HC Deb 07 June 1939 vol 348 cc437-99

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £ 122,923, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1940, for the salaries and expenses of the Department of His Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies." — (Note. — £ 61,000 has been voted on account.)

The Deputy-Chairman

I understand that there are three Votes and that it will be for the convenience of the Committee to discuss them together.

3.48 p.m.

The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Malcolm MacDonald)

Before we separated for the Whitsuntide Recess Mr. Speaker addressed to us some very effective words on the virtue of short speeches. We were unanimously agreed that he was as wise as he was witty, and I wish that I could express my personal appreciation of Mr. Speaker's sound judgment by speaking quite briefly this afternoon. But I am afraid that it would be impossible in a quarter of an hour to give anything but the scantiest sketch of the administration of our Colonial Empire, which is composed of some 50 different territories distributed all over the earth and inhabited by 60,000,000 people of different races and different civilisations. Therefore, I must ask the indulgence of the Committee if I trespass for a rather longer period on their time, and I hope the Committee will not grudge the time. For British democracy has no greater responsibility than the government of this vast non-self-governing Empire overseas.

We are accustomed to speak with pride of our capacity and our achievement in Imperial Government. Certainly, we have had a triumphant success in our rule of the Dominions. We guided their affairs until our government reached the glorious climax of being able to extinguish itself. The Dominions have each become nations on their own; their peoples are the undisputed masters of their own destinies, although they remain associated with us under the British Crown. Under our influence, the peoples of India and Burma have advanced far along the same constitutional road, and without doubt the evolution of the British Commonwealth of free nations is one of the happiest and wisest and most beneficent political achievements of all time.

Are we going to be equally justified in our government of the Colonial Empire? The task is one of a rather different quality. In some ways it is a mistake to speak of the Colonial Empire collectively, giving to a casual listener the impression that it is a collection of countries all of which have reached the same stage of development and all of which present a set of uniform problems. In fact, the Colonial Empire is filled with every kind of variety. Some of its territories shiver near the borders of the Antarctic, while others swelter on the very Equator itself. Some of its territories are mere strips of desert across which roam nomad tribesmen. Some of them are sparsely populated rocks or fleets of coral islands set in the middle of the ocean, while others are large expanses of rich tropical country inhabited by teeming populations. The peoples of these lands are as various as their situations. Some of them still remain close to utterly primitive ways of life, while others are the proud inheritors of ancient and noble cultures. In some territories peoples of different race and different civilisation meet and mix, and it is perhaps in those territories that our problems are most difficult. But in all of them, we are still to a greater or less degree the trustees, the guardians, the tutors, of these various peoples, and I repeat that the British people, who have thrust upon them so many great responsibilities in world affairs, have no more important responsibility than that of governing the Colonial Empire. It is a matter of which the whole of the people of this country should be conscious. The voters in this democracy are ultimately responsible for the good government of the Colonies.

The House of Commons, containing the representatives of the people, has a particular responsibility. I would like, if I may, as the Colonial Secretary who for the time being is closely in touch with the day-to-day administration of the Colonies, to pay a tribute not only to the constant interest but the great helpfulness of hon. Members in every part of the House in this great Imperial task. I have heard some people ask whether a democracy is capable of governing a vast overseas Empire. It seems to me that the critics of democracy are wrong in that respect, as they are in many others. Of course, it would be impossible for a committee of Parliament to conduct the day-to-day administration of the Colonies, but we have other methods peculiar to democracy by which hon. Members can keep a constant eye on our administration and by which they play a part in the making and guiding of policy. For instance, there is the device of interrogating the Executive, of questioning Ministers. I am in the dock here every Wednesday afternoon. I should like to say without hesitation that this Question Time is immensely valuable. The Colonial Empire is large. It is not possible for a Secretary of State to have his eye fixed upon every part of it all the time. Moreover hon. Members will agree that the Secretary of State himself is fallible, and it is not once or twice, but on various occasions, that I have had my attention drawn to mistakes that we were making, or were on the point of making, in this "or that part of the Colonial Empire, first by a question put down in the House. That applies to questions put down both by hon. Members on the Opposition Benches and hon. Members on this side of the House. I believe that hon. Members in all parties share equally in the desire that the British people's reputation as Colonial administrators should stand high. I believe that in Colonial policy there is on most things agreement in principle between us, and that the field of Colonial policy is generally one on which a spirit of genuine co-operation should animate our labours.

Although the ultimate responsibility for Colonial policy rests with us in London, a great deal of discretion and a great deal of responsibility must necessarily rest with our administrators overseas, with the men on the spot, with those who are our chief advisers on local affairs and who have to deal with situations in the Colonies as they arise. The longer I stay at the Colonial Office, the more impressed I am with the fact that success, or lack of success, depends in a very large degree on the quality of our Governors and our Colonial Secretaries, our District Officers, and all the members of our Colonial Service in the Colonies themselves. We have good men at present, and one of the things which gives me most satisfaction, as I sit in the Colonial Office, is to see the constant stream of able and keen young men who are now being recruited into our Colonial Service. I am confident that they will maintain the highest traditions of Colonial administration.

There is another point of a general nature concerning administration. It is highly desirable that there should be regular contact between the men on the spot and the problems on the spot, and members of our Colonial Office at home, and during the last year we have expanded a great deal the policy of officers from the Colonial Office visiting various parts of the Colonial Empire. But, in addition to these tours by numerous of my advisers, the past 12 months have been noteworthy for the completion of three other journeys which are producing results of especial value. First, Lord Hailey and those who have been cooperating with him have completed their unique and immense work in compiling "An African Survey." The problems presented by the meeting of different races and different civilisations in Africa are as important as any human problems that exist to-day. If we start now on wrong solutions to these problems we are setting our feet on a road which will lead inevitably to a whole continent of un-happiness. If we start now on right solutions to the problems we shall gain more and more, as time goes on, the priceless boon of good relations between the black and the white races of mankind. Lord Hailey's "African Survey" throws a flood of light on these problems. The numerous proposals and suggestions are being actively considered, some of them are already being acted upon, by our African Governments, and here in London we are concerning ourselves particularly with an examination of the ways by which his main proposal for the developing and co-ordinating of research might be carried out.

Mr. Maxton

Will the whole content of the Hailey Report, which I understand was not the work of the Colonial Office, be a subject for discussion on this Supply Vote? I am not putting a point of Order. I do not pretend to be word perfect, but I have made a considerable study of the report and I should like to give the Committee the benefit of that study.

The Chairman

Only that part of the report which comes under this particular Vote would be in order. I admit that I have not read the report myself.

Mr. MacDonald

I am sorry if I tended to lead Members astray, but I felt that it was not only appropriate but proper that the Secretary of State should take this opportunity of expressing our deep appreciation of the work of Lord Hailey and his colleagues. [An HON. MEMBER: "And those who sent them out."] We have already expressed to those who provided the wherewithal for this immensely valuable piece of work our deep appreciation of their great contribution. The second journey which has been completed this year, and which is of great importance, is that of the Royal Commission which, under Lord Bledisloe's chairmanship, and with Members of this House upon it, visited the Rhodesias and Nyasaland. They have completed a valuable study of the situation in the three territories, and they have made a series of recommendations which would affect vitally the future of those countries. I am not yet in a position to state the attitude of the Government towards those recommendations. In the first place, I have been anxious to get from the Governors of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland a report on the views of the administrations and the peoples of their territories on the recommendations which have been made, and I expect this report from the Governors in the comparatively near future. In the second place, we are expecting that Mr. Huggins, the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, will pay a visit to London in the near future when we shall discuss with him also the large questions that are involved.

The third journey of conspicuous importance which has been made this year is that of the Royal Commission which visited the West Indies under the chairmanship of Lord Moyne. The members of the Commission have now returned

from their wide tour through the Spanish Main, but they are still hearing evidence in London, and we look forward to receiving their report later in the year. Members of this House also served upon that Royal Commission. I am certain the Committee would wish me to say that it was with deep sorrow that all of us heard that one of our own colleagues, the late Mr. Morgan Jones, who took a very keen part in the Debate last year, died in the midst of his tireless and valuable services as a member of that Commission.

I myself have added to the literature which Members receive on these subjects by following my predecessor's excellent initiative and publishing a statement on the affairs of the Colonial Empire during the past year. Perhaps, as the author of this new book, I might say I am not entirely satisfied as to its form. It is a little bit awkward, for instance, that we should deal with some matters under the headings of subjects and others under the heading of territories, but it is a little difficult to see what alternative plan we can adopt. However, the statement is intended primarily as an aid to Members of Parliament, and they will be the best judges of the ways in which the statement might be made more useful to them. I shall welcome criticisms or suggestions about the form or the matter of this statement and if Members will let me have their suggestions, as they say in the B.B.C., at the Colonial Office, Downing Street, S.W.I, I will give very careful consideration to them in connection with the preparation of the statement next year.

I have spoken of the variety of the Colonies and Protectorates, and the diversity of their people, and of the many different stages of their development. But it is a mistake to under-estimate the variety of our problems in the Colonial Empire, it is also a mistake not to realise that our chief objectives in the economic, social and political sphere in all those territories should be common in all of them. The Colonial Empire is a maze amidst the intricacies of which our policy might often get sidetracked and lost if there were not certain principles of policy, certain large objectives, which should be common to our administration in every one of the territories concerned. Those principles and objectives are, so to speak, the pole stars which give us our direction. First I would lay down the major governing principle. Our primary object in the Colonies is not the advancement of the selfish interests of the people of these islands. It is the genuine advancement of the best interests of the people of the Colonies themselves. It has often been said that our chief concern in the Colonies is to exploit them for our own purposes. Of course, we have a mixture of motives in dealing with the Colonies and I am not going to be a humbug. I am not going to deny that we derive immense benefits from our association with these territories. But if it ever was our main purpose simply to exploit them and their peoples for our own purposes, it has long ceased to be so. Our chief anxiety is that, under our rule and with the aid of our unrivalled experience in government, the peoples of the Colonial Empire, whilst preserving all that is best in their own hallowed customs and their own ancient civilisations, should share in the benefits to be derived from modern scientific discoveries and from social progress and modern political thought, so that they can become full citizens of the modern world. That is the moral basis on which our presence in the Colonies must rest.

When I speak of the peoples of the Colonies I mean all the inhabitants of those territories, not only the more or less indigenous populations, but also the immigrant peoples in this or that territory, whether Indians, or Arabs, or Africans or European settlers who have come into them in more recent times. It is not always easy to reconcile the interests of different races in the same territory but I believe it is possible, with tolerance and understanding, to do so. It is a tall order to bring to the various peoples of these 50 different countries the great benefits to be gained from modern scientific discoveries and social progress and political ideals. I think already we have accomplished a considerable amount.

The conspicuous loyalty of the people of the Colonies to the British connection is an eloquent testimony to their own sense of comfort in their association with us, but there is no room for complacency about our achievements. Far from it. We have still a very long way to go, if we are to attain our objectives. Indeed, in some cases we have not achieved all that we might have achieved. We have to be more conscious than ever before of our duty to the Colonies. We have to press ahead at a quickening pace with the work, for instance, of giving them adequate social services. I could give many illustrations showing how active we are in that work at the present time. For example, there was my predecessor's appointment of an experienced, able and enlightened labour adviser to the Secretary of State This year we have established in the Colonial Office a separate Social Services Department. In all Colonies, the extension of these social services is going ahead, and the Government of Trinidad and Northern Rhodesia have given examples of the spirit which animates Colonial Governments to-day by working out and getting accepted by their legislatures "five-year plans" of social and economic development.

Let us recognise, since we are responsible for this work, that social betterment in the Colonies is hampered by certain difficulties. Chief among them is the fact that our ability to improve conditions in the Colonies must depend largely on the economic and financial capacity of a Colony to expand and develop social services. There are some Colonies which are comparatively rich, countries which are the happy possessors of mineral wealth, like gold, or tin, or copper, or diamonds. Their revenues are swollen by the profitable exploitation of these highly-prized minerals. But most of the Colonies do not belong to that category. Most of them are producers, wholly, or almost wholly, of agricultural goods. Their economic strength is dependent— I think in many cases too dependent— on the export of a comparatively small number of primary goods. Hon. Members are aware of what has been the fate of these agricultural exports in recent years. In some cases owing to the world supply exceeding the effective world demand, prices have fallen to a very low level. In other cases, the prices of these commodities have only been maintained at reasonable levels by severe restriction of production. In either event the revenue which the Colonial Governments get from their own principal resources, is severely restricted and their power to improve health, education and other social services is, by so much, limited.

This Statement emphasises that the past year has again been a period of comparatively low agricultural prices, and in some of the Colonies we have only been able to maintain and develop the social services by drawing on our reserves. Therefore, one of the fundamental requirements for the general progress and happiness of the peoples of the Colonial Empire, is a constant buttressing and strengthening of those agricultural industries which provide the bulk of colonial exports. Their crops should be rendered as immune as possible from the assaults of those various plagues and diseases which can devastate them. Methods of cultivation should be as up-to-date as possible, so that the quality of colonial produce can compare with that from any other part of the world. Organisation of production and marketing in the Colonies should be efficient, so that the colonial producers do not lose any advantage on that score. This Statement indicates the immense amount of work which our agricultural officers and others are doing in all these fields.

