§ 3.44 p.m.
§ Mr. James Johnson (Rugby)
I beg to move, in page 1, line 5, at the beginning, to insert:As soon as a majority of the inhabitants of all races within each of the Territories concerned has decided in favour thereof.On 9th April there was a referendum in Southern Rhodesia, in which 25,570 people voted in favour of federation and 14,729 voted against it. This has apparently given the Secretary of State the all-clear for the federation of Nyasaland and the Rhodesias. I would point out that only 429 Africans were qualified to vote as against over 49,000 Europeans, in connection with a scheme that will settle the future of over 6 million Africans in Central Africa.
I do not wish to quote Sir Godfrey Huggins in connection with his statements since the referendum—time and tact would forbid—but if it is a good thing to test the opinion of the 49,000 Europeans in this part of Africa it is also good that we should know what the Africans think about their future under this scheme. We on the Labour benches have always been consistent in our views upon this matter, and we have been scoffed at by the Secretary of State for what he has termed the negation of leadership on this side.
38 On 4th March, 1952, in the debate on the scheme, the Secretary of State quoted the old French text:We are their leaders provided that we follow them.That may be so, but where is British leadership in Central Africa if the Africans do not follow us in this particular context? The Labour Party have always been consistent in this matter. I can quote the former Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, who said —in the debate we had in July—that the overall thing was to gain the confidence of the Africans. That was the crux of the matter, and it would be a bad thing if we were literally to force federation down the throats of the Africans without their consent.
There was a chance of federation by consent after the Victoria Falls Conference, but the impetus was afterwards lost, and there was an unfortunate delay at the end of the year. The Africans expressed their fears—which I think will prove well founded—that Her Majesty's Government would go through with this scheme whatever opposition they showed in the following months or years. In the event they have been shown to be correct. Let the Government show their sincerity in this matter by testing the feelings of the Africans upon this scheme. At one time assurances were given. Why change?
It is probably within the recollection of the Committee that my right hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Dugdale) at one stage in the debate last July asked the Secretary of State why there had to be so much haste in this matter. He asked for an assurance, which was given, that federation would not be imposed without the consent of the Africans. I think the point was later followed up by the Leader of the Liberal Party, who made it so startlingly clear that the Secretary of State said, "Please do not put words into my mouth," or words to that effect. It was so embarrassingly clear that the right hon. Gentleman said, "Please do not put too many words into my mouth."
We now have a new scheme, and the Africans are even less enamoured of it, but the Government still plough on, going ahead like a juggernaut. I do not think this is good enough for the Africans —never mind good enough for the 39 Labour Members of the House. The Secretary of State has always shut his eyes to the overwhelming extent of the opposition in this matter, and when the Minister of State went to Africa he must have shut his ears as well, because he came back with quite unusual views about the extent of the opposition. I do not wish to bandy words with the Minister across the Floor of the Committee, but in another place two noble Lords, Lord Hailey and Lord Hemingford, clearly recognised the opposition and recognised that there is almost 99 per cent. African opposition to this plan. Even the "Daily Telegraph," which is not a Socialist newspaper, said, in a leader on 8th April, that African opposition was overwhelmingly lined up solidly against the scheme.
First of all, Nyasaland has always been against federation. Even at Victoria Falls their representatives were coaxed to discuss it only by the eloquence of the former Secretary of State. Northern Rhodesia has always been somewhat cagey in the matter, but their representatives said they would consider federation if—and these were the important words—there was an agreed definition of partnership, whatever that might mean, when it came to be worked out. Various delegations have been over here; we have met them, enjoyed their company and felt their sincerity in this matter. We know that delegations have been over here both before and during the Coronation.
I therefore say to the Secretary of State that if he denies that there is this overwhelming opposition, let him test the views of the Africans in this matter and test the sincerity of the African leaders. Let him sound the feelings of the millions who are behind the leaders in the Nyasaland Protectorate Council and the Northern Rhodesia Congress.
A point which bears most weight with hon. Members on these benches, and I hope it will bear some weight with the benches opposite—because all of us, Conservative, Liberal or Labour, are all liberal, with a small "I," deep down on matters of human rights and liberties and dignity for those people for whom we are guardians in Africa—is that any agreement decided under duress is no agreement at all. The African Members have walked out of the Assembly at Lusaka in 40 Northern Rhodesia and even Mr. Moffat and Mr. Nightingale have testified in this matter. Mr. Moffat's action must have been a shock to the Secretary of State who, if I may again use the vernacular, slapped down my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) in the last debate when my right hon. Friend was quoting Mr. Moffat's views and actions.
We feel that if this scheme of federation is adopted it must carry the confidence of the Africans or it will be unworkable. The Nyasaland Protectorate Council have held a meeting and have decided unanimously that they will have a non-co-operation campaign, will boycott European shops, will not take employment with Europeans, and in every way possible, as the Indian model, will show their displeasure. If this nonviolent, non-co-operation campaign is carried out, the Africans cannot but win the sympathy of both sides of the House and the respect of all liberal, decent-thinking people. I say this advisedly— as long as there is no violence it deserves our sympathy. If we push the scheme down their throats too hard, we must realise that it is not merely politically foolish, even politically infantile, but also morally indefensible.
The test of any kind of constitutional development such as this is whether it will increase good will between white and black in this multi-racial Commonwealth which we are slowly but painfully evolving. I do not think it will. At the moment I fear it will not, because of all the portents I see about me. Mutual confidence is being destroyed by the actions of this Government. I fear that their actions may erode the foundations of future social and economic development, if they persist in them.
Why are they doing it? Why are they persisting in the imposition of this scheme? I shall be quite blunt about it. They are doing it because they think they can get away with it. May I compare the position in Africa with that in the West Indies? A federation scheme is also to be adopted in the West Indies. I am the first to admit that in the West Indies it will be federation by consent—but not consent by all. The two mainland Colonies, British Honduras and British Guiana, are not coming in.
41 Do we talk of making them come into the federation in the same way as we talk of making Nyasaland come into the Central African Federation? Of course not. Why do we not? Because, to be quite candid, Honduras and Guiana are politically mature, more politically advanced. They do not want to come in and it would be difficult to force them in although we know that economic facts are as demonstrable in this case as in the case of Central Africa. The mainland is needed for emigration, of workers from the islands, just as we talk of Nyasaland labour being needed over the Zambesi to work in the mines and plantations of Southern Rhodesia. We can argue just as good an economic case about Honduras and Guiana, as in Central Africa.
If it is said in the matter of suffrage that we cannot take the views of the Africans, I will point to the example of West Africa. There are people in West Africa, particularly on the Gold Coast and in Nigeria, who have voted and who are no better or worse in this matter of political literacy than people in Nyasaland or Northern or Southern Rhodesia. I do not see that the Government's argument here holds good if we consider whether or not to hold some kind of referendum among the native population of Central Africa.
No one can know, and I can only say what I fear; and I fear that federation will be disastrous if it is imposed at this time and under these conditions against the obviously demonstrable opinion of the African people. I hope that it does not become an implacable opposition, but at the moment there is no doubt that it is a unanimous opposition, particularly in Nyasaland. I feel that the human dignity of the Africans must be observed and, in my last words, I say that if a referendum is good enough for the Europeans, let us have some kind of referendum also for the Africans.
§ 4.0 p.m.
§ Mrs. Eirene White (Flint, East)
We are once more debating a matter of serious principle. Although it has been discussed previously we are perfectly justified in protesting once more about the unwisdom of trying to carry out this federal scheme without having secured the consent and approbation of at least a very large proportion of the inhabitants 42 of the territories. One would hardly expect unanimity on any question of such magnitude, but to carry out this proposal without having taken steps to try to ensure the consent of at least the majority of the people concerned will, it seems to me, lead us on a path that will bring us to extreme difficulties.
We have already seen in Northern Rhodesia and in Nyasaland the beginning of the breakdown of confidence between the people and the Administration, a breakdown which is directly due to this method of procedure whereby a question which those people may not fully understand, but which they deeply feel is in some respects detrimental to them, is being pressed on without their consent. I cannot help feeling that this breakdown in confidence is likely to be the most immediate serious result of the imposition of federation.
Hitherto, more particularly, perhaps, in Nyasaland, there has been a very deep sense of trust between the Africans and the representatives of the Government. The Africans in Nyasaland have in the past been particularly inclined to feel that the representatives of the Government were their counsellors, their friends, concerned wholeheartedly for their welfare. There are clear signs that this relationship has been very seriously impaired, and that, far from regarding the Government as their friends, the Africans are already beginning to regard the Government as their enemies.
We have had very recently an instance about which we hope to question the right hon. Gentleman tomorrow, the banishment of Chief Gomani, a senior chief of some 32 years' standing. I do not wish to go into the details of that, except to point out this. When there is a chief of such long standing and service, who has hitherto been regarded as a loyal chief and a loyal servant of the Government, and he feels so strongly that something is being done to the detriment of his people without their consent that he embarks upon action that, I think, is not compatible with the position of a chief, and gives advice to his people that they should disregard Government ordinances, clearly he must have been very deeply moved indeed. From personal accounts one has had from people who have been with him recently, it is clear that he has been deeply moved by what has been 43 occurring, and that he and his people feel obliged to take measures to protest against the Government that are the only ways open to them to express feelings which they are unable to express by any other method, for those people have no franchise.
It seems to me that this is the kind of protest that will grow. We are bound to have these protests. Perhaps they will be sporadic at first, but they are likely to come in increasing volume, with incidents here and there, maybe by only a few people, maybe by only young people, but maybe by senior chiefs. However, I foresee a situation in which a large number of people will ultimately feel obliged to take action because they have no other method of protest and because their consent has not been obtained. I foresee a situation in which, as a result of that action, the Government will feel obliged to take punitive measures. So we shall start in these Territories a whole series of incidents, or protests, of action possibly legal, possibly illegal, which in turn will lead to a train of punitive actions on the part of the Government which may in some cases lead to the deposition of chiefs, possibly to the banishment of chiefs.
If that happens, the whole tribal structure will break down, and the whole basis on which hitherto the government has been conducted will break down. It seems to me that this course upon which the Government apparently are determined to proceed will inevitably lead to the kind of results I have envisaged. If we impose on people something which they feel in their inmost hearts is detrimental to them and their children, if they have no constitutional methods of protest available to them, they will resort to extra-constitutional methods. I cannot see how persons of spirit and independence can be expected to do otherwise.
Therefore, it is not simply academic to suggest that in proceeding with this scheme, without having first obtained a large measure of consent to it among the peoples concerned, the Government must face the fact that they are embarking upon a course which will lead to a long series of incidents, of protests, and a long story of persons hitherto loyal becoming disloyal, becoming cynical, possibly being deported, and put on trial; and 44 that the net result of this course will be a breakdown of confidence in the Administration.
Once that has happened, once there is no longer the feeling on the part of the Africans that the Government are their friends, the prospects for further development in those Territories will be very much less rosy than those persons who have advocated federation on economic grounds have supposed, because if we cannot get the willing collaboration of the workers on which the economic developments depend, the economic improvements will at least be delayed and possibly entirely thwarted. The Africans, having a very low standard of living, have at least the advantage that, if they choose to withhold their labour, they can still subsist in a way in which it is not possible for Europeans to do.
There is an indication that Africans will be discouraged from going to work outside their territories. Not only in the Union of South Africa but in Northern Rhodesia, and to some extent in Southern Rhodesia, too, industries are dependent on migrant labour, and if the chiefs are able to persuade their peoples to withhold their labour, though their own standard of living will thereby be diminished, if they are steadfast they may be able to make things extremely difficult for the industries which are dependent upon migrant labour.
It may be said that nothing should be said by those of us who have constantly opposed the imposition of federation to encourage such people, I try to put myself in the place of an African who feels in his heart, as I am certain many of these people in Nyasaland do, that what is proposed to them is not for their benefit, and I am certain that, having no constitutional avenue of protest, having attempted to send delegations and to submit petitions which have been ignored, and having attempted action in a court of law which may or may not succeed, the outcome of which we are not certain at the moment, when all these things failed I myself would feel that I would take any nonviolent action open to me to make it clear that I did not agree with what had been put upon me by a Government without my consent, or without the consent of at least the majority of those with whom I consorted.
45 I understand that at the present time Africans are being advised that there is no point in discussing this matter any further, that it has already been settled, and that they should therefore now quietly accept it all; that they should not try to get any better safeguards; that they should not try to protest against any of the individual conditions in federation; that they should not even try, presumably, to have partnership implemented as they had indicated they wished to have it implemented at the original Victoria Falls Conference. They are to say nothing; they are to keep quiet; they are not to discuss the matter any further. In other words, we are to assume their acquiescence, having failed to attain their assent.
I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman by what authority notices have been issued anticipating the decision of this House upon this matter? As he is no doubt aware, the district commissioner in Blantyre and, I believe, other district commissioners in Nyasaland have issued public notices to native authorities with orders that the notices should be displayed, saying "It is now certain that the law making federation will be passed on its Third Reading in the British Parliament."
§ The Chairman
While I might allow the hon. Lady to raise this point on the Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," it does not arise on this Amendment.
§ Mrs. White
I bow to your Ruling, Sir Charles. I will attempt to adduce my arguments when we reach that stage.
The point I feel I am entitled to make is that it is quite unreasonable to expect people whose consent has not been obtained to acquiesce in something which they believe is to their detriment. It is not as though under the provisions of the federal scheme they will have very much hope of making their voices adequately heard in the future. If there were, one might more willingly try to prevail upon them to accept the scheme, even though they themselves did not care for it.
As we shall be discussing representation, and so on, later I will not labour that now, but it is perfectly clear to those who have had correspondence with Africans in these territories, and have bad first-hand reports from persons who 46 have recently been there, that there is still the most serious disquiet among the Africans concerned, and that they have been by no means reconciled, despite the efforts of District Commissioners to the provisions outlined by Her Majesty's Government; they are still fearful of what may come, and apart from the one indication, which we are very glad to have confirmed, that the university is to be multi-racial—which, after all, will affect only a small minority—they have had no evidence of the implementation of partnership, which many of us in this Committee have urged as a preliminary to federation, and which their own representatives asked for so strongly at the Victoria Falls Conference. It is for those reasons that we support this Amendment.
§ 4.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Leslie Hale (Oldham, West)
On a point of order. May I seek your guidance, Sir Charles? I understood it might be the view of the Committee that the Amendment standing in my name and in the names of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing), my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) and my hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly), might be discussed with this Amendment. When my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) commenced his speech in moving the Amendment there was a great deal of noise in the Chamber because it was just at the conclusion of Questions and I did not hear whether any announcement was made from the Chair or not. I am not sure whether we are discussing only the Amendment which has been moved or the Amendment to which I have just referred as well.
§ The Chairman
I did not make an announcement, but I think it might be for the convenience of the House if we discussed the three Amendments standing in the name of the hon. and learned Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hector Hughes)—in page 1. line 5, after "Majesty," insert:on a day, not being earlier than one year after the passing of this Act;in page 1, line 6, after "provide," insert:as from an appointed day, not being less than one year after the date of the said Order in Council;47 and in page 1, line 8, at end insert:(i) declare that the Executive Government and Authority of and over "the Territories" shall continue and be vested in the Queen;the two Amendments standing in the name of the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale)—in page 1, line 5, at end insert:after due consultation with all interested parties and after making appropriate provision for the hearing of representations from all interested parties by Her Majesty's Ministers;in page 2, line 6, after "amend," insert:after due consultation with all parties interested and after making due and proper provision for the hearing by Her Majesty's Ministers of all persons concerned;and the Amendment standing in the name of the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) in page 2, line 38, at end add:(5) No order proposed to be made under subsection (1) of this section shall be submitted to Her Majesty in Council until the opinion of the International Court at the Hague has been obtained on the question as to whether such proposed order is in abrogation or in contravention of the agreements under which the Chieftains of the said territories sought the protection of Her Majesty.
§ Mr. John Dugdale (West Bromwich)
We are indeed faced with a most extraordinary situation. On the face of it this Amendment would seem to me the most harmless and ordinary kind of Amendment one could have. It simply asks that the consent of the inhabitants shall be obtained before certain action is taken. Could anything be more reasonable than that? It is an extraordinary state of affairs to find such a reasonable Amendment being opposed by the Government. I know that this has been discussed at considerable length on Second Reading and that the point has been gone into, but there are two matters to which I should like to refer.
First, are we right in saying that there is very strong opposition? In a case such as this, it is necessary that the opposition which has been expressed should be put on record in HANSARD, and I therefore propose, if I may, to quote one or two examples of this opposition. I would refer particularly to the opposition in Nyasaland, because although the opposition in Southern Rhodesia is strong I think we may say that the opposition in Nyasaland is, if anything, even stronger.
48 What is this opposition? What is the extent of it? How far does it go? Let us take, for instance, the Conference of Chiefs. The Conference of Nyasaland Chiefs must surely be a body of some importance. The Government cannot possibly disregard it; they cannot say it is not representative. It is at any rate representative of the chieftain system. They say:This Conference of Chiefs reaffirms the decision that African people of Nyasaland reject Federation in principle and condemn the propaganda being carried on by the so-called Round Table talks, presided over by responsible Government Officers, directed at persuading Africans to accept Federation and ask that these talks be 'discontinued forthwith'.If that is not opposition, I do not know what is. It is opposition by a responsible body of chiefs, not by some vague body of odd politicians who have collected from somewhere. That is the first case, but it is not the only one.
The Central Body of the Nyasaland African Congress said on 1st January of last year:We the African people of Nyasaland have always been opposed to any suggestion, move, or scheme for a closer political union of Southern Rhodesia and our country.We opposed proposals for amalgamation in 1938.We now oppose the proposals for Federation, either as embodied in the London Conference Report, or in any other form. And we will oppose any suggestion, proposal, move or scheme for any form of closer political association with Southern Rhodesia.I am not at the moment arguing the merits of what they say. I am simply arguing that these people themselves say quite clearly that they are against federation. They are representative people in Nyasaland and it is important that their view should be considered. But they are not the only people.
I quote again from the African Protectorate Council for Nyasaland— another body of very great importance. Indeed, I think that one can say that it is the highest African governing body. They say:This Council has read very carefully the suggestions contained in the White Paper on Federation of the three Central African Territories and finds that it cannot accept the scheme.That is another very definite statement by a responsible body. These bodies state that they are strongly opposed to the scheme and cannot possibly accept it.
49 One could go on at great length quoting body after body, but I have only taken some of the most important ones. I should like to quote one statement, not by a representative body but by an individual man, and I do so for a particular reason. It is a statement made by one of the African delegates, Mr. O. E. Chirwa from Nyasaland. Speaking at Church House on 9th May, 1952, he said:I want to start from the fact that we want to remain under the Colonial Office. Some people may think we are fools but I feel that the British Empire and the British Government should be proud of their Colonial Office.What does the Colonial Secretary say to that? Here are people who want to remain under the Colonial Office, not just in a vague way through the safeguards proposed to be set up under this Bill, but who want to remain under the Colonial Office in the way in which they remained under it before.
They say that they are proud of the administration of the Colonial Office. I think that the Colonial Secretary ought to be glad to have this testimony of people who are not asking to break away from British rule but are asking to keep under British rule and, in particular, under the rule of the Colonial Office over which the right hon. Gentleman presides. I ask him, Is he not impressed that they want to continue under the rule of the Colonial Office?
The right hon. Gentleman may say that these people are ignorant, that they know nothing about it at all, that they have been misled. I should like, if I may, to quote from a letter which has been sent by the Rev. Andrew B. Doig to my hon. Friend the Member for Gravesend (Sir R. Acland). What does he say? The Rev. Doig is a member of the Church of Scotland Mission from Zomba, Nyasaland, and he is a member of the Nyasaland Legislative Council, a man in Central Africa of very considerable distinction. He says:It is sheer folly or worse to suggest that a different approach by the District Administration would have altered the Africans' opinion on Federation.That is a suggestion which the right hon. Gentleman has made, and which, I think, the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs has also made—that somehow or other if only the district officers had been 50 allowed to put the Government's point of view from the start in favour of federation the situation would have been different, and that it was due to the fact that they did not put their point of view that the Africans do not understand federation. That is a point which has constantly been made by the right hon. Gentleman. Mr. Doig says:There has been no change in the Africans' attitude towards the question since the time of the Bledisloe Commission. Each time it has been broached there has been an immediate and strong reaction. The district officers knew this only too well and were extremely careful when the later schemes were first brought forward. It was not just that they had been told to put forward the scheme without comment for or against. They felt they should not really have been asked to handle it, many of them realising that they would lose the confidence and respect of the people if they advanced federation.That is a very serious statement. It is a statement which says that the British Government by their action have been responsible for the loss of confidence in the district officers and loss of confidence in the civil servants, who for years have been respected by the African people. It is a very serious thing that the Government are so determined to bring in this scheme of federation that they even risk the African people losing the confidence which they previously had in the district officers. I hope that they will think twice about this.
It is a serious thing they should have caused a state of affairs in which the district officers, who have been previously respected, should be suspect to Africans because they are forced by the Government to put forward a scheme in direct opposition to everything for which the people of Nyasaland—and the same can be said for the people of Northern Rhodesia—stand. Mr. Doig says:The Africans have their own ideas perfectly clear and that opinion has been formed over a period of years.It is that they are strongly opposed to federation beause it means an alliance, a joining together, with countries which have a totally different way of life from theirs. We all know how much we should object as a nation being allied to countries with a totally different life to ours. The countries may have a totalitarian way of life and, quite apart from whether that way of life is good or bad, it is something completely different from our own. The people of Nyasaland and 51 the people of Northern Rhodesia—and particularly the people of Nyasaland— follow a way of life which is so different from that of the people of Southern Rhodesia that they do not want to be allied to it. The latter have views, laws and colour bar restrictions which are totally different from many of those which exist today in Nyasaland. The people of Nyasaland do not want to be associated with countries so different from their own.
I would ask that these points be taken into consideration, and I would ask, as my hon. Friend said in moving the Amendment, that we take the same note of the opinions expressed by the Africans as we have taken of the opinions expressed by the Europeans. In Southern Rhodesia we do not say "It does not matter what the Europeans there think." We do not say, "We shall make this decision regardless of what they think." I know that we could not have said so. But even if we could, I think that the right hon. Gentleman would have taken the opinion of the Europeans in Southern Rhodesia had he been responsible for them. In the case of the Africans, we do not bother about them. We say, "Here are a lot of people; we do not care what they think; and what we have decided is good enough for them whatever they may feel."
We on this side do not think that is good enough. We think that these people are individuals whose wishes, thoughts, hopes and fears it is our duty to pay attention to, just as we would pay attention to the hopes, fears, and thoughts of people in our own country. It is said, "After all, they are not intelligent; they do not know what is going on." If I may say so, there are occasionally some people, even in the United Kingdom, who do not know all the issues of an election, and yet we pay attention to their views. We pay attention to the views of people, many of whom have not studied the subject very deeply. Why should we not do the same in the case of the African people?
I hope that even at this time the Gov-ment will reconsider their decision, and I would ask them this: Will the Secretary of State tell us of any precedent for the imposition of a new constitution, not just under the Colonial Office, but a new constitution a large part of which is to be entirely severed from the Colonial Office, 52 upon a people who are unwilling to accept it?
§ Mr. Archer Baldwin (Leominster)
The Amendment which we are discussing is very much in line with the action taken by the Opposition throughout the many debates which we have had on federation. The supporters of this Amendment have not, if I may say so, had much practical experience of that part of the world, otherwise they would not put forward the arguments which they have done. I would rather accept the views of the Socialist Members who were my colleagues on the deputation that spent some five weeks in Central Africa, in view of the number of meetings which were held and the views expressed to them by all shades of opinion.
I want to say a word about Nyasaland. It was in Nyasaland, which was the last of the Territories that we visited, that we had the most unpleasant and what might have been a dangerous meeting with representatives of the Africans. The meeting was held at Blantyre. It was the wish of the provincial commissioner that it should be a meeting with local Africans, but when we arrived the commissioner told us that the African Congress leaders wished to be present and he thought that, for the sake of peace and quietness, they should be allowed to attend. In view of what happened when we met I am sure his advice was sound. The meeting was held in an open shed and outside gathered a number of Africans who were apparently there for trouble if they were stirred up.
Therefore, the opposition that we had was mainly from Nyasaland. The African Congress is very strong in Nyasaland. The Congress is ruled by a few Africans who have only one wish and that is to delay federation, for they know that if federation is not accepted now it will never take place and then they will remain under the Colonial Office, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Dugdale) said. Their view is that in due course the Colonial Office will permit a "Gold Coast" in Nyasaland, which is their only desire. The Congress is out not for federation or partnership, but for domination by the black over the white.
It is not true that there is no opinion except that against federation. I propose 53 to quote three representatives of the church in Southern Rhodesia. The Rev. O. D. Ramnshu, an African Methodist Minister, wrote to the "Buluwayo Chronicle":It is not correct to say that all Africans in this country (Southern Rhodesia) are opposed to federation. It would be true to say that some vocal African leaders are influencing the uninformed African masses to reject federation in toto. … Even among these vocal leaders, very few of them would refuse to stand as candidates for the Federal Parliament. … On the day of the Referendum I voted 'Yes' for federation. Now is the time to look forward; we cannot live in isolation.The Bishop of Mashonaland wrote to the "Church Times" on 6th March:I would venture my opinion, based on personal and intimate experience, that here in Southern Rhodesia wrongs have been righted, and other wrongs are on the way to being righted, in a far shorter period of time than it has taken Britain to right its injustices and its failures to fulfil the Charter on Human Rights….The Rev. Percy Ibbotson, writing to the "Methodist Recorder," said:The vast majority of Africans in Central Africa know very little about federation and are not interested in it, and the reason for this is not far to seek. It is that very few of them indeed can intelligently assess the advantages and disadvantages of federation. … The overwhelming majority of Africans are still semi-primitive in thought and life, even though they may have the outward veneer of more civilised living.
The hon. Member has given us examples of people who, he says, are against federation. Can he give us examples in the case of Africans in either Northern Rhodesia or Nyasa-land?
§ Mr. Baldwin
I am giving examples of those who are in favour of federation and not against it. I have given three examples from Southern Rhodesia because Southern Rhodesia has been attacked more than either of the other two Territories during all our debates. It is quite unfair that such statements should be made about a territory which has done more to bring Africans from their primitive state towards civilisation than any other part of the Continent of Africa.
Let us be practical about this. What do hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite think will happen if federation does not come about now? Shall we not have people like Chief Gomani and the Rev. Michael Scott going around the districts stirring up the primitive minds and shall 54 we not have passive resistance and civil disobedience in the years ahead until federation is again put forward? What happens when there is civil disobedience and passive resistance? Eventually, there is bloodshed, such as we have had in other countries. Before they carry this matter any further, I hope that the Opposition will realise what may be the effect of rejecting federation now. If the agitators are not allowed to stir up trouble, federation will come about, and the Africans will accept it and benefit from it.
I strongly object to the Amendment. The time has come for federation. It is not true that it is being rushed. The matter has been discussed in the form of amalgamation or federation for 20 years, and the present scheme has been before the Africans for two years. The scheme is the result of the advice of a body set up by the Socialist Government, and it favoured federation and said that it should take place as soon as possible. I would sooner accept the views of that body than the views of those who have never been near the Continent and now say that there should be some delay.
§ Mr. Hale
The hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. Baldwin) has made three propositions. One of them I always find impressive, and I shall refer to it later. The remaining propositions seem wholly indefensible.
His second proposition was that it is not right to consult six million Africans about their views but it is right for him to quote three Africans who disagree with the six million. It is an absolute negation of democracy that he should ask the Committee to take note of the opinions of an African Minister, who has written to a newspaper, without knowing who he is or anything about him, and not to favour taking any opportunity of consulting all the other Africans who are concerned, some of them very deeply.
His next point was a very distressing one. He talked about the Rev. Michael Scott, whose name is respected, I should have thought, wherever peace, understanding and tolerance in colonial affairs are matters of concern.
