§ 3.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
I beg to move,That, in the opinion of this House, no redistribution of Colonial or mandated territory should be made without the consent of the inhabitants; and that, as part of a general peace settlement, international agreements should be drawn up extending the application of the mandate system to all Colonial territories which are not ripe for self-government, providing equal economic opportunity in such territories for the nationals of all signatory Powers, and establishing as the primary purpose of Colonial policy the welfare and progress of the Native inhabitants.I make no apology for putting down a Motion on Colonial Policy for this afternoon. This House has two constituencies—the 50,000,000 electors who send it here and nearly 70,000,000 in the dependent Empire over whom we also rule. This House is ultimately responsible for the government of both, and to the latter task we give only a relatively small proportion of our parliamentary time. In consequence, every Member of this House could think of many Colonial questions which deserve debate and which he would like to see debated—the West Indies, the Protectorates, the Rhodesias and many more. But I do not desire this afternoon to raise any of these specific issues. I want to deal with Colonial policy in its broadest aspect as a factor in the international politics of the world, and, in particular, with the demand now made for Colonies by certain Governments, chief among them by Herr Hitler. I want to deal with the problem which that demand creates, and with the solution which we think that problem ought to have.
I start with the general observation about the international situation as it is to-day. I do not think that any hon. Member will dissent from the view that the most important single fact in international affairs at the present time is the general hatred of the idea of war. Indeed, I would venture the assertion that for the first time in history the vast majority of all human beings in all countries consciously detest the idea of war, and consciously desire that war should, by government action, be ended now for evermore. Yet in the last few years three Governments have deliberately forced aggressive war upon their neighbours. And they have not only been guilty of aggression: they have glorified 1200 war as it has not been glorified for 1,50o years. They have militarised their peoples as no people has been militarised since the ancient Spartans. They have carried on a systematic long-term campaign to discredit and to smash the League of Nations, the only machinery by which stable peace can be preserved. They have ridiculed the very idea of international law. They have forced the world into the most terrible arms race there has ever been. Through thousands of agencies, and by the expenditure of millions of pounds, they have stirred up unrest and civil war in many countries, until even such peoples as the Danes and the Swiss have been forced to act in self-protection against this scourge. Every month they plunge deeper into power politics of the most ruthless kind. Every month they bring forward some new demand which can only be obtained by war or threat of war.
The spirit in which they act is shown by a message which the "Times correspondent in Berlin sent as lately as Sunday last. He reported that the Reich Minister for Church Affairs had suspended from office and stopped the salaries of five members of the Confessional Movement's Provisional Administration, including the chairman. This was done, says the "Times" correspondent,on the ground that they acted politically by arranging prayer meetings for peace to be held on 30th September.In the face of such facts not even the most optimistic pacifist, not even, I believe, the Prime Minister himself, can doubt that these Governments have deliberately adopted a policy, the conscious aim of which has now become the creation of new military empires, and perhaps the military domination of the world.
It is in the light of these facts that all great questions of foreign policy must be now judged—among them, and not least among them Herr Hitler's claim that the ex-German colonies should be returned. What is Herr Hitler's claim? On what ground of fact and argument has it been based? What answer shall we give him? What alternative policy shall we offer if we refuse his claim? Those are the questions with which I want to deal. What is his claim? He stated it with brutal frankness at Munich a few weeks ago, shortly after the Conference of Munich. Speaking of the 1201 leaders of the democratic countries, the Prime Minister and M. Daladier, he said:They talk of understanding. The word 'understanding' is somewhat incomprehensible to us, because we do not want anything from these men, except perhaps our colonies, which were taken from us on false pretences.The claim is that the ex-German colonies must be returned, all of them, without exception, without conditions, without the mandate system, and without delay.
By what arguments is this claim defended? By a great variety of contentions, some of them as old as Kaiser Wilhelm and some of them quite new, contentions which, taken together, would make it seem, if they were accepted, that a monstrous injustice had been done to the German people on legal, on ethnographic, on economic and on moral grounds. Let me start with the argument from law. It has been stated thus by General Goering, who said a year ago:Whether they like it or not the other Powers will be continually reminded by Germany that their method of Colonial robbery has no basis in any internationally ordered Statute. It is simply a system of illegal possession, repudiated by Germany now and in the future.Much could be said on either side about the morality of the Allies' interpretations of the Fourteen Points in 1919, and particularly about their interpretation of Point 5, which dealt with Colonies; but the fact remains that by Article 119 of the Treaty of Versailles Germany "renounced in favour of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers all her rights and titles over her overseas possessions." And in law, whether we like it or not, and whether General Goering likes it or not, that Article is absolutely decisive. I would add that it is not the invaders of Austria, nor the victors of Munich, who can safely challenge the morality on which that law is based.
I turn to the far more important argument about population, an argument which sometimes excites sympathy in our country and elsewhere. Herr Hitler tells us that Germany's "lebensraum," her living-room, is far too small. "Volk ohne raum" is in the forefront of his propaganda slogans. General Goering says that the German people will "suffocate" or "burst" unless they have their Colonies as an outlet for their surplus population. The first point about that argument is that the rulers of Germany, like Signor Mussolini, are doing everything in their 1202 power artificially to increase the population. They are doing so with one purpose in view—to increase the man-power which they hope to use in future wars. That is not an unjust interpretation of what they do; it is the boast they make themselves. We say that if such a policy is applied with such an object, it is no part of the duty of the peaceful world to provide colonial outlets in which that object can be achieved.
But what in fact have colonies got to do with growing population, in the world in which we live to-day? Let me give the House some figures, some of which the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery) has used before, but which, nevertheless, it may be useful to repeat. At the last census, according to the "Economist's" calculations, Germany had 140 inhabitants per square kilometre. We have 264, that is, there is nearly twice as great a pressure here in spite of the colonies which we possess. Moreover, only one-tenth of Germany is uncultivable land, whereas one-fifth of our land cannot be cultivated. In spite of all our colonies, we have a net annual increment of population, due to the return of grants from Dominions overseas. Before the War Germany had an annual increase in population of 730,000. She had a total emigration of 25,000, but of these, according to the "Economist," the average emigration to the colonies in the last pre-war years was 33. In 1913 the total number of all the Germans in the colonies, after 3o years of Empire, was 19,70o, of whom more than 3,000 were German soldiers and police. The result of 3o years of colonial effort was that they had transplanted 1/37th of the annual increase in their population. In that year 1913 there were living and earning their bread on the Island of Manhattan alone three times more Germans than in the colonies.
Germany is not a special case in this regard. The same is true of the Dutch, who over a century of history have had an increment of population as a result of the colonies they control; and I think the explanation was given by a Frenchman, who once said that his Government extolled the glories of their African Empire, "and indeed," he added, "there is only one thing wrong with it; it is impossible to live there." The basic truth is this. There are only tiny fractions of the countries which are called colonies 1203 to-day where it is possible, even if it were desirable, for Europeans to live and work. The conclusion is plain. The colonies have not the slightest real significance for the German people as an outlet for her growing population.
Is there more reality in the economic argument used. Dr. Goebbels has said that:It will not do that we continue to live as a poor country while the rest of the world is rolling in wealth. We are beggars; we are confronted with difficulties which we cannot overcome by interior methods.Even Herr Hitler's Minister of Finance, who is relatively instructed in economic matters, has talked as if the return of colonies would help Germany to acquire her raw materials. What is the truth? Again statistics give the answer. In 1914 the imports from the colonies to Germany were only 0.5 per cent. of her total imports, or l0s. in 100. The proportion of her raw materials, at the very outside, indeed the proportion of those raw materials which the colonies produced, was only 3 per cent. And what were those raw materials? Dr. Goebbels has said that coal, iron, oil, cotton, and rubber are the basic materials of modern industry. The ex-German colonies have no coal, no iron, no oil, no rubber, very little cotton and rather less copper. The truth is that what are called colonies to-day are not an important source of raw materials for any nation. As the League of Nations Commission on the subject reported in 1937, raw materials are found in sovereign countries and all the colonies in the world produced only 3 per cent. of the raw materials that are commercially important at the present time. Moreover, the German Government forget that in virtually every raw material market they can now buy on equal terms, that the restrictions which have operated against them have been almost nil, and that by the strangest paradox in history—for myself I wish it had not been true—the other nations have not hampered them as to 001 per cent. in their buying of the supplies which they have needed for the monstrous armament expansion on which they are engaged.
Is the case any stronger with regard to trade? In 1914 the German colonies took 0.6 per cent. of German exports, or 12s. in every £100. To-day no doubt their capacity is a little more, but if it has 1204 increased, it is entirely open to the Germans to take advantage of that increase. Since Germany left the League of Nations, she has had no right to equal treatment in the mandated areas which she used to rule. But she has been given equal treatment all the same. If those places were her colonies now, she might close them to other people's trade and gain a small increase in her own exports, but she could do nothing in comparison with what she would lose by the reprisals of other nations in other markets on a larger scale.
The same conclusion is true of every economic aspect of this matter, and indeed it has been calculated by a committee of experts that if half the British colonies were handed over to Germany to-morrow, and if Germany did everything conceivable to increase their output in the German interest, it would add at the most only a few million pounds a year to the German national income. That would do nothing, or almost nothing, to help the German people to rise from the dire poverty in which so many of them live to-day. It is in quite a different direction that we and they must look for a solution.
I turn to the argument of moral right. Last year Herr von Ribbentrop declared that "Germany claims the right to colonial possessions on principle, for this is a right which belongs to every other nation, even to the smallest in the world." Herr Hitler supported this line of argument in a characteristic way not long ago at Munich, when he said:The white race is destined to rule. This is its unconscious urge, which arises from an heroic conception of life and which is entirely non-pacifist. By what right do nations possess colonies? By the right of taking them.That is an argument of pure prestige. We are back once more to the conception of power as the measure of national greatness—power gained and used, in Herr Hitler's words "by naked force"; power over subject peoples, to do with them what they will. That conception has led to fantastic mathematical calculations in Germany. It is said that Britain has an Empire 105 times the size of the Mother Country, that the Dutch have an Empire 60 times the size of Holland, and the implication is that Holland has 60 times as much honour and respect from the world as Germany can expect. We utterly reject such ideas. We reject them 1205 for our own nation or for any other. If the Dutch owe any element of their national greatness to their Colonial Empire, we think that it is due not to the power they wield over 50,000,000 people, but to the generosity and humanity with which they have ruled those people, and to the service they have rendered to those people and to the world. The idea that prestige is based on power, that power over subject peoples adds to national greatness, is part of the thinking of a bygone age. It is part of the thinking that our generation must destroy if we are to rid ourselves of the nightmare horrors of modern war.
Since, however, Herr Hitler does raise the question of prestige and of Germany's right to have these colonies without delay, there are other things that we must say. I have never argued, and I would never argue, that the Germans as a nation have proved themselves unfit to govern backward peoples. I do not forget the treatment of the Herreros in South-West Africa; I do not forget the suppression of the Maji-Magi rebellion in Tanganyika; I do not forget the fearful record of the man called in Germany "Hanging Peters." But at the same time I remember the answer of the schoolboy who, in an examination on elementary anatomy, said that the principal parts of the eye are the pupil, the mote and the beam. There is no colonial nation, we regret to say, that has not black strains upon its record. And I do not forget that "Hanging Peters" was dismissed by the Kaiser from his post; that Dernburg, Solf and Von LettowVorbeck stood for a new and humane policy towards the natives; and that, as time went on, they seemed to be gaining the upper hand. But who believes that Herr Hitler would think of native rights and welfare, as Solf and Dernburg used to speak and think? Herr Hitler's racial theories in themselves show that his Government and his party are utterly unfitted to be trusted with the fate of subject peoples. It is true that he has promoted the Japanese to the rank of honorary Aryans, but by his personal conduct at the Olympic Games, he has shown that he does not grant the same privilege to the negroes over whom he wants to rule.
His treatment of the Jews is showing us to-day what inferior subject races might expect at his hands. Have hon. Members really grasped the significance of what he is doing to the Jews? All 1206 the Jews who are capable of manual labour, every man from 18 to 60, is in a concentration camp; and Herr Hitler is not hampered even by these limitations, for I have credible reports that boys of 14 and old men of 80 have shared that fate. Those men are not in concentration camps because any court has found them guilty. They are not there for a fixed or legal term. They are there, so it appears, for ever, or until they die, and they are dying very fast. They are engaged in forced labour of the most brutal and brutalising kind. That is slavery, and slavery more fearful than the world has ever known since the Roman galleys. Is Europe which, half a century ago, in a Conference at Berlin, began to wipe out slavery in Africa, going to send back to Africa a government which has re-established slavery in the very heart of this Continent itself? It is unthinkable that we should do so. Men who have torn up every law of God and man cannot now be trusted with the fate of the weaker peoples who are struggling towards civilisation in the dim forests of the backward continents. That argument alone ought to be decisive against Herr Hitler.