In this brief review I can only pick an example here and there of the kind of work which is being done. Let me give an example from the field of research. Here the agricultural scientist is performing miracles. To take a case from Trinidad, a great many people in Trinidad and many producers are dependent on the production of cocoa. But the fell disease called witch broom has come to threaten the cocoa industry in that island. Therefore, this year an expedition went to South America to search for a strain of cocoa which might have natural powers of resistance to this disease. In the upper reaches of the Amazon River they discovered plants which seemed to be immune. The seeds were collected and packed into an aeroplane by which they were flown to the West Indies. Satisfactory germination of the seeds was secured, and we now hope that by means of the plants which will be raised, the cocoa industry in Trinidad can be saved from its latest enemy.

So it is, all over the Colonial Empire. The agricultural scientists, like some glorified general staff, are constantly mobilising defence forces against agricultural pests and diseases and despatching them to the centres where those enemies are launching their attacks. Thus, for instance, it is recorded in this Statement that predators have been transported from Fiji to Jamaica to control the banana weevil which was attacking the banana trees there. Other appropriate predatory insects have been sent from Uganda to Kenya to defend the coffee plants from destruction by mealy bugs. Fly parasites which have been protecting the sugar cane in the West Indies from stem borers are now making a voyage to Mauritius to protect the sugar cane there from the same deadly peril, and suitable insects of prey have been deported from the East Coast of Africa to the Seychelles, in order that they may destroy the enemies of the coconut trees. We are spending considerable sums so that the best brains in agricultural science shall be at the disposal of the Colonial producers and they are daily fortifying those export industries which provide the wherewithal for the social services in the Colonies.

Mr. Noel-Baker

The right hon. Gentleman refers to "considerable sums." Can he say how much we are spending?

Mr. MacDonald

I have not the figure here, but in the last year the Colonial Development Fund, for instance, has provided between £ 100,000 and £ 200,000 for various projects of agricultural research.

Captain Arthur Evans

Before my right hon. Friend leaves this part of the subject, can he say what progress is being made in Jamaica in dealing with the leaf spot disease and Panama disease in the banana industry?

Mr. MacDonald

We have recently reached the conclusion, on the best advice, that the leaf spot disease can be rooted out by a general spraying of the trees, and we have recently made arrangements with the Jamaican Government by which the sum of money which they require—I think about £ 250,000—shall be raised in order that that activity may be carried out intensively.

To return to the main thread of my argument, despite the essential value of these export industries in the economy of the Colonies, I think that in some cases almost too much importance has been attached to them. The labouring population of the Colonies has been engaged in growing sugar, or coconuts, or bananas or other produce for export. They have not given enough of their time to growing food for consumption in their own home market. With the money earned from their labour in growing export crops they have bought their food from merchants— tinned vegetables, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned fruit. That is not a sound policy. For one thing these tinned fruit stuffs have not the nutritional value of fresh food.

There is another evil consequence. In periods when the export crop is meeting with hard competition from the rest of the world and prices fall, then the incomes of the working people in the Colonies become more scanty and their purchasing power is reduced. Either they are not able to buy as much food as they could buy previously, or else they are thrown out of work and they have very few resources to fall back upon. I am certain that one of the things which we have to do in various Colonies is to make the people somewhat less dependent on the return from export crops. We should encourage them to grow more of their own foodstuffs and to produce more nourishing varieties of local foodstuffs for their own consumption, so that they can have fresh vegetables, fresh meat, fresh milk and fresh fruit. In pursuing this policy certain peculiar difficulties will have to be faced and overcome. For instance, in Africa progress is sometimes held up by ancient native systems of land tenure or by the natives' attachment to cattle as the measure of a man's wealth, so that if, in some places, a native eats beef, it is as though a man in this country were to start eating pound notes. Nevertheless, again in this Survey hon. Members will find here and there indications that we are pursuing seriously the policy of making colonial inhabitants more self-sufficient as regards their foodstuffs.

Dr. Haden Guest

Can the right hon. Gentleman say anything about the regulation of prices of the export commodities to which he has referred?

Mr. MacDonald

If I were to deal with the vast number of questions which are apposite to this discussion, I should never sit down, and hon. Members would never have a chance to rise.

Dr. Guest

I thought it was fundamental.

Mr. MacDonald

All these matters are dealt with in this Survey, and a great deal is said about the regulation of schemes for rubber, tea, sugar, and so on, and I have had to select and to recognise that I might leave out some very important sub- jects from my opening statement, but I am prepared to deal with other questions that hon. Members may wish to raise when, if the Committee wishes me to do so, I rise to reply at the end of the Debate. I was speaking about our policy of encouraging the people of the Colonies to grow more of their own foodstuffs for local consumption. By far the most ambitious experiment which we are trying in that direction is in Jamaica. Since I announced the project in the Debate which we had in this House 12 months ago, the Jamaican Government have been able to raise approximately £ 700,000 by way of loan for the financing of a great extension of land settlement in the island. A new Land Settlement Department has been created to administer the scheme. Some nine properties, covering more than 12,000 acres, have already been approved for acquisition, and another 10 properties are at present under examination. So far 664 families, which include 3,320 people, have been settled under the scheme, but admittedly the slowest moment in the progress of such a scheme comes in the initial stages, and I am confident that the substantial beginning in the first 12 months will be multiplied as the next few years go on.

Mr. Riley

The right hon. Gentleman said that 3,300 people had been settled under the scheme. Have they been settled on land acquired since June of last year, on land now in the possession of the Land Commission authorities?

Mr. MacDonald

They have been settled on land which is in the possession of Government authorities for the purpose of land settlement. Whether they have been settled actually on land which has been acquired since 12 months ago, I am not certain. I think that is so, on my present information, but I am expecting a full report from the Governor in the very near future, and, as hon. Members know, I have promised to lay that report with the full details and to put it in the Library of the House as soon as I receive it.

Let me turn to a brief review of some of the other social services which are being steadily developed, mainly out of local resources, but sometimes with help from other sources like the invaluable Colonial Development Fund. First, there are the health services. Just as the agricultural scientists are waging a ceaseless campaign against the pests and diseases which afflict agricultural produce, so the medical scientists throughout the Colonial Empire are waging a similar campaign against the pests and diseases which afflict mankind. We have been greatly concerned in Europe of late about aggression; we have been concerned to create some organisation which might resist aggression. We have been doing the same in Africa, but the most potent aggressors in Africa are not men, but insects. Man's powers of aggression are puny compared with the powers of conquest of an insect like the tsetse fly. This little creature can descend suddenly on the cattle and the men of a settled district and make life so intolerable for them that in desperation they move to other lands, and so before long scores of square miles of territory which was cleared and settled and comparatively prosperous returns to waste and bush, where practical sovereignty belongs to the tsetse fly. Our medical scientists have been counter-attacking for years past, and are reconquering those territories which have been taken by this insect. But it is not only in the case of sleeping sickness that our medical scientists are gradually reducing the ravages of human diseases. They are doing the same with yellow fever, with leprosy, with yaws, with malaria, with tuberculosis, and with other diseases.

In other ways, too, we are seeking to build up the health of our fellow-citizens in the Colonies. For instance, sometimes a cause of illness lies in malnutrition, and as often as not it is due not to inadequate food but to the wrong kind of food. The quantity of food may be adequate to support and develop the human frame, but the quality of the food may be wrong, and that is one reason why we are urging in the Colonies that the inhabitants should grow a greater variety of fresh foodstuffs for their own consumption. And we are seeking information on the best types of foodstuffs which are required in different conditions in the various territories. We have started this year a series of field surveys on the question of diet in relation to health. We have made a beginning recently in Nyasaland, and the team of experts who are conducting this survey will continue their investigations in other territories later on.

Mr. Bracken

Has my right hon. Friend observed that in this interesting report, on page 16, it is stated that in the most interesting experiment at Kampala railway station, it was actually discovered that if they gave the natives a square meal, they did better work?

Mr. MacDonald

All that I have been referring to so far have been scientific surveys on the question of diet, but my hon. Friend has reminded us that we are carrying out certain practical experiments in different parts of the Colonial Empire on various subjects. For instance, we are doing a good deal of nutrition work with regard to food for school children. In Nairobi the Government are giving about 1,000 African school children extra supplies of milk, and in many parts of the Colonial Empire the local Governments are giving supplementary food to children at school. In Ceylon the Government are spending as much as 1,000,000 rupees a year on feeding school children. Our experiments are not confined to school children; we have started experiments with adults. My hon. Friend has been impressed by one of the experiments which has been carried out, where we chose some 200 workmen on the building works at Kampala station in Uganda, men who were drawn from a tribe which was notorious for their poor physique and inefficient work. I hope that the experiment, which we did conduct, of giving these men a full diet, including meat, will have proved to all and sundry that if these men are given that type of diet, which is unusual very often with natives because of the fact to which I have already referred, these people can be turned into as good workpeople as exist anywhere in East Africa. In some cases it is proving an immensely beneficial work.

Mr. Charles Brown

Surely the right hon. Gentleman did not need all that money to be spent on specialists to make that discovery?

Mr. MacDonald

If the hon. Member had listened carefully to what I have said, he would have realised that one of the difficulties that we are up against in Africa is the view which many African natives hold with regard to cattle, and their reluctance to include meat in their diet. [An HON. MEMBER: "And they are quite right."] I am afraid I cannot hope to satisfy everyone. But this sort of experiment has an immense value, not only for those capitalist employers whom hon. Members opposite have in mind, but on these vast native populations themselves. It is part of our native education policy.

There is another highly desirable condition which in the Colonies no less than in this country must have a beneficial effect on the health and happiness of the population, and that is good housing. More and more of the authorities in the Colonies are bending their energies to the provision of proper dwellings for their. people, both in the towns and in the country. We are doing this none too early. In many places we have a great deal of leeway to make up. In this country there was a bad chapter in our social history when mining and other industries were developing, when large populations were moving into new cities or towns or mining villages, and when the authorities concerned were apparently indifferent to the kind of wretched housing conditions which were created to receive those incoming populations. I am afraid that that chapter has been rewritten in the Colonial Empire. There are slums in colonial capitals, there are too many hovels in the mining centres, and in the native reserves the mud huts, like ye olde English cottages, do not come up to the modern standards of roominess and sanitation.

But, again, scattered through this statement, are many indications of considerable housing activities on the part of local Governments. For example it is reported that in Nigeria there has been a considerable improvement in the housing of employés on the plantations in the last 12 months; new legislation has been passed to control and ensure better standards of sanitation and building in the mining areas of the Gold Coast; slum clearance is proceeding in Accra and Sekondi; in Uganda the more sophisticated peasants are abandoning mud and wattle huts for rectangular houses with two, three, four, or even more rooms. In Trinidad the five-year development plan makes provision for the replacing of bad housing conditions by good housing conditions; some of the worst slums are coming down in Jamaica, and similar reports come from other Colonies.

In certain other ways, also, the Colonies are coming abreast of the times. For instance, labour in the Colonies is becoming more articulate. Labour leaders are demanding for their followers the best conditions of work and wages that the local industries can afford. The situation is sometimes delicate. No doubt that is natural in Colonies which are often far removed from the centres of modern industrial practice and thought. On the one hand, employers are sometimes too conservative in retaining old notions; on the other hand, labour leaders and their followers are often comparatively inexperienced. In that situation the local Governments can do a good deal by intervention to adjust the relations between capital and labour and to bring improvements in the conditions and the pay of working people.

I have only time to refer briefly to the creation of new Labour Departments in Colonies where they did not exist before; to the steady expansion of Labour Departments in Colonies where they do already exist; to the success which in many cases, but unfortunately not in all, has attended labour officers in their conciliation efforts between employers and employed in different Colonies during the last 12 months; to new legislation regularising the establishment of trade unions which has been introduced into some Colonies; and to other legislation establishing conciliation boards or Arbitration machinery. I am certain that the extension of Government activity in this field will result in the avoidance of many industrial clashes during this critical time in the development of the Colonies and will be of great help in bringing improvements in labour conditions in the Colonies.

But our desire to do our best to help the peoples of the Colonies is not one which leads us to be concerned merely with their material advancement. We are anxious that they— just as we are anxious that we ourselves— should develop the mental and intellectual capacity to take part fully in the work and enjoyment of modern life. We seek to develop a sound education system in each one of the Colonies. Here, again, we have to admit that our effort is limited by the financial capacities of the Colonies to pay. Nevertheless, if the progress is sometimes slow it is steady. Once again I can select only one of a number of developments last year, but it illustrates brilliantly our main objective. I choose the foundation of the new college buildings at Makerere in Uganda. Generous financial contributions from the Governments of Uganda, Tanganyika and Kenya, with others from this country and African native sources, have made possible the project of establishing a university college which shall ultimately become a university in East Africa. I have heard whispers of criticisms that it is a mistake to spend a large sum of money on higher education in an area where there is still so much to be done in the development of primary and secondary education, but I do not agree that the policy is unsound.

