HC Deb 08 July 1942 vol 381 c757
27. Mr. Riley

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has any information regarding the proposal to bring the Rhodesian railway system under public ownership and control; and whether he will consider, with a view to action, the importance of the railway system in Northern Rhodesia being placed under the control and authority of the Northern Rhodesian Government?

Mr. Harold Macmillan

On 3rd June the Legislative Assembly of Southern Rhodesia accepted a resolution that in the opinion of the Assembly the public transport system of the Colony should be acquired by the State. It is proposed that this matter should be raised at the Railway Conference which the three Governments interested in the Rhodesia railway system had previously agreed should be held to discuss certain other railway questions.

Mr. Riley

Does the Under-Secretary appreciate the importance of the railway system in Northern Rhodesia being under the control of the Northern Rhodesian Government to improve the condition of the employees in the service?

Mr. Macmillan

My hon. Friend will know that this is a very large and important question. It is to be discussed at the conference, and there will have to be a good deal of expert investigation and discussion before such a large question can be settled.

Mr. Mathers

Will the authority of my right hon. Friend's office be required, and will it be possible for him to lay down conditions with regard to the conditions under which the employees shall work?

Mr. Macmillan

Yes, Sir, but my hon. Friend will appreciate that this affects both Southern and Northern Rhodesia, and, therefore, affects both the Colonial Office and the Dominions Office.

Mr. John Dugdale

Will the House be informed before any action is taken?

Mr. Macmillan

Yes, Sir.