Amendment proposed, 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:" —(Mr. Dugdale.)
§ Question again proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ 3.54 p.m.
§ Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly)
May I seek your guidance, Sir Charles, upon the Amendment which has already been moved and partly debated and which is now before the Committee? Towards the end of the sitting on Tuesday of last week, you indicated that this Amendment, was to be taken with another Amendment as recorded in the OFFICIAL REPORT of 9th June, 1953, column 171. May I ask whether you will state again what Amendments are being taken in conjunction with this one; and secondly, which Amendments you propose to call so that they may be divided upon?
§ The Chairman
With this Amendment, which was moved at the last sitting of the Committee, I said it would be convenient to discuss the Amendment in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Dugdale), in page 1, line 10, after "Legislature," insert:in which there shall be an equal number of Europeans and Africans.Also with these Amendments the following new Clauses should be considered— those in the name of the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale)—(Reserved powers), (Co-operative societies), (Entry of British citizens), (Deportation of 1192 British Citizens), and (Federal Assembly), and the one in the name of the hon. Member for Ogmore (Mr. Padley)— (Saving for trade unions).
On the question of Divisions, I understand that it is the wish of the Opposition to divide not on the first Amendment but on the second one. If the first Amendment is withdrawn after discussion, then the second one can be divided upon. I do not know whether any Divisions are wanted on the new Clauses, but I should say now that that will be out of order.
§ Mr. Griffiths
A number of new Clauses are associated with these two Amendments, and they deal with the Legislature and its power over trade unions, co-operative societies, and so on. Would it not be the most convenient course to vote on the Amendment before us, and then link up with one or more of the new Clauses dealing with trade unions and so on?
§ The Chairman
When we come to consider those new Clauses they will be out of order, because Clause 1 will then be part of the Bill.
§ Mr. Leslie Hale (Oldham, West)
May I venture to suggest that whether we divide or not is a question which we have to determine when we have heard the Ministerial reply? The question whether there is to be a Division rests in the bosom of every single Member of the Committee when he has heard the statement from the Government Front Bench, and how he votes and whether he votes in support of or against the right hon. Gentleman is a matter for himself. I am always perfectly willing to leave everything to my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), and I am sure I shall do so today, but it would be unfortunate if it went out that we have decided what way to vote before hearing the discussion and the Ministerial reply. It would certainly be an unfortunate inference to go back to Central Africa.
On the second point, may I mention one difficulty? I understood, when you ruled on this matter last week, that you were rather accepting the view of these new Clauses being called together and collectively moved by one person. That would be unfortunate in the sense that 1193 there are a number of the new Clauses to all of which that person's name might not be attached; indeed, he might be in violent disagreement with some of them. Therefore, I should like to indicate to you, Sir Charles, with regard to those new Clauses for which I am personally responsible, that I shall try to catch your eye to move them. It would be unfortunate if one hon. Member moved seven or eight new Clauses collectively some of which he sponsored, some of which he agreed with and some of which he did not agree with.
§ The Chairman
I should have made it perfectly clear earlier that there is only one Question before the Committee at the moment, the Amendment in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bromwich, in page 1, line 10, after "Legislature," to insert the words on the Order Paper. On that Amendment we can discuss various new Clauses but they cannot be moved because by the time we get to them they will be out of order.
§ Mr. John Dugdale (West Bromwich)
I am afraid I arrived in the Committee a few moments late and I have not heard every word of the discussion. Might I suggest this? The trouble about my Amendment is that it refers to powers, and you, Sir Charles, told us when the Committee last sat that it would cover all the other powers that were mentioned. I have moved the Amendment and I cannot go back on it. We are going to discuss it further, but when it comes to the point of dealing with it I would suggest that I should withdraw it in favour of the other Amendment to page 1, line 10, after "Legislature," to insert:in which there shall be an equal number of Europeans and Africans.That, in fact, covers the main point which I have referred to in greater detail in the earlier Amendment.
§ The Chairman
I understand that that was what was wanted, and that will be all right. I gather that after the discussion is finished, the first Amendment will be withdrawn and another Amendment will be discussed—that in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), in page 1, line 10, after "Legislature," insert: 1194to be elected on a franchise which shall be subject to the approval of the Secretary of State and any change in which shall be subject to the like approval.With that Amendment will be taken the Amendment in the name of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas), in page 1, line 10, after "Legislature," to insert:to be elected on a franchise which shall be drawn up upon principles to be formulated and from time to time amended by the Secretary of State, as may be in his opinion best calculated to secure that the whole population in the Territories shall be fairly represented.After the debate a vote will be taken, but it will not be taken immediately after the debate on the Amendment now before the Committee.
§ Mr. Dugdale
If that is done, then will it be possible to vote on the other issues covered by the new Clauses, such as trade unions and co-operative societies?
§ The Chairman
No, it would not be, because by the time we get to them on the Order Paper Clause 1 will be part of the Bill, and, therefore, they will be out of order.
