§ 16. "That a sum, not exceeding £4,361,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1936, for Expenditure in respect of the Air Services, namely:
|2.||Quartering, Stores (except Technical), Supplies and Transportation||1,633,000|
|6.||Technical Training and Educational Services||422,000|
|7.||Auxiliary and Reserve Forces||470,000|
|9.||Meteorological and Miscellaneous Effective Services||381,000|
|11.||Half-Pay, Pensions, and other Non-Effective Services||405,000|
§ 3.52 p.m.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Malcolm MacDonald)
On a point of Order. I should like, Mr. 2034 Speaker, to ask your guidance on a, certain matter. Vote 8 on the Order Paper is followed immediately by Vote 9, and these two Votes are allied Votes, both dealing with matters which come under the administration of the Colonial Office. I think it might be convenient to hon. Members, if it were possible, if the discussion could roam, so to speak, over both Votes, seeing that their subject matter is so closely related and I wanted to ask you whether it would be possible, should the House so desire, to follow that procedure?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
If it is for the general convenience of the House and if it is the wish of the House, I have no objection to the two Votes being discussed together. They will be put separately.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
I believe that the whole House will welcome the decision you have just given, as it will permit of a freer discussion over allied subjects. So far as I am concerned, I almost feel that I should ask for that indulgence which the House is accustomed to grant to a maiden speech. It was just a few weeks ago that I had the good fortune to be appointed the head of what many people would consider to be one of the most interesting of the Departments of the Government. The Colonial Office administers the affairs of a great many countries, populated by a great variety of peoples and producing, among their other crops, a perpetual crop of almost every conceivable kind of problem. To attempt a general survey of these affairs is a formidable task, and, if I may say so, I think it is an act of sheer presumption for me to attempt it after only six weeks' acquaintance with the work of the Colonial Office. But I cannot help myself; my hon. Friends below the Gangway have decided that this Vote should be put down, and I understand that it will be for the convenience of the House if I start the discussion by a general statement.
When my predecessor stood at this Box last year he opened his statement with a reference to the financial position in the Colonies generally, and he had some observations to make on the budgetary position. He was able to report that a very considerable improvement had taken place since the worst period of the 2035 economic depression. He was able to recite a list of those Colonies which, while they had had deficits in their Budgets in 1931, had been able to balance their Budgets in 1933, and I am very happy to be able to report further progress in 1934. Many of those Colonies which had balanced their Budgets in 1933 increased their balances in 1934. Of the balanced-Budget Colonies, only one has dropped out of the list during the last 12 months. The Gilbert and Ellice Islands had not succeeded in getting a balance in 1934. On the other hand, three new Colonies have been added to the list. Kenya, Malta and the Federated Malay States, which had unbalanced Budgets in the previous year, have balanced their Budgets in 1934. So much for Colonies which have balanced Budgets. With regard to those which has deficits, and still have deficits, in connection with them also there is some progress to report. Although in a few cases the position has become worse, in most cases the deficits have been reduced, and I would like to point to two rather remarkable cases in which that has been done. In the case of Northern Rhodesia, a deficit in 1933 of £177,000 had been reduced in 1934 to a deficit of only £19,000, and a surplus is estimated for in the current year. Similarly, in the case of Nigeria, where there was a deficit in 1933 of £148,000, there was a deficit in 1934 of only £16,000, and here again a surplus is estimated for in the current year.
I turn now to Colonies which are in receipt of a grant-in-aid. As hon. Members will see from Vote 9, where the position of these Colonies is set out, there has had to be an increase in the provision for grants-in-aid of something over £55,000 this year, but that is largely accounted for by increases of a fairly large nature which have had to be made in two cases. In the case of Nyasaland, we have had to increase the provision by £26,000, the whole of that money being required to pay sinking fund on a loan raised in connection with the building of the Zambesi Bridge. The other large additional item is an item of £60,000 which has been put down for British Guiana. That is explained by the fact that no grant-in-aid was given to British Guiana last year, on account of the fact that the Colony had considerable balances in hand, and has also been able to draw on certain of its assets. It was able to finance its administration 2036 and other affairs during the year on those moneys, but those resources have now dried up, and, therefore, it has been necessary again to give a grant-in-aid to the Colony of British Guiana. These few facts, just touching some representative territories, give a fair impression of the financial position in the Colonial Empire. I think one can justly say that generally speaking the position is improving. Generally speaking, the Colonies are climbing that difficult slope away from the troublesome valley of economic depression towards the heights of greater prosperity. So much for the financial position.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
The Uganda position is a very good position indeed. There there has been a very considerable improvement in recent times. It is typical of the steady improvement which is observable in most of the Colonies, though not, unfortunately, in all.
Now as regards the trade position of the Colonies. Generally speaking, if one wants to estimate the future prospects of the Colonies, the best thing is to study the figures concerning their domestic exports. The whole House will be familiar with the fact—the unhappy fact—that, as a result of the economic depression during the last few years, the trade of the Colonies has suffered very severely. There has never been any secret about the reason for the severe blows which have been dealt at the Colonial trade. The reason is this: These Colonies are, in the main, primary producers, and a very steep fall in the prices which have been received for most of their products since the economic depression began, did leave many of the Colonies literally staggering, and, of course, one has to confess straight away that the Colonies have still got a good long way to go before they recover the happier position they enjoyed before 1930. Nevertheless, the point is this: What is the position with regard to the export trades of the Colonies during the last year compared with the year which went before? Are the Colonies beginning to move in the right direction? Are they gradually and steadily bettering their trade position?
In order to make up one's mind about that, the most convenient period to consider is the calendar year, and I have 2037 been studying the figures for the calendar year 1934 and comparing them with the calendar year 1933. I do not propose to trouble the House with a great many statistics, or with comments on the position in all these 40 odd territories of which trade returns are kept, but I would like to make comments on the export position in regard to a number of representative Colonies, so as to give a general picture of the ups and downs which nave occurred during the year 1933–34. On the whole, those figures show again that there has been an improvement, but the improvement is somewhat patchy. The figures, like the curate's egg, are good in parts, but there are more good parts than bad parts. Let me give the figures of some representative territories, which will give a general impression of the Colonial Empire as a whole.
In East Africa, the position in Uganda is that there has been a slight increase in the value of Uganda's domestic exports, produced very largely by a rise in the price of cotton. In Northern Rhodesia there has been a very considerable expansion in the value of domestic exports—an expansion from £3,600,000 in 1933, to £4,400,000 in 1934. That large increase is explained, of course, almost entirely by the fact of the development of the mining industry in that territory. In Nyasaland, also, there has been a slight increase in the value of domestic exports, produced largely in that case by the rise in the price of cotton, and the rise in the price of tea brought about under the tea regulation scheme. Before I leave East Africa, I am sorry to say that the position as regards Kenya has been somewhat worsened this year. There has been a slight falling off in the value of domestic exports, but that, I am advised, is due very largely to bad climatic conditions. There has been, however, a recovery and improvement in the current year.
Then let me turn to West Africa. In the Gold Coast there has been a fairly considerable increase in the value of exports, produced, of course, not by any improvement in their old staple product of cocoa—the value of cocoa has been reduced very largely—but, again, because of the development of various mining activities there—
§ Mr. MacDONALD
—gold, diamonds and manganese. As regards Sierra Leone, there again there has been a very considerable improvement—a very considerable increase in the value of domestic exports, produced once more, not by any improvement in the price of the old staple commodities, but by the development of mining activity. When, in West Africa, you turn to territories which has not got this tremendous support from mining activity, you find that the position has not been so good as it has been in those other cases. Nigeria has slightly improved her position, but not very greatly. In the case of Gambia, the value of exports decreased in 1934 as against 1933.
Let me come to the Eastern Colonies. In Ceylon there has been an enormous increase in the value of exports. That increase is represented by these figures: In 1933 the value of domestic exports was £13,500,000. In 1934 it had risen to over £18,000,000. Of course, a great deal of that improvement is due to the better prices for tea and rubber under the two schemes which regulate production of those articles. When we turn to Malaya, we find a similar result, due to a similar cause, although it is too early yet to separate the domestic exports from the total exports of Malaya. Nevertheless, the position with regard to the total exports is that in 1933 their value was less than £47,000,000, whereas in 1934 it was over £66,000,000. Undoubtedly a great deal of the improvement there has been due to the higher prices for rubber under the rubber regulation scheme. As regards Hong Kong, I am afraid the position there has been slightly worse in the past year than it was during the previous 12 months. Finally, looking to the West Indies, with regard to Jamaica the position in 1934 was somewhat better than it was in 1933, the figures having increased from £2,400,000 to over £3,000,000. But one has to recognise, of course, in that case that it represents very largely a recovery from the bad conditions of 1933, when the island suffered from the effects of a disastrous hurricane. With regard to the other West Indian Colonies, the position is decidedly patchy.
Taking these figures in general—and I think they are representative of the position of the Colonies as a whole—it is quite clear that there has been an 2039 improvement in the trading position and the trading prospects of the Colonial Empire during 1934 as against 1933. Nevertheless, it is also obvious that the Colonies are by no means out of their convalescent stage. The problem of their economic development has still got to be very closely and very carefully watched. Anything that can be done to make them economically more robust must be done, and during the last two or three years an attack on the enemy Depression in the Colonial Empire has, of course, been developed at various points along a wide front. I should like to recapitulate some of those lines of attack, and I want to say something about the latest effect of the attacks which are being made. In the first place, of course, the Colonies themselves have made a very great effort to deal with this question of falling prices. They have done everything that they could to meet falling prices by reducing their costs.
With regard to that, the work of agricultural research, which has been pursued energetically during these years, has brought very good results, and I do not have to assure the House that during the last 12 months all that great work of agricultural research has been carried on unremittingly, and that research has enabled the losses from pests and diseases to be avoided, and, therefore, costs to be cut down in that direction. In another way producers in the Colonies have been enabled to cut down their costs by reorganising their marketing organisation, and altogether, if one were to study the figures of costs carefully, one would see that since prices began to fall the Colonies have made many successful efforts to meet that position by quite legitimate reductions of costs of production.
Then there has been a second line of attack against the depression overhanging the Colonies. That attack has been delivered by the United Kingdom, and by the Governments of other Empire countries in a very great effort to expand markets for Colonial products in the Empire countries. We have done it in this country by a very wide extension of the system of Imperial preference. After the Ottawa Conference other Empire countries also extended that system, and gave fresh advantages to the Colonial Empire. I would like to give a 2040 few figures which suggest the very great success which this policy has met with in increasing purchases of colonial product in this country. I will give the figures with regard to certain commodities which we used to buy in years past, not entirely by any means from the Colonial Empire, but which we used to buy in large quantities from foreign sources. These figures show to what a very large extent purchases from the Colonial Empire have now been substituted for purchases from other overseas countries.
I will give the figures for the first six months of 1935. During these six months 84 per cent. of our banana supplies came from the Colonial Empire, 100 per cent. of palm kernels, 97½ per cent. of raw cocoa and 97 per cent. of palm oil. [Interruption.] I did not want to overload my speech with figures, and I am afraid I have not got the percentages for previous years written down on this small piece of paper, but I produced these figures after very careful comparison. The percentages a few years ago were very much less, and I thought these figures, because of the close way in which they approximate to 100 per cent., were very valuable indeed on their own. If I may finish the list that I have written down, in the first six months 100 per cent. of our supplies of copra came from the Colonial Empire and Papua; ground nuts, 99 per cent. from our Colonial Empire and India; and goat skins, 90 per cent. from the Colonial Empire and other Empire countries. That, I think, is a suggestion of the way in which, with regard to a great many commodities, we have so arranged our purchases that we get almost the whole of our supply from the Colonial Empire. The steps that we took to give Imperial Preference to Colonial products are very largely responsible for that result.
Then I would mention another line of attack that was developed during the economic depression with which the Colonies were faced. In the case of certain commodities the fall in price was so disastrous that something had to be done in order to restore prices to an economic level, and regulation schemes were instituted. There is a scheme for tin. We have had a rather unfortunate experience of it this week, but one which, I am advised, is purely temporary. [An HON. 2041 MEMBER: "Not only this week!"] I would remind the hon. Member that for a period of a great many months now, because of the operation of this scheme, the violent fluctuations in price which very often took place have been smoothed out and almost wiped out.
Then there are regulation schemes for tea and rubber. To indicate the value of those schemes to our Colonies, I should like to give certain figures with regard to tea and rubber exports from the two Colonies mainly interested, Ceylon and Malaya. Compare the figures for 1933 and 1934. The volume of exports of tea from Ceylon increased in that 12 months by only 1½ per cent., but the value increased by something like 20 per cent. It is of the greatest benefit to the producers in Ceylon, who are under the charge of the Colonial Office and whose interests my right hon. Friend was protecting when he took such an active part in establishing these schemes. Let me show the effect of the regulation scheme with regard to rubber. These are the figures of Ceylon. The increase in the weight of rubber exported in 1934 amounted to 20 per cent. The increase in the value of that export was 145 per cent. Take the experience of Malaya in the same product in the same period. The increase in weight of exported rubber was 10 per cent. and the increase in the value received was 100 per cent. That is an indication of the very successful effect in restoring prices to an economic level for the producers.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
The effect of the tin scheme has been to improve the prospects. The Federated Malay States Government, of course, has its representatives on the International Tin Committee, who does everything he can to protect the interests of the producers. Their interests have certainly not been neglected so far as the Colonial Office can look after them. All that I am saying is that these regulation schemes have succeeded in very greatly helping the colonial producers and have made a very great improvement in the economic and financial position of the Colonies concerned over what might have happened if the schemes had not been in operation. Every Member of that House knows the keen and jealous interest which my right hon. Friend who preceded 2042 me took in Empire economic development. He gave to that cause his characteristic energy, his great power of mastering the details of a problem, and he also always had a clear perception of the great objective that he had in view. In my opinion, every territory that came under his charge has benefited economically by the work that he has done on their behalf during the last three years. Nevertheless, I do not think that work is finished. I think there are still other means that we could adopt for developing the resources of the Colonial Empire. There are still things left for us to do in the way of expanding markets for Colonial produce in this country and in some countries overseas, and both my advisers in the Colonial Office and I are carefully examining various proposals, and I believe we shall be able to do something very effective to push this matter still further.
I have spoken a good deal about economic development, and I should like to ask myself a question with regard to that. I remember hearing of a Member speaking in this House who suddenly addressed himself to one of your predecessors in the Chair, Sir. He said, "Mr. Speaker, I ask myself a question," and your predecessor was heard to mutter, "Then you will get a very silly answer." I do not know what may be passing through your mind at the moment, but I should like to ask myself a question and the House can judge of the answer. What is our main object in this policy of the economic development of the Colonial Empire? In the first place, the peoples of the Colonial Empire have always been good customers for manufactured goods produced in this country. If they become more prosperous, our workpeople and our producers get a direct advantage from that, because they can sell more of their goods in those expanding Colonial markets. The people in the textile industry of Lancashire have had reason during recent months to know how very helpful Colonial markets can be to them, and it is an extremely fortunate fact that people in this country get great advantages from any economic development that goes on in the Colonial Empire. We welcome it but, nevertheless, the gaining of that advantage is not our prime object in going in for a policy of economic development in the colonies.
We do not seek to exploit the territories and the peoples that come under 2043 our charge in order to get benefit for our own people at home. Our primary object is to get advantages for the peoples in those territories themselves, to get benefits for the white settlers there, but also to get advantages and benefits for those native races whose ancestors lived there long before the white man ever arrived. We do not seek the economic development of those countries for its own sake. Economic development is not an end in itself. It is only a means to an end. We want those territories to become more wealthy certainly, because we want those people to have a greater command over the good material things of this life, but we also want them to have command over other good things. We want them to become steadily more prosperous so that more revenue can go to the Governments in those countries, so that money may be spent on improved medical, educational, social and political services. We want the benefit that comes to these people from economic development to be something that affects the whole of life—which makes life for those people a more secure and a more enjoyable experience in every one of its phases.
Therefore, I should like to say what has been happening with regard to those services during the last 12 months. Take, first of all, the question of the physical well being of the peoples in the colonies and protectorates and mandated territories. I am afraid it is true that at the worst time of the economic depression the development of those medical and health services had to be severely restricted. The stark facts of the financial situation made a good deal of cutting down of expenditure on those services inevitable. We have been marking time, but now that things are a little better, now that budgets are more balanced, we are able and we must develop those medical and health services as far as we can. I would like to indicate how in some Colonies where the financial position is better greater provision is now being given for medical services. It may not amount to very much yet because the improvement has not gone far enough, but I will give one or two examples. In the estimates for medical and health services in the Gold Coast in 1935 there is an increase of 4 per cent. over the Vote for the same services in 1934. In the case of Uganda there has been an 2044 increase of 7 per cent., and in the case of Palestine there has been an increase of 25 per cent., and so on. I could give the figures of territory after territory where the expenditure of money on those services is expanding once more. I will indicate one or two directions in which we particularly desire expansion to take place. In the first place, there is a great need for improved maternity and child welfare services in a good many of the Colonies, and improvement has already taken place during recent months. In the Gold Coast, with the help of the local branch of the Red Cross Society, we have been able to establish more clinics, and we have been able to extend the maternity hospital at Accra. In the case of Nigeria, we have been able in the last 12 months to start new welfare centres and to establish new dispensaries and new hospitals.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
I dare say partly, but I should like to have notice of the question to feel quite confident of the accuracy of my answer. Hong Kong and Uganda are examples of Dependencies which in the last 12 months have been able to establish new welfare centres for the treatment of maternal and child cases. There is another direction in which we are now attempting again to expand the medical services. The great aim of these services is to bring as large a part of the population, native and non-native, within the benefits of the medical services as we possibly can. One of the most effective ways of bringing these services into contact with large native populations is to enlist the help of natives who themselves are trained to take a part in the medical and health services. That training takes place in various medical training institutions, and there has been an expansion of some of these institutions during the last 12 months. Take the case of the old institution which has existed for some time in Ceylon. There the expansion has taken place by the recruitment of additional numbers to the staff, so that they can train at any given time an increased number of medical students. In the case of Nigeria, where we have not got an old established institution, we are developing these services for training natives in medical work by expanding the medical course which is given there. 2045 We have now made arrangements in Nigeria which will enable natives to get full professional qualifications.
If I may indicate another line of advance, I would say that we are spending more money on medical research into yellow fever, malaria, sleeping sickness and various other diseases where they are endemic. I cannot exhaust the list of our works with regard to the medical services and our expansions in those services during the past 12 months, but I have said enough to indicate that we have had that question very much in mind and are willing to push ahead with the work as fast as we can.
Let us consider the education services. There also the position has been very similar in recent years. The hard facts of the economic depression made it inevitable that there should be more or less a standstill in educational development until we got through the crisis and we had more money to spend. But that period of lull has not been lost altogether. The period has been used by the Educational Advisory Committee in the Colonial Office here, and by education committees and education departments in the Colonies to do a great deal of hard thinking. Those educationists have been indulging in what hon. Members here have been indulging in, a little planning, and the result is that we have now a good many well-prepared schemes for educational improvement in various Colonies which we can initiate and develop as the money becomes available to finance them.
Let me say something for instance about education in tropical Africa. The Educational Advisory Committee here has been giving a great deal of consideration to that question, and they have now produced two extremely valuable reports, one on rural education in Africa and the other on higher education of natives in Africa. These two very important reports have been circulated to all the Governments concerned for consideration, and they are, of course, receiving very careful examination from the authorities in the Colonies as well as from the authorities at home with a view to action being taken. [An HON. MEMBER: "Have they been published?"] The report on rural education, I understand, has already been published. The other report has been circulated to the Colonies. We have not got all their comments upon it yet, but I understand that it is in a sort of 2046 typewritten form which is available to anyone who is interested in the matter. But we have not had to wait with regard to higher education for the report of that Committee before further developing action was taken. During the last 12 months a new higher educational college has been established in Nigeria, the Yaba College. The Makarere College in Uganda has extended its course of instruction during the last 12 months, and Achimota College in the Gold Coast has also gone in for expansion.
I turn my attention to Cyprus. In Cyprus again one of those schemes has been evolved as a result of hard thinking and during the last 12 months we have initiated a new and more effective system of vocational training in agriculture which will result ultimately in the establishment of a number of agricultural middle schools in the Island of Cyprus. In Palestine the Government are spending a good deal of additional money on expanding the education services in Arab villages, and, of course, as the expenditure of the Govment on Arab education increases in Palestine, so do grants towards Jewish education increase proportionately. In the West Indies we have established during the past 12 months a new central training centre for teachers, so that West Indian school teachers can get their training on the spot in the midst of the conditions in which they have to do their work and so on. I could speak for a good while about the development of the educational services, but all that I want to indicate is that economic development, educational development, the development of medical services and of social services must all go hand in hand. The Colonial Office is very conscious of the fact that the whole object of these efforts is to improve the life of the native races and the white people who are living in the Colonies which come under our charge.
I had intended to say one or two things about labour inspectors and labour departments, but I may perhaps be able to say something about that matter later on in the discussion, because I must not weary the House by rambling too widely over too large a part of this very great field. I have merely touched upon a few points concerned with Colonial administration and left very large areas of country in between untouched. No doubt there are several things that I have left 2047 undone that I ought to have done in the way of reference, but in the course of this discussion hon. Members will no doubt be very quick to point out my sins of omission, and possibly, with the leave of the House, I shall have an opportunity of making some of them good before the discussion comes to an end. But this is a tremendous field. The Colonal Office, as I said, administers the affairs of a very large number of countries. It is concerned with the affairs of a great variety of interesting and attractive peoples and with a very great variety of fascinating problems. Perhaps I might close with this reflection. To-day many attacks are being launched by various critics upon our parliamentary institutions. We are told of superior forms of Government. We shall be quite ready to acknowledge the equal merits of those other forms of government when they can show an equal achievement with that of this Parliament over the last 300 years. One of the greatest of the achievements of this Parliament is that generation after generation, in many stresses and many changes, it has guided sympathetically and wisely, and, on the whole, successfully the affairs of the widest and the most complex Empire the world has ever known.