But there is another which deserves attention. We are spending to-day £2,000,000,000 in preparing for a war. If that war comes, it will be against the governments which have been guilty of aggression, and because of the policy which those governments have pursued. Is it conceivable that, while there is still the risk that that war will happen, we should give these aggressor Powers new bases from which our shipping and our territories could be attacked? Let the House imagine Herr Hitler in Tanganyika or on the West Coast of Africa to-day. He would break our through communications from the north to the south in Africa; he would isolate Kenya between two hostile Powers; he would increase the threat to the Sudan, which Mussolini's military roads in Abyssinia are intended to create; he would create new bases from which submarines and aircraft could attack the millions of tons of British shipping which use these routes to bring the supplies without which we cannot live. He would make Africa what Europe is to-day, a volcano of fear, turmoil and unrest. And he would begin, I fear, the formation of great black 1207 armies, by which the whole history of the Continent might be changed.
Once more, we arrive at the conclusion that, while aggressive war remains the basic fact in international life, it is impossible that the power of the aggressors should be increased in the way that Herr Hitler now imperiously demands. That conclusion I have tried to put into my Motion, by saying that no Colonial or Mandated territories should be handed over without the consent of the inhabitants. In our view it is fundamental that native peoples should not be handed over as part of diplomatic bargains made by foreign Powers. They are human beings; they belong, as we are finding out, to highly gifted races; and they are destined very soon, as history goes, to rule themselves. It is they who should decide.
And if the peoples of the mandated territories were asked to-day about Herr Hitler, there is no doubt what answer they would give. In Tanganyika the British, the Dutch, the Indians and the Moslems are all, for the first time, united in a single league to resist a transfer. If I am rightly informed, it is very doubtful whether a transfer could be made without the shedding of British blood. Far more significant and important, the natives think the same. I have a report of a speech by a great native leader, Martin Kayamba, at a mass meeting of the native inhabitants, in which he said that they are bitterly opposed to any transfer to Hitler's Germany. I have also, and I think it even more important, a translation of a leading article from a native paper, the only independent paper published in Swahili. My correspondent says that it is regarded by the police as "seditious," but he adds that "the police everywhere are a little bone-headed." In the article, the editor says that they must not be handed back to Germany, and he ends with these words:If it is possible for Tanganyika to come under the rule of another regime, then will not we inhabitants be like people who are put in pawn? The thought gives us great uncertainty.There is only one answer which we can make to the plea that is thus made to us by the inhabitants of the Mandated areas.
I hope that so far I have spoken with a very considerable measure of agreement throughout the House, and I hope that the hon. authors of both Amendments will 1208 make it plain that they agree with the first part of my Motion, and that in their view no Colonies of any kind should be given to Herr Hitler's Government. If they do that, and I beg them to make it plain, then a great part of my purpose, in putting down this Motion will have been achieved.
I pass now to what Lord Beaverbrook and some others regard as the more controversial part of the Motion. We are convinced that it is not enough to say that Colonies are of so little value to Germany that she ought not even to want them, but that they are of such immense value to us that we can make no concessions of any kind. We feel that we cannot argue that we must refuse Colonies to Germany because she might do in them things which other nations are doing in their Colonies to-day. We shall deceive ourselves if we think that this aspect of the Colonial question is not of great importance in determining the future issues of peace and war. It is true that in the modern work, the conquest or the possession of other people's country does not make a nation rich. That is "The Great Illusion," exposed by Norman Angell long ago. It is true that conceptions of prestige and power have no reality and no meaning for educated men and women at the present day. But it is also true that these ideas have immense importance in the minds of some of the rulers of the world. They are, indeed, as someone has very aptly called them, "the unseen assassins of the happiness of mankind." Can any hon. Member honestly survey the history of the last 50 years, the history of Africa and Asia, the history of the origins of the war in 1914; or can any hon. Member look around the world to-day and deny that those ideas are a very potent contributory cause of war? Manchuria, Abyssinia, China, Spain, the mere catalogue of names proves that those ideas, which we on our side call "militarist imperialism," are still a devastating force in world affairs. The ideas are false; but they are still alive. We must have some policy by which they can be exorcised and laid to rest. How can that be done? We believe that it must be done; that, as the "Times" demanded in a leading article three weeks ago, we must "rule out, once for all, the theory that the backward races are ever again to be regarded as a factor in the power politics of Europe."
1209 We believe that that must be done; that it can be done. But it can be done only by a great new start in colonial policy in which all nations must make what they call sacrifices. It can be done only if the false conceptions of the past are driven out by new conceptions founded in the realities of to-day. It can be done only if the ideas of British colonial government at its best are, if I may use the phrase, sublimated in a modern, realistic, universal ideal of common service to mankind at large. We believe it can be done; but it will not be done unless we, as the greatest colonial Power, can prove that we no longer seek exclusive national advantage, economic, political or strategic, at the expense of other nations from the colonies we hold. We have to prove that we are in earnest when we say that we are trustees for these colonies. How can we prove that? We say: only by offering to accept the application of the mandate system to our colonies. Let the House observe the three conditions which we lay down. The first is that it does not apply to places where the inhabitants are ripe or almost ripe for self-government, and we exclude at once not only India, which is a Dominion, but Ceylon, the West Indies, and other places. Secondly, it is to apply to all colonies; all colonial Powers must play their part. Thirdly, it is to be part of a general peace settlement; it is part of the price which all nations must pay for peace. If we are to have peace we must have a change of international system; we cannot get it by staggering on from crisis to crisis as we are staggering to-day.
§ Mr. Markham
It would help us considerably if the hon. Member would give us a list of the territories which would come under this system.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
Broadly speaking the principle would include the African colonies, the Pacific Islands and certain marginal cases which would have to be considered on their merits. As to 90 per cent. of the cases, what I have said would be quite clear. But the new international system which is required can be built only on a return to international law; and it will only succeed if it removes some at least of the causes of war, and among them are what I have called militarist imperialism. Some hon. Members may be ready to sacrifice colonies to Herr Hitler to-day without 1210 any solid guarantees of peace. Surely our plan is far safer than that? What is our plan? It is the acceptance of the three principles upon which the mandate system is based. Those three principles are plainly these: first, that the progress and welfare of the native population must be the primary purpose of colonial government; second, that there shall be economic equality for all nations, and, third, that there shall be full publicity with regard to the administration. But these are also the very principles of British colonial government on which our own statesmen have always boasted their policy was based. The first has never been better stated than it was by the late Duke of Devonshire in 1923 in regard to Kenya. I do not propose to read the passage, but everyone will remember the declaration and how it placed the interests of the natives supreme above those of the settlors or anyone else. Can anyone doubt that it would be an advantage to us to have that principle embodied in an international obligation by which we should be bound? I am certain that it was an advantage to us in Tanganyika when we came to organise the government, and that it would be an advantage to us in the Rhodesias to-day. In any case, that principle, as far as we are concerned, is one which every British man or woman should be ready to accept.
The second principle is that the mandatory Power shall not seek to gain exclusive national advantage, economic or strategic. Again, is there any difficulty in accepting that? Already we have the open door with regard to 47,000,000 out of 68,000,000 people in our Colonial Empire. We have hardly any restrictions on the export of raw materials. There is some restriction with regard to public works, but can anybody doubt that it would be to our advantage to abolish these restrictions if we could get a general system of the kind I have described? It is 40 years since Mr. Joseph Chamberlain urged that we should do it in our own, interest, and Lord Lugard urges it upon us, in our own interest, to-day.
Lastly, the mandate system is founded on the principle of full publicity through the Mandates Commission, the Council and the Assembly of the League. It is debate in this House, it is publicity, which is our only guarantee against abuse and maladministration in the colonial Empire; and we know that this guarantee 1211 works uncertainly and unevenly in many ways. Would it really be a disadvantage if it were supported by the additional international publicity of the machinery of the League? What that publicity may mean in practice has been best expressed by the greatest of our recent Governors, Sir Donald Cameron, who claims from his experience under mandate in Tanganyika that it was a great advantage to the Tanganyikan administration that "from the date of their foundation they had been exposed to the full glare of public opinion, which must be, and does act, as a stimulus and a corrective." Certain it is that on the day in 1922, when the Bondelzwart massacres were debated in the Assembly of the League and the delegates from India and Haiti rose to plead, on equal terms, the cause of the coloured peoples in subjection, something new was born in world affairs, something of infinite importance, and something I hope which will never die.
Lord Beaverbrook says that we want to break up the British Empire; give colonies to Hitler now and see how far and fast you go towards that end.
We believe that by our plan we shall preserve for ever, for ourselves and for mankind, everything in the British Empire of which we can be proud. We want to extend the mandate system, because it has set a new standard of colonial ethics; because in practice it has proved an instrument by which justice and progress can be secured; and, above all, we want to extend it because we believe it will give the peoples, including the people of Germany, a new vision of what colonial trusteeship in our generation ought to mean. We need that new vision, and we need it now. Our generation seems to be afflicted by a kind of curse. It can only think of its problems in terms of conflict; conflict between the interests of the white employer and his native labour, conflict between the interests of subject peoples and the nations who have them in their control; conflict between the colonial and the non-colonial Powers. Can we not show that we in this House understand that the epoch of force and exploitation in colonial countries has long gone by; that it is in the interests of the white man, even in his long term economic interest, if he would only see it, that subject peoples shall be happy, prosperous and free; that it is in the 1212 interest of every nation to ensure that the rivalries of the past shall be ended now and for evermore. I believe that the eyes of other Governments and peoples are on the House to-day. If this Motion was adopted, we might start a process by which, in due course, the curse of distorted thinking might be removed, by which the archaic policies of oppression and exploitation ended, and by which the nations might begin their long and painful journey back to peace.
§ 4.42 P.m.
§ Colonel Ponsonby
I beg to move, in line I, to leave out from the word "House," to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:the primary purpose of Colonial policy should be the welfare and progress of the inhabitants of Colonial territories and that, apart from any other considerations, no change in the status of Colonies, protectorates, or mandated territories could at any time be considered which did not take full account of the interests and wishes of the inhabitants.The House, I am sure, will wish me to congratulate the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Noel-Baker) on moving his Motion. He has presented the case in a most moderate manner, indeed in such a way that it might have come from an hon. Member on any side of the House. In fact, at one time I wondered why he had not put his name down to the Amendment of the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery) with which I am in entire agreement. The Amendment which I am moving is divided into two parts. The first part says:the primary purpose of Colonial policy should be the welfare and progress of the inhabitants.That is a general, pious and obvious wish. Some of us, particularly those connected with East Africa, think the time has come to accelerate the development of these territories, but what is required is, in the first place, a feeling of security, and, in the second place, additional capital and the closest possible co-operation between Europeans and the native inhabitants. It is only by the capital, initiative and energy of the white man that these comparatively undeveloped countries can be developed. The second part of the Amendment reads:no change in the status of Colonies, protectorates, or mandated territories could at any time be considered which did not take full account of the interests and wishes of the inhabitants.1213 That is not really very different from the terms of the first part of the Motion, which states that there is to be no redistribution of colonial or mandated territory without the consent of the inhabitants; but it goes a little further by the words,take full account of the interests and wishes of the inhabitantsThe question of the interests of the inhabitants rests with this House and with the people of this country. It is almost incomprehensible and unforeseeable that any Government would consider that it would be in the interests of the inhabitants of these countries that they should be transferred to any other form of administration, and also, as regards the wishes of the inhabitants, after the events of the last few weeks, apart from all other considerations, I am certain that the House will agree with the hon. Member for Derby that the wishes of the inhabitants would be only in one direction. There are in the Amendment the words:apart from any other considerations.I do not wish to dilate on these at the moment—no doubt other hon. Members will refer to them—but we have to remember that we have always stood by our trust towards the inhabitants, and we cannot contemplate any breach of that trust. We have also to remember the strategic question, to which reference was made by the hon. Member for Derby. The Amendment suggests that there should be no change in the status of colonies, protectorates or mandated territories. What changes are possible? There are only two. One would be the transfer of the mandated territories to foreign Powers, and the other would be the bringing of the colonies under the mandates system, to which reference is made in the Motion. As to transfer to foreign Powers, it is quite clear to all of us that here there is no question of our own colonies. We must narrow down the issue to the mandated territories, and perhaps it is simpler if we keep to Africa, where, as hon. Members are aware, we hold the mandates for Tanganyika, for one-third of Togoland, and for one-sixth of the Cameroons.
As I have recently returned from Tanganyika, I would rather restrict my remarks to that side of Africa. I would remind hon. Members that that territory is one and a half times the size of France, 1214 that there are in it 5,000,000 indigenous inhabitants, about 30,000 Asiatic and Arabic inhabitants, and close on 8,000 Europeans. It is a huge country, one-third of which is infested with tsetse fly, and it thirsts for capital for development, but what it wants more than anything else is a feeling of security. If I may be personal for a moment, I would mention that while I was in Tanganyika, partly as a Member of this House, but perhaps more as Chairman of the Joint East African Board, I attended many meetings—meetings of the mining community, the agricultural community, the commercial community, and so on. At most of these meetings, the nationalities were mixed, there being British, Dutch, Indians and Germans. I would like to pay a tribute to the hospitality which I received from the Germans, and the very friendly nature in which our business discussions with them took place.
