city council, which is nominated by the Governor. One way in which the matter could be dealt with would be for the Governor to include representatives of the working people among his nominations to the city council. There were at one time a number of elected Labour representatives, but at all times elected representatives have been in a minority. I invite the right hon. Gentleman to give his consideration to that problem and to give the people of Gibraltar the right to elect their own representatives and to govern their own city.

The only remaining matter to which I desire to refer is one which I have some diffidence in putting before the Committee, but I think it my duty to do so. I noted in the "Times" in December last that the right hon. Gentleman had been so fortunate as to be presented with a portrait of himself painted by an eminent painter, Mr. Oswald Birley. It was presented to him by the inhabitants of Mauritius. The spokesman of Mauritius is reported as having said that the right hon. Gentleman was the great champion for the Crown Colonies at the Ottawa Conference, and that Mauritius had occasion to be grateful to him for bringing them within the orbit of Imperial unity and co-operation. The right hon. Gentleman, in reply, said: If the new sugar preferences which had been given them put new life and hope into Mauritius and other great sugar colonies, they had not been slow to reciprocate, Evidently the right hon. Gentleman is of opinion that his portrait has been presented to him by the inhabitants of Mauritius by reason of the services he rendered to them—


This is a personal point. Is the hon. and gallant Member, after all these months, making a personal charge against me, that I did a corrupt deal with the people of Mauritius and that the presentation portrait, which I did not know anything about beforehand, was done as part of a, plan to corrupt me?


I gave the right hon. Gentleman notice that I was going to raise this point and precisely what I was going to say, and he will do me the justice to admit that I have not indicated privately or publicly any such suggestion, and he has no business to put it forward here. He knows quite well that no such suggestion either has been made or was in my mind to make. The right hon. Gentleman knows that there is a Regulation, No. 59, of the Colonial Office which forbids the receipt of gifts from Colonies or inhabitants thereof by Colonial Governors or Colonial officers, and when put a question to the right hon. Gentleman yesterday he informed me that that regulation was strictly enforced, and that he would not permit Governors or Colonial officers to receive such gifts. How does it come about that he is less scrupulous in that matter—and I do not say it offensively—than he permits his officers to be? I make no allegation against the right hon. Gentleman—quite the contrary—in regard to his personal honour, but I do suggest that he was a little lacking in discretion or wisdom to accept this portrait in those circumstances. Is every Colony to be permitted to make a gift to the Secretary of State for the time, being, whether the right hon. Gentleman or another Secretary of State, and are Governors and others meanwhile to be forbidden to accept such gifts? The regulation to which I have referred is a perfectly proper one and one which, if I may be allowed to say so, the right hon. Gentleman is right in seeing strictly enforced, but I submit that he ought to be the first to set an example in that regard. He may say, "I should offend the people of Mauritius if I refused ungraciously to accept the gift which they desired to make to me." But all that the right hon. Gentleman had to say was, "I am very sorry, and I much appreciate it, but Regulation 59, which we strictly enforce, does not permit those who serve under me to accept such gifts, and I must not accept them, though I appreciate the thought underlying the offer." I repeat that I make no allegation against the right hon. Gentleman.




The right hon. Gentleman may say say "Oh," but there is no one more touchy than he is—


I am when the hon. and gallant Gentleman is attacking my honour.


I am not attacking the right hon. Gentleman's honour in any sense of the word. I am giving him the opportunity to give an explanation of a matter which has caused some little comment, and I give this to the right hon. Gentleman also, that if he can give an explanation which is reasonable, and which the good sense of the House accepts, no one will be more pleased than I, but the matter is one obviously which ought to be raised and on which the right hon. Gentleman ought to welcome an opportunity of making a statement.

7.50 p.m.

Brigadier-General SPEARS

With regard to the last point raised by the hon. and gallant Member for South-East Leeds (Major Milner), there is all the difference in the world between a public servant and a Member of His Majesty's Government, and it is impossible to imagine that a whole country should be restricted from recording its appreciation, in the person of a Minister, of the policy of the Home Government by making him a presentation portrait.

My only reason for addressing the Committee is that it so happens that just over three weeks ago I was present at the Baraza or native Parliament of the Kavirondo when this self-same Charter report, which has been so much discussed to-day, was explained to the native chiefs. The natives were extremely anxious that their point of view should be heard by this House, and I am going to put as faithfully as I can that which I heard. The Baraza was presided over by the District Commissioner, assisted by the Provincial Commissioner, and immense pains were taken to explain the main lines of the report to the assembled chiefs. I must say that I was both disappointed and surprised by the way in which it was received by the chiefs at first. By common consent this report is extremely favourable to native interests, but what I heard, if it did not show immediate appreciation of the report by the natives, proved at least that they are perfectly free in their expressions of opinion and do not hesitate to say exactly what they think. There were quite a number of speeches, but the burden of a good many of them was this: "Once upon a time there was plenty of room in this country, but now it is quite full. What shall we do if a lot of whites come in as well?" I thought to myself that the reason why there was so much space in the Kavirondo country a few years ago was because in those days famine and pestilence alternated if indeed they did not come together. The Kavirondo were the natural prey of blood-spearing expeditions by neighbouring warlike tribes such as the Nandi and the Massai, and they themselves waged war among each other from hill top to hill top; and I thought to myself that it was a great pity that the assembled natives were not taught to realise more that if the land is now full and there is plenty, it is thanks to the Pax Britannica which has been established there and to the magnificent administration which Kenya now enjoys.

The Committee has been made aware by previous speeches that this Kavirondo district includes the goldfield of Kakemega. It would be too much to expect the natives to appreciate at once the immense potential benefit of the goldfield to the Colony as a whole, but some of the speeches made at the Baraza really took my breath away. It was actually suggested by some of the speakers that all the whites employed in the goldfield should be compelled to reside in the township of Kakemega, that all the valuable machinery should be abandoned at night, and that under native supervision the whites should all go back to Kakemega to sleep, to be let out to their work, 10, 20, or 30 miles away in the morning. It would perhaps, as I said before, be too much to expect that the natives should appreciate—

Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; Committee counted, and, 40 Members being present

Brigadier-General SPEARS

When I was interrupted, I was saying that it seemed to me that it was too much to expect that the natives should appreciate the potential benefits of the goldfield of Kakemega to the Colony, but the actual benefits are evident enough. Large sums are flowing into the country, and the compensation given is, as my right hon. Friend said, on the most generous scale. Ten pounds per annum per acre for fallow land is actually paid in compensation, and I wonder where in England farmers could obtain that amount for their land. The utmost care has been taken not to disturb the natives. It has been stated, and it is perfectly true, that not a single native has been disturbed, and you see on the field—I saw myself—important buildings, permanent European buildings, crowded together, against the dictates of both common sense and hygiene, so as not to interfere with a couple of reed huts which would, in the ordinary course of events, be abandoned by the natives within a couple of years.

I would like to warn my right hon. Friend that conditions are perhaps being made if anything too difficult for the workers on the goldfields. A year ago there were over 1,000 whites in the township of Kakemega. To-day there are only 300. The programme of works imposed on the companies is 19 times heavier than it was a year ago. The result is that the companies simply cannot afford to carry out the prospection of the field except under the most favourable possible conditions. The Baraza went on for some time and then the whites all withdrew and a chief took over the chairmanship. When the sitting was resumed under the chairmanship of the district commissioner, the commissioners set about with the utmost care and tact to find out what was at the back of the native mind to find out where the shoe really pinched, and presently they got it. They found that what the natives really apprehended was that when a white man lived in the place and built himself a house that land must inevitably belong to him. That is what happens in their own case, and it was seeing buildings going up that made them fear that the land was going to be lost to them for ever. As soon as that point was made clear, it became very easy sailing indeed, and it was possible to explain to them, and they very readily understood, that the new leases which it is proposed to give to some of the companies would in fact be a charter to the natives, a proof that the land did in fact belong to them. When they found that they could actually obtain copies of these leases, there was real jubilation, and they were completely and absolutely satisfied. There was a great demand by the chiefs to buy the Morris Carter Report and other large volumes lying on the table, the buyers no doubt anticipating a sensational return with a volume on the head of each one of a. long string of wives.

But as I left and drove through a country teeming with people—there were some districts with a population of over 1,000 per square mile, which is something like the population of Belgium, the most thickly-populated country in Europe—I could not help thinking of my own constituents. There they were, these natives, every man well fed, every man secure, in fact all of them possessing those very things which so many of our people at home would like. Yet, when all is said and done, this security, this prosperity enjoyed by the natives, is entirely due to the protection afforded them by the British people, so many of whom are on the dole to-day. I thought to myself: What do our Colonies give us for all we give them? The Colonial Secretary described, and it was most interesting to listen to him, the way in which he is increasing and developing the links between the Colonies and ourselves, but I do submit that these Crown Colonies can do something for us that they are not doing to any extent, and that is to take more of our own people. Take, for instance, Uganda. It is a magnificent territory, and yet I do not believe that there are more than 50 or 60 white farmers in the whole country. That is absurd. It is a country in which white people can perfectly well live. Take, again, Tanganyika. English people do not settle in Tanganyika because there is no sense of security about it. There is a sort of idea about that the country may be handed back to Germany one day. I do not believe for a moment that we have any such thought in our minds, but it ought to be asserted that we have not, and, if the Colonial Secretary will do so, it will do a very great deal to encourage English settlers there.

I would like the Colonial Secretary to answer a specific question about Tanganyika. I was told on very good authority that the German Government are subsidising very heavily German settlers who are going there. Is that so or is it not? Personally, it strikes me that it would be a very good idea if some of these powerful societies which look after German-Jewish refugees were told that there is plenty of room in Tanganyika for some of these German citizens who have been so unfairly thrown out of their own country. I think there would be a certain poetic justice in that, and I should like to see a colony of German Jewish refugees in an ex-German Colony. But there is plenty of room for more white settlers in Kenya as well. It is perfectly true that some of the white estates are perhaps too big and would have to be broken up. I think also the question of native reserves ought to be gone into. The Morris Carter Report generously gives additional thousands of square miles to the natives. A right hon. Gentleman, speaking from the Liberal benches, pointed out that probably in a few years that land will not suffice. If it will not suffice, it will be because of the overstocking of the land by the natives. That is absolutely a major question in Kenya to-day. The wealthier the natives, and they are becoming very wealthy, the bigger their herds. They have enormous quantities of cattle, which are quite useless from the point of view of meat, and very bad milk producers, and the country is full of these enormous herds which put nothing back into the land, and all that will happen, unless the natives are taught husbandry, is that they will waste more land and yet more land. Then there is the question of the extent to which forests are being destroyed. When a. native wants honey he sets fire to a tree and often causes serious forest fires, so that much destruction is done.