§ 4.43 p.m.
§ Sir ROBERT HAMILTON
I am happy to be in a position to-day of being the first to be able to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman upon the very admirable way in which he has presented his Estimates for the first time at that Box. Had he not told us, or had we not known we should not have thought that he had only been six weeks at the Colonial Office, but that it was more like six years. He spoke with a wonderful knowledge of the subject, and considering the wide field from which he had to choose, I think that what he has told us about was very admirably chosen. The House will, I am sure, be satisfied to know that the Colonies as a whole have improved their financial position markedly during the last year. They have been through an extraordinarily bad time owing to the economic blizzard that has blown around the whole world, and the facts and figures that have been given us to-day show unmistakably that they are beginning to surmount their financial difficulties.
2048 There are one or two questions to which I wish to direct the attention of the right hon. Gentleman and to ask for a reply, which, I hope, we shall get later on, before I come to deal with the general question of the economic policy. I should like to call attention to what we must all regret very much, and that is that one of our Colonies, namely, Cyprus, an island Colony, is not connected to our own country by a British line of ships. It seems to me an intolerable position that that colony which has been in our possession now for a great number of years should be dependent for its communication with this country on what is a subsidised foreign line. I know that the Colonial Office are taking steps to remedy that position, and I hope the Colonial Secretary will be able to tell us that something definite is in view to remedy a state of affairs which we all regret. In connection with the question of shipping I should like to ask what, if anything, is being done in regard to the harbour of Famagusta. It is only a partially made harbour, and until it is completed there is no proper harbour for the whole island. In these days of extended touring by large cruiser liners it is exceedingly unfortunate that such incidents should occur as have occurred lately, where a cruiser liner has been unable to land her passengers and had to leave the island because she could not get sufficient harbour accommodation. In connection with the communications with Cyprus I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will be able to tell us something with regard to the air communications as they exist at present and as they are planned for the future.
Leaving Cyprus, I wish to ask a question with regard to Malta. We all know that the constitution of Malta, unfortunately, was suspended some few years ago owing to a state of emergency. We should like to be told what the position of the state of emergency is to-day, if the emergency is still continuing, or whether it is showing any signs of improvement. We all know that a state of emergency may be drawn out like a piece of elastic or it may be shortened. Therefore, action taken in the state of emergency can be continued for a shorter or longer period. We should like some reassuring information as to the position in Malta and what possibility there is of 2049 the normal position there being restored. One has to hop rather rapidly from place to place in our discussions on this Vote, and I want now to say a few words on Kenya. Following on the Morris-Carter Report, it has been proposed that an Order in Council should be issued defining and regulating the position of what is known as the highland area. Various questions have been asked in the House on the subject, but I am afraid that a not very accurate idea exists as to the true history of this matter. I will try briefly to put it before hon. Members.
When the invitation was issued to settlers first to go into that country, the highland area, it was on the understanding that an area would be reserved for them. The country was then a Protectorate, and the Indians who were there wished to have an opportunity of taking up land in that area. Lord Elgin, who was Colonial Secretary at the time, was most unwilling to pass any legislation of a discriminatory character against British subjects, and he therefore directed that as a matter of administration titles to land could only be issued to Europeans by the Governor, and that any transfers of land should be subject to his approval. That procedure has been continued for nearly 30 years. It is merely a matter of administrative procedure. The Protectorate has since become a Colony, and it is now proposed that a law should be passed by Order in Council reserving a defined highland area entirely for Europeans. In other words, that means passing legislation discriminatory against our own British subjects—British Indian subjects and British African subjects, and excluding both of them from any right of holding land within that area. If that were to be done it would be a thing that has never before been done in a British Colony. It would not exclude, say, an Italian or a Frenchman, but it would be in the nature of a colour bar against the Indians and against the Africans.
The Secretary of State has been asked whether it would not be possible to publish the projected Order in Council in draft so that it might be criticised, but he replied that it was unusual and contrary to constitutional procedure that Orders in Council should be published for criticism. May I remind the right hon. Gentleman that in the Government 2050 of India Bill, which was recently before this House, provision was definitely made for certain definite important Orders in Council to be submitted to Parliament before they are passed into law. This is a matter of vast importance. There is the possibility of creating a precedent of a character in the British Empire which it would be impossible to do by Order in Council in regard to a mandated territory. It is proposed to do in Kenya, one of our Colonies, something which we could not do in a territory over which we hold a mandate. Therefore, I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to reconsider, if it is decided to go on with the Order in Council, whether the draft of it might be published, so that it might be fully and fairly criticised by Parliament before it is passed into law.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Am I to take it that the hon. Member does not intend to move any reduction of the Vote?
§ Sir R. HAMILTON
No, Sir. I do not intend to move any reduction because that would immediately limit the Debate. As you have ruled that we might have a general Debate on the two subjects, I have refrained from moving a reduction.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
There is no notice on the Order Paper of any reduction to be moved. That was one of the reasons which led me to suggest that we should take the two Votes together. If no reduction is to be moved, I must put the Question, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution." If I put that Question to the House, no Motion for a reduction will be possible.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I do not know for what reason the hon. Member would wish to move a reduction. It should be for some particular purpose and can only be moved to one Vote at a time.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member must realise that where it is intended to move a reduction, it is customary to put it on the Order Paper. Then, if a reduction is moved the Debate takes place on the reduction. If there is no Motion for reduction put down on the Order Paper, it is usual to put the Question, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution," in which case it is not possible to move a reduction.
§ Mr. LUNN
I have no desire whatever to limit the Debate in any way. There are many hon. Members who want to take part, and I will not take any step which is likely to prevent them from making their speeches on one or other of the two Votes before the House. Therefore, I will take your advice and make my speech without moving a reduction.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ Sir R. HAMILTON
After that interlude, I will pass to another subject, and that is the economic policy that is being applied in our Colonial Empire. I agree most thoroughly with the right hon. Gentleman in the exposition he gave of the manner in which the Colonial possessions are being developed and the object of the development. It was obvious and followed as a matter of course that when this country ceased to be a Free Trade country and became a Protectionist country, and when we entered upon terms of bargaining, as at Ottawa, and arrangements for preferential tariffs, quotas, restrictions and so on, that it was bound to have a very considerable influence on the economic relationship of the Colonial Empire to ourselves. The right hon. Gentleman has stated that that policy has very largely increased the exports from our Colonial possessions to this country of the goods which they produce. That is a result which is all to the good. But the new policy has not gone very far at the present time and its implications and tendencies, especially in the manner of its application, have not yet been fully realised. The policy itself is carried out with regard to our Colonial Empire generally by the orders of the Secretary of State, who gives directions to the various Legislative Councils and the Governors of various possessions 2052 to carry through certain measures. In several cases those directions to carry out certain measures have not met with the approval of the local councils. The policy is not one that originates altogether from the local possessions themselves, but is in the main originated and directed by the Secretary of State in this country.
Imperial preference has some supporters and some critics. To some people the words "Imperial preference" have an extraordinary effect, they send them into a state of exaltation, just like the word "Mesopotamia" did with the old lady of the story. I want the House to look a little closer at some of the methods and results of the policy which is now being applied. When we were a free trade Empire the late Mr. Joseph Chamberlain was able to say that we were the trustees for the commerce of the world. The Colonies in all quarters of the globe were in the habit of growing those things which suited them best and selling them in the markets which suited them best without any interference. Their revenues were raised largely on Customs duties, but they arranged the Customs duties themselves and, in fact, throughout the whole Empire there was an open door to the trade of all nations. When we look at our far-flung Empire, stretching right round the globe, it will be realised what a valuable factor the open door of free trade to all nations was for preventing the jealousy of foreign nations and ensuring the peace of the world. When the Ottawa policy was carried out by our great Dominions, and they made their arrangements and bargains with this country, it was done under a system of free Parliamentary government, it was done with the consent of the majority of the people of the Dominions, but when the policy is carried out in our Colonial Empire it is carried out in an entirely different manner. It is carried out mainly on directions given by the Secretary of State from this country.
The question inevitably arises whether in carrying out this policy too much attention has been given to the interests of the home producers and too little to the interests of the native populations. We have always boasted of being in the position of trustees for the native populations in our Colonies, and if we are to justify that boast we must be careful to see that we faithfully discharge our obligations 2053 towards our wards. The Secretary of State has referred to the bad system of exploitation of the Colonies, a system which one hopes is in these days rejected by all thinking people. In that class I do not include Lord Beaverbrook. In this year of grace one would have hoped that the proposal put forward by him and those who think like the Noble Lord had become a thing entirely of the past, but, unfortunately, it is not so, and we see the bad old proposal for the exploitation of the Colonial Empire coming up again in its worst form. It cannot be too strongly emphasised that the true line of development of our Colonial possessions is that of improving their material and moral wellbeing, their conditions and standard of life, and, incidentally, a wealthy and contented Colony is a much better possession from the point of view of trade than a poor and discontented Colony, which is unable either to buy or sell.
We must also remember that education to-day is making vast strides in our Colonial possessions, and things which are done and said in this country and in this House have a way now of drifting round the Empire in a most remarkable way. Africa is sitting up, listening and taking note of things which are being done in far-off corners of the world, and it would be most regrettable if any action taken in this country should lead to a sense of resentment among our native fellow-subjects that their interests were being subordinated in any way to the interests of the home producer. Again, foreign jealousy may be stirred up if the policy is carried too far; if difficulties are put in the way of the foreigner in order to make things easier for the home producer. I need not remind the House of the feeling of resentment which went through this country when Japan went into Manchukuo and began to close the door against other nations of the world. If our Empire takes the course of closing what has hitherto been an open door to the foreigner it may have dangerous repercussions in the future. It may be asked what evidence I have for believing that any such action as this will be taken. I propose to give two or three illustrations showing the direction in which our present policy of preferential duties and restrictions is leading. On the 7th May last year the President of the Board of Trade in this House said: 2054The Governments of the Colonies and Protectorates for which such action would be appropriate will be asked to introduce import quotas which, except in the case of West Africa, would apply to all foreign imports of cotton and rayon goods.… In the most important of the West Africa Colonies there were treaty obligations which preclude differentiation in favour of our own goods. It was for this reason that on the 16th May of last year notice was given to release the West African Colonies from their obligations under the Anglo-Japanese Treaty."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 7th May, 1934; col. 717, Vol. 289.]That action was taken purely in the interests of our home exporters. The natives in these Colonies were not asked whether they would prefer being compelled to buy, or go without, Lancashire goods which they could not afford to buy or being prevented from buying Japanese goods which they could afford to buy. It is clearly obvious, with conditions as they are to-day, that very great pressure indeed can be, and is being, brought by the manufacturers in this country not only on the Colonial Office but on other Departments as well to see that every possible assistance is given them to export their goods at a profit. While one may not entirely complain of manufacturers wishing to get every market they can in the present circumstances we should be careful to see that in giving them assistance we are not subordinating the interests of people in our own colonies to the interests of those people at home who wish to export. Let me give another instance. In June, 1934, a unanimous unofficial opposition was outvoted by the official members of the Legislature in Singapore on a motion imposing quotas on foreign textile imports, and as reported in "The Times" I find that the Committee of the British Association of Straits Merchants wrote the following letter to the Colonial Office.Since the earliest days of the Colony, the freedom of its ports has been the foundation of its trade. Owing to the recent decision of the Dutch East Indies Government to control imports into their territories, the Committee submits that there has never been a time when the arguments for adherence to the policy which has served the Colony so well in the past were stronger than at present.That measure was forced through the Legislature at Singapore in direct opposition to the unofficial members. In July, 1934, in Ceylon, which has a legislature of a higher status than that which is to 2055 be found in most of our Crown Colonies, the legislature objected to imposing certain proposed preferential duties which were suggested to them by this country. They would not take any action, and as they refused an Order in Council was passed in this country giving the Governor power to fix textile quotas. Those are two cases in which a Colonial legislature has been overridden by this country in the interests of exporters at home. I desire now to turn to a rather remarkable correspondence which took place last year between the Rope, Twine and Net Manufacturers Federation, the Tanganyika Cordage Company and the Colonial Office. A dispute arose between the Tanganyika Cordage Company and the Rope, Twine and Net Manufacturers Federation in this country, as to the Tanganyika Company exporting twine from Tanganyika into Great Britain. The Federation applied to the Colonial Office, and a letter was written on behalf of the Colonial Secretary to the Tanganyika Cordage Company in the following terms:If you continue to send twine or cordage of any kind to this country they threaten to put an end to the whole sisal agreement. Failing a satisfactory arrangement he feels that he will have no alternative but to inform the Chancellor that he will not oppose the imposition of a prohibitive duty on such commodities imported into this country from the Colonial Empire. This duty would, of course, be confined to Colonial products and would not be applicable to imports from the Dominions. You will appreciate that it would be most unfortunate if a precedent for imposing duties on this basis were created.I agree that it would be most unfortunate. The Federation thereafter wrote to the Cordage Company in the following terms:I write to inform you that as a result of representations made to the Government in regard to the competition instituted by the above company in respect of cordage made by cheap native labour His Majesty's Government have decided to take steps to ensure that this competition, and any other such competition, will cease henceforth.The Cordage Company were naturally rather disturbed, and they wrote to the Colonial Office and got the following reply:In reply I am to inform you that, though the issue of this circular was not authorised by the Secretary of State, it is accurate in substance, since, as you have 2056 already been informed semi-officially, His Majesty's Government will have no alternative, in the absence of an assurance from the Tanganyika Cordage Company that they will not in future export binder twine or other cordage to this country except with the consent and by agreement with the Rope Manufacturers' Federation, but to take action on the lines contemplated.As a matter of fact some arrangement was come to between the two companies and the matter was not pursued further. I quote this correspondence only to show the attitude that was adopted by the Colonial Office in the matter. Not only do we get the Colonial Office in one instance forcing through legislation and overriding the local legislatures, but at the other end we get it threatening the imposition of penal duties on the importation of goods made by cheap native labour in what as a matter of fact is a mandated territory.
Finally, there is a matter which is engaging the attention of the Colonial Office and the Board of Trade, upon which no action has yet been taken. A big attack is being made again on the Congo Basin Treaties. As is known to the House, these Treaties cover a large area stretching across the centre of Africa, which was settled at the time of the Berlin Conference in 1885. That Conference being, as they stated, "concerned as to the means of furthering the moral and material well-being of the native population in that area, declares that the trade of all nations within that area shall enjoy complete freedom." That has been the case up to now. Of course if you want to put on preferential duties you have to put on duties all round, so as to enable you to give a preference, and the attack which is being made now on these Congo Basin Treaties is with the object not of consulting the interests of the natives and the ability of the natives to purchase goods, but in order to give a preference to British goods over foreign goods within that area. As there are many hon. Members who wish to take part in the Debate, I will not pursue the matter further, but I think I have said enough to call attention to the seriousness of the issues raised to the future of our Colonial Empire by a policy which, if pursued in this country with greater regard to our own interests than to those of our wards, can only have disintegrating effects whose consequences can be dimly foreseen. The responsibility 2057 rests with this House, to whom the Secretary of State is answerable, and I hope that when he comes to give his answer he will give it in no uncertain words.
§ 5.20 p.m.
§ Mr. LUNN
I can associate myself with the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Sir R. Hamilton) in congratulating the Secretary of State on the lucidity of his speech and on the very nice manner in which he has delivered it, which was what we expected from the right hon. Gentleman. But my congratulations end there. Highfaluting phrases which have no substance in them do not affect me. It is the matter in a speech and not the manner that appeals to me. What was in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman this afternoon? Like his colleagues who have gone he has made his apology that he has not been in the Colonial Office long, and that of course he has not had much opportunity of studying the problems with which a Colonial Secretary has to deal. The right hon. Gentleman is not going to have that opportunity before a general election, by the look of it. I do not accept his apology. I think that when a Minister takes office he ought to take the responsibility of his position, and ought not to get up in this House and make a speech which is full of nothing but excuses for doing nothing.
What has the right hon. Gentleman said this afternoon? He has said that in one or two Colonies the budgetary position is slightly improving. We have had that statement each year since 1931. He said that in one or two Colonies the trading position is improving. I agree with him that that is an important matter, but not for one moment did the right hon. Gentleman allude to the condition of the people who live in those Colonies, and that to me is the most important matter. What is the position of those people? The right hon. Gentleman touched upon health services and education, but he did not say that anything of material importance was being done. He said that at the Colonial Office they were thinking very hard on this matter, and that the question is very much in hand. That is all he said. The right hon. Gentleman has not been long in his office, as I have said, but we are most anxious that he should justify the fact that he is there. He cannot do it to-day very likely, but, we are anxious that he should justify the fact that we are trustees for the welfare 2058 of the natives and that we have accepted the paramountcy of native interests. The right hon. Gentleman has said nothing whatever to justify what has been accepted. I agree that we have the welfare of all to look after, whether they be natives, Europeans or Indians. They are all in our hands. But the interests of those who live in those areas, who have lived there for generations and will have to live there for generations to come, should come first.
If I can ginger up the right hon. Gentleman to do something, I shall have served my purpose this afternoon, because we are not very far from a general election, and it is not likely that the right hon. Gentleman will be in his present position after the election. So, if he is to make his mark, he has to get to work at once. I know that the officials at the Colonial Office are efficient. They are almost too efficient, and they do not like interfence. They have a great knowledge of Colonial affairs. As one member of this House said the other day, "If Civil Servants desire it, they can produce 100 reasons why a thing should not be done." But the Minister is responsible, and he will have to get over their superiority, and he will have to show that he has some initiative. That we have not seen this afternoon. The right hon. Gentleman is young. We attribute audacity to young men. I have not seen much audacity in the right hon. Gentleman. When I was young I used to read a speech by the younger Pitt about the crime of being young. I have read that speech many times. Since the right hon. Gentleman betrayed his life training in 1931 he does not give much hope as to the future. But, as I said, if we can ginger him up to do something we shall have served our purpose in this Debate.
Take the question of education. The right hon. Gentleman slipped over it. He simply said that there was a committee at the Colonial Office, a very able committee, but that was the end of all he said about education. He did not say anything about what is being done to give opportunities of education to the natives in the Colonies. He simply justified economy. He did not say what schools are being erected or how we are providing for the education of the natives. I submit that we ought to be providing opportunities for the education of the people who live in every 2059 Colony of the Empire. I do not want to educate them to be Europeans, but I do want them to have the means of education so that they can become more intelligent citizens of their own country, and, if necessary, when self-government is given, can play their part. He said nothing to show that the Government or the Colonial Office are doing anything whatever to improve educational facilities for the natives.
With regard to the health services, he said that they were still very much restricted, that they were still going through the economy period but were developing. He spoke of the development in the Gold Coast, with an increase of 4 per cent., in Uganda with an increase of 7 per cent., and in Palestine with an increase of 25 per cent. But there was no definite statement as to what is being done by the health services, no explanation of what those developments mean. He did not say £100 or £100,000,000, but just that we have increased to that extent. He merely said that the question was well in hand, and he was content to leave it there.
Take another question that I have raised several times in these debates. That is the provision of labour inspectors or the creation of labour departments in our Colonies. I would like to see something done in that way. There is nothing being done to-day. Each one of these departments has been abolished, and I cannot see any possibility of their being restored. With taxation so high natives are compelled to go and work far from their homes and tribes, and a labour officer should be provided to look after their welfare in every way, to look after their food, shelter, pay, and general conditions. One of the greatest losses to the Colonies to-day is that such officers are no longer in existence. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to provide for the recreation of these labour departments as a means of meeting one of the necessities in dealing with native welfare. Had there been specialist labour officers in Northern Rhodesia I am convinced that they would have detected the growth of the trouble there long before it came to the point of men being killed. I have no doubt that such officers would have 2060 been able to prevent the loss of life which took place in that instance.
Labour departments, with competent labour officers, should be established generally in the interests of the natives. Such a service is vital both in the interests of the natives and in the general interests of the Colonies and I would like to hear that the Colonial Office are taking up the question seriously. The time for the excuse of economy has come to an end and developments ought to be started in the administration of native affairs, which would raise the standard of life of these people in all the Colonies of the British Empire. Very little has been done in such matters as workmen's compensation. There are very few Colonies where we have workmen's compensation and there are practically no Colonies in which we have fixation of hours of labour. As far as I know, there are no minimum wage schemes in the Colonies. These are all reforms which ought to be undertaken, because, in every Colony to-day, there is a growing army of people entering industrial occupations and up to now little has been done for them.
With improved opportunities for education, we can then extend facilities for self-government. The rightful inhabitant in these areas ought to be able to have a voice in the councils of the nation to which he belongs. If the time comes when he will be in a position to take such a part in the affairs of his country, many changes will take place in our Colonies and it ought to be our purpose here to develop that idea as rapidly as we can. We have no right to steal land from those who have always lived upon it and give it to new comers, nor have we the right to make those people work in order that they may be able to pay taxes which are not spent upon them or upon their welfare. But that is what we are doing. A Colonial Secretary has great responsibilities, in governing a quarter of the world and some millions of people, but he has also great opportunities and I suggest that if the present occupant of the office gets down to dealing with these matters which I have suggested, he will do something of real value.
