HC Deb 14 November 1951 vol 493 cc983-5

The following Question stood on the Order Paper:

74. MR. DODDS-PARKER,—TO ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he has any statement to make on colonial policy.

The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Oliver Lyttelton)

With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I will reply to Question No. 74.

Certain broad lines of policy are accepted by all sections of the House as being above party politics. These have been clearly stated by my predecessors from both the main parties.

Two of them are fundamental. First, we all aim at helping the Colonial Territories to attain self-government within the British Commonwealth. To that end we are seeking as rapidly as possible to build up in each territory the institutions which its circumstances require. Second, we are all determined to pursue the economic and social development of the Colonial Territories so that it keeps pace with their political development.

I should like to make it plain at the outset that His Majesty's Government intend no change in these aims. We desire to see successful constitutional development both in those territories which are less advanced towards self-government and in those with more advanced constitutions. His Majesty's Government will do their utmost to help Colonial Governments and Legislatures to foster the health, wealth and happiness of the colonial peoples.

I hope, therefore, that however much there may from time to time be disagreement between us on details, all parties will be with me in agreeing on those ends.

Mr. James Griffiths

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman to realise that we on this side of the House shall fully support the policy of promoting self-government in all these Colonial Territories and the establishment of those conditions upon which democracy can be built? Would he kindly amplify the first of the two fundamental points he made in his reply, because I am sure he will realise that statements made on colonial policy are read in the territories all over the world. The right hon. Gentleman used the words: First, we all aim at helping the Colonial Territories to attain self-government within the British Commonwealth. Will he make it clear that in all multiracial communities it must include participation of all the people in those territories, irrespective of race, creed or colour?

Mr. Lyttelton

I think that in general terms I can accept what the right hon. Gentleman says.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

Is my right hon. Friend aware that his statement will give great satisfaction to those concerned with the maintenance of a national policy in this respect?

Air Commodore Harvey

On a point of order. In view of the bad news coming through almost daily from Malaya and of my right hon. Friend's impending visit to Malaya, would he consider answering Question No. 59 either today or at some other convenient date before he leaves for Malaya'?

Mr. Speaker

That is not a point of order, but no doubt the hon. and gallant Gentleman's point has been noted.