Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £3,044,710, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1939, for sundry Colonial and Middle Eastern Services under His Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies, including certain non-effective services and grants in aid.
§ 4.17 p.m.
This is a Supplementary Estimate which covers a multitude of services in various parts of the world, and I must say a few sentences in explanation of each of them. The first item is one of £15,000 in connection with some work in British Honduras. Some years ago a railway was built up the Stann Creek to serve one of the most productive grape-fruit valleys in the Colony. That railway, however, has never been a paying proposition, and two years ago, after an expert inquiry, it was decided to scrap the railway and build in its place a motor road. The work on the road has been proceeding for some time, but unfortunately, the costs have exceeded the original estimate, and, in order that the work may proceed unimpeded to the end of the present financial year, we are asking that an extra sum of £15,000 should be voted as a loan in aid for this valuable work.
We have abandoned that project because the pier can be put into repair and continue to give effective service for another 10 years, so that there is no need to proceed with the new construction, in view of the extra costs that we are incurring on the road.
The second item is one of £30,000 for St. Lucia. Hon. Members will recollect that in November there was a landslide disaster in the island, and, unhappily, it was of such a serious nature that 111 lives were lost. In addition, a great deal of damage was caused to roads, houses and plantations, and the Governor of the Windward Islands has estimated that something like £50,000 will be required in relief of the sufferers and to repair the damage that has occurred. The Colony 609 has not among its own resources any funds from which this money could be found, and, as the necessary expenditure will amount to some £30,000 up to the end of the current financial year, I hope the Committee will feel able to make a practical expression of their sympathy with the people of the Colony by voting this sum for that relief and repair.
Then there is an item of £7,500 in connection with the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. The development of air services in recent years has brought into prominence some islands in the Pacific Ocean which hitherto have been considered comparatively unimportant. These are islands which, it is anticipated, may be of great use as intermediary landing places in connection with the trans-Pacific air services, and among them are the three referred to in the Estimate, Christmas Island, Canton Island and Hull Island.
§ Mr. Wedgwood Benn
Inasmuch as this concerns Commercial Airways, and having regard to the agreement with the United States, to which I presume reference will be made on the question of foreign policy, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will be in a position to give us some details about the commercial air development of these islands, and the agreement arrived at with the United States as to the sovereignty of Canton Island?
I am not in a position to give details on either question. With regard to the second question, it would be premature to give any details, because the matter, in so far as it has not been settled in principle, is still under consideration. Discussions are taking place between the United States Government and His Majesty's Government. It is hoped that those discussions will end in an agreement in the near future, and then, of course, will be the time for details to be published and considered.
The right hon. Gentleman referred to the possibility of my giving details, and perhaps my further 610 remarks will enlighten him, at any rate a little, on the question. As I was saying, these three islands are among those which may be of importance in connection with the development of trans-Pacific air services, and, because of this, we have sent to the islands officials of our Colonial Government. This sum of £7,500 is the sum required to pay the cost of establishing them in these islands and of their working and running expenses there during the last two years. We have not asked for this money hitherto because the question from which fund the expenses should come has been under consideration. It might have come out of the colonial revenue, but, in view of the fact that these officers have been sent to the islands, not because of local or domestic colonial work, but because of this work of Imperial importance, we have decided to come to me House and ask that the moneys should be voted out of Imperial funds. The right hon. Gentleman has raised the question of Canton Island, and the relations between the United States Government and His Majesty's Government on the matter. The position is as follows. As the Committee will be aware, not only the British Government but also the American Government have laid claim to Canton Island, As the right hon. Gentleman reminds us, there was an agreement between the United States Government and our Government comparatively recently that we should hold the island in joint trust for a period of years——
This was a matter which, of course, was negotiated through the normal diplomatic channels for negotiating with a foreign Government.
Certainly, if a representative of the Foreign Office is required, he will be here. I am giving the information for which the right hon. Gentleman asked, so that, perhaps, the discussion need not be detained, but the position is that there has been a friendly agreement between the United States Government and our Government to hold this island in joint trust for a period of years, 611 and that general principle was announced some time ago. Since then, discussions have been going on between the two Governments regarding the details of administration and the details of the carrying out of that trust, and it was that set of details to which I referred when I said that the discussions had not reached a stage when any public pronouncement could be made. But the discussions are proceeding, and I hope they may be concluded in the near future, when we shall be able to come to the House and let hon. Members know the details proposed. At the present time there is an American representative and a British representative on the island, and part of this £7,500 is for the cost of maintaining our representative there.
To turn to a matter which is wholly the business of the Colonial Office, the next item on the Estimate is a sum of £10 in connection with Makerere College in Uganda. This is a matter which has greatly interested hon. Members who are concerned regarding the education of African natives. Of course, the establishment of this higher college in Uganda is a great step forward in the development of education in East Africa generally. The establishment of the college has aroused much interest and support in the different territories and among the different peoples. For instance, the native administrations in Uganda have voted £10,000 in support of the college, and it is possible that the native administrations in Kenya and Tanganyika will also give it financial support. The Empire Cotton Growing Association are making a gift of £10,000 towards the building of a biological laboratory at the college. As regards the main building of the college, the cost is being borne by the Government of Uganda, but it has been recommended that a fund of £500,000 should be raised, and that fund is being contributed to by various Colonial Governments and by the Imperial Government.
Yes, Sir. The Government of Uganda itself is giving £250,000 towards this fund, and the Government of Tanganyika £100,000, while the Government of Kenya is going to give, subject to approval by the Legislative Council, £50,000. It is proposed that 612 the United Kingdom Government should complete the sum of £500,000 by contributing £100,000 to the fund. The payment of this £100,000 is not required in the current financial year, but we have put down the sum of £10 in the Supplementary Estimate in order to get Parliamentary approval of the grant, and I am certain that the Committee will be anxious to give its whole-hearted support to this new venture in East Africa by voting this token sum of £10 to-day.
The next Supplementary Estimate is in connection with the settlement of refugees in British Guiana. We are all aware of the seriousness of the problem of the refugees in Central Europe, and Parliament and the Government have been anxious that the British Empire should make the maximum contribution which it can towards a solution of this refugee problem. We have been examining the position in a number of Colonies with a view to seeing which of them would receive refugees as settlers, and British Guiana is one of the Colonies which seems to hold out, at any rate, some considerable possibility. I need not go into the history of this matter, because many hon. Members will have been following it closely, but as a result of discussions with the co-ordinating committee for refugees in this country it was agreed that a survey commission should go out to the Colony to start a survey in those areas which the Government think would be suitable and available for the settlement of refugees so that we can have an expert opinion as to the numbers of refugees which might be taken, and the kind of settlement which we might consider in future in the case of other settlers.
The Government have been very anxious to co-operate as closely as they can with that Commission of Inquiry, and in order to assist the Commission we decided to nominate two members to the Commission in addition to the members who have been appointed by President Roosevelt's Committee. We have nominated Sir Crawford Douglas-Jones, who is a former Colonial Secretary of British Guiana and acted as Governor there on several occasions, and who has a very great knowledge of the Colony. The second member whom we have nominated is Sir Geoffrey Evans, who was formerly Principal of the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture in Trinidad and is now Economic Botanist 613 at Kew. This sum of £1,000 is required for their personal expenses and subsistence allowances up to 31st March. These two members of the Commission left England on 4th February. They went to New York where they joined the chairman of the Commission, and they proceeded with him to British Guiana, arriving there on 14th February. Now the Commission is starting its work, and we all look forward to receiving its report when we hope that it may be discovered that British Guiana can make a considerable contribution towards the settlement of refugees. Then I come to a crop of items in connection with Palestine.