I wish to mention one or two specific questions which I have raised previously in these debates. First I would go back once again to the Morris Carter report 2061 on land tenure in Kenya. The previous speaker mentioned, in this connection, an Order in Council. We are not clear about this matter and I would ask whether or not an Order in Council defining the boundary between the native reserves and the European high lands has been drafted and, if so, whether the House of Commons will have an opportunity of expressing an opinion upon it. This is a vital question and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not get away from it when he speaks later to-night. Have the natives been given any opportunity of knowing what the recommendations of the Commission are and what their effect will be. We have asked that question in previous debates because we are anxious that the natives should be given an opportunity of knowing the effect of those recommendations. I admit that we opposed the setting up of the Commission and said that we would not be bound by its recommendations because there was no labour representation on it and no native representation, but only representation of the settlers in an overwhelming manner.
§ Sir EDWARD GRIGG
What does the hon. Gentleman mean by "representation of the settlers in an overwhelming manner."
§ Mr. LUNN
I do not wish to enter into an argument about it. Possibly the hon. Gentleman has better knowledge than I have on the matter but I have given my opinion and it is the opinion that has been given by many other Members in this House when the Commission was set up and in the debates since then. I have heard no one before doubting that the representation was overwhelmingly in the interests of the settlers and that there was no representaion at all of the 2062 natives. The report of that Commission supported the whites' claims and denied rights to the African population. It urged an exclusive legal right of ownership for Europeans. No such rights are to be given to Africans, which means that the best land in Kenya can never be held as of right by Africans. I am bound to say that a Labour Government could never agree to that idea and we will repudiate it as soon as ever it is possible to do so.
I believe that it is a new policy to grant any exclusive legal rights in land. We do not admit that there are legal, economic or any other grounds upon which 16,000 square miles of land should become the absolute property of a few selected people in Kenya. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will never agree to an Order in Council which does any such thing. We, in this country, pride ourselves on our freedom. Ought we not to secure the same freedom for those for whom we are responsible in the Colonies? We cannot ignore the fact, which was drawn out by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for South-East Leeds (Major Milner) on 14th February last, that, when this Commission was sitting, the late Secretary of State communicated with its chairman giving what he called a definition of one of the terms of reference. Whatever the right hon. Gentleman chose to call it, there is no doubt about the fact that Sir Morris Carter took it as an instruction and acted upon it to the letter. We can never agree to such a manipulation of a commission; we shall refuse to be bound by any Order in Council obtained by such means and we strongly protest against the action of the late Secretary of State.
Another matter dealt with in the report was the question of compensation for those who had been in the carrier corps during the War. A great many communications took place with regard to that and a number of depositions were taken and the Commission recommended that a sum of nearly £50,000 should be granted from the Imperial Exchequer in respect of the unclaimed balances due to native carriers. This is in lieu of wages which ought to have been paid to 400,000 natives who gave their services during the War. It cannot go to them now and the Commission said that it should be used for the provision of local water 2063 supplies and amenities and native welfare. The Government have suggested that it should be used to pay the cost of the Morris Carter Commission. To use the money for this purpose would be absolutely wrong and I ask the right hon. Gentleman to see that the money is devoted to the welfare of the natives to whom it rightfully belongs. We are not at all satisfied with the Government of Kenya and the domination of the settlers in that area. We are sorry that this question has to be raised but we regard it as the worst form of a government in the Empire.
I pass to another report which has already been mentioned in various Debates on Colonial affairs, namely, the Moyne report. That was an excellent report upon the financial situation in Kenya and it recommended that there should be a non-native income tax. The then Secretary of State accepted that report and its recommendations three years ago. A year later he turned it down. I wonder why. We never heard the reason and the only conclusion we can come to is that that domination by the settlers, to which I have alluded, was too much for the late Secretary of State and that the proposed income tax was never instituted largely as a result of that fact. Yet the finances of Kenya at the present time are not in a very good way. Lord Moyne also recommended that the native poll tax should be reduced from 12s. to 6s. and he made many statements on the extraordinary nature of the taxation on the natives. I believe that recommendation has never been carried out and now I understand a hut tax is to be levied on native women. How are those women to earn money with which to pay this tax? Many of them are living in wretched conditions and their poverty is deplorable. We maintain that the African population are gravely overtaxed in Kenya, not only in regard to State revenue but also in local taxation. Let me quote some passages from Lord Moyne's report:Local Government finance is not working in accordance with the principles upon which the enabling legislation was founded.He alludes to the failure of the European district councils to rate their districts for general purposes and goes on to say that the non-native population in Kenya are in the probably unparalleled position among civilised nations of bearing no direct taxa- 2064 tion at all, beyond a small poll tax of 30s., a small education tax of 20s. to 30s. and a comparatively light scale of death duties. He says that the resource of direct taxation, in some degree proportionate to the means of the taxpayer, is, at present, practically untapped. We believe that Lord Moyne's recommendation of an income tax in Kenya ought to be implemented. Instead of the Colonial Treasury being used as a milch cow by the white settlers as it is to-day, those settlers should, at least, pay pound for pound with the natives. I understand that the Standing Finance Committee in Kenya recently turned down a proposal to reduce the hut and poll tax by 2s. We know that in Kenya the natives are paying thousands of pounds in taxation which is not used for their benefit but is applied in other directions. I hope that something will be done to deal with these matters and to place the Government of Kenya in a better position than it is in to-day. I hope that we shall have in Kenya a form of Government more in line with what is proposed to be our national policy towards the natives and that the natives will benefit as a result.
I want to deal with another matter, which I can do a little more pleasantly. The Ceylon constitution was only established in 1931 as a result of the Donoughmore report, and it was accepted by the people of Ceylon. It may not be perfect—I do not suppose any scheme is perfect—but it gave the vote to 2,000,000 people in Ceylon, including women. It is a unique constitution and very much like our form of local government in this country. I admit that it is an experiment, and I want to invite the encouragement of the Colonial Secretary for it. If it succeeds, as I hope it will, it may be tried in other Colonies. I think it is safe to say that the constitution in Ceylon is justifying itself. Certainly there is no desire in Ceylon to go back to a less democratic system than they have to-day. The good working of the committee system in connection with Government Departments has proved the fundamentals of the constitution to be sound, and I think the executive and administrative ability shown by the Ceylonese Ministers are to be credited for much of what has been done. We who have been attending the conferences of the Empire Parliamentary Association during the last week or two have had the opportunity on 2065 more than one occasion to hear one of these Ceylonese statesmen speak, and I think that his presence among the Dominion Members of Parliament and the Members from this House will have enhanced his reputation. I hope the Ceylon constitution will be a success and a guide for the extension of self-government in other parts of the Empire.
There is another matter that I want to mention, and it is in connection with the Gold Coast. There have been in this country for some months now two representatives of a responsible association in the Gold Coast who have desired to meet the Colonial Secretary and put before him grievances which they have brought from their country. A petition has been presented to this House urging the Colonial Secretary to meet them and to deal with these grievances, many meetings have been addressed in various parts of London, and I think most people would agree that they ought to be heard. The Colonial Secretary has had this petition and he has had the grievances submitted to him, and it is not for me to repeat them here, but I ask him to get away from this red tape of the Colonial Office and to meet these two men and hear their grievances. I do not understand why we should have this disgusting superiority shown when two men, chosen by their fellows, are sent here and no objection was taken to their coming here up to the moment of their starting. I think the right hon. Gentleman ought to see that they have an opportunity of ventilating these grievances and that if possible they should be satisfactorily dealt with, and I believe that that would mean that they could then go home. In this House if a Member wishes to ask a Minister anything, I have often noticed how ready the Minister is to listen to the Member, but because these are two black men and come from the Gold Coast, it is possible for a Minister to ignore their representations, even though they come as representatives of their own people in the Colony. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will take an early opportunity, before he goes away for his holiday, of meeting these two men, hearing their grievances, and seeing if it is not possible to settle them, so as to give them the opportunity to go back and report to their countrymen how they have been received.
§ Dr. WILLIAM McLEAN
I do not think it is a fair statement to say that the Minister will not see them because they are black men. The question of colour should not be brought in.
§ Mr. LUNN
It is not so difficult for a white man to get that opportunity, and the hon. Member knows it. I do not think there ought to be a colour bar; if it is there, it ought to be removed, and these men ought to have the opportunity of meeting the right hon. Gentleman. The other point that I want to raise is one in which I have been interested for some years, and that is the question of mui-tsai or child slavery in the British Empire. We have abolished slavery, we say. We have had a centenary in this country to celebrate the abolition of slavery, but we still have thousands of child slaves in Hong Kong, and not only there, but in the Federated and un-federated Malay States. We have a system of registration and a system of inspection, but it is about time that we abolished this child slavery. It is one of the questions that the right hon. Gentleman might go into, in order to see if it is not possible to bring about this reform. He has given me some evasive answers on the subject up to now, but I want to get him down to this question and to see that this system is abolished from every part of the British Empire.
There are many other problems in many other parts of the Empire, and I realise that there is only one day in the year for their discussion, which is very inadequate, but if it is possible to inspire the new Colonial Secretary to set to work to improve Colonial administration all round and to accelerate social and human progress for all, instead of dropping into the rut of condoning conditions that have no regard for the lives and happiness and human welfare of those who must live in this wideflung Empire, this Debate will have served a useful purpose.
§ 5.53 p.m.
§ Sir E. GRIGG
I very much regret that I was prevented, owing to an engagement in the country, from hearing the earlier part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, but I heard the latter part, and therefore I can join heartily in the congratulations which have been offered him on the manner in which he discharged his task. I am bound to protest a little against the criticism with which the hon. Member 2067 for Rothwell (Mr. Lunn), who has just sat down, followed up his congratulations. I think he is a little hard on a young Minister who has only just taken office when he suggests that he should make some important and far-reaching declarations of policy. It seems to me that it is hardly possible that the right hon. Gentleman should do more than give an account, not of his own stewardship, but of that of his predecessor, and that he has every right to ask for some little time before being called upon to give answers on important questions of policy.
I have some remarks to make on Colonial policy in general, but before I come to them I should like to take up the reference which the last speaker made to Sir Morris Carter's Commission. He said that it was a partial commission, representing settlers' interests. I ask what he means by that. There were three members of that Commission. It is true that one of them was a retired naval officer, who had for many years been a settler in Kenya, but he stands very high, as a matter of fact, with the natives as well as with his own people in Kenya. However, I agree that he was a settler and may perhaps be regarded as representing settlers' interests. Of the other two, the chairman was a judge in Tanganyika, and the third member of the Commission was a very distinguished member of the Kenya administration, a retired provincial commissioner, who had spent most of his career far away from the settlers, on the north frontier and places of that kind. He could not be regarded by any stretch of the imagination as being connected with the settlers' interests, and I really think the hon. Gentleman should withdraw an imputation of that kind made against a member of the Colonial Service who has held responsible office. It may be that in the course of events he may hold it again, and to make an aspersion of that kind upon a very distinguished ex-member of the Colonial Service who has certainly never in the course of his career done anything to justify such a charge in this House, seems to me to be intolerable. I hope the hon. Gentleman will reconsider what he said and withdraw the aspersion which he made on a distinguished public servant.
§ Sir E. GRIGG
He said that a member of the Kenya Civil Service, who had never had anything to do with the settlers, was a representative of the settlers' interests.
§ Sir E. GRIGG
I have not the least idea what the hon. Member means. All I am saying is that a distinguished member of the Civil Service, appointed to carry out an impartial task, should not be accused of having carried out that task in a partial way as representative of one special interest. I hope the hon. Gentleman will understand, if some of his colleagues do not, and will consider the propriety of making a generous retractation.
§ Sir E. GRIGG
Then so much the worse for the hon. Gentleman's reputation. Before coming to Colonial policy generally, I should like to say a word or two upon another subject. Some very loose statements have been made as to the possible effect upon the population of Africa, and in particular upon the King's subjects among the population of Africa, of a possible war in Abyssinia. I have heard statements made as to the effect that that would have on other parts of Africa. I have read them in responsible newspapers, and I have heard them uttered by responsible statesmen. Lord Cecil, for instance, published an article in which he made some suggestion of that kind. I think it is very important in this matter that we should preserve a sense of proportion. It is perfectly true that there is a nascent race feeling beginning to make itself felt in Africa such as has long made itself felt in Asia, but to think that any such feeling is going to be deeply stirred in any part of the King's realm in Africa by events in Abyssinia is really stretching the imagination too far. The very opposite will be the case. I am certain that in British territory there will be a paean of thanksgiving that, as a matter of fact, they stand under the protection of a Power which is prepared to carry on the administration of their Government on liberal principles. I was in Egypt last year, during the events of the 30th June in Germany, and the immediate reaction in favour of us caused 2069 by those events was very marked. Exactly the same, namely, a reaction in our favour, will happen if events unhappily come to war in Abyssinia.
I say that with absolute conviction, but I should not like to be thought to say it with any complacency. While I think we hold at present the confidence, trust and affection of our African fellow-subjects, there are many points on which our Colonial policy needs to be overhauled. We are at the beginning of a period when it is going to be severely tested by entirely new tests, and I am glad to think that a young man of the right hon. Gentleman's capacity is going to address his mind to these questions. The attack upon our position in Africa is not, in my opinion, coming from Africans or from anybody outside ourselves. It is coming from within our own ranks. It came this afternoon from the hon. Gentleman the Member for Rothwell. There is a ceaseless propaganda going on representing that the Colonial system which we administer is a system of pure exploitation. Books are being published in considerable numbers on this kind of theme, and I read in one of them the other day that the Colonial system is "debt and graft." That is the propaganda we have to fear. It is going to our universities and influencing large numbers of our younger men. If that kind of propaganda goes on it will undermine the peace of the Colonial Empire, not because of its effect on Africa, but because of its effect upon ourselves.
After all, upon what is the government of Africa and of all the backward parts of the world based? It is based in reality upon nothing but moral authority, a belief that we are trying to do our best and that on the whole the government we give is better than anything else the peoples of the world are likely to get as the world is at present constituted.
§ Mr. CHARLES BROWN
Does the hon. Gentleman suggest that the Colonial Empire is governed on philanthropic principles?
§ Sir E. GRIGG
I am coming to that. I am saying that the authority which we exercise is really a moral authority. For instance, in the greater part of Africa we have never had any white troops, and 2070 in Kenya and Uganda the administrative officers have carried on nearly the whole time without the support of troops. In the ordinary way the administrative officer goes about his work absolutely unprotected, and his authority rests upon belief in our good will. That is the situation, and it would be a very grave thing to undermine it. The hon. Member for Mansfield (Mr. C. Brown) asked me just now if I was saying that the government of the Colonies was carried on on philanthropic principles. That is another question, and we have to examine it carefully. I am glad that he raised it. All I say is that the government, whether it be good or bad, is not based on any white force, but on moral authority, and I do not think that anybody can contravene that statement.
The criticism of our system may do some good. In these days we do not believe in the attack which Burke made on Warren Hastings, but, nevertheless, we believe it was valuable in itself, because it called to mind aspects of Indian government which were not receiving sufficient attention. Still, I hope that this criticism will not undermine in any way our faith in the task we are carryng out in the Colonial Empire. Nevertheless, it deserves attention and analysis, and it will do good in the end if it makes us look scrupulously at the debit and credit results of our rule, particularly in Africa, to which I propose mainly to confine myself. What do we get out of the Colonies in Africa under the Colonial Office? I put a question to the right hon. Gentleman the other day asking what percentage of the public revenues of the Colonies was actually spent in salaries and allowances to the officers in the different public services. The answer gave different percentages for the different African Colonies, varying from somewhere in the neighbourhood of 40 per cent. to as high as 83 per cent. in one case. We can take it that the average is 50 per cent. I will come in a moment to what that means to the native populations. Obviously it is an advantage to us. It is something that we get out of the Colonies, and when we hear of other people coveting colonies let us remember what we get out of ours. That is an extremely valuable asset which we can understand other people envying.
2071 I also put a question on the percentage of the revenues which is expended for the payment of interest on debt, and the figure I was given for the African Colonies was £4,118,813, representing 19.3 per cent. of the revenues in a year. There, again, what we get from the Colonies is a valuable asset on our side—a field for investment which is absolutely safe, which is a guaranteed trustee investment, although it does not rank as such, and a field which is all the more valuable because the money which we lend to the Colonies is almost entirely spent here on orders from our different industries. In addition, there are payments, which are very considerable, for pensions and for passage money, which again go entirely into British pockets. I do not think that those items can be put at anything less than 5 or 6 per cent. We have this fact, therefore, that, on the average, out of the total revenues of the African Colonies, 75 per cent. is spent in a manner which inures directly to our benefit every year. That certainly is a strong consideration on the credit side so far as we are concerned. We unquestionably do very well out of the Colonies, and I hope that we will bear that in mind when criticising other people's aspirations to have colonies like ours.
I come now to the other side of the picture. With regard to the salaries paid, I have no doubt that the officers in the public services who are sent to Africa give the population entrusted to them full value for the payments they get. They are a most capable set of men, absolutely single-minded in their devotion to their charge. It is for that reason that I resented the reference made by the hon. Member for Rothwell to one of the public servants of Kenya. My experience is that they are absolutely disinterested and single-minded in the discharge of their duties, and the Colonies are getting full value out of their services. It has also to be remembered to our credit that these Colonies are now enjoying a security and a peace which they would not otherwise enjoy. These sound like cant phrases, but the fact is true, and when events begin to threaten, such as are now threatening in the region of Ethopia, the truth of what we mean to these Colonies begins to appear and to be thoroughly appreciated by them. When we went to Kenya there is noquestion that the lot 2072 of the average native was far less happy than it is now. The two largest agricultural tribes, the Kavirondo and the Kikuyu, were being regularly devastated by the fighting tribes, such as the Masai, whose raids extended as far as the shore of the Indian Ocean. These things have come to an end, and there is no question that the average African family lives very much more happily now than it did in the days before we came and gave them the benefit of civilised Government.
§ Sir E. GRIGG
I do not know why the hon. Gentleman selects the Gold Coast. What I have said applies in every case of which I have had experience where systems of native administration, even advanced ones, have been taken over by us. For instance, we took over the Fulani Emirates in West Africa at the beginning of this century, by a war in which our troops were led by our present delegate to the Mandates Commission to the League of Nations, Lord Lugard. We took over the native administrations in Northern Nigeria. They were advanced systems of government, but they dealt in slaves and I have no doubt that the subjects of those administrations are much happier now than they were.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
The reason I asked the question was that there are two representatives of the Gold Coast here, and they are refused an interview with the Minister. They want to get an interview to explain the awful conditions in which they live.
§ Sir E. GRIGG
The hon. Gentleman can make a speech about that when his turn comes. He is not going to draw me into a matter about which I know nothing. In addition to peace and security, we have in Africa undoubtedly conferred the benefits of such services as health, education and so on, and there is no question that science is transforming Africa under our impulse. That is a great gift from our civilisation to the Africans. As things stand we may say that the account is fairly balanced, and that while we derive great advantages from the Colonies which we administer, they also derive great advantages from the administration, which we give. This is no time for complacency, however. It 2073 is a time for looking at the dangers ahead. The dangers are, in the first place, political. They are going to arise in Africa faster than they arose in Asia. The demand for some voice, some measure of representation in the Central Government will not be deferred in-definitely by the principle of indirect rule. Under that system, even with the most advanced of the native chiefs, great powers are reserved to the Central Government which are bound to be challenged in one way or another before very long. Quite apart from the challenge which may come from the native rulers, as opinion begins to be educated in Africa it will want to play its part in shaping the policy on which the whole future of the country will be determined.
What has happened in Asia is going to happen in Africa, and, while I do not wish to deal with the political aspects of the question, I say the time has come when we should think out some new system of political development, if we can, which is going to save us from being confronted suddenly with the choice between the representative system and the maintenance of a strong executive, which means inevitably a weakening of the executive at a critical time in African history, or a refusal to give representation on our own lines. That whole problem needs to be thought out. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary has had to deal with the results of that situation in India. There are many searching comments on it in his report on the Indian aspect of the problem, and I think we ought to realise that the problem is growing in Africa, growing even faster than it grew in India, and that we should not be unprepared. We allowed it to take us unawares in India; it ought not to take us unawares in Africa when it comes.
This afternoon I wish to speak particularly of the problem on its economic side. The hon. Member who spoke from above the Gangway took a line which is very frequently taken in this House and in the country on this subject. He said almost in the same breath that services must be increased and taxation must be reduced. It is extraordinarily easy to say that from the benches of this House, particularly from the Opposition benches, but it is extraordinarily difficult to carry it out in practice on the spot. The whole problem in Africa is how to make economic development keep-pace with the demands 2074 for services which are being made. It is no doubt possible for the hon. Gentleman to say that in Kenya, if he chooses to isolate Kenya, too much is going to the settlers. I do not agree. The same thing is happening in other African colonies. The demand for services is going ahead of the power to provide them with the present economic development. We are giving the Africans states of a very attractive character, with systems of administration which are too expensive for them to bear, and we are going to reap the results of that in terrible discontent from the King's subjects.
I remember when that distinguished Frenchman, M. Clemenceau, came back after visiting India right at the end of his career in the year 1922, and his answering questions as to what he thought of our rule in India. He paid a great tribute to the system of administration. He said he had never seen anything more sincere or single-minded or more efficient anywhere in the world. He also paid a great tribute to the system of justice which, he said, was, for an Eastern country, prodigious. But he had a criticism to make, and when asked what that criticism was he said: "You have given this country this splendid system of government, but you have not considered sufficiently how to enable it to afford these great benefits." While I do not wish to pause here to discuss how true that may be in regard to our record in India, I think one must remember the constant fear of exploitation, the feeling in the Civil Service itself against helping any form of development lest it should take the form of exploitation. It led to a slowing up of economic development in India, and has made the problem there very much more acute, and we really have to face that difficulty in Africa.
