27. Mr. CREECH JONES
asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to a protest from the Bamangwato tribe in Bechuanaland against the acceptance by His Majesty's Government of a grant of £35,000 from the South African Union for the assistance of the Protectorates for which His Majesty's Government are directly responsible; and whether he will make a statement assuring the Bamangwato people that His Majesty's Government have no intention of transferring the Protectorates to the Union?
Mr. M. MacDONALD
I have seen reports in the Press of a resolution stated to have been passed by the Bamangwato tribe on this subject, and am in communication with the High Commissioner in the matter. As regards the last part of the question, the pledges which His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom have given to the House, and to the inhabitants of the territories, remain unimpaired.
Mr. CREECH JONES
Should it not be regarded as very much better that the Protectorates should not be put under an obligation to the Union, and will the right hon. Gentleman make representations on this matter so that, if the Government of the Union wishes to be helpful to the Protectorates, they should open their markets to the products of the Protectorates?
I would point out that the assistance which has been offered by the Government of the Union will enable works to be undertaken, which otherwise could not be undertaken, for the development of the territories in the interests of the natives.
§ Mr. MAXTON
Does not the right hon. Gentleman regard this as definitely altering the status of Bechuanaland in relation to the Union of South Africa?
It does not limit the status in the least. As I have said in my answer, the position with regard to transfer remains exactly as it was.