Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £114,549, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1938, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of His Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies."—[Note.—L57,000 has been voted on account.]
§ 3.47 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Ormsby-Gore)
There is always a certain difficulty in deciding on the best way to manage a Colonial Office Debate in Committee of Supply. On this occasion, I understand from the Opposition it is desired that this Vote should be kept open until the report of the Palestine Commission has been received, and that another day should be allotted to the discussion of that report. The Colonial Office Vote can be divided into two parts, one dealing with the Colonial Office and the other with the Middle Eastern Services, but I think it would be more convenient to keep open the Vote for the Colonial Office and for my salary, so that if any questions are raised in to-day's Debate which I am not able to answer, without inquiry and reference, in the course of the afternoon some part of the additional day may be used for dealing with those questions.
As to this afternoon, I do not think I ought to take up much time in making a preliminary speech on the subjects in the Vote which interest me. I think I ought to be as brief as possible and give hon. Members a chance of raising the points which they desire to raise and to which I shall endeavour to reply in due course. My experience has been that we are apt to get a very wide range of 1026 subjects on this Vote, and instead of reserving my reply until the very end of the Debate, it may be desirable that I should intervene and make a short reply in the course of the Debate on the matters dealt with up to that point, and then make another short reply later dealing with any subsequent points which have been raised. It is extremely difficult to frame a comprehensive reply dealing with the peoples of 40 different dependencies in every continent in the world and all the aspects of their governments, and matters affecting 55,000,000 people who are under the care of the Colonial Office.
I will only touch on one subject before I sit down and give place to the hon. Member for Rothwell (Mr. Lunn), in order to endeavour to shorten the subsequent Debate on one of the subjects which I know is particularly near his heart, namely, the mui-tsai question. No doubt he will wish to say something about it to-day, but I think I had better explain my position—it may change in the next few weeks—on the receipt of the considered comments by the Governors of Hong Kong and the Straits Settlements on the report, which was published on 1st March. It and copies of the volumes of evidence were immediately sent out by air to the two Governors concerned, the Governor of the Straits Settlements and the Governor of Hong Kong, and I sent a dispatch to those Governors asking not merely for their individual views, but for the considered views of their Governments, that is to say, of the Governors and the Executive Councils on both the majority and minority reports. Before I form any opinion, it is only proper that I should get their considered expression of views on the recommendations of both reports.
As I read the majority and minority reports, they have a very great deal in common, and I hope that we shall not have any attempt to run the reports against one another, but that we shall realise that there is a great deal of common ground between all the members of that Commission and that it is, therefore, important that we should not lose sight of what they are all in favour of. As I have said, I realise that this question, the mere dealing with mui-tsai alone, is only one part of the extremely complex social problem that faces us in those two Colonies. Not only is 1027 the predominant element of the population Chinese—predominant, I mean, in numbers and not in anything else—but also in both the Chinese community is very largely shifting; that is to say, it is not a stable population always composed of the same individuals. In Hong Kong thousands of Chinese come in every week and go out every week. It is an island in the mouth of the Canton river, in the neighbourhood of one of the most populous parts of China, and, therefore, we are dealing with a continually changing population, and, as everybody knows, away back for centuries past there have been social customs, as regards polygamy, the sale of children, and all the rest of it, inherent in Chinese life which are repugnant to our ideas and are extremely difficult to tackle, with a shifting Chinese population and particularly with a Chinese population so many of whom are living, not in houses, but in boats.
I remember before I got to Malaya looking at the map of Singapore and seeing in the middle of the city the Singapore river, which divides one half of the city from the other. If you drive along there, at one point you go over a bridge, but when you look at the river you do not see any river. You just see thousands and thousands of boats in which the Chinese live—Chinese houseboats. They are there in thousands, living on the water, in accordance with custom, and what you might call the management, and the reform, and the alteration of the social customs of a shifting population of that kind does present baffling administrative problems, whatever is the law. We have set our hands to the plough to eradicate or mitigate the evils from those customs, and we are not going to turn back. All that I would say is that when Dr. Drummond Shiels was Under-Secretary of State and Lord Passfield was in my position, I remember Dr. Shiels making a very optimistic speech in this House about the end of mui-tsai and the control of the mui-tsai system. This report has brought out the fact that, in spite of all the efforts made and in spite of the law, this custom and analogous customs go on, and, more than that, you find that all kinds of substitutes, such as adoption and the like, are resorted to in order to get round the law.
1028 May I say one thing before the hon. Gentleman speaks? We welcome the fact that both in China itself and in the settled Chinese population, both in British Malaya and in Hong Kong, there is a growing public opinion of a more Western character, which views these old social customs in China as things which ought to be done away with or which ought to be changed. That applies particularly to the Christian community, who certainly are not polygamous and who share our views in these matters, and I hope that nothing will be said in the course of this Debate, in dealing with a difficult problem of this kind, which will do anything to prevent the active co-operation of Chinese reformers and of the Chinese community in helping the British officers and the British administration to eradicate these old customs. I am quite sure it is essential, if we are really to achieve success, a real success and not a paper success, to carry the Chinese population with us and to get them to realise that when they come and live even for a short time on British territory, it is the view of the British that many of these customs which they bring with them are repugnant to our ideas of what is right and that we cannot approve of them—that, in fact, we shall take steps to eradicate them.
It is, as we read in the report, a long and uphill journey, and I quite agree that no sooner have you dealt with mui-tsai itself than you are into the problem of dealing with many other analogous problems and that the general task of social reform and of moral reform in those parts of the world is one which we must always have prominently in mind. I want to make it clear that until I receive the advice and recommendations of the Governors and their executive councillors on both reports and on the alternatives, obviously I am not in a position to say exactly how, in what degree, or in what order the various and many recommendations in both reports will or will not be put into practice.
§ 3.59 p.m.
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
Oh, no. It is certainly not in my possession. What I said in answer to a question was that I understand from Lord Peel that it will be signed the third week in June.
§ Mr. Lunn
The report is not in the hands of Members of Parliament, but it will be, and it will be discussed, as understand, before the end of the Session, especially as an extra day will be given for that purpose. To-day is a most unusual day with regard to the Colonial Office Vote. I never remember a Colonial Office Debate before in which the Secretary of State has not given a fairly full and complete resumé of the circumstances in the various Colonies.
§ Mr. Lunn
Such a review is very helpful to the Committee. As is known, it is the custom of hon. Members who are interested in Colonial matters to intimate to the Secretary of State the questions in which they are interested, and the right hon. Gentleman picks and chooses and deals with questions of his own as well.
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
I remember that once when I was Under-Secretary introducing the Colonial Estimates by making a review of my own of the points in which I was interested, and representatives of the Labour party immediately got up and objected; they said they wanted to raise their own points and to hear my answer to them, not to hear me. I took the course I have taken to-day deliberately, and I thought it courtesy to the Opposition not to take up the time now, but to reply to their points rather than make my own.
§ Mr. Lunn
I sympathise with the right hon. Gentleman in his intervention because except last year, I have heard all the Colonial Office Debates of the last 14 years and have taken an interest in them for nearly 20 years, and I repeat that it has been customary for such a review to be given. To-day we are not to have it. It is rather unusual and hardly understandable in the case of the right hon. Gentleman, because he knows more about this subject than any other man in the House and he is one of the few Members who have escaped relegation, transference or elimination during the last few days, when we have seen 1030 dozens of changes among Ministers sitting on the Government Front Bench. I appreciate very much what has been done by the right hon. Gentleman and the time he is giving to the Imperial Conference, a very important conference, but we have no right to minimise the importance of this House, and this House ought to have first consideration. I remember that some time ago the Noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton), who is now Chancellor of the Duchy, said from the third bench opposite that in these days the House of Commons was becoming like a pleasant Sunday afternoon service, with the Prime Minister as the, dear vicar in the Chair. I am inclined to think that it is becoming so in the Debates, because of the attitude that is being taken up by various parties on these questions. Yesterday was an instance.
This is a vast subject, and it is one in which I am pleased to say more hon. Members are now interested than at any time since I came to the House at the end of the War. I understand that a considerable number of Members want to speak on the Estimates to-day because they are better informed than they have ever been before on these subjects. We know that the British Empire as a whole covers a vast area, more than 13,000,000 square miles of territory, with a population of nearly 500,000,000. The Imperial Conference is a conference only of governments. Two years ago we had a jubilee conference of Members of Parliament from all parts of the Empire, and two weeks ago we had a large number of conferences upon Empire questions organised by the Empire Parliamentary Association through its wonderful Secretary Sir Howard D' Egville.
To-day the Colonial Secretary has dealt with one question. As he said, it is a question very dear to my heart. I know how impossible and how undesirable it is for hon. Members to try to deal with all the points and all the problems that affect all the colonies, and that it is better for them to keep to one or two subjects of which they know something. I am concerned about the reports that have been published with regard to mui-tsai. The reports have only just been published and the right hon. Gentleman says that he is unable to deal with them at the moment. He has asked for information from the Governors, and I 1031 suppose that eventually he will come to a conclusion as to what is to be the attitude of the Colonial Office in the matter. The right hon. Gentleman will excuse me if I deal with the question, because I have a view with regard to the system which may not be in agreement with his. This is a system of child slavery which has existed for very many years. It is a system of buying and selling young Chinese children, particularly girls, into what can be nothing on earth but servitude. I recognise what the right hon. Gentleman said that there are good as well as bad Chinese men and women. I know that we have a system of adoption established in this country.
When I first took up this matter the first thing I saw was a declaration by the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill), when he was Colonial Secretary in 1922. He made a declaration that the system would have to be abolished in 12 months. Unfortunately, like many other Ministers, he had to leave and he was not able to carry out his intentions. Similarly, the Labour Government in 1930 published a Memorandum upon this subject, and with it I had a little to do, as I was very much interested in the subject. That Memorandum tightened up the law with regard to classification, registration and inspection. But it did not abolish the system. Even now there are thousands of these young children who are still called mui-tsai but who are really child slaves. They come within the definition of slavery in the Convention of 1926—"Slavery is the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attached to the right of ownership are exercised." I believe that these children come within that definition. Something will have to be done with regard to them. No British Government ought to tolerate human beings being bought and sold in any part of the Empire. In my view there is no method of dealing with this matter satisfactorily except by total abolition. I have never held any other view.
I realise, of course, that a Commission was sent out to inquire two years ago. It was composed of Sir Wilfrid Woods as chairman, Mr. Willis and Miss Picton-Turbervill. I would congratulate them upon the way they did their work and tried to understand the position. They have issued a majority and a minority 1032 report. Any hon. Member who wants something to read I should advise to go to the Library and to get the voluminous copies of the evidence and the report, and he will find enough to occupy him to the end of the Session. The reports did not differ very much, as the right hon. Gentleman says. The majority report can be boiled down into a very few words. It gives a full history of the whole case. It gives the crux of the situation as it is to-day. But I am afraid that the amendments it recommends, which are only amendments of details of the law, are totally inadequate to deal with the situation.
Miss Picton-Turbervill in her minority report goes much further. She wants a complete record of all children under the age of 12 in these areas, so that she may know what are the numbers of the children. She wants better classification, compulsory notification of transfer, and to know whether a child has been bought or not. I know that she wishes for the abolition of the system. I believe she realises that there are difficulties in going as far as that early. She has had the help and advice of a man who knows, perhaps, more than anyone else of the subject—Sir George Maxwell, who has drafted an ordinance on the subject, and she supports that ordinance, which goes some way in the direction which she desires. What I want is something that will carry us a long way towards the abolition of this evil. Personally I wish for its abolition and neither report goes far enough for me. I believe there was a blot upon the centenary of the abolition of slavery in 1933 because we knew that this system was existing, and that blot will continue until we have wiped out altogether this form of child slavery. For the moment we have a Tory Government in power and a Secretary of State who knows a good deal about this matter, and I appeal to him to-day to do all he can in the direction of the abolition of the system; and if I should live long enough to be a Member of a Labour Government I hope that one of its first efforts will be to see that the system is totally abolished.
It is not necessary for me to say more on the subject to-day. There are other subjects on which I wish to say a few words. Take Kenya. For many years it has occupied a very large part of Colonial administration. I believe that 1033 every year since I have been a Member of the House there has been a Commission in Kenya or one going out there. There are many problems in connection with Kenya to-day. Another Commission reported some time ago, and I think that the right hon. Gentleman has dealt with the report in some form. I refer to the report of Sir Alan Pim. One of his recommendations is that an Income Tax should be established, and I am pleased that the right hon. Gentleman has accepted it and that such a tax has been put into operation. It has been tried before, but the power of the non-natives has been too strong for it. I hope that it will become a permanent feature of the taxation in Kenya. Some time ago I had a long letter from Lord Francis Scott, who is the leader of the settlers in Kenya. He had hoped to address, and I had hoped he would be able to do so, our Labour Commonwealth group, which meets every Monday and keeps the Labour party well informed on Empire matters. I am sorry that he did not get that opportunity, and I appreciated the long communication which he sent to me. He told me what was being done by the settlers for the native interests and of their concern for their welfare. I have no reason to doubt his sincerity in this matter. I have had a long talk with him, and I have good reasons to appreciate the sincerity of his desire to help the natives. I remember, however, that on r8th September they passed another resolution against the imposition of an Income Tax.
There is much to be done yet. The system of taxation on the natives is still very unjust and needs some redress. Even Sir Alan Pim in his report recommends reduction because of the hardships that are imposed. If the good points in the report of Sir Alan Pim are carried out, the conditions of millions of natives in Kenya will be a little more tolerable. Native rights to the land still continue to be unsatisfactory. There is no employers' liability or workmen's compensation, and native labour is abominably cheap and without proper regulation. There is no labour department in the administration in Kenya. That is one of the things there ought to be in every Colony. There is no method by which the natives can express themselves and feel that someone is there who understands and will deal with their complaint regarding food, 1034 health or economic conditions. There is no trade union, and the destruction of the Labour Departments in 1931 was a great loss to the. Colonies. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will see that not only in Kenya, but in other parts, labour departments will be re-established.
Health and education are neglected in Kenya with tragic consequences and the same may be said of many Colonies. I would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman with regard to the practice of illegally detaining native women in custody until their men folk pay their taxes. I understand that that occurs in Kenya, and I am satisfied that no one can justify it. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to inquire into it and see that it does not continue. With regard to gold mining in Kenya, the mines, I understand, are in the native reserves. The present price of gold is over £7 an ounce, and I would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman what is the pay of the gold miners. Is there any minimum wage machinery for the men engaged in that industry and is there any special recompense for men working underground and doing other special jobs? There are many other questions relating to Kenya which I will leave to other hon. Members.
In regard to Tanganyika, I would like to ask the Secretary of State whether he will publish a White Paper giving the correspondence which has led up to the amazing concession which has been granted to white settlers? I understand that a concession of a large area of extremely fertile and well watered land has been granted to a company which, I believe, is under the direction of Lord Chesham. We ought to know what are the conditions of this concession, because Tanganyika is not a British Colony. It is mandated territory and we have no right to collar land for particular people. We have no right to do it for our own nationals, and it is important that we should know what is being done.
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
The hon. Member knows that where the land was not alienated before, it was declared to be public land. It is nationalised, and people, whether native or non-native, can get certificates of occupancy for a limited period of years.
§ Mr. Lunn
Acknowledging that the land is public property, and that it can only be leased on certain conditions, I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to be careful 1035 not to allow companies to get hold of large areas of the best land without regard to the interests of those who are compelled to live in that part of the world. Before I leave East Africa, I would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman to say something about the report of a committee instituted by the Governor of Nyasaland to inquire into migrant labour. The report says that 120,000 adult natives are living away from their homes, and that not more than 5 per cent. have their women folk with them. This number is a quarter of the adult male population of Nyasaland. It is no doubt a fact that excessive taxation is a cause of this migration as it cannot be earned at home. This is a matter which the Secretary of State ought to take into consideration because of its social and economic effect in Nyasaland, and particularly because of its effect on the lives of the women. This committee recommends, what I have continually urged for all Colonies, the necessity of a labour department in Nyasaland in order to look after the interests of the natives. It suggests, also, that there should be official control of emigration, a diminution of taxation, and a change in the pass system which merits condemnation in many parts of the Colonial Empire. This report is a serious one in regard to the position of native labour and the effect of the exodus which has taken place, and I hope that the Secretary of State will go into it. If emigration is to be tolerated it must be under official supervision and controlled by the Government. I think that regulations could be made which would meet the position and make the conditions in Nyasaland better for the natives.
The only other point I want to raise is the position of the people who live in the West Indies where there are problems which call for attention. I understand that an Under-Secretary is out there now, but whether there is or not, it does not affect what I am going to ask the right hon. Gentleman to do. I feel that the position is so serious in many of these islands that he ought to send out a commission to inquire into a number of questions which need attention. There are such questions as population, economic conditions, the plight of the sugar industry, education, health and other matters, and particularly the extension of self-government. I was pleased to hear the 1036 right hon. Gentleman say, in answer to a question to-day, what was happening with regard to the extension of self-government in some parts of the West Indies. I want him to have this question fully inquired into in order to see whether something cannot be done to extend it.
Here we have a large number of separate Colonies with a population of 2,500,000 people. Although education is neglected, I believe I am safe in saying that more than half of the people over the age of five can read and write English. If that be so, they are a long way ahead of some parts of the Colonial Empire. There is a great density of population, far too great for the amount of wealth which is produced. In Barbados, I understand, there is a population of more than 1,000 to the square mile, and in many other islands there are more than 400 people to the square mile. This population question itself is a big difficulty which will have to be dealt with. Health, I understand, is at a very low standard in many places. Malaria and typhoid are common, food is poor and lacking in nutritive value, sanitation is bad, people are living in overcrowded conditions, wages are low and unemployment is rife, and yet we are told the people are very pro-British, for which, I suppose, we ought to be very thankful. In some parts they show considerable initiative and enterprise by introducing new crops to displace the failing sugar industry. In Jamaica they have done a good deal in the way of co-operation, and I remember how, when I w as a member of the Empire Marketing Board, we assisted the Jamaica planters with regard to the production of bananas and their export, and they were doing very well in that particular industry. The sugar industry is, no doubt, threatened with ruin, possibly as a result of the slump in prices and the development of sugar growing elsewhere. The industry is at a low standard, and I believe an inquiry such as I am asking the right hon. Gentleman to institute is needed.
A question to which the right hon. Gentleman might give his attention is the extension of self-government. Why not group some of these colonies for the purpose of self-government? Why not give them a form of government similar to that which we have in Ceylon? That was an experiment which may not have been very satisfactory, but I think it will be 1037 well worth repeating in parts of the West Indies. Economic changes are necessary in view of the poverty of the people, and I urge the right hon. Gentleman, before we go much further, to appoint a commission to conduct a full inquiry into these problems and see what can be done to improve the condition of the people there.
We cannot afford to take lightly our responsibilities in the matter of our Colonial Empire. We have a great responsibility, and the right hon. Gentleman has a very big job if he does his duty as Colonial Secretary. I know that there are many other Colonies and many other important questions which call for his attention, and that there is great need for improving labour conditions and giving better opportunities for education and improving health facilities, but as trustees for the welfare of the millions who are compelled to live in the colonial parts of the Empire, we should try to improve social and humane conditions in every direction. The present Secretary of State has a knowledge of these matters as great as that of any man I know, and I believe he is not devoid of human sympathy. I have known him for a long time and have appreciated some of the things he has done, but I ask him to give undivided attention to the solution of these many problems with a view to improving conditions for the native people, making them better than they are to-day or ever have been.
§ 4 35 p.m.
§ Mr. de Rothschild
I have listened with great interest to the speech of the hon. Member for Rothwell (Mr. Lunn) who, as usual, displayed great knowledge of our Colonial Empire and the different requirements of our overseas Dependencies. In his last words he paid a tribute to the right hon. Gentleman who is in charge of this Department, and I will join with him in congratulating the right hon. Gentleman on keeping his seat in the saddle in the general post which has just taken place. I congratulate him all the more because I think he is intimately acquainted with all the problems in the Colonies. We welcomed his assumption of his present office, and looked forward to a great betterment of the conditions of the people in the Colonies, and his performance so far has not altogether falsified our hopes, and I am glad that by remains to direct the policy of our Dependencies across the seas. I listened 1038 with great interest to his broadcast last Friday on the extension of indirect rule to the native races, and I hope that he will continue on those lines, but I wonder whether the machinery which is at his disposal is altogether sufficient and such as it ought to be in view of the increasingly heavy responsibilities which the Secretary of State for the Colonies incurs. In this respect I should like to know more about the Colonial Development Committee, which in recent meetings, especially in Kenya, has been criticised as being nothing but a money-refusing machine.
One thing for which I am particularly pleased to commend the Minister is his establishment or re-establishment of a Colonial Marketing Board, and I am glad that he is going to preside over it. It is a good thing, if you want it to succeed, that Mandarin No. I should take the matter in his charge, and I am glad that this is the case in this instance, because the demise of the former Marketing Board did a great deal of harm to the Colonial Empire during the depression. But while I welcome the establishment of the Colonial Marketing Board I wish it had been given a wider scope, because permanent machinery is needed to keep under review the economic developments of the Colonies and the Dependencies and to foster their economic progress; in a word to co-ordinate the policies of the various parts of the Empire with regard not only to finding markets for Colonial produce—which, I may say in parenthesis, the right hon. Gentleman may find increasingly difficult in view of the present tendency towards bilateral agreements and preferences—but as regards labour, agriculture and the crops to grow and the quantifies, research and the problems of transport by land and by sea.
Such co-ordination is particularly necessary in our African Dependencies owing to the mobility of the labour population, because there the development of one colony reacts upon the policy of another to a greater degree, perhaps, than anywhere else. Gold mining developments in Rhodesia, Kenya and Tanganyika have led to the emigration of thousands of people from Nyasaland, as has been shown by the previous speaker. A potentially rich land has been denuded of its most efficient and very necessary labour, and grave social problems have been created. I notice that now that this 1039 major problem has developed Nyasaland and Northern and Southern Rhodesia have been brought together, and that a provisional agreement has been made to set up a committee to co-ordiate their labour policy. Yes, but permanent machinery might have anticipated the problem and might have helped to co-ordinate and to guide the economic development.
I do not want to stress this point at too great length, but it should be pointed out once more how this large-scale emigration disorganises tribal life. The Commission which reported on labour in the Belgian Congo pointed out that the absence from their homesteads of more than 5 per cent. of the adult male population of a village would upset the economic and social balance of the whole community, and yet in many communities a far larger proportion leave home, and the report on conditions in Nyasaland, alluded to in the previous speech, describes graphically how dangerous is the menace. The main cause of the exodus is not the prospect of employment in neighbouring territories but the inability of the Nyasaland native to find in his own country remunerative work such as would enable him to meet his communal obligations and to pay his taxes.
I know that in some districts this may be due to the insufficiency of food growing land and to the erosion which is taking place in that part of the world, but there are certain measures lying at our door which could be taken to check that exodus. The first is that agricultural and mineral development should be undertaken in the colony itself, and secondly there ought to be a readjustment of the basis of taxation. In his dispatch of September, 1936, the right hon. Gentleman himself recommended measures to deal with the situation, and I hope that in one of his speeches to-night we may hear that effect has been given to his recommendations. Personally, I commend the tone of that dispatch, and I know that the right hon. Gentleman recognises the evil of this emigration. He makes it quite clear that the position has caused anxiety for several years not only to successive administrations but to successive Secretaries of State. He also makes it clear that the primary cause of this excessive emigration is the high rate of taxation, and says that the only sound 1040 remedy is to reduce taxation in certain areas till conditions improve.
These recommendations I am prepared to welcome. I wonder why the steps which he recommended have not been taken before, when the evil had been manifest for so long. One aspect of the dispatch, however, causes me some anxiety, and that is the suggestion that expenditure on schemes of development is to be curtailed. I submit that such schemes are more necessary than ever at the present time to counter the development which is taking place in neighbouring territories, a development which, as we know, encourages labour emigration from the Protectorate. In this respect, I note that the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to place some responsibility on the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury. It shows that he was not so keen for this reduction, or possibly may not have been so keen. This reduction is in keeping with the drastic reduction of this year's provision for Colonial development. We know that this country is engaging in heavy armament expenditure and has to look ahead, but is that a justification for such curtailment? After all, our resolve to rule, and, if necessary, to defend our Dependencies, can be justified only if we are equally resolved to develop them.