§ Sir Richard Acland (Gravesend)
Will all the new Clauses be out of order when Clause 1 stands part of the Bill, and if not, why will these particular new Clauses be out of order when Clause 1 is part of the Bill?
§ 4.0 p.m.
§ The Chairman
Some will be out of order. One which will not be out of order is the one in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths)—(Disqualification for membership of Legislature)—which I shall call when we get to it.
§ Mr. Dugdale
Do I understand, Sir Charles, that the difficulty does not arise from the fact that my first Amendment mentions a large number of powers? I understood previously that it was that Amendment which would prevent us from voting on various things later, but now I understand that it is something quite different.
§ The Chairman
Yes, quite different. This is virtually a one-Clause Bill, and once we have Clause 1 standing part the new Clauses which we are now discussing will be out of order.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Bing (Hornchurch)
If one takes these various new Clauses together, one has a general, broad picture of the type of controls which we wish to impose upon the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary. All of us on this side of the Committee are regretfully forced into the position that the word of the Minister in these matters is not sufficient and that we ought to have some legislative control over his powers. On this side of the Committee we do not think that it is good enough for the Minister merely to say that he will not behave badly. We think that he ought to be asked by law not to behave badly— that he should be compelled by law to behave properly.
If I may, I will use one of the Clauses which stands in my own name— (Deportation of British citizens)—to illustrate the way in which the right hon. Gentleman appears to be making use in a general way of the powers of deportation and the like by persons under his control to enforce a political policy. I will begin by referring the Committee to a question which was asked in the "Manchester Guardian" of last Tuesday, which seems to be peculiarly appropriate to our present discussion. That paper asked a question about a Mr. John Rex who, like so many hon. Members on this side of the Committee, is an opponent of Central African federation.
What happened to Mr. John Rex? He had been appointed as the organising tutor to the extramural department of the principal college in Sierra Leone, a long way from Central Africa. What happened to him? His appointment was mysteriously cancelled. By whom was his appointment mysteriously cancelled? By the right hon. Gentleman, who now says that we do not need any safeguards about deportation or things of that sort. So, when the right hon. Gentleman replies, perhaps he will reassure the Committee in regard to this matter by dealing with the question asked in the editorial of the "Manchester Guardian." Let me read to the Committee what that newspaper had to say on this matter:Two possible reasons for this change of attitude present themselves. First, Mr. Rex is a South African, though his views are at the opposite pole to Dr. Malan's; and it has been suggested that African students are now so hostile to any South African, whatever his views, that it is imprudent to appoint him. 1196 This seems unlikely, for a South African was recently appointed to a similar post at Kumasi, in the Gold Coast. An alternative reason is that Mr. Rex has been an outspoken critic, in our correspondence columns and elsewhere, of Central African Federation. It would be regrettable if such a consideration stood in the way of an academic appointment. Did it? If not, what did the Colonial Office say to the college about Mr. Rex?We might have some guidance as to what is to be the attitude of the right hon. Gentleman in regard to deportation and in regard to the admission of European students.
§ The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Oliver Lyttelton)
I think it just as well to interrupt the flow of eloquence of the hon. and learned Gentleman on this matter to give him one assurance. It is that no question of Central African federation entered into the cancellation of Mr. Rex's appointment. It had nothing whatever to do with it.
§ Mr. Bing
What did, then? I am glad not to talk under an error, and to realise that this is another one of those irresponsible acts which march equally with the other type of acts in which the right hon. Gentleman indulges. Let me turn to another case of deportation, the case of Mr. Peter Evans. In this case Mr. Peter Evans was expelled from the Gold Coast for the serious and grossly improper crime of having appeared as a lawyer in a court in Kenya without charging a fee. He was expelled from Kenya and he was expelled subsequently from Tanganyika for an equal offence. His expulsion has been justified by the right hon. Gentleman. But what were the events immediately preceding that expulsion? The event which immediately preceded it was that Mr. Evans sat down to examine a number of murders of Africans which had taken place and which were alleged to have been done by Home Guards and by Europeans.
The right hon. Gentleman and the Minister of State for Colonial affairs know the matter quite well because, as soon as I heard of it, I sent to them photostatic copies of the declarations made by the various people concerned. The Minister of State for Colonial Affairs knows perfectly well that the Senior Superintendent of Police regarded the matter as so serious that he suggested that Mr. Evans should be present in the police station so that it would be possible for people to give their evidence without any worry or fear. What happened?
1197 The Government of the right hon. Gentleman suddenly found that Mr. Evans had committed this terrible crime. Of course the right hon. Gentleman will be on his feet in a moment to assure us again that this was just a coincidence, just another one of those extraordinary coincidences, which have no relation at all—perhaps I could have the attention of the right hon. Gentleman for a moment?
§ Mr. Bing
May I pause for a moment, Sir Charles, until the right hon. Gentleman has finished his reading matter? I am sorry that he reads so slowly but perhaps that explains why he is so out of touch with his Department.
