HC Deb 11 March 1948 vol 448 cc1425-6
107. Mr. Skinnard

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations whether he is aware that the Paramount Chief of the Hereros, now in Bechuanaland, has been informed by the administrative powers that there is insufficient land available in South-West Africa to absorb the Hereros from Bechuanaland; and what action is being taken to assist these people to return to their homeland.

The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. Gordon-Walker)

Yes, Sir. There are, as my hon. Friend is aware, about 15,000 Hereros in the Bechuanaland Protectorate. Their Chief recently asked the High Commissioner to inquire of the Government of the Union of South Africa whether they could return to their native country. The Government of the Union replied that there is not enough land to absorb them. In view of this reply, the question of action by the Administration of Bechuanaland does not arise.

Mr. Skinnard

Is it not unfortunate in the circumstances that this might be connected with the recent assumption of control over South-West Africa by the Union of South Africa?

Mr. Gordon-Walker

It would not be for me to say what are the motives in the mind of the Government of the Union. It is for them to say.