§ Mr. Baldwin
I did not wish to say anything derogatory about the Rev. Michael Scott. I have met him and I know he is sincere, but he is quite unpractical.
§ Mr. Hale
I am obliged to the hon. Member; I shall not pursue that.
The hon. Member used the phrase "stirring up." His definition of "stirring up" is probably "to express a view opposed to his own." That is the sort of view which is held on the Government benches. The view of hon. Members opposite is that one should say to the Africans, "Be good boys and take this, because everything may come all right in the end," adding, for safety, "We have for 20 years been saying that everything will come right and it has not come right because of our preoccupations in Europe with the rise of Hitler, and so on, and it has been difficult for us to carry out our promises." If it is said, "We still believe it will come right" that is all right, but if it is said, "We are not sure that it will come right in the end. We are a little distressed at some of the things that are being said by the whites in Southern Rhodesia," that is "stirring up."
The hon. Member for Leominster was one of those who said that the Labour Party ought to have taken every opportunity in the early stages of informing African opinion. We now know the definition of "informing African opinion." It is to tell the Africans what to do and that they have to do it and be good about it; it is a question not of consultation or advice but of telling them where they get off and how they do it.
The hon. Member made one point which I always find impressive. He said that hon. Members do not know enough about Africa, that many of the hon. Members who sit here discussing these questions are inexperienced, that many have never lived in Africa and have never endured the conditions there. I think that is true. Sir Godfrey Huggins, in a rather less elegant form, put the matter in much the same way when he said that these matters have to be decided by people who are more concerned with the drains in Shoreditch than the great territories in Africa.
It is unfortunate, but it is one of the legacies of a Colonial Empire. It is one of the duties which is thrust upon us. We have to act as good stewards and honest trustees. If the hon. Member suggests that this Parliament should sit in Blantyre or in Bulawayo, I would support it with all my power. It is right 56 that we should take every opportunity to get to know more about colonial affairs. It is wrong that little, limited delegations should be sent to Africa to study these things, and often they are organised on the basis of good party men rather than on the basis of hon. Members keenly interested in African affairs.
If the hon. Member would go further and say that while we are there we should live in the Ashanti huts which are devised for Africans and which are a disgrace to our Empire and under the conditions which Africans have to endure, I shall support him wholeheartedly. I would be very willing to see what is the effect upon our minds of enduring those conditions and thereby achieving a real understanding, because the only way to achieve a full understanding of the position is by enduring, sharing, tolerating and bearing the experiences of these people.
That is all I wish to say about this feature of the hon. Member's speech, an hon. Member to whom I listen with respect because he speaks with sincerity about these matters. I would only add this, and in doing so I do not wish it to be thought that I am doing so offensively. I have no objection to private enterprise or to private planning in their proper places, but it is unfortunate that many of the speeches to which we have to listen in a debate such as this come from people who have financial interests in Africa.
§ Mr. Baldwin
I have not the slightest interest in Africa at all except that some of my relatives are in Government service in Kenya. I have not one penny piece invested in Africa.
§ Mr. Hale
I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman, but I had not quits finished my sentence. I was not suggesting anything against the hon. Gentleman.
There is nothing dishonourable about having investments in Africa, and I am not suggesting that there is. It is right, too, that hon. Members who have investments in Africa should contribute from their knowledge to these debates, knowledge gained by having some experience of fanning or business conditions in the Colonial Empire. It is a very good thing to invest money in the Colonial Empire if on the right terms and not in the form of exploitation, but I say it is a great pity that so many of the speeches on Africa 57 from hon. Members on the other side come from people with a financial interest in that country and who have only one form of experience, that of employers.
We one this side of the Committee take the view that it is not always the employer who understands and is best qualified to represent the workman. I do not want to go any further into that, because I have not the slightest desire to make this debate highly controversial. It is very important that we should approach these matters with reserve, but, at the same time, with frankness.
The Amendment to page 1, line 5, which stands in my name and that of my hon. Friend, reads:At end, insert 'after due consultation with all interested parties and after making appropriate provision for the hearing of representations from all interested parties by Her Majesty's Ministers'.This Amendment is consequential to the one we are now discussing. Both of them have practically the same meaning although put into the Clause at different stages, but our Amendment raises a separate and complementary issue. It raises one of the fundamental rights of these people and, indeed, the people of all British territories, the right of petitioning the Crown.
This Bill proposes to delegate the whole of our power to the Privy Council. It will have passed through Parliament before we are acquainted with the terms of the Order to be made by the Privy Council or considered by it. We shall not see it in detail at all except in the sense that we shall have one collective discussion on the document as a whole without the power of amendment.
In the main, we lose all power over it. We cannot petition against it because we cannot amend it. It is to be an Order against which the people will have no right to petition, and, indeed, there is not any procedure that I know of for petitioning against it under those conditions. The result will be that whatever happens when the Bill passes this House, whatever representations are sought to be made from the Territories, whatever the organisation formed by the six million people concerned to make representations, so far as I am aware we shall have lost entirely any power to preserve their right to represent or any power to hear the 58 representations which they wish to make. When the Bill is passed the power is delegated, and we have lost our rights of improvement or amendment. That is the position we are now called upon to face.
This is a lamentable position, and it is made a good deal more lamentable by something else—an interjection which was made during the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White). When my hon. Friend was speaking she mentioned the fact that it had been said that we must not go on discussing this matter because it had been discussed so often before. At this stage of her speech there was an interjection from the opposite side of the Committee expressing complete approval with that point of view, and I apprehend that that sort of view will be put forward again in the course of this debate. I think we should consider what it means.
It is one of the curiosities and difficulties of our Constitution that, in the main, the Crown's power of treaty making is vested in the Cabinet, and this House has only the right to say "Aye" or "Nay." Occasionally, it is not even given that right even when the treaty is made and then the House has only the inherent right to turn out the Government if it disapproves the treaty. It may very well be that the Secretary of State for the Colonies will argue that to some extent these agreements with a self-governing Colony and with the Protectorates are something in the nature of a treaty. But I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will not go further and say, as some of hi$ colleagues and some of the Press have been saying, that they should not be discussed further.
A periodical called "Time and Tide" has suggested that the Opposition are wasting their time putting down Amendments to this Bill because this matter has been discussed already, agreement was been come to, and we have to go forward. What is the duty and what is the function of Parliament in relation to six million people for whom we are trustees? I would say here and now that one of my difficulties has been that trustees have no right to retire from their trusts and appoint new trustees to act in their stead unless the original trust's duties are carried on.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
And I think my hon. Friend would agree that they have no right to retire from their trust and appoint another trustee without the consent of the people for whom they are acting?
§ Mr. Hale
That is substantially true and subject to the limitation of the Trustee Act, 1925, I will accept my hon. and learned Friend's opinion on the law with more alacrity than I usually do.
I would say, further, that there is a legal maxim relative to that, delegatus non potest delegare. In this case the delegates, who are being entrusted with this matter, have hardly shown that they approach this fundamental problem in that spirit. No one who has read the recent utterances or heard of the recent actions in these territories can feel that this trustee spirit is being shown by those who are to take over our heritage and administer it.
There are many other matters which arise on this Amendment, and although I understand that we are discussing several Amendments together, I am not quite clear just how many we are now considering. I gather that among the Amendments which are being considered is that in the name of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies), which reads:Clause 1, page 2, line 38, at end, add:(5) No order proposed to be made under subsection (1) of this section shall be submitted to Her Majesty in Council until the opinion of the International Court at the Hague has been obtained on the question as to whether such proposed order is in abrogation or in contravention of the agreements under which the Chieftains of the various territories sought the protection of Her Majesty.I hope it will be in order to refer to this Amendment because it is a very important Amendment. It is always a pleasure for me to express agreement with the Liberal Party, to which I once belonged. Regarding myself as one of the four surviving Liberal Members of this House, two of whom at least are Socialists, I would like to express a liberal point of view. This is an important point.
The right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery says that here is a matter which is likely to go to the International Court at The Hague; here is a matter which, for all practical purposes, is sub judice; here is a matter upon which it is quite possible that this 60 august tribunal will pronounce a view hostile to the view expressed by the House of Commons. The whole history of our battles for liberty has been the effort on the part of the House of Commons to avoid a conflict with the courts. Indeed, the times when our Constitution has been in peril have been in moments of conflict on grave issues such as in the time of Chief Justice Holt and others.
We have Mr. Speaker's warrant for arresting lawyers who were pleading before the House of Lords and for preventing the House of Lords from taking action against the House of Commons. It was resolved then that this House would seek in future to avoid a conflict with the courts and that the line of demarcation should be strictly observed. Indeed, it has been the habit of the Chair in the last few years to rule that where a matter is before the courts, it is not proper for us to discuss it, let alone to act on it, let alone to take a decision in advance of the decision of the courts, in order to avoid bringing about what would be an inevitable, an undignified and difficult conflict if the decision of the courts were adverse to it.
This matter is literally sub judice at the moment because of the proceedings which are before the courts to test the validity of some of the proposals, and they may come to Her Majesty's Privy Council for a final decision. There will be an internecine conflict if the decision which comes to the Judicial Committee of Her Majesty's Privy Council is contrary to the decision of the Privy Council as a whole. In such a case one can visualise the possibility of a conflict much more grave and much more serious in its consequences than any which have preceded it in the past.
These are not matters lightly to be cast aside by the House of Commons saying, "This is an Amendment tabled a day or two ago. Let us vote it down because we have had discussions before." I think, and I certain the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery will insist, that the right hon. Gentleman should tell us what information there is at the moment about these proceedings. What is the chance of this matter being raised before the International Court? What is the possibility of the International Court considering that they have a right to adjudicate upon the matter? Certainly, the case 61 is not without precedent. There was a time when it was said that the internal affairs of each community were not the concern of the International Court, but that rule has been abrogated in these last few years in many directions. There is the further point that this matter has also gone to the United Nations on the ground of the abrogation of the treaty rights of chieftains, so these are grave matters upon which we ought to hear what the right hon. Gentleman has to say.
Now I want to return to the Amendment moved so ably by my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson). It is an important and fundamental Amendment and it is right that the Committee should approach it from that point of view. Every time that a developing civilisation has made an appeal for an extension of democratic rights, the argument has always come from those who are resisting it that the people are not ready for it. In this country it started with the theory of the Normans that the Saxons were not intelligent enough to vote. Indeed, long before votes were available it was said that the Saxons were not intelligent enough to exercise the rights of citizenship or to have the right of promotion to office.
I believe it is said that St. Thomas was the first Saxon to occupy a high office and, by that occupation, began to break down the rule—although his parents came from Normandy and the fact that they were of Saxon origin possibly was not noted in time for the Whips to take the necessary action. But there it was, and from that time onwards, for century after century, every application for an extension of the right to vote, for an extension of the franchise, for reform and progress, was resisted on the ground that the ignorant country yokels did not understand political matters, that the workers in the factories of Lancashire had not yet developed sufficiently or fast enough to be able to judge of their interests and that the landowners, the people who fanned the land, the people who put up the capital, alone were capable of judging.
I have not suggested that there are not difficulties in this matter and neither have my hon. Friends. Judged from the point of view of our own beliefs we think that many of the religious beliefs of some of 62 the tribes in Rhodesia are backward or, indeed, are barbaric and that in some cases they believe in a mystic which we have long dismissed as witchcraft. I am not an expert on comparative religions and I find the mystic of many of them incapable of being understood. I try as far as I can to respect them all. I try to think it is the right of every man to adopt his own faith, to live in that faith and to accept such mystic as he himself finds essential to the maintenance of that faith.
This is not now a question of giving the vote to six million people or not. It is a question of whether we try to ascertain their views and act upon them. It is a question of whether we give weight to them. It is a question of whether we use the ordinary consultative machinery that we have ourselves devised for this purpose by consulting the council of chieftains. It is a question of whether we go to those people who themselves, on a democratic basis in many cases, have become the chieftains of the African tribes and to whom the Africans look for counsel and guidance in times of emergency, who still exercise, in many cases, rights of justice and adjudication on land disputes, who are the fathers of the tribes or the leaders of the councils of the tribes. It is a question of whether we should not now consult them, try to put all the basic facts fairly before them, before we delegate our powers by taking an action which, at the moment, is suspect by the majority of African people and which they regard as inimical to their interests.
The powers that we are delegating are large powers. They are powers that the House of Commons, in all its debates, has never had fully and adequately defined. We have never been told, as we have sought to be told, what are the limitations of the power that we may exercise when this Bill is passed into law. We have sought by Question and answer and by debate to have an elucidation of this matter. Certainly, it seems that we are giving powers that it will be difficult to withdraw once they have been given. We are giving powers, at any rate for a period of years, which, if we ever sought to withdraw them, might mean that the House of Commons would find itself in a singularly unhappy situation.
After all, our own law recognises a locus poenitentiae clause in a contract 63 which gives an opportunity for further discussion and consideration where there is misunderstanding or misinterpretation. That is why there should be an opportunity in this case for further discussion and consideration. It need not mean much delay. The House of Commons is proposing to adjourn soon for two months, which will leave many hon. Members available to serve. No one has given a single authoritative reason why, in this modern world with its rapid transport facilities, we should not take a last opportunity of trying to consult and to inform African opinion and then take into account the result of those consultations.
That is why I think these Amendments are of supreme importance and I hope, but do not expect, that they will be accepted.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Mr. George Wigg (Dudley)
I have added my name to the Amendment in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) because, even at this eleventh hour, when it is hoped that this Bill will become law within a short time, I want to make it plain that in my judgment the Measure the Government are forcing through is misguided and wrongheaded.
I have had my differences with the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and will continue to have them. I believe he speaks the same language as I do, but I am quite sure his methods are wrong. They are wrong because his appreciation of the situation in the Colonial Territories is completely mistaken. He believes that in the modern world government can only be carried on by consent—it does not matter very much whether it is through the ballot box, or by the rubber truncheon or the concentration camp, but consent there has to be. The right hon. Gentleman has to believe that——
§ The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Oliver Lyttelton)
If the hon. Member thought that I subscribed to the astonishing doctrine that it does not matter how we got consent and that it could be got just as much by the rubber truncheon as by the ballot box, he must have a mistaken view of my political opinions.
§ Mr. Wigg
I judge the right hon. Gentleman not by what he says, but by 64 what he does. In every situation with which he has been faced his instinct has been to use force and he uses force because he thinks he can be successful. I oppose the use of force because I am quite certain that in the long run the steps taken by the right hon. Gentleman are foredoomed to failure. Political prophecy is a dangerous occupation, but I judge of the success of his policy, not by what he says, nor by the distinguished officers he appoints, but by the number of troops he has in those areas.
I see that even "The Times" has come to that point of view this morning —that one may judge of the success of the Malayan situation by the fact that we have still two divisions there and we can judge of the success of what is happening in Kenya by the fact that we have nine battalions while the test in Central Africa will be not by any paper facade or facade of words and statements made in this House but by how much force the right hon. Gentleman will have to use to back his policies in the months and years that lie ahead. The alternative to the use of the police forces and the sending of British troops is to get the consent of the Africans.
We on this side of the Committee have said of Measures of which we approve that the pace at which we can go is determined by the degree of persuasion we can use on the African and the acceptance we can get of our point of view. It may be that by rubbing a magic ring we could bring federation to Africa overnight. I think the economic argument here is unanswerable, but on this side of the Committee we have always said that the pace at which we can go is determined by the degree to which we can persuade the Africans to accept that policy. It is of paramount importance to those of us on this side of the Committee to make it quite clear that we stand 100 per cent. behind the policy of persuasion in order to secure the cooperation of the Africans.
I know that from time to time on both sides of the Committee we hear the argument that the African is only a few years away from the barbarisms of prehistoric times, that only recently he learned the use of the wheel, that he is illiterate and knows nothing of sanitation, or hygiene, and is completely incapable of running his own affairs. I quite agree that there 65 are many parts of Africa where the state of backwardness is such that the African, if left to himself, could not manage his own affairs. But what the right hon. Gentleman and those who support him do not realise is that we have reached a point in African affairs where government cannot be carried on if we are faced with the opposition of the Africans.
It may be that for the moment the right hon. Gentleman may appear to have his successes. He may appear to have success in Kenya, in Malaya, and so on, but in the long run I am quite sure that a Government which does not believe in domination and in force as the arbiter, but believes in the method of persuasion, the method of education, will have to go back and try to build the bridges that the right hon. Gentleman—because of his wantonness—has broken down. The Minister has looked at the problem and been persuaded by the obvious advantages of federation. He has said, "Federation there is going to be; I do not care twopence what the six million Africans think about it. It is good for them; I know far better."
The right hon. Gentleman is taking the same attitude towards the African as was taken by his predecessors in this House towards the working classes. The great fundamental mistake of the Tory Party between the two wars was that they thought they could ride roughshod over the trade unions. For a time, in 1926, it seemed that they had been successful, but there was a reckoning and there will be a reckoning here, the reckoning in terms of the use of force. One would think that we had unlimited numbers of battalions and brigades which we could send out. I am sure that we have not. I am sure that before very long the right hon. Gentleman will produce a terrible reckoning in terms of commitments added to our already overburdened defence programme.
Even more terrible is the fact that it will create in African hearts a hatred and bitterness towards this country and towards democratic institutions which all who want to see the British Commonwealth of Nations developing on democratic lines can only deplore. Even though the right hon. Gentleman is to get his way and has his majority and will not accept any Amendments—even though his Bill is to become law and he will be able to rub his hands and go away saying, 66 "That is that" it will not be, "That is that." Tomorrow is also a day. I hope he may remember that if the reckoning is not to be paid by him and his party it has to be paid by this country and the British Commonwealth and Empire.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I shall deal in a few sentences with the agreeable speech made by the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg). I should like to dismiss the idea that I disagree with him on all matters. I agree with him very sincerely in believing that without education, social services and wider representation these countries will not prosper, or become peaceable. In fact, all sections of the Committee are agreed that we must try to give an increasing measure of responsibility in all these Territories for the management of their own affairs. That is where the hon. Member gets me wrong and he also gets me wrong on the idea that crime and murder should not be put down by force. All civilised communities see that law is enfored. That is what we did in Malaya and what we are doing now in Kenya. With those few words, it is agreeable to find that on the long-term matter I am in agreement with the hon. Member.
I want to deal with a matter which was mentioned rather late in his remarks, by the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale). Although this perhaps goes fairly wide of the Amendment, I would not be creating any new precedent as many of the speeches—I am glad it is so, for reasons I will explain—seemed almost indistinguishable from speeches on Second Reading. I welcome that for reasons I will make plain. I say, frankly, that I am in a difficulty over this matter. If we were to incorporate in the enabling Bill certain provisions which are not in this scheme or to introduce modifications into the scheme, it is quite obvious that we should be going back on the decision we had taken during the course of these negotiations.
It is a perfectly understandable argument, which will be advanced, that since the Order in Council is not amendable but can only be accepted or rejected, this debate today is the last opportunity to introduce modifications. I must accept that, and I trust the Committee will realise that even with every wish to explain and argue these matters again I am under very strict limitations. If we incorporated modifications, we should 67 be resiling from a position which we took up during the course of negotiations. On the other hand, I do not think anybody can say that the subject has not been fully ventilated in the House. Apart from two statements, one by my predecessor on 13th June, 1951, and one by myself on 21st November, 1951, it has been debated no fewer than six times. However weary some hon. Members may have become of the subject, nevertheless I am mindful of the advantages which Her Majesty's Government have obtained from some of these debates.
There are many things and modifications in the present federal scheme which were put in to meet views expressed by hon. Members opposite and on this side also. In our view, the scheme has been greatly improved and strengthened in several important particulars as the result of those debates. There are two that I have in mind. One is the power of review laid down in the Constitution, and the other is in the Order in Council procedure for alterations in the Constitution. I can, therefore, claim two things. Every provision in the scheme has already been under the scrutiny of the House, and when the Second Reading of the enabling Bill was carried the scheme was, in the main, approved.
It is quite obvious—I say this with apology to the Committee—that the Government cannot accept modifications to a scheme by which they had become morally bound to the other three Governments during the course of the negotiations. That is not the same as a treaty position; but anybody would see that we could never engage in negotiations in external matters if it was thought that after we had appended our signatures we would only vary the position which we had taken. That is impossible, and, therefore, the Committee must recognise that I am today rather in the position of saying that Amendments are impossible. I am only too willing to discuss them in detail—that is why I welcomed the Second Reading nature of the speeches that have been made; but I cannot be asked to incorporate modifications which alter those matters upon which Her Majesty's Government have taken up this position.
These schemes are not treaties—the hon. Member for Oldham, West is quite 68 right: they are like treaties—but they have to be dealt with in rather the same manner. Otherwise, the Executive or the Government would be powerless to negotiate anything external in which other Governments were involved if we were then to feel ourselves free to incorporate in the scheme modifications of detail and of principle. I suggest that in this matter the function of the House and of the Committee is, after exhaustive discussion, to act as an arbiter and not as an author of new things. That preliminary I must make quite clear, and I ask for the tolerance of the Committee on this matter.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
The hon. and learned Member has put his finger on a matter of which I am very conscious. I had made some notes on the subject of incorporating in the enabling Bill matters which are now in the Orders in Council, but I did not deal with that subject because I thought the remarks were getting a little wide. I shall, however, be ready to do so when opportunity occurs and when the arguments are different to those now being adduced. [Interruption.] I am dealing with the Amendments which in the main deal with the wish to delay the coming into force of federation. I will deploy the other arguments when it becomes clear that federation is to be put into force—for example, whether parts of the Order in Council should be incorporated in the enabling Bill. I thank the hon. and learned Member for mentioning that.
Listening to the debate this afternoon —I do not criticise it—most of those who spoke hardly disguised the fact that in proposing delay, they were really proposing that federation never came about. This does not apply to the hon. Member for Oldham, West, but it was rather sad to hear speeches like those made by the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) and the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White), neither of whom, I am sorry to see, is now present. Although not wishing to do so, they came very near 69 to expressing sympathy for an attitude of passive resistance in Nyasaland, at least, and possibly in the other Territories. I know the difficulties under which they laboured, but all I can say is that those speeches will have done considerable damage to the cause which, I think, we all have at heart.
After all, federation has been espoused and sponsored by the party opposite. The main difference with which we are concerned now is whether we should proceed in the face of African opposition, or in face of what measure of it we should proceed. It is particularly unfortunate that remarks should have been made such as, "One hundred per cent. of African opinion is against this," which is more or less what the hon. Member for Rugby said. He also expressed great sympathy with those who resisted paying taxes and things like that—non-violent methods—if federation was under discussion. Those two speeches, although sincerely meant, will do a lot of damage.
I want to deal, as far as I can, with the dilemma which we are in over subjects like the referendum, which is referred to, for example, indirectly in the first Amendment. How are we to determine "a majority of the inhabitants"? That would raise a question of either the referendum or the franchise that was to be used to determine that majority. Clearly, if we were to get on to a system of universal franchise in the two Territories, we would completely swamp the 200,000 Europeans, upon whose efforts the future development of these countries very largely depends.
The right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) was right in saying that we must ultimately get the co-operation of the African in all the industrial and agricultural work that we do. He omits, however, to say that the future of African agriculture, as the future of African industry, depends upon the Europeans. Remarks were made by the hon. Member for Dudley about the Africans in certain parts of Africa not knowing the wheel 50 years ago. That is true, but the enormous strides that have been made in African agriculture, industry and standards of life during the last 50 years have been due to the Europeans.
Therefore, if we put in a franchise which has the effect of completely swamping the 200,000 Europeans, we are putting 70 an abrupt stop to that development. If, on the other hand, we seek to perpetuate a system where all the power rests in the 200,000 Europeans and none in the six million Africans, we are laying in store for ourselves a situation which is bound to break down, because we would have to continue to rule under that system without sufficient consent of the Government.
We tried to do it, and all parties have been agreed on it, by making an illogical type of Constitution which seeks to give to Africans representation in the scheme, which we will be discussing later—about one-quarter of the Federal Assembly— which they would not get upon any property qualifications. On the whole, that is a sensible way. Obviously, we cannot go in for universal franchise now and expect that it will do the African any good. Nor can we go on, by means, for instance, of a property qualification for a vote, concentrating all the legislative power in the hands of Europeans. Therefore, we have to work towards keeping the European busy upon his development and towards gradually giving the African a greater part in his affairs.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I have not the figures in my mind, but the property qualification was increased. That was done on the grounds—I am not saying whether they were right or not—that the purchasing power of money had greatly fallen.
I was trying to deal with the general matter, and I was saying that I think we are in a dilemma. It is quite easy for those who make speeches which are no doubt quoted with approval in the "Tribune," and so on, but if there is universal franchise or any system of referendum it will lose for the African the one force likely to accelerate his progress socially and politically.
I wish to deal with the next question which was raised by several hon. Members—the matter of African opposition. The right hon. Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Dugdale) quoted, among 71 others, two unofficial bodies whose opinion has, I know, been greatly influenced by Congress activity. The Congress is a handful of people. We have in the Colonial Office a great many instances of intimidation. On the question of African opinion, there is no doubt that there is considerable opposition, particularly in Nyasaland, and particularly among the vocal section of the population. I say with every sincerity to those who, like the hon. Member for Rugby, use phrases which we hear in all these debates—"solid African opinion," etc.—that I am surprised at the very small scale of reaction there has been to federation since the enabling Bill received its Second Reading in this House; it has been very small indeed.
It is quite possible for the right hon. Gentleman to pull out of his pocket a letter from the Reverend so-and-so and one from a chief and use arguments ad hominem of that kind.
§ Mr. Dugdale rose——
§ Mr. Lyttelton
No, I cannot give way. I did not interrupt the right hon. Gentleman.
There has been great intimidation; Congress has been active. It is extremely easy, in a very primitive and very conservative society, to put about things which frighten the Africans—I have heard some this afternoon out of the mouth of the right hon. Gentleman himself, when he said that the Colonial Office was going to be cut off for ever from Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia, and were we not proud of the fact that these two Territories wanted to look to the Colonial Office.
In all the matters that affect the daily life of the African they will continue to look to the Colonial Office; their status is completely unchanged. That is the kind of argument put out, not by the right hon. Gentleman, because he seems to have an idée fixe, but by others, to misrepresent the views of the African population.
That is the reason why we get this reaction: we see very often in African statements against Federation the actual words of propagandists and opponents of Federation in this country, and what is cooked up in Bloomsbury often comes 72 out as an indigenous opinion in Blantyre. That particular process is worth watching. I can quote——
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I have not got it here, but I am quite willing, if the hon. Member is interested, to produce an actual instance——
§ Mr. Lyttelton
There is a section of African opinion that is opposed and continues to be opposed to Federation. The hon. Member for Oldham, West went on, in his speech, to which I listened with great interest, to matters of trusteeship, and engaged in an agreeable interchange with the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget). What neither of them touched upon, I think very wisely, was the fact that the duty of the trustee occasionally is to do things which the beneficiary would rather have done otherwise. That is what has happened here. I regret very much that I and the Government will have to assume these responsibilities, but they cannot be brushed aside because the beneficiary does not like it.
"We are their leaders provided we follow them" is the motto of some hon. Members opposite, but we cannot govern by that principle. Nor has anybody ever suggested that government is necessarily entirely a popular function. To follow that argument, we should never impose Income Tax because a lot of people dislike it; I have never yet met anyone who does. Yet hon. Members say, "How shocking to think of imposing income tax on a population which does not like it."
§ Mr. Lyttelton
The hon. and learned Member is dragging one of those agreeable Northampton red herrings across the trail by saying that we are parting with responsibility. Into every line of this scheme it is written that Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia remain Protectorates. How can the hon. and learned Member say that we are parting with something 73 when it is specifically reserved and enshrined in the Constitution.
