HC Deb 15 July 1948 vol 453 c1386
21. Mr. Parker

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations whether it is still the policy of His Majesty's Government not to surrender the Protectorates of Bechuanaland, Swaziland and Basutoland to the South African Union without the consent of their inhabitants.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

The policy of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom was laid down in the Parliamentary Paper (Cmd. 4948) in which it was declared that the three High Commission Territories in South Africa would not be transferred until the inhabitants, both African and European, had been consulted, and until Parliament had been given an opportunity to express its views. That policy remains unchanged.

Mr. Parker

Is the Minister aware that there is very strong feeling on all sides of the House that no transfer of these territories should take place without the consent of the inhabitants?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I have told my hon. Friend what the pledges are. They have been repeated a number of times since 1945. I repeat them again today, and hope that this will satisfy my hon. Friend.

Mr. Chetwynd

Has my right hon. Friend any knowledge of whether the attitude of the new Government in South Africa to this matter is any more or any less hard-boiled than formerly?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I deprecate the use of such expressions. There have been no representations or indications of representations from the South African Government in recent times.