§ Colonel Ponsonby
Of course, at the meetings at which Germans were present, for reasons which hon. Members will appreciate, it was impossible to discuss the question which was at the back of everybody's mind in Tanganyika, that is, the future of that country. Either individuals took me apart, or groups of people asked to meet me, and all of them said this, "When you go back, do obtain from the Government a definite statement as regards the future of the country." In the meantime, business is at a standstill. Existing capital is not being employed, and new capital that would otherwise come in—I have had many instances of this—is being turned away because, as the House will realise, capital is always diverted by uncertainty. Even the Governor himself, in the Budget debate quite recently, stated:Until anxiety and uncertainty is dispelled, we must expect development to be relaxed.This question concerns not only Tanganyika and East Africa generally, but Rhodesia and the Union. After I left—after the crisis—the matter became so acute that there was formed a league which comprises people in Tanganyika, Kenya and Uganda. The whole of East Africa is behind Tanganyika in the cry that Tanganyika at all costs must remain British. Subscriptions have been received by the league from all nationalities, resolutions 1215 have been passed at every kind of meeting, and, as the hon. Member for Derby mentioned, there have been demonstrations by the native people. The other day, at a meeting of the Tanganyika Legislative Council, composed of official and unofficial members, there was passed the following resolution:That the maintenance of British rule in Tanganyika was in accordance with the wishes and interests of the overwhelming majority of the inhabitants.The Resolution went on to say:That it was essential that His Majesty's Government should, if possible, carry their recent statement a little further.The statement referred to was to the effect that the Government are not contemplating the transfer of any territories under British administration. I am convinced that the Government have no intention of transferring Tanganyika to any foreign Power, but the element of uncertainty clings to the minds of people in East Africa. In the past, definite statements were made by Lord Milner, by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery), and by Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister when he was Colonial Secretary, but recently the statements have not been so clear, and there exists a feeling of uncertainty. I hope it will be possible this evening for the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary to make some statement by which he will make it clear that British administration will be continued in Tanganyika. If he can do so, it will go a long way towards ending the suspense which exists. I hope hon. Members will realise that in the present state of that country and the countries adjoining it, it is vital that confidence should be restored so that the territories may resume their interrupted progress.
I come now to the second aspect of the question, of a change in the status of the colonies. The Motion suggests that there should be an international settlement which would extend the mandates system to all colonial territories which are not ripe for self-government. I understand from the hon. Member for Derby that he refers mainly to the African territories; and obviously, the suggestion could not apply to Ceylon, Hong Kong and the West Indies. The idea behind the suggestion is not, I gather, that of giving a sop to the non-colony-owning countries. That would be of very little 1216 value, for, as far as we know, the countries that desire colonies, especially Germany, require them without any mandate system. The suggestion is made mainly from the idealistic point of view, the idea being that the extension of the mandates system to our other colonies would be better for the world at large and better for the inhabitants of those colonies. Of course, it is asking a good deal to suggest the extension of that system to other countries, because one has no idea whether, for instance, France, Belgium and Holland would agree to such a suggestion. No doubt, if the suggestion were put forward by all these countries, possibly to get together on those lines would not do very much harm, although I wonder whether it would do very much good, so far as this country is concerned.
I do not want to arrogate to this country any special advantages. As the hon. Member for Derby mentioned, the terms on which we operate our mandated territories are very much the same as the terms on which we operate our colonies. There are annual reports to Parliament on the Colonies, and it is only an extension of that system to make the annual reports to the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations. It is true that representatives of the Colonial Office or of the Governments concerned attend twice a year before the Mandates Commission and discuss matters arising out of the reports, but I am inclined to wonder whether the Mandates Commission really is sufficient to make this wonderful difference to which the hon. Member referred. After all, it has no responsibility for the administration of the territories, it has no powers to advise and is purely supervisory. The question arises as to whether that is so valuable that it should be extended to our own Colonies, and whether we should induce other countries to adopt the suggestion.
As the hon. Member mentioned, Central Africa now is under the Congo Basin Treaties, as revised by the Treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye, and there is very little difference between the conditions under which those countries are administered and the terms on which countries are administered under the mandates system. In the Congo Basin area, there is commercial equality, equal economic opportunity for all, and no differential treatment in any way; and I wonder whether it is worth while attempting to improve 1217 on the Congo Basin Treaties by bringing those countries under the mandates system. It is possible, of course, that the hon. Member might have gone further and suggested the creation of an international pool of colonies, which I have seen mentioned in some newspapers which are animated by the Left; but the hon. Member did not do so. He made a very moderate speech containing very moderate suggestions. Whatever we may think of the mandates system, it is important that we should bear in mind one thing, which is that we in this country never put out best goods into the shop window. We are inclined to carp and to criticise and to say that we do not do things as well as other countries. But it must be said that we are proud of our Empire and of the administration of our Empire. We are proud of the system of government of the backward peoples in the Empire, and we regard it as probably the best form of government for those peoples, and if that is so, then I hope that the House will reject the Motion and vote for the Amendment.
§ Sir Alan Anderson
Before my hon. and gallant Friend finishes, I would like to ask him one question about commercial opportunities, because it seems to me to be very important with reference not only to our colonies but to the colonies of other nations. He mentioned that the Congo Basin area offered, equal opportunities commercially and that the colonies under the mandate system were almost in the same position. That covers a good deal of Africa, and if we could arrange matters on liberal terms with the European countries which do not own colonies and come to some agreement that the people who had the first right to the colonies were the inhabitants, and that, after that, there should be equality of opportunity for all European and other countries we should, I think, draw the teeth of a good deal of the animosity which exists and allay a good deal of the feeling which has been aroused on this question. That is my impression but I am not sure whether my hon. and gallant Friend agrees with it or not.
§ Colonel Ponsonby
I suggested that the Congo Basin Treaties went almost as far as the terms of the mandate and, of course, these Treaties cover, as my hon. Friend has said, practically the whole of Central Africa—Kenya, Uganda, Tan- 1218 ganyika, part of Portuguese East Africa, part of Angola, part of Northern Rhodesia, the whole of the Belgian Congo and a little more. I agree with my hon. Friend that there are possibilities in exploring along the line which he has suggested.
§ 5.4 P.m.
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
I beg to second the Amendment.
Before I come to the main subject of my argument may I refer to the question which was put just now by my hon. Friend the Member for the City of London (Sir A. Anderson). I suggest that there is another aspect of that question and one of which we here cannot afford to lose sight completely. From time to time, the workers and taxpayers of this country are called upon to supply certain very necessary moneys in order that these colonies may be developed in the interests both of the natives and of immigrants. I think, therefore, that the claim can readily be established that in those circumstances this country ought to maintain some economic advantage in order that those who have contributed from this country should receive some reasonable return.
Leaving that point, I would like to say how much I also agree with the first section of the speech made by the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Noel-Baker) in presenting the Motion. But I found a curious gap in his argument when he came to put before the House the value of the actual proposal contained in the Motion. I think he did not explain fully what he meant by the words "part of a general peace settlement." If we are to consider this question of extending the mandate system as part of a general peace settlement, the hon. Member must surely see that it would not only be a question of the British Government giving up some of the advantages which he claims that we have at the present time. Others would have to give guarantees which would make it worth our while to give up those advantages. I do not want to press the hon. Member on that point, nor do I seek to expand it any further, since he has not put it himself.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
I was not able in the time at ray disposal to deal fully with all the points which I intended to make. What I mean by a general peace settlement is of course an agreement about 1219 armaments and about collective security, the re-establishment of international law and the liquidation of the causes of war, among which we count what we call militarist Imperialism.
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
I am grateful to the hon. Member for that explanation. Later I propose to touch further on that aspect of the question. If I deal in comparative detail with one or two points arising on the wording of the Motion I hope the hon. Member will not accuse me of being a petty critic. First I would compare the wording of his Motion in the reference which is made to "the consent of the inhabitants" with our Amendment. I prefer the wording of the Amendment:to take full account of the interests and wishes of the inhabitants.In those colonies which are not yet ripe for self-government as defined by the hon. Member for Derby, we are dealing, obviously, in the majority of cases, with primitive peoples and I do not feel that the words of the Motion are sufficiently wide in regard to that aspect of the case. It is surely the duty of a trustee to look after, not only the immediate but also the future interests of those for whom he is acting. This is perhaps only a matter of wording because, in principle, obviously, we all agree that the wishes of the inhabitants must be considered. But I would go further and say that it is the obvious duty of a trustee Power to consider the interests, both immediate and future, of the inhabitants under its care. Naturally it is understood that we are not considering the transfer of territories at all, but it is possible that we may have to consider, for instance, some of the difficulties as regards frontier adjustments and boundary adjustments and other problems which have been outstanding for some years in Africa and which can be settled in an amicable and friendly manner.
There is another point in the wording of the Motion. It is suggested that the mandate system should be extended to those territories which are "not ripe for self-government," but it does not say whether that system is to be so extended before the wishes of the inhabitants have been consulted. Does the hon. Member propose that the inhabitants should be given an opportunity of expressing their view on whether they would prefer to be 1220 administered under a mandate or remain under the British flag? If he does not propose to consult them, then I suggest that the second part of the Motion is rather contradictory of the first. On the other hand if he does propose to consult them, how does he propose to get over the difficulty which will arise if the inhabitants refuse to be so conveyed by mandate, after having been governed under the British Crown. In that connection, may I touch upon a personal experience. During the past few months I have had the honour and privilege with others of travelling through some' of the South and Central African territories. In the course of the duties which we were performing there, we had to hear a great deal of evidence from native chiefs their counsellors and their tribesmen. The question which was put to them was perfectly simple. They were asked what they thought of the idea of closer union or amalgamation with another British self-governing colony The effect of that question was remarkable. The native evidence was unanimous, both in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia, that they preferred to remain under the British Crown and under the administration of the Colonial Office.
It was perfectly obvious to some of them that in the self-governing Colony of Southern Rhodesia there were certain advantages, but, in spite of those obvious advantages, they preferred to remain under the protection of the Crown. That evidence was very significant indeed, because the value which these native people put upon the protection of the Crown was not the mechanical value—I use the word "mechanical" only for the sake of the argument—of the protection of the great British people. They attached importance to the protection of the Crown because they understood that protection to be in obligations and duties willingly undertaken by the Crown. I ask the hon. Member for Derby what position would arise in territories where the native inhabitants preferred to remain under British rule as a direct responsibility of the Crown and under the trusteeship of the Crown and refused to be transferred under any extension of the mandate system? I do not believe the hon. Member would wish to ignore the feeling which I have described, and which I found expressed by an overwhelming majority of natives in the case I have mentioned.
1221 The hon. Member refers to territories which are "ripe for self-government." What of the territories which are not yet ripe for self-government, or which do not appear likely to become ripe for self-government within the near future? This raises a very difficult point. What will happen when a territory which is not at present ripe for self-government, reaches the stage when it is considered to be ripe for self-government, under the extension of the mandate system?
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
When it was ripe for self-government it would become self-governing, exactly as Iraq became self-governing after having been under a mandate.
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
That is the explanation which I expected the hon. Member to give, but conditions in Iraq and conditions in tropical Africa are entirely different. The whole value of our progressive system of colonial Government surely is that we are able to weight the inhabitants of these areas, gradually, with greater and greater responsibilities as they develop a greater sense of responsibility. The hon. Member says that when they are ripe for self-government under his plan they will become self-governing, but he misses out those intermediate stages which are of extreme value and of the greatest importance if we are not to overburden with responsibility local populations which may not be fully equal to the demands of that responsibility. I shall not press that point, but it is a difficulty with which, I hope, some hon. Member opposite will deal before the end of the Debate. There is a real difficulty also in the possible encouragement of the inflow of immigrant settlers and workers which I think the hon. Member foresees as a result of an expansion of the mandate system.
What we want to avoid is any uncontrolled forcing of the system of immigration by any interested Power which was a signatory to such an agreement, and, which by subsidising immigration, would be able eventually to control that colony or mandated territory. In that way, when the territory could claim to be "ripe for self-government" it would become merely a pendant state to one of the signatory Powers. I am certain that that is not the intention. All that I say is that I cannot see how you could devise safeguards against such a thing merely 1222 by a wider extension of the mandate system itself. In whom would remain vested the power of Imperial veto, as is the case in Southern Rhodesia? I think that under those circumstances there is no intermediate stage provided by the hon. Member's proposal. He says that it is the primary purpose of Colonial policy to speed the welfare and progress of the native inhabitants, but I believe that that expression is rather too narrow. I am not one of those who believe that we have been able always to live up to our principles in regard to Colonial administration. Our principles and our aims are very high—they are probably higher than those held by any other Power with Colonial Possessions—but in practice they have been limited in the past in many territories by the small extent of the revenues which we have been able to raise and by the unwillingness of the British people to realise that under certain circumstances, if they are to see more rapid progress, they must find the money for it out of their own pockets. They have been limited again by the fact that extended services necessary in these territories cannot be safely supplied unless there is some possibility that they can be carried with continuity.