Another point to which I would call the attention of the Minister is that, in the dispatch, it is stated that emigration to lands of greater economic opportunity can never be held in check, and that it is the process by which history is made. That is, no doubt, historically true, but I suggest that history is made also by Governments themselves. The application in Africa of this principle is, to my mind, fraught with danger. There is a very large demand for labour at the present time in the mining areas all over the Continent of Africa, but the demand may well be abnormal, and may well be greater than can be permanently absorbed. If so, widespread distress will result in these areas among the native populations, followed by harsh measures of repatriation, as has happened in the past. We know how natives have been driven from the places where they have lived for some time, back to land their connections with which have been completely severed for months or for years, and back to a community which has been 1041 permanently injured by their temporary absence.
It would be a tragic mistake to accept this large scale migration as inevitable. Cannot measures he found to economise labour in industry, mining and agriculture? To-day, native labour is wastefully employed. We know that this has long been the case on the sugar plantations in the West Indies, but it is also true in many of our African Dependencies. It is due to the ease with which native labour can be recruited and discarded. In this respect I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will see his way to hold an investigation in order to find out how far this can be prevented, first of all by organisation within the industries and by closer collaboration with the respective Governments; secondly, by improving the conditions of life and employment of the natives, and, thirdly, by a large measure of mechanisation. As an example of the scope there is for organisation, I would refer to the amount of time and energy wasted by natives in walking hundreds of miles from Nyasaland and other Colonies and Dependencies in order to seek employment. As far back as 1928 the Prime Minister of Northern Rhodesia estimated that a 50 per cent. increase in the value of the labour supply would be secured if those long walks were saved.
Another example is given by the investigation which was made by the Ross Institute of Tropical Hygiene. It shows that on the sisal estates in East Africa work is performed by native labourers which is one-sixth of that done by Malayan labourers. That is attributed to defective sanitation, lack of malarial control, poor nutrition, bad housing and bad working conditions in general. As a result, a labour force much in excess of economic requirements must be carried. As to mechanisation, it has the support of Sir Humphrey Leggett, who has a wide experience of East Africa, both in administration and in commercial enterprise. In the East African section of the London Chamber of Commerce recently, while he was discussing labour shortage, he said that inadequate use was being made of machinery and that in the estates of his own companies the managers were encouraged to say how native labour could be saved. Sir Humphrey went on to say that he was surprised that the Government were not giving a lead in this direction, and he 1042 pointed out that the rail way administration and the Government themselves were very big employers, and that if they gave a lead in the direction of mechanisation hundreds of thousands of employed natives could be released. I submit that that point of view is one that must be met with respect. By economising in human resources, a remedy may be found, not only for labour shortage but also for detribalisation, which arises from industrial development.
Shortage of labour is an evidence, of course, of increased prosperity in East Africa, and as such is most gratifying. I know that it is the concern of the Minister that this prosperity should be reflected in the life of the natives and in provision for their social services, and I hope it will bring us nearer to realisation of the educational advance which has been foreshadowed by his former Under-Secretary on his recent visit to East Africa as head of a Commission on Native Education. I hope that he will also safeguard the rights of the natives to engage in industrial enterprises on equal terms with Europeans. I am thinking more especially of what has happened in the Lupa goldfields. I hope that he will uphold the Tanganyika Government in rejecting the demand bat prospecting rights should not be granted to natives. The Tanganyika Government is rightly refusing racial discrimination in the matter, but the Lupa gold diggers claim that in other mandatory territory such discrimination is exercised. I should like to know whether that is actually a fact. Discrimination on grounds of colour in such matters, either in mandated or colonial territories, would cause the greatest disquiet to British public opinion.
One question above all others calls for co-ordination of policy between different parts of British Africa, and that is the part which the native shall play in the development of his country. I recall two recent speeches on native policy. One of them, while admitting the right of the native to develop to the highest state of civilisation of which he is capable, yet stated that the native should attain no social or political equality with the white man. The other speech refers to the policy of the white man as one of partial segregation. Although those two speeches do not come within the pur- 1043 view of this Debate, one having been made by the Defence Minister of South Africa and the second by the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, their importance cannot be overlooked in considering native policy in our Dependencies in Africa, especially as Mr. Pirow added that people in the North were beginning to look to South Africa to find the right relationship between black and white, particularly in Kenya.
Those declarations have been received by the public with some concern. The conscience of this country is sensitive with regard to the treatment of native peoples, especially in those parts of the world for which we are still responsible. We have no such responsibility in South Africa, but native policy adopted in any part of British Africa will have an effect upon other parts. The Imperial Conference which is sitting at the present time might well commence a searching examination of this native question, with a view to co-ordination of policy. Such a policy must be based on trusteeship; the development of Africa must, first of all, be in the interests of the African people. It must aim at a fulfilment of their just aspirations. I shall not elaborate very much the question which I have already ventilated in this House, that of the open door. Last time I had the pleasure of speaking upon it, I had also the pleasure of being upbraided by the right hon. Gentleman for being an old Cobdenite Free Trader, and the old word "shibboleth" was used. As in the days of the Bible the right hon. Gentleman and I pronounce that word in different ways. I am not repentant.
I do not wish in any way to be contentious, but I realise, as do most people in this country now, that there is a growing tendency in responsible quarters towards freer trade, both in the Colonies and in the Mother Country. Public opinion will, before long, oblige the Government to revert to the policy of the Open Door. Recently authoritative representations were made to the Government by the National Memorial on Peace and Economic Co-operation, opposing the policy of trade discrimination in the Colonies on behalf of many important religious, intellectual and educational bodies. Recent speeches 1044 have been made in this House urging the maintenance of Imperial Preference and pointing out that only a small part of British Dependencies were subject to trade discrimination, and that therefore Colonial Preference could play only a very small part in the economy of the world. This small amount of discrimination is still very dangerous. It gives great grievance to other nations and does not give either us or our Colonial Dependencies any very serious advantages.
An improved standard of living for the natives themselves benefits our markets much more than discrimination. For instance, in Nyasaland no discrimination is permitted under the Congo Basin Treaties, and yet the improvement of the standard of living in Nyasaland has led the natives to be more discriminating in their purchases, and more difficult to please. In 1935, the imports of bicycles for the natives were almost entirely British; 1,361 bicycles out of 1,382 imported were British, and only 21 foreign; and yet cheap Japanese bicycles come in freely along with our own. But if, on the other hand, we consider the trade restrictions, we cannot disregard the friction which this amount of discrimination causes, particularly among those nations that require raw materials —raw materials which the statesmen of this country have promised them, both at home and at Geneva.
§ Brigadier-General Sir Henry Croft
Can the hon. Gentleman give an instance of any raw material in the case of which there are restrictions?
§ Mr. de Rothschild
I am not saying that there is any restriction in the case of raw materials, but am referring to the difficulties which arise among those countries which require raw materials. Those difficulties do cause a good deal of friction. It is the duties on manufactured articles that prevent people from buying raw materials through the process of trade; it is not a question of duties on raw materials themselves. Until the open door principle is re-established, I feel certain that grounds will remain on which complaints can be based that we are monopolising the trade of our Colonial dependencies, that we are selfishly exploiting them, and that we are disregarding our responsibilities as trustees for the natives and as trustees for civilisation, 1045 instead of developing the resources of our territories for the benefit of mankind at large.
I hope it will be appreciated that in dwelling on these Colonial problems I have in no way sought to disparage the British rule. Of course, mistakes have been made, and no doubt mistakes will still be made in the future, but efforts are always made to remedy them, as, for instance, the efforts that are now being made by the right hon. Gentleman in Nyasaland, and I think that our own British administration is capable of solving these problems better than any other Power could have done in the past, or can do, possibly, in the future. Personally, speaking for myself, I am against the abandonment of any of our responsibilities and I echo what the hon. Member for Rothwell said in that respect—responsibilities which in my estimation we have fulfilled with success, and with happy results to the people concerned. To my mind the paramount consideration is, as I have said, the welfare of the native peoples, and our Colonial services have worked to that end both with ability and with devotion. No nation or body could provide better men, and we have seen some evidence of their achievements in what has happened recently. We have seen during the Coronation celebrations a wonderful demonstration of loyalty from every part of our Colonial Empire. To those of us who had the honour of sitting in the Abbey, it was a wonderful sight to see the respect and the enthusiasm with which all those people, from countries all over the world, were paying their homage and their obeisance to the King. These demonstrations have come from peoples of all races and of all creeds throughout the Empire, and in their own countries they have had the same celebrations. Even in the remote tribal areas of Tanganyika, which is only a mandated territory, the native authorities themselves organised these celebrations. Of course, these native peoples might get protection and guidance from another Government; they might get justice as that Government conceived justice to native peoples; but would they find happiness? Would they rejoice with equal fervour if they were told that their great King no longer valued their loyalty? I even wonder if they would dance with such delight in their 1046 native forests, under an international administration, on hearing of the election of the most benevolent gentleman to the chair of the governing commission.
§ 5.8 p.m.
§ Sir Edward Grigg
I should be wandering beyond the limits set in this Debate if I followed up one reflection which has been suggested to me by a recent observation in the very interesting speech of the hon. Member for the Isle of Ely (Mr. de Rothschild). He laid down, I think very rightly, the principle that we must develop the Colonial Empire in the interests of the native inhabitants, and that that should be our paramount consideration. I hope very much that he is prepared to apply that principle, not only to Africa, but to Palestine. We shall shortly be discussing the problems of Palestine, and I think it is important to remember that a principle which is held to be of great account in Africa has certainly equal importance and sanctity elsewhere.
I cannot help feeling that this is rather a forlorn occasion. In the first place, as we all know, it is Derby Day, and it is perhaps unfortunate that Supply Days on which the Votes of the Colonial Office are discussed should coincide so often with some great attraction elsewhere. I hope, indeed, that those members of the Colonial Empire who are interested to follow our proceedings here when they concern their interests will realise that the attraction of that great annual event on Epsom Downs does not really mean that the House of Commons or this Committee is not interested in their affairs, or is unwilling to discharge its trusteeship to them. In the second place, the occasion is a little forlorn because of the innovation that has been introduced in our practice by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. I quite appreciate the fact that the course which he has taken has been taken out of deference to a request made last year by the Opposition, but I very much hope that it will not become a precedent. After all, this is the main occasion on which the House of Commons in Committee is able to listen to the way in which the Minister appointed for the purpose carries out on our behalf the great trusteeship which we hold for the Colonial territories, and, quite apart from points raised by the Opposition or points raised by individual Members, I think the House is entitled annually to a review of what is taking 1047 place in the Colonial Empire. I agree that it is very difficult to cover that immense area satisfactorily in any speech which is not going to take a very considerable amount of time—
§ Sir E. Grigg
A good hour; and I venture to ask the Secretary of State, who, I know, is most anxious to do full justice to his duty and to the House in this matter, to consider whether it would not be possible to lay before Parliament some kind of statement or report on the Colonial Empire. Of course, there are the individual reports of the various Colonial territories, but as a rule they come out very late, they are not punctual at all in their appearance, and it is perhaps asking a great deal of Members who are anxious to keep in touch with their responsibilities in the House in this respect to suggest that they should investigate in detail all these small separate reports. It would really be of advantage to Parliament to have an annual report on the way in which this country is discharging its great Colonial responsibilities.
That suggestion may be reinforced by a reference to the way in which we deal with the Service Estimates. The Service Estimates are presented in very great detail, and not only do we have the Estimates themselves, but we invariably have a Memorandum explaining and justifying the Estimates. I admit that the parallel is not complete, because in the case of the Service Estimates we are voting all the money that is going to be expended on those Services, while in the case of the Colonial Office Vote we are not voting the money which is going to be spent on administration, or only very little of it, but are voting only the expenses of the Colonial Office itself. Nevertheless, our responsibility in regard to the Colonial Empire is, I venture to say, quite as great as our responsibility in regard to the defence of the Empire by the three Services responsible for it. I hope that my right hon. Friend in future, in addition to reverting to the old practice and making a statement at the beginning of the Debate, will also consider furnishing us with some sort of annual report which can be placed in the hands of Members before the Debate takes place.
1048 There are one or two questions which I should like to put to my right hon. Friend, and one or two observations which I should like to make. There has been a great deal of reference in the Press to projected changes in the Kenya Executive Council—in the numbers, the responsibilities, and the terms on which members are to hold office in that body; and I should be grateful if inv right hon. Friend could give us some information on that point. It is an extremely important point. I believe, myself, that if he is proceeding in the direction of reducing the number of members of that body, and putting more definite responsibility on those that remain, he is taking the right course, but I should like very much to hear what is actually proposed, if he is able to tell us.
There is another Kenya matter on which I ask for no definite reply to-day, since I have not given my right hon. Friend notice of it, but I would like to call his attention to it, and perhaps there may be an opportunity of giving us information about it later on. I refer to the question of the cost of the air forces and of the other measures which have had to be taken in Kenya owing to the Italian invasion and occupation of Abyssinia. There is no doubt that very heavy cost has been incurred. We have had to keep extra forces in Kenya, and I believe that the Kenya Government itself has had to incur charges for the permanent taking in of Abyssinian refugees.
The events in Abyssinia are no responsibility of the natives of Kenya, and I think it would be a very proper action on the part of the Imperial Government in this country if the cost of maintaining Abyssinian refugees in Kenya were taken over by us, rather than put upon the Estimates of the Colony. I do not think it is at all right that these incidental and exceptional charges, which are not due to policy which the Colony can influence, should fat upon the Estimates of the Colony. I do not suppose the cost is anything, as we estimate cost, but it may be serious to a small Colony like Kenya and, whether it is serious or not, it obviously means that something is taken from some other service. I hope, therefore, that consideration has been given to relieving Kenya of all the exceptional charges that she had to incur owing to events further North.
1049 The hon. Gentleman who spoke for the Opposition pleaded for an increase of services devoted to native welfare, and in particular, I think in more than one Colony, for the establishment of a Labour Department. At the same time he called attention to the fact that the taxation of natives in the African Colonies is very high, and I am sure he will realise that, while it is possible, though I think unjust, to suggest that native taxation is being devoted to other purposes than native welfare in Kenya, you cannot make that suggestion with regard to the other African Colonies. There is a constant tendency in the House, and amongst benevolent people over here, to press for an improvement of services without regard to the strain which that is bound to produce upon native taxation. This is a fundamental problem in Africa at present.
I think I have already quoted a remark made to me by a very famous Frenchman on our system of government in India. When M. Clemenceau retired from public life he paid a visit to India and I happened to see him when he came back. He paid a most generous tribute to our administration and to our system of justice there. He said it astonished him to see the disinterestedness and the purity of both, and no one could congratulate us too warmly on our achievement in that respect. "But," he added, "you have made one great mistake. You have neglected to enable the people of India to afford all these benefits." It is true that in our passion for improving administration and justice and for establishing educational works, public works, and so on, we are very apt to go beyond what the revenues of the country can really sustain unless taxation is pressed very far, and therefore as we develop our services, as we improve and perfect our administration, we really cause increasing discontent. [Interruption.] I agree, but wages have to be paid from somewhere. In these African Colonies there are no great sources of wealth and no great wealthy classes from which taxation can be taken, as in this country. The proceeds of the highest Income Tax would be very small. Surtax, Estate Duties and direct taxation, which bring in great revenues here and finance the social and other services, are simply not available in Africa. Everything really comes out of agriculture, and agriculture has to pay not only the taxation but the higher wages 1050 which I also should like to see introduced. The whole system is so much simpler and much poorer. We must be very careful about pressing taxation too heavily upon the natives in pursuit of improvements in services.
I am glad to support the hon. Member who spoke last on the point that he made in regard to tariff preferences in the Colonial Empire. I think it is generally agreed that we ought to make no distinction between mandated territories and other Colonial territories in regard to the principles on which we administer our trust. What are mandatory principles? They are, in the first place, that we administer in the interest of the native inhabitants, in the second place that we do not raise or levy troops for any purpose other than the keeping of local order and local defence, and the third is that we give no advantages to ourselves, economic, trade or otherwise, which we are not prepared to grant to all other people. Until quite recently it would have been true to say that we observed those principles throughout the Colonial Empire but, unfortunately, in the last three or four years we have ceased to observe the third. The infraction is a very small one but the principle has been broken in some parts of Africa, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman who cheered my reference to mandatory principles will consider whether the time has not come to return to them in the third most important respect. That, I believe, is going to be of great importance to the peace of Africa. You cannot have peace in Africa unless the white races responsible there are prepared to some extent to work together, and you cannot have political co-operation combined with economic discrimination. Economic discrimination as between the white countries in Europe, taking advantages for ourselves, for instance, and putting other Powers at a disadvantage, is bound to lead to political trouble, and Africa will be the sufferer in the long run.
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
The hon. Gentleman knows the difficulty. It is almost entirely owing to low labour costs in Japan, with which Germany and other European producers cannot compete.
§ Sir E. Grigg
Nevertheless, I think we made a mistake when we departed from the principle of absolute impartiality in the African colonies, and I am glad to 1051 think that we can trust the right hon. Gentleman to return to that principle at the earliest possible moment.
§ 5.25 p.m.
Mr. Creech Jones
I want to express my appreciation of the very great consideration that the Colonial Secretary has given from time to time to problems which I have brought to his notice. His approach has usually been very humane, but I think the duty of an Opposition is not so much to praise the administration as to find fault with it and try to indicate tendencies in policy and lines along which that policy should be reconstructed. I would welcome the adoption of the suggestion that has just been made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Altrincham (Sir E. Grigg). I think if we could have presented to us each year a survey of the policy and the work in our respective territories, and could get some bird's-eye view of the general nature of the problems confronting ourselves as trustees, it would help some of us to see to what degree any clear or consistent and continuous policy is being pursued in respect to the territories under our control.
There have been many classic declarations of policy in respect to native interests, and I want to direct attention to some differences that exist in regard to the interpretation of that policy of trusteeship. In the first place, few of us really appreciate the degree to which vast changes are going on in the Continent of Africa. I do not want to put industrial development out of focus in relation to the great extent of agriculture, but I think we are all conscious that the whole economy of the Continent is changing and that, with the development of her agricultural and mineral resources the growth of communications and transport and the rise of industrialism, very fundamental alterations are occurring in the mode of life of the native and in his control of his environment. We know that the process of detribalisation is rapidly going on and that the old authority in the villages is disappearing, and in some cases new systems of land tenure are being established, and there are to-day as a result 1,500,000 Africans at least who are now divorced from the land and are more or less dependent on their earnings for their subsistence.
1052 But, while this industrialisation and development of the resources of Africa are going on, it seems to me that the old Liberal principles which directed Colonial administration in some respects in certain Colonies are in decay, and I think in Central and East Africa Liberalism, as we understood it, is definitely in retreat. It is all very well, but it happens that, when gold is discovered in Kenya, we have little regard for native rights. When copper is mined in Rhodesia we bring natives to work in compounds and subject them to vicious conditions of living. We drain from Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia the manhood of the villages, and in certain of the Colonies we tax the natives to such a degree that they are obliged to leave their villages, sometimes for ever, in order to find the requisite money to meet the taxes which are imposed upon them. In addition, we confine hundreds of thousands of natives to reserves, and place tens of thousands of natives in labour servitude, and attach to that system penal sanctions. If we believe in our administration we ought to be prepared not merely to prepare a report of the type which the hon. Member for Altrincham indicated, but we ought also to be prepared to submit such a report to some international tribunal to be subject to the scrutiny of world opinion. It would be a step in the growth of these international relationships and human controls on which the ultimate destiny of the human race depends. The other day I received a letter from an African, who wrote from his village in Kenya as follows:We would emphasise that it has filtered down to almost the meanest of us, that there has been an official declaration—not a local declaration—from the lips of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, which declaration has been endorsed and confirmed by successive Secretaries of State, that His Majesty's Government think it necessary definitely to record their considered opinion that the interests of the African natives must he paramount and that if and when these interests and the interests of the immigrant races should conflict, the former should prevail. We are perplexed when we find practical effect is not being given to that declaration. We venture to express the hope that the necessity will never arise for our reconsideration of our estimate of the honesty, fair-mindedness and impartiality of the British Parliament and people.These natives are not forgetful of the virtues of British Colonial administration in suppressing violence and slavery and 1053 exterminating certain abominable practices. But it is true that in certain areas there is a growing resentment among the native people, who at last are awakening. Education is at work, Western contacts are making a very real difference, de-tribalism is going on and industrialism is at work, and these Africans are demanding an independence, which, unless we are careful how we handle the situation, may well turn into animosity. I suggest that the recent destruction of the Abyssinian Kingdom has not been lost on the African people. It is for these reasons that I urge that we should have a clear, long-range policy for the British territories, a policy which is concerned with the economic development of the country itself, a new conception in respect of land tenure and agricultural development, an improved social life of the native, and a better regulation of labour conditions. There is, as I have already suggested, a feeling growing that somehow or other the native person, socially and politically, should be confirmed in an inferior status to the white person.
I appreciate that, in our African administration and certainly in West Africa, our policy of development has been an enlightened one. One does not feel as happy about the policy in East Africa. In principle it has not been consistent but in conflict with the principles which have operated in West Africa. I pause for a moment to deplore the percolation into our Colonies of the influence of the policy which is being pursued against the natives in the Union of South Africa. I would ask whether the dominant influence in the future in our Colonies will not be the influence of the Union, rather than the influence of London itself. I observe that in South Africa there have been these series of meetings of the Pan-African Conference, and I have read that there is to be a surrender, some time before long, of the Protectorates to the Union. I have heard rumours that certain bargains are likely to be struck in respect of matters of Defence.
I do not think that the Colonial Secretary can possibly deal with these questions. If they are in order, they would have to be addressed to the Dominions Office.
Mr. Creech Jones
I am trying to indicate that the Union of South Africa is 1054 trying to bring together for consultation, in respect of the development of native policy, the representatives of the Government of the territories which are under the control of the Colonial Secretary at the present time.
The hon. Gentleman, first of all, dealt with Protectorates which are not under the control of the Colonial Office, but of the Dominions Office, and, secondly with the action of the Government of South Africa, for which the Colonial Secretary has no responsibility, and that is a matter which could not be pursued.
Mr. Creech Jones
I will not pursue the matter, in deference to your Ruling, Captain Bourne. The point is that there is a tendency for our own settlers and certain of our own people in the Colonies, for which the Colonial Secretary is responsible, to look to the Union rather than to London for native policy. I merely want to make the point that, if such does happen, it will be disastrous for the natives.
I now wish to refer to a development which has been causing a number of us on these benches some anxiety during the past year. It is the issue of a recruiting licence to a company in Nyasaland for the purpose of bringing labour from Nyasaland to the Union of South Africa. The Colonial Secretary in reply to a question has told me that certain conditions will be attached to that licence, but what has actually happened on the Rand is of special importance in regard to this recruitment. Already there are more than 2,000 Nyasa boys working on the Rand, and it has now been decided that recruitment of these labourers for the Rand shall take place North of 22 degrees latitude South, and that a policy which on health grounds was previously condemned should now be openly pursued in order that the Rand shall have the labour it requires in the next few years. There is a demand, and it will perhaps continue for the next 10 years, for something like 150,000 natives on the Rand.
It has been pointed out that there is a great need, not only to increase the sources of supply of labour, but to get this particular type of labour, because special experiments have been carried out to ascertain the susceptibility of tropical natives to heat stroke. It has already 1055 been found that they have a greater resistance to heat stroke than the Union natives and that they can therefore be most profitably employed in the lower levels of the mines. There, I think, we have the secret of this new policy. It is singular that the health problem should be solved just at the moment when there is a very considerable demand for labour from our own territories, and it is openly confessed that that labour is required because it can be profitably worked. In all the statements that have been made with regard to that labour, it has been treated purely as if it were a commodity that could be bought and sold at will. We on these benches are opposed to the drawing upon our Colonies for this kind of labour. First of all, we abhor the conditions in the Rand. It is a most unnatural life and there is a tremendous amount of vice in the compounds. I do not deny that there is considerable money attraction. The wages are higher in the Rand and, therefore, to the natives of our Colonies very possibly a considerable inducement, but we know the social consequences of such a policy, and that already Nyasaland, in many of her villages, is being denuded. In some districts at least 80 per cent. of the men who leave the villages do not return again.