The hon. Member for Oldham, West raised another point at the end of his speech—I refer to the Amendment to Clause 2, page 2, line 38—relating to the non-submission of proposed orders to Her Majesty in Council until the opinion of the International Court at The Hague has been obtained on the question. I apologise for making these references, but I have to refer to different parts of the Order Paper to cover the points made. This is an attempt to evade the question of the treaties with the chiefs. There is no provision in the Statute of the International Court or any international instrument whereby the International Court could discuss the Federation proposals.
The question raised in the Amendment can just as well be settled by United Kingdom lawyers as by international lawyers. In the opinion of my legal advisers—and I have taken great pains on this point—and not only of my legal advisers but the legal advisers of Her Majesty's Government as a whole, there is nothing in the proposed federal scheme which is an abrogation or in contravention of any of the agreements referred to. I wish to make that quite clear.
I have tried to deal with all the points raised. I would, in conclusion, say that although Her Majesty's Government must reject this Amendment, they will continue, by every means in their power, when this Bill becomes law, to educate public opinion in Africa to the advantages of Federation. That is not a matter which could ever be let drop. I should not like hon. Members opposite to think that if this Bill becomes law we shall cease trying to show to the African the advantages which will accrue to him from Federation. Indeed, I think it is quite clear that when Federation has been in being for two or three months any passive resistance, if there has been any, will very soon die away, for two reasons.
The first is that the ordinary African, tilling his field or harvesting his crop, will be unaware that Federation has taken place. It will be a year or two later before he discovers that he has great economic advantages. At the moment, his daily life will be unaffected, and if political experience is any guide it is very unusual to be able to work up great political agitation when, on the surface, 74 nothing has happened. The other reason is that I do not think that the political boycott against the Federal Government will last for long. I think that the Africans will see that in the Federal Government they have another opportunity of expressing African opinion; that the proportion which they may not regard as sufficient now will be able to make a contribution to the deliberations of the Federal Assembly. Nothing could be more fatal than to advance the argument, as some hon. Members have, that this scheme will be boycotted, and that they desire to see the African proportion in that Federal Legislature increased. If we wish to keep a country backward politically the surest way to do it is to boycott the democratic institutions which are set up.
I would point out that in this Parliament, or in this Federated Legislature, if hon. Members prefer those words, the nine members who will look after African interests out of the total of 35 do have great opportunities for participation in the affairs of the Federation. Their attitude should be that of trying to support federation, and, if possible, to increase their representation, rather than attempting, upon the instigation, however unwittingly, of people like the hon. Member for Rugby, to wash their hands of the whole affair. I ask the Committee to reject the Amendment.
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly)
My intervention is not intended to close the debate, or to give any justification or excuse to the Patronage Secretary for moving the Closure. I would remind him that we are discussing a number of Amendments covering a wide range, and I hope he will not regard my intervention as an opportunity or justification for moving the Closure, if he intended to do so.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. P. G. T. Buchan-Hepburn)
I had no such intention.
§ Mr. Griffiths
I accept that assurance.
As the Colonial Secretary has said, the issue raised by the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) is one which we have discussed on many occasions. It has formed the major issue of the debates in which we have discussed the scheme for 75 federation, and its merits and demerits. Running through the whole of those debates has been the central theme whether we shall proceed in the absence of consent by the Africans and, indeed, in the face of African opposition. I agree that there is scarcely anything new which any of us can say upon that aspect of the matter.
I want all hon. Members to realise that we are discussing this matter against the background of the present situation in Africa. That is most important. We find that both in Nyasaland and in Northern Rhodesia there is continuing opposition to this scheme. The Colonial Secretary referred to the North African Congress. I do not know how many people are members of the Congress in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia. All I would say is that it is the first major political organisation to emerge in Central Africa, and it includes among its members practically all the young educated Africans.
Whatever we may think of their views now, and their opposition to this scheme, we must remember that they are the representatives of the Africans; they are the leaders who are emerging. They are comparatively young men who have been to school, to college and to the universities. Let it be said to our credit as a country that most of them have been educated because of the increasing facilities for higher education that we are providing in the Colonies and the facilities for enabling these young men to be trained in our own universities and colleges. We shall be making a grave mistake if we ignore these people because their numbers are small and their influence may not be so great as they imagine at this moment. They will be important in the future.
This new force, this growth of nationalism—we may call it that for lack of a better term—in all the colonial territories and other territories is a great dynamic force in Africa, as well as in Asia and elsewhere. We have the choice of being friendly, or regarding it with enmity. The success of the policy in the dependent territories—to which all parties are agreed—of working towards responsible democratic self-government within the British Commonwealth of Nations, depends for its implementation upon 76 keeping the confidence not only of the people in general but of these new leaders who are emerging. At the moment they are opposed to it, particularly in Nyasaland and to a lesser extent in Northern Rhodesia. The Congress and the chiefs have met and are making common cause against it.
It is against that background that we are discussing this matter. As the Colonial Secretary has said, we have argued about it and discussed it before, and I have no doubt that later on tonight we shall vote on it. I would say to those who do not share our view about this problem that everyone who has any knowledge of Africa, whether his knowledge is cursory like mine or whether it is extensive, is deeply disturbed about the present situation. I hope that hon. Members have read the letter which appeared in "The Times" this morning. Everyone who takes an interest in these matters would agree with it. I look at hon. Members opposite who have long personal experience of Africa, who understand its problems, who know its peoples, who have spent a life-time seeking to understand and to serve the people of Africa.
I believe that all of them would accept the views put forward in that letter by Miss Margery Perham. Whether we agree, or disagree, we must respect her views. Her knowledge and experience is such that we ought to listen to her views and respect them. Her letter says frankly that at this moment we are confronted with a situation in which confidence between the African and the Government is at a low ebb. It has been ruled that the time to discuss the matter raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) is when we discuss the Motion, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill." Therefore I shall not now discuss the incident to which she referred, but I hope that at the proper time we shall get a full answer on that very important matter.
It is quite clear that the relationship between Africans and administrative officers is not the kind of relationship which any of us would desire. The relationship between them and the Government, both in the Central African Territories and here, is one which causes concern to all of us. African opposition arises from fears. Those fears may be 77 groundless. I confess at once that some of them are, but they are there. The Africans are afraid. They are afraid that they will be taken out of the protection of the Colonial Office. They are afraid that the safeguards will be inadequate. They are afraid that the safeguards will be brushed on one side.
All of us agree that if the Africans are resentful and distrustful, the scheme will begin in the worst possible atmosphere with all the dangers of a breakdown. The editorial in "The Times" today has something to say to the Colonial Secretary about today's debate. The Government may reject all the Amendments we put forward, even though most of them are designed at this stage to reassure the Africans that the safeguards are real safeguards which will be embodied in an Act of Parliament in this country.
I understand that the Colonial Secretary will have to leave the Committee later during our proceedings to fulfil an engagement which is a duty. I am sure that my hon. Friends will understand. But I say to the right hon. Gentleman that if these Amendments are to be rejected—even those that would help to reassure the Africans and regain their confidence—the Government will be making a great mistake.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I do not want to interrupt unnecessarily. I had an interchange with the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget). So far I have only dealt with the reasons why we could not accept Amendments which varied the scheme to which we were bound. I have not addressed myself yet to the other point which the right hon. Gentleman is making and which I do not think arises particularly on this Amendment, but I will deal with it at an early opportunity on another Amendment.
§ Mr. Griffiths
I may have been slightly out of order, but the right hon. Gentleman will be absent later when that Amendment may be before us. I put it to him that it is of the utmost importance that the Government should give serious consideration to writing into the Bill, by accepting some of the Amendments we have put down, a reassurance to African people. At the moment they are distrustful. Surely we all agree that, if we can, we must regain their trust and confidence. How are we to do that? 78 This is the last opportunity we shall have, because the best way to do it is to write into this Bill some of the safeguards. Even though they are in the scheme the fact that they are put in the Bill and will eventually be part of the Act of Parliament is the best way in which to reassure the Africans.
There is another reason. Please remember that all kinds of safeguards in Africa are discussed in the background of what happened to other safeguards in the last few years. If we can say that this safeguard is a real safeguard in a Bill which will receive the Royal Assent and be the word of the British Parliament which cannot be changed in any way except by another Act of Parliament, that will be an assurance.
I urge the Secretary of State to consider these Amendments, especially those which are in conformity with the major outline of the scheme? I ask him to consider them on their merits and to accept them for the reasons I have put forward. The majority of hon. Members are in favour of this scheme. At this stage the major consideration is that the Africans are still afraid, still anxious and distrustful of us and of the scheme. It is our paramount duty to do what we can to reassure them and to regain their confidence.
I hope that the Amendments will be considered from that point of view. They offer us the opportunity of speaking again to Africa and to the Africans and reassuring them and, it may be, regaining their confidence in the Government upon which the hopes of everybody in Africa depend.
§ 5.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Hector Hughes (Aberdeen, North)
We have listened to only two speeches from the other side of the Committee today, and they were very different in quality. The speech of the hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. Baldwin) was narrow, confused and bigoted. It seemed to be inspired by the fact that, as he announced, he had a few relatives in Africa. I was glad to note that the speech of the Secretary of State was more detailed in its treatment. He attempted to foresee in advance some of the arguments that he expected would be adduced and he also dealt with some of the arguments which had been advanced.
79 But his speech was singularly unper-suasive. He failed to realise the worldwide importance of this topic. Nor did he apparently realise how false and antidemocratic is the doctrine on which he relies in seeking to enforce in this year of grace 1953 upon a people a new constitution which they do not want. I beg the Committee not to approach this great topic in an insular, parochial or narrow way, but to realise that the matters we are discussing under these Amendments are of world-wide importance with vast repercussions throughout the whole British Empire, the British Commonwealth of Nations, and indeed throughout the whole world, wherever black and white or other coloured races intermingle.
The doctrine on which the Government seek to rely in forcing this Bill on unwilling peoples is inconsistent with the history of British Empire development; with the history and traditions of the Commonwealth and indeed, with democracy. It is inconsistent with the great principles on which the great brotherhood of nations of which we are part was built up. I beg the Committee to bear that in mind and to consider the matter upon a higher and nobler plane than that enunciated by the hon. Member for Leominster and, indeed, to consider it upon the plane which has been advocated by speakers from this side of the Committee.
I support the first Amendment in line 5 and also the one which is in my name. They are complementary. Let us get back to the facts of them and see what they really mean. If both Amendments were approved, Clause 1 would read:As soon as a majority of the inhabitants of all races within each of the Territories concerned has decided in favour thereof Her Majesty may on a day, not being earlier than one year after the passing of the Act, by an Order in Council…do certain things. What is wrong with that? There are in the Bill gaps which require these improvements. I hope that the Minister will change his mind and accept these Amendments. They involve three simple considerations which civilisation regards as elementary. First, understanding by the inhabitants of the constitutional change which is presented to them; secondly, approval by the majority of inhabitants of the constitutional change and, thirdly, an expression of that approval.
80 What is wrong with that? I submit to the Committee that that is an expression of democracy which the Government should be ashamed to oppose. Before this idea of federation was mooted in Africa, the inhabitants of these Territories lived under British protection, and now this new constitutional idea is not only presented to them but thrust upon them in a way which is inconsistent with democracy, and which would, indeed, be likely to invite resistance by force, though I hope it will not have that effect. I say that it would be utterly wrong in morals, in constitutional practice and in history to impose it in this way upon an unwilling population.
I put forward my Amendment because I am in favour of some form of federation which will do justice to the African peoples. I do not wish to see federation wrecked by being forced on unwilling peoples in a premature and precipitate way which will excite resistance of a passive, and quite possibly of a violent, kind. My Amendment is designed to obviate that unhappy possibility, which may, indeed, even be a probability, and would postpone federation, not merely for the year which my Amendment suggests, but perhaps for generations. My Amendment would allow the Bill to pass, but would postpone its operation for a year until the people decided whether or not they were in favour of it, and to enable them to realise and to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of federation.
This Amendment is in complete accord with the spirit of the White Paper (Cmd. 8233), paragraph 35 of which says this:We have constantly borne in mind that whatever is proposed must be designed not only to promote the well-being of the Territories and their inhabitants but also to be acceptable to the inhabitants and to the Governments and Legislatures concerned.I am not alone in taking this view. I rely upon words used by the Secretary of State himself in speeches and in answers to Questions put to him by me in this House. I rely upon speeches and resolutions passed by the Christian churches, and particularly the Kirk in Scotland. I rely upon declarations by other humanitarian and social philosophers. My right hon. Friend referred to the letter in "The Times" today by Miss Margery Perham, 81 but he did not quote it. Let me quote the end of it. She says this:May we also hope that in this debate some of the oft-repeated clichès will not be used again? It is no deformation of our 'kith and kin' in the Rhodesias to believe that no small, local minority should be given such wide powers over a subordinate race and class without Britain retaining the fullest possible rights to influence and revise. As for rejecting either 'white or black domination,' it may be asked whether power can be indefinitely suspended between the two. This Bill legislates for white domination now, but, unless the experience of history and all British policy and principles are to be reversed, there must one day be black domination in the sense that power must pass to the immense African majority.Whether it passes peacefully, without destroying the influence of the European minority and the great contributions they and their nation have brought to Africa, may depend upon the deliberation of Parliament tomorrow and the spirit in which this hazardous constitution is instituted.There are the words of a lady whose knowledge is acknowledged on all hands, and whose integrity and high principles are realised. I ask the Committee to take warning from those words and realise that our decision today may affect not only the three territories involved but the whole of Africa, and, indeed, the whole of the British Commonwealth of Nations. All these things make clear that a little time is necessary to explain the scheme to the people, to make the scheme acceptable to them, and to avoid any appearance of haste, which may easily excite resistance not only of a passive character but perhaps of a violent one.
It has often been said that force should be avoided, but is it not likely that, if the scheme is forced through in this way, the resistance may involve the use of force, not only on the one side but on the other, and we may have a repetition— though I hope not—in these Territories of what unhappily we now see in Kenya. The Secretary of State himself indicated the dangers in reply to a Question put to him by me in this House on 19th March last year, when he said:At recent Congress meetings in Northern Rhodesia suggestions have been made that federation should be opposed by such means as a general strike, weekly paralysis strikes, mass exodus from towns and non-payment of taxes. The Attorney-General therefore judged it expedient to draw the attention of the Africans, through the two African Members of Legislative Council, to the legal position and to warn them of the limits beyond which they could not lawfully go, particularly as regards political strikes.
§ The Temporary Chairman (Sir Gordon Touche)
Order. The hon. and learned Gentleman is going far beyond the Amendment. I have given him a lot of latitude but he is now going far beyond the Amendment.
§ Mr. Hughes
That was said on 19th March last year, so that I think I am within the rules in quoting it.
§ The Temporary Chairman
I am not challenging the hon. and learned Gentleman about the date. All I am saying is that his speech is going far beyond the terms of the Amendment.
§ Mr. Hughes
I am quoting this in order to show that time is necessary to avoid violence, and here I am citing the Secretary of State to show that even the right hon. Gentleman himself envisages the possibility of violence in certain circumstances in these Territories. Therefore, with great respect, I submit that my observations and my quotations are dead on the argument which I am now presenting to the Committee. I do not wish to transgress in any way, I am entirely in your hands, Sir Gordon, and I accept your Ruling, but, if you would allow me to finish the quotation, I should be very much obliged. The quotation ends:He did not threaten the use of force and made it clear that the Government wished Africans to have the fullest freedom of speech. This action, though taken without consultation with me, has my approval, as it also had that of the Governor.I then asked the Secretary of State, by way of supplementary question:Will the right hon. Gentleman make it clear to all concerned that persuasion and not force is the only way to facilitate constitutional development in Africa, towards which the former Colonial Secretary took such sympathetic and energetic steps?The answer of the right hon. Gentleman was this:That has nothing to do with the Question which the hon. and learned Gentleman has put down."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th March, 1952; Vol. 497, c. 2305–6.]That interchange shows that my Amendment by delaying the operation of this Bill for 12 months would improve its prospects of success. It also indicates the fact that the Secretary of State refused to give an assurance that opportunities for persuasion should be sought. We now give him this further opportunity by prolonging the time for the use of persuasion rather than of force.
83 6.0 p.m.
I believe that Federation would do much good if fully understood, fairly administered and well developed on democratic lines. There are numerous examples of the beneficence of federation in Canada, Australia. New Zealand and the United States of America. It would be a fine thing for the British Commonwealth of Nations if this Federation could go through with the will of the people.
Two final points. At present, there is grave unrest in other parts of Africa. In Kenya death stalks abroad, in Nigeria there is trouble, in South Africa there is trouble, and in Bechuanaland there is strife. Why should the Government do anything to precipitate strife in these Territories where up to now the people have lived peacefully?
Secondly, it is significant that in the case of earlier Federations within the British Commonwealth of Nations, and, indeed, throughout the world, federation has come about because the people wanted it. It succeeded because the people asked for it, but it has never succeeded where it has been forced upon the people. I venture to hope that the Government will not persist in this course, which will not only ensure the failure of federation in these territories, but may also bring violence and unhappiness to the people.
§ Mr. Clement Davies (Montgomery)
In his opening remarks this afternoon the Secretary of State for the Colonies called attention to the fact that this House had now debated the principle of this matter on six occasions. He also suggested that some of the speeches were in the nature of Second Reading speeches dealing with the principle. I think, subject to the rules of debate, that is almost inevitable, and one makes no apology for dealing again with this matter on general lines. We are dealing again today with the fate of 6 million people in Central Africa, and not merely with their fate economically and politically for certainly the next 10 years, but possibly with matters which will have repercussions throughout the whole of Africa, a continent which is developing at an enormous rate thanks to modern teaching and modern methods.
The Secretary of State referred also to two matters with which I wish to deal 84 before I come to the actual Amendment. One was that it would be impossible for the Government to accept any Amendment which departed in any way from the agreement made between the Governments of the two Rhodesias, Nyasaland and this country. Surely that is assuming a power by the Government of doing matters on their own account without the cognizance and the right of the House in any way to amend what they have already decided to be the best in their interests.
Every one of the parties to this agreement, so-called, knew perfectly well that this matter would have to come before the House and the other House and that both Houses were perfectly free to deal with the matter in their own way. What is more, one of the countries involved, Southern Rhodesia, went so far as to hold among the European section a referendum in order to find out whether they approved of this. It might well have happened that the European section could have said, "Our approval is subject to certain changes being made." Therefore, my answer to the right hon. Gentleman is that the House, and this Committee in particular, are perfectly entitled to put forward any Amendments which they may think proper for inclusion in the new Constitution.
Secondly, the right hon. Gentleman again referred to a matter, to which he has referred before, namely, that any reference made by hon. Members to difficulties that may arise in the administration of Africa in the future are matters which ought not to be referred to by hon. Members, that they cause a good deal of damage and also danger. I, like other hon. Members, have heard that kind of statement made time and time again. It was made in regard to India, Pakistan and to every country where the great question of its democratic constitution arose.
One quite agrees with the right hon. Gentleman when he says that if there is illegality it must be put down. Surely, we are entitled to visualise circumstances where illegality may arise as a result of action taken by the Government, who then put into effect the force at their disposal.
I understand that we are to debate not only the first Amendment which has been called, but the Amendment standing in 85 my name and that of the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond), in Clause 1, page 2, line 38, at end, add:(5) No order proposed to be made under subsection (1) of this section shall be submitted to Her Majesty in Council until the opinion of the International Court at the Hague has been obtained on the question as to whether such proposed order is in abrogation or in contravention of the agreements under which the Chieftains of the various territories sought the protection of Her Majesty.The only common ground that I can see between my Amendment and the Amendment which has been moved is that both involve delay.
The Deputy-Chairman (Mr. Hopkin Morris)
I do not think the right hon. and learned Gentleman can discuss his own Amendment as it is out of order.
§ Mr. Davies
I am in rather a difficulty, Mr. Hopkin Morris, because your predecessor in the Chair announced that the debate would take a general line covering not only the first Amendment, but certain other Amendments, and mentioned last the Amendment standing in my name.
§ Mr. Hale
On a point of order. I specifically rose and put the point to Sir Charles MacAndrew, and he thanked me for calling his attention to it. He said he had forgotten to mention that the Amendment standing in the name of the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) was to be discussed with these other Amendments, and was to be moved.
I think that reference can be made to it in connection with the Amendments under discussion, but the Amendment itself is strictly out of order.
§ Mr. Hale
Further to that point of order. No reference was made to the right hon. and learned Gentleman's Amendment and, because of that, I rose to seek the guidance of the Chair because we had had intimation that it might not be discussed. Therefore, I asked the Chair to say what Amendments would be called, and, indeed, at a later stage while Sir Charles was still in the Chair, I ventured to refer to the fact that his statement had been made at a time when the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery was not in the Chamber and 86 had not, therefore, been apprised of the fact that his Amendment was not going to be called.
I am not in a position to discuss that point. If that has been the Ruling, I am in the hands of the Committee.
§ Mr. Davies
May I add that I was in the Chamber when the matter referred to by the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) was raised. The hon. Member went on further, with the assent of your predecessor in the Chair, actually to discuss the terms of my Amendment and what might happen in the future unless the Amendment were adopted. At any rate, the basis underlying each of the Amendments now being discussed together, with the consent of the Chair, is that they have one common feature, and that is that the Order in Council should not come into effect until certain events had occurred; in fact, to delay it.
I would deal with the first Amendment first, which proposes that the Order shall not come into effect until the great majority of the inhabitants of all the races in the Territories concerned have decided in favour of the proposed new Constitution. The views must have been obtained of all the races in all the countries; they must have found that they were in favour of it. What objection can there be to that proposal? Federation must, of necessity, be done by agreement, that is, by consent. If a territory is taken without consent under a Government other than its present one, that is annexation. It is proposed that this Federal Government should be set up without the assent having been obtained, or even the views ascertained, of the great majority of the people in these three Territories.
There are something like 6 million Africans and only 200,000 Europeans. Is it right that a Constitution should be forced upon these people without first ascertaining the views of the 6 million? All kinds of arguments have come from the right hon. Gentleman. One is that the Africans who are opposed to Federation are a small but vocal section. It is not known at all whether they are more than a small number. If that is so, why not take the step that was taken in Southern Rhodesia? If the right hon. Gentleman is so sure that the Africans 87 are all in favour of the scheme, what is the objection to asking them whether they are or not?
§ Mr. Lyttelton
The right hon. Gentleman gives me the impression that he wishes me to reply to that question now. The main reason is that the referendum in Southern Rhodesia, which was a very complicated constitutional matter, was referred to people who were essentially literate. A referendum in the other Territories would be to inhabitants who are essentially illiterate. I am not making any derogatory reference.
§ Mr. Davies
That is not the difficulty. The vast majority of the inhabitants in this country in 1832 were illiterate. What is more, in another part of Africa, the views of the people have been taken and no question has been raised that they ought to be able to read and write before they vote. This is something entirely new. We are now to have not only what they have in Southern Rhodesia, a property qualification, but an educational qualification as well. Surely that is a new form of requirement with regard to these matters. If we are so sure that what we are doing is in the interest of the Africans and will be welcomed by them, and that all fears at present in the minds of Africans will be abolished, I do not see why we do not ask them to say so. That would be true federation. At the present moment, it is not.
Before we entered into Nyasaland or Northern Rhodesia, or even Southern Rhodesia, agreements had to be made. Those agreements were made with the leaders of the people. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will not contradict this.
§ 6.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
The right hon. and learned Gentleman must not try to carry what I said far beyond the point which he raised. He asked me about a specific point, why a referendum had not been carried out in these two Territories. I explained that it was very difficult to have a referendum with an illiterate population.
§ Mr. Davies
The right hon. Gentleman is in a dilemma. When I follow on his argument to its logical conclusion he protests that I am putting words into his 88 mouth or that I am carrying the argument too far. An agreement had to be made, and was made, between Her Majesty's Government in the reign of Queen Victoria and the then chiefs. First, in regard to Nyasaland, agreement was made somewhere about 1891. It is referred to in an Order in Council of 14th May, 1891, as follows:By virtue of an agreement made with the chiefs of Nyasaland … the land has now become a Protectorate of Her Majesty Queen Victoria.We sought the consent of the people at that time in order that we might throw our protecting arm around them. Why is it now not necessary to seek that consent again when a new form of Constitution is being set up? The right hon. Gentleman said that as we were now trustees we were always entitled to do what we, the trustees, liked, although it was something which the beneficiaries or cestui que trust did not like. In stating that, the right hon. Gentleman is contradicting his own statement that all the Africans are welcoming this new Constitution. If this is being done by the trustees because they alone are satisfied that it will be in favour of the Africans, then those two arguments cancel one another out. Surely if we made an agreement with the chiefs as to the kind of Constitution they were to have, we should make a new agreement when we propose to change that Constitution.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. and learned Gentleman again. It is always enjoyable to leave these matters for general discussion, and also to erect arguments which I never used and proceed to knock them down. It must be very agreeable. The main point why these proposals are not in abrogation of the Treaty is that the Protectorate status is preserved and is enshrined in the Constitution, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman will see if he will read the scheme.
§ Mr. Davies
The memory of the right hon. Gentleman is very short. He does not even remember that he used Income Tax as an illustration of his argument. He said, "I do not suppose that anybody is in favour of Income Tax but we, as a Government, have to impose Income Tax." Has he forgotten that he mentioned that?
89 Let me pass on to another matter which bears precisely upon this very point that consent is necessary. That is involved in the Amendment which stands in my name. These chiefs have now been ignored. One of them is under a sentence. They are not being asked for their consent to this new Constitution. I understand that they have been advised that they can bring this matter before the International Court at The Hague and challenge the right of Her Majesty's Government to force upon them a form of constitution to which they are not a party.
If that is done it will put this country in a very serious position. We have prided ourselves upon the fact that we have always done our best to work in conjunction with the peoples of the various countries who have been under our protection or peoples who have been the subjects of a Colony. We have prided ourselves that we have done our best at all times to ascertain their views and to do everything in accordance with their wishes. Here for the first time we may be dragged before a tribunal to answer for doing something which in the view of the people themselves is done against their wishes.
§ Mr. Godfrey Nicholson (Farnham)
Since when have the Liberal Party adopted this doctrine? Did they consult the coloured races of South Africa before the Bill which set up the Union of South Africa became an Act?
§ Mr. Davies
They did not, but if the hon. Member really wants to know how necessary it is that particular care should be exercised in all these matters I would refer him to the Order in Council dealing with Southern Rhodesia itself.
§ Mr. Davies
The same thing applies. In Section 28 of the Order in Council of 1st September, 1923, giving a constitution to Southern Rhodesia—which is now going to be part of the new federation— there was no power whatsoever to pass laws.… save in respect of the supply of arms, ammunition, or liquor to natives, whereby natives may be subjected or made liable to any conditions, disabilities or restrictions to which persons of European descent are not also subjected or made liable.
§ Mr. Nicholson rose——
§ Mr. Davies
I want to end on this note. It is absolutely essential that the House of Commons should take the utmost care in seeing that the proper safeguards—and it is only by Act of Parliament that we can have those safeguards— are provided to defend these people and to prevent their being subjected to laws to which they do not consent and which differentiate between them and Europeans.
§ Sir Richard Acland (Gravesend)
I should like to take up first one point with the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies, from that part of his speech where he said that the raising of the property qualification in Southern Rhodesia was due to the falling value of money. I suggest that it is much more likely to be due to such sentiments as were expressed by Sir Godfrey Huggins in a debate in the Southern Rhodesia Legislative Assembly on 27th, 29th and 30th November, 1944. Discussing this matter he said:Of course I do not mind leaving the common roll for a time, but hon. Members must realise that the time will come, and it will not be so very long, when if you leave matters exactly where they are, the African members of this country will control this House … The time will come when the common roll has to go.That is much more likely to be the reason why the property qualification is raised. If Sir Godfrey Huggins had his way, as events moved on he would progressively alter or if necessary, as he said, dispense with the common roll in order to make sure that, contrary to the necessities of history of which Margery Perham has written, the African majority would never exercise control over their country.
The hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. Baldwin) suggested that we on this side of the Committee who have never been to Africa did not know anything about the African, whereas he and his friends who have been there, and many of his uncles and aunts out there, knew all about them. I acknowledge very frankly that I who have never been nearer Central Africa than West Africa wish I had been there. I think that it is a shame that an enormous number of Members of Parliament, particularly on this side of the Committee, though by no means exclusively on this side, who would wish to 91 go to see colonial conditions on the spot are prevented from going by nothing else but the cost. I believe that the time will come when the British taxpayer will have to put this matter right.
§ Sir R. Acland
We were being abused on this side of the Committee that by reason of the fact that we have never been there we were ignorant of the subject, and I felt that I was justified in saying that there is a manifest reason for our not having been there which is quite different from our will, that the reason was not our will and that we would go there willingly if we could.
But I wonder whether the hon. Member for Leominster and his friends who live there really get to know what is happening and what the Africans are thinking. The Africans are peculiarly quick to assess the sincerity and the outlook of the Europeans with whom they come into contact, and when they do not like the outlook they do not talk. Therefore, the suggestion that millions and millions of Africans know nothing about the proposals because they cannot answer questions put to them by Europeans is quite wrong. Information on that point was given by the Reverend A. B. Doig in a debate on Federation in the Nyasaland Assembly, which was reported in the "Nyasaland Times" of 29th December, 1952. He said:It is not always true to say that where they will not discuss things with us they do not understand, they do not know. It is a well-known procedure of the African to affect ignorance if he does not wish to be drawn into a discussion.Therefore, the answer to the suggestion that the hon. Member for Leominster and his friends who may have been in different parts of Africa and who say that they detected that the Africans knew nothing about this scheme, may be that the Africans had detected the outlook of the hon. Member and his friends and did not choose to discuss the scheme with them.
§ Mr. Baldwin
The hon. Member should realise that not only my friends but hon. Members on his side of the Committee accepted that view.
§ Sir R. Acland
If I may, I should like to quote from a man who has had the 92 opportunity of having confidential talks with all kinds of people in Nyasaland, namely the Bishop of Nyasaland who, writing on the subject of Federation, states:I had discussed it with Africans at all levels, from the educated civil servants, through the African clergy and teachers to chiefs and village headmen as well as ordinary farmers and fishermen, and I certainly never met one who was in favour of it, with the exception of one aged priest of my diocese living in retirement.I prefer that judgment to that of the friends of the hon. Member for Leominster, or even to the views of one or two of my colleagues who have gone out to Africa for a fleeting visit.
I want to ask a particular question on this Amendment, arising from things which have been said in our earlier debate on this subject and arising from an answer to a Question which I put down on the Order Paper. Although the Colonial Secretary is absent at the moment I hope that one or other of the Ministers present may be able to give me an answer on the spot, either by a nod or perhaps by a brief intervention for which I am prepared to give way. If not, I hope that the matter will be looked into, so that an answer may be given before we part with this Amendment which asks for delay.
It appears from statements recorded in HANSARD, to which I shall call attention, that there is grave confusion as to what is the constitutional power to amend this Federation. This is very relevant to the question of delay, because if it is possible to amend quickly and by the action of this House, then indeed—let me give this point to the Government—the arguments which we are putting forward in favour of delay are much less powerful than if there is no power in this House to amend the Constitution after it has been passed.
That is why I want to ask this question and to draw attention to a contradiction between different Government statements. On 24th March my right hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Dugdale) interrupted a speech by the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary to ask:When this conference takes place, supposing either the British Government or African representatives want a change by which there 93 should be further African representation, could such a change come about without the agreement of the white populations of both countries, or is it quite impossible for that to come about?The right hon. Gentleman, resuming his speech, said:Any changes in the Constitution would have to go through the constitutional machinery which I have outlined"—that is to say, the machinery which is provided in paragraphs 144 and 145 of the Report on the federal proposal.
That same interpretation of the position was given by my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) in the course of an interchange with the Colonial Secretary, and apparently with his assent, when on the same date my right hon. Friend said:All I am saying is that in the territorial Governments of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland we retain our rights, but in the Federal Constitution our rights to secure that there will be a bigger proportion of Africans in the Federal Legislature is no longer ours. That is why I say that our power for the advancement of the Africans within the Federal Constitution is now surrendered."— [OFFICIL REPORT, 24th March, 1953; Vol. 513, c. 669 and 689.]That was said in the presence of the right hon. Gentleman——
I find a little difficulty in connecting the argument of the hon. Baronet with the Amendment on the Paper. The Amendment relates to delay as soon as there is a majority in favour. I do not see how that can bring in a discussion on the Amendment of the Constitution.
§ Sir R. Acland
If you press me, Mr. Hopkin Morris, I will postpone this until the Motion "That the Clause stand part," but, having gone so far and having come so near to the end of my point which is relevant to the Amendment, I would be reluctant to postpone these remarks. My point is relevant to the Amendment in this way. The arguments for delay, which are very strong indeed, if we are passing this Constitution with no power whatever to amend, become somewhat weakened if there is a power in this House to amend——
That might be an argument to adduce on the Motion "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," but one has got to keep this debate related 94 in some sort of way to the Amendment which is before the Committee. This Amendment merely deals with majorities.
§ Sir R. Acland
It is a pity, because when we come to the Motion "That the Clause stand part of the Bill" it will take me twice as long to put the part of the question which I have already put and will have to put again as it would now take me to put the remainder of the question to get an answer to it. But if you insist, Mr. Hopkin Morris, it will have to be taken that way. I hope that you will be in the Chair when we come to debate the Motion "That the Clause stand part" so that there will be no question about my being out of order in raising the point at that stage. I think the Ministers concerned are apprised of the point which I am going to make and they may be able to give me some satisfaction during the days which will intervene before we come to the Question "That the Clause stand part."
May I come back to the point about delay? There was a letter in "The Times" today by Lord Tweedsmuir who scoffed at this idea of delay. He said "What is the use of further talking? If nobody has been convinced by all the talking we have had so far, there can be no advantage in more talking." I am, of course, paraphrasing his letter. We do not want delay in order that there may be more talk. We want delay in order that there may be some deeds which will satisfy the African majority as to the good intentions of the white minority.
Given 12 months delay during which, under the dynamic leadership of a Colonial Secretary—if we had a Colonial Secretary capable of dynamic leadership— the leaders of the white minority were inspired and urged on to take those steps which are necessary to win African confidence, 12 months hence this scheme could be introduced in a totally different atmosphere.
I shall be interested to know what line the Archbishop of Canterbury will take when this Bill is passed through this House and goes to another place, because he wrote, as I thought, a very powerful letter to "The Times" on 4th March in which he was joined by the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and the Moderator of the Free Church Federal Council. One paragraph 95 of this letter is so important that I would like to read it:There seems to us, therefore, to be an urgent need, before federation is inaugurated, for imaginative action promoted by trust and understanding, to demonstrate to Africans that the intention behind the federal scheme is to provide the necessary political and economic framework within which all races can progress in effective co-operation. Nothing could so effectively demonstrate this intention as the removal of some discriminatory legislation and of some day-to-day practices which destroy racial harmony. The widespread fears of Africans will not be removed by constitutional safeguards alone, but rather by good will made effective in action.That is what we think should happen in the next 12 months, and then we could see whether the atmosphere towards federation has not been improved.
What sort of action might be taken? Once again, to come to practical suggestions, I go to a source the authority of which will not be denied—a pamphlet written in February last and published on the authority of Mr. L. B. Greaves, who is the African Secretary of the Conference of Missionary Societies in Great Britain and Ireland. He made no less than six suggestions of definite action which could be taken now in order to assure African opinion of the good intentions, the real sincerity and genuine earnestness of the white authorities here and in Africa that this federation will be used for their well being.
Let us look at these six suggestions. The first was this:That, in order to prove that there will be no barriers to Africans who have reached a high cultural level, an early statement be made by the Government of Southern Rhodesia that the proposed Central African University shall be interracial socially and academically.Out of the six. this is one on which something has been done. They have made the announcement and we are all delighted. But it seems to me that Miss Margery Perham's letter on this very point is extremely relevant. It is all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to say that there will be no disturbance because the ordinary African will not find that the tenor of his life has been much altered by the introduction of Federation, but the ordinary African will not find that his life has been altered very much by the announcement that this university 96 is to be inter-racial when in fact it is not going to be built for some time to come. As Miss Perham says in her letter:Even if the problems—and they are many —which beset the proposed inter-racial university are quickly settled, it will take at least five or six years"——
I have difficulty in connecting the hon. Baronet's argument with this Amendment. I cannot see what this university has to do with the question of delay.
§ Sir R. Acland
Surely I am in order in asking for delay so that action may be taken to satisfy the African majority of the good intentions of the white people? The very next sentence to that which I was in the middle of quoting is one which shows why this announcement of the inter-racial character of the proposed university—welcome as far as it goes—is not going to have much effect within five or six years, but if we had a delay of 12 months we could carry out her next suggestion. She says:Nothing could do more to overcome that deep suspicion of the white man's intentions which blights co-operations in Africa than the announcement by the Government of a generous and immediate provision of scholarships and grants for travel and study to cover the interval"—before the university gets into full swing—and to expedite the training of Africans for political leadership, for the Civil Service, and for industry.We cannot get a university set up for about five years, but a suggestion such as this could be announced forthwith and carried out within 12 months.
To revert to the pamphlet written by the Africa Secretary of the Conference of Missionary Societies in Great Britain, I come to another small point which is on the side of the Government. The fourth of the six proposals for action is:That industrial legislation in Southern Rhodesia and trade union colour bar rules in the Copperbelt restricting the acquisition of skills be withdrawn.A little something has been done about that one, but it is no more than an announcement that the owners of the mines in the Copper Belt would like to discuss the matter with the trade unions.
I do not want continually to interrupt the hon. Baronet, 97 but this Amendment provides that there should foe a delay untilAs soon as a majority of the inhabitants of all races within each of the Territories concerned has decided in favour thereof.It has nothing to do with the subjects which the hon. Baronet has raised.
§ Sir R. Acland
If we look at all the Amendments which are being taken together we find that the one which stands second on the Order Paper suggests that there should be a delay, and federation should come into effect,on a day, not being earlier than one year after the passing of this Act.My arguments are relevant to that Amendment, because if we are asking for a delay and are facing the criticism of the Committee that nothing would be gained by further discussion, it is perfectly proper for us to say that we want not further discussion but some action, and to meet the challenge of what sort of action could be taken within 12 months which would make any difference by giving examples. What would be the use of the suggestion of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hector Hughes) unless something were done in that year which would be likely to alter African opinion?
§ 6.45 p.m.
Whatever is done within that year it cannot come into effect until "As soon as a majority of the inhabitants" and so on.
§ Sir R. Acland
True, but it does not have the particular disadvantage of being attached to the will of the majority. When I am supporting an Amendment asking for one year's delay it is relevant to show that there are things which could be done within a matter of 12 months—if there is good will amongst the white rulers of Southern Rhodesia—which could revolutionise the attitude of the African peoples towards this proposal. I should have thought it was in order, if not the ordinary thing, to refer to these suggestions. The one which I have touched upon is the question of equal skills and equal treatment in the Copper Belt. In 98 that connection a conference has just been mooted, but within 12 months, with a vigorous and driving leadership from here, that conference could be leading to results.
The four other points mentioned in this pamphlet as standing in need of action are points on which no action whatever has yet been taken. They are:That the pass-laws in Southern Rhodesia and the Copperbelt be modified to exempt many more Africans.That a statement be made with regard to the stages by which the franchise will be extended to more Africans.That African membership in the Legislative Councils of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland be increased to equal that of the European non-official members.That a scheme of training be inaugurated to prepare Africans in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland to occupy official posts now held by Europeans.If we could have action on all those points within 12 months we should indeed be getting somewhere.
This is the real difference separating this side of the Committee from the other side. If we had been in office these last two years all the points I have mentioned as things which could be done in the future would have been done in the past. If anybody looks at the stage which negotiations had reached at the time of the Victoria Falls Conference he will see that my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly had brought representatives of African opinion in Northern Rhodesia into discussions on the grounds that there would be a parallel and simultaneous advance towards partnership and towards federation.
It is precisely in putting into effect such proposals as I have mentioned that he would have embarked on the next stage of his activity. If that had been done we might by now be considering the introduction of federation and partnership simultaneously, in an atmosphere of goodwill and co-operation, but as things now stand—there having been a different Government in power in these last two years—we have, undeniably, an atmosphere of ill will and suspicion.
I join with those who press for delay— as suggested by no less a writer than the Archbishop of Canterbury—before federation is inaugurated, until action demonstrating the good will of the white leaders has had a chance of taking place.
§ Mr. Rankin
I shall do my best not to cover too closely the points which have already been made, though I admit that that is a somewhat difficult undertaking. Reference has been made to the letter of Miss Margery Perham in "The Times" today. I want to refer briefly to one of the closing sentences, which reads:This Bill legislates for white domination now but, unless the experience of history and all British policy and principles are to be reversed, there must one day be black domination in the sense that power must pass to the immense African majority.When I read that letter it seemed to me that that sentence was a very important one, if not the most important.
It is not denied that we are trustees of the African Territories. It is our purpose at some date to hand these Territories over to the care and administration of the indigenous people. Where we disagree is perhaps in the speed at which we shall progress towards that culmination. But here it seems to us that the party opposite, as Miss Perham has said, are reversing the whole of the progress which we thought was developing in the British Colonies. They are putting the clock back. If they mean at some future date to hand over these territories to the Africans, then why should they take this intermediate step of creating a white domination now? Why do that, if they agree with the principles which have been enunciated in the past by the late Oliver Stanley that, ultimately, there will be black domination in that part of the world?
We therefore press this Amendment in order to give the Government time to pause and reflect before they take what, in the opinion of many of us, will be a step which might almost be fatal and which at least will be difficult to reverse. I do not think it will be denied in any part of the Committee that there is opposition to this step—widespread opposition —but there is disagreement as to the force and volume of that opposition.
The hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. Baldwin), who, I am sorry to say, is no longer in his place, has a knowledge of and an interest in Africa which is appreciated by every one of us, and he sought, as I am certain the Colonial Secretary also seeks, to show that this opposition is not very strong. The right hon. Gentleman made that statement in his speech today and the hon. Member for Leominster sought to denigrate the ability of 100 the African to carry on his own Government. He minimised the influence of the African Congress.
All that rang a bell in my mind, because his predecessors on that side of the Committee said those very things, within my lifetime, of the Labour movement in this country. They were not talking about Africans then. It is not very long ago since the present Prime Minister said about the British working class what the hon. Member for Leominster said today about the African working class— that they were not fit to govern.
The Colonial Secretary disregards all the evidence for delay offered to him. There is political opposition in this country; it is widespread; but the Colonial Secretary disregards it. There is non-political opposition in this country; again it is very strong; and again the Colonial Secretary disregards it. He is entitled to do so, but I wonder whether he will disregard the proof, which I should like to give him, furnished by the recently constituted East Africa Command. In my opinion there is a link between the constitution of that command and what is happening today in this House. I am sorry to say it, but in my belief the right hon. Gentleman has to be inflexible about this Bill. He cannot pause and reflect, as we want him to do. He has to get this Bill through because the Bill, and he as its guide in the House, is the instrument of a deeper design—and he must know something about that.
The recently constituted East Africa Command issued an explanation—and I am quoting from the "East Africa and Rhodesian Standard" of 28th May, 1953 —of why the General Officer Commanding had not been given charge of the operations against the Mau Mau terrorists in Kenya.
I do not see how that can in any way be related to the delay proposed by this Amendment.
§ Mr. Rankin
I am trying to use it as a piece of evidence in view of the fact that the right hon. Gentleman has disregarded——
I would point out that all this Amendment proposes to do is to see that the scheme shall not be brought into operation until such time as a majority of the inhabitants of the territories concerned vote for it.
§ Mr. Rankin
I assumed that one reason why the right hon. Gentleman was not yielding to the advice which we are giving him was because he was not convinced of the strength of the case that we have put forward. He has disregarded the evidence produced from political sources. He has disregarded the evidence produced from non-political sources both in this country and in the Territories affected. I therefore propose to offer him another piece of evidence to which I hope he will give his attention. As I said, this is a quotation from the "East African and Rhodesian Standard" of 28th May, 1953, which pointed out that the area which the command covers ran from the Zambesi right up to the frontiers of Ethiopia. Then it continues, and here I quote——
§ Mr. Lyttelton
May I interrupt to ask how this bears on the Amendment which the hon. Gentleman is now supporting?
§ Mr. Rankin
If the right hon. Gentleman will restrain himself a little he will hear the quotation from the East Africa Command, over which I think he has control. The quotation is:Federation is not popular among a portion of the population in the south.The right hon. Gentleman does not believe what we say when we tell him that federation is not popular. The hon. Member for Leominster said we had never been there. He asked how we could know. Surely the East Africa Command is there, and they say that federation is not popular among a portion of the population in the South.
The quotation continues:At present, disputes there are carried out constitutionally, but there are hotheads. The Army has to stand by in case they do something very foolish and help the forces of law and order to save them from themselves.Where is the Army coming from? I hope the Colonial Secretary will give some attention to that point.
If there is to be an Army there for this purpose, where is it coming from? There is no Army there at the present moment. Is an Army to be drafted in there to make sure that the discontent that may arise from the passing of this Bill will be properly dealt with? If that Army is to be drafted in, whence is it to come? Is it coming from Egypt? Is the 102 Bill the groundwork of something which is of far deeper design? Is that the reason why the Colonial Secretary is not able to listen to any of the suggestions that have been made from this side of the Committee?
The Command statement goes on:East Africa stands between Egypt and the Sudan in the north and South Africa in the south. Both these are going through a very difficult time in their history, and it is sometimes feared that it may spread. The East Africa Command has to help the authorities to see it does not spread.Is that the function? That does not come from me. That is a statement issued by the East Africa Command.
Do we fear that, as a result of this Measure, there is going to be discontent in that part of Africa, and is that the reason why this new Command has been created? Is that the reason why an Army is being introduced into that part of Africa, to see that any discontent or any troubles that may arise from the passing of this Bill are properly dealt with?
If the Command statement means anything at all it does seem to me that it means that is what they are preparing for, and that is the reason why I, at any rate, am urging upon the right hon. Gentleman that now he ought to pause and reflect before he creates such a situation in East-Central Africa. Instead of seeking to crush people, he should try to win their consent. That is what we are appealing for today, and I hope that even at the eleventh hour he will give consideration to the arguments that have been advanced, and accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. Donald Wade (Huddersfield, West)
Very much earlier in the debate the hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. Baldwin) referred to the Rev. Michael Scott. I think his remarks were rather unfortunate. I believe there is a very effective reply, but if I were to attempt to reply it would involve reference to actions and statements by the District Commissioner at Blantyre, which were ruled out of order in the debate on these Amendments; so I can only hope that the matter will be raised at some future stage.
I do not wish to say anything which would make the situation more difficult than it is already in these Territories, but it is our duty to discuss this Biil 103 frankly and realistically, and I hope that as a result some Amendments may be made to the Bill which will help to lessen the distrust and disquiet in the minds of many Africans.
The purpose of the first Amendment is that the proposed Federation should not take effect until a majority of the inhabitants of all the races within each of the Territories concerned has decided in favour of it. As I understand the comments of the Colonial Secretary, one of his objections is that this is not practicable, because many of the Africans are illiterate, and that it is the duty of the British Government to act as they think fit in the best interests of the Africans. I shall not enter into a discussion of the question of trusteeship which has kept cropping up, except to make this observation. I agree that there may be times when a trustee may have to act in a way that is not pleasing to the beneficiaries, but I do not think there is any precedent for trustees changing the terms of a trust; and it is that to which we object.
In putting forward the argument that to obtain the opinion of the Africans is impracticable and that the Government must act in the best interests of the Africans, one important factor is overlooked, and it is that this is not the final stage but the first step in a development which is intended to end in the formation of a Dominion. If the Africans are not given an opportunity now of voting upon it, if there is to be no referendum at this stage, one has to consider whether there will at any time be a referendum in which, in the terms of this Amendment, the majority of the inhabitants of all the races will be able to decide either in favour or otherwise.
The point I am concerned with is that in the proposed federal scheme there does not seem to be any stage when a referendum will be taken on a true democratic basis. I am aware of the clause in the Preamble to the federal scheme, which says:(e) the association of the three Territories in a Federation … would foster partnership and co-operation between their inhabitants and enable the Federation, when the inhabitants of the Territories so desire, to go forward with confidence towards the attainment of full membership of the Commonwealth.104 I think it is clear that the intention is that there should eventually be full membership of the Commonwealth.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
The hon. Member is on an important point. I do not think he is correct in saying that the only way to ascertain the desire of the majority is by a referendum. It may equally be by an extension of the franchise, which would enable the Government of the future to decide whether the majority were of that opinion. I particularly do not want to be drawn into saying that there must be a referendum or a wide enough franchise. In fact, they are frozen out of Dominion status until the Federal Government and the British Government of the day are satisfied that there is a sufficient majority.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
This is a very important point. We shall be returning to it later. It concerns an undertaking given at Victoria Falls that there shall be no agreement except with the consent of the inhabitants, and that means all the inhabitants. Conceivably, there could be no Dominion status in a scheme which includes two Protectorates. Amalgamation and federation in this scheme are in the same category.
§ Mr. Wade
I am raising this point on this Amendment because it affects very seriously my point about the advisability of this Amendment. As I understand the scheme there is no really effective assurance that there will be a democratic decision of all the people of these Territories. The words in the Preamble are "when the inhabitants of the Territories so desire," but the Preamble may have no legal effect. We are being asked to rely partly on this Preamble and partly on assurances that have been given by the Government.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
The hon. Gentleman is now dealing with an important point, upon which I am very anxious to satisfy him. It would be impossible to create Dominion status unless there were a change in the Constitution. The Constitution would be subject to all the safeguards which are laid down in the scheme, and when Her Majesty took advice upon the matter she would naturally have to take account of whether the majority of the inhabitants—of all the inhabitants—were in favour of such a thing, which I admit would really, by 105 the backdoor, involve amalgamation. In fact, it cannot take place with these safeguards until the authorities of the day are satisfied that the majority of the inhabitants so desire, so there is more than Her Majesty's Government's word; there is something in the Constitution which protects the position.
§ The Temporary Chairman (Mr. G. H. R. Rogers)
At this stage I must point out that I do not see how Dominion status arises on this Amendment, and I think the hon. Gentleman had better leave that point.
§ Mr. Wade
I will pass to another topic, upon which I think I should be in order, or at least I hope so. It affects the question as to whether there should be a referendum now.
I appreciate the difficulties in taking a referendum. The advisability depends very largely, not on the Constitution but on statements of Government policy and statements of intention which have been made by the Colonial Secretary. I do not question his sincerity for one moment, and I am sure he does not question the sincerity of those of us who have been objecting to his policy; but when statements are made, in all sincerity, by representatives of the Government we have to remember that with the passage of time they become modified and interpreted in a different way.
Perhaps I might illustrate that by refer-ing to the doctrine of paramountcy, which was formulated in 1923, and summarised in these words:His Majesty's Government think it necessary to record their considered opinion that the interests of the African natives must be paramount, and that, if and when those interests and the interests of the immigrant races conflict, the former should prevail.With the passage of years the interpretation of that changed. In 1931, the Joint Select Committee which was considering this whole subject issued a statement putting a different interpretation on those words. On 22nd September, 1948, a Question was asked in the House by Mr. Skinnard, who asked the Secretary of State for the Colonieswhether he is aware that the Secretary for Native Affairs in Northern Rhodesia has announced in the African Representative Council that the doctrine of paramountcy of native interests is dead; and whether he will make a statement of his policy in this.respect.106 Mr. Creech Jones replied:The Secretary for Native Affairs told the Council that the 1923 White Paper on this question was dead, in the sense that it had been superseded by the report of the Joint Select Committee of Parliament of October, 1931, which reviewed previous statements on native policy and the relations of the Africa'n and immigrant communities. The Report of the Joint Select Committee continues to be the operative document on this question. Paragraph 73 of this Report sums up the matter by staying that the doctrine of paramountcy mearfis no more than that the jnterests of the overwhelming majority of the indigenous population should not be subordinated to those of a minority belonging to another race, however important in itself."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd September, 1948; Vol. 456, c. 868–9.]With the passage of time that has been even further modified, and one hears very little today about the doctrine of paramountcy. What I fear is that there will be a similar modification of opinion on the subject of African safeguards as the years pass.
My own view is that there are not adequate safeguards in this federal scheme. I realise that there are differences of opinion on that, but I do not myself believe that there are adequate safeguards. I believe that changes will take place, that the time will come when we shall regret what had been done, and we shall be faced with a criticism that at no time has the majority of the inhabitants of these Territories had an opportunity of expressing an opinion. The departure from the doctrine of paramountcy provides a lesson we should learn, and for that reason I feel that this Amendment must be supported.
If the Government could give the assurance that, if not at this stage then at a later stage, a referendum will be taken, and that there is no possibility of the further stage taking place towards Dominion status without such a referendum, then the need for this Amendment would not be so great. But in the absence of that, I feel that we must vote for this Amendment. To proceed without a referendum now, without adequate safeguards for the future, would, in my view, be a departure from the best principles of colonial administration. I realise that there is much to be said on both sides on the score of expediency, but on the principle, as I said 107 in an earlier debate, the position is clear, and for that reason I believe this Amendment must be supported.
§ Sir Leslie Plummer (Deptford)
There were three points in the speech of the Colonial Secretary which I think arose from a misreading of the African situation. I am convinced that they result from that misreading—or at least as convinced as anybody can be about anything that emerges from this grim and tangled African picture—and I should like to deal with those three points now. The right hon. Gentleman was asking us to accept his view that the depth of African opposition to the suggested scheme of Federation must be measured by the passive way in which the Africans have up to now acted. Now a great change has come over Africans and their habits in the last few years, and it is absolutely essential that the Committee should appreciate what these changes are.
Until 20 years ago the African was not a man who acted cohesively with his brother, but in 1945 there was a railway strike in Southern Rhodesia, organised on such a scale that the Europeans were convinced it would collapse, and collapse immediately, for hitherto no Africans engaged in industry in Southern Rhodesia had ever been found who could act in concert for more than a few minutes or a few hours. In fact the strike continued; it was a success; the Africans won the day. There was no bloodshed; there were no disturbances; they behaved absolutely loyally as far as the law was concerned. This had a quite staggering effect on the European attitude towards the docility and tractability of African labour.
In 1952 there was a strike in the copper mines in Northern Rhodesia, and the people who became panic-stricken at the thought of this strike were the European officials. They took what can now be regarded as extreme measures to ensure that the law was preserved. In fact, not one single African—and there were 35,000 of them—concerned in that strike was arrested. It is also true to say that not one single one of them blacklegged.
In fact, during that strike, the incidence of crime went down. That was because the Africans had, very largely owing to the tutelage they had from the 108 labour officers of the Northern Rhodesian Government and also the advice of the Mineworkers Union of this country, become sufficiently educated to understand that their real strength lay in silent determination and by obeying the law as far as they possibly could. These instances which I am quoting illustrate this—that because the African is not taking extreme action against federation does not mean that he is not opposed to federation.
The fact is that he is expressing that opposition in a manner entirely different from that which has been anticipated, and because he is doing it in this form it is all the more important that we should be listening to what they have to say. Commenting on the situation at Broken Hills, the "Financial Times," a paper in favour of federation, made quite clear that here was a new situation in Northern Rhodesia—a completely new situation—-where we could have effective action being taken by African workers in a perfectly legal and proper fashion.
I do not want it to be suggested that I am advocating that the Africans should take untoward action against the imposition of federation. I think that it was unworthy of the Secretary of State to suggest that my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) and my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) were supporting any illegality. I know that such action is as far from their minds as anything can possibly be, but they are entitled to say that if we do take a certain action the results may be grim indeed.