But the real point is that if you limit the policy, to the care of the progress and welfare of native people, it implies a complete misunderstanding of the position as it really is in those Colonies and territories where the progress and welfare of both natives and Europeans is so closely interlocked that neither can suffer without that suffering being borne also by the other. How can a European settler, whether he be involved in mining, or agriculture, or anything else, possibly make a success of his undertaking unless he has the co-operation of the native? Equally, though it is dangerous to generalise on these points, how can there be a rapid development in many ways as regards native progress unless there is injected into these native territories the energy, the drive, the educative power, if possible the example, of the progressive type of European settler? Therefore, I would beg the hon. Member to reconsider in his own mind, as I suppose he cannot reconsider it on paper at the present time, the wording of that portion of his Motion which is confined to the interests of the native inhabitants only of the Colonial territories of this country.
1223 There is another aspect of this problem, and it is one which I think we cannot quite leave out of consideration. The Amendment in the name of my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery) uses the same words as those of the Motion. I believe the Mover of the Motion desires to see a greater influx of European immigrants into these territories and that it is probably the idea in his mind that that influx of Europeans can always be assumed to be in the interests of native progress. Do not let us attempt to mislead anybody in this House or outside in that respect. Too rapid an influx of European settlers and immigrants into a native territory can do far more harm than good. If we over encourage that influx, we merely encourage the creation of a situation where the European soon demands an artificial protection for himself, whether it be as regards the rate of labour or anything else, building up behind it a system of colour bar and the most unfortunate obstacle which can possibly be raised to two races living together. It is not in that direction that we shall build up protection for the natives' own products. There again we are running a danger of bringing the two races into conflict, a danger which we should do everything we can to avoid. I hope I have not put into the mouth of the hon. Member for Derby intentions which he has not in his mind. I am only speaking on the words of the Motion and on the remarks that he made regarding that Motion.
When we come to the general topic of the value of his proposals as regards the extension of the mandate system, I cannot help feeling very grave doubts indeed, even after hearing his speech, whether there is real value in his proposal. I cannot help feeling that the hon. Member for Derby is approaching this problem rather more having in his mind the conditions on the course at Epsom than on the course at Aintree. I believe the attempt to run the course at flat-racing speed is more common in the first than in the second, but he will come to a nasty fall, and though we should all regret to see him come to a nasty fall, I believe that if we adopt his policy, we would involve that Empire in an even more catastrophic collapse than he himself could ever be involved in alone. Are we not at this moment 1224 involved in applying a policy which must of necessity be experimental? We are not the only experimenters in Africa, but our experiment as regards colonial administration, in dealing with native problems, is on different lines from those on which experiments by foreign nations are being carried out. Our experiment is based on a system of indirect rule, while the majority of foreign experiments in Africa are based on direct rule. It is essential that if these experiments are to be worked out properly—they may be the last experiments which can ever be made in Africa—they must not be interrupted. A system of indirect rule depends entirely on the trust which can be placed by the native inhabitants in the individual who holds the ultimate control of power, and I have already mentioned one example which I saw in Africa as regards the confidence so felt at the present time. I could give many indications of what would be the result of the policy suggested by the hon. Member for Derby, but I think everyone will agree that the power of the Crown, and the duty and obligations of the Crown, in regard to care for the native interests is one which can easily be understood by the native mind. He knows even in his own local administration that Governments rise and fall, but that the British Crown remains.
On that general consideration, let me turn to the Amendment for one short moment. By the wording of the Amendment neither my hon. Friends nor I wish to weaken for one moment the statement that has already been made by the Secretary of State on the question of transference itself, that the British Government are not contemplating the transfer of British Colonial possessions to any foreign Power. That was a statement with which, I think I am right in saying, not only I but the whole House agrees. We can go very much farther than that. Not only can we say that the whole country agrees with that statement, but I would say that the vast and overwhelming majority of world opinion agrees with it at the present time. Therefore, by the wording of this Amendment we would not attempt for one moment to whittle away the strength of that statement. Rather would we attempt to add to its strength. In our Amendment, as has already been referred to by my hon. and gallant Friend, we have used, in connection with the impossibility of the transfer of 1225 Colonial territory, the words "apart from any other considerations." As we are not contemplating the transfer of British Colonial territory at the present time, there is no point in discussing in detail any possibilities of such a transfer, because the mere discussion of details in this House might give the impression that at the same time there was contemplated such a transfer.
But it may be that there are other people, outside this House and outside this country, who have in their minds some vague idea that some transference might bring about a peaceful settlement and tend to calm the disturbed state of the world mind to-day. It is for that reason that I would venture to touch on two considerations on which world opinion would have to be absolutely assured before any such transfer could possibly be approved by anybody, not by one State or by this country, but by the world as a whole. I believe that those considerations can be stated very simply. They are each of vital importance. The first type of consideration is what you might nominate as the material consideration, the vital question of Imperial defence in our case and national defence in other cases, and the question of trade and commerce. Those considerations are material in the sense that it is possible to conceive that a solution might be provided at some indeterminate date which none of us in this House would possibly be rash enough to name. Coupled with those considerations, obviously there would be the question of guarantees of disarmament and pledges of actual, definite, tangible, real, and lasting proofs of good will.
It is sometimes said that it would be impossible to deny to a first-class European Power access to colonial territory for all time, because it is claimed that the denial to the people of that country of the opportunity to go out and cut for themselves life in wild territories, under colonial conditions, under pioneering conditions, denies them a toughening process which is available to others, denies them the power, the ability, and the possibility of realising how perhaps their own forefathers worked. All those considerations are based on this definition of a first-class Power. When I think of a first-class Power in these days, I mean not only a Power that is strong and virile, but one where the action of the rulers is based on 1226 Christian principles which are accepted as decent in practice by all the civilised peoples of the world. Unless that standard is achieved, that Power has not the right to call itself first-class. I believe that these two considerations are vital. They are considerations which at the present moment will entirely eliminate from our minds the discussion of the transfer of any British territories to a foreign Power.
I support the Amendment as one who believes deeply in democracy. Our training in democratic rule and practice has taught us that democracy is based on the fact that we have to recognise that the other fellow has a right to his views, and can hold his views and live up to his views just as long as he does not get in the way of or stop the progress in the improvement of the conditions of life of the people of this country or of these dependencies which trust in us. That applies sometimes, unfortunately, to the whole of our approach to international and colonial problems, but it does help us, and it has helped us in the past, to be the greatest colonising nation in the world. It is because we have trained ourselves to try and understand other people that we have been able to achieve progressive colonisation under able administration. I believe that we need no international scaffolding on which to undertake that work. We are perfectly capable of carrying it out ourselves. For that reason I ask the House to reject the Motion, and I feel sure, after what we have said, that nobody need have any fears that in supporting the Amendment we are supporting a weakening Amendment, but rather a strengthening one.
§ 5.33 P.m.
§ Mr. Ernest Evans
This Debate is concerned with matters which are of increasing interest to a large section of the population of this country, and, to quote a well-known phrase, "that's a good thing." There are many of us who can remember the days when the idea of Empire in the minds of a large number of people was associated with the spirit and practice of flag-wagging, which gave immense satisfaction to those who engaged in it, but created a great deal of displeasure among other people. That displeasure created a prejudice which did a great deal of harm in preventing us from having a due appreciation of the importance and significance of Empire 1227 policy. In recent years, fortunately, opportunities have occurred, and advantage has been taken of them, for increasing our knowledge not only of the Dominions, but also of the colonies and protectorates and of their peoples and problems. I deliberately include protectorates because it is interesting to observe that they do not appear in the Motion which has been moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Derby (Mr. Noel-Baker). It is a pity, because the protectorates are of great importance to this country. More than that, they include people and problems to which we in our position of trustees must pay great attention.
Another thing which has emerged from the Debate is that there is a consensus of opinion in regard to the attitude which this country should adopt to Imperial matters. The Motion starts by saying that the primary purpose of colonial policy should be the promotion of the welfare and progress of the native population. I am a little doubtful of the advisability of trying to summarise in one sentence Imperial policy in regard to a large number of territories which are scattered all over the globe, which are in different states of development, and which have to face problems which vary very much according to the local situation. I think that everybody will agree, however, that the promotion of the welfare and the progress of the native populations in all those territories is an essential feature of our colonial and Imperial policy. While saying that, I would like to support a sentiment which was expressed by the hon. Member for Weston-super-Mare (Mr. Orr-Ewing). It is a great pity that we should say anything which would seem to suggest that we do not appreciate that the development of these territories owes a great deal to the assistance, the honesty, the industry and the initiative of British settlers.
There are many episodes in the history of colonial development which we regret and which can be summarised in the word "exploitation." We all condemn them, but at the same time we must appreciate that the native populations in many of these territories have benefited from the fact that the British settler has introduced a development which has been of great value, and without which progress would not have proceeded as far as it has done. 1228 I hate saying anything which would seem to draw a distinction, to the disadvantage of the one or the other, between the British settler and the native population, because they should be regarded as complementary rather than as antagonistic to each other. I agree that the progress and welfare of the native populations forms the essential feature of our policy and that that is a thing which we must emphasise at the present time. It is not only a feature of our policy at the present time, but a feature which we are bound to try and secure for the future. Whatever may be the changes that may take place in the constitution of any of the colonial or mandated territories, and whatever may be the relationship they may bear in future to this country or any other country, we are bound to secure that in any changes to which we subscribe the utmost is done to safeguard that welfare and progress.
The Motion contains the proposition that in any solution of this problem the wishes of the native populations must be observed. That is an admirable statement of policy to which all Members will readily subscribe. For that reason I want to take this opportunity of pressing upon the Secretary of State that if he attaches importance to this part of the Motion he must appreciate its significance, because it requires that he should encourage every possible standard of improvement in the education of the native population in order to equip the natives, first, to reach an opinion and, secondly, having formed an opinion, to be able to express it. When I refer to education I am not referring merely to scholastic attainments. I am referring to the general development of the mentality and experience of the native populations. I include in it the extension and encouragement of the system of local rule through native councils, native authorities and other agencies which exist in the different parts of the territories with which we are concerned.
The main purpose of the Motion is to suggest that the colonies and protectorates shall in certain circumstances be taken away from the direct control and supervision of the Colonial Office of Great Britain in Downing Street and placed under the control of a mandate system. I cannot say that I have any objection to that, but, on the other hand, I cannot see that it will make any great difference. The only difference it will make 1229 is that we shall have to give an account of our trusteeship to the League of Nations. I do not think that Great Britain need be afraid of having to do that, but from the practical point of view it means very little, because, in view of the information which is obtainable nowadays in regard to the administration of these territories, not only in this country but in other countries, and in view of the increased publicity which is given to all that is done, there is every opportunity for any critic who wishes to point the finger of blame or scorn at the administration of Great Britain to do it. Therefore, I do not think that from the practical point of view there will be much effect on the welfare and progress of the natives.
Another suggestion which has been made is that, apart from handing over the colonies and protectorates to Great Britain under a mandate, there shall be something in the nature of an international mandate. Here I would like to have some more information before giving an opinion about it. I do not altogether like the terms of the Motion which suggest that our settlement of the colonial question is to be regarded as part of a general peace settlement. I would emphasise the view that these territories and the people who live in them are not to be treated as pawns on the chess board of international policy. The people living in these territories have their own lives—it is true that they are not very highly developed—but they have their own lives and ideas, and they are improving year by year.
§ Mr. Evans
I am not concerned with the past for the moment. I am concerned with what this Motion declares to be the main purpose of our policy, and that is the promotion and welfare of the progress of the native populations, and I am saying that the native populations must not be treated as pawns. They have their interests which must be safeguarded. If they can be better safeguarded under a system in which Great Britain administers them as a mandated country, I do not mind, but in discharging that duty we must pay attention to the real interests of the native population. The question of international administration is full of 1230 difficulties. There has recently been published a valuable survey of Africa by Lord Hailey, a work for which we ought to be most grateful. It is a tremendous contribution to our knowledge of that Continent. I was interested to observe in the foreword to the survey that Lord Lothian, who was largely responsible for the investigation, referred to a speech made by General Smuts in 1929, when he pointed out that Africa was being developed under the control of a number of European powers and that different and often conflicting principles were being applied by them in the administrative, social, educational and legal field. General Smuts was referring to Africa only, but we are concerned here with a larger field. In bringing these territories under an international mandate we should have to face endless difficulties arising from the conflicting views which each country took of their responsibilities.
I do not know how far it is necessary to regard this as a matter that is likely to be of very immediate urgency. It is undoubtedly very present to the minds of the rulers in Germany at the present time. It is true that it has not been brought forward as a matter of extreme urgency up to the moment. The Prime Minister told us the other day that Herr Hitler had told him that while colonial questions did raise difficulties they would not involve mobilisation, but he said that in public many years ago when he expressed the view that colonies were not worth the risk of the life of a single German soldier. Of course, that was some years ago, and I imagine that he thought then that the lives of German soldiers might be required for the purpose of securing ends in Europe. He has secured those ends now, so that he may consider that the lives of German soldiers may be available for this purpose.