I do not think it is the fault of the Colonies that they do not take more of our people. I think it is our own fault. We have given the Colonies a superb administration. Anybody going out to these countries will realise how good it is, but to them and to the white settlers it does seem a little as if England were full of people with soft hearts and also soft heads, a sort of Archdeacon Owens endlessly multiplied. The building of an African Colony is a, question of cooperation between whites and blacks. Both have their part to play, and we may be very proud indeed of the protection we have afforded to the natives in our Colonies. Anybody going there will see that the Europeans and the natives live in perfect amity together. We should not forget that if the Colonies are to play a proper part in the Empire they can only do it if they have a strong white backing. I do not wish to go into the economic question which has been so ably dealt with by others, but I thought, in particular, that the point raised by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery) was extremely interesting. We have to do something because the fact is that Japanese imports to Kenya, for instance, for last year were up on the year before by 51 per cent. I venture to submit, in conclusion, that the line pursued by the Colonial Secretary should be vigorously endorsed by this House and, above all things, that an effort should be made to find room for more of our own people in our Colonies. There is room for them there, there is a place for people who could make a modest livelihood over there who to-day are eating out their hearts hopelessly on the dole.

8.13 p.m.


I do not propose to take up the time of this Committee by dealing at any length with the speeches we have just heard. I would like to say in answer to the hon. Member for Carlisle (Brigadier-General Spears) that so far as Uganda is concerned he must abandon the idea of populating it with white people. It is essentially a plantation country. There is reasonable room in Kenya and Tanganyika, and I would entirely agree with him to the extent that there is still a certain amount of hesitation among British people as to the continuity of British authority in Tanganyika. The sooner they disabuse themselves of this foolish idea the better for all concerned. It has been the subject of pronouncements by several Secretaries of State, and has been pointed out to them on various other occasions. I myself, though I do not say that I can speak with authority, yet speaking with knowledge, have pointed out that this mandate was an irremovable mandate from outside, and that the King exercised sovereignty over Tanganyika as much as over any of the possessions of the Crown. The mandate is subject to certain restrictions, we have to make a report and give certain undertakings, but the authority of His Majesty the King stands supreme. One has only to look at the postage stamp to see His Majesty's head on it, and that ought to be enough to let people know that we do not change about in these matters. I hope the Secretary of State may at some time see fit to make another and perhaps even more definite statement on that subject, as it would perhaps relieve the minds of some, although I think people are beginning to realise that no British Government, whatever its political complexion, would be so foolish as to hand over this country to another nation which has not proved itself in any way so well qualified as we are to govern these countries. I am sure that all in this House are agreed upon that.

Some of us listened with great pain to the remarks made by the hon. and gallant Member for South-East Leeds (Major Milner) in connection with the portrait presented by the people of Mauritius to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies. He suggested that he wanted to speak delicately, but I do not think he measured delicately what he had to say, because although we knew the point he was trying to make I am afraid it was made in a very unfortunate way. As a matter of fact, hardly anybody has heard of this presentation, and in any case, when a body of people in a country offer to present a gentleman with his portrait, it is a complete stretch of the imagination to call it a gift in the ordinary sense of the word. It is merely an appreciation of services rendered. After all, all that he said in his speech was that at Ottawa we had been able to arrange a good deal for the Colonies and that there was no doubt the Colonies were going to respond. I think it is very regrettable that a personal matter of that kind should have been dragged in front of the House, and that the way in which it was done—however unintentional, because I do not believe it was intentionally meant to be hurtful—should hurt. I am certain that my hon. Friends on the Opposition benches know that the right hon. Gentleman is a man of high honour and with a high sense of duty, and that he would never allow himself to become involved improperly in a matter of this kind.

We have listened to an extraordinarily interesting survey of what has been going on throughout the Colonial Empire. I have had the privilege of spending three months in East African territory, after having worked some nine years here with the Joint East African Board which advises the Colonial Office on economic matters, and I can assure the Committee that it was an interesting experience to see how remarkably well government is carried on in those distant parts of the Empire and the type of men who are responsible. There may be a black sheep among them here and there—even in Parliament there may be one or two—but anyone who has been out there cannot fail to have been struck with admiration at the devoted service rendered by the servants of the Crown in the various Colonies where they are working. We ought to make them realise that even though criticism is at times levelled against them there is no suggestion of lack of confidence in them. The loyalty and devotion of those who are risking their lives and their health in this great service, is fully recognised, whatever party may be in power here at home.

It is of vital importance to have a real survey of the whole economic position of the Empire such as is given us in the wonderful book which has been produced. With the facts concentrated as they are there one begins to realise how one colony can work in with another and how knowledge acquired in one corner of the tropics is invaluable in another. I do not know whether it would be in order to talk about it, but I visited the Amani research station out there, and was interested in the information that had been gleaned as to how best to combat plant disease. For instance, an insect pest which was attacking the coffee plant. They chloroformed a number of insects and then injected a certain virus into them, and those which survived the operation were later let loose on the coffee plants, and it was found that they no longer injured the plants. As a result of the knowledge thus gained a preparation has been made which will serve as a protection for the plant. That is one instance to show the immense value of study on the spot. Again to-day we are beginning to look at industries as not purely individual and separate industries but with a feeling that all those connected with one industry should work cooperatively together. If those engaged in the production of coffee, tea, sisal, wattle, or whatever it may be, work and cooperate together and get in touch with their opposite numbers in other territories, and they co-operate together one has a very different story from that which has to be told when they are all pulling each other to pieces. We get combined operations such as have already proved of immense value in this country.

Another fact which is gradually dawning on the East African territories is that they are one economic unit. The visitor there never knows which particular territory he is in, because there is no marked boundaries between them, and no distinctive features in the different countries. They are one economic unit and they work into each other, and the more we help them to work together as one unit the better it is going to be. What they need is political rest and economic progress. It is said by some that we are always piling political troubles on them, though it might also be said they sometimes seek them themselves, but what they need is political rest, and that is why I think the Morris Carter Report is so very valuable, I will not say as a soporific, because it is more than that, in dealing with so many of the causes of anxiety. The hon. and gallant Member for Carlisle spoke of having attended a gathering of natives.

I was in Kakamega last year and before I left England I had the duty of speaking in support of the attitude of the Government in regard to some unfounded statements that had been made. As a Member of this House I went out to make an inquiry on the spot into the position, and what struck me was how well the colonial officers responded. They arranged a meeting with the tribes, and the Commissioner said to me, "I am going to sit beside you, but I am going to say nothing. I have arranged that you shall be correctly interpreted right through." I had an hour and a half's talk with the chiefs. They certainly have a way of doing things out there. They put me in a big chair and the Commissioner sat in a smaller one. The chiefs sat in still smaller chairs, and the natives stood all round.

The question of the goldfields came up. It was a matter of simple question and answer and I was impressed with how satisfied they were at having a market for their produce and with all that was going on, with the exception of one question; they were rather doubtful about the leases. I did my best to explain that to them. We have heard from an hon. Member to-day that afterwards it was more fully explained. It was a point which they wished to have explained to them. They were glad to have people there. They were not worrying about the disturbance of their shambas. I was standing in one of the gold-mining districts and I looked round and I said, "What are the peculiarly fertile spots that I see there?" The reply was, "That is a part that has been dug up by prospectors. It has been filled in again. It never had such a digging before, and the result is that it is much more fertile than the rest." We must not forget that compensation of something like £10 per acre was paid in respect of that land. The native is quite a simple person; as they say in Yorkshire, "There is a deal of human nature about folk." If a hole is dug in the ground, it is always the worst goat of the flock you find get in there with its legs broken in the morning and having to be paid for.

The natives are thoroughly satisfied with what is going on, and what we have to do is to help them in the matter. The hon. Member for Rothwell (Mr. Lunn) referred to paramountcy. I thought that matter was settled, and I daresay he thought it was, too. I would like to read from the report of the Joint Select Com- mittee a few words which settled that question. They were drawn up by a Member of the party now on the Opposition side of the House. The recommendation was very simple. It said: The whole position may be summed up briefly by saying that the interest of the overwhelming majority of the indigenous population should not be subordinated to those of a minority belonging to another race however important in itself. I hope that is a final settlement of the matter on those terms. They were accepted all round at the time, and everyone who has looked into it realises that it puts a perfectly fair position.

As regards the Morris Carter Report. I said a week or two ago that it has been a very good thing to have a report of that kind. I have heard some criticisms. It is rather difficult for people to adjust their minds, because of what they have said before. They do not like to give in. Everyone who has met the three commissioners and has talked to them, as well as having read that wonderful product of theirs, must realise that they are very able, fair-minded and just men. If they had not had experience they would never have been able to frame a report that is of such infinite value as is this report. Everyone must join in expressing appreciation of the very able way in which that report has been produced. I do not speak as one who has studied it word for word, but I have done my best to learn the main points, particularly with the help of the White Paper. There is only one thing on which I feel I must say a word. There has been criticism of the view of His Majesty's Government in connection with the board. Almost everybody agrees that the functions of the board are one and the functions of the Government are another, as laid out in the report. The one difference is that it is considered that the Government have made a mistake in objecting to having the board set up in London. I am satisfied they are right. It is the height of folly for us to attempt to administer a question of this kind from London. You cannot possibly do it. You do not know the circumstances, and you are not in touch with the people. You must be in touch to be able to do a thing of that kind. I have seen the working of the board, and I have myself been chairman of an advisory board. I have seen how misunderstandings may arise. However well reports are brought home, you cannot grasp the thing in the same way. I know what will be felt out there; the foundations of confidence will be shaken among the white settlers in respect of the people at home, and the confidence of the natives will be shaken in anything that is proposed. They will say, "You cannot trust your own Government."

I was sorry to hear the casual remarks about the Government of Kenya, which is a Government of His Majesty's officials assisted and advised by local people. It is not an independent Government, any more than that of Uganda or Tanganyika. The unofficial element is rather stronger, but that is all. It is a Government upon which we can rely, because it is composed of the soundest and most experienced men in our Civil Service under the direction of the Colonial Office. People talk of the Colonial Office as though. it were something curious. It is a most wonderful product, and the further we get away from these shores the prouder we become of it. It is most important that we should realise what splendid men the Governors and the Commissioners are. Let me add that neither this Committee nor the public of England realise what a fine set of people the great majority of the white settlers in Kenya are. I have stayed in their houses and have seen much of their self-denial during the terrible crises through which they have passed. The women have faced those crises with the men, with the same British spirit with which our people of every class always face their difficulties.