The second point on which I think the right hon. Gentleman was wrong was in his interpretation of the situation as being one in which the future of these Territories depends entirely on the Europeans Of course it does not. It depends on the Europeans and the Africans together.
§ Sir L. Plummer
I understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that the future of these countries depended on the Europeans.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I did not actually say that. I made it perfectly clear that the development depended on the Europeans 109 and upon African co-operation. I think that the hon. Gentleman will see that in HANSARD.
§ Sir L. Plummer
I must of course accept that statement. I must also accept Sir Godfrey Huggins' statement that the future of Africa depends on the friendship of the Africans because without the friendship of the Africans Southern Rhodesia and the African Continent would be unable to defend itself from attack from outside.
It is an odd thing that at this moment, if it is essential to have the friendship of the African people, that we are taking action which demonstrably is not gaining the friendship of the African people and is in fact losing it. I support the right hon, Gentleman absolutely when he says that of course every African does not understand the issues of federation and that most Africans going about their job of tilling the soil and looking after their Shamba's are concerned with the immediate issue of their bread and butter and not with political issues.
But the fact is that there is nobody in Africa of any importance who represents the African people in a vocal fashion who has come forward and said. "I am on your side where federation is concerned." It is therefore a tragedy to those of us who are anxious that the development of Africa shall not be impeded by any suspicions of European action that at this moment when the Central African countries are trying to carve out for themselves the economic development which they ought to be having, there should be this bitterness of feeling engendered by the imposition of federation.
Finally the right hon. Gentleman dealt with the reserve Clauses—the powers that are retained by this House of Commons through the Colonial Secretary. I believe that this is really one of the fundamental problems because the Africans do not believe in the efficacy of the powers reserved to this House. One of the reasons why they have no confidence in these powers is clear when they look at Southern Rhodesia and see that this House ought now to be exercising the right which it retained to itself in the 1923 Act to prevent acts of discrimination which are being used against the African people and which it has never used. My right hon. and learned Friend the Mem- 110 ber for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) was attacked for what the Liberals did in the Act of Union with South Africa in 1906. At least they tried to reserve the necessary powers to prevent the sort of things now being done to the Cape Coloureds and to the African people by Dr. Malan and his associates.
Lord Lugard in "The Dual Mandate" —a book which has become a text book for every Colonial Office cadet—made it quite clear that once we take the imperial hand off the affairs of a Colonial country it can never be put back. And why? Because we have no sanctions. Lord Lugard quotes in that book an occasion on which a Colonial Secretary—Lord Elgin—tried to interfere in the execution of 16 men found guilty of murder in Natal. He attempted to exercise the rights and privileges which had been reserved to him in trying to postpone those executions and of course he failed. He had no sanction. We shall be equally powerless in this House. That is the fear of the Africans and I must say that I share those fears, that we shall in nine or 10 years time be powerless to use our influence in the direction of improving the Constitution for the protection of the African people because we too will have no sanctions that we can impose.
These are the fears of the African leaders and of many hon. and right hon. Members of my own party on these benches. It is because we are anxious and because we want to support Central African federation, as enthusiastically as we hope to be able to support West Indian federation that we are asking for this delay so that we can satisfy the Africans and everybody else in the countries concerned that what we are producing is a scheme which will work for the benefit of all the peoples of those countries and a scheme which guarantees by word, by clause and by paragraph those liberties and rights which we think are now missing from the Bill as it stands.
§ Mr. Paget
I understand that the Colonial Secretary has another important engagement and, therefore, I will start right away by saying what I want to say to him particularly. My hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) made what I think were moderate and well-founded criticisms. Throughout our Colonial Empire the Colonial Service has built up a wonderful reputation. It has 111 built up a reputation of being a friend of the natives. It is as the protector of the native against the white settler and against the white trader that the natives throughout our Empire have regarded the officers of the Colonial Service as being their friends. Nothing is more vital than that that reputation and trust should be retained.
I believe that the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman during the time that he has held the office of Colonial Secretary has done much to impair that confidence. The natives of Africa do not now regard the right hon. Gentleman, as they regarded his predecessors, as being their friend. He has put himself into the position of being their enemy. I do not believe that that is a just judgment on the part of the Africans, but it is the judgment which they have been making.
§ Mr. Paget
We are discussing, Mr. Rogers, whether there shall be postponement of the proposals and one of my reasons for supporting postponement is to give time for confidence to be recreated in the Colonial Service and in the intentions of the Government. Before we part with authority it is essential to recreate the confidence of the Africans which has been so grievously injured. I suggest that that point is very much within the scope of the debate.
§ The Temporary Chairman
The hon. and learned Gentleman's approach to the point was rather devious. I hope he will now come closer to it.
§ Mr. Paget
One must always lead up to a point if one is putting an argument. My point takes the form of an appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to try to make use of the debate for doing something to re-create the confidence which has been damaged.
The other day the right hon. Gentleman accused me of making a mischievous speech about Kenya. He has never told me what mischief it did, but he has adopted most of the suggestions that I then made. He has today accused my two hon. Friends who began the debate of making mischievous speeches. Nobody 112 could have made a speech better calculated to make mischief than did the right hon. Gentleman. He said he was amazed at the smallness of the reaction in the Territories to the proposal for federation. What words could act as more of an incitement to the people in the Territories to take action which would remove his surprise? He also said that when federation comes any reaction will soon recede. What could be better calculated to incite the people to show him that he is wrong? Those are the sort of tactless observations which really make trouble and convey the impression, quoted by my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg), that the right hon. Gentleman equates force with consent. The right hon. Gentleman must remove that impression.
Whatever opposition or anyone else may do, the Federation will not be a success unless the right hon. Gentleman succeeds in convincing the Africans that he really cares for their consent, that he really is resolved to win it. that he does not treat their protests with contempt, that he is not surprised at the smallness of their reaction, that he is concerned that they should react, and that he is anxious to do what is good for them, to convince them that it is for their good and to get their consent to what he is doing. Those are essentials and the right hon. Gentleman has neglected them throughout Africa. It is essential that he should change his approach, and he should give himself time to do so and to let its effects be felt.
My second point relates to the Amendment about which the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) spoke. We are setting up a Federation which will have power, but the only power it will have will be the power which we give it. If one gives power, it means that one parts with power. What we give to the Federation we take away from ourselves. What power is it that we are giving away? It is not the power of a sovereign because we are not sovereigns in the Protectorates of Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia. We have not conquered or annexed those Territories. They do not belong to us. They are Territories in which we exercise treaty rights. At one time we exercised treaty rights with the Treaty Ports in China. We exercised treaty rights in Egypt, with consular courts, mixed courts and various other 113 rights. But that did not make us sovereign in China or Egypt.
The treaty rights in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia were given to us by the chieftains. Apart from the rights which they gave, the chieftains remained sovereign; it was still their country, but they entrusted us, as protectors, with certain rights. Those are our rights in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia. Since we are giving rights to the Federation, those are the only rights that we have to give. What are the rights? They are the rights of trustees. The chiefs entrusted us with certain rights and duties. It seems to me that we can either perform those rights and duties or give them back to the chiefs.
As far as I know, we have no right at all, in international law or even in domestic law, to hand over treaty rights to somebody to whom they were never given. Yet here we are being asked to hand over to the federal authority, an authority to which the chiefs have objected, powers which were not given but lent by the chiefs to us as protectors. That seems to me to give away that which is not ours. Whatever the legal position may be, the position in honour seems to me to be that those people trusted us and we ought not to give that trust to somebody else whom they do not trust and never have trusted.
I would ask that this scheme be delayed as the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Montgomery asked, so that The Hague Court or some appropriate tribunal—it may be the Privy Council because I understand that litigation has been started to see whether, in fact, these are treaty rights in an area in which we are not sovereign—will determine whether we are entitled to give away these rights without the consent of those who conferred them upon us.
§ Mr. A. Fenner Brockway (Eton and Slough)
I do not propose to deliver a speech. My name is associated with Amendments which will come up later.
§ All I want to do is to intervene for a moment in the verbal duel between the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) and the Secretary of State for the Colonies on the issue as to whether a referendum could have been taken of the African population in these Territories. The right hon. Gentleman did not say that it was impossible, but he said it was difficult. I want to submit to him that there are precedents for the taking of referenda among Africans or Asians who are regarded as illiterate.
§ I could have understood, though I should not have agreed with, the right hon. Gentleman if he had said it was difficult for them to take part in a general election for a small legislative assembly, because on such occasions the issues are many, but in a referendum they are direct and simple. The United Nations proposed on more than one occasion that a referendum should be taken among peoples who are just as illiterate as those in the Central African Territories. If it is possible for the United Nations to propose referenda in such instances it would have been possible to take a referendum of the African population in Central Africa.
§ I came to the conclusion that it is not merely the difficulties of taking a referendum which distinguishes between the approach to the white population of Southern Rhodesia and the African populations of the other territories, but that in the minds of those who are responsible there are really two human values, the white value and the black value. It is only when we recognise the right of the African and the European to be equal that we shall be able to deal properly with the problems which are involved in this Bill.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 214; Noes, 231.117
|Division No. 180.]||AYES||17.45 p.m.|
|Aoland, Sir Richard||Balfour, A.||Boltomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.|
|Albu, A. H.||Bartley, P.||Bowden, H. W.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Bowen, E. R.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Beswick, F.||Bowles, F. G.|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Bing, G. H. C.||Braddook, Mrs.. Elizabeth|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Blackburn, F||Brockway, A. F.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Blenkinsop, A.||Brook, Dryden (Halifax)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Bryton, W. R.||Brown, Thomas (Ince)|
|Saird, J.||Boardman, H.||Burke, W. A.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Janner, B.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Carmichael, J.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Ross, William|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Chapman, W. D.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Short, E. W.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Clunie, J.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Collick, P. H.||Keenan, W.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Cove, W. G.||King, Dr. H. M.||Slater, Mrs. (Stoke, N.)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)|
|Crosland, C. A. R.||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Lindgren, G. S.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Daines, P.||Logan, D. G.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||McGhee, H. G.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||McGovern, J.||Steel, T.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||McInnes, J.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Deer, G.||McLeavy, F.||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Delargy, H. J.||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Dodds, N. N.||McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Donnelly, D. L.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Manuel, A. C.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Edelman, M.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Thomas, David (Aberdare)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Nest (Caerphilly)||Mason, Roy||Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Mayhew, C.P.||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Hellish, R. J.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Messer, F.||Thornton, E.|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mikarde, lan||Timmons, J.|
|Fienburgh, W.||Mitchison, G.R.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Finch, H. J.||Monslow, W.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Moody, A.S.||Viant, S. P.|
|Follick, M.||Morgan, Dr. H.B.W.||Wade, D. W.|
|Foot, M.M.||Morley, R.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Formant, J. C.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Watkins, T.E.|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mort, D.L.||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Moyle, A.||Weitzman, D.|
|Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Murray, J.D.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D.R.||Nally, W.||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Grey, C.F.||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. Hohn|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Oldfield, W.H.||Wheeldon, W.E.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Orbach, M.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Oswald, T.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Grimond, J.||Paget, R.T.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Hale, Leslie||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Wigg, George|
|Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Pannell, Charles||Willey, F. T.|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Parker, J.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Hannan, W.||Pearson, A.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Hargreaves, A.||Peart, T. F.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'H'y)|
|Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Plummer, Sir Leslie||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Hastings, S.||Popplewell, E.||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Hayman, F. H.||Porter, G.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Healey, Denis (Leeds, S. E.)||Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)||Winterbottom, lan (Nottingham, C.)|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||Proctor, W. T.||Winterbotom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Pryde, D. J.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Holman, P.||Rankin, John||Yates, V. F.|
|Houghton, Douglas||Reeves, J.|
|Hoy, J. H.||Reid, William (Camlachie)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Rhodes, H.||Mr. Holmes and Mr. Royle.|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Richards, R.|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Boyle, Sir Edward||Conant, Maj. R. J. E.|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Braine, B. R.||Cooper, San. Ldr. Albert|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.)||Cooper-Key, E. M.|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn. W.)||Brooman-White, R. C.||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Browne, Jack (Govan)||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Buohan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Bullard, D. G.||Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)|
|Barber, Anthony||Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Davidson, Viscountess|
|Barlow, Sir John||Burden, F. F. A.||Deedes, W. F.|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Butcher, Sir Herbert||Digby, S. Wingfield|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Campbell, Sir David||Dodds-Parker, A. D.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Cary, Sir Robert||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Channon, H.||Donner, P. W.|
|Birch, Nigel||Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Doughty, C. J. A.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm|
|Black, C. W.||Cole, Norman||Drayson, G. B.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Colegate, W. A.||Drewe, C.|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Remnant, Hon. P.|
|Duthie, W. S.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Renton, D. L. M|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Fell, A.||Lindsay, Martin||Robertson, Sir David|
|Finlay, Graeme||Linstead, H. N.||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Fisher, Nigel||Llewellyn, D. T.||Robson-Brown, W.|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Longden, Gilbert||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Ford, Mrs. Patricia||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Russell, R. S.|
|Fort, R.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Foster, John||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||McAdden, S. J.||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Fraser, Sir lan (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||McCallum, Major D.||Scott, R. Donald|
|Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Garner-Evans, E. H.||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|George, Rt. Hon Maj. G. Lloyd||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Godber, J. B.||McKibbin, A. J.||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Gough, C. F. H.||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Speir, R. M.|
|Gower, H. R.||Macleod, Rt. Hon. lain (Enfield, W.)||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)|
|Gridley, Sir Arnold||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Stevens, G. P.|
|Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Stewart Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Harden, J. R. E.||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.||Storey, S.|
|Hare, Hon, J.H.||Marlowe, A.A.H.||Straus, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Marples, A. E.||Studholme, H. G.|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Summers, G. S.|
|Harvey, lan (Harrow, E.)||Marshall, Sir Sidney (Sutton)||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Harvie-Watt, Sir George||Maude, Angus||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Hay, John||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S.L.C.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J.P.L. (Hereford)|
|Heald, Sir Lionel||Medlicott, Brig, F.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Heald, Sir Lionel||Mellor, Sir John||Thomas, P.J.M. (Conway)|
|Heath, Edward||Mellor, Sir John||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Higgs, J. M. C.||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Mott-Radclyffe, C.E.||Thronton-Kemsley, Col. C.N.|
|Hill, Mrs, E. (Wythenshawe)||Nabarrow, G.D.N.||Turner, H.F.L.|
|Hichingbrooke, Viscount||Nicholls, Harmer||Turner, H.F.L.|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Nicholls, Harmar||Turton, R.H.|
|Holland-Martin, C. J.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Vane, W.M.F.|
|Hollis, M. C.||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Vaughan-Morgan, J.K.|
|Hope, Lord John||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Vosper, D.F.|
|Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Oakshott, H. D.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Horobin, I. M.||Odey, G. W.||Ward, Miss I (Tynemouth)|
|Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Watkinson, H.A.|
|Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminister)|
|Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Orr-Ewing, Charles lan (Hendon, N.)||Wellwood, W.|
|Hurd, A. R.||Osborne, C.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Cnarles (Torquay)|
|Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Partridge, E.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Perkins, W. R. D.||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Pitman, I. J.||Wills, G.|
|Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Powell, J. Enoch||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Kaberry, D.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Keeling, Sir Edward||Profumo, J. D.||York, C.|
|Kerr, H. W.||Raikes, Sir Victor|
|Lambert, Hon. G.||Rayner, Brig. R.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Lambton, Viscount||Redmayne, M.||Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith and|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Mr. Richard Thompson.|
§ The Temporary Chairman
The next Amendment to be called is that in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) to Clause 1, page 1, line 10.
§ Mr. Dugdale
On a point of Order, Mr. Rogers, do I understand that you are not calling either of the two Amendments in my name to Clause 1, page 1, line 5 and line 7? If so, may I submit the reasons why I think they should be called?
§ The Temporary Chairman
I think it would be better if the Chairman of Ways and Means deals with that question, as he was responsible for the selection.
§ The Chairman
The first Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman is out of order because we do not need an Act of Parliament to authorise another Act.
§ Mr. Dugdale
Not even when the first Act is so short that it is practically impossible to discuss it with any clarity?
§ The Chairman
I do not think that matters. As regards the second Amendment in the name of the right hon. Gentleman, the point has already been decided.
§ Mr. Dugdale
With great respect, Sir Charles, how has it been decided more than any other point? It was decided on Second Reading that various things should 119 be done. My Amendment deals with one thing, the inclusion of Nyasaland. How has that been decided more than a number of other points, many of which can, it appears, be discussed?
§ The Chairman
It was decided on Second Reading. If the right hon. Gentleman will look at the title of the Bill, he will see that it provides for the Federation of Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
§ Sir Frank Soskice (Sheffield, Neepsend)
I beg to move, in page 1, line 10, after "Government," to insert:including a Federal Cabinet.This Amendment paves the way for a further Amendment to Clause 1, page 2, line 18, on page 1454 of the Order Paper. That Amendment goes, in spirit and purpose, closely with the Amendment which immediately precedes it, also to line 18, and it may be that it would be for the convenience of the Committee if those three Amendments were discussed together. In explaining the reason for my paving Amendment I would desire to indicate the reasons for those subsequent two Amendments. If you will allow me to do so Sir Charles, I will therefore deal with all three in the same speech.
§ The Chairman
Yes, certainly. I think the right hon. and learned Gentleman has also another one to Clause 2, page 2, line 40, which is related?
§ Sir F. Soskice
With great respect, Sir Charles, the Amendment to Clause 2, page 2, line 40, deals with an entirely separate topic. Technically, perhaps, it can be said to be an Amendment made necessary by the Amendment to Clause 1, page 2, line 18, in that it explains what is meant by the reference to the Secretary of State there introduced, but the Amendment to which you have just referred introduces an entirely new matter of principle. Speaking for myself, if I were so fortunate as to catch your eye when that Amendment comes up, I would desire to argue it separately and I believe that a number of my hon. Friends take the same view. I hope, therefore, that you will allow me to discuss the paving Amendment and the two Amendments to line 18 on page 1454 together.
§ The Chairman
If the right hon. and learned Gentleman does not discuss the 120 Amendment to Clause 2, page 2, line 40 now, there will be no other opportunity because, unless these Amendments are carried, it will not make sense.
§ Sir F. Soskice
I see the force of that, Sir Charles, and I will therefore, if I may, discuss that, too, but I hope you will allow us to vote separately on it.
§ Sir F. Soskice
If you please, Sir Charles.
What we seek to do by the Amendments now before the Committee is to provide for the constitution and membership of the Federal Cabinet. Hitherto, in the course of this debate in Committee, we have been discussing the general matter of principle as to whether this Bill should be delayed or not. That involved, as was evident from the speeches, travelling over a very wide area of debate. The Amendment which we are now about to discuss raises a narrower issue, but is nevertheless, in the view that I take, and, I believe, my right hon. and hon. Friends also take, an issue of absolutely crucial and first-rate importance.
What we are seeking to do by a number of Amendments is to cause to be written into the Bill provisions which we think are urgently necessary and, indeed, indispensable to provide any reasonable safeguard for African interests. We do so having in mind the crucial importance of trying in some way to reassure African opinion, faced, as it is, with the prospect of having this federal scheme, which it dislikes, forced upon it against its will.
That being the situation, we on this side think that it is the proper function of the Committee in the course of these discussions, if the Government are deter-mined to force this scheme down their throats, at least to write into its terms such safeguards as must be regarded as the minimum safeguards demanded for the protection of the Africans. This particular Amendment deals with one aspect of that problem.
If I may remind the Committee of the history with regard to the suggestions and recommendations of the various conferences as to the composition of the Federal Cabinet, it is this. When the 121 London experts met, what they proposed was that there should be a Member of the Cabinet specially charged with responsibility for the protection and furtherance of African interests, who should be both appointed by, and removable only by, the Secretary of State.
In their Report, the London experts gave detailed reasons why they thought that that was an absolutely indispensable safeguard and why they thought that that was the minimum which it might be hoped would satisfy African requirements and expectations and go some way to allay the fears which they entertained. I have no doubt that all hon. Members have carefully studied that very important Report of the London experts, dated March, 1951, and I am quite certain that the Minister of State, if he is to reply to this debate, will know it almost by heart —at any rate, he should know it.
If I may summarise what was said in paragraphs 50 and 51 of that Report by the London experts as reason for their recommendation with regard to the Cabinet Minister responsible for African affairs, appointed and removable only by the Secretary of State, it was this. They said, first, that if the Africans were to have reasonable safeguard, there must be some organ of the Constitution which would see to it that in the administrative and executive sphere of Government there was somebody to look after their interests.
As the scheme stands, in the draft of of it which is at present before the Committee, there is, it is true, an African Affairs Board. There is provision by which legislation—I repeat, only legislation—which can be thought to be disadvantageous, in the sense in which that term is defined in the scheme, to African interests, can be reserved for the pleasure of Her Majesty. That, however, does not touch—I emphasise that, because it is of great importance—the administrative or executive sphere of Government.
What the London experts had in mind in the first place in making this recommendation that there should be this member of the Cabinet, was that he would be there at the centre of affairs, present as a member of the Cabinet, taking part in the deliberations of the Cabinet and able to watch over and, as a member of the Cabinet, to influence the executive and 122 administrative action of the Federal Government so far as it touched African affairs. That is the first point and one, I venture to re-emphasise, of crucial importance.
It is not enough simply to introduce into the federal scheme some machinery whereby legislative action which is inimical to African interests can be reserved for the pleasure of the Queen. There must be something more, and the London experts, by this device of the Cabinet member, had that in mind; something more which would safeguard African interests so far as administrative and executive action by the Federal Government was concerned. That was the first point which quite evidently, from paragraphs 50 and 51 of their Report, the London experts had in mind.
They do not make their second point so clearly, but it immediately emerges when one considers the position of this member of the Cabinet. As the scheme as finally drawn up reads, there is, as I have said, a provision that legislative action can be reserved. That provision, however, is only a purely negative provision. It simply reserves to the United Kingdom Government the power to veto legislative measures. It does not go beyond that. It simply results in the position that if the Secretary of State for the Colonies is satisfied that a certain legislative proposal of the Federal Legislature will infringe rightful African interests, he can put a stop on it and say that it is not to pass. That is purely negative in character; there is nothing positive about it. The Secretary of State cannot change or alter the proposal in question, nor can he in any way initiate legislative action which he thinks is necessary to protect Africans.
This is, I repeat, the second advantage of having a Cabinet Minister responsible for African affairs, occupying in relation to the Cabinet this independent position which he would have, being appointed and removable only by the Secretary of State. That independent position guarantees this safeguard to the Africans. It means that there will be somebody at the centre of affairs as an active member of the Cabinet, taking part in its deliberations, who can initiate proposals, whether of a legislative or an administrative or executive character, which in his judgment he thinks are necessary to safeguard and further African interests.
123 Therefore, the presence of the Cabinet member as envisaged by the London experts had this dual advantage. First, it meant that Africans could be sure that in the very large sphere of Government which appertains to its administrative and executive action, there should be somebody on the spot to watch and protect their interests. Secondly, it gave them the safeguard that there should be somebody with their interests at heart who could initiate measures, of whatever character, which he thought necessary to protect them. That is what the London experts proposed and was what they quite clearly said in their Reports; it was what they thought was the minimum that was necessary to safeguard African interests and to calm their very legitimate apprehensions as to the possible form of the scheme, which was then to be involved.
Of course, through African eyes it was, and must have been, extremely disturbing to find that when the 1952 draft came to light, the Cabinet Minister responsible for African Affairs had been eliminated from the Cabinet—he had gone. The Secretary of State for the Colonies, in announcing that change, described it as a very important change; I think he said that it was the most significant change. But he said that the Africans need not be unduly alarmed by that because, after all, the member of the Cabinet in question had been replaced by an independent chairman of the African Affairs Board. Therefore, the right hon. Gentleman said that the Africans should not take that too tragically and, therefore, they need not have apprehensions on that score.
The scheme which is at present before the Committee—the scheme as finally drawn up in 1953—does not even provide for an independent chairman, or, indeed, even an independent African Affairs Board. The African Affairs Board has now become simply a standing committee of the Legislature. In the two previous schemes, it was to be a Board drawn from outside the Legislature. Now there is no longer an independent chairman. There is no Cabinet Minister responsible for African affairs and the Board is no longer chosen from outside the Legislature, but has become a subordinate organ of the Legislature itself.
124 There has been that rapid and drastic scaling down of the safeguards originally embodied in the scheme for the purpose of protecting African interests. The Amendment I have moved is designed to reproduce the situation as originally envisaged by the London experts. In the many debates which have taken place on Federation no reason has been given why the Cabinet Minister whom the London experts called an indispensable feature of the scheme should disappear. The Secretary of State for the Colonies used the most unfortunate phrase, which we all remember and which I suppose is constantly repeated in Africa, that he would be a kind of "cuckoo" Minister. That was a serious proposal by the London experts, but out this Minister went and nothing as satisfactory was put in his place. All there is is an African Affairs Board, which is a standing committee of the Legislature.
I ask the Minister of State to say what answer he has to the question I put to him in this form—what is there now in the scheme to replace the advantages which the Africans originally had under the scheme by having at the centre of affairs a Minister irremovable and not appointable by the Federal Government to protect their interests, and not only to protect them and see they were not adversely affected, but to advance them and see that they are progressively developed as the federal scheme is evolved? I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not say the same sort of thing as did the Secretary of State for the Colonies—that he is committed to the scheme and, therefore, could not alter it. I think I am accurately conveying what the Secretary of State for the Colonies said; that was the impression he gave to this side of the Committee.
If the Minister of State were to say that, I put this to him. The purpose of the debates we are now having will be very little if, whenever we wish to press an Amendment to the Bill we are discussing and want to write something into it which slightly deviates from the scheme of 1953, he, or the Secretary of State, is to say offhand that he cannot accept it because he is committed to the scheme. It was imprudent to become committed to a scheme which has defects in it. If the Government are satisfied as a result of discussion in the Committee that it has defects they ought to have 125 the courage to go back to those with whom they negotiated and say that in those respects it should be re-negotiated. I hope that the Minister will see the justice and the common sense of that, will judge the proposal on its merits, and not turn it down out of hand on the ground that the position was altered by subsequent drafts of the scheme.
The Amendment to page 2, line 18, in the name of my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) and myself proposes that if there is not to be a Cabinet Minister responsible for the protection of African affairs, at least the Cabinet should include some persons who are to be made specially responsible. It will be seen that that Amendment is an alternative to the Amendment which proposes the restoration of the London Conference scheme. This alternative proposal is that the Cabinet should includeone or more African members of the Federal Legislature to be specially elected to represent the African population;and one or more European members of the Federal Legislature to be specially appointed. It proposes that those members shouldbe under a special responsibility to protect and promote the welfare and interests of the African population.8.15 p.m.
I shall move the alternative Amendment for the following reason. It has been said—indeed, some of my hon. Friends have said—that it may be difficult from the practical point of view to envisage the working of a Cabinet one of whose members occupies the semi-independent position proposed for the Cabinet Minister in question by the London experts. If that is a valid argument—and I do not personally accept that it is necessarily valid—at least we say that the difficulty can be got over by the alternative Amendment—which simply provides that some of the members for whose appointment or election as the case may be the 1953 federal scheme actually provides should be in the Cabinet charged with special responsibility for African affairs.
That, I should have thought, was a proposal which the Minister of State would find easy to accept. It has no cuckoo element in it at all, but simply proposes that this Federal Cabinet should contain an element 126 of membership specially charged with responsibility for African affairs. At the moment it has not one unless the Prime Minister or the Cabinet specially invest one with functions which can be said to make him specially responsible for African affairs.
Some such provision is urgently necessary, for this reason. I know that you will not allow me, Sir Charles, to travel over other aspects of the scheme, except in so far as they are strictly relevant to the Amendment I am moving. In that may I refer to the franchise set-up which will return the membership of the Federal Government? The franchise set-up is one which we know, in the case of Southern Rhodesia results in a very small African representation for the very large African population—nearly 2 million— and for a much larger white representation for a much smaller white population.