The point is that the Government have said that they do not contemplate handing over any colonial possessions to Germany or any other country. What does that word "contemplate" mean? Does it simply means that we would not like to hand over any of those territories to Germany or any other country, or that the Government have made up their minds that they will not hand them over to Ger many or any other country? The statements made in answer to questions in this House in the last few days were received with cheers in this Chamber, and on the 1231 face of them they appear to be quite satisfactory, but I should like to have a little more assurance on this point, and I ask for the assurance not for my own satisfaction but for the satisfaction of the people who live in those territories. Those statements have not allayed their anxieties. I have received letters in the last few days from Nigeria, in particular, where meetings have been held to consider this matter at which the Governor had made a statement very similar to the statement made by my right hon. Friend, and I think by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on behalf of the Prime Minister in this House. In those letters it was said:His Excellency the Governor has been graciously requested to represent more fully to His Majesty's Government in England the apprehension and anxiety of the people of Nigeria in this matter with a view to a clear and unequivocal assurance being given as to the future of Nigeria, so allaying the fear and anxiety of His Majesty's 21,000,000 loyal subjects.Like my hon. and gallant Friend, I had the privilege of spending some time in Central Africa, and there is no doubt at all as to the opinions of the inhabitants of those territories and also as to their anxiety, and that anxiety is doing infinite harm to the public life of the natives as well as to British settlers in that part of the world. I have already said that this subject must be treated from the point of view of what is expressed in the Motion and the Amendment as to paying regard to the wishes and the welfare of the inhabitants, and from that point of view I have not much doubt in saying that the natives in all those territories would infinitely prefer to be left as they are under the direct administration of Great Britain, but that if they had to change the only change they would contemplate with equanimity would be an alteration of the system to the small extent of making Great Britain a Mandatory Power.
I beg the House to remember, when we talk about an international matter and that sort of thing, that if we are anxious to consult the wishes and to promote the welfare of the native populations we have to bear in mind what sort of person the native is at the present time. He is a simple man, his education has not proceeded very far, but I believe he has a brain which is capable of tremendous development if only he had the opportunity of developing it. The result is that the 1232 native must have some symbol before him which will present to his mind what it is that he is asked to do. It was one of the happiest features of the Coronation ceremonies that a number of chiefs from different territories were invited to come over here. They came, and we were glad to see them, and their return has had a very great effect upon their peoples. They have gone back with glowing reports of their experiences in London and the treatment meted out to them by the people of Great Britain, and they have gone back with an increased sense of loyalty to the Crown, or, as they put it, to the King, but it comes to the same thing—to the Crown and to the authorities of the British Government. That is a feature which must be encouraged. Great Britain has assumed obligations to the native populations over wide areas and I believe that the native populations are not dissatisfied with what has been done, but whatever may have been the advantages or disadvantages which we have been able to bring them it is a sacred trust for us not to part with our responsibilities until we are satisfied that they will be better discharged under another system.
§ 5.52 p.m.
§ Mr. Lansbury
The question we are discussing is one of the most important that this House could discuss, and I am grateful to my hon. Friend for having used his success in the Ballot to bring it forward. I do not intend to deal with the subject in anything like a comprehensive manner, because I understand that there are many other hon. Members who wish to speak, but I would draw attention to the fact that we are discussing a question which is not only a British question but concerns the whole world, and that conditions in the world to-day, both economically and from the territorial point of view, are entirely different from conditions when our forefathers went out to plant the British flag in all parts of the globe. The nations of the world have changed in a thousand and one ways in their relationships towards one another, and Great Britain must look at the matter from an international point of view. We cannot hope for ever to maintain the monopoly which we and our Commonwealth colleagues possess over the world at present. None of us have the right to congratulate ourselves that everything is as it might be or ought to be in the 1233 Colonial Empire, including the Protectorates. If we read Lord Hailey's report, which is a very clear statement of the facts as he gathered them, I think we shall all agree that there is something still to be done.
Then I should like to say a word about the consent of the native inhabitants. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will keep that in mind when he comes to deal with the territories which South Africa is very anxious to bring within the Union, because that, I think, will be a testing case as to the rights or wrong of this question of not transferring territories without the consent of the original inhabitants. So far as I know anything of history, the peoples whom we have annexed have never been asked whether they would like to be annexed, but they have been annexed, and sometimes in a very cruel manner. But we cannot live in the past. We have to face the facts of to-day. Mr. Pirow, in a statement made after visiting Europe, said that everybody in Europe wanted peace, including ourselves, but that no one was willing to make a real contribution to peace, that is, to make any sacrifices. What he exactly meant I do not know—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Well, let me finish, because I rather agree with you. He did not make it at all clear whether South Africa was prepared to make any sacrifices. I should like the House to understand, what I should think many hon. Members already understand from their travels abroad, and that is what is said by everyone with whom you discuss the economic position life of the world to-day, and what is acknowledged by us too, and that is that the British Commonwealth of Nations have the greatest contribution to make towards real economic appeasement. You have to face this fact, that if you own territory and that territory possesses raw materials which are necessary not only to you but to other nations, you have a great pull over other people, and that pull gives you the advantage both in production and in distributive processes. You can, if you please, so arrange the economic conditions in these mandated territories and colonial possessions as to ensure that you have preference over other people, and you can keep out both individuals and goods. In discussions abroad to which I have listened it has always been pointed out that Great Britain and those who write 1234 about Great Britain and her colonial possessions always forget the fact that the possession of those territories gives us that sort of advantage over everybody else.
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
The right hon. Gentleman is not suggesting, is he, that there is not a free exchange of primary commodities between the countries in which they are produced and this country? Is it not a fact that what is produced in any British colonial territory is available to any purchaser who cares to go along and bid for it?
§ Mr. Lansbury
Of course it is. At one time the produce was cocoanuts for a great soap firm in this country, but they have got something else now in place of it, and there was also the cocoa. They possessed powers which came to them because of British ownership by which they could exclude everybody else.
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
I think the right hon. Gentleman is talking of a very big firm which makes a lot of soaps, but the biggest activities of that firm are not in British territories at all. I think they are in the Belgian Congo—certainly they have great activities in the Belgian Congo—and not under the British flag. Equally, is it not true that there is no restriction upon any foreign national going into any British or colonial territory and starting any firm to produce anything he likes?
§ Mr. Lansbury
Of course, and buying from the natives in exactly the same way as we do, but when it comes to actual trade we can insist upon a preference being given to British goods as against other goods. It is no good arguing at this time of day that that is not the case. That is the case that I was making just now and it is the case that has been put to me a dozen times abroad. I undertake to say that it has been made to hon. Members opposite who also have travelled through Europe in the way that I have done. I therefore think that it is not rendering any service to this discussion to attempt to deny that mere ownership does give you advantages over those who do not own. I do not think that there can be any doubt about it—I not only think it, I am sure.
§ Mr. H. Strauss
In making his statement the right hon. Gentleman spoke not only of colonial but of mandated territories. Surely he knows that as regards 1235 mandated territories the terms of the Covenant and of the mandate secure equal opportunities for the trade and commerce of other members of the League, and notwithstanding the fact that Germany has left the League, those circumstances still apply to Germany as well. So far as what the right hon. Gentleman says is meant to apply to mandated territories, it is quite inaccurate.
§ Mr. Lansbury
It may be quite inaccurate. On the other hand, I am certain that the mandated Power has very much more influence and power to secure trade than the Power that is not mandatory. There is no reason why they should have it. I have heard discussion in this House in which hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite have gloried in the fact that that is so. There is a dispute between them on that side of the House and, I think, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) as to what are the rights and privileges of the mandatory Power. Again, I do not think we ought to waste our time arguing about that. It is certain that if you are in control of a place you can exercise influences which others who are not in control are unable to exercise.
I also want to challenge one other statement that has been made to-night, that we British are really self-denying in what we do in regard to possessions abroad. I am not going to quote anything that negro writers have written about conditions in Africa. Perhaps other people will do so, but I will quote something said by the late Lord Brentford, who was Sir William Joynson-Hicks. Speaking at a Church Missionary Society meeting in London, he said:You people must not imagine that we are in India and other places in order to teach the people to be Christian. We are there to make money. That is the business we have in hand.So let us not talk to-night about our self-denying obligations to the people who are unable to manage their own affairs.
§ Mr. Lansbury
I think it was just before he died. The hon. Member wants the date, but I cannot give him the date; but it is a very well known statement from the late nobleman. I do not agree altogether with either of the Amendments 1236 which are on the Paper, except that I would not voluntarily surrender any territory anywhere to Germany or any Fascist Power at the present time. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Hon. Members cheer that statement as though it were something new, but I have said it on a hundred platforms and I have said it in Germany as well. I am going to try to put to the House to-night a method which I put forward when I was in Germany by which I think this question of colonies and protectorates should be dealt with. I will begin to do so by reading an extract from a letter which Lord Ponsonby, the late Canon Shepard and myself sent to the "Times a twelvemonth ago. In it we called attention to -No. 5 of President Wilson's 14 points—of course we have nearly all forgotten what Mr. Wilson said, but it is good to remind ourselves of it. In No. 5 point he said:A free, open-minded, absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon strict observation of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the people concerned must have equal weight with the equity of the Government whose title is to be determined.In the letter to the "Times" we said that the application of the principles contained in that point involved, under present-day conditions, (a) the abandonment of the weapons of economic warfare in the shape of quotas and currency restriction and (b)—this is the point I wish to press upon the attention of the House—the abandonment of the private ownership of colonial possessions in favour of the extension of a revised mandate system to all non-self-governing territories, and the establishment of an international colonial service through a League of Nations as the instrument of this new experiment in international cooperation.
I do not think you can settle this question by mandates distributed among a larger number of mandatory Powers. What I think will have to be done in the end is that these territories must be pooled and must be administered by an international civil service. I am sure that if that were done, German administrators and British administrators, working with French and others, would take their part in the work of administering those territories. I do not think that any individual nation would get any advantage 1237 over another if the territories were thus pooled and thus administered. I think that you would be able to safeguard for all countries access to trade and therefore to raw materials where needed; most of all, you would safeguard the rights of emigration, where this was possible, of the peoples from Europe and elsewhere.
I think that the House does not quite realise that one of the greatest problems in Europe to-day has been partially if not entirely created—I refer to the problem of the destitution and misery of people—by the fact that migration has been restricted almost to the point of stoppage; that is to say, emigration from those countries has almost ceased since the War. The result is that everywhere, and certainly in south-eastern Europe, there is terrible destitution and want. When you come to the Jewish problem, there is no one country which seems willing to act quickly in finding room for them. No one denies that there is room for them all, but there is no central authority in the world that can determine where they are to go. My view is that if these territories were internationally administered it would be possible to deal in a much more speedy manner with the question which is facing us.
There is another question. The Polish Government went to the League of Nations long ago and said that there were 3,000,000 people in Poland who must be got out. It is all very well to say: "Where on earth are they to go and why should they go?" but you realise what it means if you go into Poland. We have all been very shocked at what is happening to the Jews who are in what is called "No Man's Land" but there are millions of people in industrial Poland who live on the verge of destitution from one year's end to the other as part of their daily life. You need only to read the statements made at the League of Nations by the representatives of Poland, to understand that that is partly, although not entirely, due to the fact that emigration has been practically stopped. When you go into other parts of the Balkans or farther east you find there arc people starving under all sorts of conditions. Wheat is coming here from one of the greatest of those Balkan countries, from people who have had to be asked to eat bread. They do not eat bread because they cannot afford to do so, but 1238 they, and their Government, can afford to send shiploads of wheat to this country to pay for armaments.
I want to make a plea to the House to-night, one that I have made many times. While we may pass one or other of these Motions to-night, let us remember that the one vital thing to do in the world to-day is to get rid of the hunger of people. You have hungry people here in this country, in America, in Australia and in Europe, and by the million in India and China. I want to ask the House whether it is not time that we got together on this matter. I do not think anything will happen in the world without the cooperation of America but, either with or without America, let us discuss how to make a plan to use these colonies and protectorates. You can plan an international economy of exchange and trade generally. I have heard again and again in this House speeches about planning national industry. The four leading men in Hungary, Yugoslavia, Rumania and Bulgaria said: "You people in England discuss how to plan your internal economy; no one there has begun to discuss how to plan international economy under the entirely new conditions that are facing the world to-day."
We are beating the air in continuing to talk of appeasement and disarmament while that fundamental question is left untouched. I may be too ignorant—probably I am—to take part in a real discussion on international planning, but I am certain that just as within this country you are limiting the production of certain things and trying to organise first this industry and then that because the old ways of private, individual production, fighting one against the other, are played out, so I believe that international competition is playing itself out too. The great monopolists of the world, even with all this talk about war, co-operate together to control first one market and then another. Instead of leaving these matters to the free play of private competition, even between monopolies, I want this country to give a lead to the world, to get the economists and the industrialists and the politicians together to see how we can rebuild on a better foundation, without this competition and strife, the international life of the world. Mr. Wilson said at the opening of the Peace Conference in Paris: 1239This conference will only be satisfactory if it satisfies the common people.All of us here, when we stand before the electors, say the same thing. What are any of us doing to give effect to that? In spite of what dictators may say publicly, in spite of all the disorder in the world, there is throughout the world a real conviction that, if only common sense and reason and good will are applied to the consideration of these problems, and not merely self-interest, personal or national, they can be solved.