In the case of Mr. Evans here is someone whose presence is obviously necessary if this matter is to be investigated. It would be quite wrong in this Committee to prejudice the matter or go into it and argue whether the evidence he had collected was true or not. However, I have read all the evidence and it appears to me to be a formidable indictment of two Europeans. There are many statements made by witnesses, some of them Home Guards. What happens? The very man who is collecting all this evidence, who is presenting this case, is deported, and the right hon. Gentleman comes forward and defends it here.
§ Mr. Beresford Craddock (Spelthorne)
On a point of order, Sir Charles. May we have all the evidence that is supposed to be being discussed?
§ Mr. Craddock
I should like to ask for information, Sir Charles. Is it not right and proper that any document which is referred to in debate here ought to be laid on the Table?
§ The Chairman
No, only if a Minister is quoting from a State document. That has nothing to do with this question.
§ Mr. Bing
The hon. Gentleman is mistaken in his facts, but should be encouraged in his views. I hope he will use his utmost endeavours to get his right hon. Friend to publish this material. I will give him every facility. The Minister of State for Colonial Affairs has the photostatic originals and I will provide the hon. Gentleman with them if he so desires, if the Minister will let me have them back. I should value greatly his views and support in this matter.
I now turn to another aspect of this matter, the question of trade unionism. My hon. Friend the Member for Ogmore (Mr. Padley) and I have put our names to an Amendment which seeks to secure at any rate the same trade union rights in the Federation as exist in this country. Nothing can be more important than that trade unionism be allowed to exist as an outlet for an expression of political opinion. Already the right hon. Gentleman is resisting any political representation; he is against that. How, then, are people to represent their views unless they can represent them through a trade union? That is practically the only existing alternative method of expressing opinion. Are we to close that down, too, or are we to be told that only those trade unions can exist which undertake in advance always to express the right hon. Gentleman's point of view, whatever that may be from time to time?
Then we come to the question of cooperative societies. I hope once again that this will be safeguarded in the Constitution. It is through co-operative endeavour that it is possible for the African inhabitant to challenge the economic position at present occupied by the white settler. He does not have the same amount of capital available. He needs to get together in some form of co-operative organisation if he is in any way to challenge the economic domination, not only of the white settler, but of organisations like the United Africa Company—great companies of that sort, which have played a very mixed part in African development and the activities of which now deserve to be curtailed in so far as it is possible so to organise locally.
1199 The new Clauses which we have put down attempt to provide some safeguard for there being some political outlet, some opportunity for the expression of opinion other than by revolution. How does the Colonial Secretary think that other than by revolution people will express their views if he does not allow them to be represented in Parliament, if he does not allow them to have trade unions, and if he puts their co-operatives at the mercy of the class who have always been most opposed to co-operative endeavour?
The Prime Minister once said that it was not going to be his fate to preside over the dissolution of the British Empire. I do not think he fully appreciated the effect of taking the Colonial Secretary into his Cabinet. Those of us who have the opportunity occasionally to go down to the lower Smoke Room will see there the portrait of one of the British Prime Ministers, whose distinction has not yet been sufficiently appreciated. He looks out sadly over the scene, wearing the robes of the Order of the Garter. He was a Prime Minister who also suffered from his Cabinet. He was Lord North, who lost another Colonial Empire because he did not ever believe that the Colonies ought to be represented in any way. That is what I am asking the right hon. Gentleman—not to repeat that pattern of Tory folly in dealing with colonial peoples, which starts with their relations with the American colonies and goes on, for example, with their relations with Ireland.
A famous speech was once made in this House by Mr. Tim Healy on the subject of Ireland in a debate on Uganda. If one so wished, one could very easily make a good speech on the whole issue of African federation in a debate on Ireland. There are exactly the same problems arising: the land question, the denial of representation and the refusal to agree with the views of the inhabitants—the whole same question, ultimately leading to the same horrible solution, a solution of civil war and of misery, a solution which leaves people far worse off on both sides than had they taken a sensible and reasonable view.
There is every danger that this country may, like France, find itself led into 1200 a series of colonial wars up and down Africa and over the world. It is against that danger that this Committee has a duty to guard. Our Amendments and proposed new Clauses are framed for two purposes. One is to show that the Members on this side of the Committee are all united—I think I can speak for all my hon. Friends—in saying that for the African inhabitants of Africa there must be every democratic institution provided and that we are not entitled to deny them any advantage of democracy that we have here.
But the Amendments are also designed for another purpose. They are an attempt to persuade the Colonial Secretary and his hon. and right hon. Friends to desist from a course which, in the view of many of us, is likely to lead to the break-up and the collapse of the colonial Commonwealth, upon which, after all, the wealth and prosperity of every person in these islands depends.
§ Mr. Hale
I do not think any of us here today would doubt for a moment that the reason for debating newer and fuller precautions in the Bill is much more serious at this moment than it has been, that the situation is certainly getting worse and that the news we are getting from Central Africa tends to indicate a rapidly worsening situation. One says that with great reluctance and one has to speak with a sense of responsibility in view of that situation. It does, however, become incumbent upon the House of Commons to consider the question of reopening altogether the consideration of African opinion in this matter.