If that is the suffrage on which members of the Federal Legislature are to be elected and if that is the membership from which the Cabinet are to be chosen, it stands to reason that it is urgently necessary that there should be some counterweighting in the Cabinet to see to it that African affairs are properly looked after. The alternative Amendment is to try to introduce into the scheme some mechanism which can afford that counterweighting. I hope that the Minister will give this serious and anxious consideration.
To throw these Amendments aside with a sleight of hand will not recommend the scheme to an anxious African population waiting to see how it ultimately is to be framed. I hope that if the Minister really has reasons for rejecting the proposal he will give them and will not say, in effect, that he cannot bother to accept what the Opposition propose on this occasion. There has been a great deal too much inclination on the part of the Government up to the moment to adopt that attitude to suggestions made by the Opposition.
That brings me to the other two Amendments. The first Amendment to page 2, line 38, is purely drafting and I need not take up the time of the Committee on that, but the other Amendment which we are considering, to page 2, line 40, provides that the reference to 127 the Secretary of State is to be regarded as a reference tothe Secretary of State for the Colonies and the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations … acting jointly.It is designed to this end. As the Committee know too well, and as has been rightly stressed by speaker after speaker, it is the great anxiety of the African population, the 6 million people whose destiny we are deciding, that they are to be taken out of the tutelage of the Colonial Office and handed over to other authorities who will not feel any responsibility for the protection of their interests as the Colonial Office does, or should.
Southern Rhodesia must remain, or at all events is at the moment the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations. We desire, in this Amendment, to provide that in dealings with the composite federal community, consisting of Southern Rhodesia on the one hand and the Protectorate countries on the other, there shall be of necessity joint action between the two Secretaries of State who between them combine responsibility for Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland respectively. That is the object of the last Amendment which I am discussing. It is not merely a drafting Amendment; it is one of importance because it is an Amendment designed to stress and underline the continuing responsibility of the Secretary of State for the Colonies for the protection and administration of the affairs of these two Protectorate Territories.
That is the case I make for these four Amendments: there are five, but I say four because one is alternative to the other. I hope that the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs will carefully consider what I have said, and will agree, even if he cannot accept the Amendments as they stand or either of the two alternative Amendments, that at least in justice and, may I add, in common sense, it is requisite that the text of this Bill shall, if for no other purpose than that of reassuring African opinion, contain some positive requirement as to what the Order in Council is to enact in reference to the composition of the Federal Cabinet. For these reasons, I cordially hope that the right hon. Gentleman will be able to say that he is able to go part if not the 128 whole of the way we desire in putting these Amendments on the Order Paper.
Mr. R. Williams
At the outset I would say that I am in a little difficulty in submitting arguments in support of the case which my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Neepsend (Sir F. Soskice) has just put, if only because that case is so unanswerable that I should have thought that the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs would have leaped to his feet and given an indication that he accepted one of these Amendments and that he did so with enthusiasm. I take his silence so far to mean that he is not at the moment, at all events, very enthusiastic about the proposed Amendments, and if that is so I feel it my duty to draw his attention to certain dangers which I think he and the Government will be in if these Amendments or something in the nature of them be not accepted.
I think that the Government took a very grave risk from the standpoint of constitutional law when they introduced in their White Paper the proposal that so great a measure of sovereignty should be taken away from these peoples. The Government themselves sought to get out of that difficulty, in my view rather optimistically, by saying that this proposal of theirs was a Federation, not an amalgamation. I submit to the right hon. Gentleman as strongly as I can that the Bill as it stands, without the Amendment which is now proposed, is clearly an amalgamation in fact, however much it might be dressed up by the Government to give the impression that it is a Federation.
The utmost the Government can do is to claim that it is a Federation de jure, and that that is the end of the matter. That, however, involves them in an argument which makes it extremely difficult for them to put this proposal on legal grounds, and certainly on moral grounds they cannot put their case forward with any power at all because they are overlooking an essential element without which this cannot be a legal act. I refer to the consensus of the people who reside in these Territories. Up to the present the Government have taken up the attitude that that consensus is not necessary and they have given certain reasons for the attitude they have adopted. In taking up that attitude the 129 Government are, I submit, taking a very grave risk.
It is possible to take such a risk in the hope that the African inhabitants of these Territories, although at the moment not in support of Federation, will become enthusiastic towards it and will do their best to work it. I suppose it is in that hope that the Government have pressed forward because all their economic arguments amount to mere nonsense if they have to face the hostility or even the indifference of the African population. Their only hope of carrying the one argument which they have really been insisting upon as unanswerable—the economic argument—depends upon the support they will get from the African population.
Does the right hon. Gentleman not realise that without the Amendment which is now being proposed not only is the possibility of consent on the part of the African so far as the bringing in of the scheme is concerned being eliminated but that the chance of the African to express himself once the scheme is operating is being eliminated? That is to say, the Africans' interests are not represented. The right hon. Gentleman and his Government, and I weigh my words most carefully, are, in this Measure, turning, or attempting to turn, the Africans into spectators and nonentities.
If the right hon. Gentleman does that he can hope for the support of the Africans, but it is certain that he will not get it; and it seems to me that there is no particular reason why he should get that support if, when he is faced with constructive Amendments within the scheme itself, such as these, he is not prepared to give a favourable response to them. After all, the Amendments now being considered accept by implication the scheme as it is set out in the Bill except that it is suggested that Africans, who themselves are the persons most affected by the scheme, should have representation in the manner proposed. Even at this stage I submit in the strongest terms to the right hon. Gentleman that he can proceed with a much better chance of hoping that he will get the support of Africans if he is prepared to accept these Amendments.
§ Mrs. White
I believe that the Amendments we are now discussing are among the most important of those that have 130 been proposed to this Bill. I feel that the suggestion made in the Amendment which has been moved is probably the one which, all things considered, is more likely to be acceptable to Her Majesty's Government. I most strongly add my plea to those already made from these benches that the Minister will not simply turn down this suggestion, because to anyone who has the slightest experience of government it is clear that African interests cannot be properly safeguarded unless they are represented at the Cabinet level.
I am perfectly well aware that in the proposals for an African Affairs Board in the Federation scheme it is suggested that, among other functions, the Board should make representations to the Prime Minister, or through the Prime Minister to the Executive Council, in relation to any matter within the legislative or executive authority of the Federation. That is provided in paragraph 58. At the moment we are not discussing the legislative authority but the executive authority and the administrative actions of the Federation. It would be complete hypocrisy to pretend that the Board, outside the orbit of Government, by its very nature could be aware of executive action until after it had taken place and that such a Board could conceivably be as effective as having representatives of African interests within the Cabinet at the point where the action was to be discussed.
That seems to be the crucial matter. Once action has been decided upon and put in train we all know how extraordinarily difficult it is to effect its reversal; but if one can be in the discussions at the formative stages there is some possibility of influencing action. It is for that reason that we are most insistent that this Amendment should be given the fullest possible consideration.
I think that there were arguments in favour of the alternative proposal of an independent Minister, but assuming that we accept the proposal in this first Amendment, which would mean one or more African members and one or more European members appointed to represent African interests, that is at least two in the Cabinet who could take special concern for African affairs, we would reap from the practical point of view the 131 many advantages of having a Minister, advantages which were very clearly stated in the Report of the officials.
As my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Neepsend (Sir F. Soskice) suggested, paragraphs 50 and 51 of that Report, and the third annex, show that the officials make it quite clear that by having this representation it would be possible to make proposals in the Cabinet on matters which would affect African interests. It would be possible also to take exception not merely to legislative but to executive action which might appear to be detrimental to African interests and to do so at a point in time at which such intervention might have hope of success.
It is also made clear that in this case the Minister, or possibly two members of the Cabinet, should not only represent African interests but should play their part in the general work of government. That also is important, because anyone who has served on a committee or a governing body is perfectly well aware that there is a certain amount of give and take which is not necessarily actual bargaining. Where matters are under discussion and one wishes to obtain the support of other members of a committee or council one is often prepared to meet them half way on some matter in order that they may give their support at some future date on some other matter.
It seems to me that from the practical point of view it would be of inestimable value for Africans to have within a body responsible for policy making and executive action people in a position to make representations, not completely from outside, as the African Affairs Board would have to do, but as part of the general give and take of government. That would be much healthier also for the Government of the Federation.
I believe that I am correct in saying that in almost all the constitutions in the Commonwealth in which there is an admixture of races, provision is now made for at least one representative of the indigenous peoples. Therefore, surely it is asking very little to ask that this safeguard should be specifically included in the Bill which we are discussing today. I feel that this matter, if it were met by the Government, would go some way at least towards satisfying 132 the Africans. If it did nothing else, it would make it very much easier for those of us who feel that we can call ourselves the friends of some of the Africans in these Territories to urge them to give this scheme a chance, because we regard it as being one of the really fundamental matters. We believe that the African Affairs Board, confined as it is to a purely negative legislative procedure, cannot possibly give the kind of safeguard which we could conscientiously and honestly recommend to our African friends. I hope that that argument will not be entirely overlooked by the Minister.
I should like to turn for a moment to the other Amendment in Clause 2, page 2, line 40, which hardly seems to be connected with the one that we have been discussing, if I may say so with respect, Sir Charles. This seems to me to be a matter of some substance. In the federal scheme as outlined in Cmd. 8754 there are frequent references to "the Secretary of State" or "a Secretary of State." We recognise that Southern Rhodesia has its own connection with the Commonwealth Relations Office and that it would be constitutionally impossible, or difficult— nothing is impossible constitutionally in this country—to alter that connection.
There are some hon. Members in this Committee, certainly on these benches and some on the other side, who believe that it would be very much more satisfactory to have a complete reorganisation of the Secretaryships of State concerned with these affairs, that there is something to be said, for example, for a Secretary of State for African Affairs, and that that would be a very much healthier way of dealing with the kind of problem with which we are faced in this Bill. I am one of those who hold that opinion. However, it would not be proper to introduce such a proposal into a Measure of this sort, and therefore, the best that we can do is to make the suggestion which is made in this Amendment that the two Secretaries of State as they now exist should be required to act jointly.
We do this because we are satisfied that on past and present showing the peoples in the Protectorates would have a far less sure future if their destinies were entrusted entirely to the Commonwealth Relations Office than if they continued to look for assistance to the Colonial Office. The Commonwealth Relations 133 Office has primarily quite a different function from that of administering underdeveloped areas. It is primarily a diplomatic department. It has one small piece of administration in Africa, in the High Commission Territories, in which its record has not been a shining success. In previous years those Territories were most sadly neglected and at the present time one still cannot feel entirely happy about the degree of attention which they obtain.
We had an illuminating experience not long ago in the House when we were discussing the administration of part of Bechuanaland. I grant that I had not given the Under-Secretary of State detailed notice of the economic points which I intended to raise, but I had given him full notice of the political points, and he proved to be quite incapable of giving even general answers on matters of economic policy which one would have supposed any Minister in charge of the administration of the Territories would have been able to do without much difficulty.
All of this goes to show that the preoccupations in that office are such that it is not really very closely concerned with details of administration. We feel that it would be exceedingly detrimental to remove the Protectorates of Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia from the administration of the Colonial Office. We should be glad if the Minister would make perfectly clear what are the intentions of the Government, and we hope that in so doing he will accept the arguments we have put forward.
§ Mr. R. W. Sorensen (Leytpn)
I should like to add my word in support of the arguments already put before the Committee, particularly in regard to the first of the two Amendments which we are now discussing in page 2, line 18. I agree that it is more likely that the former will be more acceptable to the Minister than the latter, and on the whole I favour the first more than the second, because it contains a democratic element which may be missing in the second.
I approach this question from a standpoint which has not yet been mentioned, although it is no doubt implicit in some of the arguments which have been adduced. One of the greatest fears of the indigenous inhabitants of Central 134 Africa is that the policy of Apartheid may flow from the Union of South Africa into the new Central African area. We have to do all we can to obviate that. It may be that the development in Central Africa will not flow along those lines, but the first Amendment offers one way of removing any apprehension in that respect from the minds of the Africans.
It is more than purely symbolic. Although I am sure the African Affairs Board will operate very beneficially in the interests of the Africans, it is a separate body, quite distinct from the Cabinet. The impression will therefore be left—possibly it already has been— that the African Affairs Board has been instituted and constituted in order to deal with one race, while the Cabinet exists to deal with another and numerically minor race. It is possible that these two bodies will work harmoniously in the days to come, but we should try to guarantee that no impression shall be left that there is one institution for one type of person and another for another type, who happen to be Europeans.
This Amendment affords an excellent opportunity of removing that impression. In other words, we should have one or more African members of the Federal Legislature who are specially elected to represent the African population. It would have a tremendous psychological effect and would remove any shadow of doubt about the establishment of a policy of Apartheid if one Member of the Cabinet were elected by the indigenous inhabitants to represent them.
It may be said that as yet it cannot be proved that there is an African who is competent to deal with the complex measures, proposals and problems which would come before the Cabinet once it is constituted. That may be so; I do not say that it is or that it is not. I agree that it is probable that the European representatives may have more experience behind them because they are European and have had some contact with responsibility elsewhere. It may be that their experience fits them for Cabinet functioning and responsibility, but that is all the more reason why an African should be elected to the Cabinet, in order that he may learn by experience.
One of the frequent complaints and grievances on the part of the Africans is 135 that they do not get an opportunity to achieve the experience which it is said they must possess if they are to exercise full administrative and executive responsibility. Here is one way in which that experience can be provided. They will learn in course of time, if there is not only an African member specially elected for this purpose but a European member who would closely associate himself with the one or more African representatives. In that way they will no doubt learn by experience and discover much that at present they do not understand. They will appreciate the complexity of many issues that at present may seem to them to be very simple.
In addition, one other point I would stress is that they may come to realise that although they are elected particularly to look after African affairs, once they get into the Cabinet they must look at affairs as a whole, concerning all human beings, whether African or European. That would not preclude them from paying particular attention to African problems and African needs, and we must all admit that an African is much more likely to understand those needs and problems than one of the Europeans, however well inclined and sympathetic towards African affairs he may be. Although I have great sympathy with the Africans and think I understand them, I am certain that I have not the natural background or the traditional inheritance which an African possesses to enable me to deal with African affairs.
By having an African in the Cabinet, we provide a man who has the necessary racial and psychological equipment. There would inevitably be more than a probability that these men would come to realise more and more that the interests of Europeans and Africans are intermixed and interlocked. Obviously, they would not segregate themselves or withdraw when affairs other than African affairs were being considered. They would have to consider exercising their responsibility in all matters which came before the Cabinet and, although they had this special responsibility for African affairs, nevertheless, through actual experience, they would learn that the affairs of Europeans are human affairs as well.
136 The effects might also be felt the other way round. European members of the Cabinet might in course of time come to weaken in, and ultimately to eliminate, this assumption that there are Africans, on the one hand, and Europeans, on the other hand, with different interests. Ultimately, the interests must be the same. Surely we envisage the time when this may be the case, however necessary it may be, considered objectively, to have a distinction between African and European interests at present. We hope that the time will come when the distinction will be obliterated.
We have to realise, nevertheless, that it may take some time before that is achieved, and one way to achieve it is for Africans and Europeans to work together in the same workshops. In due course the Europeans will come to realise that Africans are human beings, just like Europeans, and that their interests are the same. On that psychological and very beneficial ground I strongly urge sympathetic consideration of this recommendation. I hope that before long the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs will indicate some willingness on the part of himself and his colleagues sympathetically to consider it. What possible objection can there be to this imaginative proposal to try to undermine the suspicions and apprehensions of Africans by appointing an African directly to the Cabinet, even if it be said—and I hope it will not be said —that he will be merely a passenger, for a passenger can learn.
That being so, I press most earnestly, even at this late hour, that the previous decision shall not bind the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs. I hope that because he has come to certain decisions with his colleagues, he will not be stubborn about this matter but will reconsider it, particularly in view of the mental and psychological unrest in Central Africa and because of the grave suspicion by the bulk of the Central African inhabitants. We must remove that suspicion. One way to remove it is as a result of this imaginative proposal to guarantee responsibility to an African, who can share his responsibility with Europeans in the same Cabinet.
§ Mr. Baldwin
This Amendment must be resisted because it completely alters the powers and composition of the central 137 legislature as set out in Command Paper 8754, and it was upon that agreed White Paper that the referendum was taken in Southern Rhodesia. If this alteration had been made before the referendum took place it is highly probable the referendum would have been against Federation.
Mr. R. Williams
Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting seriously that there is no function therefore to be performed by a Committee of the House?
§ Mr. Baldwin
I am not suggesting anything of the sort. All I am saying is that if this alteration were to be made we should be betraying the Rhodesians who voted for Federation, and it would be only fair to give them another opportunity of voting if we altered an agreed scheme. I am sure that if they voted again in those circumstances Federation would not go through. I know that certain hon. Members opposite would be very glad if it did not go through, but there are certain hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who have agreed that Federation is a good thing for the European and the African. The only difference is when it should take place.
§ Mr. Baldwin
Decidedly that is not so. The Southern Rhodesians have had their own Government for something like 30 years. For something like 30 years they have been in charge of native affairs, and not once in that time, I think I am right in saying, have the home Government had to take any action against what the Southern Rhodesians proposed to do about their natives. I think it fair to say that the Southern Rhodesians are very sensitive upon this point, and do not want to go a step backwards.
It would be quite wrong to accept this Amendment. I quite understand the Southern Rhodesians' sensitiveness, because, after all is said and done, their record is a good record. We have heard in our debates about the grim and tangled state of African affairs. Let 138 me quote what an African editor of an African township Gwelo newspaper said in his Christmas address. He wrote of the grim period of murders, riots and disasters in other parts of Africa, and added:But we in this country are fortunate because we are looking forward to having a nicer, happier Christmas, free from fear and troubles We are a happy and contented people.That is what an African editor wrote as recently as last Christmas on the state and conditions in Southern Rhodesia. It is completely unfair for hon. and right hon. Members opposite to say that the Southern Rhodesians do not know how to treat their Africans.
§ The Minister of State for Colonial Affairs (Mr. Henry Hopkinson)
I have listened to the speeches of hon. Members on both sides with great attention. We on this side certainly share the desire to give an absolute assurance to the Africans that has been expressed on the other side. We believe that we have in this scheme very largely done so. Certainly speeches made by members of the Government have made our desire clear to preserve the status of the Protectorates and the rights of the Africans. It is in that spirit that I shall seek to reply to the debate on this Amendment.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Neepsend (Sir F. Soskice) started by reverting to the proposal about a Minister for African Affairs. I do not think that the "cuckoo Minister" originated from my right hon. Friend, but I think the Amendment was intended to form something in the way of a nest for a cuckoo Minister. We feel that if the words "Federal Cabinet" are intended to be synonymous with "Executive Council" the Amendment is redundant. We think that the words "Federal Government" which appear in the scheme are quite wide enough to cover it. If it is intended to make the Cabinet a statutory body in addition to an Executive Council, that would be something new, which is not in the present scheme, but I would draw the right hon. and learned Gentleman's attention to footnote (23) on page 24:There will be a system of Cabinet government but in accordance with normal constitutional practice the Cabinet as such will not be mentioned in the Constitution.139 That was put in quite deliberately, because it was not thought to be in the British tradition to make a specific reference to the Cabinet in the Constitution itself.
As for the so-called "cuckoo Minister," our arguments are not changed, and they have not been changed by any of the views we have heard. We are satisfied that from the point of view of collective Cabinet responsibility such an appointment would be quite impossible. I know it was included in the original report of the London experts, but it must be remembered that those experts were officials from the Territories themselves and two Departments of Government, and it was not perhaps expected that they would see the difficulties, as clearly as would Ministers and Members of this House, of a Minister in this position appointed from outside, responsible to somebody outside, and yet sitting in the Cabinet itself. We therefore feel that there can be no question of reverting to the so-called "cuckoo Minister."
The right hon. and learned Gentleman went on to deal with two other proposals. The one he favoured was the inclusion of
in the Federal Executive, or in the Executive Council as it would be. We feel it would be quite wrong, under any system of Cabinet responsibility, to try to restrict the right of a Prime Minister to select his own colleagues. It is also, as in the case of the previous proposal, contrary to the Federal scheme. In developing his argument the right hon. and learned Gentleman took the line that there was no provision for positive executive measures in the present scheme. I thought he perhaps overlooked the arrangements under which, in Paragraph 58, the African Affairs Board itself is given special responsibility for making "to the Prime Minister, or through the Prime Minister to the Executive Council, such representations in relation to any matter within the legislative or executive authority of the Federation as the Board may consider to be desirable in the interests of Africans."
- "(a) one or more African members of the Federal Legislature to be specially elected to represent the African population; and
- (b) one or more European members of the Federal Legislature to be specially appointed to represent the interests of the African population,"
§ Sir F. Soskice
I most certainly have not overlooked the provision in Paragraph 58. What I put to the Committee with regard to that provision is that it is completely and absolutely ineffectual. All it empowers the Board to do is to make representations to the Prime Minister, or through the Prime Minister to the Executive Council. It contains no sort of provision to ensure that the Prime Minister or the Executive Council will pay the least attention to the representations. They can be rejected out of hand. There is all the difference between a provision of that sort and a provision which insures the presence in the Cabinet, in the course of its deliberations, of an active Member of the Cabinet.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Hopkinson
I am afraid that I do not agree on that. I do not agree that there is that much difference, particularly having regard to the fact that both the African and European members of the Board can not only make this representation to the Prime Minister, and not only, of course, take the action which is their right by way of safeguarding the interests of Africans, but they can, under the new arrangements, express their views to the Government on the Floor of the House itself. This is something which did not exist under the original scheme or under the draft scheme of April of last year, and which is, I believe, a very important provision.
§ Mr. J. Johnson
If we take Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia, they have an executive council and a Secretary for Native Affairs whose job is to safeguard and look after the affairs of the local people. Would the right hon. Gentleman not agree that the whole would similarly need a Minister?
§ Mr. Hopkinson
I see the point, but, the fact is that in two of these Territories —the two Northern Territories—the Secretary for Native Affairs is an official who is part of the Government itself and there is no cabinet responsibility. As regards Southern Rhodesia there is in fact a Minister for African Affairs who is elected and appointed by the Prime Minister in exactly the same way as are his other colleagues in the Cabinet. There is nothing in the present Constitution to prevent the appointment of an African either to that post or to any other post 141 which may be designated by the Prime Minister. At the moment, I admit that is unlikely, but there is nothing to prevent it.
§ Mr. Sorensen
Does not the Secretary of State for the Colonies in this country represent special colonial interests?
§ Mr. Hopkinson
The Secretary of State, like all of us, is the subject of the decision of his electors. That is one of the reasons.
§ Mr. Hopkinson
The remark made by the hon. Gentleman emphasises what I was going to say, which is that, after all, the vast number of African interests are still the affair of the Territories themselves. That is a most important point. Over the whole field of African primary education, secondary education, agriculture, veterinary services, land and forestry—all these matters remain under the territorial legislatures. So, even if there were some advantage in going against this very important principle of Cabinet responsibility with the right of the Prime Minister to nominate his own colleagues, in fact, in this particular Federal Government there is not the same need for it as in the Territorial Governments themselves.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman also raised the question of the franchise. He referred to the fact that the franchise as it exists at present made the need for some special African representation in the Cabinet more necessary. On the question of the franchise he said that the Africans at the moment were only represented by a few hundred electors compared with the very large numbers in the country. I think that it is important to emphasise here, and important for the future, when this Constitution comes in, to recognise that there are between 6,000 and 7,000 Africans who would be entitled to register, but of whom only 400 have in fact done so. When we consider that the referendum itself was only determined by a few thousand votes, the fact that these Africans were not on the electoral roll may have played quite a considerable part. My view is that the majority of Africans in Southern Rhodesia voted for federation. I believe that they had every reason to do so, for the scheme contains 142 very many advantages for the 2 million Africans in Southern Rhodesia.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman then turned to his Amendment relating to the definition of the position of the Secretary of State. Secretaries of State can perform each other's functions at any time. In practice, the Secretaries of State for Commonwealth Relations and for the Colonies work together closely in all matters. The official channel for communication between the Federal Governments and Her Majesty's Government will be through the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations—[HON. MEMBERS: "Shame."]—but on any matter of importance it will be his duty to consult the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and if there were any differences of opinion at any time, the matter would have to be referred to the Cabinet.
§ Mr. Hopkinson
Not only would any Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations who was loyal to his colleague keep him informed on any matter of importance, but copies of all telegrams and despatches would go to both Secretaries of State and there would be continual day-to-day contact on all these matters.
In the territorial sphere, as before, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies will still deal with all matters affecting Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, just as the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations will deal with the affairs of Southern Rhodesia. The hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) referred to the possibility of some re-distribution of functions among the Secretaries of State and others. That point alone would make it impossible to accept any Amendment which sought to bind future Governments or Parliaments about the functions or numbers of the Secretaries of State.
The hon. Member for Wigan (Mr R. Williams) said he believed the present Bill constituted amalgamation, and that amalgamation was dressed up by the Government as federation. However, the Bill consists to a very large degree of the original report of the officials in London, and that body was set up by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) without any instructions 143 about the form of closer association, except that the matter should be explored. I do not believe that amalgamation was ruled out originally in the instructions, but it was examined and was found to be totally impracticable. Thus we have come down to federation. I believe it is a genuine federation and that it will work as such. In that lies its great strength.
The hon. Lady also had some remarks to make about the African Affairs Board. She said that, while it might be able to carry out some useful functions in regard to legislative action, she felt there was nothing that it could do in administrative or executive matters. That point was also made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Neepsend. As will be seen from paragraphs 65 and 66 in the White Paper, in the case of any regulation or other Government instrument arising out of legislation the Board has power, within 30 days, to send the matter to the Prime Minister and, in due course, it is referred to the Secretary of State, who can annul the instruments.
§ Mr. Hopkinson
We must trust the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State has the power today to do these things and he has also the power not to do them. All this range of power exists in his hands in regard to Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia, and the position will not be in any way changed. I have said often to Africans, "You are prepared to remain under the Colonial Office and trust the Secretary of State today. Why cannot you trust him in the future under this Bill?" That is something to which I have never had an answer.
I have tried to deal with the main points arising out of the Amendments, and I would only conclude by asking the Committee to reject them if any or all of them are taken to a Division, not only because I believe we have put into this scheme far better provisions than are contained in these Amendments, but also I believe that the scheme as it stands is the only scheme that will work efficiently. As has been said before, this scheme is in the nature of a Treaty which has been agreed by the Governments in good faith and to whom we have a moral obligation. It has been submitted to the people of Southern Rhodesia in the form of a 144 referendum, and we have a moral obligation to carry out this scheme. In so far as there is any major deviation, we should not be able to accept it and carry out our obligations to these territories which have negotiated with us in good faith.
§ Sir Lynn Ungoed-Thomas (Leicester, North-East)
Does this moral obligation extend to the Secretary of State referred to in the right hon. Gentleman's speech? In other words, has there been any arrangement between the Government and Sir Godfrey Huggins and others as to which is to be the Secretary of State referred to in the scheme? Could we have an answer to that? We have never been told it yet?
§ Mr. Hopkinson
It has been perfectly clear to all concerned throughout that the two Secretaries of State will work in unison. That was made perfectly clear to Sir Godfrey Huggins, to Mr. Welensky and to the others who took part in these negotiations.
§ Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas
I am sorry to have to press the right hon. Gentleman about this, but it is an important point, and I am obliged to him for having given way. He referred to trusting the Secretary of State, and of course we must trust the Secretary of State. However, I am sure he fully appreciates that it is an entirely different matter whether the Secretary of State is the Secretary of State for the Colonies or the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations.
In the one case the administration is in accordance with the tradition of the Colonial Office, which is administration for the benefit of the Africans or the natives, while in the other it is administration in accordance with the traditions of the Commonwealth Relations Office, traditions that are primarily concerned with the maintenance of good relations between the members of the Commonwealth, including South Africa.