§ Mr. Benn
Before the right hon. Gentleman gets on to the second section about the Middle Eastern Services, would he say a word about the anticipated savings on page 7? There are amounts of £123,000 anticipated savings, and some of them appear to require examination, for instance the savings in Somaliland and on boundary commissions. There appears to be a saving on the help given to Ethiopian refugees in Somaliland. That is a point which the right hon. Gentleman could clarify.
Mr. Edmund Harvey
While the right hon. Gentleman is dealing with British Guiana, would he be good enough to state whether there is any prospect of anything in the nature of an interim report from this very important Commission in view of the great urgency of the problem?
I have not had put to me before the possibility of an interim report, and it would be a matter for the Commission themselves to decide upon. I am quite prepared to make the suggestion to them that in view of the urgency of the problem, if they feel that an interim report would be valuable, they should make such an interim report.
§ Mr. Maxton
Is it contemplated that the main report is to be delayed for an extended period of time? Could we not expect that the report proper will come within a matter of weeks?
I certainly hope that the Commission will be able to make a report within a matter of some weeks. I hope that their investigations will not take many months. I do not know any reason why they should, and I do not anticipate that that will be the case. 614 Nevertheless, the matter is one of very great urgency, and all I say is that if it appears that an interim report, which would come still quicker, would be valuable I will suggest that to the Committee.
The report would be made to the co-ordinating committee for refugees and passed on to the Committee which has been set up in connection with the Evian Conference. With regard to the estimated savings referred to by the right hon. Member for Gorton (Mr. Benn) in connection with British Somaliland, this arises out of an unexpected improvement in local revenue, and that is the sole reason for our windfall in that direction. With regard to the other item, the matter of the boundary commissions, the British Guiana and Brazil Boundary Commission completed its work earlier than was anticipated, and, therefore, the expenses in connection with this Commission have not been so heavy as at one time we thought they would be.
§ Mr. Benn
I apologise for intervening again, but I think it saves time if I ask questions in this way. Does the Boundary Commission item cover any expenses in connection with the Boundary Commission between Abyssinia and Somaliland or the Sudan? Do we understand that a full sum of £11,000 voted for the assistance of Ethiopian refugees in Somaliland will be spent?
With regard to the first question, the Boundary Commission to which the right hon. Member refers is not concerned in this item at all. The savings have been on this other Boundary Commission. With regard to the question of the Ethiopian refugees, as far I am aware it is anticipated that this sum will be spent. As I say, the question of Somaliland is simply a question of a saving on account of an improvement in the revenue position.
§ Colonel Ponsonby
Would the right hon. Gentleman say something about the saving of £13,000 on the Colonial Marketing Board?
The saving on the Colonial Empire Marketing Board is due to this fact. The board has only fairly 615 recently been set up. We had to make a considerable guess as to what its expenditure would be in the initial stages, and, as is usual among people who are wise, they over-estimate rather than under-estimate, and we have over-estimated to this amount in connection with this work which had scarcely begun when we had to make the estimate.
If I may pass now to the second group of items in connection with the Middle Eastern Services, may I explain that these are items in connection with the maintenance of law and order in Palestine. The first is an item of £1,120,700 in connection with the defence of Palestine and Trans-jordan. The financial arrangements by which the costs of our military forces in Palestine are met are explained fully in the Estimate. They have been explained before. They are not fresh to the House, and I do not think I need go again into the complicated details of the formula which are set forth here. Normally under this formula the Palestine Government would have met a considerable amount of this cost, but recently it was decided that, owing to the financial position of the Government of Palestine, they should be relieved of this cost and the taxpayers of this country should be asked to shoulder this heavy burden.
When we were making up the Estimates on this account originally we did not anticipate what, unfortunately, happened afterwards, that during the summer there would be a deterioration in the position in Palestine. That deterioration took place during the summer. The forces with whom we had to deal became more formidable than had been anticipated, and the House will remember that we had to send considerable reinforcements to Palestine. In August the military forces of the country so far as soldiers were concerned were eight battalions, and during September and October we sent reinforcements amounting to ten infantry battalions, two cavalry regiments, one battery of Royal Horse Artillery, and ancillary troops. In addition, we sent a reinforcement of one additional fighter Squadron of the R.A.F. This sum of £1,120,700 is the sum required to pay for the increased cost of maintaining those reinforcements in Palestine. I am afraid that this is not the total of the bill in the Supplementary Estimates on account of the Palestine disturbances. On page 10 616 we find an additional sum required of £113,000 in connection with the Transjordan Frontier Force. Again, on account of the deterioration in the position, we have had to call on the assistance of the Transjordan Frontier Force more than has been anticipated. The force has cooperated from time to time with our security forces in connection with the Palestine disturbances, but we have had to call rather especially on their aid in recent months, particularly in the Jordan Valley, and not only have we had to get further assistance from them with regard to the time which they gave in co-operation with our Palestine forces, but the work has been so heavy that, in order to meet the situation, one extra squadron had to be added to the force. This sum of £113,000 is required to meet the expenses of the additional squadron and of the additional work in connection with the Palestine disturbances which the force has performed.
Again, I am afraid that this does not exhaust the list of additional expenses in connection with these disturbances. We have a further item H (8) which is a grant-in-aid of expenditure arising out of the disturbances. The position is this. The revenue of Palestine, owing to the continuation of the disturbances, is lower than we had anticipated that it would be. At the same time the expenditure of the administration has been much heavier than we anticipated it would be when the Estimates were originally made up, and the financial position of the administration has deteriorated so far that we have had to decide to introduce this new grant-in-aid. The principle upon which the grant-in-aid will be calculated is set out in Sub-sections (1) and (2) of this Vote H (8). The first is that we should assist by paying all recurrent expenditure on police and prisons in excess of that incurred in a normal year, and 1935 is taken as the normal year. The second is that we should pay all capital expenditure incurred by the Palestine Government which is directly attributable to the present disturbances, and which would not have been incurred in normal circumstances. Under the first of these items we are having to pay considerable sums, for instance, for the very great reinforcements of police who have gone to Palestine in recent months. In recent months we have augmented the British Police Force in Palestine by nearly 617 2,000 recruits who have gone from this country to Palestine. Under the second item fall all sorts of costs which have been incurred on account of special work in connection with the disturbances, the cost, for instance, so far as it falls in the present year, of Tegart's Wall, the cost of various new roads or road repair work which has been incurred in order that the military may move more easily about the country, and the cost of extra police stations. This additional item, which now falls on the broad shoulders of the British taxpayer, requires £1,887,000.
It is a Supplementary Estimate to the extent that when making up the original Estimates for the financial year for Palestine we anticipated that the revenue and expenditure of Palestine would be rather different from what they are. But this is all closely related to the financial assistance we have been giving Palestine on account of the disturbances taking place there.
§ Mr. Benn
But it has been the custom in the past to mark items as new services in such circumstances. The right hon. Gentleman has laid down one or two new dicta. One is that you should ask for more than you want, rather than less. That, I am sure, will be noted with alarm. Now he has a new theory that inasmuch as an item is germane or related to the subject of the original Estimate, it may be introduced without drawing attention to the fact that it is a new Service.
§ Mr. Denman
May I protest against that statement? The right hon. Gentleman over-estimated rather than underestimated; he never held up over-estimating in itself as a good thing to do.
§ Mr. Denman
On the safe side rather than the unsafe side. Out of two errors you choose the less serious.