In praising the officials out there, one cannot refrain from giving a meed of praise to the settlers, whether they are planters, farmers or commercial men, and also to the fine set of natives. I was never more impressed with natives than I was when I went through East Africa and saw the fine and noble bearing of the native African. There is a great deal of material there to be used, among the loyal natives, the loyal settlers, and, above all, the local Government officials. We can be proud that we have such a fine body of men. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery) referred to a point upon which I have been working for years, namely, what is known as the Congo Basin Treaties. There is no doubt East Africa wants to have them modified, but we have yet to learn how the business world at home views the proposed change. We have to be careful to realise the difficulties and obligations of those treaties. We do not know how far they are going to benefit East Africa, or what exactly the reactions will be on the trade of the Empire, but I hope very much that the way will be clear to deal with these matters. I am afraid I have detained the Committee rather longer than I intended, but, having been to East Africa, I felt that I should like to say a few words on that subject.

8.36 p.m.


I desire to ask your permission, Sir Dennis, to raise a point of Order with respect to the matters with which we are dealing, or are entitled to deal, under this Vote. There is a desire on the part of a number of Members to introduce in this Debate the question of Palestine, and I am wondering whether you would be good enough to reconsider the Ruling which you gave some little time ago with regard to that matter. The important point with which it is desired to deal is the question of immigration into the country and the extension el the possibilities in that direction; and I would submit, with the greatest respect, that those Members who desire to speak on that subject would be in order under the Vote which is at present being discussed. It is not a question of defence, and it is not a question relating to any of the other matters which are contained in Vote 9, for Colonial and Middle Eastern services. In these circumstances, I would respectfully ask whether you could see your way to permit a debate to take place on that and kindred subjects relating to Palestine.


Since I gave my previous Ruling, 1 have taken some trouble to look up the precedents on this matter, and I am quite clear on the position to-night with regard to a, debate on Palestine, and particularly on the question of immigration, to which the hon. Member refers. The view seems to be taken by some hon. Members that, on the Vote containing the salary of the Secretary of State, anything under his Department can be discussed if it is not something for which a specific sum of money is set down in another Vote; but that is not the whole rule, nor is it a correct statement of the rule. On the salary of the Secretary of State, we cannot discuss a particular sub-department of his Department if that sub-department is a sub-department to itself, all expenditure in connection with which would come under a separate Vote. In this case there is in the Colonial Office a Department known as the Middle Eastern Department, the expenditure of which comes under a separate Vote for Middle Eastern Services, and it is under that Vote that all expenditure would come in connection with Palestine or Transjordania. In these circumstances, I think it is quite clear that no debate on any matters connected with Palestine generally can take place on the Vote which is now under discussion.

8.40 p.m.


My name appears on the Order Paper to-day attached to a Motion to reduce the Vote by £5 in respect of the salary of the Secretary of State for the Colonies. It is not to be inferred from that that I accuse my right hon. Friend of any misfeasance or impropriety in his position, nor is it intended in any way to raise any serious criticism. It is merely intended to give me a locus standi for the purpose of drawing attention to a matter which in itself is of small compass, but which I think is one of serious principle. I understand that, in my temporary absence for the purpose of obtaining nutrition after sitting here for four hours, the matter has been touched upon by the hon. and gallant Member for South-East Leeds (Major Milner), but I understand that he has not gone into any details regarding it, and, therefore, I propose to say what I have to say de novo. What I wanted to do was to elicit information from the Secretary of State for the Colonies as to the present position of the "Discovery" Expedition Committee Fund, the proposed application of the fund, and the future programme of the committee.

The matter was raised by two Noble Lords in another place on the 2nd May, 1934, and it was gone into at considerable length. I do not think it is necessary to go over the whole of the ground again, but, as I understand that the hon. and gallant Member for South-East Leeds has not gone into the history of the matter, it is rather important that it should be understood. The "Discovery" Expedition Committee was set up after the War to undertake what was necessary to prevent the extinction of whales. Apparently, during the War, there was a great run on whales for the purpose of obtaining oil and so on. A great number were killed, and there was a grave danger of their being exterminated. A committee was formed of very distinguished scientific people, with the object of ascertaining what could be done to investigate the matter and find out how the whales could be preserved.

The committee, on being set up after the War, required money, and money was raised by imposing licences on whaling ships, whether foreign or British, which were doing business in British waters, particularly in the neighbourhood of the Falkland Islands or their dependencies. A large sum of money was raised, and a definite undertaking was given by the Colonial Office that the funds would be credited to a special fund for research and development. It must be understood that the ships licensed were not only British ships, but to a large extent foreign ships, particularly Norwegian ships, and, therefore, foreign countries are very much interested in the formation of the fund, and, naturally, have raised questions as to what was going to be done with the large amount obtained from these licences. They were told quite definitely by the Colonial Office that this money would be set aside and put to a special fund for research and development. Details of the written communications were given in the House of Lords. When the money had been raised, the ship "Discovery" was acquired, an expedition VMS sent out, and very valuable investigations were made. In 1933 the fund, even after the expenditure on the first "Discovery" expedition, stood at £350,000—a very considerable sum. Another expedition is in progress; I understand that its operations will not be finished until June, 1935; but, even after that expense has been incurred, there will be, it is estimated, about £300,000 in hand.

So far the payments which have been made out of the fund are entirely right and proper, but we now come to a matter which is more questionable. I understand that £9,000 has been paid to the general administration of the Falkland Islands, which seems to me to be extraordinary, and £10,000 towards the expense of the British expedition to Graham Land under Mr. Rymill. These two payments seem to me to be outside the original scope of the fund and not in accordance with the terms governing its formation. It would be bad if it concerned only British subjects, but a number of foreigners are concerned, and I think the credit of the British Government is involved. There is a feeling of anxiety and uncertainty. I do not know whether the original object of the fund is exhausted. I hardly think it can be, because I see there is a new Whaling Industry Bill coming down from another place. It may well be that money can be properly expended in that direction. But even if it be exhausted, I certainly think we ought to adopt the practice which is adopted in the case of charities. If an original charity fails, another scheme is drawn up which is called a cy pres scheme, as near to the original intention of the donor as may be, and the Attorney-General puts it into operation. I certainly think, if the original object of the fund has failed, it ought to be earmarked for some similar scientific purpose and not dissipated on ordinary expenditure like the general expenditure of the Falkland Islands.

Simultaneously with this change of policy has come the successor of Mr. Darnley, a Colonial Office official, who was chairman of the fund for some considerable time. I understand that the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for South-East Leeds has dealt with that. I certainly should not have raised this question as a personal matter, and I do not wish to do so, but it has been suggested that in some way the two are connected. I cannot think it is so, because I am sure the Colonial Secretary would have kept his eyes on the matter and seen that it was carried out. I hope he will let us have some time to-night an answer to the questions that I have put.

8.48 p.m.


I am sorry to intrude in the Debate at this hour, but it seems to me that the speeches that we have heard from the Secretary of State and the ex-Secretary of State were frankly deplorable. There was an ancient distich which seems rather applicable to this subject written originally by a famous historian: While ladling butter from alternate tubs, Stubbs butters Freeman, Freeman butters Stubbs. Certainly they were very appreciative of each other, but the parallel is not quite exact. I do not think I at all like the views that were expressed by the right hon. Gentleman. The duty of the Colonial Secretary and of the Colonial Office—the end all their existence—is not to promote British trade, not to promote even trade with the Colonies. They are not judged by that standard. They should be judged by the standard of administration in the Colonies and whether that administration is directed towards the welfare of the inhabitants of those Colonies, and not to the fostering of British or any other trade. Moreover, at a time when there is no unemployment in the Colonial Empire but a great deal of unemployment at home, I think it ought not to be the object of British statesmen to increase the development of the Colonies and to increase the work that is to be thrown upon the inhabitants of those Colonies.

It is not useful to use British money, which could be spent in the mother country, in the Colonies in providing more work for people who already have more than they can manage. I know that is a very unpopular point of view. I remember raising it long ago in connection with the bridge over the Zambesi, which was to cost £1,500,000, or it may be more—it was our money that was being spent, and we should never see it back—making the nigger in Northern Rhodesia work under particularly bad conditions in the Zambesi valley and, far from being a triumph for British statesmanship, it was an admirable example of what the Colonial Secretary should not do.

But the real test goes much further than that. Our aim and object in all Colonial territories is to use our power and our experience for the development of the native races, and I just hate to hear year after year speeches from the Secretary of State directed solely to this one point of the development of trade with the Colonies. It is not our principal business, and I should like to get on future occasions from Secretaries of State for the Colonies views on certain other points of more vital importance to the natives and, in the long run, to our reputation. Let me deal with one or two of these.

I think the question of representative Government in the various Colonies is a matter of enormous importance about which the Colonial Office ought to have a consistent policy, perhaps a secondary matter to education, but representation and education are intimately linked. My fear is that, so far as education goes, throughout the whole of the Colonal Empire it is hampered first and foremost by a sort of passionate desire to keep the native everywhere as he is to-day, to keep him, in fact, an admirable servant. I sometimes think if we could go back 60 years to the time when compulsory universal education was being advocated in this country, if the House of Commons which passed that Measure in 1870 could have seen the development of the intelligence and the power of the working-class, if they could have seen this Labour party in the House of Commons, they would have been more insistent than they were in keeping the working-class uneducated. Exactly the same is being felt about India. We have been told over and over again, if only Macaulay had not been such a fool as to teach the natives English, how much easier a proposition we should have had in governing India. There is that difficulty with all sorts of education. Directly you educate people you get them capable of thinking, and, worse still, capable of criticism.

We had from the right hon. Gentleman to-day an admirable example of the natural objections of bureaucracy and particularly of the Secretary of State a criticism exactly like that of Dr. Goebbels, who said, "Welcome to sensible sound, constructive criticism but—." Naturally every administration hates criticism as it does the devil. If you are going to educate the blacks in Africa and the natives in Palestine and anybody anywhere, you will only store up trouble for yourself. If you put, first Land foremost, the avoidance of trouble, do not educate. If, on the other hand, you realise that the whole of British history has been educating first yourselves and then other people into being civilised, reasonable beings, you have to put up with the increased trouble which comes from education.