I remember that on one of the early occasions when this matter was discussed the hon. and learned Gentleman the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations wound up the debate. I am sorry I do not have the actual quotation with me, but somebody else has borrowed the volume before me. Speaking, apparently, with great sincerity —I do not for a moment doubt his sincerity—the hon. and learned Gentleman said, "We really are going to consult the Africans. We have a deputation coming over and we have every intention of consulting them." Most of us were greatly impressed when the hon. and learned Gentleman said that.
What really happened?. A movement in Nyasaland originated to send African 1201 representatives here. I do not challenge the fact that the African representatives who were invited here to form that deputation on the whole were invited by one of the usual methods. They represented the proper and constitutional organisations of the Africans in the Territories. They were not elected delegates; they were not the representatives of a rising African feeling at that moment. Even they have gone back completely opposed to this scheme and completely mortified by what happened.
There was, however, a movement to send African representatives here. A ban was put on the collection of money for the purpose. They were not allowed to subscribe their coppers. When a Question was asked, the right hon. Gentleman said the reason was that something had gone wrong with a collection in 1948. The hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport) joined in with the information that, anyhow, the collection had been stopped, because of the poor response, before the fund was banned. Why the Government should ban a fund that had ceased, I do not know; but we were not surprised later to find out that £6,000 had been collected in the Territories and that chieftains were coming over—and they did come over. That money was collected from some of the poorest people in the world.
In debates on another Territory in East Africa some time ago, I produced the labour agreements for farm workers in Kenya. Conditions are very much the same in Nyasaland. I brought before the House the signed and executed agreements, in which men were being employed at the rate of 3s. a week. Those agreements were handed to a number of Conservative Members for inspection. They were produced at the meeting attended by Mr. Michael Blundell, who was a party to some of them, and shown to him. They were the subject of dissertation and correspondence in the Press.
Then, in my absence a few weeks ago, the hon. Member for Colchester, without any notice to me and without giving any reason, thought fit to suggest that they were all forged documents and questioned their authenticity.
§ Mr. C. J. M. Alport (Colchester)
On a point of order. In this debate, will the rules of order permit me, if I catch your eye later on, Sir Charles, to refer to the 1202 particular matter which the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) has raised and which deals with the problem of Kenya, whereas, in my submission, there is no reference to that matter in this Bill?
§ The Chairman
I thought the hon. Member was giving this in support of his argument for one of these new Clauses being adopted.
§ Mr. Hale
I am obliged to you, Sir Charles. I refer to page 47 of the Report on Nyasaland, which gives the actual wages. I know that they take some collating, but it is regrettable that these Reports should take so long to prepare; this one is the Report for 1951. I am surprised that the hon. Member for Colchester, having made a savage personal attack on another hon. Member in his absence and without notice, should rise on a point of order to suggest that in taking an early opportunity to reply I am going outside the rules of debate.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I fully understand that the hon. Member for Oldham, West is entitled to make an illustration to bring home a point on the matter of Central African Federation, but is it in order to argue these matters in detail and bring up questions which concern only Kenya?
§ The Chairman
I thought the hon. Member was making the point in support of the new Clause—(Saving for trade unions)—and was showing how the wage rates were unsatisfactory.
§ Mr. Hale
I am very much obliged. I had in fact come to Nyasaland by the time the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State rose. I was quoting from the Report on Nyasaland, which, after all, is in the area, and which gives the wages on field labour as varying from 25s. to 30s. per month. I was saying that these are the poorest people in the world, and I was not dealing with a trade union matter. It is very difficult to localise each observation. I was dealing with African Federation and was saying that these 1203 very poor people who sent chieftains over to represent them really have a case for added representation and are disturbed at the progress of affairs in this direction.
The new Clause to which I want particularly to draw the attention of the Committee, and on which I desire particularly to speak, is that on "Reserved powers" and, consequential upon that, the proposed new Schedule. It seems to me that this is a matter of very great importance. We have seen what happened in South Africa and have read debates on the South Africa Bill. From all sides of the House, in a debate which included such distinguished hon. Members as the late Keir Hardie and the late Ramsay MacDonald, fervent and passionate speeches were made saying that we were not able to give the African democracy at this moment but that he would get it eventually.
The case was made time after time that under the new, independent Government that would be created the African would have full democracy and full representation. What has happened? It is not putting it too high to say that the whole unity of the British Commonwealth of Nations is being imperilled by the African policy of Dr. Malan. We were told there were reserved Clauses. Constant reference was made in the debates on the South Africa Bill to reserved Clauses. Some of us have been looking to try to find them. It is, of course, technically and academically correct to say that this House could repeal the South Africa Bill tomorrow if it wanted to——
§ Mr. Hale
I am obliged to the hon. and gallant Member who has made a most substantial contribution to the debate. We could repeal the Act tomorrow, but that would have no effect. Only by force or resort to the arbitrament of war could we alter the status of South Africa today. No one in his senses would suggest that, or desire it.