If the right hon. Gentleman is going to pay such serious heed to remarks which I may make half in jest, I shall be careful about such jests in future.
618 I can say one thing by way of part consolation. It is at least satisfactory that, as a result of these police and military reinforcements and the expenditure incurred, the position in Palestine has been improving, slowly but surely, during recent months. At the time when the police reinforcements were arriving in Palestine there were areas where the writ of the Government had practically ceased to run. Even in the old city of Jerusalem, some of the rebels were in occupation or part occupation. As a result of the activities of our security forces in the country, the authority of the Government has been gradually extended again over the country, and the campaign which has been waged has been successful in reducing the activities of the insurgents to a minimum.
Although one cannot express anything like complete satisfaction with the security position—far from it—one can, at any rate, report an improvement. The main trouble now, of course, is a constant series of individual acts of sabotage and assassination, which are far more difficult to deal with, and which will take a longer time to suppress altogether. In a recent speech on the question of Palestine I used some such phrase as "the military could restore order to Palestine, but could not bring peace to Palestine." That is work for the Government and Parliament; it is a political problem. But it is satisfactory that, in regard to the restoration of order, the activities of the police have been to a considerable degree successful in recent months. In regard to restoring peace, we are carrying on activities at St. James's Palace at the present time, and I should like to say how grateful I was, when the subject was discussed in this House, for the remarks made by the Loader of the Opposition and the Leader of the Liberal party, and also by the representative of hon. Members below the Gangway.
My old hon. Friends of the Independent Labour party. I can assure the Committee that, so far as restoring order and peace in Palestine is concerned, the Government will use all their energies.
§ 4.51 p.m.
Mr. Creech Jones
I wish to say a few words, first, in regard to the Vote for a grant-in-aid to British Honduras. I notice that the proposal now is that the 619 road should cost £80,000, instead of £50,000. I am not certain whether this increase in cost is due to bad estimating or to a development so far as road work generally is concerned. I attach considerable importance to the developments of roads and communications in British Honduras. The economic possibilities of that Colony have not yet been developed. It seems, from the reports which have come in from the trade commissioners and others, that cultivation is getting well in advance of road development, and that road development is still in its infancy. Because I can see in the future of this Colony great possibilities for West Indian settlement, I am anxious that greater interest should be shown in the development of these roads and communications. I believe this will be one of the subjects which the Royal Commission in the West Indies will examine, but it is obvious from various important reports recently, that there are big possibilities of absorbing a much larger population, and that this absorption work cannot be done until there is definite economic planning and until these roads are actually constructed. Therefore, I hope that, from the point of view of the economic and social development of the West Indies, the utmost encouragement will be given by the Colonial Office to the construction of roads in this Colony.
I now pass to the token grant for the Higher College in East Africa. I regret that the Minister devoted so little time to this very important development. I welcome the decision that the Colonial Secretary intends to give the utmost support to the recommendations of the recent commission which investigated education in East Africa. That commission is to be congratulated on an excellent piece of work, and on putting forward some very enlightened and constructive recommendations. The report contains a very graphic chapter on the needs of East Africa. It describes the sordid social conditions and the very considerable problems that have to be solved: problems of health, agriculture, disease, soil erosion, malnutrition and other matters. The commission pointed out—and I think the words should be quoted—thatWestern civilisation has irrevocably impinged upon the old tribal organisations, and former habits of life and conduct have been blurred beyond recognition. The African demands education as a right. The educa-620 tion of the African is, therefore, inevitable. It is also right.The commission goes on to point out:The policy of Trusteeship has been proclaimed as the policy of His Majesty's Government. It is a policy which will have to confront inconvenient problems and which already inspires young energies and fresh ambitions. Yet if the concept of Trusteeship, if the method of indirect rule, are to be anything more than glib evasions of responsibility, they must assert that the African shall in due course reach full maturity and take his place among the peoples of the world. That aim can only be achieved through education.I wish time permitted me to quote the introductory chapter of that report, because of the admirable arguments offered in favour of this advance. The purpose of this development is made clear. It is that:A system of education must always provide for the development of those who have reached and exceeded the standards aimed at by the majority, and who will be in the vanguard of the future progress of the whole group. To penalise that small group by forcing it to mark time while the majority is making up leeway would be a reactionary measure. Generous provision must be made for the complete education of the future teachers and leaders of the African people. Such a policy is in the interests of the masses themselves.Such is the justification which is offered by the Commission in respect to this new development for a university college in East Africa. All enlightened opinion will agree. We have undertaken responsibilities, and it is our duty to see that the African is prepared to undertake the larger duties involved by self-government, and also to be able to stand up, as the Covenant of the League declares, against the strenuous conditions of the modern world. I am glad therefore that the four Colonial Governments, with the Home Government, now recognise the importance of going ahead with this scheme. I would congratulate the Secretary of State on having taken this step.
But there are other points I would like to put by way of caution in respect of this proposal. I sincerely hope that every step will be taken to preserve the usefulness and extend the purpose of the existing secondary school. This new college, it has been pointed out by one of the commissioners, may break up the work now being done by the existing secondary school and modify the spirit of its work, its growth and method very considerably. It would be a pity if the establishment of 621 the higher school in any way prejudiced or cramped the work now being done in Makerere school.
I hope that, coincident with the development of this college, greater opportunities will be found for Africans in order to use the new knowledge and experience they gain as a result of the schooling they receive in the university college. The survey says that there is already a demand in Uganda for 400 or 500 persons of secondary school standard, but already the existing educational facilities are limited. If the development of East Africa is to go on, then the work of highly trained Africans becomes increasingly necessary. If we are to employ Europeans on the higher skilled work in East Africa, it will be extremely expensive. The only way to obtain sound economic development is to introduce the trained African in order to do that more highly specialised and skilled work. Much of the necessary work and development in the field of science, medicine and other directions, can only be done by Africans, and not by Europeans, because the climatic conditions do not permit of it. There ought to be an increasing number of appointments made available in the field of government, with the native authorities, and in private employment, so that these people, as they leave the higher college, can be absorbed into the general national life.
It is not only that the higher education of Africans is important as far as the economic development of East Africa is concerned, but it is also important from the point of view of its political development as well. It is pleasing to note in the report of the Commission that they state with great emphasis that it would be deplorable for future political developments if the policy of trusteeship were denied. To deny these people the opportunities of higher education would be severely to retract from this policy of trusteeship. The Commissioners said that the poorer the colony the more vital it is to employ their own people, and that a short-sighted policy might lead to a worse position in a decade or two from now. Therefore, they urge the long-sighted policy of the development of the university college.
I would like to add another word of caution in respect to elementary education. I hope that the granting of this money is 622 not, either in Uganda or the neighbouring colonies, going to lead in any way to the cutting down of State grants for elementary education or lead to the diversion of money from that important work. The report shows a pyramid which indicates the flow of children from one grade of education to another, from the elementary schools right to the top. It must be appreciated that at present there are less than 10 per cent. of the children between the ages of 6 and 10 who are getting rudimentary education, and that while we are spending £66 per year on the secondary school child, we are only spending is. 6d. in respect of the elementary schoolchild. The total Government grant is very much bigger in the secondary school than for the whole field of elementary education so far as Uganda is concerned. I sincerely make the point that if this money flows into the field of higher education, we should at the same time make perfectly certain that there is an expansion of elementary and of secondary education in order that there may be a proper flow of pupils through the whole system and always available to use the opportunities and facilities which the University College will very soon be able to offer. I would say that the method of employing children away from their homes at the age of 12 is not consistent with a sound educational system in the colony.