We are deliberately pursuing this ambitious project partly because it itself will provide the best means of improving the quality and expanding the scope of elementary education in East Africa. What we need is a much greater supply of trained African teachers and they will come from Makerere College and will spread far and wide the benefits of education. It is fundamental that the most appropriate and the surest instruments in the long run for accomplishing the steady advancement of the African people will be educated and responsible African leaders themselves. Indeed, I think that the main objective of our Government in all the Colonies is to train the people of the Colonies to stand always a little more securely on their own feet. The pace of progress must differ from place to place. In some territories it will be a very slow progress of evolution. It is a mistake to endeavour to achieve so important and grand an objective too hastily, but the forward movement must be persistent and we are pursuing it faithfully. Under our guidance in every part of the Colonial Empire the local populations are producing more and more of their own doctors and nurses, their own schoolteachers and agricultural officers, their own civil servants and lawyers, their own leaders in every walk of life. More and more, also, they are producing their own legislators and their own executive officers and that ultimately is the crux of the whole matter.

It is our aim that at length not only in the professions but also in government, the peoples of the Colonies should be able to manage their own affairs, and the past year has seen constitutional changes in a number of territories. For example, in Ceylon they are at the present moment discussing in the State Council some very far-reaching proposals for constitutional reform. In Malta a measure of constitutional advance has been inaugurated. In Tanganyika we are adding unofficial members to the Executive Council.

Mr. Riley


Mr. MacDonald

The decision was taken only in the last few weeks and I have not reached a conclusion in my consultations with the Governor as to the type of representatives to be included on the Council, but we shall be reaching a conclusion on this point in the comparatively near future. In Mauritius we have nominated this year Indian representatives of the small planters to sit on the Council of Government. If it is natives that the House is interested in, then throughout Africa we are encouraging native self-government under the principles of indirect rule, and this report indicates that the number of native treasuries in native territories is being constantly increased. In the Colonies no less than in other parts of the Empire what we desire to teach men gradually is the wise exercise and enjoyment of freedom. That freedom which we prize so highly ourselves we seek to spread among His Britannic Majesty's subjects in whatever part of this vast Colonial Empire they live, and as long as our administration is conducted in that spirit, our work will be justified and it will prosper throughout the Colonial Empire.

4.55 p.m.

Mr. Paling

The Colonial Secretary, like most of his predecessors, has painted a very rosy picture of the Colonies. He has taken us from the Arctic Circle to the Equator, and spoken of coral islands, deserts, rich country and all the rest of it, and if one did not know the other side of the picture one would believe that all is right with the Colonial Empire and there is not really much to grumble about. It was the kind of speech that might have been made to the British Empire Society, where the impression is always given that ours is the best Colonial Empire in the world that ever existed or could exist, and where they nearly always forget the other side of the picture. I am sorry to say there is another side to the picture, and I propose to speak about a few of the things that are wrong, some of them very wrong, in the Colonies. I think we should be mistaken in our conception of our duty to the Colonies if we contented ourselves every time this question comes up— which is only once a year, not so often as it might— with saying all the nice things we possibly can say about them. It is not only the Secretary of State for the Colonies who can say nice things. I could if I tried, but it would be presenting a lop-sided picture and would not actually represent the facts.

I congratulate the Minister on the presentation of his second report. It is well done in so far as it says anything, but it is lop-sided. If one read that and nothing else one would get the same impression from it as one gets from most of the annual reports printed by our Colonies, that everything is all right. We cannot get to know of the things that are wrong either from the annual reports or from the Colonial Secretary's review. We never hear until something goes wrong in one of the Colonies and there is a "bust up," or until there are strikes and riots and the police are called in. Then suddenly the Colonial Office wake up and admit more or less reluctantly in the House of Commons that there is some truth in the matter. The Government then appoint a Commission to go out and report, and the Government generally promise to do something, and nearly always forget to do it. It is time we finished with that kind of thing.

We have had criticism from all quarters of the world about things that are wrong in the Colonies which we ought to put right. The Minister said he would like recommendations for improvements, and I hope that he will talk about some of them in his future reports, if he is still in office though I hope that he is going to be replaced, before we have finished, by somebody from this side of the House. Still, if he is there I hope he will try to give us a more accurate picture of some of the deficiencies that exist in the Colonies. He said among other things: The experiment of keeping Colonies and governing them well ought at least to have a trial. That was a statement made in Lord Durham's Report a century ago. We have had a hundred years of experience. It is true that some of the Colonies have since become Dominions, but they were the countries inhabited by white people with as good an apprehension of events as ourselves. There are other Colonies inhabited by coloured people where we have had experience over a long period — in some cases 100 years and in other cases either over 100 years or under 100 years. For instance, there is St. Helena; we cannot say that our experience there has been really a good one and that we have done well. Would the Minister say that in St. Helena, where we have been for well over 100 years, everything is well and that we have made a success of things? He knows that we have not.

Mr. Bracken

Is the hon. Member aware that the Bishop of St. Helena is taking up a collection for St. Helena at the present time?

Mr. Paling

No, I was not aware of that. I have no doubt that will be a great help. I asked a question this afternoon about small holdings in St. Helena and the answer the Minister gave was almost ridiculous. It is true we are doing something. We are building two houses, I believe, in one case, and four in another.

Mr. MacDonald

The hon. Member will appreciate, on reading the answer, that I point out that this is an interim programme pending consideration of a larger programme which is at present in the offing and is receiving active consideration.

Mr. Paling

If this represents the best that is going to be done for dealing with the situation, we shall not be much better off six or even ten years hence. It needs much more to be done than is indicated in the answer to the question this afternoon. I would like to ask how much of the poverty and the unemployment that exist in St. Helena to-day is due to the fact that most of the cultivable land on the highlands is in the ownership of three people. How much of the relatively high prices of some of the foodstuffs that these people have to buy is due to the fact that all the import of food is in the hands of two people? How much of the situation is due to the fact that these three people— coupling those who hold the land and those who import the food — are members of the executive council nominated by the Governor? All this has some relation, and if we are to attend to this business seriously we must begin at the bottom and alter it fundamentally. The Colonial Secretary goes on to say in his review for the year April, 1938 to 1939: We have done our best to govern the territories for which we are responsible well. It is true there have been most serious disturbances in Palestine, and local trouble in several of the West Indian Colonies; but if all the populations of all the territories in which disturbances have occurred are added together they amount to some 3,000,000, and the other colonial dependencies, in which public security has been undisturbed, embrace a total population of 56,000,000 souls. It is very comforting if you look at it like that. In all the places where disturbances have occurred, the people are most advanced, for instance in the West Indies. Although disturbances have occurred there, it is fair to say that conditions there are better than they are in the places where the 56,000,000 people live. If disturbances have occurred in those places where the people are most advanced and have better conditions, what is going to be the nature of the disturbances among the 56,000,000 people when they are sufficiently advanced to realise the appalling conditions under which they have to live? A lot of us have been asking questions upon this business in the last 12 months. I quite agree that in some particulars, with regard to the appointment of labour advisers and dealing with labour inspectorates, something has been done in some Colonies. But the amount that has been done in relation to what remains to be done is positively insignificant. If we move at this pace we will in a thousand years do practically nothing which will be worth while.

I hope that the Colonial Secretary, who is a young man and knows about these things, is going to hurry this business up and assert himself, and demand that these things are done for the mitigation of the troubles under which these people suffer. On the question of wages, it is not accurate to say that wages do not play a very big part in the Colonies, particularly in Africa. But it is true to say that there are a tremendous number of people who are compelled to earn wages in the Colonies, particularly in West and East Africa, and that number is growing year by year. It is true to say that thousands of those people have been more or less forced off their lands. Hundreds of square miles have been taken. They have been pushed back and they have had heavy taxation imposed upon them and have no other opportunities of paying their taxation except by going out for wages. Wages are becoming very important. The Colonial Secretary said something to the effect that if ever there had been exploitation in the Colonial Empire it had passed. I do not know what he means by saying a thing like that. Whether Great Britain exploits the Empire or not it is true that Britishers do. They are exploiting the natives as badly as ever the people of this country were exploited, and that will continue.

Sir Edward Grigg


Mr. Paling

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will have an opportunity of making a speech later, but I hope to produce strong arguments in support of what I say. Here are the wages. Take those in Tanganyika. I might say that if the Colonial Secretary wants an example of what a report should be he might tell the other Colonies to copy the example of Tanganyika. Tanganyika does not tell us all that I would like to know but it tells infinitely more than the other people. As a matter of fact the reports are important not for what they tell us but for what they hide. Perhaps that is due to the fact that Tanganyika is a mandated territory and this report has to go to Geneva and is not only subject to examination and scrutiny by people in this country, but also to that of an outside controlling body. The wages for unskilled labour are 5s. to 10s. per month of 30 working days. Is that exploitation?

Captain Alan Graham

Surely the hon. Member should at least offer figures in relation to the cost of living in those parts?

Mr. Paling

I will do anything I can to oblige hon. Members opposite. Our case is so well founded that we can afford to answer any question that is asked. The diet of which the Colonial Secretary spoke as being necessary is almost impossible for these people, small and cheap to buy as it is. They have to pay pretty heavy taxation and some have to contribute to their native treasuries for such things as education. It is quite true that some get more than 5s. or 10s., but most of the people are unskilled and come within that category. I suggest that there is very great room for improvement in that direction. As I stated, Tanganyika has to submit a report to the Permanent Mandates Commission, which made some criticisms in 1936. It says in paragraph 6, in observations on the administration of Tanganyika in 1936: The Permanent Mandates Commission express a hope that they will find in the next annual report particulars of the wage policy adopted by the Mandatory Power. I would like to find the same thing. There is no wage policy. It is left to the employers to pay what they like. There are no trade unions or organisations and there is no way of forcing the payment of anything better, in spite of the demand for labour. We are told all the way through the reports that the demand for labour is growing and that there is a labour shortage, but that does not appear to have sent wages up in this case. It appears to prove that the best and shortest way to send up wages is to get people organised into trade unions, but none exists. The Commission in paragraph 107 of this report advise that minimum wage-fixing machinery should be established by law and that provision should be made in the relevant legislation for any order to fix the minimum wage to receive the approval of the legislature before it is put into effect. This recommendation, together with the others made by that Commission, is said to be under consideration. The report continues: Pending the introduction of any legislation the Government is not in a position to intervene in connection with wages, nor indeed is there any present necessity for it to do so, since, generally speaking, the African is not economically dependent on wage earnings, as are most members of an industrial community. I hope that the Colonial Secretary will press the necessity of having a wage policy at the earliest possible moment and of putting into operation minimum wage legislation. I take Uganda, which is regarded as a fairly progressive Colony, but wages there are equally bad. In the report it says: The average monthly wages varied considerably in different localities and there is no standard scale applicable to all industries or even to casual labour. In the cotton industry skilled labourers were paid from 8s. to 11s. without rations and from 7s. to 10s. with rations. So the value of the rations is 1s. per month.

Captain A. Graham

Surely the hon. Member must take into consideration the fact that in many of these places it is impossible for a native to spend any money. The position is exactly the same as in the Middle Ages in this country, when wages in kind were of much greater value than wages in cash.

Mr. Paling

If a man is paid 8s. per month and works for 300 days out of 365 and has heavy taxation to pay including, perhaps, for more than one wife, it takes a pretty big piece out of his wages. He still has left his family in the background. The hon. Member says they cannot spend money, but when I was in Tanganyika in 1928 I found that a savings bank had been formed for the natives to put their money in.

The recommendation said there was no doubt that those wages were too low and that industries which could not afford to pay better wages were on an insecure foundation and were not likely to endure. They said that hours of work varied according to occupation. Government employés, industrial labourers and employés of the building trades worked, on an average, from 46 to 48 hours a week, employés in mines 54 hours, and employé's in ginneries, from four to seven months yearly, 60 hours. Agricultural labourers were normally engaged on piece work, which occupied them from 36 to 42 hours a week. There are many people employed in the ginneries, and I asked the Secretary of State this question about them this afternoon: "Whether he has considered a recently published report on the labour situation in Uganda, in which it is stated that long hours are worked in the case of small ginneries; that among 95 ginneries, 31 had 10-hour shifts, 39 had 11-hour shifts, and 6 had 12-hour shifts; and what steps he proposes to take to remedy this state of affairs. The Secretary of State tells me that he is prepared to enter into negotiation about the matter. I believe that the wages in these ginneries are very low indeed.