It is no good saying "Give the African all these services" if there is to be no economic development. As he is, he cannot afford these services, and we shall very soon outrun the constable unless we face that problem. Lord Cromer said years ago that the secret of successful government in backward countries was low taxation. Our taxation is already too high in most of those countries. We cannot have further services without still higher taxation unless we concentrate a great deal more firmly and with a great deal more foresight on economic development. I believe that is the kernel, the 2075 crux, of the Colonial problem at the present time—getting such development as will enable these Colonies to afford the things we have taught them to want. It is a very grave problem, and it needs to be tackled at once.
There are one or two suggestions I should like to make in that regard. I do not expect the right hon. Gentleman to be able to give answers to these suggestions to-day, but I hope he will bear them in mind. The first is in regard to the cost of loans. I gave the figure of the debt of the African colonies just now. The total debt of the African colonies does not sound very much to us, but it is large to them. It is about £73,000,000, and the total interest which they pay is £4,118,000. I asked what saving would be effected by those Colonies if the interest on those loans could be reduced to 3 per cent., brought as low as the interest on practically all Government loans in this country now, and I was told that the saving would be £1,297,000. That is 25 per cent. below the present cost of those loans to those African territories.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
But conversion could only be made at an immense cost at this time. The loans are old.
§ Sir E. GRIGG
I expected that intervention, and I am grateful to my right hon. and gallant Friend for making it. I know the technical difficulties of dealing with this question, but nevertheless we have to face the fact that the King's poorest subjects, the poorest taxpayers, are paying the highest interest on public debt at the present time, and some means ought to be found for dealing with this very difficult question. I do not know whether the existing debt can be dealt with, although I think suggestions might be made for dealing with it, but in future we should issue loans at the lowest possible rate, in view of the fact that these Colonial loans, although they do not rank as trustee loans, really have that character. After what we did in the case of the Dominion of Newfoundland, everybody must know that we are not going to allow a Colony to default, and therefore these are really trustee stocks.
If they are trustee stocks, as they really are, the interest on them is very high. The value which people attach to them can be seen by the premium at which 2076 they stand at the present time. I looked at two outstanding loans this morning, and found the Kenya 6 per cent. standing at 124 and the Nigerian 5 per cent. at 117. Obviously people think they are good investments and that the security is good, and it will be an extremely unfortunate thing if we can find no way of cheapening credit to the Colonial Empire in the future, even if there is difficulty in dealing with the existing debt; but I very much hope that the right hon. Gentleman will address his mind to the problem of the existing debt, because I cannot believe that the interest and sinking fund charge which these territories are being asked to pay is justified. I know it is technically difficult, I know that the contract is there, but in a world where contracts are constantly being modified in the interests of the debtor I feel that the time has come to consider the claims which can be made by the African territories. It would bring immense relief and would enable those territories to make an expansion of services much more easily than if we raised money for them on the older terms. Indeed, I do not see why, for the future, money should not be raised for the Colonies for certain purposes on an entirely Imperial guarantee and the stock treated as trustee stock. The sum involved is not very large, considering the sums with which we deal. In these days, when we talk of loans of £250,000,000, the total Colonial debt is nothing at all, and I suggest that attention should be given to the possibility of producing some kind of guaranteed stock for the Colonial Empire as a whole, for certain purposes, which our Government and the Treasury can approve.
Another suggestion to which I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give his mind concerns the deterioration of the soil, which is going on very rapidly in Africa. When I was in Kenya some time ago I remember looking at two lots of land which, I was told, had been exactly similar land 20 years ago. Part of it belonged to the Wakamba tribe and part of it to settlers. The settlers' land, because stock had been kept on it in moderation, was still fine pasture, whereas the Wakamba land, because stock had been put on it with no consideration for the soil, had become absolutely denuded and worthless. That had happened in 15 or 20 years. It is going on in many parts 2077 of Africa. We know what happened in Basutoland, within the memory of many people. The trouble about it is that the stock which is denuding the land is not valuable stock, but consists very largely of stock propagated solely for currency purposes, marriage dowries and so on. It has no economic value. You see little cows which are no bigger than St. Bernard dogs, and miserable goats. They exist as currency and not as stock with an economic value, and yet it is these miserable animals which are destroying the soil. That problem really requires to be dealt with much more firmly. I made desperate efforts to deal with it in Kenya, but found there were great difficulties. The difficulties are twofold. In the first place there is the difficulty of getting money, which means raising capital, in order to put this land right, and, in the second place, the difficulty of getting support for the measures which are necessary in order to persuade the natives to give up uneconomic stock. It is in their tradition, they believe in this stock, and we must treat them generously and spend money for the purpose if we are to wean them gradually from this belief in stock simply as currency. I remember that a witty person in Kenya said the greatest benefit that could possibly be bestowed on the natives would be the demonitisation of the goat, and there is a great deal of truth in that observation.
Another thing I would like to suggest is that we must do more to control native production and marketing if the natives are to get full value for their produce. West Africa has been very fortunate in the past. It has had two windfall crops, cocoa and palm oil, both giving a great profit with comparatively little effort and organisation. But that time has passed. Those crops are now facing a difficult, competitive world. I think it is eight years since the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works pointed out in a report on West Africa that the palm oil industry was meeting with severe competition from organised production in the Dutch East Indies and elsewhere. This raises the whole question of controlling native ideas of how to use land and it is a difficult problem for that reason, but it has to be faced. It has to be faced in regard to cotton in Uganda, and in regard to coffee also. I believe that coffee could be developed as an economic crop, 2078 grown by natives in Kenya, but to do that we must spend money. It means spending a great deal of money. It means capital outlay and taking particular care that disease does not develop. It is a very expensive business and it has not prospered where it is done in tiny patches, as it is done by some natives at the present time.
I would like to say a word about another branch of production in East Africa—the production of the white settler. We have had the sort of talk about the white settler which always seems to come from the benches above the Gangway, but I wonder whether those who talk about settlers in those terms realise that the fact that they are there is our responsibility and not theirs, because it was the Imperial Government which put the majority of the present settlers where they are in Kenya. Those who come and go of their own will are a comparatively tiny percentage of that population. We hear a great deal in the papers of "detrimentals," of people in Kenya who have come from what the hon. Members above the Gangway like to call the "idle rich." They fill far too great a part of the picture of Kenya which is presented to the world. It may be true of 5 per cent-of them but 95 per cent. are hardworking men who have had to stick to their farms and not move from them, and are living as a matter of fact in the simplest manner in which it is possible for white families to live. Many of them through the years of depression have been living on "posho," boiled maize, the same food as the Africans have eaten for many decades, and tea.
We put these men there. The first wave of them was brought in by Sir Charles Elliot and the second wave by Sir Percy Girouard. That was a deliberate act by the Colonial Government which has the justification that there seemed to be no other way of placing the colonies upon a sound economic foundation. They justified the policy of settlement, for in 1912 the Protectorate and railway balanced their budget and the grant-in-aid was no longer required. But the War destroyed their work; 80 per cent. went on active service and their farms went back to bush. A fresh start was made after the War. What happened then? More 2079 settlers were pumped in by the Imperial Government. We brought in officers of the services and gave them land for nothing. We put them down and left them to sink or swim and they have since been through terrible vicissitudes. They have had to face the fall in prices and the change in currency which increased their overdrafts by 50 per cent. overnight, and they have had to face the difficulties of a virgin country. These men are our responsibility, and it is no use speaking with rancour about them as though you could dispose of the problem merely by speaking of them with ill will. They are part of the African problem, and you cannot dispose of it in that way. The hon. Member for Rothwell can go on making speeches in that tone for ever, but the settlers would still be there, and their problems would be more and more difficult every year.
What are we going to do about it? It is not to be faced by approaching it in that way. There are only three courses possible in regard to the problem of white settlement in Africa. In the first place, if you liked to do it, you could buy those settlers out. If you are convinced that settlement is a mistake, be wholehearted about it—buy them out. Transoprt them to other places, and give them a chance of earning their living there. That is a possible policy. I do not believe it would cost very much, because the numbers are not very great. If settlement is wrong, this House is responsible for putting it right in that way. If this House is not prepared to put it right in that way, it must be prepared to do justice to the settlers whom it leaves there. I do not believe that the policy of buying out the settlers would prove a practicable one—not on the grounds of expense, but because it would be an impossible economic proposition to take away the white settlers from Kenya and Uganda. Those territories live entirely by two things, Uganda cotton and produce of the white settlers. There is no means of changing those things in a few years and starting on a new course of development, or of bringing in a new native population. The present native population could not undertake to carry the system of transportation and government that we have set up.
2080 What is the second course? It is a policy of drift and of putting our heads in the sand. That is what we are doing now and it is a desperately dangerous course to pursue. Let us take a lesson in this matter from the southern states of the United States of America. Some of the best British and Irish stock went to the mountains, as they were called, in the early days, many generations back, and they lived well, in the early days. Economic pressure compelled them to lower their standard of living. The land became impoverished, and no cattle could be fed upon it. They had no education, and no means of meeting competition from other producers in a difficult world, and gradually those mountaineers have become poor whites and a very grave problem, although they came from some of the best stosk that ever went from this country to the United States. Do not let us set about creating such a situation in East Africa and Kenya. We shall create it if we drift, because that result is inevitable. Populations of that kind are never stationary. They either go forward or go back, and if not reinforced they inevitably deteriorate.
You are driven, therefore, to a third alternative. Whatever the hon. Member for Rothwell may feel about it, we have to realise that we are committed on this issue, and that we have our own people fixed in Africa. Children are growing up in the schools. There are a thousand children in the schools at Kenya who were born in the colony and have no possibility of leaving it. They have to make their future there. Their parents cannot afford to send them anywhere else. What are you going to do? You cannot ignore that problem. Having got a colony of that kind, you have to reinforce it. The first thing to be done is unquestionably to look into the question of the mortgages and debts which they are carrying at the present time. The Government gave the settlers land at very cheap prices. I agree that the rents they pay are very small, and their transport system is, on the whole, conducted very well, but the Government never gave them what has enabled settlers in practically every other part of the Empire to suceed—oredit, of any kind whatever. The result is that the development in Kenya has been carried out through the banks. Practically the whole thing has been carried out on overdrafts from the banks by settlers who had 2081 nothing but their land. They are carrying very high rates of interest. The average overdraft in Kenya carries from 7 to 8 per cent. That is a burden which agriculture cannot carry in any part of the world, and which a new settlement in any other part of the world has never been asked to carry. I am glad that the land bank has been set up, and that some steps have been taken to deal with that problem. I should be very glad if the right hon. Gentleman would give me information as to agricultural mortgages in Kenya at present, and whether funds are available in the land bank to put that situation right. That is by far the gravest part of the problem in Kenya at the present time.
You must try to keep your settlers alive and carry on where they already exist. It is immensely to their credit that something like 70 per cent. of the soldier settlers who were put down in Kenya have carried on, although they have no capital. It shows how utterly untrue is the picture which is usually presented of them in this House. It is not only by helping them directly that you can support their cause. I believe that you should at once go in for some measure of fresh settlement in Kenya. By that I do not mean settlement for the purpose of growing agricultural produce. I do not think that the markets of the world admit of that at the present time. Kenya presents, however, exceptional opportunities for the settlement, on small plots, of men like retired officers from different public Services and the fighting Services, who are leaving India at the present time in great numbers. If the Government will show those people that they are wanted in Kenya, and will make it easy for them to go there, and, in particular, if they will find some slight measure of financial support for that kind of settlement, I believe you will get in Kenya the kind of population which will be absolutely invaluable. It will be disinterested, it will have had experience in the public Service in other parts of the Empire and it will be the highest type that you can get for a settlement of that kind. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will give some attention to that possibility.
I apologise for keeping the House so long, but this question of white settlement has to be faced in a different temper than that in which this House has approached it in recent years. The problem cannot 2082 be wished away, or hoped or abused away. It is there, and you have to deal with it. Whatever speeches the hon. Member for Rothwell makes now, when he crosses the Floor and sits on the Government Benches he may have to deal with that problem, and it is just as well that he should try to think it out as a reality with which some day he may have to deal. This white settlement is not a disagreeable necessity imposed upon us by our past, and which we have to tolerate; it is a real root for our civilisation in Africa if we get the right type of settlers to go there.
What is our problem in India at the present time? We know that we are necessary to peace and good government in India. Between the religious communities, between the Indian States and the Provinces under administration, we have always insisted, and shall always insist, upon justice. We are the third element, harmonising, conciliating and keeping that great federation together. While we have this great task to discharge, which nobody else can discharge, in India, and which is necessary to peace and welfare in India, we are, nevertheless, all the time regarded as aliens, and are suffering because we are known to be aliens coming into the country. In Africa you can dispose of that weakness altogether. You can sow there not only your ideas and ideals, but you can sow men and women who represent your ideas and ideals. Your problem of government for the future will be made much easier to solve, if you build up there an indigenous white community.
§ 6.42 p.m.
§ Mr. de ROTHSCHILD
I am very grateful to the hon. Member for Roth-well (Mr. Lunn), whose sweet reasonableness has enabled us to touch upon a subject that has not been touched upon in this Debate. The privilege in the Debate on the Colonial Office Vote is that you can go practically all over the world. We have all enjoyed the Parliamentry Cook's tour to which to-day the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary has treated us for the first time. I wish to speak only about two points, which are connected with Palestine. The first of them concerns the interpretation of the League of Nations Mandate and the second concerns its administration. I am not going to indulge in any rhetoric as to the wonderful prosperity which 2083 exists in Palestine at the present time. It is well known to all Members of the House that it was advertised in an interesting article which appeared the day before yesterday in the "Times."
The point I want to raise is as to the interpretation of Article 18 of the Mandate. This, as the Minister no doubt knows, provides that Palestine may not prefer any member of the League of Nations to another in the matter of tariffs, but that she may impose tariffs and customs where they are necessary to develop her natural resources and safeguard the interests of her population. According to the present interpretation, which has been accepted and carried out by the mandatory Powers, the article means that Palestine is not allowed to differentiate between any of the members of the League of Nations. That has given rise to some of the most unjust situations that can be imagined, and which were quite unforeseen when the Mandate was formulated.
This is especially the case in regard to the commerce between Palestine and Japan. I have addressed several questions on this point to the Colonial Office, and the answers given have been in no way satisfactory. Palestine at the present time suffers, perhaps, more than any other country from Japanese dumping of silk and other goods. On the other hand, Japan does not take any goods whatever from Palestine itself. Palestine is quite defenceless in the matter under the present interpretation of the Mandate. I wonder whether such a situation was intended when the Mandate was first issued? Was it intended that a country should be permitted to leave the League and at the same time avail itself of the special terms conceded only to members of the League, primarily for the benefit of the mandated territory itself? Japan has definitely and deliberately gone to work to ruin Palestinian businesses. Only lately an important silk firm, which had sunk £80,000 in its business, has had to close down because it was ruined by Japanese dumping.
I know it is true that we entered into a commercial agreement with Japan in 1911, and the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Sir R. Hamilton) alluded to that agreement in connection with the West African problem, but in 1911 the 2084 Palestine Mandate was not thought of; it was not undertaken until 1922. In those days mandated territories under the League of Nations would have been considered as Utopian dreams. Therefore, I do not see how it can be alleged, as I have seen it alleged, that it is that agreement, made in 1911, which at present regulates trade between Palestine and Japan, in spite of the fact that Japan has absconded from the League of Nations. I hope that this matter, which is a very important one for Palestine, will receive the attention of the Colonial Secretary and also of his colleagues at the Foreign Office. The present interpretation of Article 18 is also in contradiction with other Articles of the Mandate. It is laid down in Article 6 and in Article 11 that the Government must facilitate Jewish immigration on the one hand, and that it must safeguard the interests of the community; but the interpretation which is now placed on this Article impedes the development of Jewish industries, because it permits the entrance of depreciated exports from countries which want foreign currency for their raw materials, and that, to my mind, is not the way to safeguard the interests of the community.
The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland also pointed out that this country might be accused of taking too large a share of the commerce with the Crown Colonies, to the detriment of the Crown Colonies themselves. I am far from bringing this charge as regards Palestine; indeed, I deplore the fact that Anglo-Palestinian trade is not on a larger scale. I regret that the big industrialists of this country do not go after the trade and business of Palestine with the same eagerness, courage and cunning as the industrialists of other countries do, as has been shown recently by the goods, both from this country and from other countries, exhibited at the Levant Fair held at Tel Aviv. I regret that particularly, because there can be no doubt that Great. Britain to-day is, if not the best, at any rate one of the best purchasers of Palestinian goods. In this matter, however, the Government can only be helpful with their advice.
With regard to the interpretation of the Article itself, obviously it was intended when the Article was drafted that the mandatory Power should not be given an exclusive monopoly, an exclusive ex- 2085 ploitation of the mandated territory, but I submit that, when the Mandate was issued, economic, commercial and industrial conditions all over the world were far different from what they are to-day. It is true that there were tariffs, but quotas, currency restrictions, and dumping on the scale on which it is practised to-day were quite unknown in those days. The result of these new interacting forces, of all these modem inhibitions, is that Palestine finds that Article 18 puts a lamentable handicap on her powers of negotiation. That country is particularly vulnerable because it is developed by money poured into Palestine by Jews from all parts of the world. It has, therefore, an influx of currency and of fresh credit, and these can easily be filched away. No doubt it can be alleged that at the present time Palestine, with its growing population, offers an important and growing market for its newly established industries and for the industries of the rest of the world. But, if there is no balanced economy with foreign States, a constant drain is imposed upon its resources which will greatly hamper its ultimate development.
There are many examples of this lack of balanced economy. For instance, Turkey exported, in 1934, £500,000 worth of goods to Palestine, taking in return only £173 worth, and this was only admitted against a maximum tariff. Rumania, in 1934, exported to Palestine £1,000,000 worth of goods, and only took Palestinian goods to the value of £60,000. Yet there is in Rumania a very favourable market for the agricultural produce of Palestine, and especially for its oranges. There are, however, considerable restrictions on their import, and there is no balance of trade between the two countries. Hungary, in 1933, exported £115,000 worth of goods to Palestine, taking in return only £920 worth, and, of this £920, only £7 was represented by agricultural produce, including the produce of the citrus industry. Yet in that very same period Hungary imported from other countries £170,000 worth of oranges.
I should like to know what is the reason for these unfavourable balances. It seems to me that the reason can only be that Palestine is precluded by the terms of the Mandate from offering special concessions to any country. It 2086 has been said, and it may be the case, that certain types of quota would fall outside the scope of Article 18, but I should be very loth to see the quota system introduced into Palestine, in view of the serious disadvantages of the quota system which are apparent all over the world to-day. I should be sorry if there were no other means of restoring the balance of trade in Palestine. My own view is that, when the Mandate was drawn up, it was believed that all the other countries would afford more or less equal treatment to Palestine. It could never have been foreseen or imagined that other countries, by means of subsidised dumping and other adventitious aids, would act to the detriment of one another, and especially to the detriment of Palestine. This, I submit, is a matter for closer legal study, and I hope it will be gone into by the right hon. Gentleman and brought to the cognisance of the Mandates Commission, with a view to further and clearer explanation and interpretation of this article.
The second point that I want briefly to raise concerns the administration of the Mandate, and here I want to touch on the subject of immigration. No one in this House can have anything but praise for the High Commissioner. There is no doubt that he has ruled Palestine with great justice and with great success, and has conciliated the good feeling of all classes of the population and of all the races that inhabit that country at the present time. It is true that immigration and prosperity have developed under his administration. But I submit that this achievement is not due to his administration alone, but is due mainly to the efforts of people both within Palestine and outside it. Although it can be alleged that the present administration has been more liberal than its predecessors, there is a vast scope for increased immigration at the present time. Indeed, there is to-day a very great dearth of labour in Palestine. This question has been raised over and over again in different quarters of the House at Question Time, and there can be no doubt that the dearth of labour has led to a severe rise in wages, in prices and in the cost of living. It has also led, I regret to say, to an influx of workers from the Jewish agricultural colonies into the higher-paid trades of the towns, and 2087 especially into the building trade. As an example of the effects of the labour shortage I may mention that a large and important undertaking in Palestine, with which I happened to be personally connected, only recently undertook a large building in Haifa. The estimated cost of the building was £6 per cubic metre—£3 for materials and £3 for labour. As a matter of fact, the cost of labour rose from £3 to £5 4s. per cubic metre.
This labour shortage, about which there is so much complaint, cannot be made good by Jewish workers owing to the restrictions on immigration, and I suggest that it is impossible to make it good by local Arab labour, as all local Arab labour is already fully employed at the present time. Therefore, over the last two years or so, it has been very inadequately met by an influx of Arabs from the neighbouring countries. This policy, if continued, will gradually deprive Jewish employers of Jewish labour in their colonies, and they will shortly find themselves in the same position as planters in the Far East or in South America—landlords employing cheap, inferior labour. Such a divorce between the settlers and the soil is an entire reversal of the principles on which Jewish colonisation was first begun in Palestine, and I sincerely hope that the High Commissioner will see that it is not allowed to continue.