Can the Secretary of State enlighten me on one or two points in regard to the constitution of the college? Is the college, when established, to be independent? Is it proposed that the constitution of the college will follow the recommendations of the Commission? In respect to grants which are made to the college, will these be audited by public auditors, or what method is to be instituted for the control of finance? Will he give an assurance that Africans will be directly represented on the governing body of the college? What is to be the extent of the financial support once the college is established? We are now making a grant towards an endowment fund. Will Uganda or the neighbouring colonies be able to meet the additional annual cost that is involved? I am sure that we all wish well to the new headmaster of this college in the task which he has taken in hand. I hope it is the beginning of a genuine African University in that part of Africa, and that we can look forward to the college proving 623 of vital importance in the general development and life of the African people.
I want, finally, to look at the Vote in respect of British Guiana. I most heartily welcome the expenditure of this money on this investigation. There has been so much controversy around the possibilities of British Guiana, that I hope the Commission will settle that controversy once and for all. There are comparatively few-suitable places in the British Colonial Empire to which refugees may go. The possibilities of wide white colonisation are extremely limited. It is to the credit of the Jews that they have shown in Palestine an extraordinary capacity not only in overcoming the difficulties of climate, but also in overcoming the harsh conditions of the environment in which they find themselves. I am sure that if it is found that there are possibilities in the colony, Jewish enterprise and capital will certainly make good, but I would like to put a point which has troubled me a little. I do not put it with a view to prejudicing in any way the possibilities of the settlement of Jewish people. I have here, and I expect the Colonial Secretary has seen it, a resolution which was passed by a very representative body of people in British Guiana a few weeks ago, in which they call for anImperial investigation of the social conditions in all the West Indian Colonies, and recommend an Imperial policy and settled plan of development of British Guiana to bring about its prosperity and ability to provide for settlements therein of the surplus populations of Jamaica, Barbados and other British West Indies, sorely in need of relief.I would make the point that if there is any extension of Jewish settlement in British Guiana some regard should be paid in that settlement scheme to the absorption of West Indian labour. We have had the Barbados report of the inquiry into the disturbances about 18 months ago, and there the recommendation was made to the Imperial Government that consideration should be given to the absorption in British Guiana and other parts of the Mainland of the surplus population in certain of the West Indian islands. I hope that in this investigation, and any action that follows it, the Colonial Secretary will keep in mind that there is a very grave social and economic problem in the West Indies, and that one of the factors in the solution of that problem can only be by introducing into 624 British Guiana some of the West Indian population, who at the moment are unable to find work. Therefore, while I welcome this investigation and hope that it will find ways and means of establishing a Jewish population in that colony, nevertheless, the needs and legitimate claims of the West Indian population should not be overlooked.
§ 5.13 p.m.
§ Mr. de Rothschild
In making a few remarks on the Supplementary Estimates. I want to associate myself with what has been said by the hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Creech Jones) touching the subject of Palestine. I hope that open sesame will soon by pronounced by the right hon. Gentleman and that we shall have access to secrets which are not accessible at present. As to the question of British Guiana, I should like to join with the hon. Gentleman in drawing the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to the position of the West Indian population and their wish to migrate to British Guiana from the island. I hope that when the report of the Commission reaches him he will also take this question into consideration. It would be a deplorable thing, if the Government were to allow settlement to take place in British Guiana under favourable auspices, for it to be curtailed or stopped after a brief period of time because of the same reasons which are at present hampering Jewish settlement in other parts of the world. I hope that the report of the Commission will be satisfactory. I only regret that there is no economist among them because not only is the question of agriculture an important one, but the manner in which the produce of the toil of the people is to be disposed of, must be considered. In large settlements of that kind you must consider the development of local industries, and that can be settled only by real economists who understand these problems.
I am pleased to see the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs present, particularly as the right hon. Gentleman drew attention to the question of Canton Island, as an instance of the way in which the United States of America and this country have come together in a practical manner in the last few years. We have had the Trade Agreement since and we have been buying aeroplanes from America. Then there was an undertaking to develop and control Canton Island and to collaborate and co-operate in the development of the 625 air routes of the Pacific. The collaboration and co-operation between these two great Democracies is a matter on which both Governments are to be congratulated and it was a brilliant instance of how to settle international disputes.
The most important item on the Estimates which we are able to discuss is the smallest, namely, the token grant of £10 to the Makerere College. I am glad to be able to congratulate the Government on having made a grant of £100,000 to the endowment fund of this new college. In doing this we are rendering a most important service to the people of East Africa, because we are definitely encouraging the development of educational opportunities. There can be no doubt about the readiness and the capacity of the African to use these opportunities. This is shown in various ways, more especially by the interest constantly manifested by the natives in their own schools and also by their eagerness to obtain university education in Europe and the United States of America.
In the magnificent "African Survey" which has been published under the auspices of Lord Hailey facts are given showing the interest of the Africans in education. It states that in Uganda the native authorities of Bunyoro and Toro imposed an education tax of 1s. per head, and the Buganda Native Council wanted to impose a similar tax but were dissuaded by the Government from doing so because their taxation was already high enough. As regards Kenya, the Native Councils of Kavirondo and Kikuyu are more willing to raise local rates for education than for any other purpose. In the period from 1925 to 1934, £92,000 were voted by these councils. These facts show their eager interest for education, and it deserves to be satisfied in the form of adequate provision for higher education. It is the purpose of Makerere College to provide this.
Makerere will fill a need which cannot be supplied by facilities for Africans in British and other universities. Africa's need is the development of education in Africa. Although the learning and wisdom of more advanced peoples must be available, I submit that there must be no "foreignisation," which was referred to in the De La Warr report. What is sound in indigenous tradition must be preserved, and the importance of this is already recognised. The International 626 Institute of African Languages and Cultures is looking after these particular interests. In fulfilling these functions, Makerere College will do for East Africa what Acimota is doing for British West Africa, but on a larger scale. The African has a strong desire to learn the English language, not merely as the medium of daily usage but as a key to the literature and culture of other peoples. The medium of instruction given at Makerere will be English, and I am glad of that fact. But there is no danger that the individuality of the different races in Africa, their customs and their own language, will be disturbed. A system of a similar kind was introduced into India over 100 years ago by Lord Macualay, and the result has been to enable the Indians to develop in a more world-wide manner. It has given them access to the literature and science of three parts of the world and has in no way deprived them of their own individuality, or of their own historical associations. I hope, too, that Makerere will satisfy the desire of the African and will enable him to immerse himself into the wealth of literature and science that will be provided by Makerere, and will not destroy the cultivation of his own native language and thought.
I believe that Makerere is destined to play a great part not only in the progress of Uganda but of Kenya, Tanganyika and Zanzibar. We hope that it will achieve such success and eminence that it will attract students from Rhodesia and Nyasaland, and even from non-British territories. What are the practical requirements which Makerere can fulfil? They are set forth in a most convincing manner in the report of the 1937 Commission. It considered that the possible needs of Government Departments in the next 10 years in Uganda, Tanganyika, Zanzibar and Kenya will be very high, and it concluded that 1,000 Africans, educated to higher college standards, could be absorbed. The Commission estimated that the number required for each department would be: agricultural departments 160, medical services 328, education departments 249, veterinary services 99 and forestry department 58. There are also opportunities outside the Government Departments. Educated men will be needed as leaders of native administration. The estimate of the Commission was that in the next 10 years 250 such men will be required. Therefore, 627 1,250 trained Africans must be provided in the next 10 years.