I ask the Colonial Secretary whether he is satisfied with this kind of thing. He talked, in his general review, of cooperating with people out there. Cooperating with whom? Does he mean the employers? They are the people who, in the main, are responsible for this state of affairs. Does he intend to cooperate with the natives or with the exploiters of the people who are earning these shockingly small wages, working these long hours and living on diets to which the right hon. Gentleman himself has already alluded? Many suggestions have been made in the course of years by the Colonial Office to the various Governors of the Colonies, and if carried out they might have helped and bettered things, but scores of them have been more or less ignored, and nothing has been done. The right hon. Gentleman talks, and with some truth, about having improved things here and there, but the amount that has been done is fantastically small and the amount that remains to be done is enormously large. I hope he will give his attention to it.

I come to the question of compulsory labour in Tanganyika. In the year 1937 there were 2,622 porters compulsorily requisitioned, and 32,056 others, making a total of nearly 350,000 man-days worked under compulsory labour. Only Africans are subject to it, not whites. This should be done away with, and I hope that one result of the Commission's report may be the abolition of this system. There is the question, too, of contract labour. There were 22,000 people in Tanganyika under contract labour, and most of them were recruits. Recruiting is itself an evil. These people have to work according to the terms of their contract, and I will give particulars of what the contract is like and what the labourers have to put up with. I would like hon. Members to ask themselves whether they think this kind of thing ought to obtain for a moment longer in our Colonies. Here are the terms of the contract in use in Kenya: An Ordinance to Regulate the Employment of Servants. "Servants" includes labourers, skilled and unskilled. Any servant may be fined a sum not exceeding one-half of his monthly wages, and in default may be imprisoned for a period not exceeding one month, if he is convicted of any of the following acts. Let hon. Members listen to the enormity of the acts which are made penal offences: If, after having entered into a contract, he fails or refuses without lawful cause to commence the service at the stipulated times. In other words, if he is late for work he is guilty of a penal offence and you take half his monthly wages or he can be put into gaol. Does any hon. Gentleman think that that sort of thing ought to go on for a single moment longer? The ordinance continues: If, without leave or other lawful cause, he absents himself"— from the performance of his work or— if during working hours he unfits himself for the proper performance of his work by becoming or being intoxicated; If he neglects to perform any work which it was his duty to have performed or if he carelessly or improperly performs any work which, from its nature, it was his duty under his contract to have performed carefully and properly"— and so on. There is a lot of these penal clauses under which half the man's wages are deducted or he is sent to prison. The Colonial Secretary gave his consent to that Bill not many months ago. I draw his attention to that side of the matter in order that he may remember it before he makes his next Colonial speech.

With regard to the Ottawa Agreements, there were certain restrictions imposed on the trade of other countries as a result of those Agreements and that was a new policy in the Colonies. I think they had always been open to other countries up to that time and even now under the mandate system these territories have to remain open to the trade of the world. I suppose that one of the main ideas behind this was that we would get more of the trade of the world between this country and the Colonies concerned. That may have been all right, but I can suggest a much better way of doing it. This position has built up a case against us in the dictatorship countries. Would it not have been much better, if we had wanted to increase trade with the Colonies, and with these 56,000,000 to 60,000,000 people, if we had done our best to raise their wages and thereby give them something with which to buy from this country? That never seemed to have entered the mind of the Colonial Secretary or of the Government, or, if it did, they have refused to consider it. They have taken this other step, which has given rise to irritation.

What is to be our future policy in this business? It appears almost certain that wage-earning is on the increase and that there is a decrease in the number of Africans who depend upon peasant proprietorship and upon the cultivation of their land. Industrialism and urbanisation are going on, but nothing is being done about it. We are going on in the same way as we did in this country 150 years ago, and the results will probably be worse. We are having to spend millions of pounds every year now to pull down the slums that we created in this country and that ought never to have been here. In spite of this example before us we are deliberately allowing this thing to continue in our Colonies, with probably worse results there than in this country.

I have not time to deal with much more, but I will turn to education. Speaking at Grosvenor House a few days ago, at the banquet of the British Empire Society, the Colonial Secretary said that it was Britain's main purpose to enable her subjects throughout the Colonies and protectorates to partake in an ever larger measure of the benefits of modern education. I wish that were true, but the facts do not bear it out. My examination of the figures and of reports from various Colonies seems to bear out the truth of the statement of a West African writer not long ago that in some parts of West Africa, the Gold Coast for instance, the rate of progress in education is such that it would take 700 years before the whole of the population would be able even to read and write. He added that in some of these East African dependencies 700 years would be an optimistic figure. Is that what the Secretary of State means by making progress in modern education?

In Tanganyika there are 1,250,000 children of school age, and more than 1,000,000 of them attend no institution of any description. By far the larger proportion of them who attend school go to those provided by missionaries and not by the Government. The expenditure on general education is estimated in shillings per head of the population. In 1933 the expenditure on Europeans was 18.15 shillings and on natives 0.28. That is a comparison between 18s. 1½ d. in respect of Europeans and 3d. for the Africans.

Mr. T. Smith

Education, on the Woolworth basis.

Mr. Paling

The figure for the Africans is actually going down. The amount spent in 1937 on Europeans is given as 26.22s. and on Africans as .26. If I take the amounts which are spent on education altogether in the general revenue they appear to be worse than they were five or six years ago. In 1932 the amount spent on education was 5.72 per cent. of the revenue. In 1937 that percentage was 3.99. That shows the rate of progress in educating the Africans. Yet the Colonial Secretary comes here this afternoon and tells us by implication that we are doing great things. We are not. We have had some of these Colonies for 100 years and others for not so long as that, but we ought to have made much more progress. Other Powers have made more progress. I believe that in the Dutch East Indies the proportion of children educated is enormously greater than we have achieved in almost any of our non-self-governing colonies, African in particular. If the Dutch can do it, so ought we. We ought to be ashamed.

Let me go on to another point, and with it I will close. I have been asking questions in this House during the last few weeks about education in Kenya. It appears that school fees are charged to Africans attending any school which receives a grant from the Government. I put down a question on 10th May asking the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many native children in Kenya were attending grant-aided schools, and what fees were charged?

He replied: 124,005 African children attended grant-aided schools in Kenya in 1938. Elementary school fees are fixed on a district basis and are related to economic conditions. A typical scale is: for boys, 50 cents— that is sixpence— a term rising to three shillings a term in the fifth year; and for girls, free tuition on entry, rising to two shillings a term in the fifth year."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th May, 1939; col. 464, Vol. 347.] I asked how many children had been turned out of the elementary schools in Kenya because of inability to continue to pay fees, and the right hon. Gentleman's reply was as follows: The Governor informs me that no cases have been brought to his notice of children being turned out of elementary schools owing to inability to pay fees. Government and mission schools reduce fees for poor pupils." — [OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th May, 1939: col. 464, Vol. 347.] A report of my question and the Colonial Secretary's answer appeared in the African papers, and on 23rd May a letter was written to the Governor by Archdeacon Owen. Archdeacon Owen is looked upon as a bit of a nuisance, particularly by the settler element, but, as far as I know, his statements are always pretty accurate. His letter reads as follows: I see in the East African Standard of 19th May that the Secretary of State for the Colonies, replying to questions in the House stated that the Governor informs me that no cases have been brought to his notice of children being turned out of elementary schools owing to inability to pay fees.' have been very closely associated with the working of the grant-in-aid system of African secondary schools since its inception about 15 years ago. Since the ' sector ' school system of elementary schools was started in 1929, I have been mainly responsible for the inspection of our schools in this Province, and have been until 1938 a member of the District Education Board for Central Kavirondo. I have had to expel hundreds of children from our grant-aided elementary schools. Of our 30 odd sector schools, there has not been a single school from which I have not been obliged to expel fee-less children, sometimes by the score. It has happened occasionally that, after an inspection, the school has been largely depleted, so many children having had to be turned out to produce fees. I will not read any more, though there is much more that is equally interesting. Archdeacon Owen wrote again to the Governor on 25th May. He said: Further to my letter of the 23rd, I have this afternoon visited Hono, Alego, grant-aided elementary school. The head teacher informed me that he had this day expelled 10 pupils for lack of fees, and that he had 50 pupils less on his roll this term compared with last term, and that the reason was their inability to pay the fees. He went on to say: May I ask that the facts contained in my last letter and in this one be communicated to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and may I beg that the grant-in-aid rules be revised so as to make at least sub-elementary education free for the children of taxpayers who desire their children to have it? How does the right hon. Gentleman expect the wage-earners, who earn as little as 8s. a month and who have to bear relatively high taxation, and also the thousands of peasant proprietors who are not able to sell enough stuff even to pay their taxation, to pay school fees? This works out as class education— education for the people who can afford it, and not for those who cannot. To-day I asked the Secretary of State the following question: Whether he is prepared to recommend the abolition of school fees for African children in grant-aided secondary schools in Kenya? His answer was: No, Sir. The policy of the Government of Kenya is to advise aided schools to charge fees; but reductions in or exemptions from the fees are made in necessitous cases. It is no wonder that in East Africa it is going to take more than 700 years before all the population learn to read and write, if this kind of policy is to continue. If the right hon. Gentleman is interested in his job and wants to do the things he has indicated this afternoon, he will turn his mind to the necessity for things being done which are not being done at the moment. A previous Secretary of State sent out a message to the Colonies containing a statement to the effect that the interests of the natives, where they clash with the interests of Europeans or immigrants, must be paramount. Do not the things I have mentioned this afternoon, and a score of other things that my hon. Friends here can mention, prove that the interests of the natives have not only not been paramount, but in most cases have not even had consideration? If the right hon. Gentleman wants to make this an Empire of which we can be proud, the best thing in the world to which he can give attention is the thing I have spoken of this afternoon, and perhaps, if he does that, we might, instead of criticising him, be disposed to. praise him.

5.39 p.m.

Sir Ralph Glyn

I have listened with great interest to many of the remarks of the hon. Member for Wentworth (Mr. Paling), but I feel that it is hardly fair to place so much blame on the Colonial Secretary, because we must always recognise that it is the House of Commons that is responsible, and that it is up to us to make concrete suggestions to improve the methods by which the Colonial Empire can be looked after and properly guided.

Mr. Bracken

Are we to understand that we ought not to blame the Secretary of State for these matters, seeing that we only get one opportunity a year of discussing his Estimates?

Sir R. Glyn

My hon. Friend is a little quick. I had hardly got on my feet, and I was going to say that I think it is very difficult for Members who take an interest in these matters really to draw the attention of the country to the various things that we all feel should be considered, if we only have one opportunity a year. It is really fantastic to think that we can put up a case, if we are challenged by the Fascist countries as being a great Colonial Empire, if we are satisfied with methods which may have been all right before the telegraph, the aeroplane and other developments in communications, but which now seem to me to be entirely inadequate. I think it is up to all of us who believe in good government to see to it, if I may quote the first sentence of this admirable booklet, that Parliament itself shall recognise its own responsibility, and not unload it on to an unfortunate Minister of the Crown.

The Minister stands there in a position of responsibility, and I agree that he is the only person whom we can blame, but, if we want to get things done, we must not be satisfied with making the Colonial Empire a party game. I agree wholeheartedly with many of the remarks of the hon. Member for Wentworth, and I believe there is a great measure of agreement in regard to this matter in all quarters of the House. It is essentially a matter which we should all face, not as a party issue, but as one of constitutional importance as to how far the Colonial Empire can really be properly looked after and its affairs attended to by Parliament at Westminster. The Statute of Westminster was really the turning point in enabling the House of Commons to pay proper attention to the Colonial Empire. Before that there was far too much discussion on what are now the great Dominions, which are separate entities, entirely divorced from any control by the House of Commons. That surely makes it all the more important that we should concentrate our attention on the affairs of the Colonial Empire.

Some of us have been to different parts of the Empire, and many Members on these benches have held positions of supreme importance there. Their voices are not often heard, because the occasion does not arise sufficiently often. Surely it would be possible to devise something in the way of a council or committee where people who are interested in these matters could sit in more or less permanent session. I feel ashamed sometimes when in Westminster Hall we meet at the Empire Parliamentary Association people from some of the British Colonies who say, "I have been looking up Hansard since I have been here, and our affairs have not been considered during the last six years. What step can be taken, except by questions put by private Members of Parliament to the Minister, to have these matters attended to?" I repeat that we might consider the machinery of government in this connection.

I do not know how many hon. Members have had the opportunity of reading the most enlightened book which has been written by Lord Hailey on the whole question of Africa. Anyone who reads that book must recognise that one of the mistakes that we have made in our method of Colonial government has been in treating each of these Colonies as a separate entity, and in not taking a broader view and a more general scope. I notice that for purposes of defence it is intended that the Colonies of Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika shall be treated as one unit, and I cannot see why, for purposes of peaceful development, there could not be a grouping very much on the lines set out in this paper, over which there might be either a High Commissioner or a Governor-General who would be in a position to see that social services advanced throughout the whole area, and were not left to the perhaps more energetic efforts of one particular Governor and his advisers in a particular Colony.