I do not in any way criticise the Government for their policy in giving more employment to the Arabs who are natives of Palestine. This is a natural result of Jewish immigration; it has been so for the last 40 or 50 years. Jewish immigration has always proved manna to the native Arab. It has meant more work and more money for him. I wish to criticise the Palestine administration for permitting immigration from neighbouring Asiatic countries while restricting Jewish immigration. The case of Transjordan is, perhaps, the most flagrant. I should like to know what has happened to the petition which has been circulated on this subject, and which was presented to the Mandates Commission at its recent meeting. I should like to know whether on that occasion it was pointed out to the British representative that the Ordinance of 1933, which regulates immigration into Palestine, is in direct contradiction to Article 6, since not only does it not give 2088 facilities for Jewish immigration, but allows Transjordan Arabs to enter Palestine without passports, whereas no Jew is allowed to enter Transjordan whether he has a passport or not. The Ordinance of 1933 appears to be directed solely against Jews and to discriminate against them, as they alone are excluded from Transjordan, and the Transjordan Arabs are allowed into Palestine. The Government make the point, I know, that these Transjordanians are only allowed to seek work in Palestine for a short time. Everyone who has gone into the matter knows that they spend most of the year in Palestine. They go back to Transjordan for a few weeks to see their families and visit their own homes, but they return very shortly to Palestine, undercutting both Jews and Arabs.
The immigration from Transjordania is only one side of the question. There is also a great and growing number of immigrants from Hauran, which is the southernmost part of Syria, and also from Arabia and Egypt. In 1934 the Government themselves imported concrete workers from Egypt for work on Government buildings in Palestine, as if there were not enough plasterers and workers in concrete to be found in Palestine; and if there were not, why should not the Government allow entry into Palestine of the number of Jewish concrete workers and plasterers for whom the agency had asked? As regards Hauran, let me remind the House of an interview with the Governor of Hauran which appeared last August in a French paper published in Damascus called "La Syrie." The Governor in this interview said that immigration from Hauran into Palestine had taken place to the extent of between 30,000 and 40,000 Hauranis. Forty thousand had been able to settle in Palestine, he said, within the few preceding months, and he added that they had sent back considerable sums of money to their families in Hauran. These figures have never been officially and definitely contradicted. It has been alleged that they were exaggerated. That is an easy answer. Why have they not been contradicted? Everybody who goes to Palestine can see Hauranis everywhere. They are settled all over the country, in every colony and every town. Only last year the Government used 400 of these Hauranis on some of its public works in Haifa, paying them only 100 mils a 2089 day, which is a wage that no native of Palestine, whether Jew or Arab, would accept. The policy of the Government appeared on that occasion to be to grind down both the native Arabs as well as the Jews in favour of immigration from another mandated territory, and from Egypt. Both Egypt and Syria, I submit, are able to take care of their own people.
One of the causes of this Haurani immigration, we are told, is pressure from the Assyrian tax collector. The main reason is that these gentlemen can fold their tents in the night and cross the frontier without being in any way molested by the police, and with no hindrance from those who should have stopped this movement from the other side of the frontier. I know there have been a few cases of repatriation of these Arabs, but the punishment of Arab illicit immigration has only been very slight compared with that which has been meted out to the Jews. Jewish labour immigration has been curtailed to such an extent that Jews are forced to employ Arab labour which would other-wise be employed by Arabs themselves. We may consider this unjustifiable. How much more unjustifiable is a policy which compels Jews and Arabs in Palestine to employ non-Palestinian labour?
Only a few days ago we read in, the newspapers of the new wave of persecution of Jews in Germany. This is a subject upon which I have never touched in this House, and it is one that I do not want to dramatise. The tragedy, we know, is one that does not want dramatising. The moral, physical, economic persecution carried to its extreme limits is what we know of to-day. The High Commissioner appointed by the League of Nations to deal with the problem of refugees, Jewish and other, from Germany, has often said that Palestine is the only country to which these men and women can turn, owing to the economic difficulties which beset the rest of the world. To-day large numbers of young men between the ages of 17 and 25, formerly trained in the liberal professions, deprived now of their livelihood, forced to flee because of persecution, have been retrained in artisan schools in Belgium, France and Holland. For these young people there is a great demand in Palestine, but they cannot go to Palestine unless they provide £250, or unless they succeed in getting on to that 2090 very limited schedule which the Administration allows the Jewish Agency for immigration into Palestine. Similar retraining of the younger people is going on in Germany, in every town and almost every village. Is it to be wasted because these poor wretches cannot afford £250 to take them to Palestine? Are they to remain in Germany, or are they to flee to other countries? Are they to be persecuted, are they to be starved, because they have not £250 to settle in Palestine, whereas in Palestine the industries and the industrialists are clamouring for their services and their work?
There is no hope to-day for the younger generation in Germany. May I plead most earnestly that both the Minister and the High Commissioner should not be so hard-faced to these people and so indulgent to their many guests from Syria, Arabia and also from Egypt? May I plead with them for a measure of real generosity and more liberality in their policy, in view of the daily dangers which beset these men and women, and in view of their desperate situation? I said at the beginning of my remarks that we were indebted to the High Commissioner for a more liberal scale of immigration. I said that this scale of immigration was made possible only by the efforts of Jews all over the world, and especially those in Palestine. They had freely given and invested money. These efforts had been made with one object, and one object alone, and that is the further establishment of more Jews in Palestine and the furtherance of the Jewish National Home. To-day the coffers of Palestine are full of Jewish shekels. Its ports, its harbours, its orange groves, its industries are still barred to thousands of unhappy, capable, industrious Jews. I plead with the Government and the Palestine Administration that these Jews should be allowed to bring their measure of activity to the building up of a country which at present they can only cherish from afar.
§ 7.11 p.m.
I wish to say a few words about the educational side of Colonial policy. My words will be very few, because although the two divisions into which the subject seems to me to fall might be discussed to almost indefinite length, I have no expectation of being able to interest the House on either side for very long. The general division 2091 of the subject is the importance of education for administration and policy. In this place it can hardly be necessary to convince anyone how much community of education eases the wheels of Government: and if we look outside, a glance at, for instance, political difficulties in India or commercial difficulties in China may very easily remind us how much the first have been characterised by the particular line of educational development, and how much in China difficulties of commercial competition have been due to the predominance of American, and later of Russian, education. It may be thought that the contrast between the pre-war and the post-war worlds is largely exaggerated, that the essence of the things which really matter in life does not very much change; but the shapes of things do change, and it seems clear that Colonial policy and administration depend less than they did a generation ago, and are depending less and less, upon the prestige of a particular race, a particular colour, or upon the prestige of a particular religious conception, one conquering habit of mind. It seems clear, also, that for the purposes of Colonial authority and prestige the most likely and the most desirable successor to these things which have passed away is education, although education by no means excludes, and indeed necessarily involves, religious tendencies, economic inclinations, and appreciation of racial achievements. This general side of the subject might be discussed at indefinite length, but I think it would be in the main preaching to the converted, especially after what was said by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Altrincham (Sir E. Grigg) about the relation between education and political development in the last and previous generations.
On the particular side I would also be brief, because I am conscious how much, to be lengthy there requires knowledge of details, with which official spokesmen must be better supplied and with which I am hardly provided at all. But there are three or four directions to which I would invite the eyes of the House. The Minister spoke of agricultural research being carried on unremittingly. I am not quite sure what the word "unremittingly" means in this connection. The Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture 2092 in Trinidad is doing a very great work. Are we certain that it could not do a greater work? If I am correctly informed about its financial arrangements, the British Treasury has behaved with real liberality, but I hope it may without offence be inquired whether the Colonial Office and the Colonies have always supported the Trinidad College with the maximum of enthusiasm and effectiveness; if not, whether improvement in that respect may not be hoped for, especially since every truth about the political and administrative value of educational development applies with particular force to the development of agricultural education, applies indeed to that development with so much force that, even if money for it could be found in no other way than by economies in the technique of pure administration, it might be very well worth while, and, indeed, in a very short long run might redound to the benefit of pure administration itself. There is a very valuable by-product in the intellectual and economic prestige gained as non-British students go to Trinidad rather than to Moscow or Colombia.
Another question not merely of educational interest, but I believe, of fundamental political importance, if the aspirations of Africans are to be met in good faith and good feeling, is the establishment in East and West Africa—I do not say the immediate establishment of a complete university but the beginning of plans for development which will lead towards university institutions or something that may be like university institutions. The Secretary of State requires no defence from me, but in this connection I think less than justice was done to him by the hon. Gentleman on the Front Opposition Bench when he said he had mentioned no educational developments at all. I do Dot suggest that these things can necessarily ever become universities in all the senses in which that word is used here, but, on whatever scale they may be at any particular moment, they should be at that scale first rate in quality, and should provide the fullest educational opportunities for almost all Africans, and also for that very small percentage of Africans for whom full opportunity cannot be provided in Africa they should provide complete qualifications for rising universities in the United Kingdom. I believe if less than this is done, or if this is not done pretty 2093 soon, the least of the evil results to be feared will be political discontent and a drift to foreign universities.
In the Far East how much have we suffered from a narrow falsely economical set of assumptions about education? It is extremely difficult to criticise a system without appearing to condemn the individuals who have endeavoured to make it work. I do not feel nearly well informed enough to take upon me such a task, but anyone who has any acquaintance at all with the problem of education in Malaya or Hong Kong, for instance, must feel that it is an urgent Imperial need, with the directest value for policy and administration and commerce, to strengthen the educational systems there. Perhaps the worst difficulties have been financial, and, if so, no more can be done on this occasion than to reiterate the question whether parsimony in this respect is not false economy and to note thankfully the Minister's optimism in general about Colonial finance, and especially about Malayan finance. But, besides doing that, it is also, I think, worth suggesting whether educational systems, both on the teaching side and on the research side, might not be improved by raising the status of educational officers and directors. What I would suggest is not so much a question of increasing their salaries as of giving the officers whose primary competence is in the fields of education and research more consciousness that they have a share in guiding policy and in selecting administrative objectives. I hope it may not be out of order to refer to the Sudan so far as to suggest that for some of the characteristic virtues of government in that part of the world in its decisive pre-war period—the generation just before the War—the Sudanese Government should be grateful to a looseness from Colonial Office categories which enabled its educational and administrative officers to be continually and effectively influencing each other and forming each other's minds, so that the educationists felt themselves partly responsible for policy and not mere subsidiary technicians.
On a rather different though not altogether unconnected subject, something was said about the want of British sea communications to Cyprus. Is it impossible to hope that more may be done for the development of aerial communications 2094 in the Colonies? If education is to be the root of real allegiance, communications are Empire, and I feel bound to inquire whether there is no hope that aerial communications, in the British West Indies for instance, might ever be under British control and management.
§ 7.27 p.m.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
There were two things in the hon. Gentleman's opening speech to which I wish to draw attention and to single out. He laid it down that the primary responsibility of the Colonial Office is to the inhabitants, black and white, of the Colonies that he administers. I think that is a point that we ought to emphasise at a time when there is such a tendency as we saw in other parts of his speech, towards looking at the Colonies as if they were markets for England and fields for exploitation in the interest of the electors of this country. It is vitally important that the Secretary of State for the Colonies should realise that his responsibility is first to them, and then that he should realise that, unfortunately, being responsible to white and black in those Colonies, he has constantly to decide between two radically different policies. That, I think, is a thoroughly good beginning, if I may say it without patronage, to his career at the Colonial Office. Let him realise his duty, and the difficulties in carrying out that duty.
The second thing that I want to pick out and underline is his happy statement—the first time that I have ever heard it from the Colonial Office—that the success of our Colonial Empire is due not to the Colonial Office, not to any particular administration, but to House of Commons rule throughout 300 years. As a matter of fact, I think that is an over statement. I do not believe that our predecessors 300 years ago did their duty. It needed the eighteenth century and the Nonconformist conscience to do that. It was the rise of the Wilberforces and the Buxtons of that period and the magnificent work done not by this House but by the missionary societies throughout Africa which really started the Colonial Office on the right line towards Empire. It wants rubbing in occasionally that no Government in this country has done its duty during the last 150 years. I want to draw attention to that 2095 for this reason, that we all know that the people who administer our Colonies, in the Colonial Office and all over the world, are only too apt to sneer at Parliamentary criticism and Parliamentary interference. The common butt of the man on the spot is the questioner and the speaker in Parliament. Vice versa I am afraid that the common butt of the Member of Parliament is the man on the spot. It is just as well that we should realise that the Member of Parliament and the man on the spot have both had a share on building up the Empire and that the man on the spot has improved his mind, and improved his understanding of his duty as a missionary of Empire, by the constant criticism of Members of Parliament. We must realise that a great deal of that criticism is ill informed but, at any rate, we here are in a position, that no other administrators of any other country in the world are in, of free criticism, of getting the other chap's point of view continually put before the people who are actually dealing with the problems.
I felt, when I heard my hon. Friend here being criticised by the man who used to be on the spot in East Africa, that it is that form of criticism from my hon Friend and from oppositions, whether Conservative or Liberal, which has saved us from all the disasters that befell the German Colonial Empire. What has handicapped all other Empires in the past is lack of free criticism. I should like it to be noted that any word spoken in this House is spoken without the slightest animus against any administrator throughout the British Empire. It is spoken in the interest of no shareholder and of no vested interest whatever, but in the interest of England and our traditions. I think our Colonial Office does its work better than any other Colonial Office. Having said that, I will proceed to criticise it. In the first place, I think there is shockingly little co-ordination between different Colonies. The business of a Government at all times, whether in Mauritius, in the Seychelles Islands or whether on these benches, is to keep things where they are with the least possible trouble to themselves. That is stagnation. That is the worst form of the worst vice of Governments. It is an impossible position at the Colonial Office, where you have a vast family of countries, 2096 all at different stages of development, growing up.
What sort of common problems are there that affect all these countries? Take a little question like local government in Lagos or Fiji. What happens? The stage comes when the Governor says: "The smells are intolerable. We must have some ordinance to clean the streets. We must have some policing. We must have local government." The Attorney-General is told by the Governor that he must draw up an ordinance for dealing with the management of local affairs in all the cities of the Gold Coast. He draws up an ordinance of 40 or 50 Clauses. This comes back to the Colonial Office, and before it is promulgated it is visaed. The Colonial Office then immediately say, "Why worry, this man is on the spot, and he knows what he wants. It seems a queer sort of measure, but still they must know more than we know." Then it becomes the law in the Gold Coast. Lagos and Nigeria will be developed on completely different lines by the mere accident that a different person drafted the law. There is no co-ordination.
To come to a particular point, may I ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies why there should not be some sort of co-ordination in local taxation within the Empire. I once wrote a valuable book on the subject of local taxation within the Empire, not because they wanted it, but because I wanted local taxation on land values. If he would take the system of local taxation in Kenya and Fiji as a model and see whether it could be applied also in Lagos particularly, and Ceylon, possibly, and perhaps in Palestine, I should be much happier. The Colonial Office would not be violating any of their principles if they started this co-ordination, which might be applied in a hundred different directions. I consider that innovations of that sort might produce more harmony and at the same time be an improvement.
The next thing I want to touch upon is education. The Colonial Office appointed a Committee to do the thinking on education. One of the things of which I complain in all Governments is that if they do not, or cannot, make up their minds they appoint a permanent committee of wise people to think for them. 2097 The Colonial Office appointed this Committee years ago. It is a Committee to advise them on educational matters in the whole of Africa, and I am not certain whether it does not extend its purview over the rest of the Empire as well. Do let us understand that the decision and the action must come from the Secretary of State himself and not from any advisory committee. He must not ride off and say: "This was the advice given to me by a collection of people whom I appointed, and I am not responsible." He is responsible, and we in this House are the people to whom he is responsible. The question of education is not just a simple question of spending more money which you have not got. The first thing in education is to try and make out where you want to go. I hear people talk about agricultural and vocational training, and say that the real sort of education for the black man is to make him a useful black man. That is not education. That is training useful servants. That is not the education in this country—it may have been originally imagined to have been so—and it certainly is not what the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) meant when he said education in the interests of allegiance to England and to English culture. Education means drawing out all that is best in the child or the native in order that he may stand on his own legs, think for himself, acquire self-respect, self-dignity and self-confidence. That is not the education which is being got in any part of our British Dominions except in England. In England we do have real education. Is there any reason why the Secretary of State himself should not come to a decision on that point and get his advisory committee to consider it?
Professor Huxley made an excellent report on East Africa the other day, but the did not decide that point, and in so far as his report is in any direction it is in the direction of vocational training rather than in the direction of what you might call citizenship. That is a thing which has to be considered. Take the case of Kenya Colony. There, education is very elementary; it is practically in the hands of missionaries at the present time. We have to make up our minds whether we want these people to be not only intelligent human beings but even a nuisance. It is exactly the same problem 2098 in Kenya to-day as it was in India 100 years ago. To-day you find many people who say, "Why on earth did we teach those Indians English? If we had not educated them in English 100 years ago we should never had had the trouble we have had." Exactly the same arguments might be used in Kenya to-day: "Is it wise to teach those people English, and that they should have such things as newspapers and hear broadcasts? Is it not better that they should learn handicrafts which are of no interest and lead nowhere?" You have got those two thoughts op that matter. You have it not only in Kenya, where they object to teaching children English for some reason which I can understand, but in Malaya. It is important that English should be taught not merely for spreading the English language or for any mad Imperialism, but for giving the power to think so that people may acquire the habit of standing on their own legs and ultimately of being capable of real citizenship, even of using the vote. The two diverging ideals lead, the one to real manhood and the other to serfdom. I am only too much afraid that every time we talk about vocational training, we are aiming at keeping permanently separate castes, permanent divisions between the people who can think and the people who must obey.
I will pass from that to another application of the same principle—the necessity for clear thinking, and of some sort of co-ordination in the various Colonies within the Empire. The House will recall the speech made by the hon. Member for the Isle of Ely (Mr. de Rothschild), who pointed out the absurd trade balances between Palestine and various countries like Poland, Turkey and Rumania, and that Palestine took £2,000,000 worth of goods from Rumania and Rumania took only £200 or £300 worth from Palestine. It must have struck the House as extraordinary that the balance of trade should be wrong in every direction and that that country was absorbing imports from Rumania, Germany and Turkey without getting rid of anything in exchange. Why is this so? It is because in that Mandated territory under our control there is an amazing law hat a person may not come in unless he is on a schedule, or unless he brings in £1,000 of capital, or, if he is an artisan, £250 of capital? He is only allowed in if he brings 2099 capital, and not if he brings two hands to use it. So you have this absurd lack of balance in trade. The unfortunate German Jew, if he can realise, perhaps at a frightful loss, £1,000, can take it to Palestine and be safe. But that is the bringing of a thousand pounds into the country in the shape of German machinery and goods, and enabling the Germans to establish their trade there. We are imposing this £1,000 barrier in the supposed interests of Palestine. If it were in the interests of Palestine I should have nothing to say about it, but it is obviously contrary to the interests of this country that German exports to Palestine should have this enormous bonus.
I am chary about giving figures, but let us assume that 1,000 people came to Palestine last year each bringing £1,000 from Germany. That means £1,000,000 going in from Germany, according to the German regulations, in German goods. If you get a foothold in new industries and supply the original machinery to the factory, you have the best chance of getting all the future repairs and extensions to that factory. We are ruining our own manufacturers by the imposition of this heavy obligation upon the people who go to Palestine, and doing it, as I think, and every Jew believes, not in the interests of Palestine, but in order to preserve Palestine from Jewish immigration. If you want to prevent Jews going to Palestine do it in some way which does not involve Jews going there to become German importers for the rest of their lives.
That is only one side of the question. The other side is as follows. Does the immigrant into Kenya, Palestine or Cyprus injure the country to which he goes? The hon. and gallant Member for Altrincham (Sir E. Grigg) pleaded for more immigration into Kenya. He does not believe that immigrants injure a country. He knows that the more immigrants who go to Kenya the better the condition of that country, and the richer and more productive it will be. He naturally appeals to the Government to facilitate emigration of white people to Kenya. Why should not black people be equally welcomed in Kenya when there is work for all? Why should what obviously applies to Kenya be no utterly wrong as applied to Cyprus or to Palestine. I am not certain that it is thought to be wrong with regard to Cyprus. I 2100 rather fancy that the Governor of Cyprus has not these wild economic ideas which seem to possess the Palestinian Government at the present time. I think that he rather wants to increase the population of Cyprus. I do not think that he would find any difficulty in getting over to Cyprus not only Jewish people but English people, but, unfortunately, wages are so low and very few people are going there.
There is no shortage of labour in Cyprus, but there is in Palestine, where wages are rising to fantastic heights, solely owing to the artificial restriction placed upon people going into that country. On what principle do you have to decide how many people are economically useful in that country, and how many people are not? The whole of our training until the War was to let natural laws have their play. We have restricted the immigration of Russian Jews into this country for no other reason than that the trade unions objected to the competition of these men. That was the ground on which we first stopped foreigners from coming into this country. The trade unions have no objection whatever to the refugees from Germany coming in now, and to put it on to their shoulders that they object is a slander upon the Labour movement of this country. That is the excuse that is given all over the world—"Do not let these people come in, because our people will be thrown out of work and our trade unions do not want them." That may be a ground for an insane political economy all over the world, but there is not that excuse in Palestine, because the trade unions in Palestine want to get the people in. There can be no objection to allowing more labour in so long as the trade unions want it. I should say that there would be no objection even if they did not want it, but when they do want it and they are not afraid of their wages being brought down by other people going in, what ground is there for interfering with the natural law of supply and demand and saying: "We will not have any more Jews in"?
I should like to say, here and now, that I am in favour of unrestricted immigration into Palestine and into every British Colony.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Into this country as well. I am a Liberal still in that matter, and so are my colleagues on this bench. These views may be unpopular, but I do not find that they are the least unpopular in my constituency.