So far the Colonial Secretary has not taken the trouble to attend to my speech, but possibly I may have his attention when I now come to the question of representative government. This question is connected with education. If you are to have representation, and ultimately a people taking some part in governing themselves, it is a question, first of all, of educating them to think connectedly, to read a newspaper, and to organise even in their trade unions. It is no use thinking that you can start representative government unless you have, first of all, elementary education in reading, thinking, and organising. I do not want the Colonial Office to carry on the policy which they have carried on in the past of granting representative Parliamentary government to peoples who are not ready for it and then taking it away again directly they make a mess of it. There should be a much more definite line of progress, and I would put to the Colonial Secretary and to the Committee the point of view that you should never give representative or responsible government to any Dominion or Colony so long as they are not sufficiently educated to make proper use of it. You should judge that by considering whether there is in that Dominion or Colony a minority which does not welcome those institutions.

I will take Cyprus as an example. In Cyprus away back in 1878, in a wave of Victorian enthusiasm, we gave representative institutions. Cyprus, unfortunately, has a minority of Moslems, and to avoid the tyranny of one section of the inhabitants over the other, they provided under a responsible Governor, a system of communal representation whereby the Mohammedans voted only for Mohammedans and the orthodox Christians voted only for orthodox Christians. The result was that you got a Parliament which had more powers than this Parliament intended that it should have and government was carried on by the casting vote of the Governor. The two races always voted against each other, and the British Governor managed to carry on. That was a thoroughly bad system, and it ended up with a burst up in Cyprus and the burning of the Governor's house, and the Colonial Secretary of that day, quite rightly, took away those institutions and governed independently of any system of representation. If the principle had been laid down that we would not have representative institutions unless we could have one general roll of electors, so that everybody represented those electors, in whatever assembly it might be, they would have considered the views of both parties, instead of having to consider the views of the extreme partisans. Here we all represent everybody. I represent people who even share the views of the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary, with the natural result that I have to modify my views even of this Government. At least, I try to modify them. Hon. Members opposite are alive to the fact that there are many working men who vote for them, and therefore they all have to moderate their views. It is impossible to be an extremist when you remember that by every form of extremity you are alienating some of the people who might vote for you, though they never do. That is the admirable system we have in this country.

If you go anywhere, to Cyprus or to Palestine, and build up an entirely alienised system of representation whereby each caste can only vote for that caste, antagonisms are fostered and a natural and responsible electorate does not exist, you run all these risks of having tyranny by the majority and terror among the minority. You have the danger even now of starting in your new Province of Sind a system of terrorism comparable with what goes on in Germany to-day. Those truths ought to be thought out by the Colonial Office. When you talk of giving representative government to Palestine there ought to be a clear idea that by so doing the Government do not set up a dangerous system of antagonism and terrorism over the minority. I am too much afraid that in many of these cases you have the man on the spot, whether in India or elsewhere, anxious not so much for the native inhabitants of the territory as to get rid of control by Parliament and even of the control of the Secretary of State.

I was glad to see that the right hon. Gentleman kicked to-day at the idea of a local board in London administering native affairs in East Africa responsible only to a Privy Council which does not really exist. There is a tendency all over the world to get tired of, and angry with, criticism, and therefore they recommend those institutions as a sort of shelter behind which they can take cover. That is the danger you have to observe, and it is all the more important that some sort of general rule should be evolved in the Colonial Office. They did admirably in Ceylon, because there they invented a form of representation and a degree of responsibility of which, I believe, Ceylon was capable of taking advantage. They did away with the silly system of communal representation. They gave there one general list of electors, and the result is that the inter-communal bitterness which used to be excessive has gone down, while the bitterness in India has gone up. Some sort of general principle about what you are to do when you give self government would be of enormous advantage all over the world, and particularly in such places as Malta, Cyprus and Palestine.

Then there is the question of education. Does the Colonial Office want to see the natives capable of thinking for themselves. The speech of the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery) was to the effect that the only way in which the native is fit to be educated is to become a better producer of goods, of which we have too much already. We do not want to educate the working classes in order to be a better instrument for employment by other people, and we do not want to educate the natives in Africa in order that they may be admirable beasts of burden and carry on generation after generation exactly the same activities which they have carried on in the past. The very meaning of the word "education" is to draw people up. I remember the Minister for Education in Palestine, a long time ago, saying to me that the real difficulty was that the native of that country wanted to get away from his present condition. That is the aim and object of all education. If you educate a native of Nazareth his one desire is to get to America, perhaps that is also true of Bethlehem. They all want to cease to be tillers of the soil and to become petty shopkeepers and, above all, Government servants, and there are plenty of openings for them in Palestine.

The real object of education is not to preserve things as they are but to make a change. I do not know whether the Colonial Office has made up its mind as to which way they intend to go, and I hope that when the Secretary of State makes a speech on Colonial Estimates again we may have some general indication as to the intentions of the Colonial Office with regard to people who want to be educated; whether they want the natives of Africa or of the West Indies or of Palestine to become as much like us as they can. If they do are they prepared to face the fact that they will want to criticise even supreme Ministers of State. Let me now come to what is perhaps a more important matter than even education and representation—the land question. The right hon. Gentleman discovered to-day that I have not read a certain book. There is no reason why I should read it. I have never criticised the right hon. Gentleman in regard to Kenya, I am about the only person in the House who has not, although you would have thought from his speech that I was the worst villain of the piece. I do not intend to read it, life is not long enough. The right hon. Gentleman is paid to read it; he has to read it.


I have read your book.


Oh, have you? Then go up one.


I have not.


The real question that matters in regard to the Morris Carter Report is: what are the natives going to do with the land when they get it, and how are they going to get the land? I am sorry that we have to buy the land. I do not believe in the nationalisation of land. My chief objection to nationalisation is that when the State goes into the market to buy land it has to pay twice as much for it as it is worth. That invariably happens. Are you going into this business of restoring the land to the people in Kenya by paying fabulous sums to people who got in on the ground floor, or are you going to be content with paying them what they paid for it? I remember that when Mr. Lulu Harcourt was Colonial Secretary, a long time ago, he prevented people who settled in Kenya from having an absolute title in their land, but allowed them to have it on lease for 33, 66 or 99 years at an increasing rent. There was Liberalism in the world in those days. Land in Kenya was granted in some cases to settlers on what is called an improving basis; they did not get their title until they had put in a certain amount of capital into the property. I should like to know whether these people are being compensated as they would be in England when the State goes into the market to buy land, or whether they are going to be compensated on the basis of the amount they paid for the land and what they have spent on it since?

It was a shock to me to notice that the Morris Carter Report has been received with great approval in East Africa and I fear that approval coming as it does from an old friend, Major Grogan. The real question is: when the natives get this land have the Colonial Office any idea what they are going to do with it? The tendency of the natives is to say: "Let the chief decide what use is to be made of it"; to preserve for all time and at all costs what is called the primitive form of cultivation, that is, cultivation in common, that nobody has any individual title in the land, and to shift the cultivation when one patch is worked out to another patch elsewhere. The alternative to that is to give the native a patch of land, with security of tenure. You have an illustration of both methods all over the British Empire, and absolutely the best system is in Northern Nigeria, where the land is held by the peasant from the State at a rent which varies according to the value of the land. His payment of taxes, or the rent, gives him his title to the land, and they are anxious to pay because a receipt of the tax money is their title to the land. There you have individual ownership of land coupled with State ownership, an admirable combination in my opinion.

The same system was introduced some years ago into Tanganyika, but I am afraid it has met with more difficulties. If it is right for Northern Nigeria, if natives in almost exactly a similar state of civilisation would profit by it elsewhere, the Colonial Office must make up its mind as to whether they are going to continue collective ownership, faith in the head man, a sort of Lord of the Manor idea, that the chief has sole territorial rights in the land, or to introduce the system which has worked so well in Northern Nigeria. If you are going to develop on the one line you cannot develop on the other, they are alternatives, and I cannot see why in exactly the same circumstances the method which has been adopted in one Colony cannot be adopted m another. There is no co-ordination in things of this sort. If it is a question of an agricultural college, or agricultural education, or of trade between two Colonies and trade between the mother country, organisation and co-ordination is always brought in, but when it is a question as to how the natives are to get hold of the land and make use of it then every sort of difference and difficulty arises.

There is another little question which is analogous—the question of local taxation. I do not suppose that any Secretary of State in the last 25 years has ever considered for one moment how local taxation ought to be raised. I once for my sins went into the matter with every Colony. Every single one differed. Some did it as we do it here, some as in Australia or New Zealand, some adopted the German system or the French system, octrois round the town and taxes on every particular trade. Some must be better than others. There never has been the slightest regard paid to any sort of uniformity. What happens is that some Governor finds the streets of his capital congested with motor-cars or with garbage, and he thinks it is time to set up a local government ordinance. The Attorney-General is instructed to draft the ordinance. He has never drafted one in his life, but as he is living in Jerusalem he remembers what they did in Jamaica and he scribbles out his ordinance. Eventually it comes home to the Colonial Office for approval. The Colonial Office looks at it with some amazement, but remembers that it was planned by the man on the spot who knows what ought to be done in Jerusalem.

So you get that amazing ordinance that you have in Jerusalem to-day, a local government ordinance which combines the vices of every form of local taxation in the Empire. It also has one enormous benefit. It seems that they read my book on Palestine, and the communal representation which used to be part of their local government has been wiped out, and you get a system of gerrymandered constituencies so that the minority can have a majority on the municipal council. They jumped from the frying pan into the fire, and when the ordinance came to the Colonial Office it was not noticed. The Colonial Office said, "This comes from the man on the spot," and it went through without comment, and without comprehension. But that is a particular instance. In general you do not have any sort of co-ordination.

A few words on a subject which is very dear to my heart, although it always arouses jeers. Why not adopt a method of local taxation which is universal in the intelligent parts of the British Empire, in Canada, in Australia, New Zealand and even in South Africa. It raises money from local taxation sometimes exclusively on land value and sometimes on land value plus building value, that is to say on the capital value and not on the annual value. Land has to pay the full tax whether used or not. That system was adopted in one wild moment in Kenya, in Nairobi and in Mombasa, where the South African system prevails. There was a man, I think his name was Fiddes, who made a report on local taxation in Kenya, in which he described that form of taxation. It is also to be found in the Fijis, but nowhere else. When you get to Ceylon, or Lagos, you find the most awful congestion in the slums and the most awful speculation in land values outside. At the moment the worst speculation in the world is in the Secretary of State's pet Colony of Palestine, where prices have risen beyond the dreams of avarice in the City of London. The right hon. Gentleman knows that they have in their new ordinance taken from Tel Aviv the power which was possessed before to levy rates on land value.


It is quite definite that the right hon. Gentleman cannot deal with Palestine on this Vote. I gave that Ruling some time since.