I have been struck by what has been done by Italy in some parts of her Colonial world. I know that a great many hon. Members think that no good can come out of Signor Mussolini, but I believe we have a good deal to learn from Italy from the point of view of practical effect on the natives and what can be done for their everyday well-being. Where Italy finds the money I do not know, but, if you go to Libya today, you will find magnificent roads, town planning, water supply and schools; you will find excellent houses, school clinics in the villages, draining of the marshes, and so on. All these are practical matters which seem to me to be of supreme importance, and I hate to feel a sense of inferiority when I think of what is being done there. If it is possible for Count Balbo to carry through this scheme, surely it is possible for the British Empire. Again, if you go to Rhodes, you see marvellous attention being paid to all the archaeological relics. That brings tourists, and has soon paid for itself. Have we made any considerable effort to put right what has been wrong for so long in Cyprus? If you go to Cyprus you see marvellous opportunities of showing that we are a cultured people. Why should we not help the natives there to be proud of the territory in which they live, and give them assistance in preserving the beautiful records of the past, so that we may feel that we have contributed something to future generations?

There is another thing which I feel ought to be mentioned, and that is the method of inter-communication between different points of the Empire. A step forward was made by the establishment of the Cable and Wireless Company. Although I did not quite agree with the terms, it has certainly had the effect of improving communications, but the position as regards actual physical communication between individuals is an absolute scandal. I cannot get to Cyprus by any normal route unless I go in an Italian steamer. Surely the British Empire could somehow or other provide a line of ships, operating on their lawful, normal occasions, which would bring in every part of the Empire. As regards flying, we must all be wondering whether, if we get through the present period of tension and the country begins to turn its efforts in peaceful directions, we shall not be able to make considerable improvements in our air communications. Why should we not now be doing what the Fascist countries are doing: establishing seaplane bases and aeroplane bases, storing fuel? In other words, it is time we woke up to recognise that we cannot remain as a house with a back garden that is not being cultivated and developed.

We have inherited this Empire. Are we worthy of the work which was done by those who went before us, or are we filled with a smug complacency? Do we believe that the organisation of the Colonial Office has in it that vision without which any nation must perish, and without which it is impossible for us to be able to justify the holding of this vast territory? Indeed, it frightens me when I see the boastfulness of this document when it speaks of the number of natives that are under our control. Those are figures; we want more than that. We want to feel that each of these natives is proud to be under our rule, that it is not only terror that prevents them going somewhere else; and if we have that desire to go further forward with work that was accomplished in the past, that should under modern conditions make the lot of the natives better. I agree with what the hon. Member for Wentworth said, that the Colonial Empire should rest on the contentment and better education of the natives. Better education is important in these days of mechanisation, which is not confined to Europe but is spreading through the world. The higher the standard of education you can achieve for the people of the Colonial Empire, the greater use they can make of mechanisation, the better wages they can earn, and the more their purchasing power will help us in this country.

I think this Paper is a great advance on what we have had before. It is an improvement on the first two editions. We owe a great deal to Lord Harlech, the recent Colonial Secretary, for having initiated this scheme. But we must not be satisfied. We must do more. I believe that this problem of Colonial possessions will become of first-class magnitude, probably before the right hon. Gentleman is given an opportunity of addressing us again. We should seize this opportunity with both hands, and make up our minds that, at all costs, we will reorganise the whole method of Colonial administration if necessary. I know that the right hon. Gentleman wants to do these things. The totalitarian States have the advantage of working about four times as fast as the democracies, and we have not much time at our disposal. I beg the right hon. Gentleman to try to devise some way by which hon. Members in all parts of this House may be able, not only once a year, but at all times of the year, to collaborate with him and with those excellent officials overseas, who must be often discouraged by the incorrect reports spread about and the little praise they get for their hard work. I am sure they have found their best friends among the natives. Perhaps we may all play a great part, if we are given the opportunity, in helping the right hon. Gentleman and those officials.

5.50 p.m.

Mr. de Rothschild

The hon. Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn) has remarked that the Statute of Westminster has given this House greater liberty to discuss the Colonial Empire. I wish to echo what he said about our being given so little time to discuss Colonial questions, and I hope that more time will be found. I was struck by what the hon. Member said about the Fascist countries, and by the praise which he gave to the achievements of Italy. I do not believe we are in any way inferior to the Italians as colonisers. I do not believe that our swamps, where they are drained, are worse than those in Libya. I believe our roads are as good as theirs, and I believe that there are as few flies in our dependencies as in Italy's. Certainly there are fewer flies on us. If you go through the British Empire, you will find that the antiquities, whether they are in Africa or in Cyprus, are well looked after.

I must revert to the right hon. Gentleman and his administration of our Colonial Empire. The House is indebted to the right hon. Gentleman for his annual review of the Colonial administration. I wish to echo what has been said by the two hon. Members who preceded me in paying the right hon. Gentleman a compliment for his achievements in compiling this document, but I suggest that it is too highly coloured and also far too complacent. I agree with the hon. Member for Abingdon that there was too much gloating over what we have been doing in the Colonial Empire, although there is a record of real advance in some fields. There is no doubt that great achievement has been made in the improvement of health conditions throughout the Empire, and especially in Africa and the West Indies. Great attention has been paid to the increasing problem of nutrition. As regards the technicians in the Colonial service, what they have done for agriculture is of immense value. In fact, all the technicians, all the numberless scientists who work under the Colonial administration, have done admirable work in the past year. The progress that has been made is due to the men overseas. As we see in the document, they number 250,000 men— a great army indeed. These men, well-trained people in a great many walks of life, form a fine instrument in the hands of any administration, and they could bring immense advantages to the Colonial dependencies.

But it is essential that they should be properly supported by the administration at home, and I often wonder whether these admirable men are used in the right way. The responsibility for using the talent, the knowledge, the assiduity, and the devotion of these men, who are prepared to live in distant parts of the world for the greater part of their lives, is a responsibility of the administration and also of Parliament. The Colonial Office has as great a duty to these men as to the natives themselves. This House must be vigilant to see that this duty is adequately carried out. In some fields of activity there is no ground for that complacency which I suggest is the keynote of this report. Indeed, this complacency is in no way shared by the House and the country. There are deficiencies in our Colonial rule, and I regret to say that there is little reference to them in this Blue Book. But perhaps these deficiencies were not wholly absent from the minds of the right hon. Gentleman and his advisers, because, at the very beginning of the Blue Book, the right hon. Gentleman himself tries to minimise them. In the first paragraph, on the first page, he says: It is true that there have been most serious disturbances in Palestine, and local trouble in several of the West Indian Colonies; but if all the populations of all the territories in which disturbances have occurred are added together, they amount to some 3,000,000, and the other Colonial dependencies, in which public security has been undisturbed, embrace a total population of about 56,000,000 souls. In contrast with the disturbances which have taken place in so many parts of the world, the history of the Colonial dependencies, as of the whole British Empire, has, in the main, been one of constructive peaceful development. I suggest that this is a most unfortunate attitude. If you leave out Palestine, with its 1,000,000 inhabitants, you still have 2,000,000 disturbed out of 58,000,000. Apply this proportion to this country, with its total population of 46,000,000. Suppose we had a town of 1,250,000 or 1,500,000 where there was riot or bloodshed, what would the right hon. Gentleman say? Would he call that unimportant? Of the colonies with disturbances, the Blue Book mentions only the West Indies. I shall await the report of the Commission before trying to discuss this matter, but I take it that that will shake the right hon. Gentleman's complacency. On the third page of this report the right hon. Gentleman makes a reference to the Press. It is interesting to note his attitude on that question. He mentions that certain sections of the Press have devoted attention to labour conditions in the Colonies, but he reserves his compliments for the more serious Press. Does this include a daily newspaper which has thrown so much light lately on conditions in Newfoundland and which has now set out to do the same thing in certain parts of West Africa? I wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman will regard these reports as serious, no matter what they reveal.

What of the 56,000,000 undisturbed? Does he think all is well there? I will speak primarily of one colony where there is at the present time perfect calm: a colony which is near to us, a jewel in the Mediterranean — I mean Cyprus. What kind of calm reigns there; how is it maintained, and how long will it last? It is true that there have been no disturbances in Cyprus since 1931. The legislative council was abolished after the troubles that occurred at that time. The nine official, and 15 non-official members were disbanded, and the Governor himself was given power to legislate. All instruments of government were passed to the Governor's nominees from his own Advisory Council to village councils throughout the island. I wonder whether that is the freedom and the liberty which the right hon. Gentleman says is flourishing throughout the Empire. As the Governor himself put it, what happened was this: Village feuds have given way to ordered life under the authority of village commissions with increasing power and prestige. This is what Sir Richard Palmer, the late Governor of Cyprus, wrote only last January in one of the newspapers published in this country. But even worse than the suppression of elective institutions is the suppression of personal liberty, of political activity, and of freedom of expression. In 1932 the Governor passed a law which forbade a meeting of five or more people for political discussion unless such permission was given by the district commissioner representing the executive. The permission is said never to be granted.

I come to the complete control of the Press. This, as the Committee know, because so many questions have been put in this House, is exercised in the most arbitrary fashion. Newspapers are suppressed for criticism of the Government without any reason being given, and there is even a strict censorship of those newspapers which are allowed to appear. Articles on Cyprus which appear in the British Press, leading articles in the "Manchester Guardian," for example, are frequently suppressed, and in fact even references to Cyprus which are made in this House are suppressed in the island itself. I very much doubt whether the speech which I am making to-day about that island will be allowed to be reported.

Colonel Ponsonby

Has the hon. Gentleman studied the increase in the prosperity of Cyprus in the last six years, and also the crime figures for those years? If so, I think that he will find that they are quite different figures from the picture he is painting.

Mr. de Rothschild

I do not think that that makes any difference to the picture I am painting. I am pointing out the lack of liberty which exists at present in Cyprus and the dictatorship which is constituted there, and I will later on in my speech, if the Committee are patient with me, also discuss the question which the hon. and gallant Member has raised. This censorship to which I was alluding was lightened after the articles which appeared in the "Daily Telegraph" last December. It has now been reimposed apparently with even greater severity. Nothing which appears in the British Press to-day relating to the political situation in Cyprus may now be printed in the Cyprus papers. What is the reason for continuing this very strict regime? The troubles of 1931 were fomented by pro-Greek agitators, but the movement for union with Greece is all but dead. We know that the Cypriot hates totalitarian systems and would not wish to change from British rule, however unlike British rule the rule that he now knows may be, to a more rigid and more cruel dictatorship. True, there is a movement for autonomy in Cyprus, but the autonomy which they want is autonomy within the Empire.

I wonder whether the pro-Greek agitation is being kept alive as a bogey to provide an excuse for suppression? Suppression of what? What do we want to suppress? A justifiable desire for representative government? That is what we are trying to stop. A petition has been signed only quite recently by thousands of people and it has just been presented to the Governor, demanding a representative form of government and expressing the strongest dissatisfaction with the present regime. It is for this reason that the censorship of the Press has been re-imposed. In the "Daily Telegraph" to-day we were able to read that one municipal councillor of Nicosia was dismissed for being associated with the petition, and that others have resigned as a protest against the muzzling of the Press. I would like to know from the Minister the reason or the wisdom in this policy.

There are as many as 8,000 Cypriots in England at the present time. Seven thousand of them have come here since 1931. They are taking the places in London and in this country, in the confectionery trade and in the hotel business, that were occupied before 1930 by Greeks and Italians. These men and women who come here read the British Press, and surely they can convey any information on that subject to their own people in Cyprus. I believe that this restrictive policy does not really in any way suppress political agitation; it merely drives it underground. This was clearly brought out by another correspondent of the "Daily Telegraph" in December, 1938, when Mr. Arthur Merton, a very distinguished journalist, wrote a series of articles. In these articles he pointed out that all Cypriots, according to one who was qualified to judge, considered that the arbitrary methods of the administration, by arousing hostility to the Government in the towns, are creating a dangerous anti-British current. Though this state of affairs is bad enough, the quality of the administration makes it even worse. The "Times" Cyprus correspondent, self-appointed apologist for the administration though he is, said in a recent article: The Island seems to be regarded as a suitable convalescent home for British officials whose health has suffered in less favourable climes. This and the transfer of officials every few years is detrimental to the administration. It is felt that some should be permanently retained, preference being given to linguists. Until the arrival of Sir Richard Palmer, few officials even troubled to learn Greek and Turkish, the two languages spoken in Cyprus. It is true, as the hon. and gallant Member opposite pointed out, that the regime has some things to its credit. The revenue is buoyant in spite of the poverty of the people themselves, and the trade figures also are the highest that have ever been experienced. The imports in 1937 were £ 2,220,000, or £ 740,000 more than in 1935, and the exports were £ 2,180,000, nearly a million pounds more than in 1935. Incidentally the British share of these exports has fallen— and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will take note of this— while Germany's has risen. Germany, in 1935, took 9½ per cent. of Cyprus exports, and in 1937 it took just over 26 per cent., whereas Britain, in 1935, took just under 26 per cent., and in 1937 24½ per cent.