§ 6.17 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Malcolm MacDonald)
I do not propose to detain the House for very long, but hon. Members will, of course, expect me to make a statement of the Government's attitude on the important issues which have been raised this afternoon. The question which exercises hon. Members most is that referred to in the earlier part of the Motion—the possibility of the transfer of colonies or mandated territories to the sovereignty of some other nation. There have been, in some of these territories, certain apprehensions of late. Rumours have spread to the effect that we were contemplating transfer; uncertainty as to the future of those territories has been created, and development in those countries has been checked by a sudden paralysing sense of insecurity. I am told, for instance, that in Tanganyika the revenue in the current year will be less by some £200,000 than was estimated. That is not wholly due, of course, to uncertainty about the future, but it is partly due to that cause. Such misgivings ought to be removed. In order to remove them, I do not need to express opinions; I do not need to marshal arguments; I only have to state a simple fact. I do not believe that there is to-day any section of opinion in this country that is disposed to hand over to any other country the care of any of the territories or peoples for whose government we are responsible, either as a colonial or as a mandatory Power. That view has been expressed this afternoon in every part of the House, and it is a view which is shared by His Majesty's Government. We are not discussing this matter; we are not considering it; it is not now an issue in practical politics—
§ Mr. MacDonald
If we were ever to come to a discussion of this question, there are certain things which would have to be borne in mind. In the first place, this country is not the only country concerned. Britain is not the only country which assumed additional territorial responsibilities after the War. Other countries would also be involved, and the question would have to be examined by all countries concerned together. But there is another consideration of very great importance, which is referred to in the Motion, and in both of the Amendments. The peoples who would he most directly and vitally affected by any such proposals are the peoples who live in the mandated territories themselves. We cannot regard them as mere goods and chattels to be disposed of at the will of others; we have responsibilities and obligations with regard to those peoples. We must pay attention to their own wishes; we must consider the wishes of the different sections of the population in those territories.
So far as British mandated areas are concerned, there are not only the large indigenous native populations; in some places there are also European settlers who have put whatever wealth they possessed into these countries, and who have played a great part in their development over the last 20 years. In some places there are important Indian communities. We must have regard to the right of these people to express their opinions on a question which is all-important to them, and we must attach full weight and force to those opinions. It would be impossible to consider any alteration in the status of any of these territories without paying full regard to the spontaneous views of the inhabitants. Moreover, these peoples have certain treaty rights. These peoples have certain material interests in those areas. Those rights and those interests must be fully safeguarded and secured.
But in addition I wish to repeat this also. The relations between the Executive and the Legislature in this country are well understood. In any circumstances it would be impossible for a Government to do anything with regard to this matter without the House of Commons having the fullest opportunity of discussion. In fact, nothing effective could be done without the positive approval of Parliament. So far as this 1241 House is concerned, as I have said, a unanimous expression of opinion has been made from every section of the House in the Debate this afternoon.
I come to the second part of the Motion of the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Noel-Baker). It looks forward to the day when what it calls "a general peace settlement" may be possible, and it urges that, as part of that settlement, the mandate system of government should be extended to all colonies, including our own colonies, which are not ripe for self-government. I hope that the House is not going to assent to any such sweeping proposition. I am not going to follow the hon. Member very far into his discussion of a hypothetical future, the circumstances of which we cannot now fore see. He expressed his ideas on that future very attractively; he put forward some impressive arguments as to why we should succumb to them. I have had opportunities of discussing this matter with him and with other hon. Members opposite, and I know that they hold views which are somewhat reassuring on the matter. I know it is held by hon. Members opposite that, if this change which they propose were to take place—if a certain control over our colonies were to be given by us to some impartial international organisation—that organisation would decide that, in all the areas where British administration exists to-day, that British administration should continue to exist. That is very reassuring. But there is nothing about that in the terms of this Motion. There is no guarantee about that in the terms of the Motion, and what this House has to consider is the wording of the Motion we are being asked to pass, and the impression that will be made on the world if it reads tomorrow morning that it has been passed by this House. What we have to consider especially is how the Motion would be understood by the peoples of our colonies whose future we are discussing this afternoon, and I say without hesitation that the peoples of those colonies would view the passage of this Motion with alarm. It would not remove the uncertainty; it would add to the uncertainty which has existed.
What strikes me first about the latter part of the Motion, just as it struck my hon. Friend the Member for Weston-super-Mare (Mr. Orr-Ewing), is that there 1242 would seem to be a discrepancy between the second part and the first part. The first part declares that there should be no redistribution of colonial or mandated territory without the consent of the inhabitants; but the second part of the Motion goes on to foreshadow a wholesale redistribution, a transfer from the absolute control of this House and of this Government to at any rate the partial control of some international organisation. I can see no word here about the consent of the inhabitants being required, or even about the wishes of the inhabitants being considered at all. [Interruption.] I am trying to describe the sort of impression that these words will create in the colonies to-morrow morning.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
With great respect to the right hon. Gentleman, the first paragraph said quite plainly that there must be no redistribution except with the consent of the inhabitants.
§ Mr. MacDonald
If the first part of the Motion is meant to cover the second part as well, I agree. [HON. MEMBERS: "Obviously it is."] I have read this Motion very carefully and very anxiously, with a desire to understand it, and I think many hon. Members will agree with me and with my hon. Friend the Member for Weston-super-Mare that that is not made at all clear in the Motion as it is drafted. We have to recognise this. It may be argued that the sort of scheme contemplated in the Motion does not, in effect, mean a redistribution of colonial territories, that it does not contemplate the transfer of a colony from the sovereignty of one nation to the sovereignty of another nation; all it contemplates, it may be argued, is the giving of a certain amount of control and power of interference to a certain international body.
It may well be that such an international body would make no alterations in the powers and extent of British administration throughout the colonies today, but, supposing that the international body did decide on some redistribution—and there is no guarantee against that in the Motion; supposing that in a certain case, for instance, the agent governing the country for them should cease to be Britain and should become France—so far as the inhabitants of the territory are concerned theoretical questions of sovereignty do not matter—that would 1243 mean the same alterations in their customs and laws as if the territory had been handed over in complete sovereignty to that nation. They would have to get accustomed to a new language, a new system of law, a new attitude towards native institutions; and I think all those doubts, all those apprehensions, would be aroused in our colonies if the House gave the authority of its approval to this Motion.
I think the House is very conscious that, in fact, the peoples of the colonies are not merely content to be His Majesty's subjects; they are positively happy to be His Majesty's subjects, they are proud of being His Majesty's subjects; and I do not think it would be proper or right that a major change should be made in affairs to which they have grown accustomed, and that a break should be made in a constitutional tie which they highly cherish, without our taking full account of their interests and their wishes. That, I repeat, is an extremely powerful reason why we should not confuse the issue in the minds of our people in the colonies by carrying this Motion. I think it would add to the uncertainty about the future.
Let me take one example, the example of Nigeria, which has been quoted this afternoon. This is one of the richest, one of the most abundantly populated of our colonies. A few weeks back, because of wild, unfounded rumours, which passed from mouth to mouth, there was uncertainty among the people there as to our intentions regarding them. I authorised the Governor to make a statement in the Legislative Council some days ago that His Majesty's Government have no intention of considering the transfer of Nigeria from British administration. I received a message from the Governor saying that that message had had a completely reassuring effect in the colony. But supposing the Government and the House accepted this Motion; Nigeria is a colony not ripe for self-government. Nigeria is a colony, therefore, which we would be saying should be put under the mandate system of government. Acceptance of this Motion would destroy completely the force of the reassurance which the Governor gave on behalf of His Majesty's Government just a few days ago.
1244 There is another consideration on account of which I would urge the House to reject this Motion, and to accept instead the Amendment moved by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Seven-oaks (Colonel Ponsonby). The Motion says that all the colonies which are not ripe for self-government should come under the mandate system of government. Gibraltar is not ripe for self-government, Malta is not ripe for self-government, Aden is not ripe for self-government, the Straits Settlements are not ripe for self-government; and, under this proposal, the House is being asked to commit itself to handing over to, at any rate, a certain amount of international interference a whole string of absolutely vital strategic points in our Imperial communications. I do not believe that the House will bring itself to accept that proposition.
I would like to say something on the other two aspects of the matter which are touched upon in this Motion. In the first place, the Motion suggests that equal economic opportunity should be given in the colonial territories to the nationals of all countries signatory to some international agreement. That, of course, raises a good many economic questions. It raises, for instance, the question of access to raw materials. As the hon. Gentleman himself said, in our colonies to-day there is practically no restriction at all on access for anybody to raw materials; but the Government are still ready to consider any proposals which may be brought forward for the more equal distribution of raw materials. It raises, also, the question of Imperial Preference in the colonies; and it would be possible to speak at great length, and to present many arguments why, in the interests of the colonies themselves, a system of Imperial Preference should be-maintained. But I want to make only two points, rather in the direction of getting accord between both sides of the House on this matter.
It is very easy to exaggerate the extent to which Imperial Preference is in operation in the Colonial Empire to-day. When we discuss this matter I think the continent which comes to our mind most readily is Africa; and the area in which Imperial Preference operates in the African colonies is very severely restricted. In East Africa, because of the Congo Basin Treaties, it does not exist except 1245 in Somaliland and part of Northern Rhodesia. In West Africa it is in operation only in Gambia and Sierra Leone. In the Gold Coast it is prohibited under treaty. In Nigeria we became free to introduce Imperial Preference two years ago. The Government decided to refrain from introducing that system in the important colony of Nigeria. In fact, the ideal of equal economic opportunity is almost completely attained already in practice inside the British Colonial Empire in Africa. It does not require any great change in position in these territories to bring about that ideal in practice.
§ Mr. MacDonald
The second point I would make about this matter is this. Two years ago, the then Foreign Secretary made a statement on behalf of the Government with regard to Colonial Preference. He said:The Government are ready, as part of the efforts now being made to effect economic and political appeasement and increase international trade, but without prejudice to the principle of Colonial Preference, to enter into discussion with any Powers who may approach the British Government for an abatement of particular preferences in non-self-governing colonial territories where these can be shown to place undue restrictions on international trade.We have been as good as our word in carrying out that undertaking. The United States of America came to us with suggestions that in the Colonial Empire these preferences were restricting unduly international trade. As a result of the trade negotiations which have taken place with America, and under the terms of the recently concluded treaty, there are to be reductions in the preferences on something like 200 items in different parts of the Colonial Empire. That is some indication of the Government's readiness to go as far as they can, without prejudicing the interest of the colonies themselves, towards giving equal economic opportunity for different nations and different nationals inside the Colonial Empire.
Finally, I would like to say a few sentences about the other principle of the government of these territories which is laid down in this Motion, and which is also laid down in the Amendments on the Paper. It is said in the Motion that the primary purpose of colonial policy is to bethe welfare and progress of the native inhabitants.1246 I am not quite sure why emphasis is placed exclusively onthe native inhabitants.There are other inhabitants of these Colonies. There are Europeans, there are Indians, there are Arabs, and there are others. It is quite true that sometimes the interests of one community come into conflict with the interests of another; and then adjustments have to be made, so that those interests can be reconciled. But I do not believe there is any fundamental conflict of interest between these immigrant communities that have settled more lately in the colonies, and the interests of the indigenous native populations. I think a more accurate statement of the principles that we should follow is contained in the wording of the Amendment which says that the primary purpose of Colonial policy is the welfare and progress of all the inhabitants of colonial territories. They have a common interest in the development of these territories, and that policy of fostering the interests of all the peoples of these colonies is a policy which has been accepted by this Government for decades past. There is no difference between us on that matter.
Having made the point, I would emphasise the great importance of our duty to the natives. I think that our first duty is always to them. We have to foster their material well-being and to see that they get fair play in the complicated economic system of the modern world. Our agricultural departments and our agricultural officers all over the Colonial Empire, and our labour departments and labour officers springing up in many parts of the Colonial Empire are doing that work. We have to bring to the natives the benefits of modern medical science so that they may enjoy always a more abundant health. Our medical departments and our medical officers are performing that service day in and day out in every quarter of the globe. The education of the natives is the growing concern of British administrations and the various voluntary organisations who work in close co-operation together throughout the Colonial Empire.
