94 Mr. CREECH JONES
asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, (1) with regard to the amendment of the Southern Rhodesian constitution, whether he can explain the reasons for the elimination of the High Commissioner's functions in respect of the native department, as described in paragraph 15 of the recent White Paper;
(2) with regard to the amendment of the Southern Rhodesian constitution, whether he will say on what grounds assent was given to the agreement that 1730 the High Commissioner's control over the establishment and regulation of natice councils should be allowed to lapse;
(3) on what grounds assent was given to the elimination of Section 45 of the letters patent on the Southern Rhodesian constitution which empowers the High Commissioner to cause any question relating to natives to be referred for report to a judge of the high court?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for DOMINION AFFAIRS (Mr. Malcolm MacDonald)
The general reasons for the elimination of the High Commissioner's powers from the Southern Rhodesia Constitution are explained at length in paragraph 10 of the despatch from the Governor of Southern Rhodesia published in Command Paper Cmd. 5218. As regards the High Commissioner's special powers relating to the Native Department, it was explained in paragraph 7 of that despatch that it was considered unnecessary that these should any longer be preserved in view of the fact that the rights and interests of public servants in Southern Rhodesia are now secured and protected by the Public Services Act, 1931, and in particular by the establishment under that Act of the Public Services Board. As regards Section 45 of the Constitution, there has in fact been no occasion to make use of this provision, and it is felt that matters relating to natives can best be discussed direct between the Secretary of State and the Southern Rhodesia Government. As regards the question of native councils, it is considered that the inauguration of such councils in the Colony is a matter which can properly be left to the Southern Rhodesia authorities on the advice of their Native Affairs Department. As the Governor's despatch made clear, the High Commissioner will be kept informed of any developments in this or any other important matters relating to native affairs, and should the Southern Rhodesia authorities decide to inaugurate native councils it will be open to the Secretary of State to enter into discussion with them on the matter.
Mr. CREECH JONES
Is the Minister satisfied that the safeguards in the proposed alterations are adequate from the point of view of the natives, as is the case under the existing Constitution?