I see no reason why it should be the policy of the British Government in any way to prop up contract labour in the Rand in the interest of profit, where there is nothing in the nature of family settlement and where, for practical purposes, the native people are denied the elementary principles of freedom. If, however, it is agreed that this recruitment should go on in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, I suggest that there ought to be definite guarantees accompanying the licence in respect to wages, family settlement, free repatriation, and a wider freedom given to the natives who are employed, as well as the establishment of certain welfare services and free transport. I would go further and say that a contribution ought to be made to the Colony from which these natives are drawn for the welfare of the native people who are left behind. The price demanded by the Union is too heavy, either for ourselves or the African to pay; it is the destruction and misery of our Colonies as well as the vicious life of the compounds into which the natives are introduced.
1056 As to recruitment in the Colonies and migration, I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman is agreed that the I.L.O. Convention on Native Recruitment shall be ratified, and I would like him to say when the Convention is likely to be put into operation in our Colonial territories. I also welcome the agreement, which has already been referred to between the three governments, Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, but that agreement should be watched with the greatest care and we should see to it that the health arrangements are adequate, that adequate transport is provided, that there are proper hostels on the way to and fro, and that labour inspection is carried out in an efficient way.
With regard to migration, I am glad to know that the right hon. Gentleman is opposed to the extension in Nyasaland of pass laws as we understand them and of indiscriminate recruiting, because, as the hon. Member for Ely (Mr. de Rothschild) has reminded us, the position in Nyasaland is still one of desperate seriousness. I will not go into the dreadful social misery and suffering of these people, because that subject was referred to in last year's Debate. The report has been extensively quoted and the facts are now generally well known, but it is obvious that this huge migration from Nyasaland north, from Northern Rhodesia, ought to be stopped. It seems to me that it can stop only in so far as we ourselves carry through in Nyasaland a strong economic policy. The right hon. Gentleman is fully alive to the problem, but may I ask him whether he will continue to explore further the possibility of the more economic use of land in Nyasaland, the development of native crops of cotton and tobacco, whether something cannot be done, despite the difficulties, to improve transport and marketing, whether a start can be made in the development of native co-operation, and whether more money can be spent on the question of soil erosion and the finding of sources of water for the farmers?
I should also like further study to be given to the problem of additional relief in respect of taxation. I know that that is a matter of considerable difficulty, and one welcomes the advice offered by the Minister to the Colony that in certain areas some relief should be given in place of the flat rate. It is clear that the great 1057 cause of migration is the compulsory search of the native for money when asked to pay his taxes. Some relief is imperative if certain of these dangerous tendencies, which are breaking up the village life of the Colony, are to be counteracted. One would like further encouragement to be given to family migration. The Minister has suggested that there should be not only short contracts, but that where possible a system of family migration should be worked out. I hope that a constructive policy along these lines will become possible and that such a policy may save the disintegration and social misery which are obvious and so well known in Nyasaland to-day.
I should like also to make reference to the new Ordinance which is being considered in connection with resident labour in Kenya. I do not know what the attitude of the Colonial Secretary is to the Ordinance, but I am glad that the threatened Orders in Council which were debated last year are not likely to be issued; at any rate, I hope not. Nevertheless, the policy of establishing a white and larger European Highlands is still being pursued at the expense of the native people. I have no time to argue to-day as to the dubious success or otherwise of white colonisation in Kenya and the way that colonisation has to be bolstered up. That is a matter of material and fundamental importance. The fact remains that in pursuit of this policy squatters are being removed, the native reserves are crowded and a labour class of wandering, propertyless natives is being created.
This new Ordinance seems to be based on the belief that squatters can be driven back to the native reserves, that their present occupancy is of a purely temporary character, and that it is right to clear them from land which Europeans cannot or do not use or have no intention of using, certainly for a very long time to come. The new Ordinance repeals but repeats all the bad features of the 1925 Ordinance. It even goes so far as to extend the application of that Ordinance not only to the existing European lands but also to unalienated Crown lands. It imposes a servitude status of labour with a continuation of penal sanctions on a large scale. It gives power of removal to local councils, on which the natives are not directly represented. Not only is power given to these 1058 councils to remove natives irrespective of the wishes of the natives, but no redress in the courts is permitted to them. It extends compulsory labour from 180 to 270 days and involves not only the head of the family but all the male members of the family over the age of 16. It weakens the security of the native in his land by cutting down the period of notice from six months to three months; it makes no provision for the proper inspection of the contracts that are entered into, and to see that the conditions of the natives concerned are properly observed or protected.
This system of labour servitude carries with it penal sanctions, because if the native refuses to obey the order of his master, if he is at all abusive to his master, if he absents himself from his daily work, he is liable to a fine of 100 shillings, which he cannot pay, or, alternatively, to one month's imprisonment. We are following in this respect the wretched practice instituted in South Africa and Southern Rhodesia. I hope the Secretary of State will insist on a radical alteration of this draft Ordinance and will pursue a liberalising policy in respect of the unfortunate natives. How is it that we cannot separate tenure of land from wages? Why must we resort to compulsory labour? Why are the natives not to be allowed to develop their land in their own way? Why must they be restricted in the production of certain economic crops, and why must they not be given security of tenure? These are questions that I put to the Minister and to which I should be glad if he would reply.
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
The Ordinance merely deals with the natives temporarily on European lands, and does not attempt to touch those problems which come from permanent settlement in the reserves. A large number of white settlers are anxious to employ natives on European land.
Mr. Creech Jones
My point is that if the questions of soil and stock are to be considered they ought to be unrelated to the labour Ordinance. What I am suggesting is that the labourer should be free to sell his labour, and if he is in occupation of land he should be able to pay rent for the land and not be required to work compulsorily for 270 days in a year, with the condition that the male members 1059 of his family should also be compelled to work. If he does not obey orders he is subject to imprisonment and other penal clauses. I should like also to refer to the astonishing growth of criminal offences in Kenya. The Pim report created considerable anxiety among a number of us when we noticed how extensive crime has become among the wandering natives in the Colony. The extension of pass laws everywhere tells the same story whether here, in Rhodesia or in the Union of South Africa. It is not only embittering the natives but it is becoming a great social evil, and it argues that there is something radically wrong in the system we are trying to impose on the natives.
I had hoped that there would be time to raise other matters, such as health on the Gold Coast and the treatment of British Indians, but I am afraid I must leave those matters over. There are, however, two subjects to which I should like to draw the attention of the Minister. The first relates to the demand from the two Rhodesias that those Colonies should now be amalgamated. I recognise the difficulties which exist in respect of the somewhat arbitrary frontier which cuts across some of the native tribes, but I submit that Northern Rhodesia is essentially a black man's country, that it is a Protectorate, that we have a very definite responsibility to the natives in that Colony and that Downing Street cannot lightly surrender the direct guardianship of those people. The Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia has said that if amalgamation were consummated nothing less than the policy of Southern Rhodesia would be the native policy of Northern Rhodesia. That is a very serious statement. There is a suggestion at the other end that there should be a conspiracy of silence in respect of this question, a conspiracy which has been organised. The "Times" newspaper says on this matter:The attitude of the elected members is that silence is necessary at present to avoid the defeat of the objects they are seeking to attain.The native people do not want amalgamation. Some form of co-operation is necessary as between the North and the South, but I do sincerely hope that we are not going to surrender the guardianship of the native people, particularly of the northern territory. Bad as may be the 1060 discrimination in practice against the natives in Rhodesia we do not want to see a rigid application of pass and other anti-native laws applied in Northern Rhodesia as they are, applied in Southern Rhodesia. If only on economic and Imperial grounds there is something to be said for our retention of the Copper belt inside a territory which is directly responsible to the British Crown and London.
The last point that I would make has already been touched upon by my hon. Friend who opened the Debate. I should like seriously to impress on the Minister that he should consider the advisability of setting up some searching investigating commission into a labour policy and labour code for Africa. I ask this because I appreciate that labour problems are complicated and difficult, and that already there are varied practices going on even by those persons who are most sympathetically disposed towards the natives. Many experiments have been made, some of them good, some bad; but in view of the gent growth of industrialisation in Africa, the development of the mineral resources, it seems that now is the time when a searching investigation ought to be made as to what is desirable from the point of view of preserving labour standards and what can be adapted to protect the natives against the worst forms of exploitation. I suggest that such a commission should study not only the practice in our own territories, but the experiments which have been made in territories under the control of other nations. The question of cost is a serious consideration, but there are various parts of a labour code which might be implemented without considerable outlay. There has been a model ordinance on workmen's compensation. I should like to know when it is proposed that this law should become effective in our territories. Such a commission should study why penal sanctions are necessary in East Africa when we do without them in West Africa. Take the problems of contract labour, forced labour, recruitment, minimum wage rates, the problem of deferred pay, the establishment of wage boards, master and servant law, and the Truck Act. These are all vital questions to the native worker.
§ Sir E. Grigg
The hon. Member has made a comparison between East and West Africa in regard to the use of com- 1061 pulsory native labour, which is unfair to East Africa. I wonder whether he has ever heard of "political labour" in Nigeria?
Mr. Creech Jones
That point, I submit, is not material. I am arguing that in view of the difference in practice in various parts of Africa it is desirable that there should be some labour code, and a general inquiry.
§ Sir E. Grigg
I withdraw immediately if I misunderstood the hon. Member, if he is proposing that the same principles should be applied everywhere. I entirely agree with him. I only rose to object to a comparison between East and West Africa which was damaging to East Africa and not in accordance with the facts.
Mr. Creech Jones
I think the time is ripe to deal with the rapid industrialisation of Africa, and that there should be an inquiry into these industrial practices so that we might discover how best the standards of life for the native can be protected against the ruthless exploitation which goes on in many parts of the Continent. I should like to reinforce the argument of the importance of labour inspectors and the importance of the development of labour departments. I seriously ask the -Secretary of State to consider whether the time has not arrived for a commission of investigation in order that there may be a Labour code and some basis for a long-range policy so far as industrial labour in Africa is concerned.
§ 6.6 p.m.
§ Mr. Pickthorn
The word "academic" has been used several times in the Debate and always, of course, as a term of condemnation if not of abuse. We have been particularly warned against any academic discussion of the meaning of the word "trusteeship." I will not venture on such a discussion myself. I am a little less fond than most of the word in that sense, having some distrust of metaphors which are used as a basis of argument. But however much there may be in doubt about the use of that word, there has been unanimity to-day that development in the interests of the natives is the primary consideration in the government of colonial territories. If that is so I hope I may be forgiven for broaching the not very amusing subject of education. Education is the essence of the matter. To look after 1062 other people's interests without giving them those opportunities for human development which are generally called education is to treat them not as people at all but at the best as pets.
In more than one speech this afternoon there have been requests for some general conspectus of Africa as a whole from various points of view, and I ask for a conspectus of Africa from the educational point of view. It would be easier to speak usefully this afternoon if the committee which has been sitting on the Makerere and Gordon College had issued its report, but even when that committee does issue its report its usefulness would be greatly increased by the addition of a similar report for West Africa. East Africa itself might gain from the conclusions made in the examination of West Africa, and at least we might have some hope of getting rid of the ludicrously excessive number of technical terms with which the whole business of education throughout Africa is overloaded. Hon. Members may have read a story written by a man who knows better than any one one particular corner of Africa, a corner for which the Secretary of Stale is not responsible, a story which I hope I may he allowed to summarise. There was an Arab called Suliman Silema, if my Arab pronunciation is correct, who had four sons, Salama Silimi, Salman Suliman, Salaman Salama, and Silimi Suliman. The third and fourth sons, hon. Members will be glad to know, died childless. The first left a son, Suliman Silimi Salama, and the second son a daughter, Silimah Salamaeh Suliman. These two cousins married and had a son, who was named Salman Salama Silimi.
Unfortunately the original Arab, whose name I will not weary the House by repeating had had a brother called Silmi Salama Sulman. There was a dispute about the ownership of land between the son of the two first-cousins and the grandson of the last gentleman I have named. It was believed to be a perfectly simple case but the judge found the nomenclature so difficult that he was never able to approach the case, and it has yet to be heard. The same thing happens in any subject which is overloaded with technical terms, and it happens that education in Africa is overloaded with a ludicrous jumble of indefinite and varied terms, middle schools, senior schools, preliminary schools, trade schools, primary, 1063 schools, technical schools, there is a veritable zareba of them. It may seem a small point to a layman but I believe a great deal would be done to make it much easier to understand the problems and get at them if only we could get a smaller and more uniform vocabulary, and on that ground alone I hope there will be some attempt when we receive the report of the Commission to get a general conspectus, a general report on education in Africa.
This Commission will say that their business is to inquire into the possibility of secondary education on the eastern half of the Continent, and clearly for that purpose there must be some cooperation between the Makerere and Gordon Colleges. It is not quite so obvious, but it is not infinitely less true, that the possibilities should be considered of co-ordination with Achimota Fourah Bay and Yaba. There would clearly be great advantage if East and West could easily and freely consult each other and as nearly as possible use the same vocabulary, interchange staff, and jointly negotiate with the people at home, for instance, with examining bodies and universities in the British Isles, who if they have made mistakes in the past have also performed great services, and recently have shown every willingness to correct their mistakes and to co-operate with each and with Africa. It would be much easier for English universities to help Africa if we could get a more or less united Africa to work with them from the other end.
If I have been pleading for a more comprehensive survey, a more strategic planning of the educational campaign in Africa, and have referred rather to higher than to lower education, that does not mean that I want to see uniformity imposed or think higher education superior or more important than lower education. Indeed, it may be that the present piecemeal arrangements tend to a muddled sort of uniformity and militate against experiments, and especially against new attacks upon the problem of mass education. And it is worth the consideration of hon. Members—and I am sure it receives the consideration of the Colonial Office—whether mass education is not just now really more important and more urgent than improving secondary education.
1064 I believe it to be true that every tribe in Africa is passionately anxious to get education. Although the policy of the Colonial Office has been perfectly right in wishing to make education more a part and an accessory and enhancement of ordinary social life and less a teaching of abstractions and academic techniques, yet when every tribe in Africa says "education," it means reading and writing.
I would inquire whether more might not be done to experiment in that connection. I am not in a position to speak confidently on such matters, but I have heard it suggested by one of the half-dozen men who are best qualified to give an opinion that there ought to be a great development of what he calls peasant teachers, that is to say, people who are still cultivating the land and living in the village in the same way as the other villagers, but who are paid small salaries for performing certain educational functions. That might turn out to be a mistaken way of tackling the problem, but till we know it is there ought to be co-ordinated and considered experiments in that way and in other ways.
Again, almost infinite improvements could be made in the teaching of English. That is one of the subjects in which the odium and malice are such as theologians could hardly conceive. The odium and malice between the practitioners of different forms of expertness in English teaching almost pass human comprehension. I have not the expertness to put my hand into that dog-fight. but perhaps the Colonial Office has a sufficiently iron hand to do so. At some time there will have to be an expert inquiry, and some system or other of simplified English whether it is basic or another and even if it is not the best system, might enormously increase the effectiveness of English teaching to those to whom English is not the mother tongue.
Another point which should receive attention is whether it is not possible to make more of the educational officers, not only for educational purposes, but in general administration. For instance, in the Colonial accounts as they are printed now education does not seem to have what is its fair share. Very often it appears that Colony X or Colony Y is spending only 4 or 5 per cent. on education, but frequently the deduction is fallacious, and a higher proportion is being spent on 1065 what might properly be called education. I suggest that in the future there might be some sort of supplementary tabulation which would show more easily where the money goes. Very often money spent by the Agricultural Department may really be spent upon education. It seems clear that this sort of analyses, though they are essential, will do more harm than good unless we continually remind ourselves that the definition between the various categories is not altogether real, or at all absolute.
For instance, there should obviously be in the long run great economies under both "Administration" and "Economic Development" as a result of spending money on educating Africans to do the highest work of which they are capable. I feel certain that opposition to such development of Africans, the feeling of some Europeans that they are thereby training their racial inferiors to become their supplanters, is not only what those of us who enjoy a sense of moral superiority call wicked but is mistaken, and is fundamentally the same fallacy as that of the Luddites, who smashed machines. There were other points on which I wished to speak, but as I feel that I have taken as much of the time of the House as I ought, I will proceed no further.
§ 6.21 p.m.
§ Colonel Wedgwood
I wish first of all to support wholeheartedly the suggestion made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Altrincham (Sir E. Grigg) that we should have before these Debates some sort of preliminaray paper on Colonial development during the preceding year. There is not anything that would be more valuable to the House when it goes into Committee on Colonial matters, nor anything that would have better publicity value in the Press, and thereby give enormous satisfaction not merely to the people in the Colonies, but to the Governors and officials. As the hon. Gentleman pointed out, the annual reports come out two years late. I am well aware of the trouble that is taken to prepare those reports on the Colonies, but when they come out two years late they do not get very much attention. From that point of view alone, a preliminary paper, such as we have in connection with the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force, would be extremely 1066 valuable and would be a great step in advance.
I cannot altogether agree with the hon. Member for Rothwell (Mr. Lunn) that we miss the Secretary of State's preliminary survey. I always felt that the Secretaries of State never read those preliminary surveys before and they were supplied to them by permanent officials. In any case, they did not give the Minister's ideas, and were generally surveys full of statistics about the progress of trade in articles one had never heard of before, with Colonies one never wanted to see. I infinitely prefer to have the Secretary of State's own words in answer to the Debate before the permanent officials can get at him.
At Question Time to-day the problem of the connection between Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia was raised, and I wish to emphasise the views expressed by the hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Creech Jones) that we must not run away from our responsibilities. The Government are doing that quite enough. It is the old nineteenth century Liberal policy to run away, but I have been shocked to see it adopted by the National Government. If we are to have that sort of policy not only in Palestine but also in Rhodesia, I hope the Government will come to an early, unexpected, but well-deserved end. The fact of the matter is that all over Africa there is a conflict between two principles—whether we are to develop the native so as to make him a civilised being, or whether we are to restrict the native so as to retain him for ever as a hewer of wood and drawer of water.
In talking about these problems, we are infected with the fear of unemployment. The whole of the economic existence of the Labour party depends upon the curse of unemployment. We know that it is unemployment which keeps wages down and that the working classes in this country could well look after them selves if it were not for the competition of the unemployed. That is so deep in our minds that we have to cast our skins and come into a different existence, to remember that in Africa the problem is not how to find work, but how to avoid work. There are too many workers in this country, but in Africa there are too few; and whenever we are considering any African problem, we have to remem- 1067 ber that the labour problem there is not one of how to find work and how to keep the labourer alive when he is out of work, but how to get the labourer to go to work at a reasonable wage. The only question is, what is the reasonable wage? The problem is not a new one, for it has been going on and getting worse for 30 years.
The problem of Nyasaland has been brought up. In Nyasaland the draining of the manhood of the country owing to the labour that is going to the copper belt and to the Rand has become serious. Nyasaland could not continue to exist solvent unless those people went to work outside. The Administration has to see that they go out to work. They are driven to it. It is not compulsory labour; they are not sent out in chain gangs to work, but the taxation which is levied upon them must be such as will send them to increase the total cash wealth of Nyasaland. By an act of insanity we saddled Nyasaland with a debt of £3,000,000 for building a bridge that nobody wanted in Portuguese territory, in order to find labour for people in Sunderland, and ever since that Colony has been incapable of making both ends meet and has had to enslave its population. The problem is a two-sided one. You have to consider the interests of the employer in getting cheap labour, and you have to consider our duty to try to protect the African native now that he is being projected into what is sometimes called civilisation and sometimes exploitation.
I do not know whether hon. Members have noticed that during the whole of the Debate there has not been a single word of complaint about one Colony. Nigeria has passed without any reflections. Why? Because in Nigeria there are no white settlers. The Africans own the land. There is no African in Nigeria who cannot get land and who has not security of tenure in his holding. The labour problem is essentially a land problem. There are two methods of getting cheap labour, one of them being to put taxes upon the native to such an extent that he has to go out to work, and the other to take away from him his natural work by removing from him his rights in the soil so that he has to go out to work. Before we went to Africa, they used to cut each other's throats, but at any rate they had common enjoyment of the land. We have stopped them from murdering one 1068 another and we have almost put down witch doctors, but we have started all the industrial problems which we have here by taking away their land and so forcing them to work for us.
About the West Coast there are no complaints. It is true that in the Gold Coast we turn tribal chiefs into British squires, and give them the same rights to own land, but that has not happened everywhere. There is one Colony at least where there is no labour problem, and where there is land for everybody. The right hon. Gentleman has the greatest difficulty in getting coolies to build his railways, which nobody wants. It is no use pretending that there is any chance of getting our native policy out of this Government. This Government will consider the employer and the native is bound to come off second best. I wish that the suggestions made by my hon. Friend behind me would bear fruit, but they will not. There is no chance of getting unemployment insurance and health insurance and old age pensions and all those other things, which we have only secured for ourselves recently, for the Africans because the Africans have not got the vote or the intelligence. But if we are going to force the African into the maelstrom of civilisation, if we are going to push him as a helpless ignorant labourer into the copper belt, let us see what we can do to enable him to defend himself.
I am confident that the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) is right in saying that education is the key. It is by education that the native can gain the power to resist the influences of the new environment into which he has been forced. If natives of Nyasaland go to the copper belt without a word of English, without being able to read, without being able to write to their homes, without even being able to establish contact with each other because they have no common language; if they are not allowed the chance to cease to be animals and become human beings—then, with all the good will in the world, we cannot help them. Their only chance is that they should learn to help themselves and that power comes from education. I do not mean just training them to be good farmers or good mechanics. Reading and writing in themselves are not much use.
1069 Do let us remember in this connection what education means. It means drawing out all that is best in a child, to build up that child's character and to turn a more or less unformed human being into a man. In other words, the object of education ought to be to teach a boy or man how he can get away from where he is and become something different from what he was. Too much of our education consists of teaching him how to give satisfaction in that state of life to which it has pleased God to call him. That is not the kind of education that we want. What we want to do is to teach these people to become English working-men so that they can organise themselves, so that they can read the papers and appreciate the words of wisdom which fall at this Box. The first step in that direction is that they should learn English. If the native is to defend himself in this world, he must be able to speak a civilised language and to read civilised books arid to acquire even the most dangerous Communistic ideas but at any rate to acquire some ideas. I do not know whether that is the hope of the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary but I am certain that if he, like Lord Hugh Cecil, regards all evolution as evolution from the animal to the divine, the only way to start it is not by technical training but by real education, by teaching them to think rather than teaching them what to think.
Let us come down to a practical case. In Kenya we spend I do not know how much on native education. It is all spent through the missionary societies. For that purpose we give subventions to the missionary societies and nobly most of these societies do their work. I believe that, in their case, it is well-spent money. But owing to that glorious impartiality which leads to so much injustice, we say that if we give to one missionary society we must give to all, and in consequence of that system over one-third of the sum which we dole out for education goes to Catholic missions under which the education is completely different and is of a type the result of which we see in Spain. Indeed it seems to me as if it were there, not so much a question of spending the money because we want education, as of being able to say, "We are giving the money equally all round and we must treat one the same as another." There is not an official in 1070 East Africa or in the Colonial Office who does not know that that money which is spent on the English and Scottish Mission is admirably spent on giving the best education, but if the money is spent upon the Catholic missions it is transferred straight to Rome—perhaps not the exact sum but other sums instead.
If you just wish to please those particular missionary societies then of course you ought to go on doing as you are doing now, but if you want to get real education you must have some sort of inspection and some sort of satisfaction in your own mind that you are getting value for your money all round. The missionaries have done admirable educational work in Africa. Indeed if it were not for the missionaries the natives in South Africa would be in a poor position. But while, as I say, the money is generally well spent, let us have it so spent that we shall know that we are getting full value for it and that it is not drifting into undesirable channels.