§ Mr. de Rothschild
No, for the Colonial and native administration of the four territories. The East African territories have made a great advance, chiefly under the influence of European leadership, and this advance has acquired such a momentum and reached such a stage that it cannot be sustained by Europeans alone. If it is to continue the Africans must be equipped to assume the task of leadership of the African community. I hope Makerere will play a foremost part in this development and will so produce graduates suited for all sorts of social and administrative tasks, such as teaching, the promotion of health and hygiene and the execution of public works of native administrations. I hope, too, that Makerere will fit them for the most important task of all, that of sustaining their own people in progress towards higher culture, greater material welfare and evolution towards self-government. The human material with which it will deal will make this possible, since it has been proved that Africans are capable of high intellectual attainments. We need have no doubt that one day the men of Makerere will take their place among the leaders and statesmen of the Empire.
The responsibility which rests on Makerere is a heavy one. It will require outstanding qualities in those who direct it—wisdom, discretion, courage and devotion. If they succeed, the African people and the Empire will owe them a great debt. Our fervent good wishes go out to those who are assuming this heavy task, and particularly to the Principal, Mr. G. C. Turner, who is sitll a young man. He has just relinquished the head-mastership of Marlborough, after 13 years, and I trust that he will be able to inspire in the students and young people who go to Makerere College that fine esprit de corps and college feeling which have always distinguished the school which he has just left.
§ Mr. de Rothschild
My hon. Friend whispers: "The old school tie." I do not object to it in any way. There is 628 another sphere in which Makerere can play an important part, particularly as the language of instruction will be English. It can exert a potent influence towards unifying the British East African territories. Tanganyika has already contributed, or promised to contribute £100,000 towards the endowment of the College. This indicates confidence that Tanganyika will remain under British rule. We could hardly believe that the people of Tanganyika would be asked to provide such a large sum if they were once more to become a German colony. It would not be fair to encourage or expect the students of a German colony to go to a College where the language of instruction would be English. In encouraging the carrying out of this policy towards Tanganyika we are fulfilling a trust that has been put into our hands and we are carrying out our trust to the Empire.
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Annesley Somerville
I join in the congratulaitons which have been expressed in the establishment of an African University at Makerere. When I was a member of the Advisory Committee on Education at the Colonial Office I realised the danger which might exist in allowing men from the Colonies to come to English Universities when they were not suitably prepared for the course to be taken, and that their study here might lead to results which might be harmful to themselves and to the Colonies from which they came. On the other hand, it was rather difficult to put obstacles in their way, because in that case they took themselves possibly to a Russian University or to an American University with results which were not favourable to themselves or to the British Empire. As regards the University at Makerere we must congratulate ourselves on the fact that the Colonial Office have been able to secure as its head the distinguished head of an English educational institution. I think he has a good chance of making the University a success. His object, I have no doubt, will be to make the Africans good Africans, to train them on lines which are suitable and will not bring in an atmosphere unsuitable to their character, or temperament or training. That is all to the good.
I should like to repeat a question which has already been asked this afternoon. We are engaged in setting up an endow- 629 ment fund, but so far I have seen no indication as to how the annual expenses of the university are to be provided. Passing from that, I want to refer to one or two of the items in regard to Palestine. We hope that Palestine will become prosperous in the future. There are great possibilities there, and I want to ask whether we are justified, in view of the responsibilities and expenditure which are falling on this country, in making a free gift to Palestine of the amount mentioned in the Supplementary Estimate. Would it not be fairer to this country to make this by way of loan? I hope I shall get an answer on that point from the Colonial Secretary.
§ 5.33 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Henderson
I want the Committee to consider for a few moments the position at the Island of Canton. The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has come into the Committee, and I hope we shall receive a little more information from him than the Colonial Secretary was able to give. I realise that the main question of the sovereignty of the Island is a matter which has been put off for a long time, but hon. Members will be in agreement that the way in which this important question has been dealt with by the Government of the United States and our own Government has set an example of the way in which dangerous differences, or what might possibly develop into dangerous differences, should be settled. It is an example which might well be followed by other countries. I should like to ask whether in the negotiations to which the Colonial Secretary referred the New Zealand Government are being included? The Island of Canton is midway between New Zealand and Hawaii, and may be of considerable strategic importance in the future. Great interest was aroused in New Zealand at the time the island was first occupied by a ship representing the United States Government.
It is interesting to note that a ship belonging to the New Zealand Government had previously made use of Canton Island; in fact, it had been there from time to time. I should like to ask the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can give the Committee a little more information as to the nature of the joint occupation which is at present being exercised in this Island, to which a specific item in the Estimate refers. 630 Apparently a sum of £7,500 is to be allocated as a grant-in-aid for the expenses of the occupation of Canton and two other islands. I wish to address myself entirely to the position in Canton Island where there is at the moment a joint administration representing the United States Government and the British Government. On what is this sum to be expended? What is the purpose of the expenditure? Are we to understand that a similar sum is being provided by the United States Government? Has New Zealand any direct connection with this occupation, and have the New Zealand Government been asked to make their contribution to the costs of the occupation? These are questions to which, I think, we should have the necessary information, and it is for these reasons that I have ventured to raise the matter to-night.
§ The Chairman
I think I ought to say a word on the question which the hon. Member for Kingswinford (Mr. A. Henderson) has raised. It is quite permissible for the hon. Member to refer to the position under which this island is partly in British occupation and partly in the occupation of another country under an arrangement come to, but I am rather doubtful whether I can allow the Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs to give the hon. Member an answer to his question. I do not want to be unduly strict in this matter, but though I can possibly allow a brief reply, I cannot allow a discussion on this matter on this Vote.
§ The Chairman
I do not think this is a Vote for expenditure in connection with the occupation of the island, and I think that the questions put by the hon. Member for Kingswinford must come under the Foreign Office Vote.
§ The Chairman
Perhaps I was wrong in saying that it has nothing to do with the occupation of the islands. I think it is obvious that this expenditure does not 631 relate directly to the assumption of occupation, but arises from the occupation, and I think it is clear that it is a matter which should be raised on the Foreign Office Vote.
Mr. M. MacDonald
I did not say anything of the kind. I gave information as to what the money was spent on. We sent officers of the Colonial Service to these islands and the money has been spent on housing them there and in maintaining them there in the exercise of their duties. They are colonial administrative officers, and are not directly concerned in any negotiations with the United States Government or in any commercial questions connected with the air service. They are merely performing the ordinary functions of colonial administrative officers.
§ The Chairman
That confirms me in my view. What I meant was that the expenditure arises not out of the original occupation, but out of the occupation as at present, a continuing state of affairs.
§ Mr. Benn
This island is about 16 miles in extent. Does the Colonial Secretary tell us that £7,500 is necessary to build a bungalow for these gentlemen, or is there more behind the matter than that? Does it involve wider issues in the matter of air services and defence? It will be interesting to know, because £7,500 would build a very nice house for anyone even in this country.
Mr. M. MacDonald
The sum of £7,500 does not cover the expenses in the Island of Canton alone, it covers the expenses in Christmas Island and in Hull Island. There are three bungalows. There are three administrative officers, and I would point out that in my opening statement I said that £7,500 covers the expenses of these officers for two years, including their salaries, since they have been in the occupation of the islands. And I explained why we waited two years before the expenses appeared on the Vote.
§ 5.43 p.m.