Another step which I am prepared to acknowledge is in the right direction is the introduction of a measure for the relief of agricultural indebtedness. That affects 80 per cent. of the people of Cyprus. Only they can say whether it is good or bad. There is no channel through which they can express their views, because this agricultural measure was passed by the regime without any kind of discussion by the Advisory Council, which was a nominated council set up in 1933. This Council, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, was, in the words of the Cyprus report of 1937, set up in order that there might be a channel through which to obtain the views of the community on questions of legislation and other matters of importance affecting the relations of the Government and the people. What irony! The views of the people are to be obtained through a nominated council, which is not even consulted. I can think of more efficacious methods of ascertaining the views of the people. I should have thought that it would have been better to return to the freedom of the Press and of discussion. There is another important particular in which the administration which the hon. and gallant Member opposite praises so much has failed. It has failed to repeal the Turkish landlords which have long been abandoned in Turkey itself. Last year I quoted from the Cyprus Annual Report of 1936 on this question, and the latest report, that for 1937, reproduces verbatim the paragraph from which I quoted. The Cyprus report of 1937 says: The law on land is most complicated and land is divided into numerous classes. There are different laws governing the tenure and the transmission of each class, the laws of inheritance being different for Christians and Moslems. The amendment and simplification of the land laws has been studied by a Committee which submitted its report in 1934. The report is now under the consideration of the Government. That was in 1936. It was again so in 1937, and no doubt it will be so in the 1938 report. British rule lags behind that of Turkey, when Cyprus belonged to Turkey 60 years ago under Abdul Hamid, who was one of the worst dictators ever known. What a reflection upon our own rule. These matters are not in the Blue Book, but the right hon. Gentleman would do well to consider them when he talks of the undisturbed 56,000,000. The "Times" correspondent has stated that Cypriots unquestionably prefer British rule but feel that they really have no share in the British Commonwealth.

Colonel Ponsonby

Does the hon. Gentleman know the amount that was spent in bribery in the last three days of the last election?

Mr. de Rothschild

The bribery at the last election was before the 1931 election. I wonder why a trial cannot be made now to introduce some electoral measures in order to show that the Cypriots, who have developed there, ever since the Crusades, a civilisation approximating to ours, are fully capable of democratic government? Or are they to be in chains for ever?

I now turn to the Island of Mauritius. The right hon. Gentleman in his very interesting discourse said that he had appointed a certain number of East Indians to the Council of Mauritius. I suppose he includes the people of Mauritius among the 56,000,000 of happy people who live in the British Commonwealth undisturbed, in plenty, abundance and peace. I wonder whether that is so. I will try once more to speak about things which do not appear in the Blue Book. First, the dockers strike which occurred last September. The Port Louis dockers struck work because one man was dismissed for insubordination. The strikers demanded his reinstatement and also shorter hours and more pay. These are not unlike labour demands made in other parts of the world; there was nothing very extraordinary about them, but the "Times" reported on the 9th September that: The Governor had broken the back of the strike and restored quiet to the island. How was the strike broken? It was broken by the mobilisation of the military and the police. Mr. Anquetil, who was one of the leaders, was deported to Rodrigues Island, a minute island dependency of Mauritius, 360 miles away in the Indian Ocean. Two other leaders were parked away in some distant part of Mauritius. Besides these three leaders, 300 men were arrested and put into prison for a week and a state of emergency was declared for several weeks on end. Were not these measures altogether out of proportion to the situation that had occurred? If they were not out of proportion, then I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that the conditions in Mauritius were as bad as the conditions in the West Indies. When one reads the "Crown Colonist," a very ably conducted newspaper, it states in its March issue that: Out of a population of 400,000 there were 100,000 unemployed and thousands were facing starvation. There is no word of this in the Blue Book. I suppose these people are numbered among the 56,000,000 of undisturbed people who are living in abundance and peace in the British Commonwealth. Nor is there anything in the Blue Book about the suppression of the Labour party in Mauritius. What are the facts? The Labour party in Mauritius was registered as a friendly society. That, apparently, was obligatory, according to the laws. During the labour troubles of 1937 the Procureur-General made an inquiry into the affairs of the Labour party. He decided that there had been illegal expenditure of the funds and ordered that the money should be repaid to the Government in six months' time. He did this on his own initiative and without any legal authority. The Labour party, a friendly society, ignored this illegal demand, and the result was that the Governor disbanded the party in January of this year. The members of the Labour party, a friendly society, contend that this, again, was done illegally.

I wonder what the views of the right hon. Gentleman are on the subject of these proceedings. The Blue Book does not tell us. Is no Labour party to be allowed to organise in Mauritius? or if it is allowed to be organised and established, must its activities, its existence, depend upon the arbitrary will of the Procureur-General?

I have spoken of Cyprus and Mauritius, but I suggest that those are not the only Colonies that raise doubt as to Britain's administration of our Dependencies. The Blue Book reiterates the Government's determination that we should on no account hand over to any other Power territory for which Britain is responsible either as a Colonial or Mandatory Power. I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that in order to carry out this policy— a policy in which I entirely and whole-heartedly concur and agree— we must remove every ground of reproach to our Colonial administration. The present discontent in Cyprus is noted in Berlin and Rome, and articles are being published in the German Press and used to feed anti-British propaganda. These two Colonies of which I have spoken in this way, because perhaps nobody else would, are not the only ones affected. There is evidence that our Colonial government lacks some of the old capacity and vision which made this country great in the past and enabled it to show its magnificent power in controlling other civilisations, native or otherwise. That is borne out by the number of incidents which are recorded in the Press, by reports of Commissions which go out and by the investigations of newspaper representatives.

The reputation of Britain as a Colonial power was built on magnificent achievements, and the right hon. Gentleman was fully justified in giving that fact due prominence. To-day scientists, doctors, engineers, veterinary surgeons and foresters are working with energy and devotion for the betterment of the people among whom their lives are cast. Behind those people in the old days there was statesmanship at the Colonial Office. The men in the Dependencies, the men on the spot, are to-day as capable as any men in the past. The Blue Book provides ample evidence of that. I wish it were also true of the statesmanship at home in the administration of the Colonial Office. The position in many parts of the Empire presents as great a problem as any we have had in the past, and I do trust that my right hon. Friend will put his shoulder to the wheel. He will certainly need all his skill and energy to rival what was done in the past by his predecessors, such men as the father of the present Prime Minister, the Duke of Devonshire and others, who left behind a great name in the Colonial history of this country.

6.25 p.m.

Sir E. Grigg

The speeches which have been addressed to the Committee since my right hon. Friend sat down have shown a rather critical tone, and I find myself in sympathy with that tone. It

was quite natural that my right hon. Friend, in his most interesting review of the Colonial Empire, should— and the report does the same— take, on the whole, the rosiest possible view of what we are doing at the present time. No one can complain of that, but I fancy the spirit and the mind of this country in its anxiety lest we should not be carrying out this task to the best of our ability, have been more truly represented by the critical speeches that have been made. My own belief is that we have to watch very carefully and scrupulously to see that we are actually doing our best at the present time for the peoples of our Colonial Empire. Our record in some directions is admirable, but in other directions it is far from admirable; it is, I think, definitely weak.

My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn) made a most interesting contribution on the question of system. There is no doubt that this House wants to play a much greater part in helping the Colonial Empire to sound and successful administration; and unless this House plays its part the stimulus and initiative will never be given. I am not disparaging either the Colonial Office or our great Colonial Service. It is not the business of civil servants to initiate, and it is not the business of the civil servants to look far ahead. Their business is to carry out the policy with which they are furnished by those who direct policy in this country, and the real responsibility rests with this House. When this House does intervene, it intervenes to some effect. The Colonial Secretary and the Colonial Office have been congratulated on this report. The report was actually produced as the result of a suggestion made in this House. That is the way to get things done.

If we look at the history of the Colonial Empire and the history of India we see that the initiation of progressive measures comes from the House of Commons. It is to this House that we must look. How can we ensure that that initiative is more effective than at the present time? My right hon. Friend emphasised the fact, and it is true, that the interest of the House in Colonial questions is shown by the number of questions he has to answer on Wednesday afternoon, and by the supplementary questions which his replies invariably evoke; but that is not really a satisfactory manner of dealing with Colonial affairs. We have to find something more effective and continuous so that these Colonial questions may be more deeply and more continuously explored than they can be by question and answer across the Floor of the House. I have often asked myself why it is that we have only applied the method of committees, with official responsibility, to the Estimates. Why cannot we develop that system? Has not the time come to develop that system in regard to the Colonial Empire? If there is an Estimates Committee, there ought to be a Colonial Committee. That is the right method. Other Legislatures have found it impossible to do their duty without establishing a system of that kind.

Mr. Boothby

My hon. Friend has made an interesting suggestion. Would he suggest that we should have a foreign affairs committee, a Colonial committee, and a finance committee?

Sir E. Grigg

I have always been in favour of the development of the committee system in this House, and I believe that it is desirable to develop it in other directions, but. particularly in regard to Colonial affairs. Foreign affairs are frequently debated, but Colonial affairs, apart from question and answer, are debated only once a year. We cannot possibly deal with these vast responsibilities in that way. It creates a false impression in the world and in the Colonies for which we are responsible when we pay so very little attention to them. I have noted again and again that those who live or have lived in those parts of the world feel that we are really neglecting them. They feel that attention is paid to them only when there is some row, when the State searchlight is projected on their part of the Empire for a short time and they stand out in much prominence, which they do not like, until the searchlight is switched somewhere else. That is not the way to deal with the administration of our Colonial Empire, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will ask the Prime Minister and the Government to go into this question and enable this House, through the medium of a committee, or a better medium if there is one, to play a more continuous part in inspiring and stimulating the discharge of our responsibilities towards the Colonial Empire.

There is one other point to which I desire to refer. The hon. Member for Wentworth (Mr. Paling) was very critical of our Colonial record on the economic side. I agree with him. I do not suppose that I should agree with him as to the cause, but I agree that on the economic side our discharge of our trusteeship is weak, and requires close attention at the moment. We are doing, at any rate for Africa, which I know better than any other part of our Colonial Empire, exactly what we did for many long years in India. We are developing a demand for progressive services of all kinds and higher standards which the economy of the country cannot stand or provide at present. I remember M. Clemenceau, the great French statesman, going to India very soon after he retired from office in 1922, and I remember speaking to him when he came back. His comment on India was extraordinarily interesting. He said that the Civil Service was magnificent, and that in the system of justice he could find nothing to criticise, but, he said, "I also felt that you had not done enough to enable the peoples of India to afford the benefits which you have conferred upon them." That is what we are doing in Africa at the present time. We are trying to put a magnificent superstructure on a foundation which will not carry it, and we have to be very careful on that point, because if we are not careful we shall quickly create discontent amongst the people for whom we are responsible, and aggravate problems which are already difficult.

I have only one question that I would like to put to my right hon. Friend. This is a vast subject, but I will confine myself to one point. When I was in East Africa I kept on asking myself the question how 12,000,000 people in that vast area— because that is the total population of Kenya, Tanganyika and Uganda— can be expected to carry the tremendous machinery of administration, the railways and roads, in addition to the demands of the progressive services which we have set up; how, if we expect them to do that, are we going to get from them without oppressive taxation the revenue needed for important services, and so on? This is germane to the point about wages and everything else mentioned by the hon. Member for Wentworth. It is the whole economic situation that needs never saw any answer to that question investigation at the present time, and I except the answer which occurred to the first Colonial Governor in Kenya, which was the same answer which occurred to those who wanted to see economic progress in Palestine. We have got to bring in something; the thing is not there. It is agreed by everybody that in Palestine immense benefit has been done to the Arab population as well as to the rest by the enterprise, the capital and the labour, which have been brought in by the Jews; that, I think, is admitted in all parts of the House.

But that is not true of Palestine only; it is equally true, I think, of many empty parts of Africa. It is a very important question at the present time because we must remember that our trusteeship is a double trusteeship. The hon. Gentleman who spoke for the Opposition was right when he said that the first consideration is the paramount interests of the population of the country itself, but there is another side to it, and that is the interests of the world. That is a thing which has not to be neglected. It is the basis of Lord Lugard's classical work on Africa. We must always remember there are these dual aspects of trusteeship. We have to do our duty to the peoples of these places, but we have also to do our duty to the world; and at the present moment the world is scrutinising very closely whether we are actually doing our duty to it in these countries. I have been reading that criticism in a very interesting and level-headed book published in the United States. There is an opportunity at the present moment, and I am astonished to find practically no reference to it in the report.

