HC Deb 03 December 1946 vol 431 cc205-6
45. Mr. Driberg

asked the Prime Minister if he will give an assurance that His Majesty's Government will not assent to the incorporation in the Union of South Africa of Bechuanaland, Swaziland and Basutoland.

The Lord President of the Council (Mr. Herbert Morrison)

I have been asked to reply. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister stated in reply to my hon. Friend on 24th January, the position of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom is governed by pledges which are set out in the Parliamentary Paper Cmd. 4948. These are to the effect that, if any proposal for the transfer to the Union of the government of these territories, in terms of the South Africa Act, 1909, is put forward, the United Kingdom Government would not make any decision until the inhabitants of the territories, native and European, had been consulted, and until Parliament had been given an opportunity of expressing its views.

Mr. Driberg

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a South African Government spokesman in London recently stated that this issue would be raised as soon as the other South-West Africa issue had been disposed of; and would he, therefore, make that pledge about consulting the population of these territories a little more definite, in view of the unsatisfactory nature of the recent plebiscite?

Mr. Morrison

The South African Government, like any other Government, British or foreign, may I add, have a right to raise anything they want; that is their responsibility. But the pledges that were given by my right hon. Friend, and which I have repeated, are, I think, completely specific, and really ought to satisfy my hon. Friend.