§ Mr. Pickthorn
I detain the Committee with even more than usual reluctance, but 632 I will only detain it for a short time. My reluctance arises mainly from the fact that what I want to talk about is what I call Makerere. Other hon. Members pronounce it differently—I am not sure whether I am right or wrong. But I would like to ask a question of the right hon. Gentleman. I gathered from the speech of the hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Creech Jones) that he looks upon Makerere as a University College. I rather think that the hon. Member who spoke for the independent Liberal party used the same expression.
§ Mr. Pickthorn
May I say, the hon. Member who speaks for a party which is often not represented in this House except when one of its own Members is addressing us.
§ Mr. Pickthorn
I am very sorry if my expression was at all offensive. The point I was trying to indicate is that both hon. Members, and also the hon. Member for Windsor (Mr. Somerville), spoke of Makerere as if it were to be at once a university college, or rather more, actually a university. I have not dealt with these matters lately, but my recollection is that the intention was, not that it should be at once a university college and still less that it should become at once a university, but that it should be something which would be a step towards a university college, which itself would be a step towards a university. Although I hope no one in the Committee believes more deeply than I do in the propriety of advancing African education as effectively and as quickly as that can be done, I should like the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary to make clear which of us is correct on this point, because it seems to me that much more harm than good is done to African education by a habit, into which all of us are apt to fall, of over-calling our hands in the matter. I think that the hon. Gentleman who spoke from below the Gangway opposite over-called his hand a little when he said 633 that it has been proved that Africans are most capable of the highest intellectual tasks.
We should be foolish not to assume that Africans may be, and that we ought to do our best to see that they become, so capable, but it seems to me to be excessive to say that it has been proved that they already are so, that they have done the same sort of job as Dante, for instance. I think it does not do any good to African education that our Debates should be conducted on the basis that the thing has got two or three stages further than those who are intimately acquainted with it believe that it has got. When a man is teaching a child to swim, no doubt it is right to lie a little, to tell the child it is swimming, or very nearly swimming, a little before that is quite strictly true, but to exaggerate that benevolent flattery would not be beneficent, might be doing more harm than good. I should like it to be made quite clear what is to be the next stage, when Makerere is actually built as the result of this Vote.
§ 5.48 p.m.
§ Mr. De Chair
I wish to refer to the grant-in-aid in connection with the disaster at St. Lucia and the saving on the Estimate for the Colonial Empire Marketing Board. I refer to the St. Lucia disaster not because I consider that the sum of £30,000 is excessive or inadequate, but simply because I feel that His Majesty's Government should not have been called upon to pay it. It seems possible in this country to raise vast sums for relief in connection with disasters occurring to people in any part of the world, but when it is a question of British subjects being deluged by an avalanche—and as the Colonial Secretary said, 110 lives were lost—apparently it is impossible to raise by voluntary subscriptions the sum necessary for relief, and the Government must come to Parliament with a Supplementary Estimate to provide the entire sum needed. It is a pity that we live in times when affairs outside our own Imperial administration call for so much attention. A great part of the administrative ability of this country, which ought properly to be devoted to the administration of the Colonial Empire, is devoted to other matters. Hon. Members, to a certain extent, are Members for a constituency of 70,000,000 people in the Colonial 634 Empire, because it is by the House that ultimate executive decisions are taken affecting the administration of the Colonial Empire.
I pass now to the Colonial Empire Marketing Board. I agree with the hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Creech Jones) that the Colonial Secretary skated somewhat lightly over these very important matters, but we realise that he has other very important preoccupations at the present time, and we do not expect him to go into these matters thoroughly to-day. I hope that in the near future we shall have an opportunity for a full-dress debate on the whole administration on the Colonial Empire. When it is a question of saving £13,000 on the Estimate for the Colonial Empire Marketing Board, one is inclined to wonder what the Colonial Empire Marketing Board is doing and hopes to do——
§ The Chairman
I must remind the hon. Member that he is not now dealing with an Appropriation-in-Aid, but with a saving, and obviously on that policy cannot be discussed.
§ Mr. De Chair
I do not wish to go outside the Rules of Order, Sir Dennis. Am I to understand that it is not possible, on a question of the saving of £13,000, to discuss the prospects of the Colonial Empire Marketing Board?
§ The Chairman
That is so. The hon. Member may not discuss the policy that is included in this item of savings.
§ The Chairman
I think the right hon. Gentleman knows that, as is not unusual, he is right. At the same time, I was right also.
§ Mr. De Chair
I will not elaborate the point I was making, but I ask my right hon. Friend whether he will explain why the saving has been necessary. He said that it is prudent to over-estimate rather than to under-estimate expenditure, but that does not give a very clear idea as to why expenditure on the Colonial Empire Marketing Board will not be as much as was expected.
§ 5.53 p.m.
§ Mr. Harold Mitchell
In examining the Supplementary Estimates, the first thing that strikes me is that in the case of the first two Colonies, British Honduras and St. Lucia, one has come to the House for a loan and the other for a grant-in-aid. The reason for this will be clear to anyone who is familiar with the West Indies; it is the lack of prosperity in these Colonies. Obviously, if both the Colonies were prosperous, it would not be necessary for them to ask for these measures of assistance. While I entirely support these two items, I hope that every effort will be made by the Colonial Office to bring about a greater measure of prosperity in those Colonies. I have recently visited the Caribbean and on that visit I was very much struck by the difficulties through which these Colonies are going. In British Honduras, there is considerable criticism on the grounds that, while they support the recent trade treaty with the United States of America, the margin of protection on citrous products has been reduced very much in favour of America.
§ The Chairman
I am afraid the hon. Member is going far beyond the Supplementary Estimate. The matter with which he is dealing is one on which even a very limited discussion would be out of order on the question of the loan.
§ Mr. Mitchell
I am sorry if I have transgressed the Rules of Order. I was trying to show that one of the reasons we are being asked to give this loan free of interest is the lack of prosperity in the Colony. I was very interested in the remarks made by an hon. Member opposite about the investigation of the possibilities of settlement in British Guiana. I entirely share the hon. Member's view that, although this investigation should take place, we ought also to bear in mind the possibilities of settlement not only of refugees, but also of people from other areas, including the British West Indies, where there is so much overpopulation at the present time. Anyone who is familiar with the West Indian Islands knows how serious is the question of population. Jamaica is passing through a very difficult time. The prices of primary products such as coconuts have fallen very considerably, bananas are going out of production because of disease, and the export of sugar, another staple product, is 636 limited by quota from being expanded. I hope that my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary, particularly when he receives the report of the Royal Commission, will bear in mind the extraordinary difficulties through which the West Indies are going. It would be out of order for me to discuss the question why the reduction has been made in the appropriation for the Colonial Empire Marketing Board. I hope that they have not abandoned the idea of marketing fresh limes. That is a small industry, but I believe it is susceptible to considerable expansion. I should like my right hon. Friend to give the Committee some information on that point, since I believe that would be a reasonable activity for the Colonial Empire Marketing Board.
§ 5.58 p.m.