I was not present when you said that, Mr. Chairman, but your predecessor said the other thing.


I remind the right hon. Gentleman of the Ruling now.


The only thing under Vote 8—


Perhaps I can help the right hon. Gentleman. I ruled quite definitely that nothing connected with Palestine and nothing which would come under the heading of the Middle Eastern Department of the Colonial Office can be discussed on Vote 8.


You were not present earlier when your predecessor was in the Chair, but perhaps you will refresh your memory by looking at the OFFICIAL REPORT to see what took place earlier. I was hopeful that when I found the Secretary of State and myself in agreement for once on the defence of Palestine, we might have an opportunity of discussing it. But may I deal with Cyprus, and will the Committee imagine that Cyprus is Palestine?


No. I cannot allow that. I think I must ask the right hon. Gentleman to observe the decencies of Debate.


There was a discussion, Mr. Chairman, when your Deputy was in the Chair, during which the Secretary of State pressed that the question of Palestine might be discussed, not as regards those matters which we are voting now, but as regards his salary and the general administration of Palestine, and the Ruling was then given that matters not coming specifically within Vote 9, but dealing with the right hon. Gentleman's general administration of Palestine, we might discuss. I believe the Secretary of State asked that that Ruling might be given, and it was given.


The point was raised specially, and I gave a definite Ruling on the subject. I have gone into the matter very carefully, and from numerous precedents it is quite clear that where there is a special sub-department of the Secretary of State's Department that sub-department and matters coming under it cannot be discussed on a Vote which includes the Secretary of State's salary, but only on the particular Vote which deals with that sub-department.


For our guidance will you state, if in future a general discussion is required upon the administration of the Colonial Office, whether it will be necessary to ask to have all the different Votes put down in order that the discussion may take place?


I am not called upon to answer that question now, but there is a Ruling which I looked up to-night, and which refers to a somewhat different state of affairs, on the first night on which the Secretary of State's salary was discussed, when a number of Votes were put on the Order Paper. It is quite clear that there is only one Vote down to-night, and the discussion must be defined to that one.


It is rather a far-reaching Ruling. In Vote 9 there are references to grants-in-aid of local revenue, including Cyprus and Nyasaland and Somaliland, St. Helena, British Guiana, etc. Does the Ruling mean that we may not discuss anything connected with Cyprus or Nyasaland? It is rather a dangerous Ruling if it is meant to apply, to everything. Hong Kong University comes under other grants.


The right hon. Gentleman wants to discuss a particular matter which I have ruled is out of order. I have tried to make clear what the Rule is. If it is a subject of a separate Department, and that Department is not under this Vote, it cannot be discussed. Obviously, nothing which is specially mentioned in Vote 9 can be discussed on Vote 8.


I do not know which are separate Departments. I take it that the Western Pacific High Commission is not a separate Department I will not proceed with that question, because I am certain that it is not for me to bother about Rulings. I want to deal with certain general principles in the Colonial Office Vote. I have mentioned the question of representative government and the question of education, and whether we want people to be educated to be better servants or to be their own masters. I have dealt with the question of local taxation and of co-ordination in the minor laws affecting various Colonies. The main question to which I would revert, however, is this. While I hold that it is not the duty of the Colonial Secretary to be a bagman, I think that it is his business to look after, first and foremost, the supreme interests of justice. Directly you go into all this question of tariffs, protection and quotas for this and that industry, finding markets for so-and-so, protecting some industries and not others; directly you are guided not by the interest of the native but by the interest of the British exporter or manufacturer, then your policy is diametrically opposed to the interests of the natives of the Colonies.

Take these tariffs which we have been putting on. The natives are extra- ordinarily poor. If you have a tariff for the prohibition of Japanese goods—on anything of the very few things that the native uses—you are acting in the interests of some manufacturer in this country. If you want, as I want, to see British rule endure in these countries: if you want to see a government, unlike the exploiting governments of Europe. really devoted to the interests of the native, then you must always keep an eye upon the native interest first. Take the question of the native exports from the West Coast. If you lay down that they must export their palm kernels or palm oil to Great Britain, if you confine their market to a smaller market, then they will obviously get a smaller price. If, on the other hand, you restrict their buying of goods to goods that come from Great Britain, you restrict their liberty. If you purport to do that in the interests of the natives themselves you may be mistaken, but you have your justification. If. however, you do it in the interests of the home taxpayer and not of the native, then you are breaking with a fine Colonial Office tradition and going into a rut that will lead you into the exploitation that we have seen in the Congo, certainly in German East Africa, and to a certain extent in the French Colonial Empire. One of our finest traditions is that in the past we have governed all these subject peoples in their own interests. Do not let it be said that, now that we have become more economically and nationally conscious, we have forgotten the principles of the Colonial Office in the past and adopted the attitude of the bagman.

9.29 p.m.


We have listened to a very long lecture by my right hon. and gallant Friend, and I agree with him in one respect—that we should leave it to the man on the spot.


I never said that. I said "Never leave it to the man on the spot."


The right hon. and gallant Member had evidently been talking so long that he had forgotten where he started. Some of us who were waiting to speak after him have not yet forgotten. I wish to travel a good distance and to talk on another topic, and that is the question of the Far East and rubber. Some few years ago I was one of those—I think, perhaps, the principal Member of the Conservative party as it then was—who favoured the removal of the Stevenson restriction scheme, of which I had disapproved from its inception and even when it was suggested, because I disapproved of our starting in our Colonies a scheme which was not to be adopted at the same time by our great competitors the Dutch. The Stevenson restriction scheme, in fact, eventually proved of benefit to the Dutch and a detriment to ourselves, and I was therefore very pleased when it came to a conclusion.

Not so very long ago we had rubber of about 2d. a pound; shortly after it was as high as 4s. a pound, and it was certain that, although some of the estates and some of the natives were carrying on, there was no idea of rubber ever being profitable at anything like that price. Restriction, therefore, if it could be brought in with all parties taking a hand, was the only hope for an improvement in the situation. Fortunately, those interested in rubber, the British, the Dutch and the native planters, got together and formulated a scheme. They then came to the governments of their respective countries, inviting them to give their agreements legal form. I am glad to say that that legal form was given both in this country and in the Dutch East Indies.

We have now a scheme which, from what I can see, is likely to be of great benefit to all concerned—the planters, whether European or native, the merchants and those who want a good, steady investment. Up to a few years ago it was nothing but speculation. One day it was high and one day it was low, and anybody who has been in business, as I have, or a planter, as also I have, knows that that is very bad business indeed. A great deal of the scheme and a great deal of its success is due to my right hon. Friend. Even when he was away on his recent tour and was ill, he was still keeping in touch with affairs in this country, and I believe he kept a special eye on the suggested rubber scheme. I understand from my friends in the City that they are very pleased indeed with the scheme, and that they think that, with good will on all sides, it may prove very beneficial to all concerned.

In conclusion, may I say that we are very fortunate in having a Colonial Secretary who has the respect of people in all our overseas Colonies, in whatever position they may be, both in the high and in the low ranks. I am sure that we appreciate the work he is doing for us. In this House especially we are all very keen on our Colonies and our Dominions. Never mind on what side of the House we sit, we all feel that they are part and parcel of ourselves, and that we shall do, and intend to do, the best we can for them. As I said when I started, I am a great believer in leaving as much as possible to those on the spot. During the 21 years that I was out in the East, I used to object to getting letters from the Foreign Office laying down policy on things about which they knew nothing whatever. I am glad to say, however, that in these days Colonial Secretaries move about the world and into our Colonies and Dominions get in touch with the men on the spot, and are therefore better able to know what is going on.

9.35 p.m.


It will be agreed that the discussion this afternoon has been stimulating and beneficial to all who are interested in Colonial problems. It is sometimes argued that the Labour party have no interest in Empire problems, but I think that in recent years we have succeeded in showing that, whether our views be orthodox or unorthodox and probably they are regarded as the latter by hon. Members opposite, we have at any rate definite views upon these problems. Unfortunately, when we advance arguments in support of our views, we discern traces of resentment on the part of hon. Members opposite at certain of the criticisms which we feel called upon to offer in connection with these matters. I want on this occasion to make clear our view that the more remote a governed area is from London, the more vigilant are we called upon to be in regard to its affairs.

A personal reference has been made in the course of this discussion to one whom I hold in the highest respect and since he cannot speak for himself here I propose to say something on his behalf. What I regarded as a very slighting reference was made by the hon. and gallant Member for Carlisle (Brigadier-General Spears) to Archdeacon Owen. If I remember aright, the right hon. Gentleman himself on a previous occasion also made some reference to Archdeacon Owen. If my recollection is at fault in that respect I apologise to the right hon. Gentleman in advance. Certainly someone speaking from the benches opposite said that it was the primary duty of those who belonged to the Church to attend to church matters. But I noticed to-day that when the right hon. Gentleman desired some support with regard to what is happening at Kakemega, he did not hesitate to quote the words of a bishop. I do not complain of the right hon. Gentleman having done so, and perhaps an archdeacon is regarded as being "below the salt" as compared with a bishop. But if the right hon. Gentleman is entitled to call in evidence a bishop who has paid a fleeting visit to this area surely we are entitled to call in evidence an archdeacon who lives in the area and is closely acquainted with the daily life of its inhabitants. I say this because of what I look upon as the particularly offensive reference made to Archdeacon Owen by the hon. and gallant Member for Carlisle, to whom I gave notice that I was going to make these remarks. I consider that Archdeacon Owen is doing his Christian duty in pleading for what he regards as the rights of the natives of that area. If he failed to bear testimony to the elementary rights of those people, then I should regard him as failing in his duty. I do not regard Archdeacon Owen as requiring any special defence in reference to the work which he has done in the past.