That brings me to another question. May I ask the right hon. Gentleman how he is getting on with education in Malta? When I was there I found English being taught by Sinn Fein Catholic Irish who hated this country. I do not think you are likely to get very good English teaching from people of that sort in any country, and it is time that we realised what is being taught there. The difficulty in Malta all along has been a desperate fear of offending the susceptibilities of the ecclesiastics there. The Government have allowed university education there to remain tenth-rate. In spite of the fact that there is a large population who support the anti-clerical views of Lord Strickland, you still allow the domination of the Archbishop to continue. Even while allowing the Catholic population of Malta still to be taught by Catholics, surely it would be possible to find Catholics in this country who love England, instead of Catholics educated in Salamanca who hate England? The system of exchange of teachers has done admirable service in the past to many Colonial teachers and is welcomed by teachers in this country. They enjoy going out to foreign countries and if you want to teach people to think in English you can help to do so by giving more encouragement to the movement for exchange of teachers. But I think it is nothing less than a scandal to find from 1071 a recent official report that in Cyprus, where we have ruled, directly or indirectly, for over 70 years, we have only reached a stage at which there are few villages now where you cannot find someone who speaks English. If you go to Egypt which was occupied by us—I think that is the correct term—for well over 50 years, you find that at the end of those 50 years British officials there were still talking bad Levantine French.
I think it is time that we abandoned the traditional British idea of leaving cultural propaganda to the southern races. The more people in this world who can be made to think in English, the safer the world will be. I do not care whether it is Kenya, Rhodesia, Ceylon, India or Egypt—I would sooner have those peoples talking and understanding English, because I know that where language goes the heart goes too. I know too that there is no other chance of protecting the African native from that exploitation to which he will be doomed as long as he remains ignorant. I know, too, that English is the finest literature in the world. For those reasons I think the Colonial Office might go in more for education, without upsetting any of the great traditions of that Department.
There is one way in which the Colonial Office might help, and one which I am certain would be pleasing to the House of Commons. I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman might adopt this course if he has the courage to stand up to his permanent officials. I think we might increase the contact between the House of Commons and these Colonies by seeing that Members of the House of Commons are more extensively used to carry the traditions of the House to the various Crown Colonies as Governors. It is ridiculous that in places with budding constitutions like Kenya, or Malta or Palestine we should not have Governors, who have been brought up in the traditions of the House of Commons, to start those countries off on the same lines. Why must we always select retired admirals or generals? It was not so in the past. I remember when a great many Governors were drawn from this House. I think myself that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Altrincham was a very bad Governor, but I am certain that he was a better Governor than you would have got out of the Colonial Office. In any case 1072 he understands public responsibilities and we know him. There ought to be more contact between the House of Commons and the people who are doing the work of the House of Commons in these Colonies.
It is not only a question of the appointment of governors. Even more important is it that people like chief justices should be chosen from honest, hardworking barristers in this House—not only on the opposite side of the House, but on this side also. From all the Colonial governors whom I have ever known—all Tories—there was one complaint. They all said, "Everything we ever got, we got from the Labour Government." Let there be a reversion of that system so that some of us here on these benches may be able to point out later that our success in life has been due to the generous action of a National Government. It is now an out-of-date procedure to send a general to Palestine or an admiral to Gibraltar—to give these posts all over the world to eminent people who are retiring from one of the Services, who have no knowledge of Government but who have long ago earmarked particular posts knowing that certain governorships are always given to the Army, others to the Navy and others to the Civil Service. It is not administering the Colonies; it is using the Colonies as a milch cow for retired Service men, and that policy might well be broken down in the interest of an education in British parliamentary methods.
I want to take that still further. Has not the time come to consider a more intimate connection between this House and the Colonies? Thanks to the extraordinary and exceptional hospitality of the Government Hospitality Fund, we have come into a good deal of contact with people from the Colonies during the last fortnight, all of those who have come here speaking perfect English, all of them filled with a desire to become English, to be taken as one of us—people who have never seen England before, coming from places like Sierra Leone, with a pride in their participation in the Coronation—so why cannot we make that participation a little bit more real? Is there any reason why some of these Colonies should not be represented in this House and in another place? It is always these big steps of which the administrators fight shy. It is a revolu- 1073 tionary idea, but we know that you see it in France. There you have representatives of all the French Colonies sitting in the French Chamber, and coloured people too.
§ Colonel Wedgwood
No, some of them, and mixing on perfectly equal terms. That beastly caste system between black and white is destroyed. We are not Germany; we do not want to run any Aryan idea, and I cannot see why we should not have representatives here from countries like Ceyon, Malta, Palestine, Kenya, West Africa. If we had them here, they would learn from us. We are the best teachers in the world, and we could here destroy the caste barriers. The most extraordinary feature about this House is that it does put everybody on the same footing of complete equality. They would benefit from us, and we should learn something about their countries at first hand, instead of getting it always from the critic who has a grievance or the newspaper which has a vested interest in abusing England. I believe you would get here, in this House, a dozen Members who would be of enormous service.
What are the objections? I have had them put to me very often. One objection is that you would have people here taxing this country while their own country would not be subject to that taxation. That objection should come from these benches, but it does not. It is such a small objection. The objection really comes from the Colonial Office. They say, "If we had a Newfoundland representative in this House, he would give hell to the Colonial Office." Surely the Colonial Office is capable of standing up to one Colonial when it stands up to the whole Opposition. The opposition which comes from the Colonial Office is based on the idea that they would all be like the 120 Irishmen whom we used to have in this House. But there were 120 of them, and they were pretty tough customers. I do not think we should get the same difficulties from one Member from each Colony. The real objection is the absurd conservatism of the whole of the British public. They cannot manage to visualise a change. We have representatives of the Irish Peers in the other House. The Irish peerage elect—I do not know when—their representatives in the House of Lords. What could be simpler 1074 or better than to allow the Maltese peerage to elect their own representative in the House of Lords? By perfectly constitutional methods you would actually get into the Lords and into the Commons an element which would be thoroughly conservative, let me assure hon. Members opposite, and yet would learn from the Opposition.
§ The Chairman (Sir Dennis Herbert)
It would have to be legislative and would all involve legislation.
§ Colonel Wedgwood
It would involve legislation. I am merely casting it forward as a dream. If only the right hon. Gentleman will educate himself with such dreams and will spread English education throughout all These Colonies, he may be leading up to something far better than the old idea of budding off self-governing States to start on their own, and instead of destroying the British Empire by sending away Dominion after Dominion, we may build inside this House a great union of the British people.
§ 6.52 p.m.
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
I know that some hon. Members who have spoken must get away to-night, and I think it is only fair that I should make some reply, as briefly as I can, to the points which have been made so far, and no doubt other Members will continue the Debate afterwards. When I listen to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman who has just sat down, I always find in myself some sneaking sympathy with a great many of his ideas, though very often in politics I find that I part company from him.
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
With what he says about the spread of the English language as a medium of education in the Colonial Empire, I am heartily in agreement. I think it is absolutely essential that a small child should receive its earliest education in the language of its own home, in its own vernacular. It is only when it has laid the foundations of a language which is the language of its father and mother and of its home, it is only when it has begun to use the three R' s in that language and has developed it so far that it can take on usefully and really assimilate a language, and a language, from its point of view, so very far 1075 removed in general structure as the African or Chinese languages. But when a child is going to have a full school career and the opportunity of learning beyond the vernacular education, then I am wholly with the right hon. and gallant Gentleman that throughout the Colonial Empire we can do far more than has been done in the past to spread the use of the English language as the lingua franca of the Colonial Empire, and I entirely agree for the same reason, not because we want to impose either our political or economic doctrines upon the child, but because the English language gives access to the very things that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman was rather frightened of—technical attainments, which it certainly cannot get in its own language, scientific work, and the like, and all the literature of this country, literary, poetical, dramatic, and the like, as well as political.
I rejoice that in the last few years the old prejudice that existed in Malta and Cyprus, and in none more than in the elected representatives of the local legislature, against England has been broken down and that in Cyprus we are at last, under the present constitution, insisting on the spread of English in that island. It was opposed vigorously by the people to start with, but now I believe they are beginning to get the benefit of it. In Malta there has always been a much more friendly reception for English, and now, the educational system being based on the use of the national Maltese language and English, and the Italian complication being out of the way, there is a real educational advance taking place in Malta.
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
I am sending out more English teachers from this country. One went quite recently, and another goes quite shortly.
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
No, English; arid last year I had the pleasure of welcoming here, in my room at the Colonial Office, 28 Maltese teachers, many of whom had never been to this country before. All of them made a tour of educational institutions in this country, and several of 1076 them stayed on for courses here. That experiment is going to be repeated this year, and I believe that a mutual interchange between Malta and this country for the very purpose of spreading English will continue. But I must quarrel with the right hon. and gallant Gentleman for suggesting what he did—I do not think he was dogmatic about it—about missionary education. He paid a tribute to what they have done in Africa—and no tribute could be too high—but when he said that the grants that we give to the missionary bodies for education in Africa could be transferred to Rome or elsewhere, that is not so. We only give Government grants out of the local taxes for secular education, and we only give them to schools which are subject to regular inspection and which teach according to the curricula approved by the Director of Education, who is our Government man, and I can assure him that his idea that we are doling out missionary schools with no control and no inspection is entirely unfounded.
I must deal, however, not only with the right hon. and gallant Gentleman, and as I am dealing with the subject of education, let me say that I quite agree that the whole future in education of all these territories is one of the vital elements of any sound Colonial policy. I must thank my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) for his contribution and his speech. He is a member of the Advisory Committee in the Colonial Office on Education in the Colonial Empire, and I think the hon. Member who spoke earlier to-day, the hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Creech Jones) has just joined that committee. I think he is to be congratulated on the work which he and the Member for Cambridge University have clone. I think a great deal of that work and policy is exactly the kind of work which that committee ought to be pressing and pursuing It is a central advisory committee. I think it nominally advises me, but the machinery is such that it is advisory to every Colonial Governor, and it is in a position to co-ordinate, to review, and to compare East Africa and Wrest Africa. It has before it every year, when they come on leave, the leading educationists from those countries, it is in touch with all the missionary bodies, and it can draw from the experience of the whole Colonial Empire, and not only of our Colonial Empire, but also the experience through- 1077 out the Dominions, India, and the like. One of the secretaries had long experience in India and the other was a Director of Education in Nigeria. The Advisory Committee since its creation, has been, and I am confident will be, a really vitalising as well as co-ordinating force in educational advance.
I am very glad that there was a special survey of education in East Africa, with special reference to higher education this last winter, and I hope to get a report of it shortly. The idea is that the Makerere College will be fed not merely by Uganda, but from the whole of East Africa. It is possible that that report may lead up to investigation in West Africa. In any case Achimota itself has got to be inspected next year, and no doubt opportunities will occur for further surveys like that which has recently taken place in East Africa. I quite agree with him that what is needed now, apart from secondary and technical education, is a further development of mass education, which itself turns on a supply of competent teachers and teachers who themselves know English and have experience and a civilised outlook, but who will be able to spread mass education in the only language it can be spread, the language of the people.
Perhaps I had better now refer to what the right hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) said about Nyasaland. A number of hon. Members have spoken about Nyasaland, and I think I must give them the picture in its proper perspective. The migration of natives from Nyasaland is no new feature. It is an inherent problem of Nyasaland. If you look at it on the map it looks a tiny country, much smaller than nearly all the other African possessions, and insignificant in size compared with Southern or, still more, Northern Rhodesia. But it has always been much more populous. You have in Nyasaland a density of native population of between 50 and 60 to the square mile. In Northern Rhodesia it is three to the square mile, and in Southern Rhodesia five. In Nyasaland there is pressure of population on the land, and particularly on land which is any good. It has always been a very densely populated native country. There are few Europeans in it, few European employers; and there are no minerals. Geologists and prospectors have been there. The Governor told me of a 1078 pathetic incident only recently. They said, "Cannot the Government arrange to have some gold in our grounds in order that we may dig it up?" They are doing it in America; unfortunately, there is no possibility of it in Nyasaland.
But whereas the right hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme is quite correct in saying that throughout the great part of Africa the problem of unemployment as we understand it, and the industrial problem as we know it, does not exist, in Nyasaland it has always existed in the sense that the economic possibility of the native advancing in an economic scale has been appallingly difficult from the start. He has had enough food, but directly he needs any money he is in great difficulties. The sole object of building the Zambesi 13ridge was because until that bridge was built there was practically no means of anything being grown in Nyasaland and sold outside it. I remember when I visited Nyasaland arriving at the Zambesi River and the great difficulty of getting me and my comparatively small suitcase across. I went in a canoe, then a larger boat, then a paddlewheel steamer, a canoe, then a boat again, and finally I crossed the river. Until that bridge was built it was impossible to export the native produce of Nyasaland except for a short time in the year. I remember that when I was there —I forget what the value of maize was in the markets of the world—but in Nyasaland it was a £2 a ton, and there was not much market for it, there was so much of it. The cost of the service of the debt incurred in building that bridge does not fall on the Nyasaland taxpayer. It is failing on us. The natives have not paid a penny. If the right hon. Gentleman will look at the Estimates he will see that this year Nyasaland has the largest grant-in-aid of any country in the Colonial Empire.
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
If and when they develop. The revenue balances at about £400,000. It must be obvious that it is no use asking for staff, labour departments, and more agricultural officers if they mean further taxation of the natives. As it is, the native head tax in Nyasaland is lower than that in any other of that range of countries. It is 6s. In most of Southern Rhodesia it is, I think, £1. In 1079 Tanganyika the usual rate is from 8s. to 10s. In Uganda it is 15s. In Nyasaland the head tax is much lower than anywhere else, and quite rightly. The hon. Member quoted from my dispatch. It is obvious from this that the Northern areas are worse in employment and there is no possibility of economic export. If that is so you cannot collect taxes.
It is not surprising that in Nyasaland, where elementary education has been effectively advanced, the more enterprising elements in the community have for many years gone off. Right through Kenya, in the Mandated Territory of Tanganyika and right down to the Union of South Africa, you will find the natives of Nyasaland scattered everywhere. It is one of the inherent facts of the situation and we cannot alter it. If we could find a wonderful mineral deposit there we might alter it. I agree that if they are going out of their country permanently it ought to be family settlement. Equally, I think the time has come if they go out temporarily as young men before they marry and come back very often to acquire the necessary money to marry—to pay for the cow and goat to get married—itis desirable that the Government should take greater control than it has in the past in the migration of the Nyasaland boys. I have made it clear that that is my view. I do not want to go to the extreme. The Nyasaland native is particularly independent, and he particularly cherishes the right to choose his own employer. That is why he likes to go into these little mines and farms in Southern Rhodesia probably more than anywhere else, because he is able to move about from one to the other and choose his own employer. But if he goes to any of the big mining areas, then, I think, he has got to be looked after.
I was asked if I was going to ratify the International Labour Convention with regard to the recruitment of native labour. I hope so. It all turns on whether I can get agreement with the Union of South Africa that they will pay the fares of the Nyasaland boys going backward and forward to and from the Rand, and I am holding out for that, apart from the health question which has got to be watched all the time. Our experience is so far satisfactory on health. I think that 1080 the hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Creech Jones) is really a little out of date when he talks about the awfully vicious life in the compounds. The improvement in the compound system on the mines in quite recent times has been remarkable. If you want to see a model example—it is an entirely new development—it is in the copper belt of Northern Rhodesia.
Mr. Creech Jones
I was talking of the unnatural life in the compounds and the presence of a great deal of vice. When the right hon. Gentleman says that he is holding out, does he mean that he has not yet given a licence for a company to recruit labour in Nyasaland?
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
I have said that I gave a licence arid 2,000 "experimental" natives are now actually at work. When the hon. Member talks of the vicious unnatural life I assure him that those days have very largely gone, and I am sure of this, that if you have people coming from a great distance into a great city like Johannesburg a nd give them complete freedom to roam where they like in a city of that sort, then you will get vice, and you will get them in the vicious part of the town. I say that they have got to be controlled for their year's work; you have got to guard them if only to prevent them from blue-ing their wages or having them blued for them instead of having their wages to take back to their people. I can assure the hon. Member that the old days of brandy in the compound together with prostitution and so on have passed. Let us recognise where progress has been made. It is no use talking, when great efforts have been made to remedy abuses, as if the abuses were still going on. I am not going to pretend that everything is lovely. Let me correct a statement I made that Miss Picton-Turbervill signed the majority report. She expressed agreement with many proposals in it, but she did not sign it.
Let me come back to the hon. Member who opened the Debate. He referred to the Pim Report. Income Tax is now in force, and in force with good will. It passed through the Kenya Legislature. It had, of course, serious opposition from a certain section of the settlers, but a great many of them supported it and it is now on the Statute Book. With regard to the reduction of native 1081 taxation, it has been reduced to the extent recommended by Sir Alan Pim. The hut and poll tax used to become payable when a boy reached 16, but the age has now been altered to i8. The question of multiple huts and other recommendations of Sir Alan Pim have been referred to a local committee.
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
There is no reduction in the head tax beyond the raising of the age. The effect of the reduction of the multiple huts tax on the polygamy problem is being investigated. Many missionaries take exception to facilitating polygamy, but, be that as it may, the question is being gone into and a review of native taxation in that respect and in some others is being undertaken. I cannot give the rates of Income Tax, for they are complicated, but the principle has been established. Whether it will be extended to other parts of East Africa remains to be seen; it is a matter for discussion. I have made it clear that nobody can escape Income Tax by dodging into Uganda or Tanganyika, and the Governments of those places will have to take action if there is any attempt to evade the Income Tax in Kenya.
The hon. Member asked about the labour department. There is, again, a labour department in Kenya as part of the native administration. I have come to the conclusion that it is very desirable that there should not be a separate labour department, but that it ought to be under the Secretary of Native Affairs as part of the native affairs work of the country, and, above all, it ought to be interchangeable with the ordinary district commissioners' staffs of the Colonial Service. I am sure that that is the only way to work it, and that it is the only way the natives understand it. It is the duty of the district commissioners who are told off for this work, say in the mining area, to do the work, and everybody familiar with the conditions will bear me out.
It is very curious how again and again the mining development in Kenya is emphasised. It is really a very small field compared with other places in parts of Africa. I have not been able to get last year's figures, but I have the figures for 1935. The total results of gold 1082 mining in Kenya were 23.000 ounces. In Sierra Leone, they were 30,00o; Nigeria, 38,000; Tanganyika, 52,000; and Gold Coast, where mining operations are mainly underground and employ far more lads and entirely native labour, 358,000. Let hon. Members remember that the Kenya gold mining problem is a very small one indeed, and that attention might be placed on exactly similar problems which arise on a much bigger scale in practically every other territory in Africa. I do not know why Kenya is always singled out in this respect. A vast amount of African labour 19, recruited for Gold Coast mines. Vast numbers are being employed in the Lupa fields and in other territories. There is the vast tin industry of Nigeria, but it is only in the case of Kenya that there is a sort of suspicion that miners are not properly treated and compensated when they are injured. They are, for there is provision in force for compensation to workmen injured in mining accidents.
I was asked about the Chesham Concession in Tanganyika. When the original Tanganyika Land Ordinance was passed—the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme had something to do with it—it was laid down that any exceptional concession had to come home for the approval of the Secretary of State. This concession did come home, and was submitted to me for my approval, and I take full personal responsibility for going into it and approving it.
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
Ninety-nine years, with provision for revision of rent. The concession to this development company is 16 square miles of land which is all over 6,000 feet above sea level in a rather remote part of the southern highlands. It is a very sparsely inhabited country, and there are practically no natives living there. If it is to be developed it can only be done by a small company. The whole Territory comprises 365,000 square miles, so that the concession is not a very large area. One of the reasons I want to see it developed is that, with the increase of the alluvial mining and some possibility of underground gold mining, it makes it desirable, where Europeans and natives will be employed, to increase 1083 the production of food for Europeans in that remote part of Tanganyika. At present it is difficult to get anything but purely native foods there, and we want somebody to grow vegetables and other things which are needed in addition to the ordinary bully beef diet of the mining camp. I am satisfied that this concession has been made to a good company, that it has a chance of doing a little developing there, and that I was justified in approving it. The hon. Member talked about the West Indies. There have been many commissions and inquiries into the West Indies, and it may be that there will be more. As a matter of fact, banana growing is the staple industry of Jamaica, and it is far bigger than sugar. The sugar industry is not now so depressed. If the present prices are maintained, as I hope they will be, the sugar industry will not be nearly so depressed as it has been. The recent International Convention about sugar will be a real benefit and give real assurance for the next five years.
I come to the questions asked me by the hon. Member for the Isle of Ely (Mr. de Rothschild). He was rather critical about the Colonial Development Committee. That committee has done a wonderful work in facilitating developments throughout the Colonial Empire. There is hardly a Colony which has not been helped. The hon. Member asked me for their names. They are: Sir Alan Rae Smith, Sir Edward Dayson, Sir John Eaglesome, Sir Richard Jackson, Sir Alan Pim, Sir Felix Pole and Sir George Schuster. There are no Members of this House on it, no members of the Colonial Service, and no officials. It was set up by an Act of this House as an advisory committee, and it was debarred from having on it anybody connected with the Government. It is an Advisory Committee to which all schemes are to be submitted, and before a Treasury grant is given for the scheme under the Act it has to have the approval of this strictly unofficial committee.
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
It is not a question of class. As the right hon. Gentleman who spoke earlier said, the one thing we 1084 always do in this House is that we get rid of the beastly question of class.
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
I agree that they are all self-made men who have risen from the bottom and w ho have had business experience of one sort and another. The idea that because they all happen to have been knighted there is a sort of class spirit in it is disgusting snobbery.
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
The hon. Member suggests that because they are successful business men there is a class interest.
§ Mr. Sorensen
Does not the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that his indignation might have been more sincere if there had been another type of person on that list in order to defend his indignation?
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
No, I suggest, as the right hon. Gentleman did, that any suggestion in this House that there is a difference between one man and another in respect of class is ridiculous. For the hon. Gentleman to suggest that he and I are of a different class is a most ridiculous thing to do. The old idea that there is a class war and class bias simply makes me disgusted.
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
The next thing the hon. Member for the Isle of Ely asked me about was planning, He said the activities of the Colonial Development Committee and the Colonial Marketing Board must be supplemented by a planning of the crops under some form of co-ordination. That planning has existed and is maintained very largely through the Advisory Committee on Agriculture, which is a comparatively new introduction into the Colonial Office. We have two ex-directors of agriculture with wide experience in the Colonial Empire whose work it is not only to advise Colonial Governments but all who are interested in agricultural development, which is the main activity in the Colonial Empire, of what is being done in other parts of the Empire and the world, where new markets seem to be opening and the like. There is also a statistical branch to assist this work. I think that with this measure of co-ordination, upon actual expenditure on capital works of development, agricul- 1085 tural planning, study of the soils and the final marketing of the produce, we have the whole structure there, and a much more complete scheme than existed in the Colonial Office when I was first there as Under-Secretary, and increasing use is being made of it throughout the Colonial Empire.
My hon. Friend the Member for Altrincham (Sir E. Grigg), who has done distinguished colonial service, asked me one or two questions. First I can tell him that there is no danger of a financial burden falling on Kenya. Kenya has so far had practically none of the Abyssinian refugees. They are nearly all in Somaliland. He also asked for details about the Kenya Executive Council. It was recommended by Sir Alan Pim in his report that the structure of Government there needed alteration, and that it ought to be roughly on these lines—a civil secretary, a financial secretary, a legal secretary and a secretary for native affairs, and that all the other departments should be grouped under their appropriate heads, instead of having a whole series of technical departments directly under the Governor or under the Colonial Secretary. He explained that the existing arrangements for the Executive Council took the technical heads of departments away from their work for an undue time, and that it was desirable that the official side of the Executive Council should consist of the Governor and these four pivotal figures. I came to the conclusion that it is absolutely essential in countries like Kenya to get the unofficial members of the community who play such a large part in the Legislative Council inside the Executive Council, whose proceedings are strictly confidential and secret and who are purely advisers to the Governor. The present intention is that there will be an Executive Council consisting of the Governor, four official representatives and four unofficial. The Governor, of course, has power to override them, but we shall know nothing about that because the proceedings are secret.
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
Yes, one will be an Indian. I say, frankly, that I regret the introduction of communal representation, but the whole essence of the 1086 thing is that the Governor should be free to choose whichever individuals he thinks will be the most helpful for advising him when projects of government, despatches and the rest arise. I am sure that Executive Council will be a much more effective and responsible body than it has been hitherto, and that the change will make for efficiency. I am told that there is great searching of hearts among people who have been on the Executive Council and think they ought to have extra stripes on their arms, but that position will have to be met in some other way.