Throughout the series of debates we have had, the right hon. Gentleman has 1204 time after time assured the House that all sorts of powers are vested in this House in respect of the new federated Central Africa. What are they? The Schedule which my hon. Friends and I have put down suggests specifically that among the reserved powers should be such matters as:External Affairs, including (a) the making of and implementation of treaties, conventions and agreements with other countries.Copyright, patents, trade marks, design and merchandise marks.The imposition of duties upon goods imported into the Territories.The procedure for the deportation of British subjects.The generation, supply and use of atomic energy.I do not want to labour this matter unduly because I know that many hon. Members want to speak and I am anxious that the debate should be a reasonable and proper one, so I shall confine myself to two of these subjects today. The first is:External Affairs, including (a) the making of and implementation of treaties, conventions and agreements with other countries.For what reason is it suggested that this Federation should deal with its own foreign affairs and have its own foreign policy? For what reason is it suggested that the policy of this country in foreign affairs will not be the foreign policy of the newly-federated Central Africa? Is it really to be the case in our relations with the United Nations, events in far Korea and a whole series of problems which come up in the realm of foreign policy that there will be an independent foreign policy conducted by the Governor-General and the Prime Minister of the new Federal Assembly which can differ from ours and can come into conflict with ours?
Most of us had hoped we were moving a little towards the conception of one world or larger unities in world affairs, and it seems to me a vicious and retrograde step to say that an area of this kind shall be able to conduct its own foreign policy and, presumably, in those circumstances, as it develops, have its own embassies, its own consuls and its own diplomats.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
Surely this is not the intention. Perhaps the Minister could assist us; there is no intention that this Federation should have 1205 control of foreign affairs, is there? The question is whether it ought to be in the Bill.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I am rather reluctant to interrupt the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) until he has finished the whole of his argument, but I confess that it had seemed to me that he was off the lines here. This only vests in the Federal Legislature such powers as are exercised in external affairs by the individual Constituent Assemblies. It does not mean, of course, that a totally different foreign policy is contemplated for the Federation. It only means that, insofar as they are exercised, they are exercised by the Federation and not by the Constituent Assembly.
§ "The Exclusive List
§ (Matters on which the Federal Legislature alone will be empowered to make laws.)
§ 1. External affairs, including—
- (a) the implementation of treaties, conventions and agreements with, and other obligations towards, other countries or organisations;
- (b) extradition and fugitive offenders, and the removal of prisoners."
§ Now I understand the right hon. Gentleman to be saying that they are not given and more powers than they were exercising before. All it means is that the limited powers exercised by Northern Rhodesia, Nyasaland and Southern Rhodesia will go from them, but they have no powers in external affairs. Nonetheless, I am grateful for the intervention of the right hon. Gentleman. I was certainly labouring under some misapprehension. It may he that that is to some extent the answer to this point that has been made.
§ 4.30 p.m.
§ At the same time, it is not in the Bill. The House of Commons has no protection whatever except for the word of the 1206 right hon. Gentleman which I certainly accept, but I can accept it only while he remains Secretary of State for the Colonies, and I doubt whether that will be very much longer—[Interruption.] I am not looking forward to such an event at all. I was hoping for some more suitable place: perhaps another, or a terrestrial other place, maybe, for the right hon. Gentleman. This is a question of great substance. I do not know, and I do not know how anyone can tell me, how any hon. Member can find out what powers in connection with foreign affairs are given to the Federal Assembly and what powers remain here. How are we to know?
§ The procedure for dealing with this matter is to be by Order in Council. The procedure for making an Order in Council is very unusual. It is not necessary for more than four or five of Her Majesty's Privy Councillors to be present at the scene out of the many hundreds who are entitled to be there. They will be presented with a document. I am trying to put the point with great respect to the Privy Council but, speaking frankly, they will accept it. There will be no further debate or discussion on the matter except the simple debate in the House of Commons on whether or not we accept the Order in Council.
§ There is nothing in the Bill and there is nothing in the scheme which makes it clear to anyone what powers they will have and what powers they will not have. I understand now that the theory of the right hon. Gentleman is that the reserved powers which remain vested in this House are those which have never been exercised by Southern Rhodesia or the other two Territories and which are not being specifically vested and handed over to them in the Order in Council. I know that this is a difficult and highly complex matter.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I really do not know whether to interrupt the hon. Gentleman or not. I hope that he will not think that I am trying to interrupt the flow of his argument and eloquence. I think that I can help in one sentence. Words to the effect that such external affairs of a federal nature as are entrusted to the Federal Government by Her Majesty's Government will be in the Order in Council.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
I may be wrong, but I understood that it was proposed that the Federal Government should have the same powers in external affairs delegated to them by Her Majesty's Government as are now delegated to Southern Rhodesia. The position is rather difficult. I hope that the Minister will explain.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I thought that I had cleared up the point—such control over external affairs as Her Majesty's Government may delegate to the Government of the Federation.