I turn now to the subject of land in Kenya. My hon. Friend the Member for Rothwell (Mr. Lunn) has already spoken on this subject and we are wholly in accord with the views expressed by him. On more than one occasion previously, we called attention to the appointment of the Morris Carter Commission and we then said definitely that we were not going to be committed in advance to anything which that Commission might recommend. That was not to say that we were rejecting in advance and in toto all their findings. We were guarding ourselves against being committed in advance to recommendations without a full and free opportunity of considering those recommendations. I call the attention of the Committee to the argument, as they term it, Which the Commission lays down as the basis of its report: It is a proper function of Government to secure the development of land to the best advantage. While private rights are recognised, a power of intervention is commonly preserved to the Crown by means of land acquisition acts and similar legislation in order that the power of Government to secure a proper development should not be impaired. Having laid down that proposition, the Commission proceeded to state: If therefore the possession of large undeveloped tracts of land by any tribe, person or class is prejudicial to the welfare and development of a country, it would be a proper exercise of the function of Government, when it has armed itself with the necessary powers, to intervene and adjust else matter. The just compensation is for the extent of the true loss sustained and it would defeat the whole purpose of the action if it were held that for every piece of land taken an equal piece must be added. I am not prepared to subscribe to that opening chapter of the Commission's report and certainly not to the second paragraph which I have quoted. But if that principle is to be applied even as they have stated it, I want to say that Government equally has the right to withdraw from white settlers land which is occupied by them, if the claim is to be made that land ought to he withdrawn from native settlers. Paragraph 485 of the report states: It is of the utmost importance that the settlement with the Kikuyu should be definite and final and that when these recommendations have been carried out, the matter of their post grievances should never again he reopened. If finality is not secured, our labour and those of many officers who have been working at the problem for many Years will have been in vain. It is absolutely essential for the peaceful administration of the Kikuyu that these grievances should be finally put to rest. Unless we are sure that this will be done, we shall regret having set our signatures to this report. I say, frankly, and I think I am speaking for all my colleagues, that we refuse to accept the suggestion contained in this report as the final word on this question. It is far from being the final word and I wish the right hon. Gentleman to under-stand that we are not committed to the full implications of the report. It is not final or irrevocable and we are not committed to the Government's suggestions in the matter.

I turn from that subject to the question of the Kakamega goldfield. I am not sure that it would not be possible to argue that the amendment of the Native Lands Ordinance is a breach of faith with the people. I do not dwell upon that question, though I entertain that view myself. May I say in passing, that if the right hon. Gentleman is able to assure us that the situation in this goldfield is not as bad as it was originally represented to be no one will be more delighted than those who sit on these benches. We shall be glad to learn, if it be the case, that the situation is not as bad as we were led to believe.

However good may be the condition of affairs, even now I would like to put the proposition that the removal of natives from the areas they occupy should be accompanied by the provision of land equal in area, value and suitability. It is easy to give them land elsewhere, but the alternative land offered may not be of the same productivity nor of the same suitability. There may not be an adequate water supply it may be fly infested or there may be mosquitoes. Therefore, although the land may be equal in area, it may be for practical purposes either useless and poor compensation or no compensation at all. So far as gold is discovered and extracted from these areas, I should suggest, and I think my colleagues would agree with me, that there ought to be a levy on it and the proceeds made available for purposes of native welfare. If there is to be cornpensation—I am speaking for myself on this point—£10 an acre would be regarded as fairly generous, but I am not sure that monetary compensation is the right form of compensation to give. We know what happens when these people get sums of money which they are not very well able to control; it is soon gone, and, having lost their wealth, they are driven into the mines and so on to work almost for nothing. It would be much better if compensation were given in land and kind rather than in money. Better money compensation, however, than no compensation at all.

My hon. Friend made the third point that we are not at all satisfied that the vital services of labour, education, and health are stimulated as adequately as they ought to be. I have a feeling, although it is hard to bring it home in a sense, that in these days of economy the effect of the economies that are being imposed has been to depreciate the status of those in charge of labour services as compared with the others. If that be not the case, I shall be glad to hear it. I think the right hon. Gentleman will not disagree that in the speech he made this afternoon, in which I found many points which were arresting in their interest, his review was a review of his economic policy only. Naturally, knowing the history of the right hon. Gentleman in politics, I could not expect him to do other than speak very buoyantly of quotas and preferences, which are his special hobby horse. He spoke of his economic policy, but he said nothing of his political policy. I want to speak now of the political policy which governs his Department. We take our stand, and I think we should still want to take it, on the declaration made by the Duke of Devonshire some years ago that in the relations between ourselves and these areas our paramount interest must be the well-being of the natives. Hon. Members opposite take a different view of Empire from my view, but I think I should be justified in laying down as a proposition that we have no right to demand and exercise dominion over the lives of other people in other parts of the world unless, as a consequence, we can guarantee to them an adequate opportunity to march to the same measure of freedom as we ourselves enjoy. That is a fair proposition to lay down. It certainly embodies the faith I entertain and the attitude of mind I adopt towards native problems. Freedom which is good for us ought to be equally good for the native peoples. I know that they cannot get it as quickly as many of us would like, but we ought to have an assurance that they are marching towards it.

I am not sure that the right hon. Gentleman is going in the right direction. I will take two subjects bearing upon the right hon. Gentleman's political policy within the Empire and will refer first to Malta. I was astonished to hear the right hon. Gentleman go out of his way unnecessarily this afternoon to make a rather offensive reference to, the suppressed Government of Malta. I did not regard it as necessary to his argument, but obviously it is very present in his mind still. I may, therefore, perhaps be permitted to refer to the point. The right hon. Gentleman took certain action in regard to Malta on the 2nd November, 1933, and on 3rd November he thought it necessary—I do not complain of it—to communicate to the "Times" the reasons for the action which he had taken. He cited in support of.his action six or seven examples of what he regarded as examples of bad or irresponsible government in Malta. I take it that I am justified in making the deduction that the right hon. Gentleman took the seven examples that suited him best and that illustrated his point. I will take the seven examples seriatim to see how far he is justified in his action. I will quote from the "Times": The following examples are cited as an illustration of the nature and extent of the acts to which His Majesty's Government take exception: (1) The provisions of the Constitution confining to Maltese and English the languages taught in elementary schools have been evaded by the establishment at the public expense of special classes in secondary schools for children of elementary school status. I am told that, in point of fact, these special classes were held in secondary schools largely because of increasing congestion in the Lyceum. These children were sent to special classes in the secondary schools in order to meet the increasing demands upon the. Lyceum. The second point was this: A knowledge. of Italian had been made a compulsory qualification for admission to various classes and courses of technical instruction in Malta; and has even been insisted on in the.case of students who are being sent for training to the United Kingdom. Let me take the first point. As a matter of fact, that is strictly in accord with the Malta Constitution. There is no violation of the Constitution in that. There was a limitation, introduced by the right hon. Gentleman himself, by Letters Patent issued in April, 1932, but that limitation only referred to children in elementary schools. It had nothing at all to do with technical instruction, and so, if it be true that these courses were being arranged in respect of technical classes, they were still acting not outside the terms of the right hon. Gentleman's own action officially taken in April, 1932, yet the right hon. Gentleman cites that as evidence of a refractory nature on the part of the Government of Malta. The third point is this: Elementary school teachers are being sent in increasing numbers to Italy for training. That is strictly true, but I am told that only 10 teachers were sent, and those 10 teachers who were sent to Italy to learn Italian had already been in England for two years for training here. Granting that they have been sent to Italy—that is not denied—there were only 10 of them, and they had already been to England for two years' training, so that presumably they had already acquired their English qualification. What else is relevant in this matter? Teachers, after all, must not vegetate. They are entitled to entertain ambitions, and if a teacher wants to teach in a secondary school or a university in Malta, he will find there that Italian is an obligatory subject. If, therefore, a teacher wants to become a teacher at a secondary school or a university, and to be a proficient teacher, it is natural for him to desire to acquire proficiency in one of the languages which is compulsory there. Surely the right hon. Gentleman cannot argue that that is an offence. I will now take No. 4, which says: The Minister for Public Instruction has declared in the Legislature that he is considering amending the law regarding compulsory attendance in the schools with the object of nullifying the policy of His Majesty's Government. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman implies that those last words —"with the object of nullifying the policy of His Majesty's Government"—are quoted words, or whether they are words used by himself to interpret the policy of the Minister. It is very important. For instance, I might say that the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to implement the Morris Carter Report, so as to serve the interests of the landlords of Kenya. He is prepared to implement that report, but the later words are mine, not his. It is, therefore, important that we should know whether the Minister used these very words which are used in item No. 4 of the right hon. Gentleman's letter. But suppose it is true. Not one Bill was introduced into the Malta Assembly to give effect to it. The Minister may have said he intended to deal with the matter, but not a Bill was introduced, and so, however much he may have entertained the intention of doing it, no effect was given to it by the introduction of a Bill. Point No. 5 was this: Italian has been introduced as a compulsory subject of examination for minor Government posts, generally filled by persons possessing only elementary educa- tion, thus closing this avenue of employment to Maltese who do not know Italian. No. 6 is as follows: Maltese has been removed as a subject of examination for a number of posts in the Government service. As I understand it, the position is this, that a knowledge of Italian is essential if you are going to do anything at all in the courts, because I believe the language of the courts is Italian. English may be increasingly used, but Italian is used in the Maltese courts, and, therefore, giving, if you like, the fullest possible benefit to the alleged claims of the right hon. Gentleman, I say that what I have said in defence of the Maltese is such as to show that their offence does not justify this tremendous action on the part of the right hon. Gentleman.

Let me take this last point, which is interesting because of the obvious reference which the right hon. Gentleman made to-night to the last Maltese Government, when he said that they had done nothing in regard to agriculture and so on, that they had not done what he is now starting to do in Malta. Let us grant that. In how many other parts under the right hon. Gentleman's Department has that particular action with regard to agriculture not been taken? There may be plenty of parts in the Empire where this experiment may be in its initial stages, but grant that it has not been done before, and that the right hon. Gentleman has started it. I give him all credit for it, but the absence of that action is no adequate reason for withholding self-government from these people. Take the question of reckless expenditure. The right hon. Gentleman has never replied, so far as I know, to the very damaging statement of Sir Ugo Mifsud, an ex-Prime Minister, in the "Times" of the 23rd November, when he said: As regards the charge of recklessness and improvident expenditure brought against my Ministry, an impartial examination of the facts will prove that charge to be entirely unsupported. The official figures compiled by the Malta Treasurer show an excess balance of £161,301 on 30th September, 1933, and this figure is larger than any of the balances left over in the previous two years for which the Provincial Government was responsible, which were respectively £61,773 on 30th September, 1931, and £117,868 on 30th September, 1932. The excess of expenditure referred to in the Colonial Office statement represented in part a sum of £40,000 consisting of 're-votes' or commitments undertaken by the past Administration which fell due this year. The remainder was spent in works of public utility and for the relief of unemployment. Thus £250,000 was spent on the new telephone installation, £18,000 for the purchase of a new turbo-alternator for the electric works, £13,000 in road improvements, £7,000 in agricultural development, and the remaining £72,000 in extraordinary non-recurrent works for the relief of unemployment, and so on. After all, we are dealing with a population living in an area not larger than the Isle of Wight, a population, I think, of 230,000, which is dealing with a problem of crisis as we have had to do in this country. The right hon. Gentleman, I submit in all sincerity, is not entitled to take this strenuous and stringent action in regard to these people because they failed to balance their budget.

