HC Deb 03 July 1952 vol 503 cc591-2
1. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will specify how the recent grant of £500,000 to Bechuanaland, Basutoland and Swaziland is being applied to promote the social and economic welfare, and to foster the growth of representative institutions, there; what kind of local organisations have been set up for this purpose; and whether they are staffed by coloured or white officials.

The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. John Foster)

These additional funds, which supplement the grants, totalling £3¾ million, made under the earlier Colonial Development and Welfare Acts, have already been applied in part to an important project for the improvement of native agriculture in Basutoland, measures for the permanent control of foot and mouth disease in the Bechuanaland Protectorate and the improvement of road communications in Swaziland. Other schemes, all designed to improve the territories' economy, are in preparation.

The staffs employed on all these schemes include both Europeans and Africans. Special local organisations are unnecessary, except in certain schemes, e.g., rural development in Swaziland, for which teams composed jointly of Europeans and Africans are set up to work in consultation with informal committees of the local inhabitants.

Mr. Hughes

While thanking the Minister for that answer, may I ask if he agrees that, having regard to the great political and cultural advances which have been made in various parts of Africa during the last few years, no invidious distinctions should be made among the various parts of Africa, and that it is desirable that these territories should be enabled to keep pace with the other British territories in other parts of Africa?

Mr. Foster

Yes, Sir, I am in general agreement, but the hon. and learned Gentleman's Question is concerned with the funds. As regards the political side, I would refer him to the answer given to the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) on 15th November last.