HC Deb 30 March 1950 vol 473 cc548-9
27. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what is the Government's policy towards the three Protectorates of Bechuanaland, Swaziland and Basutoland.

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

The general policy of the United Kingdom Government is to take all steps that are practicable to encourage the political development and economic advance of the three territories. As my hon. Friend is aware, considerable assistance has been, and is being, given by grants from the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund, and by the Colonial Development Corporation, in development and welfare schemes. Every suitable opportunity is taken to develop and improve the system of devolving appropriate functions and responsibilities on the native authorities.

Mr. Wyatt

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Prime Minister of South Africa has said that he will lay a claim on the British Government to have the Protectorate handed over to South Africa? Will he assure the House that the decision of the Government on the Seretse Khama case is not to be taken as a sign of further appeasement to South Africa on this issue also?

Mr. Gordon-Walker

The policy of the Government on the question of transfer of territories has been affirmed and reaffirmed on a number of occasions and, naturally, remains unaltered. It is that there could be no question of transfer until the inhabitants of the territories, both African and European, have been consulted, and until this House and Parliament have been given an opportunity of expressing their views.