§ Sir J. WALLACE
Is it seriously the view of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman that at the present time the Labour party—
§ Sir J. WALLACE
My right hon. and gallant Friend has just claimed to be a Liberal and has associated the Labour party with his views, but the Leader of the Labour party has now disowned it. I want to know from an accredited member of the Labour party whether in the present state of unemployment of this country he is in favour of unrestricted immigration into this country?
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
My hon. Friend used to share those views. Does he really think that a Pole going into Scotland takes more work than he makes?
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I will do so. I am definitely in favour of it. I am definitely in favour of freedom.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Yes, in the abstract, but I am in favour of it in the concrete. We hear too much about people coming in here or going to Kenya or elsewhere and that they take work away from the people of the country. What is the real effect of every new baby being born or of every new immigrant coming into a country? In both cases they demand service. The immigrant has to be transported from place to place. He has to be clothed. He calls on the services of a thousand people to satisfy his wants. He may get work, say, in a cotton factory and do work, and he may put one man out of that work, but at the same time he is employing other people, and on balance he is not throwing anyone out of work. Why do we want tourists to come into this country or to go to Palestine? Because they spend money, Because they have to be transported.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
They pay their way, and we welcome them. We have the advantage of doing work for them. They do not take work away from anyone. The immigrant does not just take work away from somebody but, like the tourist, he finds work for other people. [Laughter.] I cannot understand why the hon. Member for Dunfermline (Sir J. Wallace) should laugh at what is merely a mathematical proposition. How can a man live here without demanding the services of English people? How can a man live in Palestine without demanding the service of Palestinians? Every immigrant into Palestine gives as much work as he takes. At the present time let us say that a refugee goes from Poland or Germany to Palestine. He leaves his wife, or his father and mother and all his helpless relatives in Germany or in Poland, faced with the prospect of having to rely on what their relative in Palestine can do for them, or committing suicide.
In these circumstances month after month the boy remits from Palestine, say, £1 a month to keep his old people alive. That money leaves Palestine. If those old people were allowed to go to Palestine that boy would still be finding £1 per month to keep the old folks alive, but the money would be spent in Palestine in employing Palestinian labour. These dependants must be costing the settlers in Palestine thousands of pounds per month. There must be a thousand or possibly 5,000 settlers in Palestine who are sending remittances home to keep the old folk. Why not allow the old folk to go to Palestine? There is in Palestine a very large surplus of men. Many of these young men in Palestine has his girl at home who would marry him if she could go out to Palestine. She has to wait year after year for a permit to go. Why not allow the affianced wives of these young men in Palestine to join them and to set up a Palestinian home? How can that fail to benefit Palestine?
Of course I am in favour of unrestricted immigration. But, if not, at least relax the regulations so that some people can go to Palestine. Let the dependants go. Let the girls go out to join their future husbands. Even if your economics are as bad as they seem to be, it would be a good step to drop the levy on the capitalist when he goes into Palestine and to reduce the amount from £1,000 to £250, even if he has not a trade at his fingers 2103 ends. In that way we should give less of a bonus to German and Polish imports and give more of a chance to British trade. At the present time what does it mean preventing people from going into Palestine? What does it mean in expenses of police and prisons? I understand that a naval service has been started to patrol the coast of Palestine, not to protect the country from its enemies or from smugglers but from these unfortunate people whose last penny has been taken from them by the owner of some Arab dhow to ferry them across to Palestine in the dark.
I am told also that there is an air service with searchlights to search for any miserable Jews who may be trying to get into Palestine. All this costs money. The police service, searching for the people when they have landed, the naval service, and then the imprisonment for indefinite periods to which these people are subjected. They are kept in prison month after month. They have discovered that if once they get into Palestine, although they may not be free, they can remain there if they destroy their identity papers so that the authorities do not know their nationality. A man will persistently say: "I will not tell where I come from." Men and women get into Palestine and the first thing they do is to bury or destroy their passports. Then some Arab will earn a shilling by selling them to the police, and they go to prison. At any rate, they know that they will not be sent back to Germany or to Poland if their domicile is unknown. It is better to be in prison in Palestine than to be in Germany or Poland in so-called freedom.
People go into Palestine as tourists, and if they are Jews they pay £60. That amount is taken from them when they go in and they get it back when they come out. Many of these people do not come out. They pay the £60 and they stop there. We shall have more and more of these people going in, not paying their £60 but by illegal routes. We shall have more and more of these people going to prison voluntarily. At the present time I understand that 140 or so persons are in prison, most of them long after their sentence has expired. It is possible to get into Palestine if you are prepared to face prison for six months. People can get in by all sorts of secret channels if 2104 they are prepared to go to prison. The system will break down, just as Gandhi broke down the South African oppression of Indians by filling the gaols of South Africa with Indians.
If the Colonial Secretary cannot allow free immigration he ought to reduce the limit on capitalists from £1,000 to £250; the dependants who are being supported in Germany or Poland should be allowed to go to Palestine, even if they have to give a guarantee that they will not work; the girls should be allowed to join their best boys and, finally, when the tourist goes in on paying £60 and he finds a job for himself he ought to be allowed to get his £60 back and to remain in the country. By these changes we should enhance our reputation for decency in the treatment of these unfortunate people. Finally, when we are establishing something in the nature of a constitution for that country we ought to have the consent of both the races in that country before the constitution is set up, and when the constitution is set up it should be an English model and not the haphazard invention of some local man on the spot in Palestine, unacquainted with English history and institutions. See what a mess we have made in India by building a constitution on a communal basis; see what a mess has been made in Germany by having proportional representation. If we are going to start a constitution in Palestine give them the chance of having an honest English constitution, with one electoral roll, woman suffrage, and single member constituencies, so that a Mohammedan will have to ask a Jew for his vote and a Jew will have to ask a Mohammedan for his vote. Let us make them equal members of one assembly as the only sure foundation of bringing the two races together, as all men have been brought together in England.
§ 8.1 p.m.
§ Mr. JANNER
I propose to refer to the important matter of Palestine although much which I had to say has already been discussed by the hon. Member for Ely (Mr. de Rothschild) and the right hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyne (Colonel Wedgwood). The House will no doubt agree that it is very appropriate that Palestinian affairs should be considered at this time particularly. Whilst vicious and vindictive attacks are being made in Germany against the 2105 Jewish community by maddened brutes, Palestine is affording a complete and full reply to all the reasons adduced by Nazi leaders for their incitements to defamation, looting and bloodshed. While the exponents of barbaric doctrines are building up a legacy of shame for future generations in their country Palestine is continuing to be transformed from a state of bareness into a flourishing land. The very men and women who are members of the people which is being libelled and slandered by the Nazis and their beshirted puppet imitators are almost entirely responsible for the conditions in Palestine to-day which drew from a contributor to "The Times" when he visited Palestine the expressions of opinion:I had quite suddenly the sense that I had dropped into one of the most important spots in and for the whole world .…. Here something tremendous, a new power, economically, socially, and morally, was rapidly coming into being. It may be all my fault that this came as a revelation. Others have probably pointed it out more effectively than I can hope to do because they certainly know much more than I, have spent time in the country, visited all of it and have facts and figures at their command which I have not. On the other hand, just because I had not my mind on the Palestine question for some years and because, as the saying goes, you could have knocked me down with a feather when I got there, my testimony may be of interest to the man in the street, whose ignorance or remoteness has been like my own. Every bit of land is cultivated and with just the right crop or the particular kind of wheat that science says will give the best yield. The Arab gapes at what grows where so little grew before. Such is the general prosperity produced by the Jews that the price of his labour has gone up. The Jews are not unmindful of Arab welfare; societies exist to promote good relations between them.I have visited Palestine with colleagues of the House twice within 12 months and we were filled with wonderment at the achievements displayed there. All those who went were astonished at the achievement; indeed the land is bound to make an indelible impression on the mind of a visitor who sees the state of progress that has been made up to the present time, and he must needs realise that almost superhuman effort must have been exerted to achieve this result. I venture to say that the history of Palestine during the last 12 years will be regarded as an outstanding illustration of what energy, combined with anxious idealism, can effect. The House will realise that it 2106 started some years before under the able administration of my right hon. Friend the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel). No one would say that the prospects which were held out at the time the Mandate was granted were alluring. On the contrary, the land was uncultivated; and what is more, it was held by experts to be largely uncultivable. Disease was rife. Much of the land was covered with malarial swamps, the people were poor in the truest sense of the word, and sandy wastes were predominant. To-day areas in the land present a picture of intensive cultivation, with busy industrial centres, and extensive harbours, glowing examples of the results of hard and continuous striving on the part of these Jewish people, who have given of their best towards the development of the land.
The House will be interested to hear the experience we had in one of the small towns called Hedera. On the walls of the little town hall there were portraits of the original martyr settlers. All have died from disease, when clearing the land. They had been replaced by a further body of men, many of whom had also lost their lives in an effort to reclaim the land from its malarial condition; and to-day it is peopled with energetic men and women who are reaping the benefit of the work of those who laid down their lives because of the ideals they held and of the unstinting unselfishness with which they pursued their task. The House ought to know that it is not merely a question of the Jews. In the townlet Jews and Arabs alike are benefiting by the new scope for livelihood which has been opened to them. Twenty thousand people now live on a space where only 200 people lived before. A similar story can be told of nearly all the Colonies which have been established in Palestine. It is quite clear how this has made possible the conditions which now prevail. The idealism and good will of the settlers has stood firm against all odds, and the result has been something which would surprise every Member of this House who happened to visit the land. On the first occasion that I visited Palestine the Levant Fair was being held, and among the large series of warehouses, showrooms and exhibitions, in which were displayed goods from all over the world, there was a building which held within its walls exhibits of products of this country. The buildings were visited by Jew and Arab alike. 2107 Although the Arab leaders had put a bar against their members going to the fair, nevertheless, this did not prevent many of them from seeing and buying at the fair.
I am making these references as a preliminary to what I want to say with regard to improving the present position, because I feel that there is a considerable amount of misunderstanding and lack of knowledge as to what is actually happening in Palestine. Many of us in this House adduce arguments on the assumption that everybody knows what is taking place in each Colony and mandated territory, but in the main I believe people are as unaware of what is actually happening, as was the correspondent of the "Times." The town in which the Levant Fair was held was Tel Aviv, which has a population of 120,000 people.
§ Mr. JANNER
It is true that it has not an adequate railway station. We have asked time after time in this House for the railway system and the road system of Palestine to be dealt with adequately, but this town with its 120,000 inhabitants still has no appropriate railway station or direct railway line. In a country which to-day presents the figures which were given to-day in reply to a question I put, where there is an expenditure last year of £3,230,010 as against a revenue of £5,452,663, with a Government reserve of over £5,500,000 now, there is no need for any stinting as far as the spending of funds for proper development is concerned. I appeal to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, who has taken his seat to-day on this important Debate, and who has presented a case which was very interesting in respect of the general position, to be vigorous and energetic in promoting the welfare of this country which stands for so much not only as far as its own interests are concerned but as far as the interests of the British Empire are concerned in regard to the development of trade and general relationships. I have previously referred in this House to the methods by which the Palestinian Colonies have been developed and how each settler is expected not only to plant for the purpose of selling his commodities but in such a scientific manner as to provide garden produce for his family, even at a time when difficulties arise in 2108 respect of general trade. Jewish capital and labour have gone into Palestine and have improved the conditions there out of all recognition. I ask the Secretary of State to consult with the High Commissioner with regard to these conditions and see whether he cannot really put into practical effect suggestions which have been made with regard to heavily increasing immigration.
The problems of Palestine are so different from those of all other countries in the world. They are something entirely new, something unknown in the history of the world, and they require to deal with them not only men of ability but also men of vision. I ask those who are concerned with the administration of Palestine to keep that well in mind and not to rely upon the definition of the absorptive capacity of Palestine, which has been given sometimes to the House. After all, the absorptive capacity of Palestine depends on the people who go into Palestine. I have said before that immigration is the life blood of that country, and as far as the absorptive capacity is concerned it depends entirely on the amount of capital and the amount of energy which is brought into the country. It is interesting to see the attitude of the people in Palestine themselves towards this matter. The labourers as well as the industrialists are all anxious for more immigrants. They are all begging for additional labour to come into the country. It is true that a certain amount of sympathy is being extended to those who are driven from Germany by persecution, and it is perfectly true that the generous outlook of the settlers in Palestine is of such a nature that it is prepared to welcome with open arms those who are fleeing from the serious troubles which are occurring in other parts of the world. But it is also true that they are anxious to have as many workers as possible, so that they may build up Palestine and may have, with their fellow workers in that land, the fullest advantage from the original ideal of the Jewish National Home. After all, the original intention was not that there should be landed proprietors in the sense in which they are found in other countries. The intention was that Jewish people should go back to the soil, should have an opportunity of working in a free atmosphere which had been denied to many of them for 2109 thousands of years, should be enabled to work without let or hindrance in an atmosphere that would mean freedom to them. While the difference between payment for town work and country work was smaller than it is now, their idealism was able to overcome the inducement of the difference and they remained on the fields to work as agriculturists or citriculturists; but it is unnatural to expect that when the towns offer a tremendous difference in wages people will still continue to work on the soil if within a few miles their fellow workers are obtaining four or five times as much as they can obtain for their services.
I hope that the new Colonial Secretary will realise, in his vigour, that here is an opportunity for him to do something which will redound to his credit and to the credit of this country for all times, and that instead of putting a tragic depression upon the thousands of people who are willing to go but prevented from going to Palestine to work, he will enable them to proceed to that land there to work out their destiny. We shall find that the fears expressed with regard to the absorptive capacity will disappear as speedily as those which were made with regard to the so-called displaced Arab. Here let me clear up one point. The Shaw report and the French report, these reports of theoreticians and experts, gave a gloomy picture of innumerable Arabs who had been displaced and could no longer find an opportunity of earning a livelihood. Many Members of this House were shocked at the opinions which had been spread by means of those reports. What is the truth? The truth has been discovered by investigation of the position. The cases of the so-called displaced Arabs have been investigated one by one. Those who had any complaints at all to make have been afforded an opportunity of placing these complaints before a proper tribunal, and now, of all the claims, fewer than 600 have been proved to be valid. Of those 600 successful claimants very few indeed have taken the opportunity of settling on land which had been offered them, because they find that employment in other directions is more remunerative for them. All this great scare that was conjured up at the time of the report has burst like a great bubble. The fears have been found to 2110 be without foundation, exactly as the Jewish Agency said at the time of the reports. The Jewish and Arab positions will both be improved by further immigration of Jews. This does not mean that the Jew is monopolising the land. What is happening is that this means the Arab worker is being given an opportunity not only to obtain work but also to see how he himself can utilise his land to the best advantage. I think the most significant statement that has been made for some time was that which was made by the High Commissioner himself when he was approached with regard to the Huleh concession. The Huleh concession is in respect of a marshy district, and it had been granted for some 20 years to an Arab or non-Jewish body. The High Commissioner said:Since I first came to Palestine I have been most anxious that drainage and development should be undertaken in the Huleh on sound lines and on a large scale for two chief reasons:
- (1) Round Huleh more sickness and suffering are caused by malaria to more people than in any other district in Palestine.
- (2) When the area has been drained many thousands of dunums will be made available for cultivation on a fertile soil under greatly improved health conditions.The concessionaires have the approval of Government in transferring their concession to another group for four principal reasons:2111 That statement is the history of Palestine since the Mandate. The Huleh district is similar to the many which have already been drained by Jewish settlers in Palestine. They have made of Palestine a land fit for people to live in, and all that they ask is to be allowed to continue in a peaceful way without interference from outside. The Germans, with all their publicity in so many countries, have not left Palestine alone. There too they are endeavouring to introduce the venom which is making bitternees between man and man, even as they are endeavouring to do it in this country. It is for us who have the Mandate of Palestine to see that those who are living there and those to whom a Jewish national home means so much, shall be given the fullest opportunity of going there.
As High Commissioner I think that it is for the good of the country that there is now every prospect that about 40,000 dunums of marshy land, of little value at present to anyone will be drained and made available for cultivation: that the economic position of local Arabs will be improved: that malaria will be greatly reduced, if not wholly eradicated, with the best results to the health and happiness of the inhabitants of that district.
- (1) The new group has much larger funds at its disposal: consequently drainage and anti-malarial work will be started within a reasonable period.
- (2) The old concessionaires were obliged to set apart 10,000 dunums for local Arab cultivators. Under the new concession Government has insisted that as much as 15,000 dunums shall be set apart if this be found necessary for the local cultivators.
- (3) Under the new concession, unlike the old, the major drainage and major irrigation works of that area will be carried out without any expense to the cultivators.
- (4) I attach no blame to anyone, but during the last twenty years very little drainage has been achieved.
Palestine, to-day, is one of the few countries in which the economic position is good, and I beg the Colonial Secretary not to take any steps which may endanger that position. I ask him not to impose upon the Jewish population, against their will, an administrative system which, instead of doing good, may do serious harm to the country and will not help the one set of inhabitants any more than the other. The right hon. Gentleman can be assured that the Jewish population there will continue to do all they can to make Palestine prosperous. They have a very strong pro-British outlook and I hope we shall have regard to that fact. I hope we shall realise the opportunities for trade with this country which exist in Palestine and that full advantage will be taken of those opportunities. Those of our people who go to Palestine to investigate the position there will find, not only markets, but a generous and sympathetic people most anxious to welcome them.
The House will, I am sure, appreciate my point of view on this subject. They will realise what a pleasure it has been to me to see this achievement in that land. I refer not only to the developments of trade and the wonderful colonies which have come into existence there. Side by side with the cultivation of the land, there have been other developments. We had the privilege of seeing the ceremony connected with the tenth anniversary of the building of a university in Jerusalem, and the celebration of the 800th anniversary 2112 of the great Jewish philosopher and author, Maimonides. We also saw a celebration commemorating the valuable literary legacy given to the world by that great Jewish poet, Bialik. All these and other features have been combined with great practical work and effort. We, who are in control of Palestine, ought to do our utmost to avoid endangering in any way its development. We ought to exert ourselves in every direction, so that this mandated land may be not only a Jewish national home and a home for refugees flying from oppression elsewhere but also a credit to able effort on the part of this great Empire of ours in the years to come.
§ 8.28 p.m.
§ Dr. McLEAN
I should like to offer my congratulations to the Secretary of State on his exposition of economic and social progress in the Colonial Empire during the past year. His personal interest and experience in these matters augur well for the future. He has visited parts of the Colonial Empire to which very few of us have ever been. I hope my hon. Friend who has just spoken will forgive me if I leave the interesting subject of Palestine, a country in which I myself have a great sentimental interest, where I did the most interesting piece of work which has ever fallen to my lot. I propose to turn, on this occasion, to the subject of economies. The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Sir R. Hamilton) seemed to think that the Government were doing too much and advocated the policy of the open door. The trouble which the Government found was that the door only opened one way. It opened into the Colonies but provided no means whereby the Colonial produce could get out.
There are other critics, none of whom have been heard to-day, who say that the Government might do a great deal more, who suggest that something spectacular can be done by some sort of Government action. I submit that an examination of the facts of marketing and production will show that nothing approaching the spectacular can be achieved in present circumstances. Unless prices of main products improve and world trade expands, there is no possibility of any great development, and the immediate future seems to depend upon what we may call sidelines, of which there are 2113 many. Each of these is more or less unimportant but in the aggregate they come to a great deal. It has been found that a steady improvement in Colonial trade may be promoted by the method of economic survey and planning. As the right hon. Gentleman told us, the Economic Department in the Colonial Office is continually surveying the economic situation with regard to present and future markets for Colonial produce in this country, in the Dominions, and in foreign countries. The Secretary of State is therefore able to advise Colonial Governments on the planning of their production in relation to those markets.
The House ought to note what we have heard to-day that there are large markets in this country and in the Empire and also in certain foreign countries which have been assured by preferences and trade agreements. The Colonial Governments, for their part, are now able to plan their economic and social development on a more secure basis than was ever possible in the past. I should also remind the House that if we push ahead too fast with social and economic development in primitive countries unless there is a sound economic foundation, it may be disastrous for the natives. They do not understand the reasons for great world fluctuations in price which may mean the loss of any improved standard of living they may have attained. It is therefore necessary to hasten slowly and to examine all development proposals, as it were, through a microscope, and in a comprehensive manner which was never thought of in the days of great expansion.
It is interesting to note that a great deal of development is being carried out. Useful capital works are financed usually, either by direct borrowing by Colonial Governments or by assistance from the Colonial Development Fund. During the past year the Colonial Development Advisory Committee has been able to approve of 89 per cent. of the projects submitted to it and the total value of those projects is, approximately, £1,000,000. This is very satisfactory, especially when we remember that all this means orders in this country for machinery, plant and materials. I may say that in my own constituency such orders have reduced unemployment by about 25 per cent. in the last two years.
2114 Turning to the report of the Colonial Development Advisory Committee for 1934–35, Command Paper 4916, we find that assistance from the Fund has been given over a wide field of development, embracing public works, preliminary surveys for various kinds of schemes as well as research in public health and other problems. It is a great pity, however, that its assistance does not extend to education, especially technical education, which unfortunately is rather expensive but is also of very great importance to the economic development of a Colony.
Turning now to foreign markets for colonial produce, it is very satisfactory indeed to note that in negotiating trade agreements where the balance of trade between ourselves and a foreign country is in favour of the foreign country, that fact is set against market concessions to the Colonies. That forms, as the House will see, triangular trade, in which, to take our point of view, we get the benefit of the increased purchasing power created in the Colonies. The agreement with Poland is one of the best examples of this triangular trade. It is also of interest to observe that efforts are being made to ensure efficient production and marketing of Colonial products and that co-operative marketing, which has been adopted in some Colonies—the biggest example is the marketing of vegetables and other produce in the West Indies—has been a great success.