§ Mr. Hector Hughes (Aberdeen, North) rose——
§ Mr. Hale
If I may continue, I should like to come to my second point. In the proposed new Schedule there is a reference to:Copyright, patents, trade marks, design and merchandise marks.I refer to them because obviously they are the sort of matters on which there should be international control if possible. Every Measure we approve to advance international regulation of matters of that kind is a progressive step. These matters are not mentioned in the reserved powers. Is it true that all that are passing under this Bill to the Federal Assembly are the rights in that connection already existing, or will the Order in Council particularise the additional powers that are being given?
This does not apply merely to the two or three matters which I have illustrated in the new Schedule: it applies to a whole series of items. If it be the case that the Federal Assembly is getting no more powers than are vested in Southern Rhodesia at the moment, except the power to hold an Assembly, the matter looks very different from what it did when we were discussing it a few weeks ago. But, with respect, I do not think that that is the position, because, if that be so, then a lot of the other questions do not arise with the same force at all.
But I hope that in the course of the debate the right hon. Gentleman will deal with that point more fully and make it clear at long last to the Committee, after the six or seven days of debate that we have had, what powers are going over and what powers it is not intended to pass 1208 over. I do not think that I am ungenerous when I say that it would have been a good thing if that had been made clear at the start. It might have saved a good deal of discussion.
The series of Clauses which we are now discussing includes one which will be moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Ogmore (Mr. Padley), if he is called. It deals with the position of trade unions. Here we come to a matter of frightful complexity and difficulty. In Southern Rhodesia it is virtually true to say that black trade unions in many occupations are not permitted. In Northern Rhodesia they boast of the existence of trade unions in occupations which employ coloured men, but even there there are limitations upon the type of employment that coloured men can follow—some by agreement with the unions, some by local municipality regulation and some by orders made by the Governor.
Surely this is the test of sincerity. If a Government object to the organisation of trade unions representing the rights of the workers in these days, then there is something wrong with that Government. I suppose that the conditions of coloured labour in Nyasaland are more exceptional than they are anywhere else. We start with the proposition that employment in Nyasaland of coloured labour varies by as much as 25 per cent. of the whole between April and November. We have 25 per cent. less in employment in November than we have six months earlier. There is a vast emigration of labour, some recruited to the Union of South Africa and some going over to Southern Rhodesia to work in the mines.
That labour is subject to control and varying regulations. Laws have been passed which say in some towns that coloured workers cannot be out on the streets between eight o'clock at night and five o'clock in the morning. There are extraordinary regulations which make special provision for the boarding of trains by coloured workers. One says:Every African boarding a train or public service vehicle must carry his registration certificate and, if in employment, a pass from his employer.In all these circumstances, with these wretchedly low wages, with irregular work and people treking vast distances sometimes on foot but much more often by rail, because it is fair to say that such 1209 transport is often provided, to seek temporary work, with provision for employers to send remittances home deducted from their wages—which would be a contravention of our Truck Act, though it is a beneficial provision—the one thing obviously needed is a full trade union organisation.
I do not believe there is anyone on this side of the Committee who believes that Sir Godfrey Huggins wants trade unionism; I just do not believe it. I do not believe there is any one on the other side of the Cornmittee who thinks that if we pass this Bill there will be a wider chance of a trade union movement in Central Africa. I do not know whether any hon. Member opposite will get up and say that he anticipates an improvement in the trade union situation in Central Africa in any reasonable time after the passing of this Bill.
That is a serious matter. It means that the passing of this Bill will deprive the African worker of his basic means of protection; it means that we shall rob him of the chance or organising which is the only way in which, in the main, he can hope to improve his situation short of——
§ Mr. Hale
I agree, meaning dormitory labour, transferred labour, immigrant labour—every one of the grave problems that used to confront the United States in its early developing days. There will not be trade unions—[Interruption.] The Secretary of State is always charming but he is a little naive if he thinks that Sir Godfrey Huggins is going to——
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I am again in a little difficulty to know whether to wait until the hon. Member has finished his argument or to interrupt him. He has been basing a large argument on a false premise. Trade union legislation is a territorial matter. The hon. Member talks about the abolition of trade unions in Nyasaland. No one has any power to do that; it cannot be effected by the Federal Government at all.
§ Mr. Hale
What we are seeking to do is to say that the trade union law of Britain shall apply, which is not the case in these Territories. The right hon. Gentleman does not appear to have read the new Clause by which we seek in this Bill to give the Africans the right to have trade unions. [Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman should really read the White Paper issued by his own Government on this matter, which gives details of the trade union position. He should read the reports issued by the Colonial Office which give details of the trade union position. Every maker of mineral water from sugar beet tries to have one lemon pip in each bottle. I know that in each case one can go to a Territory and say, "Here is a trade union of six or seven people" but in the main coloured peoples are segregated in the trade unions, and in Nyasaland there is no trade union movement which can be described as such. That is what the White Paper says.