§ Mr. Stephen
The hon. Member for Brentford and Chiswick (Mr. Mitchell) has referred to the great difficulties of the West Indian Islands. A Royal Commission is inquiring into these matters at the present time. The strikes that have been taking place in the West Indies have certainly filled many of us with very great misgivings as to the conduct of affairs in those Islands. I regret that it is not possible to-day to deal generally with the question of Palestine and the military operations that have been conducted in that country. I do not want to say anything that might hinder a settlement of the very difficult problems connected with Palestine, but I want to raise one point concerning the military control of that country. Recently Defence Amendment Regulation No. 4, 1939, was made, and this allows the introduction of corporal punishment of offenders in Palestine. The whipping of male offenders, apparently under the age of 18 years, convicted by a British military court in Palestine, is provided for in an Amendment to the Emergency Regulations. This punishment may be allowed in addition to, or in substitution of, any other penalty to which the offender may be liable. It is provided in the latest Defence Amendment Regulation No. 4. 1939, that whipping shall be given with a light rod or cane or birch, and the number of strokes shall be specified in the sentence, and shall not exceed 24 under any one or more sentences passed in respect of the dictinct offences of which a person has been convicted at one time.
637 I think that new regulation is a very regrettable one, and that the Colonial Secretary should put a stop to this sort of thing. There is a Measure before this House for the abolition of corporal punishment in this country, and I think it is even more unseemly, in a country like Palestine, that a military court composed of people other than natives of the country should be able to impose such sentences upon native people. I have no faith at all in this form of punishment, and I do not think it will help in any way. I think it will rather tend to exacerbate opinion if a lot of these sentences are handed out to the younger Arab people in connection with offences by them. I do not think it will help to bring about good feeling in the country, and in my view nothing can cause greater disturbance than this idea of an alien governing class handing out punishment to a people who are in a certain amount of subjection. I hope the Colonial Secretary will take note of this protest, make inquiry, and say that this regulation is not going to be put into operation at all.
§ 6.2 p.m.
§ Mr. Paling
In regard to the Colonial Empire Marketing Board, what worries me is this saving. Time after time, when his business has been discussed here, the trouble in all the Colonies is not that they cannot produce things, but that they cannot get rid of them, and that their markets have been getting less and less and their selling difficulties greater and greater. There is a figure in the Estimates of £40,000 for this purpose, and in view of the importance of this job and of securing markets so that these people may be able to look forward to some measure of prosperity, it seems to me very remarkable that £13,000 out of that £40,000 should not have been spent.
§ The Chairman
I am not sure that the hon. Member was in the House to hear my Ruling on this point, but I said that very little can be said in regard to this saving.
§ Mr. Paling
I am not trying to discuss the matter, Sir Dennis, but I merely ask whether the Minister can tell us why the policy has been carried out to such a small extent.
§ Mr. Paling
Then will the Minister give us details as to why it has been possible to make such a big saving as £13,000 on this account? Then, in regard to the saving of £10,000 in British Guiana, I should like to know how it has been possible to save that money. I understand that this Colony has many difficulties, and that there is plenty of room to spend money there rather than to save it. Also I should like to know, with regard to St. Lucia, what kind of service this money was spent on. Was the major part of this £14,000 given for the repair of property, and, if so, whose property?
§ 6.6 p.m.
§ Mr. Benn
What did the right hon. Gentleman mean in reference to the saving on the Somaliland Vote, which originally included £24,000 for administration and £11,000 to help refugees? Now I see that£24,000 has been saved. Does that mean that the grant to the refugees has been used and that there is no grant whatever towards administration expenses in Somaliland? My second point is this: I am not clear, under the heading "Boundary Commissions," whether this has to do with the Commission to adjust the Sudanese-Somaliland-Ethiopian line. When the Prime Minister was in Rome it was said that that work was about to begin. One may have some comment to make about our share in the spoils of the Ethiopian aggression, but one would like to know what Estimate will cover the expenses of our negotiators, and what part of Haile Selassie's dominions we are to have.
So far as Canton Island is concerned, I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs for coming down. The Chair has ruled that I cannot ask him any questions on policy, and, therefore, I regret that he should have had to come down in vain, but I thank him for having come. I understand, in regard to the grant of £7,500, that it is for officials in respect of three houses on three islands, which works out at an average of £2,500 for each island. Does the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State exercise control over these gentlemen? What happens if regulations have to be made in these islands? Who makes them? Who controls these men? Is any part of the sum being used for air bases? Is any preparation being made for an air 639 base? No one could imagine that these islands would be occupied except to make part of a network of air communications, and I think we are entitled to ask for full details on this most interesting point. Is the money, for instance, being used as part of a new Trans-Pacific air line? Is it to be a naval base? What does the £7,500 represent?
As to the observers in British Guiana, I understand that it is an international Commission, so that we appoint two members of a Commission to which the United States and other countries also appoint members. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would explain to us exactly how the Commission will report and how the House will become seized of its report.
§ 6.9 p.m.
Mr. M. MacDonald
I have been asked a great many questions, and I will do my best to answer them. A great many points have been raised and many observations made on a great variety of subjects, and I can assure hon. Members who have made those points and observations that we shall give them very careful consideration in the Colonial Office, but I will confine myself now to answering the specific questions which have been asked. The right hon. Gentleman asked what would be the procedure of the Commission of Inquiry in British Guiana as regards its report. I understand that it will present its report to the Co-ordinating Committee on Refugees, and that the report will go to the authorities set up by the Evian Conference. No doubt when the report has been received my right hon. Friend who is in charge of that work so far as this House is concerned, will make an appropriate statement to the House, and if the authorities decide on publication of the report, it will be published by those authorities.
With regard to the occupation of Canton, Christmas, and Hull Islands, I was asked a number of questions as to how this £7,500 is made up. It is made up of expenses which have been incurred by the Colonial administrative officers in regard to their taking up residence in these islands. It includes, for instance, their passage money to the islands and their salaries for the period of two years since they took up their occupation. At one time there were two officers in Canton 640 Island, and one of the officers has since returned to headquarters. His salary for the period of his stay in the island is included in this sum, and his passage to the island and his passage back. I do not think it requires a great deal of imagination to discover how it is possible, in two years, with three individuals in three islands, and for a time four individuals, with their salaries, accommodation, and living expenses, for £7,500 to be expended.
They are representatives of the Government; they are administrative officers. The right hon. Gentleman himself said that there is a population in these islands, and in due course there may be developments on account of air services, and these officers have very important functions to perform in islands which are potentially important in this scheme of things. These officers have no duties in connection with the development of these air services, but——
§ Mr. Benn
We are in great difficulty because of the Rulings from the Chair, but here are 60 people living in these islands, and £7,500 being administered by three and in some cases four officers, who have not any administrative control over them at all, because we have no sovereignty over the island. I think we ought to be told what they are doing. I imagine that they are making surveys for an air service, and that is the really interesting point on which we should like information.
In the first place, we have sovereignty over these islands. In the case of Canton Island, we have reached a friendly agreement with the United States Government that we shall administer the island as a joint trust for a number of years.
In view of the fact that these islands are potentially important from the point of view of the development of air services, it is very desirable that we should have officers on the spot, in islands which have attained this new importance. 641 Then I was asked questions by a number of hon. Members concerning the Colonial Empire Marketing Board and the exact reasons why the original Estimate has not been found necessary to the extent of £13,000. The original Estimate was for £40,000, but that was necessarily a provisional figure, because when the Estimate was made up the Marketing Board had only just come into existence. We had not any practical experience of its work, and we were not sure how widely it might develop.