Several hon. Members have suggested that instead of my making these long speeches in reply to questions or as opening remarks, I should consider preparing an annual report for presentation to this House. I certainly will do so. My first idea was that it should be presented with the Estimates, but my Estimates have to be presented in March, and that would be too soon. The document must be reasonably up to date and, after all, most of the Colonies are only able to provide me with information covering the calendar year, so I think it would be impracticable to present it in the early days of Spring as a covering memorandum to the Estimates. However, I will endeavour to get the information and produce the report early in the summer, somewhere about this time. It shall be done as an experiment, at any rate, and to see how we get on, and I will try to do it next year. I realise that such a report might save a good deal of the time of the House as well as be of interest to Members generally.
§ Sir E. Grigg
Will the right hon. Gentleman reply to my question about tariff preferences and the third mandate principle?
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
Those are questions rather of high policy into which I do not wish to go. Certainly we have had the possibility, since the French denounced the Anglo-French Agreement, of introducing preferential arrangements in Nigeria. Deliberately and of set purpose we have not done so, but let me say, with the exception which I have already mentioned that if we want manufacturers on the Continent of Europe as well as our own to survive—I do not say in the case of textiles only, because that would be an exceptional case—quotas against Japan 1087 are inevitable until there is some voluntary agreement with Japan as to how far she will go. I should be glad to see a voluntary agreement with Japan if that were possible. We can see what is happening in East Africa and in Tanganyika. I was looking at the figures the other day. Japan takes, I think, 2 per cent. of Tanganyika's exports but supplies fully a quarter of the imports of Tanganyika, and neither Germany nor other countries can compete with that trade. If the open door means the competition of people with European standards of labour with the cheapest Asiatic standards of labour, there is no hope for the economic appeasement of Europe, and we must bear that in mind.
Mr. E. Harvey
Will the right hon. Gentleman explain whether there will be any representatives specially chosen to speak for the native Africans on the reconstituted Executive Council of Kenya other than the Commissioner of Native Affairs?
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
No, I do not think so. I am most anxious that we shall not have anybody earmarked for this, that and the other purpose. I think it would be most undesirable to say to this member "You are to speak for natives" and to another "You are to speak for European affairs." We want to get away from the sectional instincts which have been prevalent in Kenya. We want to get more of the spirit in which all communities work together in the interests of the colony, and I am satisfied that there are Europeans there who take a real interest in the natives—and they are not always the most vocal politicians—who are very suitable persons to be on an executive council.
§ 7.40 p.m.
§ Mr. Pritt
I desire to raise one confined but not unimportant grievance from the mandated territory of Tanganyika, of which I have given the right hon. Gentleman notice. I shall not even discuss the class war and will put this matter alone before the Committee. I have taken the utmost possible care to verify my facts and the case seems to me to present beyond doubt a very bad instance of gross administrative interference with the independence of the judiciary in the person of a first-class magistrate in Tan- 1088 ganyika whose name is Cooke. I have no doubt that the Colonial Office professes, in common with the rest of the Government, that the judiciary should be independent and should not be interfered with by the administration, but there is a sorry story of the treatment of this officer in respect of his judicial work. He has been driven out of the Service, and up to now has had no redress and no apology. The gentleman in question is a first-class magistrate of 20 years standing, and I understand, of good reputation. He served those 20 years partly in Kenya and partly in Tanganyika. Under a system which I think nobody likes, but which cannot be eliminated immediately, he was an administrative officer as well as a judicial officer. I think that the right hon. Gentleman will agree that in his judicial capacity he ought to be treated as a judicial officer, and his independence ought to be respected.
In the month of May, 1935, a criminal case was brought before this gentleman in the ordinary course of his duties. In that case the accused person made serious allegations against a certain detective-sergeant. I do not think there is any point in giving the sergeant's name. He is not here to answer. Those allegations were supported by one of the witnesses for the Crown. The magistrate did not even venture to say that the allegations were true. He simply said that in his opinion the matter needed strict investigation. That is the head and front of his offending—that as a judicial officer he said "These accusations have been made and they ought to be strictly investigated." They were investigated in a way, because the police superintendent under whom the detective-sergeant served himself held an inquiry. He did not get in a third party, judicial or otherwise, to inquire. At that inquiry the person who had made the accusation was not examined, so that it was not much of an investigation after all. I am not criticising the extent of that investigation, but am merely stating it so that the subsequent requests and demands made before the magistrate may be understood.
The police superintendent who administratively was, I imagine, lower in rank than Mr. Cooke, and who, when Mr. Cooke was serving in his judicial capacity, ought to have left him severely alone in the way of criticism, just as 1089 would a police superintendent in the case of a magistrate in this country, put before Mr. Cooke a demand. It may be called a request if one likes, but I prefer to call it a demand. His demand was that Mr. Cooke should state in open court and in the presence of the accused and of the detective-sergeant, in a district where he was the magistrate and his prestige should, I suppose, to some extent be maintained, that he was satisfied that the accusations which had been made were not true. I imagine that there were two good reasons why Mr. Cooke might have refused. One is that he could not be satisfied, and the other is he might think, as judicial officer, that it would be fatal to the administration of justice if he allowed himself to be ordered about by the police superintendent. He did, in fact, refuse. The police superintendent, so far as I know, accepted his view, and that might have been the end of the matter, and if it had been I do not suppose it would ever have been brought to any Member of Parliament for investigation.
But the higher official, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, was not going to have any of this nonsense about the judiciary, and he found an ally, of all strange persons, in this attack upon the judiciary, in the Acting-Chief Justice, who was a puisne judge, acting in the absence of the Chief Justice. He was an enthusiastic ally. The Acting-Chief Justice did not even trouble to communicate with Mr. Cooke before adjudicating upon him and he wrote a letter to Mr. Cooke by the hand of his Registrar, the first communication that Mr. Cooke had ever had from his superior upon this matter, stating that in the opinion of the Acting-Chief Justice it was most unfortunate that Mr. Cooke should have made adverse comment upon the detective-sergeant. Mr. Cooke's view is that he had not made any comments upon him. The letter generally attacked Mr. Cooke by saying:The Acting-Chief Justice thinks that if you had done as you have been requested to do, state in open court, in the presence of the accused, that your suspicions have been proved, as a result of a full investigation, to he wrong, or that you are glad to know that the detective-sergeant's name has been cleared of the baseless charges on the part of the accused, it will not be in conformity with your view that it was in the interests of the accused that a special investigation should be held. His Honour suggests that amends be 1090 made to the detective-sergeant on the lines suggested, and will be glad to hear when this has been done.Those were orders to a magistrate, without even asking him for his version of the matter, by the acting chief justice at the request of the police, that he should, in his own court and in his own district, apologise to a detective-seargeant. Happily all these people are of the same class, but one of them is a judicial officer and ought not to be treated like that. Mr. Cooke did not think he could do that. Nobody would think much of him as a magistrate if he were prepared to accept orders like that unless he believed that he had really done something wrong.
The Acting-Chief Justice was not satisfied. He appealed to the Governor. In this little mounting pile of what I submit is injustice, he now had the highest administrative officer in the mandated territory at work. It seems probable from the documents I have studied, that the Acting-Chief Justice actually asked the Governor to get Mr. Cooke removed. I cannot be sure of that, because it is not clear that that was done, but at any rate, the Governor, following the admirable precedent already set of writing to Mr. Cooke, and ordering him about, without first asking for any explanation, tells Mr. Cooke that his observations were misplaced. Without asking for Mr. Cooke's statement he tells him that his action in passing strictures upon a member of the police force—which he had not done according to his version, but he had never been given a chance to work it out with the Governor—in open court, was indefensible and that in the correspondence which resulted, His Excellency and the Acting-Chief Justice can commend neither the judgment or the common sense of Mr. Cooke. He attacked him generally like that, and asked to hear that he has done what he has been asked to do in the way of apologising, in effect, to the detective-sergeant.
It is no part of my duty, in attempting to put this matter before the Committee, to wonder whether the Secretary of State or any other high officer has asked the Governor and the Acting-Chief Justice for any explanation of their conduct, but I am happy to be able to say that, when the next step of the Governor was to ask the Secretary of State for sanction to remove this judicial officer from his 1091 office in respect of complaints against him—which the officer had never been asked to answer—to the honour of the Secretary of State, that request was refused. That is the first—I may be putting it too strongly—glimmer of proper and impartial conduct that has appeared in this matter. Up to now we have the judicial officer standing by his duty and his independence, in the face of a series of administrative attacks. Up to now he has suffered no great actual punishment, that is, up to the moment at which the Secretary of State turned the matter down. It was not for want of trying on the part of his administrative superiors that he was not bundled out of his job neck and crop.
Now, in December, 1935, comes the moment to pay him out somehow. He received a telegram directing him to return to Dar-es-Salam immediately, and informing him that he will not return to Tabora. He sent a telegram; asking whether this was a disciplinary measure, because if it was he was entitled to ask for an inquiry before it was carried out. The answer might have been: "No, Sir, it is not a disciplinary measure," but the answer in fact was to treat his request with complete contempt by not even replying to it, and it took him some four months, I think, to ascertain the reason for his removal from Tabora. The reason then given, and not very fully particularised, was that his presence there seriously jeopardised the course of justice. He was kept in Dar-es-Salam for some considerable time. Perhaps I had better say, too, that he remained in the service of the Tanganyika Government for another 12 months, during which time he was never allowed to do five minutes of judicial work.
He was kept in Dar-es-Salam, and during most of the time he was engaged —he makes no complaint of it—in assisting in the investigation of certain charges against police administration which he had thought right to put before the Governor. I have left that out deliberately, I hope not unfairly, because otherwise I might have carried the matter to intolerable length, and it did not, in my view—the right hon. Gentleman is entitled to tell me that I am wrong, if he thinks I am— throw any light on this treatment of a judicial officer. In the course of the inquiry into those allegations against the 1092 police, he was assured, not only orally but in writing, that his conduct was not being called in question in any way in the inquiry. Nevertheless, when the inquiry was reported on, the report did attack him.
The administrative superiors of this judicial officer had another shot in their lockers. I want to put it very carefully, and not too high. Mr. Cooke's 20 years' service would run out on or about 1st January, 1937. The Governors of Tanganyika, as I imagine are the Governors of other Territories and Colonies, are entitled to pension at the end of 20 years' service. I do not know the exact form, whether you call it retiring a man upon pension or calling upon him to retire on pension, but they have an absolute right, and there need be nothing administratively wrong. Mr. Cooke had gathered, as people do now in Colonies and Territories, from all sorts of conversations, that in the ordinary course of things, he would be allowed to do two more tours, which would carry a correspondingly larger pension. Leaving that aside, and taking it just as an ordinary case of a judicial or administrative officer, he might or might not extend his term. I am putting it as low as I possibly can, deliberately. We now have this very unhappy feature: Here is a man, a judicial officer, with the administrative authorities, assisted, I regret to say, by one judicial officer, and held in check only by the Secretary of State, determined to pay this man out. When they cannot do it in any other way—they have never made a charge against him or given him the opportunity to be heard on any charge— they say: "It is all right; we have got him. At the end of his 20 years, we have an absolute right to tell him to go, and we will do it."
I think this is perhaps the major part of the ill-treatment of Mr. Cooke and, what is ten times more important, the ill-treatment of the whole judiciary in this way. There were many things wrong between May, 1935, and the end of 1937, and, looking at the matter as a lawyer, I think this may be said to be the least of them, but, at any rate, it was a cowardly thing to do. I concede the absolute administrative power to get rid of people at the end of 20 years, but when you use that after every other method of getting rid of a man has failed, you are doing 1093 something, if not in law, in common decency which, in common decency, you ought to be estopped from doing. That was what was done to Mr. Cooke. Because he had made a very modest statement in his judicial capacity and he said he could not withdraw it because he did not believe he was wrong, he was subjected to this humiliation and to administrative measures which put him, as they have a perfect right to do, on a smaller pension at an earlier date than he expected would have been the case. He has left the Service, it must be inevitable, to everybody who knows the circumstances, with a slur. I suggest that the facts show not only a very disquieting treatment of an individual but something incomparably more disquieting in the treatment of the judiciary.
What is the next reasonably courageous first-class magistrate in the Tabora district going to do, when he thinks he sees something gravely wrong done by the police? If he says to himself: "I think I ought to say in open court that this ought to be investigated," is he also to say to himself: "I shall catch it if I do, as Mr. Cooke caught it"? It is unhappily the fact that in the Tabora district there are grounds for such comments. Whatever else has happened inside the police lines at Tabora in the last year or so there have been two cases of women found. One was murdered and the other was very gravely injured, and no arrest has been made. These things always react one against the other. If the administration can stifle the most modest criticism from the judiciary, the administration will grow slack. I have tried not to state a single fact that is not beyond dispute, and I submit to the Committee that I have shown this to be a very grave matter on which an answer should be given.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ Miss Horsbrugh
I shall not detain the Committee for long, but I should like to say a few words on the report of the commission on mui-tsai. The Secretary of State referred to the fact that at present no definite statement could be made on that report, because he had not yet fully examined it, but I think it is obvious to all who have read the report that the situation is most disquieting and disappointing. Many of us hoped that more progress had been made. I agree with the hon. Member for Rothwell (Mr. Lunn) 1094 that we should like to see the whole thing abolished, but many of us feel that at any rate the time has now come for a further step forward, and we hope very much that the Secretary of State will have the courage to take a definite step forward in view of the facts that are brought out in the report.
I quite realise how great the difficulties are; I realise the difficulties that the Secretary of State pointed out to us; but I also realise that, as he told us, educated opinion among the Chinese has progressed, and there is more feeling among the people themselves that something further should be done. I would suggest that, because of that feeling, we should not wait, but should go forward now, in order that that feeling may be wider spread and may encourage us in the work that we all want do. I know we are often told that we cannot look at these problems simply from our own point of view, the Western point of view, that we cannot bring about in Hong Kong or Malaya all that we have brought about in this country, and that we cannot have all the regulations there that we would have here. But I would point out how very much more necessary some of these regulations are. When I am told that we cannot press forward, that there are changes which can never take place until far into the future, I remember the changes that have taken place during these latter years—changes in social reforms which we were told some time ago could not possibly take place in the East.
On three successive occasions I had the honour to be one of the delegation to the League of Nations Assembly at Geneva, and on each occasion, when serving on the Fifth Committee, dealing with social services, I was able to announce on behalf of the Government very definite improvements and changes that had taken place in our Colonies. On the last occasion, in 1935, we were able to announce the taking of the steps referred to in this report concerning the traffic in women and children and the closing of licensed houses both in Hong Kong and in Malaya—schemes which, we were told some years ago, it would be quite impossible to bring about in those countries. We were told also, with regard to schemes for dealing with the drug traffic, that the methods used in this country could not be used in the countries of the Far East. I shall never again pay much attention to those 1095 arguments. In 1935, as the spokesman of the Government, I explained the methods that we were using in Malaya to deal with the drug traffic, and I had to explain to the League of Nations Assembly that His Majesty's Government had approved of schemes for sports centres, for the encouragement of dancing and other amusements, and for the bringing in of people by road transport to join in those amusements; and that we had found that those schemes were doing more to prevent drug taking and opium smoking than many other schemes that we had before us. I had to announce to the Assembly that we had been teaching young men to play football, that football matches were being organised, and that that was the method we were adopting to prevent opium smoking.
If by these schemes we have done in these spheres what would not have been possible many years ago, surely we can go on to deal with the problem of looking after a part of the population that is particularly defenceless, namely, the children, and children who are away from their own families and homes. I know the difficulties; the Secretary of State gave us a long list of them, and we all know them. Many of us have read about muitsai, some of us have heard from people on the spot some details of its working, and we all want to see its abolition or at least an improvement in the situation. I do not believe the abolition can be brought about quite as quickly as the hon. Member for Rothwell hoped. We were told to-day of optimistic speeches made many years ago to the effect that all this could be got rid of within 12 months. This report tells us of the attempts that have been made, and of the difficulties that still remain, and each step shows us further difficulties. In this country the dangers to children are far less, and the dangers are entirely different and are at a minimum as compared with the dangers which exist in that country, but how carefully we look after the transfer of children here. We have infant life protection regulations; we have the Children and Young Persons Act; we have notification, without which no one may take a young child under nine years of age for gain; we have schemes for looking after them; we have gone into the subject of adoption, and we have our Adoption Act of 1926. We have gone even 1096 further. I have the honour at the present time to be presiding over a committee which is looking into the regulations concerning adoption societies and other agencies, because we are determined that children who are taken from their homes shall be looked after. In this country, where the dangers are at a minimum the safeguards are many, including particularly the safeguard of school attendance. If children are placed in a home unknown to the authorities, they are generally found at the time when they reach school age.
What are we going to do for those defenceless children who are under our care in Hong Kong and Malaya? It is a form of slavery, and we want to get rid of that form of slavery. We also fear that there is cruelty. Anyone who reads the two reports—the Majority Report and the Minority Report signed by Miss Picton-Turbervill—will realise the enormous difficulty of actually defining muitsai, particularly when we hear of the other categories of transferred children, by adoption and in various other ways; and I, for one, would urge the Secretary of State, when he is examining these reports, to pay particular attention to the scheme outlined in the Minority Report for compulsory notification in the case of all transferred children under 12 years of age. One of the difficulties that we all realise is that there is an idea that registration is a stigma, that necessarily all children registered were mui-tsai, but I agree with the Minority Report that, if we are really to find out the evil and deal with it, we must if possible have notification of all children who are transferred when under the age of 12 from their families to other people, and such notification should take place when the child is transferred. We must have some scheme, if possible, for preventing the evil, and we must also have some scheme for dealing with the evil when we find it.
With many of the recommendations of the Majority Report I agree, but Miss Picton-Turbervill, in her Minority Report, says she thinks that some of them do not go far enough. The difficulty comes out over and over again of finding out where these children are, and how they are being looked after. It has been suggested that arrangements should be made with the police, so that they should continue to look for these cases. Recommendation 11 in the report is to 1097 the effect that the police should be given explicit orders to be on the lookout for unregistered mui-tsai, and should be given oral instruction on the subject from time to time, and that there should be more publicity, at the Government's expense, by means of posters and the distribution of leaflets. Over and over again in the report the difficulty comes out of finding out where these children are. We know quite well that when the register was closed they were not all registered. I do not say that it was not right to close the register, but what is going to be done for those mui-tsai who are not registered, and are now being kept illegally as such? How are they to be found, or are we to do nothing for them? What schemes are there to be for finding out whether those who are described as adopted daughters, and in the other categories enumerated, are really being well looked after, or whether they are suffering cruelty, and what is their number? Over and over again we find that the number is uncertain.
I know that at this time one cannot ask for any definite assurance as to what is being done, but I would press for a courageous advance. We cannot abolish the system all at once, now, but I believe that our only hope is to make a courageous advance by getting real notification of the transfer of children under the age of 12 at the time when they are transferred, and a register of those who are now transferred and are living away from their families, up to the age, perhaps, of 16 or 18. With such notification in force, the children could then be divided into given categories. I know that the Majority Report suggests that it would be impossible to register so many, and that the registration of adopted girls only is ineffective for the purpose of protecting girls who need special protection. It statesthat almost any girl of any race in Hong Kong or Malaya may need special protection, but that it can be safely assumed that only a very small minority does in fact need special protection.I would ask the Secretary of State to consider how that small minority are to be found unless there is some idea of where transferred children are and what their number is? The Majority Report says that a scheme of registration for all is administratively impracticable and politically objectionable, but would it really be politically objectionable if it were 1098 as wide a scheme as I have suggested, and if, in the case of every child transferred for any reason from her own family to another family, notification was necessary? I believe that, if the evil is to be dealt with, we must have some scheme for preventing transfer in the future without notification, and that we must make a great effort to find out where the children at present transferred are.
I agree with the Majority Report on many points, but I think the Minority Report brings out clearly the fact that the administrative changes suggested in the Majority Report would be excellent if the individual children could be found and looked after. I cannot help thinking, however, that, if nothing further is done beyond what is suggested in the Majority Report, while it may be possible to look after a certain number, large numbers will still pass into other households and be lost to the view of the officials in Hong Kong and Malaya. Those who read the report and who read the evidence, or some of the evidence, that has been given, will feel with me that they pass out of the view of the officials and out of the protection which I think we ought to give them, from a fate which is unknown but which we fear may be often miserable and sometimes cruel.
§ 8.15 p.m.
During the seven years in which I have been in Parliament I have always noticed that, if there is a question that affects nothing more important than the life and the health of women and young girls, it is exceedingly difficult to stir up any interest whatever in it. It is always left to the women Members, and they rarely get any opportunity of ventilating it except, as they are doing it to-night, at the fag-end and in the tired moments of a long Debate. The mui-tsai report is one of the events, I suppose, of the Colonial year. I am sorry that the Colonial Secretary is not here to listen to the appeal which my hon. Friend has made about it and which I want to make. I was very glad that, in the words that he devoted to the subject, he said that he had not yet made up his mind, that he wished to study both the majority and the minority reports and to collect the opinions of those on the spot about it. That, I think, will be a relief to those in this country—and they are not a few—who have interested themselves 1099 in this question and made a special study of it. We sometimes find that, if a report leads to anything, the most that the Government does is to adopt some of the more cautious recommendations of the majority report.
In this case those recommendations are modest indeed. It is a very interesting report, which contains a great deal of valuable historical and descriptive matter, but its positive suggestions are concerned entirely with a few minor administrative changes, such as a larger number of inspectors, a more vigorous method of prosecution in cases of breaches of the law and certain other minor changes, all no doubt very useful, but the question is, if those recommendations were adopted, how far they would go? Would they do anything more than slightly improve the working of the machinery which already works fairly well within its extremely limited scope? Many of us think they do not go far enough.
It should be noted that the report is signed by two Commissioners out of three. The minority report is mainly based on proposals which have really been before the country for some time, because they were embodied in the report by Sir George Maxwell, who had 30 years experience as a high official in Malaya. They are also supported by the National Society for the Abolition of Slavery and, I believe, by the majority of the witnesses who gave evidence before the Committee, so they have a large body of opinion behind them, but the majority report, no doubt, represents the opinion of some experienced officials. Both reports deserve weighing. I want to plead that action should be taken on the wider lines envisaged in the minority report. The majority report does not deal with children who have escaped registration, even though they come within the somewhat vague definition of mui-tsai. It does not deal with children who are of the same tender age as mui-tsai children and have been transferred to a home which is not that of their parents or any near relation, unless that transfer has been made for a money consideration and the children are employed in work. There are many such children in Malaya and Hong Kong in whose case there has been no money payment or, at any rate, money payment is not provable.
One of the first points made by those who want to cover something more than 1100 the mui-tsai class is the extreme difficulty of proving whether money has passed. When the employment o fresh mui-tsai is prohibited by law, if parents want to do a deal with a purchaser they are not likely to make it publicly known that there has been a money consideration. It can perfectly well be concealed and made a secret transaction and the transfer of the child can be represented, as experienced witnesses on the spot believe it most frequently is, as a question of adoption, or the child has genuinely been transferred for the purpose of adoption, or, it may be, transferred as a gift or a pledge for a loan. There are all these ways in which a transfer can take place, and yet no money passes, or there is absolutely no proof that money has passed. In that case the child does not come under the definition of mui-tsai and does not come under the protection which is now extended to children who are registered mui-tsai.
The question, therefore, is whether any fresh action will be satisfactory which merely deals with the registered mui-tsai. I know it may be argued that children who are adopted—that is perhaps the largest class of those who are not mui-tsai —are nominally under the guardianship of the Secretary for Chinese affairs, but as there is no requirement that such children shall be notified when they are transferred to a home not their own, as there is no requirement that they shall be registered or inspected, how is the Secretary for Chinese Affairs to know or to form any estimate as to the number, the names or the homes of his supposed wards? It is only in cases when some benevolent person or society calls his attention to all-treatment or abuses that he has any chance of knowing that these children exist.