Just one word with regard to the thorny question of industrialisation, which was touched on by one hon. Member to-day. This has become a problem in our trade relations with the Dominions, but fortunately it has not yet become a Colonial problem, although there has been some public discussion of it. The Colonial Empire cannot be considered today as solely producing and exporting primary commodities. Industries which process certain commodities are already established and are being extended, and quantities of machinery for factories are being shipped annually to the Colonies, some of it from my own constituency. The suggestion, however, that the Colonies should actively promote industrialisation is quite another matter and requires special consideration, because it has serious limitations. It is obvious that manufacturing countries like ours could not afford to provide free or assured 2115 markets for manufactured goods in direct competition with their own. All questions of starting new industries in the Colonies must, therefore, be examined on their merits and with due regard to the welfare of the Colony as a whole and as a primary producer.
Turning next to the development of social and other services on the basis of trade development, to which I have been referring, it is seen that the communications, public works, public health, education, and other services are being planned and carried out. It is gratifying to know—and this I have taken some trouble to find out—that the native standard of life during the past few years has been definitely improving. As education is of special importance, I should like to remark upon what is being done. The Colonial Office as we heard to-day, recently published a "Memorandum on the Education of African Communities," (Colonial No. 103, 1935), prepared by the Advisory Committee on Education in the Colonies. With permission, I should like to make a short extract from that report, dealing with matters of principle. Paragraph 5 says:There is obviously an intimate connection between the educational policy and the economic development of a territory. Educational policy must be planned with reference to the kind of life which the pupils may be expected to lead when they leave school.Continuing, the paragraph says:Educational programmes, on the other hand, are limited in large measure, though not wholly, by the capacity of the people to provide their cost.Again, in paragraph 6, with regard to health, it says:Health conditions more than any other single factor have hitherto retarded the advancement of African peoples. Little intellectual and moral growth is possible where physical health is wanting.I should like to make one or two remarks on those two points of economics and health. The economic aspect of educational development is being studied so as to ascertain what proportion of the budgets is actually spent on education as well as other social services. It seems that a great deal more is actually spent than is generally imagined. Also a study is being made of school buildings, as it is felt that in some cases the adoption of a simpler and more economical type of 2116 construction would enable a larger programme of elementary education to be undertaken. It is satisfactory to observe that it is now recognised that the numbers trained and the nature of the education must be related to the needs of the particular Colony. Technical and vocational education is being specially promoted, as it is thought to be the type of training that is of the greatest practical value in preparing the native to be a useful citizen. I had experience many years ago in training native engineers, and I found that they responded readily to a practical training adapted to their background, and that they are capable of reaching a very high standard of efficiency and usefulness. In fact, some of my pupils now occupy posts of considerable responsibility. The native has a great faith in the value of education, and I think it is up to us, by wise direction, to see that he is not disappointed.
With regard to public health work, upon which little is heard until things begin to go wrong, the medical officer of health seldom gets credit for his preventive measures. Those who have been connected with the application of health measures know the great difficulties that exist in getting that native co-operation which is so essential in matters like anti-malarial work. I remember once remonstrating with a native about leaving pools of stagnant water, which breed out mosquitoes carrying the disease. He replied quite simply, "If God wishes the fever to come here, no Government regulations will keep it away."
§ 8.45 p.m.
§ Mr. BANFIELD
In concluding his speech the Secretary of State referred to the question of freedom and democracy and reiterated that our Parliamentary system here enabled us to do certain things all over the world. I want to make an appeal to the Minister to carry into practice his belief in democracy. I have a complaint here from the Fiji Islands pointing out that on the 16th May a Motion was proposed, without any prior consultation or warning, to replace the elective system there by a system of nomination. This was carried by a majority of the Council. In answer to a question which I asked to-day, the Minister said that he was considering the position that had been created, but that, 2117 in the meantime, the present elective Council would be kept in office for a further 12 months. Resolutions have been passed at meetings consisting, on the one hand, of Europeans, and, on the other hand, of Indians, at which it has been declared by representative people that they have no wish after 30 years of an elective system to be condemned to a nominated council. They point out that this means in effect a practical autocracy and that the nominated people would be under the direct influence of the Governor; while the Europeans claim that right to a franchise which they believe is the birthright of Britishers the world over. I hope that we shall get some consideration for that point.
I want to make an appeal for one of the distressed Colonies and to draw the attention of the Minister to the plight of the Island of Mauritius and of the islands of the West Indies generally. I have a copy of a cable sent to London in which it is pointed out that considerable numbers who are without the means of existence must rely upon the public charity which can be provided. In fact, the number of underfed unemployed in every station—professional men, artisans and day labourers—continues to increase alarmingly. The figures obtained last year regarding the unemployed cannot give a true picture of the distress and destitution under which the bulk of the population are now suffering. The island depends entirely on the production of sugar. If it is unable to get a decent price for its sugar, it has nothing else upon which to fall back. The hon. Member for Altrincham (Sir E. Grigg) said that one of the advantages of our colonial system was that it enabled salaries and pensions to be paid by the Colonies to certain individuals. In this particular case the people are complaining bitterly that the Budget now introduced makes provision for expenditure on salaries and pensions to the extent of £1,200,000, which is out of all proportion to the resources of the Colony. We talk about the distressed areas in this country, but here we have a distressed area in which men, women and children are on the verge of starvation. I have here a letter sent by Sir William Garthwaite, who is interested in the Colony, in which he declares:I know myself from personal visits and from the visits of my associates that the 2118 population of some 400,000 souls is more or less on the border line of starvation—badly fed, badly housed, and lacking proper medical attention.The position in all the sugar producing islands in the West Indies is almost as bad as that of Mauritius. There are complaints about poverty, degradation and semi-starvation throughout the West Indies, and I want to ask what policy the Government are going to lay down in connection with the production and marketing of sugar. Surely there must be some relation between the payments of subsidies for beet sugar in this country, the state of the sugar market in the West Indies, and the position of the population there, both native and European, as a consequence of the present sugar policy. We have to bear in mind that in these islands, where sugar is almost the sole product, the population is continually increasing. For instance, in the Barbadoes there are 1,000 persons to the square mile, and the appalling problem that has to be faced is that with the reduction of the production of wealth there is an ever-increasing population. It would be interesting if the Minister could tell us what he proposes to do, whether he proposes to consult the Minister of Agriculture, and whether the Government, in dealing with the sugar beet industry in this country, has considered the plight of the West Indies.
What, in short, is to be the future fate of these islands which are so dependent upon the sale of sugar? As is pointed out by Sir William Garthwaite, the refiners in England buy the Mauritius crop and they make handsome profits. He points out that Tate and Lyle declared last year a net profit, after paying tax, of £1,205,000, and in addition had reserves of £2,816,000. He quite rightly contrasts the prosperity of the sugar refiners with the appalling destitution and poverty of great numbers of people in the West Indies. The House is entitled to know what steps, if any, the Colonial Office are going to take to relieve this destitution and poverty. It is true that in Jamaica, for instance, there are other things which make up for the failure of the sugar crop. When it is remembered that sugar is fetching to-day only 4s. 5½d. per cwt., which is far below the cost of production, it is obvious that this state of things cannot go on much longer. Are the Government prepared to do something to sub- 2119 sides the West Indies? After all, if they can come to this House and ask for subsidies for cattle, beet sugar, wheat, and so on, surely we have some moral responsibility to the people in these Colonies, most of whom are descendants of the old slaves that were freed in days gone by. We look upon them as a direct responsibility, yet I have it on unchallengeable authority that they are on the verge of starvation, that there is no provision for them, and that no one there knows what to do. I hope that the Colonial Office will make speedy inquiry into the whole matter.
I also want to draw the attention of the Colonial Office to the position of labour generally in the Colonies, and want the new Minister to realise that this question should be looked into as soon as possible. In Northern Rhodesia, for instance, the question of labour inspection and a Labour Department cries out for almost immediate attention. There have been disturbances, riots, shootings and so on. Here we have a territory which within the next two or three years will call for much labour and which should be fairly prosperous. We have heard from the Minister that neither the Government nor the nation as a whole wish to see the deliberate exploitation of native labour, and I urge on the Minister to appoint labour inspectors and to endeavour to do away with the unrest which every now and then breaks out in bloodshed and rioting.
It is absolutely essential that some action should be taken. The taxation of the natives should receive attention. The troubles in Northern Rhodesia were chiefly due to the fact that there was an increase in taxation without any corresponding increase in wages to pay the taxation. Both there and in Kenya taxation is based upon a rotten principle, in my opinion—it is based upon the hut. I asked a question in this House regarding statements that widows' huts have been burned because the owners were unable to pay the hut tax. I hope that these questions of taxation, the proper supervision of native labour, the protection of the natives against exploitation—because we desire to retain our good name for holding the balance fairly in the case of people who are unable, really, to speak for themselves—will be taken into consideration by the new Colonial Secretary, 2120 and that by courage and determination and a resolve to bring forth new ideas and introduce new methods he may make his term at the Colonial Office a time of which he may ultimately be proud.
§ 8.58 p.m.
§ Mr. NEIL MACLEAN
The Debate has ranged over a fairly wide field, and I wish to bring only one or two specific points to the notice of the Colonial Secretary, in the hope that he will deal with them when he is considering the matters raised by other Members in the discussion. I understand that there are in this country at the present time representatives from British Honduras who have come over respecting certain grievances about the methods adopted by the administration out there and the application of the regulations to the main employers of labour there. The main employers there are a company called the Belize Estate and Produce Company. There are three directors, E. R. Hoare, G. H. Barnett and O. V. G. Hoare. It has an authorised capital of £140,000, issued capital £120,000, and debentures outstanding £49,000. The Government of British Honduras have agreed to make an advance to the company not exceeding 200,000 dollars, repayable in three years. The amount of the loan at present is 52,000. I would ask the Secretary of State whether he can give the House any information as to the conditions under which that loan was granted and what is the security. It is said that the company have managed to get the land tax reduced in the absence of the Governor, with the result that there is a budget deficit. A curious feature of that budget deficit is that it amounts practically to the sum that is being saved to this particular company by the reduction of the land tax. If there has been a reduction in a tax paid mainly by a particular company any burden resulting from that reduction must fall upon the community. We should like to have an explanation of the operations of this company and particulars as to the loan, and also why and when the tax was reduced and this company benefited so much in that way when they are really indebted already to the Colony for a great deal more than they will ever repay.
There are other matters relating to another Colony to which I would like to draw attention. I have several times raised these points, and have a sheaf 2121 of documents in front of me, but I can assure the Colonial Secretary that I am not going to inflict them upon him or the House. They are merely the summary of communications which have passed between his predecessor in office and myself, and questions and answers which have appeared in the OFFICIAL REPORT from time to time over the past two years. Unfortunately, in spite of the fact that a number of questions have been asked, that letters have been sent and memorials addressed to the Colonial Secretary, nothing seems to have been done. In Gibraltar, which is under a Governor-General, the people consider that they are not being sufficiently well treated as a colony of the British Empire. A previous speaker referred to a colony where they had had an elected Government for the past 30 years and where it was now proposed to have a nominated Government. In Gibraltar they have government by nomination, not really election, and they are desirous of securing more representative methods of government, but all their requests to the Colonial Secretary have met with practically negative answers. Another point is that there is practically no workmen's compensation there, and all the protests that have been made to the Governor-General and to the Council go for nothing.
I have here three illustrations of cases which have received the small modicum of compensation which is sometimes granted as an ex gratia payment. The compensation is so bad that it calls for immediate attention on the part of the new Colonial Secretary. Here is the case of a man who served in the Army Ordnance establishment in India, during which time his conduct was reported to be satisfactory. He was discharged as a consequence of being certified by the medical officer as not being fit for further service, due to an injury received on 5th July, 1934. His accident while at work reduced him to a physical wreck and made him unfit for further work. The compensation awarded to him by the Government was £65 6s. 9d. According to the law of compensation which operates in Government works in this country, and which ought to operate in Government workshops in the Colonies, his compensation would have been considerably more than that which was paid to him there. All requests for a satisfactory workmen's compensation law in Gibraltar have been 2122 brushed aside by the Governor-General and by the predecessor of the present Colonial Secretary.
A labourer employed by the city council of Gibraltar met with an accident while at work which necessitated the amputation of a leg. The only compensation which he received was £18 1s. 9d. from the city council, which shows the comparison between the city council and the Government. The city council, recognising the inadequacy of this payment, made an ex gratia grant of a small pension, and addressed a communication to the Governor raising the whole question of compensation of workpeople. An employé of the Gibraltar Gas Company was killed by an explosion and, not having been in council employment, and therefore not receiving an ex gratia payment in lieu of pension, the amount of pension awarded in the case of this man was only £11. Particulars of these three cases have been in the possession of the Colonial Office since 1934, when they were placed before the previous Colonial Secretary. The whole question of workmen's compensation has been brought before the Secretary of State for the Colonies time and time again, and nothing has been done. There have also been requests from the trade union of which some of these people have been members. We consider that the time has now arrived for the present Colonial Secretary to show that, upon the entrance of a young man who may be expected to do something for the people who come within his control and the supervision of his office, he will approach the question with a fresh mind, and will apply himself to it in an endeavour to get justice done for the people whose cases I have just cited.
With regard to wages and conditions, in 1931 the Government imposed cuts, but most Government employés in this country have since received a restoration of the cuts. Employés in Gibraltar, however, are still operating under the cuts that were placed upon them when there was an Empire demand for economy because of the economic blizzard that seemed to be blowing over this country and its Empire alone. One of the organisers of the union indicates the conditions under which Government employés are living. He says that he was invited by a girl to visit a labourer's dwelling-house and he was able to see for himself how 2123 poorly these people were living. For example, he saw that a family of four were living in a room which was only seven feet square. The kitchen was about four feet square. The rent was 22s. per month, from a weekly wage of 22s. 6d. He says:We saw rent receipts by which it was proved that everyone was in arrears of rent by as much as three months. I also took her to the grocer's shop and it was found that there were arrears in payment for the supplies of food obtained from the grocer's shops in the area.I submit that it is time that something was done to have that matter altered.
Another aspect of the wages paid in Government Departments is brought out in connection with a case of the officers of the Transport and General Workers' Union before the appropriate joint industrial council. Representatives of the Government came to Gibraltar, apparently having power to deal with these matters on the spot, but matters always had to be raised with the War Office or the Admiralty rather than the Colonial Office, and there was serious delay. Settlement was arrived at only after many months of protracted correspondence between Gibraltar and London, in which very frequently the London headquarters of the union were called upon to take part. I have a series of supplementary questions on the subject addressed to Ministers in this House. On 29th May this year, I addressed a question to the Colonial Secretary, which was answered by the Civil Lord of the Admiralty, in which he makes out that the people there had no necessity to know anything about local conditions. That was stated in regard to a committee here. As a matter of fact they had all the material placed before them by the organiser of the union who was on the spot. When I put a point that these men are members of a British trade union, and therefore would have all the facts in their possession which they could lay before the committee, the Civil Lord of the Admiralty replied:I would not like to answer that question offhand, but I think not."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th May, 1935; col. 1105, Vol. 302.]He thinks they are not members of a British trade union, but they are. We 2124 believe these people ought to have the same right of representation of their grievances to the Government Department as though they were employed in this country and were under the trade union law of this country. They are employed by a British Government, and the same rights ought to be given to them. This is a matter which affects the whole question of electoral rights to which I referred earlier. In Gibraltar, the councils are partly elected and partly appointed by the Governor, the Governor by his appointments always having a majority of the seats of the council. There is an administrative body having very much the same powers as a borough council in this country. It does not interfere with the government of a colony, nor has it any power. The elections are indicative that a substantial body of public opinion should be given some representation. Ignoring the indications of the election figures, the Governor proceeded to appoint persons representative of the same interests as had been elected, with the result that a very substantial minority found themselves without any representation. We do not consider that that is the way in which to deal with minorities anywhere, not to mention a British Colony, and we suggest to the new Secretary of State that that should be looked into. The last Governor of Gibraltar made certain promises, which have not been fulfilled by the Government. They have tried to wriggle out of implementing the promises made by the late Governor by denying that those promises were ever made. I have here an affidavit sworn to by one of the deputation that waited upon the Governor, which sets out the whole facts of the case and what was promised them at the interview that they had with the Governor at Gibraltar. I suggest that these are matters which should receive consideration, because there is a great deal, not of disaffection, but of irritation.
A large meeting was held in Gibraltar, which was attended by over 4,000 people. The late Secretary of State for the Colonies tried to belittle the importance of that demonstration by making it appear that the signatures to a memorial, a copy of which I have here, which had been obtained at that meeting and at other places in the Colony, were obtained on loose sheets of paper. We have to 2125 bear in mind that in a place like Gibraltar, as in many other Colonies, people do not understand the particular methods of signing and presenting petitions which are laid down in the Standing Orders and Regulations of this House. They do not know that the matter has to be done in a particular way, and they adopt what they think is the readiest and best way of getting the signatures. I submit that the reference of the late Secretary of State, while he may not have meant it to do so, did make it appear as though he were endeavouring to make out that the signatures upon these sheets of paper were not the signatures of the persons who were supposed to have signed. I have here the definite assurance of those who organised that meeting and agitation for better representation of the electors on the Council that those signatures were all taken from individuals who had written them down, that they were their own signatures, and that they gave the assurance that they were behind the agitation, and were not only sympathetic with it, but were willing that the request in the petition should be put in operation if it were possible to do so.
I hope that the new Secretary of State will dig out that memorial from the files of the Colonial Office, that he will read it and go into the matter, and that he will get in touch with the Governor and find out exactly what the whole situation is, not only with regard to the position of the electorate, but also with regard to the other grievances, such as the non-restoration of cuts and the fact that there is no workmen's compensation operating fairly when any serious injury, or even loss of life, occurs to any of the workers. I hope that the conditions of the Colony will be gone into thoroughly from the point of view, not merely of civic rights, but of the trade rights of the people there, and that an endeavour will be made to remove from their minds the irritation which they at present feel because they consider that they are not being treated fairly by the Colonial Secretary here, and that their requests are not treated seriously or given the importance to which they consider they are entitled. If the right hon. Gentleman will give some assurance on these lines, I am sure he will find that these people are as well conducted as those in any of our Colonies.
2126 May I be allowed to say one final word? I have known the Colonial Secretary since he was a lad. He is now in an office different from the one that he formerly held. There is a great future in front of him, not merely from the point of view of his career, but he holds in his hand the future of millions of people who are, practically speaking, under the control of the Colonial Office. He has only been in office for a very short time. We trust that his work in that office will be such as not merely to bring credit upon himself, but such as to bring, as I feel certain he himself and his father would wish, justice and excellent conditions and the opening out of a new vista of life for many thousands of people in our Colonies, and that, when the time comes for him to demit his office, he will carry with him the thanks of all those people.
§ 9.22 p.m.
§ Mr. DINGLE FOOT
I am sure the words of the last speaker will be echoed in all parts of the House. I want, if I may, to bring the House back to the affairs of the Gold Coast Colony. First of all, I should like in a sentence to reinforce the appeal made earlier by the hon. Member for Rothwell (Mr. Lunn) that the deputation which is now in this country representing the Gold Coast Aborigines' Rights Protection Society should be heard, at any rate, by the right hon. Gentleman. I know it is true that before they sailed they were warned that they would not be heard, and the right hon. Gentleman is entitled to stand by that, but this deputation represents a society which, I understand, from 1898 until 1926 was the official medium of communication between the Governor of the Gold Coast and the chiefs and natives. It still represents, as I am informed, the great majority of the chiefs of the Gold Coast—far more than any similar or competing society. Its representatives have been in this country for 12 months, and they have presented a petition to the Privy Council, and have also presented a petition to this House. I am not going into the matters raised in the petition, but it must be obvious to anyone who has read it that, if what they say is true, they have very serious and substantial grievances. Surely it is not too much to ask that the right hon. Gentleman should commence his term of office by giving at any rate an audience to the representatives of these people.
2127 I want now to draw the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to two Ordinances which have been made in connection with the Gold Coast Colony, both of which appear to me to raise, not simply a point of local administration, but rather important points of principle. The first concerns the Asamangkese Division Regulation Ordinance, 1935. I believe that that Ordinance has not yet received the Royal Assent, but is still before the right hon. Gentleman. Briefly the effect is that an official is to be appointed who will take over this division, who will receive the revenues of the division, and who will authorise any expenditure that may be made out of those revenues. I am not discussing the main purpose of this particular Ordinance, but I would like to draw the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to Section 9, which begins with these words:The Governor may by order suspend for a stated time or may depose any Chief who shall appear to him to have contravened any of the provisions of this Ordinance or the regulation made thereunder or in any way to have obstructed the officers appointed under this Ordinance or any regulation made thereunder in the exercise of their duties of control.I understand that this is the first time in the history of the Gold Coast Colony that the Governor has taken power to depose or suspend a chief. Up to now it has always rested with the people of the tribe either to set up or depose a chief. This seems to me to be a rather serious departure. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman may be able to explain why it was necessary.
Secondly, from the words I have read it is quite clear that when a chief is accused of a breach of the ordinance or of the regulations, it is the Governor who is to decide whether he is guilty of such a breach. I should have thought that clearly that was a judicial function, and even in the Crown Colonies we ought to keep some sort of separation between the executive and the judiciary. I have read through the ordinance, and I cannot find that a chief who is deposed has any sort of appeal. In Section 10 it is provided that when a chief is suspended or deposed the Governor may make an order by which he may direct a large number of things. For instance, he may prescribe the area in which the chief may reside.