May I take one last point? The right hon. Gentleman will controvert me if what I say is not correct. There has never been since 1921 any evidence at all of what the right hon. Gentleman can fairly call disloyalty. These people have worked together in an orderly way, they have worked patiently, and if I wanted proof of that, I would refer the right hon. Gentleman to a speech made, not by a friend of mine, but by the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery) in 1930 or 1931 in which the right hon. Gentleman paid a glowing tribute to the effectiveness with which these people had conducted their government themselves. Really, the right hon. Gentleman has to prove what it was that made him take that action. His case does not rest on these seven charges. I am told that, having accused this Government of reckless expenditure, when he took over, one of the first things done was to increase the salaries of the people in charge of the place.

Is the right hon. Gentleman entitled to take the action he has taken? I am no lawyer, and I do not pretend to be one, but I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that if he will read page 201 of the Letters Patent passed under the Great Seal in 1921, and read down on that page in the report of the Malta Royal Commission he will find that in taking this action he had to prove that there were grave emergency and danger to the Government. Has he proved it? He has not proved his seven points. He cannot justify his case on the basis of the seven points. But, even if he could, that is not a proof of emergency or that he was called upon to subordinate the proper Government. This is a part, I fear, of the general policy that has actuated the right hon. Gentleman. I am not attributing the Newfoundland business to him, but it is an incident in government which, side by side with this, is of some importance rind significance. The right hon. Gentleman has issued ordinances dealing with the question of sedition on the Gold Coast. I have seen a report from Sir Samuel Wilson, who has recently returned from Malaya, laying down propositions which he regards as axiomatic, but which I would speedily repudiate.

These things raise a simple issue. What is the policy behind the right hon. Gentleman's work at the Colonial Office? I say quite categorically to him that he may desire keenly to improve trade conditions, but I am bound to say that in that matter there was very little mention of the natives this afternoon. He was mainly concerned with Britain's wellbeing and people. Of course, improving trade relations between us and them has a consequential effect on them, but it is not our business—and here I agree with the right hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood)—however much we may want to improve relations in trade, to divert trade from other areas to us if thereby it involves some ill to the people of those areas. The paramount interest for us must be the welfare of the natives. I look with mistrust on this policy; I do not like it. I consider it is deliberately and of set purpose reactionary in terms of political action, and I submit that the same thing is to be found in the Morris Carter report as is found in Malta, in Malaya, in Fiji and on the Gold Coast. The right hon. Gentleman speaks in terms of preference here. There is one preference that he will not entertain, and that is a preference for right and liberty for the people of the areas he governs.

10.13 p.m.


After the very extraordinary speech to -which we have just listened, I am glad indeed that my policy does not commend itself to the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. I should feel that there was much wrong with it if it did. He asks what is my policy for the Colonial Empire. I appreciate that it is diametrically opposed to all for which he is arguing, because my aim is to keep the British Empire British, and that if any such desire were present in his mind he could not have made the amazing statements he did about Malta, with which I will deal before I sit down. He said there was nothing in my speech about the natives and that all that I was interested in was what could be done for this country. I have never heard a more gross misrepresentation. I spoke of the efforts which had been made to get better sales for the crops—grown by whom? Grown by the natives. The Labour party, with the happy knack they have of disclosing a policy in advance, have explained to an expectant Colonial Empire that if ever they are returned to power against the first thing they will do will be to abolish the whole system of preferences. No doubt that will be very popular indeed with the millions of natives throughout the Colonial Empire who to-day are dependent for their markets on the security given to them by this policy as it is operating in this country, in the Dominions and in India.

Take all the great basic crops—cocoa, copra, ground nuts and so on. Who does he suppose are the producers of those crops? Not the millionaires in this country, but the natives out there. I frankly admit that I take the keenest interest in the development of native production and marketing. The whole of the Colonial Service is frightfully keen about it, because they know that upon the success of native production and native marketing depends not only the livelihood of the natives but all the social services. All this development of marketing and of production in every Colony of the British Empire is done entirely in the interest of the natives. Yet the hon. Gentleman said there was not a word about natives or the interests of natives in my speech from start to finish. I shall be fairly content, when the time comes, to take the verdict on the issue of whether the economic policy which we have embarked upon, and which has for the first time given a chance to these native producers throughout the Empire is likely to be more to their benefit than a policy which would sacrifice them to world competition. The rest of the hon. Gentleman's speech was on a similar level. He raised two particular points abort the natives in the mining areas. An area of 1,500 acres has been added in Kavirondo not because any question is likely to arise of removing natives, since it is extremely improbable that any will have to be removed, but because it was thought wise that this extra land should be added in case that very improbable event should take place. Then the hon. Gentleman did not like the idea of the native getting compensation in cash for his land. I would point out that the native has not been turned off the land. This is a cash compensation for a native who is still on his land and working his land but who suffers some deprivation of his crops. It is no good giving such a mail more land miles and miles away. He has plenty of land and what he wants is compensation for any disturbance to his crops. He is given compensation on a generous scale and would be the very first person to object forcibly if we said that instead of paying compensation in cash we would provide extra land 50 miles away, which would not be of the faintest use to him. That would not be my idea of fair compensation.

Next I come to the much more considered and weighed arguments which were advanced by the hon. Member for Rothwell (Mr. Lunn) and the hon. Member for East Birkenhead (Mr. White). In the first place, let me give the hon. Member for Rothwell an assurance about the Kikuyu. He said he hoped they would get compensation for mining damage. I think he is under a misapprehension there, because no mining goes on in Kikuyu country. It is confined to the Kavirondo and Masai areas and therefore there is no question of compensation in the Kikuyu area. The hon. Member for East Birkenhead (Mr. White) said that action ought not to be taken on the report until this House had had an opportunity of discussion. That is quite reasonable and we have discussed it today, but I do not follow him in his suggestion that the Government did something wrong in stating in a White Paper their considered view on this subject. I should have thought that that was enormously for the convenience of the House; indeed everybody who has discussed this subject to-day has not had to wait for my speech but has known for a good many weeks the Government's view of the report. There has been a great measure of agreement in regard to the report.

The immediate action which is being taken is with regard to mining leases in order that, before any leases are granted, it may be possible for the Government of Kenya to frame them in what the Morris Carter Commission thought to be the fairest and most convenient form. That step ought to be taken at once. Another step which is being taken at once is a declaration that we accept those additions to the Reserves. I do not think that either natives or Europeans should be in doubt that we propose to make those additions. It will be a very complicated business when we come to the details of making amendments on the lines suggested by the commission, and of dividing the work as between the Land Trust Board and the Government, in the way which I indicated in my speech. I was glad to note that the hon. Gentleman who spoke for the Opposition was in complete accord with the course which the commission laid down as to the functions of the Land Trust Board and the Government. Being in agreement on that, what we have now to do is merely a question of drafting, to get the ordinance into the form which we desire.

Another question of principle which has been raised in the Debate is whether the board should sit in London or not. The hon. Member for East Birkenhead put one view, while everybody else who spoke took another. It does not take very long for one to make up one's mind on this matter, because the arguments can be stated in a comparatively narrow compass. I stated in my opening speech the grounds on which the argument for a London board were, in the opinion of His Majesty's Government, constitutionally and practically unacceptable. I do not want to repeat the argument, but it carried weight with everybody who has spoken during the Debate. It is a view which we formed after very careful consideration. A further question which was independently raised by the hon. Member for East Birkenhead and the hon. Member for Rothwell, is quite new. It was whether we should reopen all the old pledges of 30 years standing as regards the White Highlands. The Commission, in making their recommendations to satisfy native requirements, whether they be the requirements of claims as of right, or whether they be the requirements for future economic development, have not been in the least fettered by the question of the Highlands. It was not a question of their possibly being inclined to make further recommendations if more land were available. The question of the Highlands did not come in; there is ample land, as the Commission have indicated, for making the additions which they think are necessary, both from a legal and equitable point of view and from the point of view of economic development, and they have proceeded, as they were directed to do, to define the Highlands in their proper area, having regard to all the pledges which have been given in the past.

The suggestion of the hon. Gentleman is that we shoul4 do something quite different—that we should say we were going to reopen the whole policy with regard to the Highlands. We say that this particular area in Kenya should now be delimited, and delimited, as I have explained to the House, with a smaller area than those which have previously been put forward for consideration from time to time by different committees and other bodies. At any rate, I think that no one would say that the Commission have laid down an unduly liberal boundary for the Highlands. What the hon. Gentleman is suggesting is that we should reopen the whole policy. That. is an entirely novel and, I think, really an amazing suggestion. What is the history of this matter? Right back in 1905, or earlier—in the very earliest days in Kenya —this area of the Highlands was set aside for white settlement. That was affirmed in the despatches which have been quoted, and it has never been called in question. Above all, it was never called in question by the Labour Government. The Pass-field Declaration—Lord Passfield's Memorandum on Native Policy in East Africa (Command No. 3573 of 1930), the Magna Charta of native policy to which the hon. Gentleman referred—made it clear that there was no question of going back on the decision come to by Lord Elgin in 1908, and confirmed by the White. Paper of 1923, with regard to the restriction of agricultural land sales in the so-called Highlands of Kenya to persons of European descent. That has never been called in question. What is now suggested is that we should reopen this policy of 30 years, and throw into the melting pot again the whole question of the Highlands. Do hon. Members who make that suggestion visualise the implications which would follow from its adoption? His Majesty's Government could not countenance the idea for a moment; they would regard it as being as much a breach of faith as the taking of a tract away from the reserves; but that suggestion is made at the moment when these enormous tracts are being added to the native reserves, and when an attempt is being made to bring about certainty of tenure. I cannot conceive of any action that would be more unfortunate.

The question about the "Discovery" Committee was raised by the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Sir J. Withers) and another hon. Member. The position can be very shortly stated. This fund was raised by taxation. It is talked about by some as if it was a kind of trust fund founded by voluntary subscription. It is nothing of the kind. It is the proceeds of taxation levied in a British Colony by means of export duties and to a small extent by means of licences. It has always been devoted to two purposes. It has been devoted towards defraying the cost of the Falklands Dependencies. In respect of Dependency expenditure, my hon. Friend explained to me afterwards that he was under a complete misapprehension. He thought that this defraying of the cost of these Dependencies out of the fund was something new. It has always been done. The figure of £9,000 to which he referred is not a new figure, but is the figure which was assessed in 1926 and earlier and which has been paid ever since. Of course, the cost of these Dependencies ought to come out of the proceeds of the local taxation from which the fund was formed. It is proper that in the future, as in the past, we should ensure that that cost is so met.