We are seeking, in a series of Amendments, to deal with the question of cooperative societies. I should have thought that there was no more important movement in Africa today and no movement which could make a bigger contribution to the welfare of Africa. I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson) will be fortunate enough to be called to move the new Clause dealing with this subject, and if he is called I know he will deal with it so fully that it would be an impertinence for me to add any observations at all.
Co-operative organisation is the Cinderella of the African Civil Service organisation. If I may again take the East African analogy, we interviewed a co-operative officer appointed there who was told when he was appointed that he would receive training, but because of the economy cut he did not receive any training. He appeared to be young, able and an enthusiastic officer. The right hon. Gentleman has had reports on the cooperative situation there. He knows that those reports speak of almost complete bankruptcy and complete disaster so far as co-operative farming is concerned in that part of East Africa.
In Uganda, we find a very enlightened Government winning much more confidence from the people, and a good deal more hope has been given to the African 1211 population. The colour bar does not exist and African, Indian and European can meet in friendly converse and in friendly contact and social relations. There we can see what a nascent cooperative farming movement can do. I should have thought that the right hon. Gentleman, in his colonial policy, would wish most particularly to give every stimulus he can to the formation of producer co-operatives in almost every form of production.
That brings me to the second part of the problem. The crop which Central Africa can produce in great measure, and which makes the greatest contribution to the sterling area, is the tobacco crop. Some weeks ago I was talking to a meeting of young students who asked me whether it was wrong to grow tobacco in territories where people are short of food. I confess that I have not been able to answer that question; but I am assuming that the present economy will go on and that increasing quantities of tobacco will be grown in Central Africa. But the African is not allowed to grow tobacco; he is not permitted to grow the one really successful catch crop available. It is said that he is not allowed to do it because the tobacco he would grow would not be very good. I have never been able to follow that argument because in Rhodesia all the tobacco is grown by Africans for Europeans—all the planting and gathering of the crop is the work of Africans. It is said that they must have some direction and they are not allowed to grow tobacco themselves.
This limitation will go on if we pass this Bill. It seems to me that it will be a tragedy and disaster if it does. My right hon. Friend has not suggested that the Federal Assembly should be fully representative of the African population, or anything like it; no one has asked for that, but that we should give them something more like equality of representation on the basis of Europeans having half the seats and the Africans having the other half. There are two Amendments which produce slightly varying figures of representation. It would be a great and symbolic gesture if at this moment this Committee were to say that, in view of the difficulties in Central Africa, additional representation was to be given. It would be the most helpful thing to do at this 1212 moment; it would be a message of hope to Africans throughout Africa.
I do not envy the right hon. Gentleman his difficulties at this moment—in Kenya and Nigeria; difficulties still in West Africa; and the difficulties which appear to be accumulating in Central Africa, difficulties which are made worse by the worsening of the situation in South Africa. I would only say that it is not always the great event which dominates history. It is not always the plan and the action of a Parliament which produces the results; it is often a little event of chance that appears to be something small and insignificant—Jenkin's ear, Clemenceau's cab being delayed by the guests at the Royal wedding, Boulanger's beard—these are the sort of things that have changed history, some of them quite a lot.
It is a great tragedy that at this moment we should see British subjects being deported from British territory, and a greater tragedy still that the British subject selected for deportation from Nyasaland should be one of the most respected men of our time, a clergyman who is known throughout Africa as one of the best friends of the Africans, a man with no axe to grind, and who, so far as I know, has held no party political view but who has tried to serve his fellows. There could not have been a more savage blow or a clearer indication to the Africans that the policy was being directed against their interests. There could not have been anything more likely to convince them that they had little to hope from federation or the powers which were invoked in the case of the Rev. Michael Scott.
It is part of the growing tragedy of our times that too little protest is made about these things. In this world, in which the arrest of one apostle of liberty moved the whole world, where one trial and one miscarriage of justice could shake a country for a generation, we wake up every morning to read that Mau Mau terrorists have been shot, and we use the terminology of loyalists and terrorists, though what loyalty a Kikuyu tribesman earning 3s. a week owes to Her Majesty the Queen I do not know.
People shot without trial, casualties, indeed deaths, already over 1,000—this is not the way in which to convince the Africans that they can have confidence 1213 that, under a white-dominated Government, they can hope for that measure of economic progress for which they have all been looking.
This is not the way to make them believe that the declarations which we have thrown out in hundreds—all the speeches, charters, Declarations of Human Rights, the Devonshire Memorandum and declarations about policy in colonial affairs —are anything but scraps of paper; but perhaps it was always intended that they should be regarded as such.