2128 The final Clause states that the Governor has powerto make such other and further provision as he may consider expedient with a view to giving full and better effect to the order.Are we never to be rid of this sort of Clause in our legislation? This is precisely the sort of Clause against which we have had protests made in our own country, including one not long ago by the Lord Chief Justice. Now we find the new despotism raising its ugly head in our African dependencies. I understand that this Ordinance has not yet received the Royal Assent, and that the natives, and particularly the chiefs, concerned wish to make representations to the right hon. Gentleman before it receives the Royal Assent. I do not know whether he has yet received these representations but, if not, I would ask him to give the House this assurance, that he will receive and consider the representations before he tenders any advice to His Majesty on this matter.
I would like to pass to one other Ordinance which appears to be even more serious—the Criminal Code (Amendment) Ordinance of 1934. Section 4 of this Ordinance—I am not going to mince my language—is from beginning to end a disgrace to any Government or Governor who sanctioned it, and it is an extraordinary thing to me that such an Ordinance can come into force in any part of the British Empire. We remember the controversy that was stirred in this country by the original draft of the Incitement to Disaffection Bill, but that Bill as originally drafted pales into insignificance beside this Ordinance. It reads:Whenever the Governor in Council is of opinion that any newspaper, book or document or any part thereof contains any seditious words or writing, he may, if he thinks fit, by Order in Council prohibit the importation into the Colony of such newspaper, book or document, and in the case of a newspaper, book or document which is published periodically, may by the same or a subsequent Order in Council prohibit the importation of any past or future issue thereof.The Governor has complete power to decide what literature shall be allowed to go into the Colony, and by a subsequent provision it is provided that when such an Order is made anyone who has in his possession such a book or newspaper he must at once hand it over to the local police station, even though it is for his 2129 own private perusal and he has no intention of publishing it to anyone else. The Ordinance goes on to provide that anyonebeing found in possession of any newspaper, book or document or any part thereof, or extract therefrom containing seditious words or writing, does not prove to the satisfaction of the court that at the time he was found in such possession he did not know the nature of its contents …What a defence to put forward! The Ordinance goes on:being found in possession of any newspaper, book, or document, or any part thereof, or extract therefrom which has been declared by the Governor by Order in Council to be prohibited to be imported into the Colony, does not prove to the satisfaction of the Court that it came into his possession without his knowledge or privity.…I hope that the House realises exactly what those words mean. In each case mere possession is an offence. In the original draft of the Incitement to Disaffection Bill possession was made an offence without lawful excuse, but the Attorney-General himself put down an Amendment to make the prosecution prove criminal intent. Here there is no defence unless a person can prove that he did not know the contents of the book, or that the book came into his possession without his knowledge. If he does know these things he has got at once to hand over the book to the police on pain of being guilty of an offence. If he cannot establish one of these defences he is liable to imprisonment up to two years. The objectionable part is that the onus of proof is put, not on the prosecution, but on the defence. The prosecution has got to prove only the mere fact of possession, and then it rests with the defence. I have always understood that one of the claims that we have made for our rule as an Imperial race was that we bestowed on the Crown Colonies the blessings of English law.
I find it difficult to imagine anything which is more contrary to the whole spirit of our criminal law, of which we are rightly proud in this country, than the words of this Ordinance. In this country, except in a very few cases, the onus of proof always rests on the prosecution, and it is a cardinal maxim of our criminal law that it is not for a man to prove his innocence. His innocence is presumed until his guilt is 2130 conclusively proved. Under this Ordinance his guilt is presumed. I put a question to the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor a month or two ago, and I understood that he defended the Ordinance. Certainly he did not express any regret or apologise for having advised the Royal Assent to be given to this Ordinance. He endeavoured to excuse it, in answer to a supplementary Question that I put, by saying that for some years past a similar Ordinance had been in force in Nigeria. I daresay when something like this is sought to be applied to some other Crown colony this Ordinance will be cited as a precedent and a justification.
The right hon. Gentleman, to whose luminous review we all listened with such great pleasure, ended with a peroration which interested everyone in the House about the control of Parliament over the Empire. He attributed some of the strength of our Colonial Empire to the constant supervision of the House of Commons. I think this kind of Ordinance is something in which the House of Commons ought to take a special interest. He cannot find any precedent in our own statute law for any provision of this kind and I suggest that this is a kind of penal statute which we should never tolerate in our own country and we ought not to tolerate it for the peoples who are living in our African dependencies.
§ 9.36 p.m.
§ Mr. M. MacDONALD
I can, of course, only speak a second time by leave of the House, but perhaps I may be permitted to answer some of the questions which have been put to me in the course of the discussion. We have had an extraordinarily interesting Debate. It has roamed several times round the world, dropping in here and there for a few moments at possibly a majority of the 50 or so territories for which the Colonial Office is responsible to the House. A good many speeches have been delivered which are a liberal education for a new Minister at the Colonial Office and I shall derive very great benefit from reading through the Debate when I am more at leisure in order to appreciate and take note of the many points that have been made and the arguments that have been put forward. It would, of course, be impossible to deal with all the questions 2131 that have been raised and all I can do at present is to deal with some of the more important or more direct of them, but I assure hon. Members that I shall study the OFFICIAL REPORT and consider every contribution that has been made from whatever part of the House. One characteristic of these Colonial Office Debates is that they are for the most part of a non-controversial nature and we are all doing our best to help each other.
The Member for Orkney and Shetland (Sir R. Hamilton) referred to the question of shipping services to Cyprus and said it was extremely unfortunate, to put it mildly, that, if you want to get to Cyprus, you have to travel in a foreign ship because there is no regular British service. I was extremely glad that he raised that point. I hope the shipping authorities will take note of it. Certainly if we at the Colonial Office can do anything to persuade them to start some kind of service, we shall do our very best. The hon. Gentleman also raised the question of an air service. The matter has been considered from time to time and I am advised by the authorities that Cyprus is, unfortunately, rather awkwardly placed from that point of view, and we have not got the agreement of the authorities to develop Cyprus as an air port. Again, if any feasible proposals can be put forward, certainly the Colonial Office will be ready to do anything it can to help.
The hon. Gentleman asked about the position in Malta. He pointed out that the constitution had been suspended and, owing to the declaration of an emergency, a provisional Government had been established under the Governor and he asked questions as to that situation. In the first place, I do not think the island has lost anything by a period of provisional government. Under this form of government it has been possible to start certain agricultural developments and administrative reforms, and I believe the island has benefited considerably from the work that has been carried on under this administration. A state of emergency cannot go on indefinitely, but I am afraid I cannot say more than that on the subject this evening because the whole question is sub judice There was a case about it in the courts at Malta, which then went to the Appeal Court in Malta, and I understand that those who have brought the case are now trying to get leave to 2132 appeal to the Privy Council. Therefore, it would be much wiser if I did not say anything more on a subject which is being dealt with in that way.
The hon. Member for Rothwell (Mr. Lunn) spoke about the proposed Order-in-Council with regard to the Kenya highlands and expressed a good deal of horror at the idea that European settlers only should be allowed to settle in those parts of the Colony. He said a Labour Government would never tolerate any legalising of the present position. In fact both Labour Governments accepted the administrative practice. In effect they accepted completely the practice of a good many years that only Europeans should be allowed to settle on land in that part of the country, and even if an Ordinance were put through which legalised the position, in effect it would make no alteration in practice. With regard to the question of legalising it in an Order-in-Council, all I can say is that the matter is under consideration now and no decision on the actual point has been taken and I cannot say any more than that at the present moment.
My hon. Friend raised the question of the mui-tsai. We appreciate the interest that he has always taken in that question. He asked whether we could not abolish this system of mui-tsai straight away—at least I think that he was suggesting that. If that was his proposal, again I am afraid my memory is as long as his as regards the last Parliament when a Labour Government was in office. I remember the spokesman of the Colonial Office standing at this Box and resisting a proposal made by a right hon. Gentleman who sat below the Gangway in those days that the mui-tsai should be abolished straight away. I believe that the arguments that he put that evening hold today. We want to see the system disappear in Hong Kong as soon as it practically can. No new mui-tsai are now allowed to come into Hong Kong. The evisting mui-tsai all have to be registered. They are paid wages and they can be regularly inspected by the Government representative, they are perfectly free if they can get other employment, or if they are going to be married, or if they can rejoin their families, to leave their present employers. In fact, a system has been set up which establishes two things—first, that the present mui-tsai are not abused, and do not get restored to their old state 2133 of slavery, and, secondly, that the whole system shall come to an end as soon as it practically can.
My hon. Friend raised a question with regard to the development of the mining industry in various Colonies, and he urged that where mining development is taking place, and where large numbers of natives are going into industrial employment, we ought to establish or re-establish labour departments and labour officers to look after the interests of those working people. I have already given instructions in the office that the whole position should be reviewed, because I, also, would like to satisfy myself that the organisation of the administration where mining is going on, and that the staffing of the administration, are such that the proper interests of native mine workers are protected. If I find that there is any case for the establishment of additional labour departments or additional labour officers, I shall certainly be anxious to see that that establishment takes places He also raised the question of workmen's compensation, and I would like to tell him—and I hope that the hon. Member for Govan (Mr. N. Maclean) will take note of this also—that, as a matter of fact, under my predecessor the Colonial Office was taking a very great interest in the question of workmen's compensation, and that during his period of office draft model legislation for all the African Colonies where the question is relevant has been drawn up in the office and has been circulated to the Colonies concerned.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
I will deal with that in a moment, but that is on the question of workmen's compensation in general. We have our draft model legislation for the African Colonies, and we hope that, as a result of discussions between the Government and the Colonial Office, a workmen's compensation system will be established throughout our African Colonies in the near future, and after that we certainly hope that we shall be able to extend the system steadily over all the other Colonies where it would be appropriate. With regard to the individual cases which he raised, I am sure that he will appreciate that, not having had notice of them, they were completely new to me as he read them out from the 2134 Dispatch Box opposite. But, of course, I will look into them and see what the position is. He also raised the question of two individuals who came from British Honduras to make certain representations, and again I am afraid that the details which he read out in his speech were entirely new to me. On asking for information, I find that those two individuals called at the Colonial Office recently and asked to see me. I, for one reason or another, was not available, and they would not tell anyone else who was there what business they wanted to see me about. I understand that they have not come back since, but no doubt they will come back and then I shall have the full case before me, and be able to consider it in detail.
Certain questions were put to me by the hon. Member for Altrincham (Sir E. Grigg), who, as usual, made an extraordinarily interesting and constructive contribution to the discussion. He was good enough to say that he would not expect me to answer some of the points which he had raised in this afternoon's Debate, but he raised one or two matters upon which I can say something straight away. He spoke of the denudation of the soil in Kenya owing to the overstocking of it with the cattle which he so brilliantly described in the course of his speech. We are tackling that problem, and it may interest him to know that only yesterday the Colonial Development Fund recommended the grant of £23,000 to Kenya for the establishment of a factory which will take some of those cattle and turn them into fertilisers or other kinds of profitable products.
He raised the question of the white settlers and the position of their mortgages, and suggested that the Government might come to their assistance in that matter. The Government have already come to their assistance a good deal. The land bank which he welcomed, and which we welcome, has already advanced to the settlers in the Colony £500,000, and under certain other authorities an additional £110,000 has been advanced to help them in their rather serious position. Actually they have been advanced an average of something like £300 a head already. Nevertheless there is no getting away from the fact that the position of many of them is very serious, and I am afraid 2135 that I cannot say anything further at the moment than that a proposal has been put up for an addition to the funds of the land bank. That will require a loan, and the whole matter is receiving consideration by me and the Colonial Office at the present time. Of course I cannot commit myself either way. The matter is still under consideration.
I must really apologise for the disjointed nature of this speech, but I am afraid that this is an inevitable characteristic of a Colonial Office Debate. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) raised the question of Jewish immigration into Palestine, and as he is not now present, I will not attempt to follow him in his argument, but will only point out this fact to him. Some hon. Members got the impression from his speech that no immigration was, in fact, taking place. The hon. Member for the Isle of Ely (Mr. de Rothschild) started his speech by paying a tribute to the High Commissioner for the encouragement he had given to immigration, although he was not satisfied by any means with the figures allowed. These figures are the figures of Jewish immigration, but, in addition, there has been some immigration on the part of other people. In 1933, 30,327 Jewish immigrants arrived; in 1934, 42,359, and in the first six months of 1935, 28,121 new immigrants arrived in Palestine. While there may be a dispute about the actual figures which the country can absorb economically, nevertheless I think that that is a fair indication that in spirit the High Commissioner agrees with the necessity of welcoming into Palestine as many Jews as it is economically possible to allow to come and settle in that country.
There were one or two other questions with which, I am afraid, I must deal only very briefly. The hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Banfield) raised the question which he raised at Question Time to-day about the proposed new constitution for Fiji. The stage which matters have reached is simply that a resolution of the Legislative Council in Fiji was passed suggesting certain alterations in the constitution and in the numbers of representatives of the three communities, the Europeans, the Indians and the Fijians.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
There are different opinions among the Indians, just as there are among other communities. The stage which has now been reached is that a resolution was passed making certain proposals. When the resolution came to me I did not feel satisfied that all the important opinion in the Colony had been properly tested yet. Indeed, the Governor himself was not satisfied and I, therefore, have made arrangements by which that opinion shall be tested before I have to reach any decision on the matter.
In regard to the Gold Coast Ordinances of which the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Dingle Foot) spoke, the first Ordinance gives the Governor powers with regard to certain of the Chiefs, and gives powers for the setting up of a treasury and so on. The hon. Member stated the position quite correctly. The Ordinance has been sent to me for my decision but I have not yet reached a decision. I have let the Chiefs who are protesting against the Ordinance know that I wish to hear any representations which they may like to make against the Ordinance. I am waiting for those representations to arrive. I understand, as the hon. Member said, that they are on the way, but they have not yet arrived in this country. The position has been a little bit complicated by the fact that the two Chiefs are now challenging the validity of the Ordinance in the court. The whole question is at the moment sub judice. Therefore, I had better not enter into a discussion of it or follow the hon. Member in his argument.
In regard to the other Ordinance, there is not time for me to go into the points which the hon. Member made about it. Perhaps the most effective thing that I can say at the moment is, that no newspapers, pamphlets, books, leaflets or any literature of any sort have been prohibited under the Ordinance, and no prosecution has taken place. In practice so far the Ordinance has not turned out to be that tyrannous thing that the hon. Member suggested.
Finally, I think there is complete agreement on all sides of the House with regard to one main principle which ought to be our object in our activities, economic, educational and otherwise in 2137 the Colonies. First and foremost it is to maintain and safeguard the interests of the people living in those Colonies. That should be our prime purpose. It was suggested earlier in the Debate that some of the economic policy that had been pursued in the last two or three years had not carried out that spirit. As a matter of fact the Colonies have gained a great deal more from the recent economic policy of this country by inter-Imperial arrangements than the United Kingdom itself has gained in relation to the Colonies. Let me give a few figures to prove that point. In 1931 the United Kingdom exported to the Colonies £33,000,000 worth of goods; that was before the adoption of the new economic policy. In 1934 that value of exports
§ from the United Kingdom to the Colonies had risen from £33,000,000 to only £33,340,000. In both cases the total exports were 8.4 per cent. of the whole. As regards the traffic coming the other way, the imports from the Colonies to the United Kingdom, there was a very substantial increase between 1931 and 1934—from £36,000,000 to £48,000,000. Therefore, this policy as a principle is certainly looking after and furthering the interests of the people in the Colonies.
§ Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 310; Noes, 76.2139
|Division No. 292.]||AYES.||[10.0 p.m.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Christie, James Archibald||Greene, William P. C.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Clarke, Frank||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John|
|Albery, Irving James||Clarry, Reginald George||Grigg, Sir Edward|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Clayton, Sir Christopher||Grimston, R. V.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh)||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Gritten, W. G. Howard|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.|
|Anderson, Sir Alan Garrett||Cook, Thomas A.||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.|
|Apsley, Lord||Cooke, Douglas||Gunston, Captain D. W.|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Cooper, T. M. (Edinburgh, W.)||Guy, J. C. Morrison|
|Assheton, Ralph||Copeland, Ida||Hales, Harold K.|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Hammersley, Samuel S.|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Hanbury, Sir Cecil|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Craven-Ellis, William||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J.||Crooke, J. Smedley||Harbord, Arthur|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Hartland, George A.|
|Balniel, Lord||Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Cuiverwell, Cyril Tom||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Dalkeith, Earl of||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.|
|Beit, Sir Alfred L.||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Dickie, John P.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. Herbert||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division)|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Dunglass, Lord||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller|
|Bower, Commander Robert Tatton||Eady, George H.||Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Eales, John Frederick||Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)|
|Bracken, Brendan||Eastwood, John Francis||Hopkinson, Austin|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Edge, Sir William||Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. Leslie|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Hornby, Frank|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Elmley, Viscount||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Howard, Tom Forrest|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. Ernest (Leith)||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y)||Essenhigh, Reginald, Clare||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Everard, W. Lindsay||Iveagh, Countess of|
|Burghley, Lord||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Fleming, Edward Lascelles||James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.|
|Burnett, John George||Ford, Sir Patrick J.||Jamieson, Rt. Hon. Douglas|
|Burton, Colonel Henry Walter||Fox, Sir Gifford||Jennings, Roland|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Fremantle, Sir Francis||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)|
|Caine, G. R. Hall-||Fyfe, D. P. M.||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)|
|Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)|
|Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Ganzoni, Sir John||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Gledhill, Gilbert||Kerr, Hamilton W.|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Glossop, C. W. H.||Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univ.)|
|Carver, Major William H.||Gluckstein, Louis Haile||Kirkpatrick, William M.|
|Cassels, James Dale||Glyn, Major Sir Ralph G. C.||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Goff, Sir Park||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Goldie, Noel B.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Law, Sir Alfred|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Gower, Sir Robert||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S. W.)|
|Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Leckie, J. A.|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Graves, Marjorie||Leech, Dr. J. W.|
|Lees-Jones, John||Orr Ewing, I. L.||Shaw, Captain William T. (Fortar)|
|Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Palmer, Francis Noel||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Patrick, Colin M.||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Levy, Thomas||Peake, Osbert||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Lewis, Oswald||Pearson, William G.||Sinclair, Col T. (Queen's Unv., Belfast)|
|Lindsay, Kenneth (Kilmarnock)||Penny, Sir George||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Lindsay, Noel Ker||Percy, Lord Eustace||Smithers, Sir Waldron|
|Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Perkins, Walter R. D.||Somervell, Sir Donald|
|Liewellin, Major John J.||Petherick, M.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Soper, Richard|
|Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley)||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Spens, William Patrick|
|Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Power, Sir John Cecil||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)|
|Mabane, William||Procter, Major Henry Adam||Stevenson, James|
|MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. Sir Charles||Pybus, Sir John||Stewart, William J. (Belfast, S.)|
|MacAndrew, Major J. O. (Ayr)||Radford, E. A.||Stones, James|
|McCorquodale, M. S.||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Storey, Samuel|
|MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Strauss, Edward A.|
|MacDonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Bassetlaw)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Ramsbotham, Herwald||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Ramsden, Sir Eugene||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|McLean, Major Sir Alan||Rankin, Robert||Summersby, Charles H.|
|McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Rathbone, Eleanor||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Magnay, Thomas||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Reid, David D. (County Down)||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Marsden, Commander Arthur||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Thomson, Sir Douglas|
|Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Remer, John R.||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Meller, Sir Richard James (Mitcham)||Rickards, George William||Tree, Ronald|
|Mellor, Sir J. S. P.||Robinson, John Roland||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Ropner, Colonel L.||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Milne, Charles||Rosbotham, Sir Thomas||Wallace, Sir John (Dunfermline)|
|Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Ross, Ronald D.||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Mitcheson, G. G.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.|
|Moreing, Adrian C.||Runge, Norah Cecil||Watt, Major George Steven H.|
|Morgan, Robert H.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Morrison, William Shephard||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Munro, Patrick||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Nall, Sir Joseph||Samuel, M. R. A. (W'ds'wth, Putney)||Worthington, Sir John|
|Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Wragg, Herbert|
|Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|North, Edward T.||Sandys, Duncan||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|O'Connor, Terence James||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.||Mr. J. Stuart and Major George|
|O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Selley, Harry R.||Davies.|
|Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. Clement R.||Griffiths, George A. (Yorks, W. Riding)||Maxton, James|
|Banfield, John William||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Milner, Major James|
|Batey, Joseph||Grundy, Thomas W.||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Owen, Major Goronwy|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Paling, Wilfred|
|Buchanan, George||Harris, Sir Percy||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Cape, Thomas||Hicks, Ernest George||Pickering, Ernest H.|
|Cleary, J. J.||Holdsworth, Herbert||Rea, Sir Walter|
|Cove, William G.||Jenkins, Sir William||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||John, William||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Daggar, George||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Davies, Stephen Owen||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, North)|
|Dobbie, William||Kirkwood, David||Thorne, William James|
|Edwards, Sir Charles||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Lawson, John James||West, F. R.|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Logan, David Gilbert||White, Henry Graham|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Lunn, William||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Gardner, Benjamin Walter||McEntee, Valentine L.||Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianelly)|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||McGovern, John||Wilmot, John|
|George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Gibbins, J.||Mainwaring, William Henry||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Mander, Geoffrey le M.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. D. Graham and Mr. Groves.|
§ It being after Ten of the Clock, Mr. SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to Standing Order No. 14, to put forthwith the Questions, That this House doth agree with the Committee in the outstanding 2140 Resolutions reported in respect of Classes I to IX of the Civil Estimates, and of the Revenue Departments Estimates, the Navy Estimates, the Army Estimates, and the Air Estimates.