Was that permissible under the original Ordinance?




If the right hon. Gentleman will refresh his memory I think he will find that he is wrong.


The hon. and gallant Gentleman expresses a very firm opinion. I do not express an opinion in this House without verification. I was once a lawyer, though I do not profess to have the slightest legal knowledge. I am advised that it is perfectly proper. It has been done all along. It was done by the hon. and gallant Gentleman's Government and it has never been questioned at all. The fund is also being applied for sending out the "Discovery" upon another voyage. There is no reason why the "Discovery" should not go out on a second voyage. We cannot decide until the "Discovery" returns and we see what progress has been made and what remains to be done whether further money out of that fund should go on being spent on this particular kind of research, or whether, as my hon. Friend says, if it be thought by those most competent to decide that this form of research has really exhausted its utility, we ought, not to use some of it in another kind of research. That will have to be decided some time in the future when we know further what has happened. I do not think it would be justifiable to go on spending a research fund on research which most people thought had exhausted its utility, but that question does not arise now.

A suggestion about Mr. Darnley has been raised and I must answer it. Mr. Darnley ceased to be a member of the Colonial Office. A certain post became redundant and it had to be decided which member of the staff in the Colonial Office was the person who was, I will not say, least competent—all Government Departments are competent—but one has to decide that one must keep the most able people and the person who is not as competent as others is the person who has to retire. In those circumstances Mr. Darnley retired when the post became redundant. It has always been the practice that a member of the Colonial Office should be the Chairman of this Committee. When Mr. Darnley's services at the Colonial Office came to an end, I had to appoint another chairman of the fund. It was an important duty, and I thought that the proper thing to do was to appoint the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State who is the chairman of some of the largest committees in the Colonial Office. It has been suggested that Mr. Darnley ought still to be on the committee. Again, I am sorry that this point has been raised. It is a matter of complete indifference to me whether Mr. Darnley is on the committee or not. As the question was raised, I asked the Under-Secretary of State to make inquiries as to whether it would be acceptable to other members of the committee that Mr. Darnley should be added again to the committee as a member. He reported to me that he had sounded the committee and that he would not be acceptable. I have had to say that because the hon. Gentleman has raised the question, and I always want to be perfectly frank with the Committee. I am rather sorry that it was raised.


I have not raised any question about his continued membership of the committee. That was raised in another place.


At any rate, that is the whole story about it.

I come, finally, to the amazing part of the speech of the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. M. Jones) dealing with Malta. I am absolutely unrepentant as regards the action which His Majesty's Government took in Malta. It was a little surprising that this diatribe about suspending the Constitution in Malta should come from Members of the late Government which suspended the Constitution of Malta for two years. Doubtless the hon. Member has forgotten that incident in his past career. The Constitution of Malta was suspended because it was perfectly plain that Ministers, in every way they could, were defying the policy which Parliament unanimously laid down should be followed in Malta. They were deliberately, in every way they could, trying to suppress not only the English language, but the Maltese language as well—a most scandalous performance in a British colony and a great fortress. Of course, being ingenious people, they tried where they could, to keep within the letter of the law, but I am not quite sure that they always succeeded. As a matter of fact, they boasted that it was their ambition to question, by every means in their power, the orders of this House and the policy which this House and Parliament generally had unanimously endorsed. They sent elementary school teachers to be trained in Italy. Why should they go to be trained in Italy? Italian is not taught in the elementary schools in Malta. They were never going to teach Italian. They were not sent there to learn anything of use to them in their training. We all know the reasons why they were sent.

The hon. Gentleman asked a question with regard to the words which he quoted and which, he said, were. not in inverted commas. I have not the paper before me, but the words in substance were an endeavour to get round the policy of the Government. As a matter of fact, I have refreshed my memory by referring for the information, and I find that those words, although not in inverted commas, were actually the words used by the Minister in his speech. Italian was to be made compulsory for every post. The man who was to be employed in scavenging the town, those who filled the cheapest jobs in the town were to be told that they would have to learn Italian. Really, that is most absurd in a British Colony, and I am amazed that the hon. Member should defend action of that kind. As for their financial policy, I am not concerned with what has been said, but they were busily engaged in dissipating a surplus which had been sedulously accumulated in the past. and were committing themselves to an expenditure on a scale which I have no doubt would be sympathetically regarded by the hon. Member in view of the course which he pursued up to the crisis in 1931, but which certainly would not be of any great benefit to Malta. I stand absolutely by what I have said about that.


What about your conservative predecessor?


He is not present, but I have every reason to know that he is in complete agreement with the policy which has been pursued, and if we had not taken the steps we took in Malta, a British colony and a British fortress, we should have been guilty of a grave dereliction of duty. That is all I desire to say except one other thing. The hon. and gallant Member for South-East Leeds (Major Milner) has thought it desirable to charge me not with mis- conduct but with some indelicacy because a Colony presented me with my portrait.I do not wish to say anything in my defence. I am fairly well known in this House, and I am perfectly content to leave my honour and reputation with them.

10.43 p.m.


I have sat here all through the Debate and listened to most of the speeches, and I hope hon. Members will bear with me for a few moments while I put a matter before the Committee which greatly concerns my constituency and Lancashire as a whole. It is the position of West Africa. The trade of West Africa has seriously declined and the natives there are unable to buy our textile and other products largely because the trade in palm kernel oil has been destroyed, first by the removal of the 10 per cent. duty on whale oil in the agreement we made with Norway, and, secondly, by the imposition of a fax of 29s. on palm kernels, which is equivalent to a tax of £3 per ton export tax on palm kernel oil, which has to compete with the whale oil from Norway. The result is that the West African native is unable to buy Lancashire cotton goods. I ask the Colonial Secretary if he can see his way to find some other method of raising revenue instead of putting an export duty upon the product of the West African native which has to compete with Norwegian whale oil. May I remind him that in my native city, Liverpool, 14 firms which were largely engaged in the West African trade has gone into bankruptcy? Will my right hon. Friend not consider, therefore, that it is of paramount importance to raise the purchasing power of the native, and to look into the operations of the great combines, or their methods, in West Africa? If he would do that I am sure that Lancashire would be grateful. We are grateful to the Government for the tax on Japanese exports into the Colonial Empire. This indicates a change of policy on the part of the Government. It has always been the aim of Britain to regard the Colonial Empire as a trusteeship. Our rule is solely in the interests of the native. As Kipling said: If we have bound the cannibal it was only that we might feed him with better food. If we have bound the fathers it was only that we might raise their children to a higher seat. Those sentiments were very good in the palmy days of our prosperity, but surely the time has come when the whole of the Empire should work for the advancement of the native and at the same time work for the advancement of this country. Such a policy would aid employment here and in the Colonies. The Colonies are our greatest export market. If the Government would put into operation the great vision of a great and well-known son of the Empire and adopt a Customs union of the whole of the Colonial Empire, I am sure that we would find a great deal more trade. America has discovered that. The Customs union between America and Porto Rico has resulted in a great advance in that American colony. America gets 31,000,000 dollars, or 91 per cent. of the trade, whereas our Colonial policy in the past has been like that of Doctor Barnardo's Homes—the ever-open door for every country's peoples. The time has come to bring more of the Empire's trade to the British people throughout the whole of the countries under the British flag.

10.47 p.m.


I too have had a long day here. I heard the hon. and gallant Member for South-East Leeds (Major Milner) complaining somewhat bitterly that there were very few Members supporting the Government in the House when he began his speech. I took the trouble to count them, and I found that there were 25 per cent, more supporters of the Government than there were of the Opposition. [HON. Members: "No!"] I counted the numbers at the time. There were 10 of us and eight of you. What did happen, I am sorry to say, is that a good many of our side left. I do not say that they missed a very great and informative speech, along with some peculiar ideas. I must say that I shared the indignation at the attack made on the Colonial Secretary because someone had given him his picture. I thought the attack was a very shabby business. If they had given my right hon. Friend an illuminated address would hon. Members opposite have had the same objection. I was in Mauritius not long ago. The people there are all French, and they were full of praise of the Colonial Secretary and the work that has been done for them in the island. The one thing that they fear is that they might lose the British connection. It would have been a most impolite thing to these enthusiastic people, who desired to offer this token. of their esteem, if it had not been accepted. I am proud to think that we have a man in our ranks who is recognised in that way.

I want to speak on the question of rubber and tin, and the rubber control. The old Stevenson scheme was a mistake. I think it fixed the price much too high. I am very doubtful about the tin control. There has been litigation in one of the great mines. In some of the mines they have to keep pumping continuously at vast expense, and if the revenue is cut down the place is ruined. That matter also should be looked into.

With regard to the treatment of natives, anyone who knows anything about mining in South Africa knows that the first thing you have to do is to be good and kind to your boys. If you do not treat them as you treat your children you will lose them. The black boy has an advantage which the British working man does not possess: if he is not treated well, he will go back to his kraal and you lose your labour corps. You have to treat him tenderly, almost make a pet of him, and he will be perfect. I have had the treatment of thousands; you get them coming down rather poorly fed from the kraals, and after three months' good feeding they are thoroughly well and vigorous, and are wonderful workers. The late Sir William Raeburn told me of something he had never expected to see in his life which he saw at the building of the harbour at Durban—


The question of Durban, if it arises at all, will come under the Dominions Office.


I am speaking, then, of something which he saw at a certain place: powerful black boys running with barrows and singing as they ran about who could carry the most. I have never seen such a thing among British workers. Another point about mining is that it, should be done near the black boy's home, because this adds greatly to his comfort and welfare, and it is a great disadvantage to a native to be carried away to a far distance. Gold mining is a clean and fine job, not like coal mining, and a very remunerative job. It is work which enormously improves the boys and raises their status. An hon. Member said that the mining conditions were severe, and that not the least of the work is the protective work which the boys have to do. It is a great mistake to have too much of this, for it gets done in a hurry, unscientifically and at a loss. This question must be very seriously considered. One thing about which I was more delighted than about anything which I have heard was the experimental farm schools. It pleased me to think that out in those Colonial parts we have the right type of school in which the child gets trained for something along with his eductation. If we could have the same kind of thing in Uganda, the farmers would be more useful colonists and we should have a much larger number of settlers. At present the cost to the Government of Uganda relative to the population is extremely high.

Question, "That a sum, not exceeding £99,419, be granted for the said Service," put, and negatived.

Original Question again proposed.

Motion made, and Question, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again," put, and agreed to. —[Captain Margessom]

Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.