HC Deb 27 January 1947 vol 432 cc621-3

3.54 P.m.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee)

I beg to move, That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, on the occasion of His Majesty's departure for the Union of South Africa with Her Majesty the Queen and Their Royal Highnesses the Princess Elizabeth and the Princess Margaret, conveying to His Majesty an assurance that this House will follow Their journey with deep interest and loyal affection. The Motion which I am proposing this afternoon is similar to that which was submitted to the House, in 1939, on the occasion of the visit of Their Majesties The King and Queen to Canada and the United States. I know what deep satisfaction was felt in the Dominion and in the Republic then, and how lasting was the impression made. This week, Their Majesties, accompanied by Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, are sailing for South Africa. They are assured of a warm welcome on this their first visit overseas since the end of the war. They will be away from us for some weeks, and we shall feel their absence, but I am sure we all realise that it is a good thing that the peoples of other parts of His Majesty's Dominions should have the pleasure of their presence. I am confident that hon. Members in all parts of the House will desire to wish Their Majesties and the Princesses Godspeed upon their journey.

3.55 p.m.

Mr. Churchill (Woodford)

On behalf of His Majesty's Opposition, I cordially associate myself with the Motion which has been moved in appropriate terms by the Prime Minister. We all wish that Their Majesties and the Princesses may have a prosperous voyage and journey, and we are sure that their association with our South African fellow-citizens of every race will have an effect that cannot but be highly beneficial to the cohesion and progress of the British Empire, or the British Commonwealth of Nations. Their journey should be particularly interesting, 'not only on account of the South African scene, with all its varied and remarkable aspects, but also because South Africa is associated in history with one of those acts of statecraft, wisdom, and magnanimity which, above all others, has been crowned by lasting reward, and because one of the two great South African generals, General Botha and General Smuts—the survivor of those two and one of the greatest friends of progress and civilisation throughout the world—will be personally at hand to welcome Their Majesties and to conduct them on their journey.

3.57 p.m.

Mr. Clement Davies (Montgomery)

On behalf of my colleagues and myself, I desire to be associated with the Motion which has been so happily moved by the Prime Minister and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill). Their Majesties occupy a place in the affections of the people which has rarely been equalled and never excelled. His Majesty is the living symbol and embodiment of those unseen but very real spiritual bonds which bring together all the free nations of the world. Their Majesties and the Princesses take with them to the people of South Africa the good will and affection of us all in this country. One and all, we wish them God-speed.


Mr. Butcher (Holland with Boston)

After the speeches of the Prime Minister and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill) any further speeches might seem unnecessary. Since, however, my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Montgomery (Mr. Clement Davies) has spoken; and as representing a slightly larger group in the House, I wish to associate myself with the sentiments couched in such felicitous language from the two Front Benches, and to say that in no quarter in the House will Their Majesties' progress be watched with more loyal and keener interest than by those of us who sit here.

3.59 p.m.

Mr. Gallacher (Fife, West)

I have two reasons for dissociating myself from this Motion. I want to draw attention to the fact that the conditions of the negroes in South Africa are even worse than the conditions of the negroes in the South American States, and that the South African Government are proposing, in defiance of the United Nations, to take South-West Africa into the Union We stand by the United Nations.

Mr. Speaker

This has nothing to do with the Motion on the Order Paper.

Mr. Gallacher

I want to oppose the Motion.

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member must put forward a relevant reason, because acts by the South African Government are acts for which we are not responsible.

Mr. Gallacher

Let me finish the sentence. If we support this Motion we are encouraging, if not endorsing, the action of the South African Government in defying the United Nations

Mr. Speaker

The South African Government are responsible for their actions, and we have nothing to do with it.

Mr. Gallacher

I consider that this is the last place to which there should be an official mission of any kind at the present time, and I, therefore, oppose this Motion.

Question put, and agreed to, nemine contradicente.

Address to be presented by Privy Councillors or Members of His Majesty's Household.