In those circumstance the Estimate was naturally not quite so accurate as Estimates are when we have past experience of the work of these bodies. It has been discovered that in the 12 months of the Marketing Board the whole £40,000 has not been spent. The board, however, is going ahead as rapidly as possible with its work of marketing Colonial products. I was asked about a saving of £10,000 in the case of British Guiana. The reason for it is that the revenue in the Colony has exceeded expectations and, therefore, it has become unnecessary for this sum, which was put into the Estimate, to go to the Colony. The same applies to the saving of £24,000 in the case of British Somaliland. The original Estimates had two items. One was for £24,000 on account of general administrative costs. The revenue of the country has exceeded expectations by something like £24,000, and therefore it has not been necessary to send that sum. The second item was £11,000 in connection with Abyssinian refugees, and the whole of that money is being expended on the purpose described in the original Estimate. The hon. Gentleman asked me about £14,000 out of £30,000 which is being expended in St. Lucia on account of damage caused by the landslide. The damage was partly to roads, partly to houses, and partly to plantations, and the money has been paid to assist private individuals who suffered by this unfortunate disaster.
I was asked about Makerere College. My hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) asked for an exact definition of the status of the college. As he says, it is not a university college, and his account of its status was accurate. It is at present a higher college, and it is thought that in time it will be something higher than 642 that. The hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Creech Jones) asked whether the college was independent. The answer is that it will be controlled by a council of twelve members, some of whom will be appointed by the governors, but there will be additional members. Therefore, it is not an official college, although some control will be exercised through the representatives of the governors.
§ Mr. Stephen
Who will appoint the members of the council other than those appointed by the governors?
Perhaps I may send the hon. Member an answer to that question. I was asked whether the constitution of the college would follow the recommendations of the committee. It will follow them generally, but there will be some minor modifications. I was further asked whether the accounts would be audited by the public auditor or by somebody else. They will be audited by an auditor chosen by the council and approved by the Governor. With regard to the question whether Africans will be on the governing body, they are not excluded, but there is nothing in the instrument under which an African or Africans will specifically be put on. It is an open question. It is, however, definitely provided that on the larger assembly, which will have important functions in connection with the college, there should be one person appointed by the native Government of Buganda, and probably there will be other Africans on the assembly as well.
§ Mr. Stephen
Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise how important it is that there should be the specific appointment of an African member on the council?
The actual personnel of the councilis yet to be settled. It is an open question, and I can assure the hon. Member that it will receive appropriate attention and that the importance of it will not be overlooked. With regard to the financial assistance which the college will receive once it is established, we hope that as a result of the income which will come from the endowment fund and from fees the college will be self-supporting. We cannot, however, be confident about that until we have 643 had experience. We shall have to wait and see how the revenue works out.
My hon. Friend the Member for Windsor (Mr. Somerville) asked why we should pay these enormous sums to the Palestine Government on account of defence expenditure, why the taxpayer should be burdened by that gift, and whether it would not be possible to raise the money by loan so that the Palestine administration could pay back the taxpayer of this country in due course. Most of this expenditure is on works which are unproductive, and, therefore, to saddle the Palestine administration with a loan on account of them would be to place a heavy burden on a hardly pressed Government. It is important that when peace is restored to Palestine the work of development should proceed as rapidly as possibly unhampered by undue financial burdens. Because of that consideration we have thought it better to make this a grant instead of a loan which the Palestine Government would have to pay back later.
§ Mr. Somerville
My right hon. Friend has characterised this expenditure as unproductive. Surely, if the result of that expenditure is to make Palestine peaceful and, we hope, prosperous, it is productive in the highest sense.
I agree that it is in the highest sense, but I was speaking more technically, confining myself rather to the pounds, shillings and pence of the matter. I think that from that point of view my comment is a just one. It is in the highest sense important that when peace is restored Palestine should be free to develop as rapidly as possible. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Gorton (Mr. Benn) asked about the Ethiopian boundaries. Any inquiry which takes place about the Ethiopian boundaries is not concerned with the Estimates we are discussing. The Boundary Commission has not even been set up. The item with which we are concerned in this Estimate is in respect of the Boundary Commission of British Guiana and Brazil, which is a far cry from high politics in Africa in recent years. With regard to the question asked by the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen), the amendment of the emergency regulations is a very recent one and I have not received detailed information about it. 644 This is a matter in which the authorities on the spot must be left a great deal of discretion. They are dealing with a serious situation and they have a responsibility for checking terrorism which endangers not merely property but the lives of many people. I have a great deal of confidence in the judgment of the civil and military authorities there in working the emergency regulations.
§ Mr. Stephen
Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that the considered opinion of the Government based upon the report of a committee of inquiry, is against whipping as a sound way of inflicting punishment? Will he let the people on the spot realise that it is the considered opinion of the Government, which is based upon a committee's report and which represents practically the general opinion of the House and the country, that this punishment is all wrong and is just brutality?
§ Mr. Silverman
I do not, of course, want to encourage terrorism in Palestine, and I hope that strong measures will be taken to bring it to an end. One understands that the difficulties in Palestine have arisen because there is a feeling among the Arabs that they are treated, or are likely to be treated, as in some respects an inferior race. They are, of course, an old race which has contributed very much to the course of human civilisation, and it may be that this type of punishment is just the type calculated to impress upon their minds that feeling of indignity which probably lies at the root of a good deal of the trouble. All sorts of punishments and repressive measures are possible, and in this country, where it has been suggested that this type of punishment should be abolished, I can offer a variety of reasons which must obtain in Palestine as well. I would commend to the right hon. Gentleman the psychological effect on the trouble in Palestine of introducing a type of punishment which brings with it a sense of shame and inferiority against which a proud and old people would naturally rebel. Could the right hon. Gentleman say for what kind of offences this new punishment is being inflicted? Is it limited to any particular kind of offence or is there a general discretion to inflict it in any case which the military court chooses?
§ Mr. Stephen
As the right hon. Gentleman knows, I visited Palestine, and what 645 my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Silverman) has said is very true. I found that one of the things that was creating trouble was this impression among both Jews and Arabs that they are inferior races, whereas they both think that they are equal to the British. As I met them I could not see any reason why they should not be considered equal to us in mental ability, character and in any other way.
With regard to the last question put by the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Silverman) I should have to make inquiry into that point. As a matter of fact the Emergency Regulation was made so recently that I have not a copy of the amended law. The general remarks upon the subject made by hon. Members were, of course, very relevant, and I fully appreciate their concern in the matter. We certainly do not regard the Arabs or the Jews in Palestine as inferior people; we regard them as people with an old civilisation and as entirely equal with ourselves; but 1 am not certain that in the comparison which has been made between the introduction of that amendment of the Regulations in Palestine and the fact that in this country the abolition of this form of punishment is recommended by a very authoritative committee there is any real analogy. Its abolition is being recommended in this country in circumstances which are normal. One may hold views as to the unfortunate effects of this type of punishment in a country where a normal situation prevails; but I can imagine circumstances of terrorism or something like it arising in this country in which one might be prepared to use against offenders measures that one would not use in normal circumstances. Only such a situation would afford an analogy.
The amendment is not an amendment to a permanent law in Palestine, a law which is to prevail in all circumstances whether normal or abnormal. It is an amendment to Emergency Regulations, and those Regulations will disappear when the emergency is over. I submit that it is quite proper in abnormal circumstances, when criminal acts by young people are on the increase, as they are to-day, that abnormal punishment should be meted out by the authorities in an attempt to restore normal conduct and normal conditions.
§ Mr. Silverman
Of course the right hon. Gentleman will realise that I fully agree with him in that. I think there is an abnormal situation, and that the Government are justified in using whatever measures are necessary to bring it to an end, but the question I had in mind was whether this particular remedy is not calculated to aggravate the trouble instead of curing it.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
That a supplementary sum, not exceeding £3,044,710, be granted to His Majesty to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1939, for sundry Colonial and Middle Eastern Services under His Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies, including certain non-effective services and grants-in-aid.