HC Deb 02 March 1949 vol 462 cc353-5
44. Mr. Ivor Thomas

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware of the indignation felt in East Africa at the report of the visiting mission of the Trusteeship Council to Tanganyika and, in particular, at the recommendation that European settlement should be curtailed; and whether he will give an assurance that this is not the policy of His Majesty's Government.

65. Colonel Ponsonby

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware of the serious repercussions on the economic development of East Africa of the statements appearing in the official report of the United Nations Organisation Visiting Mission to Tanganyika, issued in the United States of America on 8th November last and only now available in this country; and if he will define the attitude of the Government in this matter.

Mr. Creech Jones

The Visiting Mission's report on Tanganyika has not yet been considered by the Trusteeship Council itself. His Majesty's Government will be communicating to the Council their comments on the report at an early date. Meanwhile, I wish to state that the position as regards non-African settlement is as stated by the Governor in the Legislative Council on 7th March, 1946. His Majesty's Government are prepared to agree to schemes for non-African settlement in Tanganyika, on the understanding that the land in question is not required, or likely to be required, for African occupation, and that the schemes are economically sound. I recognise the value of non-African enterprise and that it must be viewed as an integral part of the development of the Territory as a whole. Some 100 farms had been taken up by settlers to the end of 1948 in accordance with this policy.

The report in question has, I understand, caused some apprehension in Kenya. I would again call attention to my statement in the House of Commons on 7th March, 1946, which sets out the policy of His Majesty's Government. I am sending copies of the two statements to both hon. Members.

Mr. Ivor Thomas

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for that reply, may I ask if he agrees that there need be no conflict between European communities and the Africans, but that advancement of the Africans will rather depend on European supervision for some time to come.

Mr. Creech Joness

As I have said, development in Tanganyika does depend on the co-operation of Europeans and Africans and there is no desire and no intention of departing from the policy already declared to the House in respect of the development of Tanganyika.

Mr. Stanley

Is there much help to be gained from the visit of a body whose advice, quite rightly, the Government are going to reject? Are we likely to get useful results from short visits to territories of this kind by people, many of whom have had no previous knowledge of problems of this kind?

Mr. Creech Jones

These visits are undertaken at the instance of the Trusteeship Council and it is for the administering authority to consider the recommendations made and then advise the Trusteeship Council as to the wisdom of accepting them. In this case I believe that a number of recommendations are not in accordance with our own policy and are recommendations we must oppose.

Colonel Ponsonby

Why it is that these recommendations were published in New York in November and were not available in this country for three months; and why were the recommendations subsequently not immediately denied or repudiated by His Majesty's Government, because the proposals, which were irresponsible, have done a great deal of harm, especially to the credit of Tanganyika?

Mr. Creech Jones

The report was that of the Visiting Committee of the Trusteeship Council, and obviously it had to be presented in New York. We are trying to obtain copies for the general information of the public here, but I am afraid that so far we have only been able to get hold of a limited number of copies. With regard to the procedure, it was not appropriate for us to comment on the report until it had been properly studied in consultation with the local Government. We shall be making a statement to the Trusteeship Council when the report is brought before it for consideration.

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