Above all, there is another objective which we keep constantly in view. The great purpose of the British Empire is the gradual spread of freedom among all His Majesty's subjects in whatever part of the world they live. That spread of freedom is a slow, evolutionary process. 1247 In some countries it is more rapid than in others. In some parts of the Empire, in the Dominions, that evolutionary process has been completed, it is finished. Inside the Colonial Empire the evolutionary process is going on all the time. In some colonies like Ceylon the gaining of freedom has already gone very far. In others it is necessarily a much slower process. It may take generations, or even centuries, for the peoples in some parts of the Colonial Empire to achieve self-government. But it is a major part of our policy, even among the most backward peoples of Africa, to teach them and to encourage them always to be able to stand a little more on their own feet. That love of ours of freedom not only for ourselves but for others, inspires policy right through the Colonial Empire, and I believe that the best assurance that these peoples can have that that spirit will continue to be a guide in their affairs is that they should continue their association with the British Empire.
§ 6.49 p.m.
§ Mr. Amery
I wish to intervene for only two or three minutes in order to refer to the statement which my right hon. Friend made at the beginning of his speech. He has gone a very considerable way, I think, in that statement towards meeting the unanimous feeling of every section in this House, and, I may add, in the country outside. He said very truly that no section of this House is disposed to hand over any of our territories to a foreign Power, and he added that that view is shared by His Majesty's Government. In other words, there is no disposition on the part of His Majesty's Government to-day to hand over any territories, colonial or mandated, at the demand of a foreign Power. He went on to say that His Majesty's Government are not discussing the question, that they are not considering it, and that it is not now an issue of practical politics.
May I just say one thing about the word "now"? "Now" is capable of two interpretations. It may mean no longer, or, in other words, that, after recent events, it is a matter that this country can no longer consider. If my right hon. Friend will tell me that that is the meaning in which he used the word "now" we shall be well content. If, on the other hand, "now" implies a reservation 1248 that the Government are still thinking that they may change their minds and be willing to change their present disposition, then our satisfaction is not quite so great. My right hon. Friend went on to speak of the possibility of the matter coming under discussion, and in that connection he stated very truly objections which, though they were all given their full weight, would be insuperable. The question is what weight will the Government in fact in certain conditions give them, and that does still leave some shade of uncertainty and anxiety. It may be that it is merely tactfulness. I doubt whether that sort of tactfulness really helps in international affairs. On the other hand, it may just serve to keep alive not only anxiety in our own territory but false hopes elsewhere.
I wish it had been possible for my right hon. Friend to say with regard to the whole of our Colonial Empire, mandated or protected, what has been said with regard to Nigeria, namely, that His Majesty's Government had no intention of transferring. If he had said that the whole matter would have been satisfactorily disposed of. I only hope that it may still be possible for the Government in the near future to make that simple and unambiguous statement and put the whole question at rest. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is not possible for him to say for the whole of our Colonial Empire what he has already very rightly said about Nigeria.
§ 6.53 p.m.
§ Mr. Lunn
This has been a remarkable Debate. I have heard every word of it. It is a long time since we have had a speech on Colonial matters to equal the magnificent speech that was made at the opening of the Debate. My hon. Friend the Member for Derby (Mr. Noel-Baker) was so disarming in all his arguments that, if there had been no Amendments on the Paper, I think we should have passed the Motion nem. con. The Mover and the Seconder of the Amendment apparently agreed with him so much that I found that they were rarely concerned with the Amendment but were more concerned with the speech of my hon. Friend. I admit that there is a considerable amount of agreement upon many points 1249 in the Motion. For instance, we are all agreed in every part of the House that there should be no surrender of British colonial territory to any other Power, and particularly Germany. It has been emphasised many times this afternoon that, in view of the attitude which is taken up by the Government in Germany to-day, and its inhuman, barbarous method of dealing with a race of people who have helped to build it up as much as any other nationals, we could not at this moment, and I suppose not until there is an alteration or a change which will remove these conditions, consider anything in the nature of any part of the territories in the British Empire being handed to them. As it is the nation which is in the picture with regard to anything of that sort, we must take it for granted that the whole House at this moment is in agreement that there shall be no transference of any territory to any one country.
The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State, who has made a very forcible speech on this question, might have given the guarantee of the Government that, as far as they are concerned, there is no intention of handing over any part of the Colonial Empire to any other one country. Such a guarantee has not been given, and so the House must take it that we know where the Government stand at the moment, but we do not know how long the Government will accept the same policy. It is very possible, as we know that the Government shift so often and so regularly, that they will soon change that which is their policy at the moment. I should not be surprised, when we come back after the Recess, if even on this question the Government have a different policy altogether from that which has been stated by the Minister on this particular occasion. It is very difficult to accept the statements of Ministers as to the attitude of the Government almost on anything, whatever it may be.
The Motion that we are discussing has allowed considerable latitude to Members to say where they stand upon different points, and we have found a great measure of agreement in discussing many of those points. The Minister has this afternoon adopted an attitude which I do not remember having been taken up by any Minister before. He has accepted the position that no redistribution of 1250 Colonial territory shall take place without the consent of the native inhabitants. That has not usually been guaranteed in matters of this sort, and I should like to have a guarantee on that one point with regard to the High Commission territories. That is the matter which is under discussion, and there should not be the transference of any of these territories from Britain to any other Empire or foreign Power before the natives concerned have had a say as to what should be their position. It is not an easy matter to get the opinion and consent of natives on any question.
It is easy to say these things, and we say in our Motion that their consent should be obtained, but when we start to obtain the opinion of the people in a given territory or colony we shall find many influences at work to get the opinion desired by the authority which happens to be holding the plebiscite. It will not be easy to get the consent of these populations until we have done a great deal more in the matter of education in the colonies than we are doing. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to take pride in what we are doing in the colonies, but he never answers a question entirely. If one looks at his answers to questions, as was the case to-day, he says that: "It is under consideration" nine times out of 10. He does not tell us definitely what he is doing, although he has taken great pleasure this afternoon in saying what he has done in the matter of education, health and other things, which I do not think he can justify as conditions are at the present time. I believe there is plenty of opportunity for the Secretary of State to do far more, and he could do far more if he did not have the Dominions under his wing as well as the colonies. I really think we ought to have a separate Secretary of State for the Dominions. There are so many things in the colonies which need doing that it is time the right hon. Gentleman attended to that work and to that work alone.
As I say, we are all agreed that no part of the Empire should be given to any other Power. But it is the central portion of this Motion upon which difference exists. That is Labour party policy, and has been Labour party policy for very many years. We do not believe that the present system of control and ownership of the colonies is a satisfactory one, and we suggest that it should be changed "as 1251 part of a general peace settlement." I do not see why we should be taken to task for making that suggestion. It is an important matter that there should be a general peace settlement. The Labour party is a peace party. It accepted the League of Nations, it accepted the idea that collective security could come only by co-operation between the nations of the world, and I think that if we could get international agreement to establish control over all these mandated territories, protectorates and colonies under a permanent mandate system we should be working towards a general peace settlement.
There are many parts of the Empire to-day which are not ripe for self-government, but there are also some that are nearly ripe, and I think the right hon. Gentleman ought to be considering how far he can extend self-government in certain colonies which have not already got it. I wonder how many Members of the House have see[...] the Permanent Mandates Commission at work at Geneva. Is it not true that those parts of the Colonial Empire which are under British Mandate are considered the best governed in the Colonial Empire? I think that can be stated as a fact, and I should like to see some of the non-self-governing colonies placed under an International Commission or under the Permanent Mandates Commission, with a connection with the International Labour Office, which ought to be an important factor in the good government of our colonies. My right hon. Friend dealt with the economic conditions in the colonies, and I agree with much of what he said. There is no reason why the right hon. Gentleman should not get together a conference of all the Powers which have colonies and seek to achieve the idea of giving peace to the world, which I think would come if we could place all the colonies in every part of the world which are not ripe for self-government under the Permanent Mandates Commission.
§ 7.6 p.m.
§ Sir Walter Smiles
I will be very brief because I want to leave time for another speaker after me. I stand convicted as a man who has changed his mind, because in 1920 and 1922 or later I must admit that it was my desire and hope that at one time we should be on equal terms with Germany again, and up to about 1252 1928 I never wished to see Germany entirely deprived of her Colonial Empire. But since 1930 onwards I have changed my mind entirely, and I agree with the words of the last speaker—they have a familiar ring to me, being an Ulsterman—no surrender, not an inch. I think there are complaints from other people also about the way the Colonial Empire is administered, but they are not the same complaints as have come from the other side. I read an article the other day by Lord Beaverbrook. It was advertised in all the Lancashire papers. His view was that we do not look after our Colonial Empire, that the Colonies do not give enough preference to Lancashire cotton goods, and in return we do not give enough preference to the goods of the Colonies. I think there is considerable truth in that allegation. Lord Beaver-brook pointed to the example of Porto Rico and said that the trade there had gone up by leaps and bounds since America acquired that territory. I have gone into the case of Porto Rico and I have come to the conclusion that that is rather an artificial one, as that territory has been practically bought up by the Venezuela Oil Company.
On one point I do not agree with the last speaker, because I believe that the administration under the Colonial Office is very much superior to administration under the mandate system. I would point to the case of Palestine. In my opinion if Palestine had been properly administered, as India has been, we should not have been having such trouble to-day. If you had a Viceroy going out, a member of the House of Lords or perhaps an ex-Member from this House, and Palestine had a Civil Service like the Civil Service in India, with the same powers, I think that country would be in a much better state to-day. I believe those who are administering Palestine not only have their eye over their shoulder all the time watching the effect on the Colonial Office and on the House of Commons, but they are watching all sorts of other people—they are watching America and they are watching the effect on foreign countries. I believe that hampers them considerably.
I do not think enough has been said for the men who went out to Tanganyika and other parts of East Africa believing that they would always remain under the Union Tack. Some of those people went 1253 out there with their wives and families and settled down in the belief that they would be secure under the Union Jack and that they were going to make their way there, just as other pioneers have done in the colonies. I think we have a very great responsibility to those people. I am quite sure that at present enterprise is being hindered there and capital will not go into that country while there is such uncertainty about the future. I think that very definitely the time has come for us to say that these colonies in East Africa which are under the Union Jack will stay under the Union Jack. We are not going to yield them up to anyone—not an inch, and no surrender.
§ 7.12 p.m.
Mr. Creech Jones
The mover of the Motion has cogently and eloquently argued his case, and I think there is unanimity in all parts of the House that at no time and under no circumstances should territories be surrendered or transferred to Germany. The Secretary of State has not altogether relieved us of the anxiety which has been felt in that respect. He twitted the Opposition on the ground that if the Motion were carried it would have a disturbing effect, but he has left the matter in such a state that the peoples who are directly concerned are a little apprehensive as to what may transpire when we are considering in the future a policy of appeasement with Germany. I feel, however, that there must be some concession made if peace is to be established in the near future, but such concession must be part of a general peace agreement.
The Amendment suggests that no change should be made without considering the interests and wishes of the inhabitants. The view held on these benches is that that proposition does not go nearly far enough. Reference has already been made to the discussions on the future of the South African Protectorates. That case illustrates the limitations of the Amendment. The people have the right to decide. We feel very strongly that this is not a matter which can be settled as a matter of bargaining; rather is it a thing which should be settled by the people directly concerned. The Amendment does not require the acquiescence of the inhabitants concerned, and therefore we cannot support it wholeheartedly. In some cases, too, we have 1254 direct treaty obligations, which must be respected by this country when any transfer is under consideration. We cannot flout those treaty rights. In any case we must take the line that the people who are concerned must be directly consulted about their future.
I think we have to guard ourselves against any charge of hypocrisy. Some of the speeches to-day suggested an extraordinary smugness in regard to British colonial administration. The Secretary of State made an idealistic speech, suggesting that all was well and progressing satisfactorily in our Colonial Empire. I have read speeches by hon. Members in which it has been declared that our colonial peoples enjoy all the blessings and freedom of impartial justice under British rule. We must admit, however, that there have been very unfortunate and regrettable episodes in British colonial administration, and it seems to me that if we do riot frankly face up to the fact that there are even to-day some very considerable blemishes in our colonial administration, we shall be exposing ourselves to the charge of hypocrisy by the dictators in Europe. It is true that we dare not allow any colonies to pass into the possession of those who hold the racial theories that arc dominant in Europe to-day; but we have to base our objection to the claims of Germany on broader grounds than the methods, good or bad, of German colonisation in days gone by, or in respect of any theory of race which the German Government hold at the present time. Our objection must, first, be based on the fact that the people of the colonies themselves do not desire such a transfer. Resolutions have been carried by the native peoples in all parts of the Colonial Empire, objecting to their becoming pawns in this game, or being bargained about between one Power and another.
In the second place, we must not countenance any movement which involves a further parcelling out of Africa and the extension of national jealousies and frontier obstructions that are already troubling Europe so much to-day. We must not go back to the old Victorian conception that colonial territories exist to be parcelled out among the Powers. That old individualism may have been all right before Africa had been developed and when various nations were vieing with each other in order to get new 1255 markets; but if it is to be perpetuated in the new world in which we exist to-day, it will lead to anarchy, to the clash of Imperialisms, to power politics, to the detriment of the native people, and it will undoubtedly lead to war. Therefore, I suggest that on that broad ground we cannot go back to the old individualism and the scramble for territory, but we must face up to the new conception of how Colonial territories should be developed.
