HC Deb 10 December 1941 vol 376 cc1534-5
76. Mr. Creech Jones

asked the Undersecretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that members of the Legislative Council of Northern Rhodesia recently met the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia at Salisbury to discuss arrangements for a conference on amalgamation of the two territories early next year, such conference to consider a constitution for the territories, native representation and parliamentary machinery; whether the Governments of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland will be present or represented at the conference; and whether he can make a statement on this development?

Mr. George Hall

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given by the Undersecretary of State for Dominion Affairs on 9th December to his Question on this subject. That reply made it clear that the invitation from the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia was addressed to the unofficial communities of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. The Governments of these two Territories will not be present or represented at the conference, nor in any way committed to any conclusions which may be reached at the conference.

Mr. Creech Jones

Will my hon. Friend watch the development of this situation rather carefully, because this action is likely to arouse considerable feeling and disturbance in the areas concerned?

Mr. Hall

This matter is of such great importance that my Noble Friend will keep a watch on it.

Mr. Maxton

Did the Governor act in this matter with the approval of the Dominions Office, or on his own initiative?

Mr. Hall

This matter is, of course, one for the Dominions Office. Southern Rhodesia comes under that Department.

Mr. Maxton

Is not the Colonial Office interested?

Mr. Hall

I would not for one moment suggest that the Colonial Office is not interested, but, as I pointed out in my answer, the Colonial Office was not represented at the conference and was not asked for any intervention in this matter.

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