There is available now a population for settlement which ought to be as useful and as fertilising as the old outflow of the Huguenots from France. That is the spirit in which we should look at it. What is there about it in this report? I understand that in East Africa at the present time the difficulties which are presented to any immigrant who wants to come in are almost insuperable. One or two cases have come my way and I have tried to intervene. I ask my right hon. Friend to correct me if I am wrong, but the foolish part of it is this, that what with the money that has to be deposited when an emigrant comes in, what with the guarantees which have to be given about his or her employment for a period of years, what is actually happening is that instead of getting German refugees, we are getting only good German Nazis who are supported and financed? the German Government. What an insane policy to pursue? Apart from that, which, after all, is a special question upon which I may have exaggerated a little—

Mr. Orr-Ewing

Before the hon. and gallant Member leaves that point may I interrupt for a moment? What is he suggesting that these new settlers who are to be injected into Africa should do?

Sir E. Grigg

Exactly what they do in Palestine. In the first place, they could establish a system of subsistence cultivation on the soil with their own labour. They should also bring in their own labour and establish small industries as they have done in Palestine.

Mr. Orr-Ewing

I do not want to continue interrupting the hon. Member, but surely he is not comparing Palestine with East Africa?

Sir E. Grigg

I have no time to argue with my hon. Friend as to the differences between East Africa and Palestine, but I spent five years in East Africa and I think I know something of its possibilities, and I have no doubt whatever that there is room for the settlement of people with the right kind of enterprise and industry and financial support in East Africa at the present time. We are not entitled to take up a dog-in-the-manger attitude. If we do, we shall lose our moral right to control this vast territory. I, therefore, ask my right hon. Friend to say something more this evening than has been said either in his speech or in the report on this question of our duty to the refugees. I would quote just one sentence from the report: The Kenya Government have admitted a number of refugees from Central Europe. How many. I would like to know how many of these actually came in not as refugees but as new settlers supported by the German Government?

6.42 p.m.

Mr. Creech Jones

I have listened with great interest to the speech of the hon. Member for Altrincham (Sir E. Grigg), and I find myself in considerable agreement with the point of view he has presented to the Committee. It is unfortunate that in this House we have only one opportunity for discussing the affairs of the Colonial Empire during the year, and in view of the innumerable problems which are presented I think we should have a little more opportunity of ventilating and discussing them. I will return in a moment to the suggestion which the hon. Member has made. First of all, I think the Committee is agreed that the report which the Colonial Secretary has presented to us does, in fact, represent a very massive and impressive amount of work in respect of the development of the Empire, but I agree with the criticism which has been repeatedly made that it presents a far too complacent view, and that it is far too uncritical in its approach to the various problems which are dealt with.

I would like to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman, the Secretary of State on one or two innovations that he has made during the past year. I think the inclusion in the Colonial administrative service of women is a step in the right direction, and I am glad that he has had the courage to make a change which has been mooted for so many years. I think too, that the setting up of a Social Service department in the Colonial Office is also another step in the right direction. I hope that the department is not merely a reshuffling of existing departments; I hope it is a deliberate creation to deal with labour problems and the vast range of social services to which attention has been called this afternoon. Further, I would like to say how pleased I am that increasingly Colonial civil servants when they visit this country have the opportunity of coming in contact with other civil servants and pursuing further courses of study at Oxford.

There are one or two human points about the report which are worth noting, but the pity of it is that these human points are far too infrequent. There is the holding of the first baby show at Aden. The holding of another baby and health week at Sierra Leone is another human touch. Another is the refusal of Somali parents to allow their children to learn other than the Arabic language. There is also a picturesque phrase about education in Africa being an upward column of moving water scattering its refreshing spray. I would like to see a few more human points in this report because they enliven an otherwise somewhat dull record.

What did impress me as I read the report was the fact that we are apt to want our Empire too much on the cheap. One acknowledges with gratitude the contributions which have come from the Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations. They have been able to finance a great deal of research, social experiment, and so on, but it certainly is unbecoming that in many of our social experiments we have to rely largely on money from other parts of the world and that we as an Empire cannot afford to engage in a great deal of this elementary research. I would like also to remind the Colonial Secretary, when he spoke of the blessings which come from the Colonial Development Fund, that the British Exchequer are only spending, apart from loan, a comparatively small sum of money each year in the development of this vast estate.

One thing which I am sure is noticeable to all who have read the report is the new appreciation which is growing up among the Colonial peoples in respect of their own power in resisting the demands which are sometimes made on them from Whitehall. This was noticeable, for instance, in the Zanzibar dispute, which need never have occurred if proper advice had been taken. Far greater attention should be paid to the needs and requirements of the Indian population resident in various parts of the Colonial Empire. There was also a discovery of the power of combination in the case of the cocoa dispute in West Africa. That was a demonstration of the power of the Africans in resisting demands that were made on them. One could illustrate this point by referring to industrial disputes in other Colonies, as for instance the West Indies. I agree with the hon. Member for the Isle of Ely (Mr. de Rothschild) that there is far too much complacency in regard to the happenings of the past year. The Secretary of State made a great deal of the point that only a comparatively small part of the population of the Colonial Empire is willing to revolt and make a nuisance of itself. There is self-congratulation on the constructive and peaceful development of the Colonial Empire and on the fact that there have been few disturbances, but it seems to me that, when one recollects that in many parts of the Empire there are very disturbing blemishes and much social squalor, we ought to thank the people there for being so docile under our rule, exercising so much restraint, and not rising in revolt against the conditions in which they find themselves. There are places in the Empire which beggar description because of the misery and social squalor. At last, the Indians, the Africans and the West Indians are awakening and demanding that greater attention shall be paid to their needs. By the same post as I received the report, I also received a letter from a prominent African in Central Africa, ventilating certain grievances. He wrote: We do not anticipate that this letter will have any effect, for we are convinced that nothing is likely to have any effect except the creation of a critical state of affairs, either by an armed rising, as in the case of Palestine, which is outside our power, or by a demonstration such as that staged by a certain African tribe some time ago. I ask hon. Members to appreciate that at last these people are awakening and becoming conscious of their power if combination is permitted and they are properly organised. They are witnessing what is happening in other parts of the world. They see a frequent capitulation to violence which gets things done, while they see a neglect to deal with legitimate grievances when they are ventilated in a legitimate manner.

I want to draw the attention of the Secretary of State to a number of phrases that are constantly used in the report now before us. In the latter part of the report, the words "strike" and "disorders" are almost synonymous. To the Colonial Office, a strike is a disorder and has to be put down. Therefore, we are constantly presented with a situation in which people, when they strike, are repressed and prosecuted and their leaders deported, and the Colony transformed into a condition of emergency merely because a very simple industrial dispute has to be dealt with. Sometimes it is a dispute which has been simmering for a very long time and to which perhaps the local government have paid little attention.

Nevertheless, I welcome the increasing interest that is now being taken by the Colonial Office in labour matters. The appointment of labour officers is all to the good, as is the creation of labour departments and the making of new ordinances for the protection of native labour. I ask that in making these appointments the utmost care should be taken, particularly in the case of the inspectors in the territories, to see that the right sort of people, who have some experience of labour matters, are engaged to do the work of inspection. I also ask the Colonial Secretary seriously to consider the appointment in some of the territories of women officers who have experience not merely of industrial matters, but also of social welfare matters. As to labour matters, I want to refer to a number of unfortunate features in various parts of the Colonies.

In certain Colonies, there has been an unfortunate increase in the habit, when a dispute occurs, of declaring a state of emergency; often, the emergency regulations were designed to meet the needs of a situation due to foreign attack. These regulations are now being used deliberately to suppress industrial disputes. The hon. Member for the Isle of Ely has referred to Mauritius. In my opinion, the whole treatment of that dispute was most unfortunate. The dockers were men who were legitimately striking. A Commission had declared that they had legitimate grievances. Political and industrial expression had been denied to them. In spite of long-simmering grievances and the fact that a Commission, in reporting on those grievances, had justified the claim of the men that the grievances should be remedied, nothing had been done. When the men ventured to strike, the Governor declared a state of emergency; two or three hundred of the men were arrested, the leaders were deported and prosecutions were proceeded with in the case of a number of them. Fortunately, when the news arrived in this country, some of us were able to make a protest, and almost immediately the state of emergency was raised, the men were released, and 17 of them who were charged with participating in a dispute— in peaceful picketing— had their cases transferred to the Supreme Court. I want to direct the attention of the Minister to the fact that when the Supreme Court adjudicated on the prosecutions of the lower court, it made it perfectly clear that there had been a complete outrage in the administration of justice and the men ought never to have been sentenced. These 17 men had been sentenced to nine months' hard labour.

The same sort of thing happened in Barbados. There was a dispute, and at this moment a man is in prison there, serving a sentence of 10 years' hard labour, for organising his fellow men against oppressive conditions. Recently there was a case in Sierra Leone— the prosecution of a trade union secretary. After this man had been in prison for a month and eight days, his case was allowed to go to the Supreme Court. There was a special jury to hear the case. The Crown counsel challenged no less than 60 people as to their eligibility to serve on the jury; and therefore, one can say that by the time the case was taken, at least the right sort of jury had been empanelled to hear it. Nevertheless, although there was a mixed jury, when the case was taken the man was completely exonerated, and it was found that there was no foundation for the charge brought against him. I could go on giving one instance after another of prosecutions of this sort for alleged illegal action in organising people in industrial disputes.

There is an increasing practice of deporting the leaders merely because they have had the courage to stand up for the rights of their fellows. That happened in the case of Mauritius. The leader there, who was a person respected and frequently consulted by the Government on the spot, was sent 300 miles away merely because a legitimate grievance was not dealt with by the Government, and this man dared to urge the people to make themselves felt, as a strike was the only method of bringing their grievance to the notice of the authorities. This practice of deportation is becoming a habit. It occurred last year in Barbados, Kenya, Mauritius, and several other Colonies. There is also a restriction in regard to trade union action. It may be that certain new ordinances are being enacted to give the people opportunities of creating their own organisations, but too often the powers that are given for combination are far too limited to make combination effective. I need only refer to the Mauritius ordinance. This ordinance did not give real power to create effective trade unions, and its defects and limitations were obvious. It did not permit organisa- tion to certain important classes of workers, and it prohibited certain types of industrial action. It is pretty general in many parts of the Colonial Empire not to allow peaceful picketing, and the officers of the trade unions are liable in respect of any damages arising from trade union action.

Why is it that the Colonial Office still permits in new ordinances, restrictions on the civil and industrial rights of the peoples of the Colonial Empire? In Sierra Leone, there has been a new spate of legislation designed to increase the powers of the Government in regard to the literature that may be read, in respect to deportation orders and trade union organisation. Recently, there was a new Sedition Law in Trinidad. If these Colonies have been able to get on for scores of years without this legislation being necessary, what new factors are there in the situation which require that these new ordinances of a repressive and restrictive kind should now be passed? Is it that at last the people are demanding that justice should be done, and therefore, it is necessary to put further checks on their powers of expression?

There is another point that I want to raise with regard to this matter. Those who have followed the evidence that was given before the Royal Commission on the West Indies will have seen that in the cross-examination of certain Government witnesses it was obvious that too often when directions are issued by the Colonial Office in London, those directions are altogether ignored. It seems that there is something missing between the Colonial Governments and the Colonial Office. When an ordinance is passed, do the Colonial Office ever call for a report as to how it is working? Is any attempt made to discover whether the necessary machinery has been created in order to give effect to the ordinance? It is pointed out in the report that at last the old policy of trusting completely to the man on the spot is to be buried by the Colonial Secretary in an effort to try to secure greater cooperation between the Colonial Office and the Colonial Governments, and greater central direction. If it is the will of the House and of the Colonial Secretary that there should be industrial enactments, that there should be the widest extension of civil liberty, that there should be a greater measure of social services, then in all these respects there should be continual supervision by Whitehall to see that the directions are carried out and that the necessary machinery is created in order to carry them out. I would direct the attention of the Colonial Secretary to the case of workmen's compensation on the West Coast of Africa. Although a model ordinance has been going the rounds for the last two or three years nothing has been done, and every time one puts a question one is told that the matter is still under consideration. That really is not good enough.

Again, there is complacency in the report in regard to the social services. It is true that we can plead poverty. You cannot do things unless either the Colony has money or we ourselves are prepared to send capital into the Colonies. We are told in the report that there has been no retrenchment on social services of recent years. That probably is due to the fact that the social services in certain colonies have been so inadequate that retrenchment was very difficult. But there is another confession on page 5 that, in spite of peaceful conditions, the populations of quite a number of the Colonies live under primitive conditions and suffer seriously from preventable disease. There was for quite a period during the last six or seven years a stagnation in regard to social services because of the economic situation arising out of the slump of 1931. Now there is a new demand being made on the revenues of the Colonies, in respect to defence. It is of real importance that, because these new demands are being made, the social services should continue to expand and, if necessary, money should be found by our own Government in order that preventive work in medicine and other things should go on. It seems to me that Empire carries with it responsibilities not merely for the opening up of the natural resources of the colonial territories but also for the development of its human resources. A large number of cases have come to my notice during the past year where practically nothing is being done to meet the misery and suffering created by new conditions of employment and capital development in parts of Africa. With the development of mines, the sinking of new capital, the coming of new indus- tries, great populations are on the move, and men come in from outlying districts to work, none of the amenities of towns and villages are established, the whole conditions remain as bad as possible, disease spreads and there are few of the ordinary social amenities on which ordinary community life can be lived. I could give numerous cases where there is no medical service, where the housing conditions are of the worst and nothing is being done in regard to education.