Therefore the plea that is put forward in the minority report, based upon the memorandum of Sir George Maxwell and backed up by the large majority of the persons and societies which have specially interested themselves in this question on the spot and in this country, is that there should be a much wider kind of law, a law which embraces all children in the home of a stranger, children who have been transferred, whether with or without a money consideration, below the age of 12 to a home which is not that of their parents nor of a near relation. Would anyone in this country nowadays sanction 1101 the boarding out by public assistance authorities of children without providing some means of registration and inspection? How much more, in a country where the Chinese tradition prevails, is it necessary that there should be some method of protection for these children? The suggestion, therefore, is that in respect of a child under the age of 12 transferred to a home which is not that of a near relation the fact shall be required to be notified when the transaction takes place, so that it can be kept on the register and be inspected.
What are the advantages of that system? First of all, it would do away with that ambiguous and difficult distinction between mui-tsai and the transferred child not a mui-tsai. Miss Picton-Turbervill has pointed out in the minority report that the very making illegal of the mui-tsai system has in no way acted as a difficulty in the way of detecting abuses because it is known in Hong Kong and Malaya that there is something discreditable about owning a mui-tsai, and therefore those who have mui-tsai, whether registered or unregistered mui-tsai, do their best to keep it dark and not talk about it. She recalls how she was in a street of Hong Kong with one of the lady inspectors and they saw a particularly miserable looking child. The inspector said to the child, "Are you a mui-tsai?" The child said, "Go away and die," resenting bitterly the very suggestion that it was a mui-tsai. The difficulty of defining who is and who is not a mui-tsai invites evasion of the law against mui-tsai. Under the new proposed law framed by Sir George Maxwell there is no longer any reason to differentiate between a mui-tsai and any child who has been transferred under any of these other forms, except that it is not suggested that under that law, if it is shown at the time of notification, after careful official inquiry, that it is a case of genuine adoption, the child should come under inspection.
Some of us think, and it is the opinion of the Anti-Slavery Society, that some form of law dealing with adopted children is also necessary, but it may be better to leave that to another stage. The case of genuine adoption is less likely to be a case where this arises, but these other children who are passed over, whether for a money consideration or 1102 not, ought to be brought under some protective system by notification, by registration and by inspection. The majority report considers and rejects that proposal. Why? It is very interesting to note that the objections which they raise are every one of them objections made in the Governor's report when the question of registering the mui-tsai themselves was first proposed, and all the objections were found to be invalid when that system was put into operation. It was suggested, for example, that this would mean registering a large number of children when there were only relatively a few or a small minority of these children. Of what form of legislation on the Statute Book is that not true? All our penal legislation applies to the whole community of presumably respectable people, who have no intention of disobeying the law for the sake of catching a few misdemeanours. All our factory legislation implies that the majority of factory owners are people who are to oppress their workpeople. Therefore, that, surely, is not a valid objection. If there are only a few children who are, as the Committee themselves found, cruelly overworked, beaten and tortured, it is worth registering the many for the sake of saving even that few.
Another suggestion was made that it would involve house-to-house visitation. Why should it involve house-to-house visitation? If the obligation to register were clearly known to everybody and there were penalties against not registering a transferred child, that being the simple requirement, it would probably be observed by the Chinese people, who are a law-abiding people. It is just because the definition of a mui-tsai is such a vague thing, and that it is so easy to escape under the pretence of adoption or of transference to other parts, that there has been only imperfect registration. Yet, on the whole, the registration of mui-tsai has succeeded very much better than most of the critics anticipated, it is also suggested that the system might involve the corruption of officials. Again, why? It would require a host of inspectors. If so, that is admitting what the majority who reported seemed to deny, namely, that there are large numbers of children who do not come under the mui-tsai 1103 system, and yet are not genuine cases of adoption. It would disturb the good relations of the Government with the Chinese. Again, why? There is no charge that the much more delicate question of distinguishing between the mui-tsai and the transferred child who is not a mui-tsai would involve the disturbance of the good relations between the Government and the Chinese. Why should it be so in this case? The significant thing is that all these objections were made by the very class of people who are making them now after it was suggested that the mui-tsai themselves should be registered.
I trust that when the Colonial Secretary comes to weigh this question and to decide, he will not act in too cautious a spirit. In what single advance that has been made in Colonial administration has there not been the necessity of some pressure from outside public opinion? They believe that everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds, and they always require to be pushed either by people specially interested in the problem in the Colonies or by public opinion in this country. When it is a question of saving any children from cruelty, overwork, from a beating and even from torture, is it not worth while taking a little risk and trouble, and involving the relatively very small expenditure which would be involved in this proposal?
It was in 1880 that the position of the mui-tsai was first brought before the notice of the British public and during the tenure of office of five successive Secretaries for the Colonies, beginning with Lord Kimberley, one after another declared that he wanted to get rid of the mui-tsai system. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) in his day—his is always a vigorous day—declared that the system could be done away with in a year. It has not been done away with yet, and it is quite clear that, even if the mui-tsai were done away with to-morrow, there would be this large area of possible abuse relating to the children who are not technically mui-tsai or are mui-tsai who cannot be proved to be mui-tsai.
I hope that the Colonial Secretary will act with the real courage which we know he possesses. I heaved a sigh of relief 1104 when I heard that he was not joining in the "general post" that Las taken place recently. It has seemed sometimes as if the post of Secretary of State for the Colonies is treated as a sort of antechamber to posts that are more attractive and considered more honourable. Surely, it is a prime duty to survey all these populations, of whom we are so proud when it is time to boast of our Imperial obligations, but unfortunately they are of very little interest to the party opposite. I am afraid they look upon the British Empire as a big party province. It does seem as if Colonial affairs make very little appeal to this House. We shall watch with very great interest to see what comes out of the report. We trust that it will be dealt with with that freshness, courage and spontaneity of vision which we have had cause to admire during the tenure of the present Colonial Secretary.
§ 8.37 p.m.
§ Sir Ronald Ross
I listened with great interest to the speech of the hon. Lady who has just addressed the Committee, but there was one remark in it which I regret, and that was when she suggested that those on this side of the House look on the British Empire as their speciality or their possession. I would assure the Members of the Committee, speaking as a humble Member of this party, and I am sure that I speak for every body in it, that the British Empire and the British colonial possessions are above and beyond all party considerations. They are just as much the interest of hon. Members opposite as ours. As was once said by a member of the party opposite, the Union Jack is just as much their flag as it is ours. That is the flag that flies over these scattered territories, and those territories look to them as they look to us for support. As to-day's Debate shows, we have all a common interest in the Colonial possessions, and it was a little harsh of the hon. Lady, after the speech of an hon. Lady from this side who takes just as keen an interest in this question as she does, that she should have made the observation to which I have referred.
§ Sir R. Ross
No, but one observation like that often spoils a speech. It had been a speech on a much higher level, 1105 and that remark was unfortunate. My right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary has one consolation, albeit a melancholy consolation, that he is unlike other Ministers who have to listen to hon. Members wandering up and down the same track at varying speeds. To-day, he has found that hardly any two Members have spoken about the same thing. In keeping with the spirit of the occasion I am going to ask certain questions about the education in the Island of St. Lucia in the West Indies. We have heard about education and it was emphasised by the hon. Member for London Universities (Sir E. Graham-Little) who spoke of the importance of people in our Colonial possessions being educated in English. The people of St. Lucia are perhaps unique in that they speak a language which is not a separate language but a mixture of various languages. The result is quite unintelligible to all except the inhabitants of St. Lucia, and probably my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary, whose omniscience on these points is surprising to all of us. There are English words and even more French words in the grammar of St. Lucia. The grammar devised by the people of St. Lucia is unlike any other grammar that is known to the civilised world.
If there is one necessity or one desirability as regards the people of St. Lucia, it is that their children of the next generation should be so educated that they will be able to speak a language which will be intelligible to the people of the other islands, or the people in other parts of the world. We have had the advantage of having the educational system of this Island considered by 'a very distinguished public servant, the late Sir Sydney Armitage Smith, who made a report on it in 1932. I do not think I have ever read a more melancholy account of education in a British possession. It may be said that the report was made some time ago. I certainly was not anxious to bring the question forward too soon, because in the West Indian Islands things do not move even as fast as they do in this House. They probably move slower in the West Indian Islands than anywhere else, and in order that my right hon. Friend should not accuse me of raw haste, I have waited about five years before bringing the matter to his notice. I thought that 1106 it was possible that the wheels of the Colonial Office might have ground out some reply, large or small, to the report.
In St. Lucia there are 50 primary schools, 43 of which are under the control of a small Order of foreign priests. If I criticise the education carried out by that small Order of priests, I hope that no one will make the mistake of thinking that I am criticising the members of that Order. The carrying out of education in a very backward country is a very arduous undertaking, and I am sure that the members of that Order have shown great devotion and self-sacrifice in carrying out their duties. At the same time, I suggest that in view of the report some change should have been made by now. If it has not been made, it ought to be made as soon as possible. The report says that the existing system is thoroughly unsatisfactory, and that the priests of the Order who carry out the education in 43 out of 50 schools are, with three exceptions, foreigners. It is a French Order, and all the members of it except three are foreigners. It is said of the curriculum:It is out of date, and the provisions of the Educational Ordinance Regulations are not observed. At the same time the text books appeared to be of no standard quality and are introduced at the will of the individual teacher.These are serious matters. It means that the whole education of this Island requires attention, so that there may be established some system that will enable the inhabitants of St. Lucia in time to emerge from their extremely difficult and somewhat barbarious jargon into a knowledge of English or French, and enable the children to be educated under a system which will provide for the learning of a language intelligible to people who are not inhabitants of St. Lucia. The report says, finally, that the educational system of the Island needs thorough-going revision and the introduction of an agricultural educational basis. I am anxious to know what has been done, because St. Lucia is a remote place. It does not come into the forefront of Colonial politics, but we have an interest in people in remote places, just as much as we have an interest in territories which are constantly mentioned. Therefore, I make no apology for raising this rather abstruse question, 1107 and I should be glad to hear from my right hon. Friend what has been done or what it is possible may be done.
§ 8.45 p.m.
§ Major Milner
I do not propose to follow the hon. Member to St. Lucia, but I should like to tell hi mthat all hon. Members on these benches entirely agree with almost every word the hon. Lady the Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone) said, and that we are glad to be assured by him that the British Empire is at least as much ours as it is hon. Members opposite. I think the hon. Lady's comment was perfectly proper and one which the hon. Member and his friends might well take to heart. I rose to deal with one or two matters which, with all respect to the hon. Member, are of more importance than those which he raised. I am not in the habit of paying compliments to my political opponents, but I will say that we were happily relieved when the recent general post took place to find the right hon. Gentleman still sitting at the Colonial Office. My right hon. Friend must not imagine from that that there are not many matters on which he and I will disagree, and many matters in the administration of his office which, we think, might very well be altered. While I am not going to be generous I will be just, and say that the right hon. Gentleman has in the last year directed his attention and knowledge, which we all know he possesses, and a great deal of sympathy, to many of the questions which affect the natives who come under the administration of the Colonial Office. He has the further qualification, that his speeches are apt to disarm this criticism, a very valuable qualification to any Minister. But it is not always gold that glitters, and I should not like hom to imagine that we are entirely happy on all matters which come within his province.
A year ago the right hon. Gentleman said something which gave me a great deal of thought. He reminded us that everything we said went to the natives and settlers in Kenya and elsewhere. That was brought home to me very much shortly after that Debate as I received a number of perhaps not abusive letters but letters which called in question my qualifications for holding forth on the question of white settlers in Kenya. Let me make 1108 it clear that we have not the slightest ill-will towards the white settlers in Kenya or elsewhere. Our complaints, our remarks, are addressed to the system of government and the practices which have grown up. We believe, and I think rightly, that in Kenya government expenditure and government legislation have been in the main in the interests of the white settlers and not in the interests of the natives. While the white settlers have already great influence, they are not satisfied, and want a great deal more. They aim at complete responsible government, complete control of a country in which the white population is only 2 per cent. of the whole. We take exception to that position. The Hilton-Young commissions and the commission over which the right hon. Gentleman presided stated that the interests of the whites and natives might frequently be at variance, there was often a conflict of interest. A statement was also made by the hon. Member for Altrincham (Sir E. Grigg) in his evidence before the committee of 1931, when he spoke of "the dangers which beset primitive native communities under the pressure of European settlement and colonization" and referred to the fact that "labour and land were coveted by the immigrant race." That is a state of affairs which we cannot accept and we are bound to make our protests in this House.
At the same time our remarks are in no way directed against the white settlers. In fact, I think they are entitled to a considerable degree of sympathy and help. They have received a good deal of help and sympathy, but I gravely doubt whether White settlement in the Colonies generally and in Kenya particularly is really worth while. I think a strong case can be made out showing that the whole system of White settlement, as hitherto practised, ought not to be further encouraged. There is no evidence, I think, that agriculture and ranching, as practised in Kenya, often of the most inefficient character, are the best for the country and will always be the best. Yet it is on that assumption that the whole policy of the proposed Order in Council respecting the White highlands is founded. We attack that policy root and branch, and the right hon. Gentleman might do far worse than make an inquiry as to the value of White settlement in Kenya and 1109 elsewhere. I think the results would surprise him. White settlement has been propped up and bolstered in many ways, but I do not think it is likely to last satisfactorily for many more years.
There are one or two specific land questions I desire to raise. In his speech earlier this evening the right hon. Gentleman did not devote a single word in reply to land questions in Kenya. I hope he will do so later on. The Morris Carter Report contains 240 sections devoted to the land question in Kenya, and therefore obviously it is most important. There are many problems to be discussed and dealt with. I have put questions to the right hon. Gentleman on a number of these land questions. There is the question of Kikuyu and Tigoni. The right hon. Gentleman has received a number of objections from land owners complaining of their removal. He has been good enough to give me the fullest possible particulars as to the various steps which have been taken, the provisions made, the compensation paid and the agreement which has been obtained in regard to this transference. While recognising all these facts, I still regard this removal as unsatisfactory and unjustified, and I hope that even yet there may be a reconsideration. I am sure it will cause a great deal of resentment and difficulty in the future, and I hope the Colonial Office will reconsider the matter.
With regard to the so-called squatters, the right hon. Gentleman said, in June, 1936, that he had an open mind on that matter. In reply to a question put by one of my hon. Friends in April of this year, the right hon. Gentleman said that he accepted the Morris Carter Report in that respect, and to that extent he seemed rather to have changed his mind. I should be glad if he would inform us whether that is so, and if so, what were the considerations which induced him to change his mind? In my opinion, the position of the squatters, of whom there are 150,000, is most unsatisfactory. The recommendation of the Morris Carter Commission, which I understand has been accepted by the right hon. Gentleman, was to the effect that no native should live in this particular White area except as a paid labourer. In this matter, as in others, I am very much afraid that the system which little by little grew up in South Africa is being extended to Kenya.
1110 To put it plainly, hon. Members on this side of the House cannot stand for a principle which says that no native shall live in a White area except as a mere paid servant. Many of the squatters were on their present land long before the Whites settled there. I know that the Morris Carter Report states that it may be that in law they have no rights, but whether that be the case or not, our view is that they ought to be given some sort of security, some sort of leasehold interest. The present position is that they are to be evicted if their labour is not required, or to be reduced to the status of what are called labour tenants. For these occupancy of the land is part of their wages, but their profit from it is limited and made insecure so that it is no longer a fair return for their services.
There is no future for natives who have built up holdings in White areas, or even for good labourers, except eventually, perhaps in old age, to be returned to Reserves, where their stock will die from lack of pasture and probably they themselves from lack of nutrition. If they remain on the farm, their children are obliged to work for the owner on his own terms. The position of the squatters is one to which the right hon. Gentleman should give very serious attention. Their position is intolerable and reflects no credit on the Colonial Office, on the Kenya Government or on anyone else who has anything to do with the matter. It is a problem which cannot be solved on the lines at present adopted, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will consider the matter and try to find a better solution than has been found hitherto. It ought not to be the aim, as it seems to be at present, to clear the Highlands of all but temporary migrant labourers, and some system ought to be found of providing the so-called squatters with some security of tenure.
With regard to labour, I would like to support the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Shipley (Mr. Creech Jones) as to the necessity for an inquiry into labour conditions. That inquiry ought to be on the widest possible lines. It should be an inquiry into the whole labour situation in the British African Colonies, and should include all questions of native tenancy. There is ample evidence to justify such an inquiry. For instance, there are the Pim Reports on the High Commission Territories, 1111 especially Bechuanaland; the Russell Report on the shooting of labourers on the Northern Rhodesian Copper Mines; the Nyasaland Committee's Report on Emigrant Labour; the Tanganyika Annual Report, and so on, which I have no doubt the right hon. Gentleman knows much better than I do, and which give ground to the suggestion which we make from these benches that many things must be done before the native situation in any of the African territories is at all satisfactory. Our view is that there should be a professional inspectorate to deal with labour questions, as I am told exists in all other African countries. This is particularly necessary in connection with legislation for the protection of women and children. I know that the right hon. Gentleman will say that that work is nominally done by the administrative officers, but I maintain that they have neither the time nor the requisite knowledge to achieve even a fraction of the work necessary. I am told that when mining developments first took place in Northern Rhodesia, a Belgian adviser on labour questions had to be brought into that area from the Congo. I do not know what is the position there now, but I hope that there is some improvement.
Another question to which I wish to refer is the failure to create practical machinery to implement draft conventions and other welfare measures. During April I asked the right hon. Gentleman whether, having regard to the rising prices now being obtained, he would instruct Governors to use their influence with plantation and other companies producing raw materials so as to ensure better rates of remuneration for both British and native employes. The right hon. Gentleman replied that he had every sympathy with the desire that all classes should share in any increase of prosperity in the Colonial Empire, but he did not think he could usefully issue any general instructions of the nature suggested; he pointed out that minimum wage legislation had been enacted in a large number of Colonial dependencies, and that, moreover, in several cases actual wage rates were at present substantially in excess of the statutory minimum rates. I would point out to the right hon. Gentleman, however, that none of these minimum wage conventions have been followed by 1112 ordinances. It is not the slightest good agreeing by convention to certain minimum wage rates if they are not implemented by local legislation and the creation of appropriate machinery. Although the wages in some cases may be above the minimum wages laid down, effective minimum wage legislation has not, in fact, been introduced in any case. Therefore, there has been a conspicuous failure to pass on to the worker, whether white or black, the improvement in prices which has occurred in many African markets.
Consequently, I hope that an inquiry such as I have suggested will be set up, I suggest that it should take the form of a Commission, and I think that the Whitley Commission's work in India is a very useful precedent. That was a most useful piece of work, and one that ought to be carried out in the Colonial Territories. The inquiry should be into labour conditions generally in those territories; there should be a general sociological survey, to investigate the amount of labour available, the effects of wage-earning on the population, and so on. The work that it could do would he extremely valuable. Last year, when I spoke at some length on the question of Sedition Ordinances, I asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he would undertake to give an annual report on the prosecutions which took place under those Ordinances, and also whether he would take steps to see that there was a public defender employed in such cases. I hope I am not doing the right hon. Gentleman an injustice, but I do not think I have heard or read of any action having been taken on either of those matters since last year's Debate. Incidentally, I am reminded that the right hon. Gentleman also promised to inquire into the question of whether or not there was any differentiation between the railway rates applicable to the natives and those applicable to the whites.
§ Major Milner
In Kenya. I gave instances of alleged differentiation which, I think, were largely denied, and the right hon. Gentleman promised to inquire into the matter. I hope he will be able to give us an answer to-night on those points. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), in a very interesting speech, mentioned one 1113 point which I confess I had not appreciated previously. He commented on the fact that in West Africa, where there is very largely individual ownership of land by the natives, there is little or no difficulty or trouble, whereas in East Africa where the native has no rights of any kind there is apparently continual trouble. I think a very useful inference can be drawn from these facts. They seem to indicate a very intimate connection between rights in respect of land, and the happiness and prosperity of the native population.
§ 9.8 p.m.
§ Sir Ernest Graham-Little
I wish to intervene in this Debate upon certain medical questions which have been interesting the profession in this country and in Africa for the past seven or eight years, and which I have followed closely during that time. The principal province which I wish to discuss is East Africa. The last remark of the last speaker contrasting the conditions on the East and West coasts of Africa is very significant. On the West coast the land is largely held by the natives. I had the opportunity of meeting the principal of a great college on the West coast and he told me an interesting little story. He said to a chief, "Why are you so much better off in West Africa than they are in East Africa?" The chief replied, "We are going to raise a statue to the god who brought about that state of affairs, and that god is the mosquito." He said that the mosquito had checked the flow of immigration into West Africa at the time when land was more easily obtainable there than it is now.
The extent to which the expropriation of land in East Africa has been carried out is gauged by some figures which I have here. The native reserves in Kenya represent a very small proportion of the total acreage. The population is estimated at just over 3,000,000 by the Pim Report and the total area of native reserves is 48,000 square miles. The density of population in the native reserves has been calculated at 250 to the square mile which exceeds the density of population in British India, and the density in India is one of the most significant in the Empire. It is those conditions of desperate poverty which are largely responsible for the health conditions to which I propose to refer.
1114 One unfortunate effect of the existing conditions of land occupation is the inability of the native to pay the hut tax which is, as a rule, the only contribution he makes to the cost of administration. The Director of Medical Services in Kenya told me that it was impossible in most instances to collect the hut tax, which is 12s. 6d. a year, the whole income of a native family in Kenya being estimated by him at about £3 a year. In Nyasaland the position is even worse. There was a very interesting report on the Nyasaland Protectorate last year, and it was the subject of an article in the "Times" headed "A Tragic Exodus." The report shows that 50 per cent. of the adult males have left Nyasaland to work in other parts of British Africa, and the resulting position is disastrous in many ways. It breaks up the tribal system and it spreads infection. Special reports in the case of both Nyasaland and Kenya are definite in saying that the hut tax must go, and the problem of migration in Nyasaland is the most important that we have come across so far.
It happens by what I consider to be great good fortune that a very important research was conducted in Kenya in 1926. The principal authors of that research were Sir John Orr, who has made a great reputation since that date, and one of the Directors of Medical Services, Dr. Gilks. The subject of their report has a twofold interest. First, there is a comparison of the conditions of two neighbouring tribes in the native reserves, the Masai numbering about 50,000, and the Kikuyu, numbering about 750,000. The conditions of diet of these two tribes were investigated very carefully and certain important conclusions resulted. Incidentally it was that inquiry which started the discussion on the importance of nutrition in preserving health and preventing disease. The report may be described as one of the earliest works upon that subject.
The startling conclusion was drawn that the Kikuyu were inferior in height, in weight, in muscular strength estimated by scientific measures, and most important of all in resistance to disease. The dietary of the Kikuyu as compared with that of the Masai was found to have considerably weakened their resistance to disease. The Kikuyu are an agricultural tribe and live chiefly upon agricultural products. The Masai own cattle as their 1115 chief means of livelihood and their diet is principally fresh meat and fresh food of every kind. This contrast between two neighbouring peoples was one of the first indications which we had of the immense importance of the quality as well as the quantity of diet. I may say that this investigation we owe, not to the Colonial Office but to the Empire Marketing Board. It was a very fine piece of work by that organisation and unfortunately it has not yet been repeated.
The second investigation was to watch the incidence of disease in certain parts of Kenya, where climatic conditions are favourable. A sample was taken of the population, a sample of something like 650 persons, and from that sample conclusions may be drawn with a reasonable degree of accuracy. The figures given from that sample, of whom a quarter were children, are highly significant. Anaemia was found in 570 out of the 650 individuals, haemic murmurs 546, malnutrition 425, yaws 446, pyorrhoea 406, malaria just over 300, tuberculosis 159, and only five venereal disease. That is a very remarkable result. It has often been said by observers not very familiar with the facts that it is venereal disease that is the cause of so much disease. Those figures disprove that assertion. Another fact comes out from that observation, that of 436 individuals in that sample especially examined for worm infection, 344 showed infection from hookworm. Observation of these figures reveals the amazing fact that each of the individuals examined had a multiplicity of concurrent diseases and could be described as an ambulant pathological museum. I want it to be understood that those are preventible diseases, and it is a very grave indictment of ourselves that we allow such a degree of preventible disease to prevail in any part of the world for which we are responsible.