It is, therefore, important that we should be clear on this subject. We pressed the Government on Second Reading, but we have never got any indication as to which Secretary of State it will be. It may be that in the discussions with Sir Godfrey Huggins and Mr. Welensky this was made clear to them, but we have never had an answer to this vital question, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman can give it now.
§ Mr. Hopkinson
The hon. and learned Gentleman is confusing two points. One is the point I made in regard to the Northern Territories when I said that the Africans in those Territories will be dependent upon the Secretary of State for the Colonies in exactly the same way as they are today. That is the context in which I said that if they trust him today, they should trust him tomorrow if the federal scheme goes through. In the other connection I said that the Secretary of State to whom the Federal Government would communicate would be the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations. I think this was said by my noble Friend the Lord President of the Council in another place.
§ 9.15 p.m.
§ Sir R. Acland
If that is so, it is an integral part of the agreement made with Sir Godfrey Huggins and Mr. Welensky which cannot be altered in the House of Commons without going back on one of the terms of the Treaty.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
The agreement made at the conference is embodied in the White Paper, Cmd. 8754. That is the obligation of the Government. Will the Minister please tell me where in this agreement there is an indication that the Secretary of State will be the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations?
§ Mr. Hopkinson
Although that point was discussed it was not covered by the Federal scheme and is not in it, but I have given certain valid reasons why it is not possible to make the definition proposed by this Amendment. I am reminded by my hon. Friend the Undersecretary of State for Commonwealth Relations that a full explanation of the position was given by my noble Friend the Lord President of the Council in another place on 2nd July, 1952.
§ Mr. Hopkinson
The position was not altered as between the two schemes. I was explaining that the scheme as it stands is in the nature of a treaty and I will conclude by repeating what I have said before. We are as anxious as any right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite to reassure the Africans in regard to this scheme and to make it work in their interests if it can be done, but we are not 146 in a position to make the alteration suggested in the Amendment.
§ Mr. Sorensen
I presume it will be competent for an African to be appointed as a member of the Cabinet ultimately to be set up to co-ordinate the affairs of Central Africa. Would that in any way dishonour the assumption on which the Southern Rhodesians voted in their referendum?
§ Mr. Hopkinson
I said earlier that there was nothing to prevent an African from being appointed to the Cabinet in due course.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
I am profoundly disappointed. I believe that these two Amendments are the most important of all we have to consider, both on their merits and from the standpoint of doing what I hope we all want to do at this late stage, to reassure the Africans. I know that the last Amendment of this series is contingent upon one or other of the Amendments being carried. It is to be anticipated that the Government will say, "If we accept this Amendment we shall be committing a breach of the agreement negotiated with the representatives of the Central African territories at the London Conference." That, however, does not apply to this, because there is no recorded agreement with the Central African Governments that the Secretary of State responsible should be the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations unless it is some other agreement than the one which has been published.
In the one that has been published— that is why I asked the Minister, because he made the point; I want to represent him quite fairly—the right hon. Gentleman said it had been decided that the channel of communication between the Federal Government and H.M. Government was to be the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations. If H.M. Government say, "We have decided that the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations is to be the channel," that is a Government decision and we are entitled to argue it on the basis of a Government decision; but we cannot accept it on the basis of a Government decision with the other Governments, because there is nothing in the agreement about it.
147 This is the first time it has been said in the House of Commons that the Secretary of State referred to in the scheme without any qualification is to be the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations. The Minister said that it had been stated by the Lord President of the Council in debate in another place, but it has not been said here and it is not in the scheme. Therefore, this is a matter which can be argued and debated on its merits, and if the House of Commons accepts it we are not breaking any agreement that has been entered into with the other parties. That puts the matter in a class on its own.
Let me deal with the merits of the matter. This is a Federation in which we are at pains to preserve the protectorate status of the two Northern Territories; I can discuss that, perhaps, when we reach the appropriate Amendment. There is to be a Federal Government; there are to be three territorial Governments. Under the scheme, Southern Rhodesia is unaffected and maintains its present constitutional status; it is a self-governing Colony. The Preamble lays down that it remains constitutionally as a territorial Government exactly as it is now. It will, therefore, be as it has been under the Commonwealth Relations Office and what formerly was called the Dominions Office since its creation.
The two Northern Territories are to remain Protectorates and to be under the supervision of the Secretary of State for the Colonies. The Federal Government and Federal Parliament will have powers, some of them exclusive powers to the Federal Government. A large number of powers are concurrent to both the Federal and the Protectorate Governments, and there is the other list of things which are within the prerogative entirely of the Protectorate Governments.
§ Mr. Griffiths
There is no list, but there is all the remainder. It means that the Federal Government and Federal Parliament will at all times be dealing with matters that impinge upon the life of all people in all three Territories and the Africans of the two Northern Territories.
It seemed to us, therefore, that it was essential that in this matter, in which both are closely involved, the two Secretaries of State would have their territorial 148 responsibility. The office of the hon. and learned Gentleman who is Undersecretary of State for Commonwealth Relations will still be responsible for the Government of Southern Rhodesia. The Secretary of State for the Colonies will still be responsible for the Government of the two Northern Territories. Since, therefore, they are both ministerially involved in responsibility for the Territories, is it not the obvious thing to make them jointly responsible for the Territories in which they are both involved?
§ Mr. Lyttelton
Let me try to clear up the points which the right hon. Gentleman is putting. Surely what he now suggests, which I should have thought was against the general tenor of his argument and that of his hon. Friends, is that the Commonwealth Relations Office should become responsible jointly with the Secretary of State for the Colonies for the Protectorates. That is not our idea at all. If the right hon. Gentleman reads his Amendment in Clause 2, page 2, line 40, he will see that it says:In this Act, the expression 'the Secretary of State' means the Secretary of State for the Colonies and the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations in Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom acting jointly.But it does not mean that at all. In so far as the Protectorates are concerned, they will look to the Colonial Office, as before, and not to the two Secretaries of State jointly.
§ Mr. Griffiths
Yes, but this is the Act of Federation and we are proposing that the Secretaries of State shall act jointly, and that as far as the Federal Government are concerned they shall be jointly responsible. The scheme provides that they shall be individually responsible for the three separate Territories.
This, for me, is the most important argument in favour of the Amendment. From the very beginning among the fears of the Africans in the two Northern Territories has been the fear that this scheme would take them out of the supervision and protection of the Colonial Office. That fear has been expressed in every petition and almost every speech. All the time they have said, "We desire to remain under the Colonial Office." If it now goes out to them that under this scheme in so far as all the matters which 149 are within the purview of the Federal Government they are to be taken out of the Colonial Office and out of the supervision and protection of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, we shall be missing an opportunity by rejecting this Amendment, if it is rejected. It is the best opportunity we have in the course of further consideration of this matter to assure the Africans that we do not intend to let them be without protection.
The important thing is what they believe. They believe that their best protection is to remain under the Colonial Office. That is their view, firmly held and deeply held. I press the Secretary of State to reconsider the matter for the reasons I have given. It is a matter he can reconsider because it is not a part of the agreement; there is no obligation in the agreement to reject this, none whatever. The Government can advise the Committee to accept it and, having accepted it, they should be able to say, "We have carried out very fully all the agreements. This was not provided in the agreement we made with you, but the Secretary of State shall also mean the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations."
Surely it is a matter for the Government responsible to this House of Commons alone to decide what Minister in this House should be responsible and for what. That is not a matter we discuss with other Governments; it is not a matter we settle with other authorities. It is for the Prime Minister in this country to appoint his Cabinet——
§ Mr. Hopkinson
I thought I made it perfectly clear that this matter has not been discussed or settled with other Governments at all but, naturally, in the ordinary course of explanations it was said that the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations would deal with communications. That is all, there is no question of any agreement.
§ Mr. Griffiths
I think we ought to get this clear. The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations is to be the centre for communications——
§ Mr. Griffiths
Yes the channel for communications. It has been decided, therefore, that the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations alone will be responsible——
§ Mr. Griffiths
Which Department will be responsible? Will the Colonial Office and any officers in the Colonial Office have any administrative responsibilities for this scheme? Secretaries of State come and Secretaries of State go. The Colonial Office is an office with long experience of administration of territories all over the world and with vital responsibilities still left for two other Territories and the majority of the population of Central Africa in the Northern Territories. Is the Colonial Office to have no place in the administration set up at home for the administration of the scheme? This is the really crucial point.
When the Africans have said—I revert to the point, which is important—that they want to stay under the Colonial Office, let us remember what that means. It means not only Her Majesty's Government and successive Secretaries of State; it means all the tradition of the Colonial Office and the Colonial Service, appointed by the Secretary of State and answerable to the Secretary of State, carrying out the policy of the Colonial Office, with all the tradition that has been built up and of which we have every right to be proud. It is their tradition and ours. What is proposed in the Bill, not by agreement— there is nothing in the agreement about it—but by the decision of the Government, is a grave mistake to make.
I ask the Secretary of State to reconsider this matter; I appeal to the Government to reconsider it. There will be a further opportunity, if we are to be voted down tonight—and we must carry this Amendment to a Division—of discussing this matter on the Report stage. I ask the Secretary of State to indicate to us that the point with which this Amendment deals, and which is not a part of the agreement but is a decision of the Government, be reconsidered.
I turn to the other Amendments, and I ask hon. Members on both sides of the Committee to look at this scheme because the rejection by the Minister of the proposal for a Minister, "cuckoo" or otherwise, was based very largely on our conventions in this House. But what we are setting up in Central Africa is not the House of Commons. I ask hon. Members to look at page 15 of the White Paper, in which it is set out that there 151 is to be a Federal Assembly. It is set out that that Assembly will consist of a Speaker and 35 Members. Then the White Paper goes on to say something more than that. It says that of those 35 Members 26 will be elected Members, on a franchise—we will come to that later—six will be specially elected African Members and three will be European Memberscharged with special responsibilities for African interests, …In this Constitution, therefore, before we come to the Executive we lay down that of the 35 Members in the Federal Assembly six must be Africans and three must be Europeans appointed to represent Africans in that Assembly.
The principle is, therefore, accepted that in this Constitution we must make special provision for Africans. We have no provision of that kind in this House and the parallel between our conventions here and the proposed arrangement which I have just outlined is irrelevant. It is laid down in the White Paper that there must be these Members appointed to represent Africans. I ask the Secretary of State whether there is a single argument against making provision for including Africans in the Cabinet when it is already accepted that there must be special provision to provide seats for them in Parliament. It seems to me to be logical. We say, first, that there must be nine representatives of Africans among the 35 in the Federal Assembly.
What do we on this side of the Committee say in the first of the two Amendments with which I am now dealing? We say that there ought to be, and we ought to provide in this Bill that there should be, at least two representatives of the Africans in the Cabinet. I do not know what the size of the Executive will be. If it is to be eight members and we say that two must be Africans, that will mean one-fourth of the Executive. We provided that in the Federal Assembly one-fourth of the members must be representatives of the Africans. I suggest, therefore, that in moving this Amendment we are indeed carrying the principle already embodied in the Constitution of the Assembly into the Executive and into the Cabinet.
I think that the Minister did find one exception, and only one exception, when 152 we were arguing this matter before. If this Constitution is passed in its present form it will be the only Constitution in any of our dependent Territories which does not contain specific provision for representing Africans in the executive. Northern Rhodesia is one of the Territories involved here in Central Africa. The Northern Rhodesia Territorial Constitution provides that there shall be two representatives of Africans in the Executive. Neither of them at the moment is an African. The two are Europeans, Mr. Moffat and Mr. Nightingale. They are appointed by the Governor to act as the representatives of the Africans in the Executive Council.
There we have this provision in the Constitution of Northern Rhodesia. We have it elsewhere. Indeed, in Kenya we have carried it forward to the stage at which the representative of the Africans in the Executive is an African. Those are the stages of progress. First of all, as the Africans are perhaps themselves not competent to sit in a Cabinet, we appoint Europeans specially to represent them, and later on those Europeans are replaced by Africans. But here we have a Constitution in which there is no provision of any kind to ensure the representation of Africans in the Executive.
That does not mean, as the Minister quite rightly said, that there could not be a Minister in the Cabinet even if our Amendment is rejected. The Prime Minister of the new Federal Government could invite one of the Africans to serve in the Cabinet. He could invite one of the Europeans to serve. I will be fair to the Colonial Secretary and repeat that he said that it was not likely that at this stage the Prime Minister would invite one of the Africans to sit in the Cabinet. But what is to prevent his inviting one of the three Europeans chosen to represent African interests to sit in the Cabinet, if it is said that at this moment there is no African competent and able to do so? That, surely, would not be said of the Europeans whom we appointed to represent the Africans.
I had hoped that the Government would accept one of these Amendments. I only hoped that they would accept one. I did not hope that they would accept the Amendment relating to a "cuckoo" Minister. We have argued that point before. But if the Government cannot 153 accept the other Amendment, or they vote it down, cannot the Government make a gesture? Cannot they say, "We are anxious to allay African fears and to remove them, and we propose that there shall be a representative from among the nine sitting in the Cabinet." Why cannot we say that? Everybody who is concerned about this subject is asking for tangible proof.
Reference has been made in "The Times" editorial and in letters to "The Times" to tangible proof. Here is the opportunity to provide tangible proof. If the Amendment is rejected and if it is not made compulsory to have Africans in the Cabinet, let the Government say that they will invite one of the nine to be in the Cabinet. I ask the Minister to reconsider this matter, to realise that this is entirely within the prerogative of Her Majesty's Government and that it is for us to decide and for Her Majesty's Government to decide, and that the Secretary of State for the Colonies should be responsible.
I urge that consideration be given to the Amendment by which both Secretaries of State shall be responsible, as I believe that that will do a great deal to ensure what we all want, namely, to allay the fears which still persist in Central Africa.
§ Sir R. Acland
I should like to add a few words before the Amendment is put to the vote; first, a word of a somewhat personally reminiscent nature. I well remember that when this discussion at the London Conference was first announced by my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) I and a number of other hon. Members who are now on this side of the Committee, and were then on the opposite side, had the gravest misgivings about the outcome. I was among those who expressed those anxieties in supplementary questions immediately following the official announcement of the Officials' Conference.
I remember so well that when the deliberations of the Officials' Conference were made public, or perhaps it was one day afterwards, my right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) was good enough to see a number of us who were specially interested, and explain privately the details of the scheme. I remember that he made a particularly strong point to us about the 154 proposal for a Minister for African Affairs. I think it was the only point he made which seriously impressed me.
My colleagues and I at that time were far from satisfied with the proposals coming forward from the London Conference. At a very early stage we were pressing for further strengthening of the guarantees for African interests. But right from the start in our discussions with those who were then His Majesty's Ministers, we were impressed by the fact that a Minister for African Affairs, right in the Cabinet, would not be merely like the paper guarantees which have proved so feeble in South Africa and Southern Rhodesia but would be a personal reality —that is to say, a reality embodied in the very central point of decision.
It was a shock to us when, upon the change of Government, we heard that this proposal for a Minister of African Affairs was to be dropped. When we asked ourselves why this had happened we conjectured at the time the reason which has been so frankly and so honestly stated in public, I think, for the first time in the short speech which we had from the hon. Member for Leomin-ster (Mr. Baldwin). We had a strong suspicion that this proposal was dropped because it was known tha the white electors in Southern Rhodesia would not stand for it and that it would not pass the referendum. We believed at that time, and we still believe, that that was the one and only sufficient reason for dropping what would otherwise have been a really powerful proposal for the protection of African interests.
If we go on from there and look at the reasons for dropping this proposal, which have been given from time to time by the Government, we find that some of them have been repeated in this debate, namely, in the speech by the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs this evening. What is said, in effect, is that this proposal for a Minister for African Affairs would not work. The Government seek to draw comparisons, and ask us to consider how anomalous the position would be if a special Minister of this kind were appointed in the British Cabinet, but we really cannot draw parallels with the British Cabinet Constitution because the British Cabinet derives its authority from a Parliament which is elected by all the adult citizens of Great Britain. There 155 cannot be any conceivable case for putting into the British Cabinet a special representative, outside the realm of the normal rules of Cabinet responsibility, to represent some people who are not enfranchised in the ordinary way, because we are all enfranchised.
The position is entirely different in a territory where the Cabinet is to be responsible to a Parliament which has been elected by a very small minority of the total population. In such a situation there is an overwhelming case for putting into the Cabinet a special Minister whose duty it is to safeguard the interests of the great majority who take no part in electing the legislative assembly from which the Cabinet draws its authority.
I confess that I am at fault for not having with me the copies of HANSARD from which I can quote the actual words, but I am sure it is within the recollection of many hon. Members that at various stages in our discussions it has been argued that we could not have within the Cabinet a Minister who was pursuing a policy different from that of his colleagues. If that argument is put forward against the proposal to have a Minister for African Affairs, and it is pressed, it becomes a very strong argument against the whole policy of federation.
Here again, I would quote from the letter to which I referred in an earlier intervention on an earlier Amendment— the letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and the Moderator of the Free Church Federal Council. That letter said:We believe that the federal scheme could be so operated by men of good will as to hold out real hope for the economic advance, the political stability, and the healthy cooperation of all races.It could be so administered, and if it were the Minister for African Affairs would not find himself at any stage in conflict with the policy of the Cabinet into which he had been put by the action of the Secretary of State here.
The conflict would arise only if by any chance the way in which this question is going to work out were to produce a white legislative assembly and, from it, 156 a white Cabinet, not intent on the advancement of the African peoples, but —let us be quite blunt—intent on preserving a sort of white man's paradise, based on cheap coloured labour, in a country where Income Tax is virtually negligible and where the black people do the dirty work.
It is relevant to see what sort of conditions they are preserving for themselves at the present time. In Northern Rhodesia, for example, a man with two children, earning £1,000 a year—
§ Sir R. Acland
I am in your hands, Mr. Hopkin Morris, but I should have thought that I would be in order in giving one or two illustrations of how wonderful and comfortable life is in a country where the Income Tax of a man earning about £1,500 a year is about one-tenth of what it would be here, and where the wages paid for domestic servants are about one-hundredth of what they would be here.
It is relevant to suggest that people subjected to the temptations which are implicit in that state of affairs—even if we ourselves were in that position— would be inclined not to be advancing the well-being of those people on whose poverty their own economic self-interest depends. I can understand that the Cabinet, not perhaps having this conscious intention but because of the economic pressure of their environment which produces that state of affairs, would object to having in their midst a man whose special job was day in and day out to bring home to them the way in which their everyday administrative actions were affecting the African majority upon whose labour they depend.
It seems to me, therefore, that all the arguments which have been brought forward as to the impossibility of having what has been so contemptuously described as a "cuckoo" Minister are, in fact, in favour of not having this federation at all without something to produce a very different temper among the leaders of white opinion in Central Africa or anything which I, for one, believe to be possible on the laws of Christianity or on the laws of Freudian 157 psychology or on the laws of Marxist philosophy.
If we roll together all that is taught by Christianity about original sin and what Freud told us about the way in which we rationalise our emotional preferences and what Karl Marx said about the way in which our decisions are influenced by economic environment, then we shall see how virtually impossible it is to suppose that a white minority will legislate for the steady advancement of a black majority on whose underpaid labour their comforts and luxuries depend. I thank you, Mr. Hopkin Morris, for having allowed me to explain what might otherwise have been a rather startling conjunction of names.
Perhaps I may turn to another subject in this rather rambling series of Amendments which we are discussing at once, namely, the announcement for the first time to the House that the Secretary of State who will be the normal channel of communication for the Federal Executive is to be the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations. I regret that announcement very much indeed and I am sorry that it came to me, as to many others, as a shock. I was not aware that an earlier announcement had been made about a year ago in another place. Somehow that seemed to slide by without anybody noting the import, as we have done today.
§ Sir R. Acland
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that comment It ought to have been made here and not in another place. This is a busy life and we cannot listen to all their Lordships' debates or read all the HANSARDS of the House of Lords.
I appreciate the point made by the Secretary of State for the Colonies that our Amendment might include in the affairs of Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, who would have some joint responsibility with the Secretary of State for the Colonies for the territorial administration of those two Territories. I am not afraid of that. I think it would do him good—a great deal of good; and it would do his staff a great deal of good to find themselves 158 obligatorily mixed up with the administration of the territorial affairs of these two Northern Territories.
There is no disadvantage at all if our Amendment brings the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations a little into contact with some of the Colonial Office's position in these affairs. Much more important, we believe that as time goes on the Federal Legislature and the Federal Executive will steadily grow in stature, in influence, in power and in importance whereas that of the legislative assemblies of the two Northern Territories will steadily and step by step diminish.
What is really important is the announcement we have had that the channel of communication for the Federal Legislature is to be through the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations. It is not good enough merely to say that, of course, the Secretary of State for the Colonies will be consulted when matters reach the stage at which they are described as important, because I think it will be agreed that nothing ever becomes important without its having boiled up from a lot of little matters that were unimportant, or seemed unimportant. It is not a question of who gets consulted when the thing has reached the stage of crisis. I do not doubt, for example, in relation to Kenya, that a large number of Secretaries of State have been consulted in the last 12 months about matters in Kenya, because they have now become important.
The vital question is: what Secretary of State, what office, what staff, have their hands upon the reins of day to day details? Which office keeps the records? Before the eyes of which officials do the day to day and week to week details go? Who has the opportunity of stopping at the earliest possible stage a trend of events which will later lead to crisis? Who has the power at the right moment to put in a word when decisions have not yet been finally taken and who may possibly influence things for better, or for worse?
If that day to day routine work is to be done by the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, whose main tradition is to keep the peace with Dr. Malan so far as Africa is concerned, how much worse it will be for the Africans in those three Territories than if all that day to day detailed work were done by 159 the Secretary of State for the Colonies and his staff with their traditions. I hope the Government will even yet take the chance of reconsidering this matter.
§ Mr. Hale
Oh, yes. If the hon. Gentleman did not hear the speeches on his side of the Committee he will have the privilege of hearing me relate shortly what has happened, and he will then have the benefit of knowing what we are talking about. When my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Neepsend (Sir F. Soskice) moved the Amendment he was moving an Amendment of very great importance, and one to which we on this side of the Committee attach supreme importance, but since then the debate has taken a turn for the worse.
I say that after having heard the hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. Baldwin), and much more after hearing the most inadequate reply of the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs, who made no effort whatever to reply to the basic, fundamental problems. I am sorry to be discourteous, but I do say, with a careful sense of what I am saying, that I think that, on the whole, it was the most inadequate reply I have heard from a responsible Minister to an important Amendment in the last two years. In saying that I am not trying to be ungenerous towards or to overlook the claims of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education.
The hon. Member for Leominster rose to make one point, that he made it first with some hesitation and then with increasing confidence. Finally, he committed himself to the point that, if this had been in the White Paper, the plebiscite in Southern Rhodesia would have gone the wrong way. Of all the observations we have heard described tonight as stirring up African opinion there is none more likely to stir up African suspicion, African distrust, and African hostility than that, and it is right to ask the Secretary of State whether he agrees with the observations of his supporter. Does he agree with that point?
Is it really true that if it was said that an African Parliament which is to have 160 six African members anyhow must have one African in the Cabinet, if it was said that there must be at least something like a proportionate African representation in the Cabinet, that would have been regarded as so serious that the plebiscite would have gone the other way? Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that if this had been in the White Paper, despite all the talk in Southern Rhodesia about partnership, and about a gradually growing confidence between the races, the White people in Southern Rhodesia would never have permitted African representation in the Cabinet?
Is that what is meant? Does the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs agree with that or not? Does it represent the views of Her Majesty's Government? It is right that we should be told that when these discussions were taking place at which the Africans, for reasons which may be good or not good, were not present and not available to hear what was being said. It was certainly reported in "The Times" and other newspapers usually regarded as well-informed that one of the battles going on at that conference was by the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia and by Mr. Welensky to wipe out the provisions in the original White Paper for an African Minister for African Affairs. It was said time after time that that was a struggle. Now if that was the struggle, if that happened, the Minister ought to be frank and tell us, because we are entitled to know.
If the position in Southern Rhodesia is now such that an Amendment of this kind would so offend the white population that the Federal scheme would become impossible, then I agree with the view expressed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Gravesend (Sir R. Acland), that in these circumstances federation really is impossible, and should be impossible. But it would be wrong to go on committing ourselves to a proposition knowing that there is a fundamental dishonesty of approach, and knowing that it is really beng used as a cover for these proposals which the hon. Member for Leominster has said were never meant at all, and that there was never any intention of accepting the proposals. If that be so—and the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs, who has spoken for some time, has not sought to deny it, and he can deny it now if he wishes——
§ Hon. Members: Answer.
§ Mr. Hopkinson
I made the position perfectly clear. I said that there was nothing to prevent an African being appointed as a member of the Cabinet tomorrow if the Prime Minister so proposes. I said that quite openly.
§ Mr. Hale
It is also true that there is nothing to prevent my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) from being appointed to the Iron and Steel Board tomorrow. My apprehension of that is that there might be sales resistance on both sides.
The Minister says he made the position perfectly clear. I think he did. I do not think it was his intention, but when he sat down I felt that I was more clear about the attitude of the Government on this matter than I had been before on a number of points. It was not because of what the right hon. Gentleman said but because of what he did not say that I felt convinced that the matter had been made clear. He started off, I regret to say, by referring to the "cuckoo Minister." That is an offensive and regrettable term. The trouble is that the cuckoo is not merely an unwanted, unwelcome intruder into the nest, but it also belongs biologically to a different species, and I regretted that such a comparison should be made by one of Her Majesty's Ministers at a time like this in referring to proposals for African representation. [Laughter] That this should give pleasure to hon. Members opposite is something I cannot help. I, personally, regret it, and I wish the Minister would withdraw the term, and would say that it was not his term and never ought to be used in that context. It is a very derogatory term.
§ Mr. Hopkinson
I started by saying that the term did not originate with my right hon. Friend. I would point out that there is no question of race involved. The Minister for African Affairs was not to be an African under the original proposal.
§ Mr. Hale
I was not talking about racial differences. I was talking about biological differences, an entirely different matter. Time after time the right hon. Gentleman used the term, with some regularity, and in a way which one thought expressed some approval of the use of the term. I only say that it is greatly to be deplored.
162 The Minister made a few other casual observations. He drew the attention of the Committee to footnote 23, on page 24 of the Federal scheme, and said, "There is provision for a Cabinet." I ask just what those provisions are. What is the function of a Cabinet unless, in accordance with my right hon. and learned Friend's Amendment, it is defined in the terms of the ordinary council? Unless we are told what it has to do, unless we are told what powers it can exercise, unless some reference is made in an Order in Council to its constitution, how can there be a Council in the sense in which the Minister referred to it? He referred to the note which says that, in accordance with the ordinary constitution, the Cabinet is not being embodied in a written document because it never is. He was, therefore, referring to it in terms of an English Cabinet.
There is no way in which the Cabinet can exercise its power or be set up. There is no constitutional right to do it. There is nothing from which it can derive its powers, and the power of the Crown is delegated to the Governor-General. If we are to have a Cabinet we are bound to define it in the terms of an Order in Council or it has no means of acquiring power or of asserting power. It has no privileges in connection with treaty rights and so on. There is no method of doing it unless we provide it here and now in the Bill or in Order in Council.
The Secretary of State went on to a series of other arguments which seem to get worse and worse. He said that we must trust the Secretary of State. That is an extraordinary appeal to make today. The whole effect of our constitutional rule is that we should not trust Her Majesty's Ministers on whatever side of the House we sit, because the job of a Member of Parliament is not to trust them but to watch them.
We come to two matters which are, I think, of very considerable importance. We have been told today that the Secretary of State who will be finally and immediately responsible for the administration of federal affairs will be the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations. I understood the Minister to say that, and perhaps he will correct me if I am wrong, communications in the first instance shall come from the Commonwealth authorities. In other 163 words, a report on conditions in Nyasa-land would go first to the Commonwealth Office. I should have thought that we have suffered enough from delays in dealing with colonial matters in the last few months.