The real problems in Africa are independent of boundaries and call largely for co-operative treatment by the civilised nations. The real problems of Africa are, how are we going to regulate the contract and migration of labour, how develop the continent, economically, how control water and forests rights, how deal with the problem of the health of the native people, the stopping of soil erosion, the development of agriculture, and the resources of the continent—how are we to educate the natives into the work of self-government, and how are we to campaign against disease, which smites men and animals. These are the pressing problems in Africa. It is unfortunate that Africa is full of impossible and irrational boundaries, cutting across tribes, and interfering with the rational development of the economic and social life of that great continent. Therefore, we cannot perpetuate the old national individualistic system, which tolerates irrational frontiers, which lead to an unsatisfactory check on sound economic policy, and which later leads to the growth of the economic nationalism which we know in Europe.
We cannot admit a further Power into the scramble for territory in Africa. Most of the mandatory territory was conquered in the War by the Allies and, as the Mover of the Motion pointed out, there is little argument that can be advanced by the German Government that she should become a Colonial Power because of the needs of her population or because of her need of raw materials and markets. The problem is essentially psychological. There is something in Germany's demand that her humiliation after the War should be completely wiped out and that we should observe one of the 14 points laid down by President Wilson in 1918, which was not included by the Allies in the peace that was made. Germany feels she has a case that only by the extension in 1256 the international field of her sovereignty can her prestige be fully recognised.
Great Britain cannot solve this problem alone, but we cannot drift into another war and allow this clash of interests to bring us to war and to the collapse of civilisation itself. Therefore, we must be prepared to consider conceding in a European settlement with other Powers something of national sovereignty so far as colonial territories are concerned. We ought to bring into conference the colonial powers and announce that we are prepared to discuss this problem whether something of our sovereignty can be conceded as part of the policy of appeasement. The suggestion has been made that a concession might be along the lines of an extension of international supervision, that the principles of the mandatory system might be further applied. I recognise that there are very real difficulties in regard to that. In the Debate this afternoon reference has been made to the methods of French administration and how difficult it would be to interfere with that administration by attempting to impose different conceptions of colonial administration. I suggest, nevertheless, that what is needed is some kind of international supervision so far as all colonial territories are concerned.
When we are talking about mandated territories it is well to remember that those territories are administered by mandate, although they are in the actual possession of colonial power administering. The suggestion which the Secretary of State seemed to make that some international authority would determine which territories should be administered and by whom, is foreign to the mandatory idea. The mandates were distributed by agreement among the Allies, and the sovereignty, conditioned by the terms of the mandate, of the respective nations holding those mandates was admitted. What we ask is, that we should extend the principle of international supervision by offering to agree that we will not be judges in our own case, but rather that in respect of our administration we will submit it to the test of world opinion. We will declare, as far as our colonial territories are concerned, for all the great and noble principles that are embodied in the declaration usually associated with the mandate. I suggest that we should be prepared to consider to what degree we 1257 can extend the mandatory principle by permitting inspection in our own territories by an international authority; whether we can report to an international body on our work and allow appeals to it; and in various ways permit world opinion to criticise the methods which we employ in carrying through the responsibilities that we have undertaken.
What we plead for is that trusteeship in respect of colonial territories shall be made real. We do not want trusteeship merely to mean some cloak for annexation. We want to be subject to the criticism of the world as to the way in which we discharge our colonial responsibilities. Seeing we cannot meet the German claim by surrendering an inch of territory what we ask is that we should consider whether some concession can be made to Germany by admitting her to her place on an international authority, an equal power with the other colonial Powers and representatives of the natives governed, and, further, so far as all colonial territories are concerned, whether the principles embodied in the mandate can be extended to our territories so that we may submit to international examination and supervision.
By a policy such as I have mentioned we could admit Germany to the international authority, recognise her right to share in the administration by a place on that international authority, and extend the principle that certain of her nationals might be employed in the scientific and technical services of the colonial territories. In that way we should be going some way towards restoring German prestige and meeting her claims. This nation, important as it is as a great colonial Power, should declare itself in favour of this new and better idea of administering colonial territories. Living as we do in a new world created largely since the War, a world that is becoming one great unit, it is imperative that we should recognise in colonial development
§ the contribution that all great Powers can make. We want the wealth and resources of the colonies to be made available for the benefit of the people concerned and the world. We as a great colonial Power should declare that we are willing to carry on our colonial administration under the eye of an international authority, and subject to world opinion. If we do that, and accept the principles associated with the mandates we shall show that we are not ashamed of having our methods checked and inspected by those whose only interest is the prosperity and welfare of the territories and the peoples concerned.
§ 7.29 p.m.
§ Sir Henry Morris-Jones
One would imagine from the speech of the hon. Member who has just spoken that the British colonial territories to which he has referred are among the most dissatisfied and most restless territories in the world. As a matter of fact, surveying the world as a whole, one finds that the colonies of the British Empire are about the happiest parts. We were all delighted with the speech of my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary, and we realise that in his position he was not able to make a categorical statement in regard to the disposal of colonies so far as the demands of Germany are concerned. We may, however, take note of the fact that so far as this House is concerned, if a vote were taken on that particular issue to-day, it would be almost unanimous against the cession of any territory whatsoever to any European Power that we have in mind at the present time. I am sure the Government will take note of the position as it has been disclosed in today's proceedings.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 127; Noes, 2531259
|Division No. 12.]||AYES.||[7.30 p.m.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Bevan, A.||Cove, W. G.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Broad, F. A.||Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford|
|Adamson, Jennie L. (Dartford)||Brown, C. (Mansfield)||Dagger, G.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Buchanan, G.||Dalton, H.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'Isbr.)||Burks, W. A.||Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Cape, T.||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Charleton, H. C.||Day, H.|
|Banfield, J. W.||Chafer, D.||Dabble, W.|
|Barnes, A. J.||cluse, W. S.||Dunn, E. (Rather Valley)|
|Ballenger, F. J.||Clyne', Rt. Hon. J. R.||Ede, J. C.|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Cocks, F. S.||Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.)|
|Benson, G.||Collindridge, F.||Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)|
|Fletcher, Lt. Comdr. R. T. H.||McGhee, H. G.||Shinwell, E.|
|Foot, D. M.||MaeLaren, A.||Silverman, S. S.|
|Frankel, D.||Maclean, N.||Simpson, F. B.|
|Gibbins, J.||MacNeill Weir, L.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Mainwaring, W. H.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Mander, G. le M.||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)|
|Groves, T. E.||Marshall, F.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Mathers, G.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Hardie, Agnes||Maxton, J.||Stephen, C.|
|Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)||Messer, F.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Hayday, A.||Montague, F.||Strauss. G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Morgan, J. (York, W.R., Doncaster)||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Thorne, W.|
|Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Thurtie, E.|
|Hills, A. (Pontefract)||Muff, G.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Hopkin, D.||Oliver, G. H.||Tomlinson, G.|
|Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Parker, J.||Viant, S. P.|
|Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Parkinson, J. A.||Walkden, A. G.|
|John, W.||Pearson, A.||Walker, J.|
|Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Price, M. P.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Kelly, W. T.||Quibell, D. J. K.||Westwood, J.|
|Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Ridley, G.||Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)|
|Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G.||Riley, B.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Leach, W.||Ritson, J.||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Lee, F.||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)||Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)|
|Leonard, W.||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Leslie, J. R.||Salter, Sir J. Arthur (Oxford U.)||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Logan. D. G.||Sanders, W. S.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Seely, Sir H. M.|
|McEntee, V. La T.||Sexton, T. M.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mr. Noel-Baker and Mr. Lunn.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Cross, R. H.||Harbord, A.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Crossley, A. C.||Harvey, Sir C.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S.||Crowder, J. F. E.||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)|
|Apsley, Lord||Culverwell, C. T.||Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Davidson, Viscountess||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.|
|Astor, Major Hon. J. J. (Dover)||Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||Holy-Hutchinson, M. R.|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||De Chair, S. S.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.|
|Balfour, G. (Hampstead)||De la Bère, R.||Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Hepworth, J.|
|Balniel, Lord||Denville, Alfred||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)|
|Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M.||Doland, G. F.||Higgs, W. F.|
|Barrie, Sir C. C.||Dower, Major A. V. G.||Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T P. H.||Drewe, C.||Hogg, Hon. Q. McG.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Dugdale, Captain T. L.||Holdsworth, H.|
|Beechman, N. A.||Duncan, J. A. L.||Holmes, J. S.|
|Bennett, Sir E. N.||Dunglass, Lord||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.|
|Bernays, R. H||Eastwood, J. F.||Hopkinson, A.|
|Bird, Sir R. B.||Eckersley, P. T.||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Blair, Sir R.||Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Howitt, Dr. A. B.|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T.||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Ellis, Sir G.||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Bracken, B.||Elliston, Capt. G. S.||Hunloke, H. P.|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Emery, J. F.||Hurd, Sir P. A.|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Emmett, C. E. G. C||James, Wing-Commander A. W. H.|
|Broadbridge, Sir G. T.||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Joel, D. J. B.|
|Brocklebank, Sir Edmund||Entwistle, Sir C. F.||Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Mostrose)|
|Brooke, H. (Lewisham, W.)||Errington, E.||Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Erskine-Hill, A. G.||Kimball, L.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Everard, W. L.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.|
|Bull, B. B.||Fleming, E. L.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G.|
|Burton, Col. H. W.||Furness, S. N.||Lancaster, Captain C. G.|
|Butcher, H. W.||Fyfe, D. P. M.||Law, Sir A. J. (High Peak)|
|Butler, R. A.||Gibson, Sir C. G. (Pudsey and Otley)||Leech, Sir J. W.|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Cluckstein, L. H.||Lees-Jones, J.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Cary, R. A.||Goldie, N. B.||Lennox Boyd, A. T. L.|
|Cayzer, Sir H. R. (Portsmouth, S.)||Gower, Sir R. V.||Lewis, O.|
|Cazetet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Liddell, W. S.|
|Channon, H.||Grant-Ferris, R.||Little, Sir E. Graham-|
|Chapman, A. (Ruthergten)||Granville, E. L.||Llewellin, Colonel J. J.|
|Clarry, Sir Reginald||Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Lloyd, G. W.|
|Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)||Gratton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.||Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.|
|Colfox, Major W. P.||Gridley, Sir A. B.||Loftus, P. C.|
|Colville, Rt. Hon. John||Grimston, R. V.||Mebane, W. (Huddersfield)|
|Conant, Captain R. J. E.||Gritten, W. G. Howard||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Ross)|
|Cooper, Rt. Ho. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Guinness, T. L. E. B.||MacDonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)|
|Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L.||Hambre, A. V.||Macdonald. Capt. P. (isle of Wight)|
|Cox, Trevor||Hammersley, S. S.||McKie, J. H.|
|Crooke, Sir J. Smedley||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Macnamara, Major J. R. J.|
|Makins, Brigadier-General Sir Ernest||Rawson, Sir Cooper||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'k)|
|Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Markham, S. F.||Reid, Sir D. D. (Down)||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Marsden, Commander A.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)||Tanker, Sir R. I.|
|Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.||Riskards, G. W. (Skipton)||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Maxwell, Hon. S. A.||Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)|
|Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Ropner, Colonel L.||Thomas, J. P. L.|
|Meller, Sir R. J. (Mitcham)||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)||Titchfield Marquess of|
|Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||Rowlands, G.||Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. G.|
|Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Morgan, R. H. (Worcester, Stourbridge)||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.||Turton, R. H.|
|Morris-Jones, Sir Henry||Russell, Sir Alexander||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cireneester)||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)||Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan|
|Munro, P.||Salmon, Sir I.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Nall, Sir J.||Salt, E. W.||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.||Sandeman, Sir N. S.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Nicholson, G. (Farnham)||Sandys, E. D.||Watt, Major G. S. Harvie|
|Nicolson, Hon. H. G.||Schuster, Sir G. E.||Wayland, Sir W. A|
|O'Connor, Sir Terence J.||Shakespeare, G. H.||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Shaw, Mayor P. S. (Wavertree)||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Palmer, G. E. H.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Patrick, C. M.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Peake, O.||Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Peat, C. U.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Petherick, M.||Smith, Sir Louie (Hallam)||Wise, A. R.|
|Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)||Weimer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Plugge, Capt. L. F.||Somerset, T||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Porritt, R. W.||Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir Donald||Wood, Hon. C. I. C.|
|Pownatl, Lt.-Col. Sir Assheton||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Wragg, H.|
|Procter, Major H. A.||Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.||Young, A. S. L. (Patrick)|
|Purbrick, R.||Spears, Brigadier-General E. L.|
|Radford, E. A.||Spans, W. P.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Raikes, H. V. A. M.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'ld)||Colonel Ponsonby and Mr. Orr-Ewing.|
|Ramsbotham, H.||Storey, S.|
|Rankin, Sir R.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
§ Question proposed, "That the proposed words be there added."
§ Mr. Collindridge rose—
§ It being after Half-past Seven of the Clock, the Debate stood adjourned.