The same general result as that of 1926 was conveyed in a lecture which was delivered in London in 1932 by a physician who had been a member of the staff of the London Hospital in London, and who settled in Kenya and remained there, as he liked the climate better. He was an active and a very able person, and he immediately threw himself into the life of the country and began making observations on the 1116 incidence of disease, which he has been doing for the last 10 years. These are observations brought to us in London in 1932. The first thing he stressed was the high infantile mortality, which in many parts of Kenya is estimated at from 40 to 50 per cent., the infantile mortality in England being about 5 per cent. The infantile mortality is partly, of course, the result of the incidence of disease generally. The next thing he stressed was the prevalence of malaria, especially in children. Some 95 per cent. of a large sample of cases were found to be suffering from malaria—children under 10. There was a 75 per cent. incidence of hookworm, one of the most serious diseases in Africa, and yaws, which is a very serious disease, was practically universal. That wretched physical condition of the natives may or may not be due altogether to malnutrition; there is a very strong indictment against the nutrition, but there are other causes as well. The wretched general physique of the natives was again demonstrated by an incident mentioned by this physician. A medical man was called upon to select a number of men for a carrier job, for carrying certain weights. He had to examine 1,000 men before he could find 50 who were fit to undertake that task.
It is a matter of great importance to get some kind of opinion as to what were the bedrock facts in that very deplorable position, and it was put forward by two serious medical observers living in Kenya that there was an anatomical and physiological basis for this condition of the natives. One of those observers, a specialist who went out to Kenya and attained distinction in the subject of mental disease and the relations of the capacity of the skull to the brain underneath, carried out on his own account, at considerable self-sacrifice, an investigation. He was fortunate enough to find in Kenya an assistant who was also an exceptionally brilliant person. This second man was a pathologist and the two of them formed a very efficient team. I had the good fortune to meet the senior member of the team, Dr. H. L. Gordon, in 1933, when he came to London, and by the good offices of my friend, Sir Howard D'Egville, we secured a Committee Room in the House of Commons and a meeting of Members, and I am very glad to thank the present 1117 Colonial Secretary for having presided on that occasion.
The results of the investigation, which had proceeded to a certain degree at that date, were published in many of the newspapers, in the medical Press, and, I believe, in the "Times." The subject created a good deal of interest, and it started a very strong desire to probe more deeply into those causes. That happened in November, 1933. In January, 1934, two months later, the medical profession in East Africa, represented by the combined branches of the British Medical Association in East Africa, had a discussion on the investigations which had been conducted by Dr. Gordon and Dr. Vint up to that date, and the resolutions passed at that meeting were recorded in the medical Press and else where. They urged the Government of Kenya and the home Government to prosecute a research on the lines suggested at that meeting. That was in January, 1934. In the autumn of 1934 I had the opportunity again of meeting in London the director of medical services in Kenya, and he gave me a great deal of information on this subject, which I incorporated in a letter to the "Times,' 'in which I suggested that there should be an investigation. That was urged in many quarters, influential and distinguished medical quarters, and the "Times" in a leading article strongly recommended the prosecution of this research as being essential for the British Empire at large, so that we should know where we stood with regard to the nations under our rule. Was it possible, it asked, to give them the education of Europeans? Was it really a feasible thing to have educational measures which might be suitable for Europe but not suitable to Africa? The information which we thus derived would be of not only local but permanent and general importance, and it urged that course upon the Colonial Office.
The difficulty, of course, that at once met us was that there was a lack of funds. I am afraid I pestered my right hon. Friend with certain questions at the time as to how far these researches could be conducted with financial help. Nothing, as a matter of fact, was done, although the Colonial Secretary fully admitted the desirability of the research. In May, 1936, the medical profession again urged the prosecution of the same research.
1118 What happened afterwards is extraordinary. Although that research was commended on every hand, medical and lay, the startling thing that happened was that one of the members of that research team, the younger doctor of the team, received an offer of promotion to leave Kenya. He had been refused promotion in Kenya up to that date and he was naturally inclined to throw the whole thing up, but the consternation which arose in the medical profession in Kenya was shown by the dispatch of a petition to the Governor protesting against the proposal to move this doctor from Kenya. There were two reasons why that consternation was so extreme. One was the immediate cessation of the research. There was another and perhaps equally important reason and that was the effect on the great laboratory in Nairobi. The Pim Report points out that it is a centre of research for the whole of Africa and that it provides pathological data which would cost at the ordinary price over £20,000 a year. The whole cost of the laboratory was under £16,000 a year, so that the laboratory was really a profit-making association for the Government.
The Governor of Kenya, I think I may say, was influenced by that universal petition and the removal of the doctor did not take place. He was reinstated. He was given a right salary and an improved status in Kenya and he was not obliged to leave Kenya. Something else has happened since that time and it is an example of the same administrative harshness, of which we have had another example this afternoon. Doctor Gordon, the senior doctor of that team, received, from an announcement in the newspapers, the first notice that he had been retired. That was the first announcement that he had that he was going to be retired by the Government. Dr. Gordon has been left without means after a long period of service. The most important result of that is that this work of the team is undoubtedly destroyed by that removal. I think that there is something much more important even than the policy of administration to be considered in this question.
There is no question, I think, that the whole of our administration in Africa is under very severe criticism by other countries, who are, no doubt, envious of our position there. If we cannot justify our own occupation of that country the inevitable result will be that we shall 1119 have to leave it. There have been suggestions already, which I regret, that the white population should remain no longer in Kenya. There is no doubt, I think, that our administration is under very severe criticism, especially in the scientific part of it, which is where we ought to be most careful. I happen to have seen quite lately an account of German administration in Africa. Here is an extract which I would ask to be allowed to read. It is about the last German Governor of German East Africa up to 1918, and is written by Sir Raymond Beazley in the "News-Letter" of 22nd May, 1937.
§ Sir E. Graham-Little
It is almost an official publication. He explains the work of the German Governor in Tanganyika and that it was directed against any sort of oppressor, including disease.His sanitary work was famous—as in applying Robert Koch's methods in the war against the sleeping sickness, and in his foundation of the Veterinary Institute at Mpapua. No less creditable was his provision for education, technical and other, including the training of artisans, and the development of his system for supplying the natives with seeds, plants, and other needful things. He travelled constantly over the regions under his care, and both in practice and theory laid the utmost stress on personal contact with his Africans.That is the record of a Colonising Power which we are often inclined to regard, perhaps unjustly, as inferior to ourselves. It is a lesson to us to make sure that our own affairs are in such good order as to make that feeling a proper one to entertain. I would stress on the Colonial Office the importance and urgency of meeting this condition of things in Kenya of widespread preventible disease, extreme poverty of the most grinding type, complete ignorance and conditions of house sanitation which are something appalling to think of. I might perhaps be allowed to quote a description, for bad housing is one of the most important fomenters of disease. Here is a description of the average native house given by Dr. James Sequeria in 1932: 1120It is built of a framework of wattle or sisal poles and the interstices are filled with mud. In certain tribes cow dung is used instead of the mud. The door is very low, so low that the inhabitants must stoop to enter. The roof may be thatched, but in many instances it is only covered by heaps of dried grass thrown on and not even tied ֵ ֵ There are no windows. The interior of the hut is divided into cubicles by grass partitions. In the centre space a fire is kept burning, but the smoke has no means of exit as there is no chimney. The darkness of the interior makes it impossible to see whether it is clean. It never is. The floor is always filthy … naturally the interior of every hut becomes verminous and when the hut becomes too verminous for habitation even by the African, it is burned down, and a new dwelling is started.I submit that these are preventible things, and if we do not cope with them we ignore first-rate medical evidence. I hope that it will still be possible for the Colonial Office to find some assistance for medical research which is so urgently needed in East Africa.
§ 9.37 P.m.
§ Mr. Sorensen
I hesitate to pass a few observations on important aspects of our discussion to-day because the few interjections I have already made and put in a friendly spirit created an astonishing pyrotechnic display from the right hon. Gentleman and I wonder whether these few extra words may not cause him to explode. I will, therefore, say in passing that, in spite of his assertion that no class distinction ever occupies his mind, I am prepared to accept the assertion that consciously he does not exercise such a distinction, but I would, nevertheless, suggest to him that if I toss a penny a 100 times and it comes down heads 99 times, I am justified in assuming that the coin is more heavily weighted on one side than on the other. The fact remains that the list of names which the right hon. Gentleman read out did not contain a representative of any other section of the community than that which he himself admitted was a wealthy section of self-made men. Surely he should not be resistant to the plea I make by definite statement now, and made by implication earlier, that if we are to see that democracy in which the right hon. Gentleman believes carried out in fact and not simply in theory, we should see evidence of it more fully than we do at the present time.
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
Does the hon. Member suggest that I appointed any of these 1121 people on this Committee or had any power in the matter? It was not in my hands at all. I did not appoint any of them.
§ Mr. Sorensen
I do not suggest that at all, but I do suggest that when the names were mentioned, and when I indicated that they were all knights of substance, the haste with which the right hon. Gentleman came forward to defend them, the unfortunate spirit in which he repudiated the suggestion that they were otherwise than representative of democracy, and his failure to appreciate my innocent and friendly point were a revelation of his endorsement of that list. I brought the matter forward in no hostile spirit and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will consider it again in the more pious and leisurely moments that are before him to-night.
I want in this interesting and fascinating world tour that we have had to-day to suggest that although no doubt there is much within the British Empire and within our Imperial possessions that is encouraging, nevertheless, to use a colloquialism, everything is not entirely lovely in the garden. The remarks of the last speaker should remind us of that fact. In addition to the physical disabilities under which some subjects of the British Empire are suffering, there are political disabilties as well. I have not heard a word expressed to-day respecting, for instance, the extraordinary case of Mr. Bracegirdle, who was a young tea planter in Ceylon, and who, after his experiences of the condition of the natives in that area dared to associate himself with a perfectly constitutional political party in the island. He was arrested by the Governor who intimated to him that he must immediately leave the country. He rightly refused to do this, and fortunately in the end the Supreme Court declared that the deportation order against him was illegal. We have in this instance a happy illustration of the fact that the writ of Habeas Corpus can still operate successfully.
I mention the case in passing because, although it has had a happy issue, it is a reminder that under the British flag there are occasions when serious infringements of our boasted political liberty can take place. Perhaps a word from the right hon. Gentleman to the unfortunate Governor of Ceylon might cause that gentleman to be more cautious in the 1122 future and to see that imitations of this outrage do not occur in the days to come. Lest is be assumed that this is an isolated case, may I remind the Committee that in other areas of the British Empire we frequently have evidence of this bias—unconscious bias shall I say, for I want to be friendly and kind in this matter and not to attribute conscious motives where there are only unconscious tendencies. I might draw the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the fact that a Mr. Kofi Sechere, of Ashanti, has, under an ordinance, been removed from his native territory and that it has been declared that he can claim no redressno writ of Habeas Corpus or other process to call in question the legality of his detention under or by virtue of the provisions of this Ordinance.Such instances should be seriously considered as well as the more roseate aspects which have been brought to our attention to-night.
I want to draw attention to one area of Africa which has not been touched upon during to-day's discussion; I refer to the Gold Coast. It is not only regrettable but scandalous that only one day is devoted to a consideration of the vast Colonial questions which are within the purview of the right hon. Gentleman. Each Colony deserves a day to itself and the Gold Coast requires a much longer time than we are able to give it to-day. The Gold Coast is one of our most ancient Colonial possessions. For that reason, and because it has been in the past and still is of great economic value to this country it calls for particular attention. Everyone will admit or should admit that we have a particular responsibility in regard to the natives of this area, and in any case I submit that we have a much greater responsibility for securing health, justice and liberty for the people than for the production of wealth. In spite of what has been said to-day, I would make this the test in the approach to the consideration of British Colonial possessions—are we prepared, in the last analysis, to put the interests of actual human beings, the natives, before economic considerations? On that test we stand or fall, according as we choose humanity on the one hand or wealth on the other.
I maintain, and the whole of this party would maintain, that the happiness and justice of the natives represent a far more 1123 valuable product than the gold or cocoa or other wealth produced there. I will approach matters from that point of view. I am not speaking in any churlish or super-critical spirit, surely, when I state that I want to see the people in these areas under the British flag treated not as things or as mere raw material for the production of profit, but as human beings of certain intrinsic worth, which must have precedence of all other considerations. Dr. Selwin Clark's Report on the Medical Department of the Gold Coast for 1935 utters, I will not say alarming words, but certainly disturbing words, regarding the deterioration of the physical well-being of the natives. According to the information I have received it is stated that that report is less reassuring than in recent years. I am afraid this is partly connected with the fact that the medical staff available has declined, even though the number of patients has increased, which means that less personal attention can be given to those patients. In 1929, for instance, there were go medical officers who attended to 249,476 patients, whereas in 1935 66 medical officers attended to 273,000 patients.
In those circumstances we cannot hope to have that progress in health and wellbeing which we are led to believe is possible and necessary. For the treatment of leprosy there is a shortage of staff, and although they maintain existing services they cannot adequately deal with that serious disease. Further, I should have liked to hear some indication that investigation is going on as the possible incidence of silicosis and tuberculosis in that area. My hon. Friend the Member for Shipley (Mr. Creech Jones) asked a question about it in February of this year, but the answer was rather vague and unsatisfying. Further, the number of deaths and the infant mortality figures are somewhat on the increase, and I should like to know why that is so. They afford no justification for complacency but rather the reverse, and should stimulate an investigation of the physical well-being or ill-being of the natives. I believe that the requirements of the Labour Ordinance aggravates conditions. This brings to the neighbourhood ignorant natives—I speak of ignorance in the purely specialised sense —who bring with them diseases which, unfortunately, they communicate to those 1124 who have been occupying the territory. That point needs to be carefully watched.
A second fact which deserves consideration is that a class of native capitalists is growing up who need more careful supervision than they have been subject to up to now. Unaccustomed as they are to stringent public health and other restrictions, they may easily create conditions in which ill-health is bred, and I urge the right hon. Gentleman to see that this new and increasing class of native capitalist receives that watchful supervision. There are indirect ways in which health and well-being can be encouraged. For instance, I should like to see a far more rapid and generous development of education. I am given to understand that only approximately 10 per cent. of the children of school age are receiving education. If we can make it 100 per cent.—and there is no reason why we should not —I am positive the results of that education, plus the development of all other kinds of education equally necessary, would beneficially affect the conditions of the people there. Further, I would suggest a more rapid advance towards real and appropriate self-government. That would assist in enabling them to appreciate the neceessity of sanitation and hygiene.
As regards mining conditions, although I believe an eight hour day, approximately, is worked, nevertheless there is an urgent need for a statutory basis of working conditions, and those who are responsible ought to he brought into line. Further, I urge the encouragement of the principle of co-operation, as well as that supervision of the native capitalists to which I have referred. Why should we not recognise that natives are capable of co-operating? If we do not encourage them in that, we do not give them the necessary stimulus. We, with our greater advantages, should give them the opportunity. I am satisfied that there is a tremendous reserve in the native mind, far more than many superior Westerns appreciate, which could be developed, and that in and through that development a type of co-operation could be established among the natives with very great advantage to the whole of the native population.
I should also like to know why more substantial royalties cannot accrue from the sale of land for mining purposes not 1125 to a particular individual but to the community. There are certain gentlemen who manage to secure those royalties; in a strange way I must admit, that very prominent gentleman Nana Sir Ofori Atta, has secured a guaranteed royalty of 10 per cent. on all profits. That is a very substantial advantage to him. I understand that he is a very keen business man, and I have had evidence of that in more ways than one, though of that more another time. If he can secure a 10 per cent. royalty on profits I should like to know why royalties cannot be secured on land concessions for mining purposes, and secured not for the benefit of some particular omanhene but for the benefit of the whole of the native population. After all, they have the original rights to the territory in which they have lived for so long.
I should also like to point out that there is a certain amount of political unrest on the Gold Coast. The right hon. Gentleman will remember, no doubt, the communication I had with him in regard to letters purporting to have come from Ofori Atta which if they were genuine revealed an almost melodramatic attempt to pervert justice. It was asserted that those letters were forgeries. I pointed out that there had been published statements that they were not forgeries. I am assured that the police investigated those alleged forgeries and that some report was made. I would ask how the investigation was carried out and whether the forgers were traced by the police; if so, how have the alleged forgers been dealt with? I would point out that the "Echo" on 24th September has this head-line:Police know wanted forger; only waiting opportunity for arresting him.If the police knew the wanted forger why did they not arrest him? In the absence of an arrest we must draw rather serious deductions. I urge the right hon. Gentleman either to say that the forger was arrested and brought to justice so that the whole matter is cleared up, or to state more frankly exactly what the position is in this very intriguing case. The whole business is fishy and smells rather badly, perhaps on account of the unhealthy political climate in which the fish have been lying about for some time. I urge the necessity for impartial inquiry into this aspect of political unrest. I know that it has caused not merely among the 1126 natives or among those who support this side of the House, a great deal of mental perturbation and disquiet. I had visit me in my own house some months ago a man who has been in the Gold Coast for some time. He was not a member of the Labour party, and was quite disinterested. From the conversation I had with him I found he was very disturbed at rumours that had come to his knowledge, arising out of this and similar cases.
Leaving all that matter behind I urge that the whole subject of the Ordinances in the Gold Coast should be taken under serious consideration. I asked a question some time ago in regard to native administration ordinances. According to the report in the "African Morning Post" published in Accra on nth March this year, the District Commissioner is stated to be determined to remove from the district those whom he deems to be a source of disturbance and discontent; yet I was informed on 17th February that no such ordinance had been passed or contemplated to be passed. This may be a matter of misunderstanding, but I urge that the Ordinances frequently operate in a harsh and unfortunate way. I would refer to the case, under Ordinance 44, of four young men who were deported. They were detained in Accra without maintenance and they suffered very serious hardship. They had to live on alms from the time of their deportation. They were under the very serious accusation of conspiracy but I believe that that charge was ultimately withdrawn in the West African Court of Appeal. I should like to have further information in regard to them.
I urge that when men are suddenly transported from their homes and their wives and relatives cannot visit them or, if they do, become liable to imprisonment or fine, and they are not allowed to go back, it is a very serious matter. The men were deported and their houses were sold at a very much lower price than their actual value. They became practically destitute. Such an experience is not likely to encourage confidence in British administration. I would urge the most careful consideration of matters such as this and I would like to know the exact situation with regard to these four men. Are they innocent? Are they to be punished? Are they still to be brought to trial? Is it true that the 1127 Court of Appeal gave a verdict in their favour? Let us have the facts so that we can clear the matter up. Finally I urge that there is a need for social and physical improvement in the Gold Coast and in other areas I have named among our vast Colonial possessions. I further urge that in some quarters there is an atmosphere which can be described only as regimentation. The name of Britain should be cleansed from any suggestion of that sort which can accidentally or deliberately be attached to it.
If we want to spurn that taunt of hypocrisy which is often urged against us, no doubt sometimes out of envy or vindictiveness, though sometimes sincerely, we should not rest complacently on our laurels but should set to work to see that the life, liberty and happiness of the natives comes first and that the economic advantage of this country is a secondary consideration. We are indeed our brother's keeper, whether he has a black or a white skin. It is our responsibility to see that our claim and our interest in those areas is disinterested and humanitarian and that the interests of the natives come first. Only if this were done should we be entitled to gain advantage from the undoubted mineral and vegetable resources that are in this area and similar areas.
§ 10.2 p.m.
§ Sir H. Croft
As I have been privileged to be closely associated for a great number of years with Kenya, I hope I may be permitted to say a word or two in the Debate. I sometimes wonder what we should think if any unofficial member sitting in Assembly in Nairobi, or any other authority out there, were to continue a stream of criticism about happenings in this country such as we so frequently hear about what goes on in Kenya. I want hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway to believe that the settlers, who have had such terrible times in the last 10 years, are as well educated as we are. They are undoubtedly on an even higher level of education than anywhere else in the British Empire. That is indisputable. I want Members to believe that their desire is to maintain good will between those who are interested in the development of Kenya and those whom they have the honour and pleasure of employing.
1128 I want them to realise that, far from it being a question of exploiting labour in order to make profits, there are no great profits. I know of only one man in Kenya who ever made what you call a fortune. In the years in which I have been engaged in production there has been very little money in it. Those who have been engaged in that development have had the privilege of doing something to uplift the natives of Kenya, whose development has been referred to this afternoon, and to give them a slightly better status than they otherwise would have had.
The hon. Member for the University of London (Sir E. Graham-Little) spoke of his experiences in entering houses in a part of Kenya, and of how he read from his document that the houses were huts. I beg hon. Gentlemen to realise that these conditions are all in the native reserve, with which, as far as possible, we attempt not to interfere, allowing the natives to carry on in the conditions of life in which they prefer to dwell. I also beg the Committee not to be too forceful with the idea that you can compel the Kikuyu, the Kavironda or the Masai to eat a particular form of diet which specialists in this country consider is good for them. We should be very much offended if my numerous friends among the Kikuyu were to come over here and insist upon our giving up meat or drinking beer. I have tried experiments in this matter myself, and I receive weekly news-sheets with regard to the physical condition of those who are in my employ, the number of sick, and so on, and I assure hon. Gentleman that it is in the interest of everyone who is engaged in productive work in Kenya to see that the natives are fit.
With regard to another point mentioned by hon. Members above the Gangway, as to what they describe as the servitude of the workers, all I can say is that I can only keep my workers out of good will. At any moment they will pack up and go back to their reserves if they are not satisfied, and, of course, I have to do everything I can to help them. Again, the finger of scorn has been pointed at my right hon. Friend, for whose administration at the Colonial. Office we are all grateful, and we have been told that we are behaving badly with regard to squatters. Some of us have done all that we possibly could to keep squatters on 1129 our plantations, but, instead of remaining there, with certain advantages that they have, they like, when they have earned a certain amount of wages, to go back to their reserves, and you cannot alter that fact.
Before I sit down I should like to refer to what has been said by some hon. Members on the Liberal and Labour Benches. In view of the fact that the whole of the Colonial problem, if I may so describe it, is being discussed throughout the world at the present time, I hope that hon. Members of this House will not go about making speeches and writing articles suggesting that we are behaving harshly and exclusively towards other nationals throughout the British Empire. It really is not true; but, if these statements are repeated from time to time, it is, of course, exacerbating to people in Italy, Germany and elsewhere if they imagine that these are the facts. My right hon. Friend will bear me out when I say that two-thirds of the British Colonial Empire is absolutely on a Free Trade basis. Any foreign national can import into those territories, and especially into these African territories, on exactly the same terms as we can, and as a matter of fact the imports of foreign countries into those territories in the last two or three years have increased by 12 per cent., as compared with 10 per cent. in the case of ourselves. It is also true that in the Mandated Territories imports are considerably greater from the foreign world than they are from this country. Therefore, it simply is not a fact that we are excluding foreigners from the advantages of those possessions, and when the hon. Member for the Isle of Ely (Mr. de Rothschild) says that because of our exclusiveness we are causing complaints about raw materials, I would beg him and all my other hon. Friends to desist from that argument, because it is not a fact.
I am one of those who believe that the British Empire can welcome into its territories nationals of all countries to take part in its development. We can ask them to come and share in our productive development, and also, I hope, to a certain extent in administration. If Members of this House and well known politicians get up and declare that we are a kind of mangy dog in the world, spreading rabies all around, and that we are administering these territories so badly, is 1130 it to be wondered at that other countries feel envious and anxious to take our place and administer those territories better than ourselves. When so much discussion on these matters is going on at the present moment, I beg those who take part in it to see that they say what is true, namely, that the administration of the British Empire at the present moment is something of which we can well be proud. The Debate this afternoon has included eloquent pleas that we should try to prevent certain conditions outside the British Colonial Empire, in the Union of South Africa, from being maintained, and that we should try to see that the heavenly conditions existing in the British Colonial Empire should also obtain there. Hon. Members cannot have it both ways.
The British Empire at present is administered in a way in which we would desire it to be administered, by our own flesh and blood, who are just as much concerned for the honour of the British race as hon. Gentlemen and myself are here. Therefore, I beg that this constant criticism against our own people in some of these Crown Colonies should cease, and that they should rather be offered helpful suggestions, such as have come from some quarters of the Committee this evening, in order to help the administration to go from strength to strength.
§ 10.13 p.m.
