HC Deb 03 November 1949 vol 469 cc564-5
3. Mr. Parker

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations whether he will give an undertaking that His Majesty's Government will not transfer the Commission Territories to the Union of South Africa without the consent of their inhabitants.

Mr. Gordon-Walker

The policy of the United Kingdom Government in this matter remains as set out in the following passage on page 4 of an aide memoire handed to the Prime Minister of South Africa in 1935 (Command 4948). The passage reads as follows: His Majesty's Government will not make any decision until the native population and the white population have had full opportunity of expressing their views, and any views they may express, and any representations which either the native population or the white population may make to His Majesty's Government, will receive the most careful consideration before the Government come to any final decision in regard to the matter.

Dr. Haden Guest

Is it not the case that if the Territories were put in the charge of the South African Union the conditions of the people living there would badly deteriorate? I hope His Majesty's Government will refuse to allow this transfer to take place.

Mr. Gordon-Walker

I think that is a hypothetical question, and that we should not deal with it until the need arises.

Mr. Oliver Stanley

Is it not better to leave the matter to the satisfactory statement made on behalf of the Government, that there is to be no change in our policy?

Mr. Dumpleton

Have any steps been taken to obtain an expression of view from the population in the Territories?

Mr. Gordon-Walker

No, Sir; the question would not arise until the South African Government asked us to make the transfer.