In regard to medical services, the hon. Member for Altrincham spoke of the possibility of utilising some of the great reservoir of human ingenuity due to the driving out of Central Europe of large numbers of Jews. An obvious need in our colonies is better health provision. I have pointed out to the Secretary of State the importance of creating an auxiliary medical corps for the colonies which might absorb dozens of the doctors and nurses who have been driven out of Germany and Austria and who are longing for an opportunity of performing useful work. Is it not possible to create, alongside the existing medical service, an auxiliary medical corps which can administer to the needs of the people, which can in places, for instance, man moving field dispensaries? You have populations suffering cruelly from disease, and great areas where nothing of a preventive character is being done. Is it not possible to use this great reservoir of skill and knowledge for the benefit of our African people? I ask that the right hon. Gentleman should seriously consider a suggestion of that kind.

Reference has also been made to the desirability at the earliest moment of extending the political rights of the native peoples, that they should learn to exercise self-government. It ill-becomes us that we should so frequently talk about freedom and democracy when we are not prepared, in certain colonies, to apply these principles to people who are clamouring for political rights and are able to exercise them. I was amazed to read in the report that a "constitutional development" had been brought about in Malta. We have torn up the democratic constitution. The people have no real semblance of local government; they are still denied the effective right of control over their local affairs. It seems preposterous that a change into a new and undemocratic constitution, a change which has met with the whole-hearted opposition of a great section of the Maltese population, should be described as constitutional development. It is not constitutional development but a retrogade step from the old democratic standards which prevailed in days gone by.

I agree with what the hon. Member for Ely said in respect to the repressive practices and the social conditions in Cyprus and the demand there for some form of democratic government. One reads in the last issue— 31st May— of a Cyprus paper that the Commissioner called the editors of the Nicosia newspapers on Saturday last and instructed them not to publish any further reference to Cyprus politics, even in the form of articles produced from home newspapers. They therefore regretted that they were unable to publish some very interesting matter received over the week-end. What is behind this? What is the real purpose of it? You can only make a people free in so far as you are prepared to allow them to exercise the responsibilities of freedom. Are the Cyprus people so denuded of intelligence that they cannot take part in the intelligent discussion of their own affairs? I was quite happy when 1 read in the report that Cyprus was to have a museum for medieval antiquities. I thought the Colonial Office was preparing a lodgment for the present constitution of that Colony.

The position in the West Indies in regard to the political rights of the people is already known and I will not elaborate the absolutely disgraceful restrictive constitutions which are still allowed to operate in most of the islands. I put a question the other day in regard to Barbados, where they are celebrating this year their tercentenary, and suggested that this was an opportune moment to consider the limited constitution of that Colony. The Colonial Secretary seemed to think that there was no demand from West Indians whatever for a change, whereas every West Indian one meets is filled with the grievance about the denial of political rights and the demand that there should be an extension of democracy. The constitutions in the West Indies should be revised, and the people should be allowed to play a part in self-government. The right hon. Gentleman also said we were extending the principles of democracy in several of the African Colonies. He referred to Tanganyika. The fact is that you are admitting into the Government of Tanganyika the white settler element and that element, as in Northern Rhodesia, tends to grow until it becomes the dominant interest which is advising and directing the Government, sometimes to the prejudice of African development. I suggest that, more and more, Africans should be permitted to participate in the management of their own affairs. In Mauritius again the right hon. Gentleman tells us certain small planters have been admitted into the Legislative Council. The facts are that the great mass of the people of Mauritius have been demanding representation in the Legislature for many years, and the temporary concession of representation of the small planter interest does not touch the problem at all. What we are concerned with is the great mass of the workers, who are completely unrepresented, and this most recent improvement of the constitution does not in any way give them a voice in the Government.

Mr. Annesley Somerville

Is the hon. Member suggesting that the white element in the Colonies should not be adequately represented and take their full share, because as a matter of fact the introduction of the white element means the introduction of what the hon. Member for Altrincham so desired, the introduction of capital.

Mr. Creech Jones

I am not suggesting that the white element should not be represented in the colonial councils. What I am suggesting is that the great bulk of the people are almost completely unrepresented— at least there are no direct representatives— and we usually excuse ourselves by saying that they have not got men of suitable calibre to serve. I dispute that point. In the case of Kenya, where there is no native in the Legislature, and the Africans have to content themselves with white representatives, there are at least 50 Africans of an educational standard and experience and ability to speak on behalf of their people who might quite well be considered for representation. What I am really asking is that, more and more, the African should be permitted to be trained in the art of government and allowed to take his place on the various councils.

Sir E. Grigg

I am sure the hon. Member realises that the highly educated African who is very much in advance of the rest of the people is not usually regarded by them as a suitable representative.

Mr. Jones

There are a number of representative bodies actually operating in Kenya who claim to represent a very big population of Africans in certain tribes. I am merely suggesting that these people should have an opportunity of becoming articulate so far as African native interests are concerned.

With regard to the economic section of the report, the hon. Member for Altrincham has expressed very much what I feel myself. Here there are some fundamental problems involved and they are scarcely discussed at all. We have two systems operating. In one case the "open door" is practised and in the other the open door is gradually being closed, or certain restrictions are imposed. It seems to me that in this, whether we like it or not, just ground for offence is being given to certain of the nations in Europe who, in their turn, are claiming the right to colonies. If our economic policy is directed towards securing certain advantages for ourselves, it follows naturally that these other nations in their turn, will say that there is no reason why they should be shut cut from similar economic opportunities. I suggest that we need to look afresh at the economic principles which underlie the organisation and running of our Colonial territories.

The recent Orders in Council in Kenya raise a very difficult and intricate problem which has been discussed before on many occasions. The policy of the Morris Carter Report is now being implemented, which means that at this moment large groups of natives are being torn out of the soil to which they have been attached for generations. It is clear that in certain of the recommendations of the Morris Carter Report inadequate attention was given to the nature and extent of the problem. Nevertheless, these recommendations are now being implemented by the ordinances of last year, as well as by the recent Orders in Council, and this is creating an infinite amount of bitterness and of suffering to people who have been attached to the land for many years. I suggest that the Minister should make it well known that, as far as approval has been given to this policy, in the opinion of this House, the policy of clearing out the natives from the European Highlands must be carried out with the utmost caution. If these people have to be moved, then land of a suitable character must be found for them elsewhere and adequate compensation must be paid for disturbance. I object to the whole policy because it is creating race discrimination in Kenya. We may not declare it in our legislation, but we carry it out in our administrative acts. It is a policy which cuts right across all the great liberal declarations of previous statesmen and it is a most unfortunate policy to apply in Kenya at the present time.

Finally, in reference to the Hailey Report, I ask that the suggestion made by the hon. Member for Altrincham should be seriously considered by the Colonial Office. It is obvious that the present arrangements for discussing Colonial problems are inadequate. Lord Hailey makes it clear, in the light of his examination of the question and after consultation with experts, that there should be machinery to enable this House to exercise a greater supervision and that some better sense of direction should be given to Colonial policy. He suggests a standing committee. I do not know whether that is possible, but it is a problem which calls for the careful attention of the Government. I hope that during the coming year some new approach will be made to it with a view to devising some constitutional method, whereby this House can exercise more supervision over Colonial policy.

Our discussions are limited. There are many other questions which I would like to raise to-night. I have already exceeded my time. I conclude by expressing the hope that the present Colonial Secretary will, at least, be faithful to those great ideals of liberal statesmanship which have been proclaimed from time to time in the past 100 years. We look for greater drive in Colonial policy; we hope that more money will be spent in the extension of social services and more attention given to the demands for political reform. As soon as possible the people of our Colonies should be enabled to stand on their own feet against the strenuous competition of the modern world and take a larger share in the government of their own territories.

7.20 p.m.

Mr. Maxton

I promise faithfully that I will not detain the Committee long. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!") I thank hon. Members for that applause, but I hope I am not to interpret it as expressing a desire that I should sit down again very speedily. I associate myself with the view which has been expressed by hon. Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn) and others that we should have greater opportunities for dealing with Colonial matters. I recommend to the hon. Member who has just sat down this consideration— that it is within the power of his hon. and right hon. Friends above the Gangway, to have another day's discussion on the Colonial Office Vote. That is a matter which rests with the Opposition, and I think it is reasonable that in choosing the subjects for other Supply Days, they should ask for at least one more day to discuss Colonial questions. I would not associate myself, however, with any idea of carrying the discussion of Colonial matters into some secret back room upstairs, where party controversy would be stilled and publicity would be made imposible. The value of discussion here is that the news of it goes out to the world and to the Colonies affected. It would not, to my mind, be a good substitute to have a secret meeting upstairs from which private representations would be made to the Minister. With that reservation, I am whole-heartedly in favour of the demand for more frequent and serious discussions on Colonial issues.

The hon. Member for Altrincham (Sir E. Grigg) made a point which appealed to me. He said that one problem of Colonial administration was that of seeing that the resources were available to meet the cost of developing the social services and that steps should be taken to encourage the production of wealth in the Colonies so that the development of social services might be advanced. Just when the hon. Member had made those remarks I had occasion to go to another part of the building and in my journey I came across a copy of one of to-day's evening papers. I studied the market page which is always of considerable interest to me, and it seemed to me that an answer to the problem which the hon. Gentleman had posed to the Committee was to be found in that page. The headline in thick black type was: Demand for Trinidad Oil Shares. It stated that there was a better tone in the market today. During the afternoon oil shares became brighter, the Trinidad group coming into favour. Last year when we were discussing this Vote, the Trinidad group was not in favour. The oil workers had been kicking up their heels and demanding better conditions and a Colonial Governor had supported them. He was recalled and a commission was appointed, and things have rather settled down, so that to-day we read that the market is much brighter and that Trinidad oils have come into favour. I also read: Gains were also registered by Unilever. I think they operate in the Colonial field. South African breweries reached the high figure of 106s. 3d. That seems to be pretty good. Then: Kaffirs sagged a little. But that is only temporary; they will recover. Rhodesian coppers were better and De Beers were"—

Sir E. Grigg

On a point of Order. Is the hon. Member entitled to discuss the value of shares in the Dominions during a Debate on the Colonial Office Vote?

The Temporary Chairman (Sir Cyril Entwistle)

I understood the hon. Member was only using this as an illustration.

Mr. Maxton

I am trying to reply to the hon. Gentleman's argument and it is most ungrateful of him, of all people, to intervene in that way. He raised the problem of how to finance social development in the Colonies. He thinks it is to be done by getting more industries developed. I suggest that if the wealth which is at present produced there by the workers were not transported to London—

Sir E. Grigg

There are no oil wells in East Africa.

Mr. Maxton

The hon. Gentleman's remarks were not limited to East Africa, and I have no doubt that on other days I might find something in the market pages about Kenya copper. The same problem arises all over the Colonies. Wealth is produced there, but all the profits of it come home here. I desire, however, to leave the general question of Colonial administration, having entered this caveat— that if the workers could get the wealth which they produce, they might be able to manage to have their social services and decent wages as well.

I wish to direct a few remarks to the problem of Sierra Leone. I received a cablegram last week addressed to me and to others in this House, about a great protest meeting against legislation that is being imposed by the Council in Sierra Leone. There had arisen a certain amount of discontent among the natives who were demanding better conditions and the first thing that was done was to clap two Labour leaders into gaol— in the name, I suppose of increasing democracy. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman, with his heredity and his earlier associations, will not believe that when a Labour movement begins to develop in any part of the Colonial Empire, it is something which must be stamped out at once. I hope he will not take the view that Labour agitators are poisonous people against whom Sedition Acts, and Deportation Acts, and anti-trade union Acts must be applied. I hope he will not regard as a satisfactory answer the Written Answer which he gave to-day to the hon. Member for the Isle of Ely (Mr. de Rothschild) and which the hon. Member has given me the opportunity of seeing. It seems to me to be just a little disingenuous to tell the House that this thing is all right, just because the Legislative Council has approved of it. This is a Legislative Council upon which there are only three elected representatives. The rest are official or nominated representatives, and they have approved an Order which denies to the trade unions the right of peaceful picketing and makes the trade union funds liable, as they were in this country in earlier days. That is the point round which one of the biggest trade union fights in this country centred — the liability of trade union funds for actions in the courts by employers. The principle which was established here is being denied in Sierra Leone. Then there is a Deportation Bill which entitles the authorities to seize anybody who is inconvenient—

It being Half-past Seven of the Clock, and there being Private Business set down by direction of the CHAIRMAN OF WAYS AND MEANS under Standing Order No. 6, further Proceeding was postponed, without Question put.