§ Mr. Paling
The hon. and gallant Baronet the Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) has spoken of a constant stream of criticism, but, as far as I can gather from messages and information from Kenya and other places, the people out there criticise us just as much as we criticise them, and possibly have as hard things to say about us on occasion as we say about them, and when we criticise them I do not think they squeal to the extent that the hon. Baronet tried to make out. I do not know that we try to make out that the British Empire is worse ruled than any other Empire. I had the privilege of going round Africa some years ago and comparing our rule with that of other nations, and I do not mind admitting that I was rather impressed by some of the things that we are doing as compared with some other nations. But that does not alter the fact that, if things are wrong, as we think they are, in some parts of our Empire, they should be criticised.
1131 I would ask the Secretary of State to tell us a little more about the Tanganyika land concession. I was very disappointed to hear about that. I went out to Tanganyika in 1928 with three other Members of the House, and it was the boast of the Colony that, so far as the land situation was concerned, it was probably on the most satisfactory basis of any of the Colonies under our care. Certain laws, rules and regulations were laid down. Am I right in thinking that for the first time there has been a serious departure from the established practice in that Colony?
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
No. We have followed the law exactly. Concessions over a certain acreage have to be referred to the Governor. It is all under the law.
§ Mr. Paling
Have there been any previous concessions to companies who have taken over land not for the purpose of working it for themselves? I understand that in this case it is for the purpose of letting it out to others. Have there been any grants of land before this to be let out to others than natives.
§ Mr. Paling
That is where my disappointment comes in. In any event, if a white settler goes to these countries he must depend on native labour in the main. We take the view that the native is exploited. We have a company consisting of very influential men with friends in high places. They get a huge concession and they do not propose to work it for themselves and employ native labour direct, but to let it out to other white settlers who will themselves exploit the native labour, so that there is to be a double exploitation. The company is to exploit the white people and those who take the farms will exploit the natives. I do not think that is desirable. Is it not a fact that under the law all land given to white settlers has to be put up to auction and occupancy goes to the highest bidder? Has the law been departed from on this occasion? Is it a fact that the Law Officers of Tanganyika were entirely against this concession of land to these people? Was the concession practically an accomplished fact before it was submitted to the Colonial Secretary? Was 1132 he aware of what was going on from the very beginning, or was he only made aware of it when the whole thing was an accomplished fact and he was asked to give his assent to it?
I was disappointed with what the right hon. Gentleman said with regard to Labour Departments. He was in favour of Labour Departments, generally speaking, and he said there was one in Kenya, but he did not tell us to what extent. There are only four people engaged in it. He admits that the work is of such a character that it is a sheer impossibility for them to attend to it, and he hopes it may be possible to extend it if and when the financial situation gets better. He does not want a Labour Department, if it is set up, to be a separate Department but a part of the Native Affairs Department. Does that mean that there will not be men selected for this work entirely and particularly, but that it will be part of the duty of every political officer to do part of this labour administrative work? If that is so, I am disappointed. I learned that the experiment in connection with Tanganyika had been a huge success, that people had been sent to the labour department, that it had been made their job, and they have given their whole attention to it, made it their study and had made it a satisfactory business. It has been emphasised that a labour department should be a labour department exclusively, and not part of another Department.
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
I will make the matter clear. My point was that I did not think it was necessary to have labour officers everywhere, but you must have your district commissioners everywhere responsible for the whole thing. You want a small specialised labour department, the whole time specialising on particular labour questions who will tell the district commissioners what they are to do in their general work on the labour side. I want the district commissioners to co-operate more effectively with the labour people who are essential to the district work.
§ Mr. Paling
That goes part of the way towards what I want, but not the whole way. I want to see a labour department as a separate unit given over to the duties that a labour department should perform. To take the parallel of this country, there are great trade unions and a political 1133 Labour party, and working men are educated to look after their own interests, but, despite that fact, it is still necessary to have a huge number of labour inspectors here to see that working men and women and young people get their rights in law, and they do not always get them in these circumstances. If that is the case here, how can it be possible for the natives working under exceedingly difficult conditions in Tankanyika and Kenya and other places to get their rights, unless there is a sufficient and highly specialised staff giving their whole time to seeing that the law is carried out as far as labour is concerned?
I hope that the Colonial Secretary will give every consideration to this matter. If it is true in the Colonies, as it is said to be here, that prosperity is returning and things are looking up—according to the trade returns the position in the Colonies is much better than it has been for some years—the excuse that they are not able to afford a labour department because of the lack of money will not hold good. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will press the matter seriously in the next few months so that labour offices may be set up and the interests of the natives in our Colonies looked after. The Colonial Secretary said that, generally speaking, he was in favour of adopting the International Labour Office Convention on recruitment, but he added a qualification. He said that separate negotiations were taking place with South Africa, and that it would depend upon those negotiations whether he could decide upon a convention or not. The right hon. Gentleman knows more about the matter than I do, but I cannot see how, whether the negotiations with South Africa are a success or not, it could stop him putting a convention into operation in particular Colonies in any event.
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
If I cannot get my way in the Convention of South Africa I shall have to have a reservation in the case of those two particular Colonies.
§ Mr. Paling
Otherwise it will be put into operation. With regard to the migration of labour into Southern Rhodesia and into the Rand, the hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Creech Jones) has mentioned that the Union of South Africa have put into operation new regulations with regard to recruiting. I understand that the Secretary of State has given 1134 them permission to do that and that 2,000 natives have already been recruited and are on the Rand working in the mines. I find, however, from one of the books issued by the International Labour Office, that over 3,000 have been recruited. They refer to it as an experiment. I think that term was also used by the Colonial Secretary to-day. I do not like it. Past experience has proved that tropical labour employed on the Rand a good many years ago was subject to a very high death rate. A tremendous number of the natives had pneumonia. Because of the high mortality the migration was stopped and they were not allowed to recruit further. Now, they are recruiting again. If past experience has taught us that native labour in the mines was subject to an abnormally high death rate, it is a dangerous experiment to renew. The Colonial Office has not told us that conditions of labour have greatly altered.
§ Mr. Paling
I am glad to hear that. It struck me as being rather a dangerous experiment if, in view of our experience in the past, we were sending native labour back into the mines. I suppose if they do not die, we shall continue sending such labourers, but if they do die we shall stop further migration. In view of the fact that 2,000 or 3,000 labourers have already gone, I hope there is some real guarantee that the circumstances which existed previously, under which so many died, have been altered, and that there is no reason to fear the same thing happening again. I understand from the International Labour Office publication that Northern Rhodesia have complained that thousands of domestic servants are being repatriated from South Africa back to Northern Rhodesia. Many of these people have worked 10 years or over in South Africa. They have been detribalised, they have lost touch with their tribes, they have become urbanised and they are thoroughly unfitted to be sent back. For what particular reason South Africa is sending them back I cannot understand, unless it may be that they have taken all the steel out of them and think they are no longer any use, and therefore they repatriate them. I hope the Colonial Secretary will tell us something more about this matter.
1135 I should like to say a few words about long-term contracts. One of the many complaints we heard when we were out in Africa related to the question of longterm contracts. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, a lot of this labour is recruited, nad the recruiter is paid by results. He puts a good case to the native labourer, who probably has never been out of the bush and is entirely ignorant, and in a good many cases supplies him with an advance of wages and gets him to sign a two years' contract, which I believe is still the average contract. In many cases the native labourer does not know what he is signing and perhaps gets hold of an employer he does not like, and decides to run away. Under the law he is liable to be prosecuted as being guilty of a crime. This law exists in Tanganyika: Section 34 of the Master and Native Servants' Ordinance says:Any servant may be fined any sum not exceeding 100 shillings, or may be sentenced to imprisonment without the infliction of a fine at the discretion of the court for any period not exceeding six months, in case he shall commit any of the following offences, that is to say, if without lawful cause he departs from his employer's service intending not to return thereto.These ignorant people are recruited by men whose interest it is to recruit them, and who in a good many cases suppress material information which should be given to the native labourer, who frequently pay the native an advance of wages and put everything in his way to sign the contract. The labourer gets under a bad employer, finds that there are other things he does not like, leaves his job and is at once subject to these penalties. One of the members of our delegation was a lawyer, and he looked at this particular feature with abhorrence. It was entirely new to him and he thought it should be abolished. I ask if this penalty still exists in Tanganyika and other Colonies. Is this two years' contract still in operation, and is it the intention that the long-term contract shall be abolished and substituted by a much shorter period. I think six months is the term which is in most people's minds as being a sufficiently long period.
§ Mr. Paling
I do not know, but I should imagine that the first time a magistrate has a chance of explaining the contract to the labourer is when the labourer is being prosecuted for having run away. It is part of the law that the recruiter himself shall be responsible for making the terms known to the labourer, but that is almost impossible even if the recruiter wanted to do so, and owing to the nature of his job he does not want to do so. He wants to get recruits, the more the merrier.
§ Mr. Wise
I have some personal experience of this having had to do with a large number of labour contracts, and my own experience is that when the natives are brought by the recruiter before the magistrate he has to witness their acceptance of the terms of the contract and he explains carefully not only how long the contract runs but where they are to go, and often what their rations will be during their term of service. Any native who wishes can at that time say that he does not want to pursue the matter. My own experience was that from 10 to 20 per cent. of every draft, when the terms of labour were explained to them, used to go back to the Reserve instead of going on with the work.
§ Mr. Paling
That may be the case, but generally when the recruiter goes out to recruit the natives, it is impossible for a magistrate to be present. The fact still remains that most of the natives who sign the contracts are ignorant of what they are signing, and because of that the number of prosecutions is enormous. The contracts are for too long a period, and six months ought to be the limit of any contract. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Altrincham (Sir E. Grigg), who was at one time Governor of Kenya, when speaking about Nyasaland said that hon. Members on these benches, always wanted to increase the social services and were always interested in the betterment of native conditions, but that that could not be done unless there was money. We agree with that. In a country such as Nyasaland, a territory which is very poor, where there are no minerals and where some of the land is very bad, it may be very difficult to find the money. But 1137 our demands apply to every Colony in Africa, West and East, with the possible exception of Nigeria. They apply to Tanganyika to some extent, to Kenya to a large extent, to Northern Rhodesia, to Uganda and to other Territories where there are minerals and where there is a great number of people working for wages. Some of those wages are disgustingly low.
The first thing I found out when I went there was that in a good many cases labourers were paid less than 3d. a day—from 6s. to 8s. for a month of 3o working days. At the present time they are as low as that for agricultural labourers in Kenya. One of the most ironical things that I saw on my journey was that, in spite of those low wages, they have established a bank so that the natives can put in it any money which they save. Let me give examples of some of the wages that are paid. The 1935 Report on Native Affairs in Northern Rhodesia states that wages are 6s. 6d. per 3o day ticket. The Nyasaland Emigrant Labour Committee says that emigrant Nyasalanders seek employment for food alone without wages. The 1935 Report of the Kenya Native Affairs Department records that squatters are in certain cases required to perform i8o statutory days of labour without remuneration. Surely that is a state of affairs which is to be deplored. In his Report on Kenya, Sir Alan Pim said that agricultural labourers were considerably worse off and that the wages of casual labourers on tea, sugar and sisal estates were from 6s. to 10s. per 3o day ticket. Squatters received from 3s. to 10s. and juveniles from 3s. to 6s. Industrial labourers employed by the Public Works Department received from 8s. to 10s., and casual labourers on the railways from 10s. to 12s. The same applies in most other Territories.
As regards the wages in the mines, in spite of the fact that copper has not been in too depressed a state, we find from the report recently submitted about the disturbances in the copper belt, that in one mine out of 2,900 employés, 1,108 were receiving wages of from 12s. 6d. to 15s. per month, or less than 6d. per day. The same story is told about other mines as well. I believe that in some of the goldfields the wages are also disgustingly low. The price of gold is high 1138 enough and the price of copper is high enough, and I refuse to believe that the mine owners in those circumstances cannot afford to pay much higher wages. When we ask that the condition of the native should be improved and that better social services should be provided for them, the reply we receive is that agriculture is so bad, that there is no money for these purposes. In the copper belt and in the goldfields they seem to be making plenty of money and I believe that the money for these purposes could be found if the will was there.
A few weeks ago I asked a question with reference to the wages of the rubber workers in Malaya. I asked the Secretary of State whether the rates of wages of 1s. 2d. a day for Indian males and 11¼d. a day for Indian females had been fixed for a definite period and the Minister said they had. I have had a report since then from Malaya according to which the report made to the Minister was inaccurate. I was led to believe and the House was led to believe that these wages were allocated quarterly or half-yearly and were more or less on a sliding scale, but I am told that such is not the case, that that was what had been agitated for, but had never been achieved. I am told that even with the last increase which they received, these workers have only been put back to the old rate of wages which they had about 193o or 1931. Since that time they have been working on a reduced scale.and only a few weeks ago were they put back to the original basis. I am also told that the cost of the production of rubber then was round about 24 cents and that since then it has gone down by about 9 cents and that the actual price of rubber at present is 37 cents—in other words, that it has much more than doubled since the time when these reductions were made on the Indians and Chinese working on the rubber estates. The only thing which they have been able to achieve, and they have only been able to achieve it largely by disorder, has been to be restored to the position in which they were in 1931, in spite of the fact that the price of rubber has leapt up to its present position.
At any rate, there appears to be plenty of money in rubber, because I understand that the shareholders are being paid and that the planters are doing very well. I understand that the contribution to one 1139 of their philanthropic funds has been doubled, and yet the Indians and the Chinese are being treated in the manner I have indicated. I trust that the right hon. Gentleman will look into this matter. When I referred in a Supplementary Question to the possibility of the rubber people having a monopoly, the right hon. Gentleman said that he did not understand what I meant. What I meant was that they had been helped by this country. An arrangement has been put into operation whereby it was agreed to reduce output. There was a certain guarantee behind that and that guarantee has no doubt helped the planters in Malaya. If they are going to have the protection of the State in that matter when they are doing decently well, the State should see that the workers who work for them should also be protected and should have decent wages. I have another report here to the same effect from St. Lucia showing that the wages are so low that a commission has inquired into the matter, and its report makes very sad reading indeed. Shockingly low wages are paid, much below 1s. a day, in some cases 9d., and in some cases, I believe, as low as 6d. I think they are contemplating approaching the Colonial Secretary about the Colonial Development Fund in order to see whether they cannot get some help out of it.
These inquiries seem to indicate that all is not well with our Colonial Empire, that there is extreme poverty, that there is exploitation, and that, as the hon. Member for London University (Sir E. Graham-Little) pointed out, there is a tremendous amount of disease, bad nutrition, and mal-nourishment. There is also a land question in Kenya, into which I have not the time to go. We are very much concerned about these matters, and we ask the Colonial Secretary, in spite of the rosy picture that he painted when he made his last speech—and he did—to look into these matters. He tried to indicate that everything was all right, and he has the facility of making people believe it. He indicated that if anything was wrong with the Colonies, it was due to the inherent wickedness of the people and not to any fault of the Colonial Office. Well, we do not quite accept that. I have tried to point out some of the facts which are contained in reports sent to us 1140 as Members of Parliament. In view of the alarming poverty, disease, and exploitation that exist, I hope the Colonial Secretary will look upon this in a rather different manner from that in which he has looked upon it in the past, that he will use his power in the direction of helping the natives, and that he will keep in mind the dictum that was first given out, not by a Labour Government, but by a Duke of Devonshire, that the interests of the natives must be paramount and that where those interests conflict with the interests of the non-natives, the interests of the natives must have precedence.
§ 10.48 p.m.
§ Mr. Ormsby-Gore
I have not claimed that everything is perfectly satisfactory in our Colonial Empire. What I do claim is that on the whole, by and large, the conditions are better yin the British Colonial Empire than in any other, and that, room as there is for improvement, there has been remarkable progress made in the last 10 or 15 years, due, not nearly as much to action by legislation and by Governments as to the general progress of all the people concerned in Colonial development—Governors, traders, missionaries, and the like. One hon. Member referred to the Island of St. Lucia, which is one of the poorest islands in the West Indies. There are very few white people in the island, there are no rich people there, the wealth of the whole community is very small indeed, and they are a grant-in-aid Colony. That is to say, their taxation is at a maximum considering what their wealth is, and they are assisted by the British taxpayer through a grant-in-aid. Therefore, it is inevitable under those conditions that one cannot provide all the public services that one would like to provide.
However, I agree that the present state of education in St, Lucia is not such as we should like to see it. It has been left almost entirely to the philanthropy of the Roman Catholic Church. Practically the whole community, of course, is Roman Catholic. It was an island we took over from the French. At the present time we are forming an entirely new board of education, not purely clerical, and we are determined to make an advance. We are in touch with the Government of Trinidad with a view to getting them to take some St. Lucia teachers to train them better there 1141 and then send them back. A new education Ordinance has been drafted, and I am awaiting its receipt.
Let me deal with the questions which the hon. Member for London University (Sir E. Graham-Little) raised. I know that he is very upset about the position of Dr. Gordon. It is true that I presided at the meeting which he attended when Dr. Gordon gave his exposé of the results of his measurements of the brain capacity of certain selected natives. I say quite frankly that I was not as impressed as was the hon. Member with the scientific value of that work, and though some doctors agree with the hon. Member, a great many doctors agree with me, and before I can authorise any expenditure for medical research either of this or any other character, either in Kenya or elsewhere, I must take advice from the Medical Research Council of this country, and they do not advise it. Dr. Gordon was never a full time Government medical officer. He went out to Kenya on his own at a fair age. He was a well-known alienist who had specialised in particular branches of mental illness and the Government of Kenya were very glad, of course, to employ him as a local consultant in connection with the asylum at Nairobi as he had settled there on his own. But when he reached the age of 70, which is far beyond the retiring age of most people working in the tropics—he had been in Kenya about 10 or 12 years—they came to the conclusion that it was essential to have a whole-time mental consultant and a younger man and they, therefore, dispensed with his services. That is all there is to it. There is no conspiracy at all.
I am glad that Dr. Vint, a young and able consultant, has been able to carry on in Kenya. I did offer him a better job, with higher pay, in Mauritius, which he was inclined to accept. There was, however, a great wish that he should stay in Kenya, where they liked his work, and he has been induced to stay there. The hon. Member for the London University suggests that it may be possible that this brain deficiency is the cause of malaria and other diseases. Really that cannot be so. Malnutrition may be one of the causes. The causes of most of these tropical diseases are known. There are well-known physical causes. There is only one way to deal with malaria and that 1142 is to kill the mosquitoes. Yaws is a disease in which remarkable work is being done by the British medical staff all over Africa.
The hon. and gallant Member for South-East Leeds (Major Milner) is still unhappy about the Tigoni people. I can assure him that they were not occupying their ancestral land. They were in an area which they had only recently occupied. The Morris Carter Commission found, as a fact, that they crept into the area because it had been left derelict. The area was getting overcrowded and it was in their own interests to remove them to a defined area. That has now been done and the overwhelming majority of them are satisfied. With regard to railway rates, I have ascertained that there is no discrimination in regard to Kenya and Uganda rates. I am advised with regard to long-term contracts that in Tanganyika territory the contracts of 1923 no longer obtain and that the 3o-day contract is now the general rule. It is possible by going before a magistrate to go up to six months. The contract for work on the Rand is for one year. The hon. Gentleman asked me why we allowed this experiment. It is because there has already been a successful experiment with natives, not from the Colonial Empire, but from north of Latitude 22, in which the results were very different from the old results, and although there were some cases of pneumonia there were very few deaths. We are encouraged to believe that the dangers that obtained in the old days do not obtain now, and so far the reports are thoroughly satisfactory. I have no ground to believe that there is any special danger to health. Certainly the wages they get there and the conditions in which they live are better than in many other parts. With regard to labour departments, I am certainly in favour of them. We all want to do the same thing. Now with certain expanding revenues I realise, particularly with mineral development, that it is essential to watch the labour problems. We shall have a further opportunity of debating my Vote. If Palestine is put down I hope some of the other questions can be dealt with then.
§ Question put, "That a sum not exceeding £114,449 be granted for the said Service."1143
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 89; Noes, 141.
|Division No. 201.]||AYES.||[11.1 p.m.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Ritson, J.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Rowson, G.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'Isbr.)||Kelly, W. T.||Salter, Dr. A. (Bermondsey)|
|Ammon, C. G.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Sexton, T. M.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. G. R.||Kirby, B. V.||Short, A.|
|Baley, J.||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G.||Simpson, F. B.|
|Bellenger, F. J.||Lawson, J. J.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Broad, F. A.||Leach, W.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire)||Lee, F.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Burke, W. A.||Leonard, W.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Chater, D.||Leslie, J. R.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lunn, W.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Cocks, F. S.||McEntee, V. La T.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford||McGhee, H. G.||Viant, S. P.|
|Daggar, G.||McGovern, J.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Marshall, F.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Day, H.||Messer, F.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Milner, Major J.||Westwood, J.|
|Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Montague, F.||Whiteley, W.|
|Frankel, D.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Wilkinson, Ellen|
|Gardner, B. W.||Muff, G.||Williams, D. (Swansea, E.)|
|Garro Jones, G. M.||Nathan, Colonel H. L.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Gibson, R. (Greenock)||Noel-Baker, P. J.||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Giaham D. M. (Hamilton)||Paling, W.||Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Parker, J.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Parkinson, J. A.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Groves, T. E.||Potts, J.|
|Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Price, M. P.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Pritt, D. N.||Mr. Charleton and Mr. Mathers.|
|Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Ridley, G.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Gledhill, G.||Nicolson, Hon. H. G.|
|Allen, Col. J. Sandeman (B'knhead)||Gluckstein, L. H.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh.|
|Apsley, Lord||Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. G. A.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Grant-Ferris, R.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.|
|Assheton, R.||Gridley, Sir A. B.||Owen, Major G.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Grimston, R. V.||Petherick, M.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Guinness, T. L. E. B.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Beit, Sir A. L.||Guy, J. C. M.||Procter, Major H. A.|
|Birchall, Sir J. D.||Hanbury, Sir G.||Rankin, Sir R.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hannah, I. C.||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T.||Harbord, A.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Harris, Sir P. A.||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)|
|Bull, B. B.||Hartington, Marquess of||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Burghley, Lord||Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)||Ross, Major Sir R. D. (Londonderry)|
|Burgin, Rt. Hon. E. L.||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Rowlands, G.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Hepworth, J.||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)|
|Cary, R. A.||Higgs, W. F.||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)|
|Channon, H.||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.||Seely, Sir H. M.|
|Christie, J. A.||Hopkinson, A.||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)|
|Clarke, Lt.-Col. R. S. (E. Grinstead)||Hudson, R. S. (Southport)||Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.|
|Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Smith, L. W. (Hallam)|
|Cook, Sir T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)||Hunter, T.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. A. Duff (W'st'r S. G'gs)||Joel, D. J. B.||Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Jones, Sir H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Spears, Brigadier-General E. L.|
|Cox, H. B. T.||Keeling, E. H.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Craven-Ellis, W.||Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page||Kimball, L.|
|Crooke, J. S.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Leckie, J. A.||Tasker, Sir R. I.|
|Cross, R. H.||Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J.||Thomson. Sir J. D. W.|
|Crossley, A. C.||Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Cruddas, Col. B.||Loftus, P. C.||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Dodd, J. S.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Evan|
|Dorman-Smith, Major Sir R. H.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Duggan, H. J.||Magnay, T.||Waterhouse, Captain O.|
|Eckersley, P. T.||Maitland, A.||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Ellis, Sir G.||Makins, Brig.-Gen. E.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Elliston, Capt. G. S.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Emery, J. F.||Markham, S. F.||Wise, A. R.|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||Wood, Hon. C. I. C.|
|Fildes, Sir H.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Wright, Squadron-Leader J. A. C.|
|Findlay, Sir E.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Foot, D. M.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)|
|Fremantle, Sir F. E.||Munro, P.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Furness, S. N.||Nail, Sir J.||Major Sir George Davies and|
|Fyfe, D. P. M.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.||Captain Dugdale.|
|Gibson, Sir C. G. (Pudsey and Otley)||Nicholson, G. (Farnham)|
§ Original Question again proposed.1145
§ Mr. T. Smith rose—
§ It being after Eleven of the Clock, The CHAIRMAN left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.1146
§ The remaining Order was read, and postponed.