§ Mr. Dugdale
When my hon. Friend made that statement, I thought I saw the Minister shaking his head. Will he state whether in fact my hon. Friend has described the position accurately or not?
§ Mr. Hopkinson
I do not want to take the hon. Gentleman up on every point on which he goes astray. He said that a report coming from Nyasaland would go to the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, but, of course, it will not. It will go straight to my right hon. Friend as heretofore.
§ Mr. Hale
If it is of vital importance? If it is a complaint from Nyasaland about something which the Federal Government has done, which the Minister of Native Affairs in Nyasaland feels is derogatory to the interests of the African population in Nyasaland? I did not observe whether the Minister shook his head laterally or longitudinally. The Secretary of State earlier in the debate said, I understood, that the day-to-day life of the average person in the two Protectorates would remain the concern of the Colonial Office. I am sure he has made that statement before.
At no time in the course of any of these debates has the Minister told us how. At no time has he told us what is the machinery by which the Colonial Office can continue to administer the two Territories on the basis of their being continuing Protectorates once so many reserve powers have been handed over to the Federal Government. I am not alone in being unable to see how it is to be done. The time has come when the Committee should be told how it is to be done, what matters will be dealt with and how they will continue to be dealt with.
As one of my hon. Friends said, the Secretary of State for the Colonies may be a little flattered, perhaps unduly flattered, by the passionate desire of the African people to remain under his aegis, which is based not on any personal predilection but merely on the history of the Colonial Office. If they have had some 164 negotiations with the present Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, I can well understand their preferring anything to that.
However, the Colonial Office has a great record in Africa and has been associated with a great many vital reforms. The Colonial Office has inculcated and incorporated the conception of the gradual advance of the African people as of vital importance. What is the concern of the Commonwealth Relations Office in Africa? At the moment it is primarily concerned with the Union of South Africa, and with trying to maintain, in very difficult circumstances, good relations and a basis of understanding with a Government which is enforcing racial policies which most of my hon. Friends utterly and profoundly detest and which the mass of the people of the Rhodesias and Nyasaland undoubtedly detest, distrust and fear.
If the basic problems affecting racial matters, the colour bar, franchise and representation are to be handled by the Commonwealth Relations Office, that means a basic change in attitude and a basic change in the grounds upon which decisions are taken. It may be a very serious step-back for the African people. That is why we are entitled to ask about it.
We have not been told why the Amendment is not being accepted. We have not had one solitary reason. In his opening remarks, the Minister of State referred to a moral obligation, and when we asked what the moral obligation was and by whom it was incurred, he said it was not in the scheme at all, there was nothing in the scheme which prevented the Amendment from being accepted and that there was nothing which ruled out proposals for a Cabinet or for African representation.
If that be true, I put this with great seriousness because I believe it to be a point of first importance. If there is one thing that the Committee ought to be seeking to do at the moment, if there is one thing that could alter the attitude of the great majority of the people of the Rhodesias and Nyasaland to the scheme, it would be some dramatic recognition of the rights of the African people to representation. It would be some gesture which could recreate confidence and 165 understanding. It would be something which could be taken to the African people with the comment, "Here we are, after all this time. Here is your basic anchor and protection. In the new federal scheme is something which, to an extent, you had before in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, but you will now have it in the whole of the federated territories. Here is a provision which will enable you to have your own representation in the Cabinet directly responsible to the Secretary of State." We could tell the people that this would enable them to make day-to-day representations if necessary, saying, "These are the troubles, the difficulties, the basic grievances and the basic misunderstandings."
On both sides of the Committee we have said that some of the suspicion, distrust, disappointment and misunderstanding in African affairs has not been based upon actual fact. We have always agreed that in every territory like this almost every industrial or economic advance has caused some little hardship to individuals. It is bound to cause the replanning of territories and a little abrogation of the personal rights of individuals, and it is because of that that we want a Minister who knows the facts and
§ can deal with them, who can make representations all the time on behalf of those affected and see that the African people have in the new Government that confidence which they must have if the Federal scheme is to be successful. That is fundamental, and it is why we feel that this Amendment is of supreme importance.
§ I have no wish to be hostile at this stage of the Bill, but it was with great regret I heard of the blank refusal of the Government to accept even the principle of this Amendment. In my view, that is a great tragedy at this stage of our discussion. That is why I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to see if he could not, even at this late hour, say that between now and the Report stage he will consider this matter and will try to devise some means of accepting this Amendment in principle to create confidence by the African people in the administration, and as a gesture in the interests of cooperation, so that there will be one indication at least that the word "partnership" used so much in the Preamble and in the explanations of this scheme will have some measure of meaning.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 205; Noes, 221.169
|Division No. 181.]||AYES||[10.17 p.m.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Cove, W. G.||Hannan, W.|
|Albu, A. H.||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hargreaves, A.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Crosland, C. A. R.||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewa)||Crossman, R. H. S.||Hastings, S.|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Cullen, Mrs, A.||Hayman, F. H.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S. E.)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Davies, Harold (Leak)||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)|
|Baird, J.||Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Herbison, Miss M.|
|Balfour, A.||Deer, G.||Hewitson, Capt. M.|
|Bartley, P.||Delargy, H. J.||Holman, P.|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Dodds, N. N.||Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)|
|Beswick, F.||Donnelly, D. L.||Houghton, Douglas|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||Hoy, J. H.|
|Blackburn, F.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Boardman, H.||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Fernybough, E.||Johnson, Jamas (Rugby)|
|Bowden, H.W.||Fienburgh, W.||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)|
|Bower, E. R.||Finch, H. J.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)|
|Bowles, F. G.||Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)|
|Braddcck, Mrs. Elizabett||Follick, M.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)|
|Brookway, A. F.||Foot, M. M.||Keenan, W.|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Forman, J. C.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||King, Dr. H. M.|
|Burke, W. A.||Gibson, C. W.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Glanville, James||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Lindgren, G. S.|
|Carmichael, J.||Grey, C. F.||MacColl, J. E.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||McGhee, H. G.|
|Champion, A. J.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||McGovern, J.|
|Chapman, W. D.||Grimond, J.||McInnes, J.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Hale, Leslie||McLeavy, F.|
|Clunie, J.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)|
|Collick, P. H.||Hall, John T. (Gateshtad, W.)||McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Hamilton, W. W.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)|
|Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Pryde, D. J.||Thomas, David (Aberdare)|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Rankin, John||Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Mann, Mrs. Jean||Reeves, J.||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Manuel, A. C.||Reld, William (Camlashie)||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Rhodes, H.||Thornton, E.|
|Mason, Roy||Richards, R.||Timmons, J.|
|Mayhew, C. P.||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Messer, F.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Ungood-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Mikardo, lan||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Viant, S. P.|
|Mitchison, G. R.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Wade, D. W.|
|Monslow, W.||Ross, William||Wallace, H. W.|
|Moody, A. S.||Royle, C.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.||Shackleton, E. A. A.||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Morley, R.||Short, E. W.||Weitzman, D.|
|Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Shurmer, P. L. E.||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Moyle, A.||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John|
|Murray, J. D.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Nally, W.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Slater, Mrs. (Stoke, N.)||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Oldfield, W. H.||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Orbach, M.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||Wigg, George|
|Oswald, T.||Sorensen, R. W.||Willey, F. T.|
|Pagat, R. T.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Steele, T.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Parker, J.||Straehey, Rt. Hon. J.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Paton, J.||Stross, Dr. Barnett||Winterbottom, lan (Nottingham, C.)|
|Pearson, A.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Peart, T. F.||Swingler, S. T.||Woodbum, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Plummer, Sir Leslie||Sylvester, G. O.||Yates, V. F.|
|Porter, G.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||Younger, Rt. Hon. K|
|Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Prector, W. T.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mr. Popplewell and Mr. Wilkins.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark(E'brgh,W.)|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Doughty, C. J. A.||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Drayson, G. B.||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Drewe, C.||Jones, A. (Hall Green)|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W|
|Baldock, Lt.-Comdr. J. M.||Fall, A.||Kaberry, D.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Finley, Graeme||Keeling, Sir Edward|
|Barber, Anthony||Fisher, Nigel||Kerr, H. W.|
|Barlow, Sir John||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Lambert, Hon. G.|
|Baxter, A. B.||Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Lambton, Viscount|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Ford, Mrs. Patricia||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Fort, R.||Langford-Holt, J. A.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Foster, John||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Lagh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)|
|Birch, Nigel||Fraser, Sir lan (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Lindsay, Martin|
|Bishop, F. P.||Galbraith, Rt. Han. T. D. (Pollok)||Llewellyn, D. T.|
|Black, C. W.||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hilthead)||Lockwood, Lt.-Col, J. C.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Garner-Evans, E. H.||Longden, Gilbert|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Godber, J. B.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.)||Gower, H. R.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Graham, Sir Fargus||McCallum, Major D.|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Gridley, Sir Arnold||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Macdonald, Sir Peter|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||McKibbin, A. J.|
|Bullard, D. G.||Harden, J. R. E.||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Hare, Hon. J. H.||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Masclesfield)||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)|
|Campbell, Sir David||Harvey, lan (Harrow, E.)||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Heald, Sir Lionel||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)|
|Channon, H.||Heath, Edward||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Higgs, J. M. C.||Marlowe, A. A. H.|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)|
|Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Marshall, Sir Sidney (Sutton)|
|Cole, Norman||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Maude, Angus|
|Colegate, W. A.||Hollis, M. C.||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.|
|Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Hope, Lord John||Medlicott, Brig. F.|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry||Mellor, Sir John|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Molson, A. H. E.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Horobin, I. M.||Morrison, John (Salisbury)|
|Crouch, R. F.||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Nicholls, Harmar|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Deedes, W. F.||Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)|
|Digby, S. Winsfield||Hurd, A. R.||Nield, Basil (Chester)|
|Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Oakshott, H. D.||Russell, R. S.||Thornton-Kemsley, Col C. N.|
|Odey, G. W.||Ryder, Capt. R. E. O.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||Turton, R. H.|
|Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Scott, R. Donald||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Orr-Ewing, Charles lan (Hendon, N.)||Shepherd, William||Vosper, D. F.|
|Osborne, C.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Partridge, E.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Perkins, W. R. D.||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Peto, Brig. C. H. M.||Snadden, W. McN.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Peyton, J. W. W.||Spearman, A. C. M.||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Speir, R. M.||Wellwood, W.|
|Powell, J. Enoch||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.||Stevens, G. P.||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Profumo, J. D.||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Raikes, Sir Victor||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Rayner, Brig. R.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.||Wills, G.|
|Redmayne, M.||Storey, S.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Rees-Davies, W. R.||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Remnant, Hon. P.||Summers, G. S.||York, C.|
|Renton, D. L. M.||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Roberts, Peter (Heeley)||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)||Mr. Studholme and Major Conant.|
|Rodgars, John (Sevenoaks)||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ 10.30 p.m.
§ The Chairman
The next Amendment is that in the name of the right hon. Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Dugdale), in page 1, line 10, after "Legislature," insert:to consist of a Speaker and forty-two members including seven elected members from each Territory, fifteen specially elected African members and six European members charged with special responsibilities for African interests, such Legislature to have powers as listed in paragraph 10, page 10, of Command Paper No. 8754, except that immigration into and emigration from any territories in the Federation shall remain the responsibility of the Territorial Legislatures.I think it would be for the convenience of the Committee if it were taken together with the Amendment, also in the name of the right hon. Member for West Bromwich, at the top of page 1451 of the Order Paper, in page 1, line 10, after "Legislature," insert:in which there shall be an equal number of Europeans and Africans.On the same point of the powers of the Legislature, I think it would probably be convenient if a number of new Clauses were also taken at the same time. Some of these new Clauses are in the name of the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale)—(Reserved powers), (Co-operative societies), (Entry of British citizens), (Deportation of British citizens), and (Federal Assembly)—and there is one— (Saving for trade unions)—in the name of the hon. Member for Ogmore (Mr. Padley).
§ Mr. A. Fenner Brockway (Eton and Slough)
On a point of order. I submit, 170 Sir Charles, that the new Clauses which refer to such things as deportation, the establishment of trade union rights, and Co-operative societies, might more appropriately be taken with the next Amendment which will be called, which is in my name, in page 1, line 11, after "Court," insert "a Federal Human Rights Commission." Those are subjects which are covered by human rights rather than by the proposal which is in the Amendment now before us.
§ The Chairman
That proposal was put to me during the day. I have taken advice and am told that what I have just proposed would be the appropriate way to deal with this matter.
§ Mr. Hale
Further to your Ruling, Sir Charles, this does affect four new Clauses which have not yet been reached, each of which is of very great importance and raises issues of principle. As I apprehend your Ruling, you are saying that because the first Amendment, which is not in my name—with which I am not wholly in sympathy, although I do not wish to show lack of support for my right hon. Friend—deals with the powers of the Federal Government, it is desirable that we should discuss every Amendment connected with the powers of the Federal Government. But the whole Measure deals with the powers of the Federal Government and there is one Clause to set up the Federal Government. By the same reasoning we could discuss the whole of the Amendments.
Many hon. Friends have taken a lifelong interest in the co-operative move- 171 ment and are extremely interested in the Amendment standing in my name dealing with co-operative societies. Many hon. Friends have also taken a life-long interest in the trade union movement and would like to say a great deal about the Amendment dealing with trade unions. The Amendments which I understand you intend to call dealing with the deportation of British subjects and so on are also of great importance to the Committee.
If this course is adopted it will be necessary for everyone who rises to consider seven or eight completely different matters. He will have first to say whether he really wants the Federal Assembly to be on the lines suggested by my right hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Dugdale), then to deal with the attitude to co-operative societies, cooperative farming in the Territories, co-operative producers and co-operative retailers, talk about the trade union movement with all its implications and then to come back to certain fundamental issues of human rights and the basic topic of whether British subjects should be deported at all from British territory and with what precautions and safeguards.
We are all anxious to co-operate, but, speaking with complete sincerity, not one of us is anxious to waste time on the matter or give the appearance on an issue of great constitutional importance of adopting purely delaying tactics. We want to put reasoned arguments fairly and with what strength we can on matters on which we feel quite deeply. I respectfully suggest that it would be a practical impossibility to have an effective discussion covering so wide a range and variety of subjects. I hope I shall have the support of the Secretary of State on this, as I think he would say that the interests of the Committee would be better served if we could have separate debates.
Perhaps Amendments affecting the trade unions and the co-operative societies to some extent raise the same issues. Those affecting restriction of legislation may raise the same issues and we would try to get co-operation on those matters, but to raise all these matters together puts a great burden on us. I ask you to have regard to these observations and observations which may be made by my hon. Friends.
§ Mr. Paget
This Bill proposes one Federal legislature. A new Clause proposes certain limitations on the power of the Federal legislature and my right hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Dugdale) proposes a quite different legislature. The fact that we want to limit the powers of one legislature which this Bill proposes does not for a moment mean that we would wish to limit the powers of a quite different legislatuue proposed by my right hon. Friend. I humbly submit, therefore, that we cannot consider the new Clauses which are limitations of the legislature to be set up until we have decided what is the legislature whose powers we are limiting, because until we know that we do not know what limitations we desire to put on it.
I would therefore respectfully say—and it does not seem that it would take any additional time—let us first consider what legislature we are going to have. That is my right hon. Friend's Amendment. Then we come to the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Fenner Brockway) to include a Commission for Human Rights. Then, knowing what our legislature is, we can move the new Clause which limits the powers of that legislature within a broad field that affects human rights. That seems to me the logical way of doing it. But to try to do it before you have decided what the legislature is seems wholly illogical.
§ The Chairman
I should like to thank the hon. and learned Gentleman and his hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) who brought this matter to my notice today. I hoped their point could be met. I have taken the best advice I could get, and I am told that the idea I originally put forward is the best way to deal with it. I hoped it might be possible that the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Fenner Brockway) should be taken with the entry and deportation of British citizens, but I am advised that is not possible, and that the original way is the way to deal with it. There would also be various new Clauses which could be discussed with the first Amendment.
§ Mr. Fenner Brockway
May I ask you, Sir Charles, to consider that we might take now the Amendment in the name of the right hon. Gentleman for West 173 Bromwich (Mr. J. Dugdale). That would be followed by my Amendment, and then you might take separately the discussion on deportation and the discussion on cooperative trading. I do not think that would take any longer, and it would be a much clearer discussion for the Committee.
§ The Chairman
That of course would be quite impossible because I propose to call the Amendment at the bottom of page 1450 in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly (Mr. Griffiths), the next one in his name on page 1451, and the following Amendment, in Clause 1, page 1, line 11. All these would fall if I did that, and it is quite impossible for me to do what the hon. Member has suggested.
§ Mr. Paget
If we are taking the discussion of the new Clauses out of their ordinary order, that is a matter of convenience and not a matter upon which, I would respectfully have thought, the advice of those who are concerned with order becomes very relevant. I would have thought that if we were going to consider the new Clauses out of their natural order, which can only be done by consent, the persons who are the best judge of what it is convenient to discuss with the new Clauses are those who are propounding them.
If we feel strongly that it would be much more convenient not to raise them in their proper place at the end but, in order to oblige the Committee or save time, to agree to take them with something else earlier—which is what we are perfectly prepared to do—I would respectfully suggest that our view should be considered. We feel that we should take them with the human rights Amendment rather than with the proposal relating to the Federal legislature—a new proposal with which, frankly, I personally have no sympathy, and I should find it very embarrassing to discuss it with the new Clauses.
Mr. R. Williams
Further to that point of order, may I seek your guidance, Sir Charles? In the event of your ruling that these are to be discussed all together, assuming that my right hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Dugdale) who seeks to move the Amendment in Clause 1, page 1, line 10, catches your eye, would it be your view that he should address you, as the person proposing that Amendment, leaving entirely out of his submissions any views which he might have in relation to the other Amendments, or that he should deal with the Amendment standing in his name and all the other Amendments as well, since if he deals only with his own Amendment he will have exhausted his right to address this Committee, and will subsequently have great difficulty in putting his point?
§ The Chairman
When the House is in Committee hon. Members may speak as often as they like. The right hon. Member for West Bromwich could either do so in his first speech or later. He will be called when he rises to his feet. There is no reason why he should not be called, as long as he catches my eye. As he is a Privy Councillor, he may catch my eye quite often.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
I do not think there is much between the Chair and Members of the Committee. It is just a question of facilitating the business and also of having an adequate discussion on the main principles at stake. I hope, Sir Charles, that you will consider these points which I am going to make as briefly as possible. There is more at stake than appears on the surface. The ordinary people of this country have won, within limits, democratic rights. This debate will be watched by millions of people who are still struggling for their democratic rights. It will be read by many of them, and unless an adequate discussion takes place upon the main principles raised in these Amendments it will cause disappointment. Therefore, I ask you to allow a debate to take place upon my right hon. Friend's Amendment and then to call the Amendment dealing with human rights. Upon that an adequate discussion could take place, because in it are involved the rights of the co-operative movement and of the trade union movement.
§ The Chairman
That is the very point which was raised earlier, before we began the Committee stage. I took the best advice I could get. I was informed that the original decision was really the right one. I think that as there are so many new Clauses it would not be possible to select them all, but, as the Committee knows, the responsibility is put upon my shoulders—and it is a most unhappy one to have to exercise—to select which will be discussed.
§ Mr. James Hudson (Ealing, North)
Sir Charles, I want to draw your attention to the fact that the Amendment in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) may have deceived you and your advisers, in that it is apparently supported by only one name. But I would assure you that there are a large number of us who are extremely concerned about the Amendment dealing with co-operative societies.
I put it to you, Sir, that to start at 10.45 p.m. a general discussion of such a character, when there must be linked with it all the detailed issues relevant to co-operative societies and trades unions and so on, is to deal not only extremely unfairly with the constitutional question involved for Africa but with the House of Commons itself. I wonder if your advisers have taken into account the fact that from certain of these Amendments there is bound to arise a large number of issues—not just one or two—in which many hon. Members will be concerned and who will have the benefit of vital experience to offer.
§ The Chairman
Yes, and I do not want to make any point about whether an Amendment appears in the name of only one hon. Member or in the name of six. When advice is given it is on the basis of which are the more important Amendments. I may be wrong, but the fact that there is only one name attaching makes no difference whatever to the selection.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Bing (Hornchurch)
I wish to say only a few words, but you will recall, Sir Charles, that you did say a little earlier that you might have to exercise your power of selection in the event of all these Amendments not being taken together; 176 but, with the greatest respect, surely the duty of the Chair is to select which Amendments are relevant and which are not; and not consideration of how long the debate shall continue. I understood you to indicate that these Amendments are relevant and in order and, therefore, might I, with respect say that it would be quite improper for the power of selection to be exercised because some hon. Members of the Committee did not fall in with the manner chosen for discussing them?
§ The Chairman
The hon. and learned Member knows that if an Amendment is irrelevant it is out of order, and under the Standing Order, as he also is aware, I am given this responsibility, which is a most unpleasant one. I would rather call the lot, but I have no option except to do my best, and what I have suggested to the Committee is, I think, the best course. I cannot select all Amendments.
§ Mr. Hale
The Amendment in the name of my right hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Dugdale) is one of substance and, if carried, affects the whole Bill. I am speaking for myself, and have been able to consult only those hon. Members immediately neighbouring to me at the moment but, if the Amendment is carried, then I think I may say we should not seek to discuss a number of the proposed new Clauses in the name of myself because I should have thought that we should have met some of the basic wishes and solved some of the fundamental difficulties we have in mind. Therefore, Sir Charles, I do ask that we should know the view of the Committee on the Amendment in the name of my right hon. Friend which, especially in the light of earlier discussion today, we wish to know.
You did say, and I am sure that it was a slip, because I know I am speaking for the whole Committee when I say how greatly we appreciate, and feel in constant debt to you for it, your constant help and explanation of reasons for selection or otherwise, that you were anxious to have these things discussed together. We are all grateful for your guidance and help, and are glad of the opportunity of acknowledging that; and we realise that you have a duty in which there is real difficulty.
177 On a Bill of this kind the difficulty is probably even greater than it is in connection with most Bills. But you did say, Sir Charles, and I am quite sure that you did not mean it, that you were anxious to have these things discussed together, because you were anxious to see that they had a chance of being discussed. The ordinary meaning of those words, unless we had an explanation from the Chair, would be that unless we agreed to something, which after all is for our side to decide, and unless we took the new Clauses now and discussed them, they would not be discussed later on.
But having said that, Sir Charles, you said you thought they ought to be discussed, that they would be called in their proper order and that there would be an opportunity for discussing them. I have had a chance of discussing this matter with 20 or 30 of my colleagues, all of us agree that it will be for the convenience of the Committee to discuss these new Clauses later.
§ The Chairman
I thank the hon. Member for his kind references to me. I can hardly think that they are really true. But the point is that if I start to select new Clauses, which I am bound to do under Standing Orders, I might select one which the hon. Member did not want. By following the procedure which I suggest and discussing the powers of the legislature, all these new Clauses—and the hon. Member himself has five on the Order Paper —will have a debate, which otherwise they would probably not have. That is the point which I meant to make.
I have given this matter a great deal of consideration and I have come to the conclusion that this is probably the best way to get everything discussed. I hope that the Committee will proceed now. The procedure I suggest should meet everybody's problem in the long run.
§ Mr. Dugdale
I beg to move, in page 1, line 10, after "Legislature," to insert:to consist of a Speaker and forty-two members including seven elected members from each Territory, fifteen specially elected African members and six European members charged with special responsibilities for African interests, such Legislature to have powers as listed in paragraph 10, page 10, of Command Paper No. 8754, except that immigration into and emigration from any territories in the Federation shall remain the responsibility of the Territorial Legislatures.178 In moving the Amendment after this long discussion, I have to say that although it looks exceedingly complicated its principles are in reality quite simple. I should like to draw the attention of the Committee to them, and, in the first place, refer to the present position of the Federal Assembly. The White Paper proposes that the Federal Assembly shall have 26 elected members, six specially elected African members, and three European members, charged with special responsibilities for African interests. Presumably that is the proposal we may see when we discuss the Order in Council later on. We can only assume that that will be so, and I ask the Government spokesman when he replies to tell us whether that is what the Government intend to insert in the proposals when they are finally discussed.
The object of our Amendment is to produce equality of two kinds. The first equality is that of representation as between Europeans and Africans. We do not ask for African domination. We do not ask that there shall be a completely black domination any more than a white domination. We are asking for the principle which has been established already by the present Colonial Secretary in Tanganyika. There is in Tanganyika today a system whereby each race has equal representation. If that is right in Tanganyika, why should it be wrong in Central Africa? It seems to me most reasonable to request that there should be equal representation for each race. This Amendment is designed to secure such equal representation.
We hear a great deal about the word "partnership" today. Surely the acceptance of this Amendment would be a very definite and concrete sign of willingness to implement the doctrine of partnership. It is not asking very much, because there is an overwhelming majority of Africans in the Territory. All that the Amendment asks is not that the Africans shall have an overwhelming majority of representation in the Assembly but that they shall have equal representation with Europeans.
This seems to me a very mild Amendment, which could be easily accepted by anybody who really intended to implement the principles enunciated in the word "partnership." But we have 179 been told that arrangements have already been made. A deal has been fixed; Sir Godfrey Huggins and Mr. Roy Welensky have been told that such and such are to be the number of people in the Legislative Assembly, and nothing can be done to alter it. If that is so, it is a mockery of Parliament. Surely we are entitled to discuss what the representation shall be. It is one of the most fundamental things which we can discuss.
As has been said, if an Amendment of this character were passed it would so alter the scope of this Bill as to make it acceptable in many respects to a large number of us. That is the first aim of this Amendment, to get equal representation for Africans and Europeans. There is another aim. We are considering the federation of three Territories. Is it unreasonable to ask that these three Territories shall be equally represented? Let us look at the United States of America. The American Senate has an equal number of representatives from every State. That is a principle which we seek to achieve in this Amendment, namely, that there shall be an equal number of representatives from the three Territories.
This is not a question of African versus European. It is a question of equal representation on a territorial basis. We also ask that there shall be a definite list of powers which are to be possessed by this Federal legislature. We may be told that we shall hear about that later in a White Paper, or when the Order in Council is discussed; but we would like to hear now. We would like to know what they are, and to know that they are established in the Bill we are discussing. As the Bill stands we are being asked to sign a blank cheque, hoping that the Government will put into it certain powers and leave out others.
With regard to a particular power, the control of immigration and emigration, we are concerned that the new Federation, dominated as it will be by Southern Rhodesians, and with Nyasaland certainly coming a very poor third in control, may 180 agree to a very large immigration of people, some of whom may be desirable, and others less desirable. There may be a large immigration of people from South of the border, a large immigration from South Africa. I do not think anyone in this House would desire that there should be such a large immigration. If it is to be left to the control of a Federal Assembly dominated by Southern Rhodesia, that may well happen. So we would like these powers of control to remain as they are at present—in the hands of the individual Territories.
We ask, above all, that the Government shall show, even if it does not agree with the terms of this Amendment, some willingness to agree to equality of representation, thus showing that the word, "partnership," which is constantly on the lips of the Secretary of State and others, has a genuine meaning, and that the Government intend to implement it in the best way possible, namely, by having partnership in the Legislative Assembly.
§ 11.0 p.m.
I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
I think we have made fairly good progress with our discussion in Committee this afternoon, and I understand it would be for the convenience of hon. Members opposite, as well as on this side, if we deferred further discussion upon the rather important matters raised by the right hon. Gentleman, which together with the new Clause which relates to the Amendment will carry the discussion quite wide. I think we all agree that it would be a pity to start upon such matters so late at night.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
We are obliged to the Secretary of State. I am sure that this is the right moment at which to adjourn, and I therefore very cordially agree.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again Tomorrow.