I apologise for having spoken for some time, but I have tried to cover a wide subject of great importance. The Colonial Secretary, I know, is in a difficulty. Agreements have been come to, and it will be difficult for him to come to a unilateral repudiation of these agreements, but at the same time he could assure the Committee—and the Committee would welcome it—that he will again enter into discussions to see what amendments could be made so that the agreements might still give some liberty and some chance to Africans. If he is not able to do that, then the Committee will inevitably draw the conclusion that it would be a futile gesture, because the whites of Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland do not intend to grant these rights to Africans. If that be so, then it will be a sad stage in British colonial affairs, and will convince us that Central Africa is likely to go the way of the South African Union.
§ Mr. Douglas Dodds-Parker (Banbury)
I could scarcely disagree more with many of the insinuations implied in the speech of the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale). What always astonishes me is the progress which has been made in these Territories, but, listening to the speeches made by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite when this debate began last Tuesday, I found that the implication was that the most frightful horrors have been continuing the whole time throughout East and Central Africa.
When we look back 50 years to see what the situation was in that part of the world, and when we realise the difficulties that have been overcome in those 50 years, I think credit should be given to those people who live their lives out in these Territories facing these tremendous problems, and, despite what has been 1214 said from the benches opposite, done such tremendous work for the health, wealth and happiness of all the races living in them.
Those who live out there are the first to be aware of their own shortcomings. They see all that needs to be done much more than those of us who go from this country on brief visits, and I think one cannot stress too often or too constantly how we on this side, and, I believe, many hon. Members opposite who have not participated in the debate, believe that a tremendous job of work is still being done by them. That does not mean that we have not got both the right and the duty to put forward constructive suggestions, and I myself believe that, in the course of creating the Central African Federation, great goodwill will accrue to the benefit of all the races concerned.
§ Mr. Dodds-Parker
That is certainly not the impression which was given last Tuesday when, for about eight hours, there was a series of speeches amounting to a denigration of the British in these Territories—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]— and I must make a strong protest against it. [HON. MEMBERS: "It is not true."]
I support what was said by hon. Members about the importance of trade unions and producer co-operatives, but, in so far as the hon. Member for Oldham, West has been critical in quoting from 1951 documents, he was criticising his right hon. Friend who is sitting rather quiet on the Front Bench, but who was responsible. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) and Mr. Creech-Jones before him have had practical experience, and were producing results. I think that the right hon. Gentleman and his predecessor did their best, and, at the time, we were critical, as we still are, of their best, but they did try to make an advance with trade unionism and producer co-operatives, but found how slow a process it is.
I wish to come now to the point I really wanted to make, which is a very brief one, because, in view of what was 1215 said in the debate last Tuesday, I shall try not to enter into a long and, from my point of view, irrelevant discussions, but, when issues are raised which endanger relations between the House and this country and the people in the Dominions and Colonies, I think it is one's duty to nail these untruths. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bromwich (Mr. J. Dugdale) concluded the debate last Tuesday when speaking on the first Amendment which was before the Committee, and he said this: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."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th June, 1953; Vol. 516, c. 181.]I do not know how far the right hon. Gentleman speaks for hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, but I do not believe that he speaks for any of us on this side.
Not very long before that debate, I had seen that magnificent South African contingent marching through the streets of London, and I remember how they stood by us in the dark years from 1941 onwards, when I saw them in East Africa, in the desert and in Italy at the end of the war. About the same time, I came across, in the Lobby outside this Chamber, a warrant officer of the Transvaal Scottish, who was wearing the unusual decoration of the Military Cross. I discovered that he had won it with the South African contingent which fought its way out of Tobruk with the Coldstreams—an epic of which both the South Africans and the Coldstreams can feel very proud. I feel it my duty to say that we on this side of the Committee, and many, I believe, on the other, would be glad to see a large migration of our countrymen and others from one British Territory to another in order to help in this great task of building Central Africa.
§ Mr. James Johnson (Rugby)
I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman. It is rather harsh dragging in the Coronation and the South African contingent, but is the hon. Gentleman saying that he would welcome large-scale immigration of members of the Nationalist Party, shall we 1216 say, Malan supporters, with their well-known policy towards dependent African peoples?
§ Mr. Dodds-Parker
I was not saying that. What hon. Members opposite, who affect a dislike of the policy of Dr. Malan —and I do not like it myself—often forget is that, in the South African elections, more than 50 per cent. of the votes were cast against the Nationalist Party, and, for reasons good or bad, many of those people who voted against the present Government of South Africa might soon move north of the border. I repeat that I know that many of my hon. Friends would welcome these people having the chance to help in the rebuilding of the great British tradition in Central Africa.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Johnson
Would it be fair to suggest that the hon. Member is in favour of selected immigration of South Africans?
§ Mr. Dodds-Parker
No, I do not believe one can do that. I believe in moving between one British territory and another because, by so doing, we shall build up a society which will be of benefit to all races.
§ Mr. Bing
Will the hon. Member permit me to interrupt him? He has been very good in giving way. Does he not consider, first of all, that his argument supports the Amendment which is down on the Paper to deal with the question of restrictions on immigration? Secondly, does he not consider that if people are coming from South Africa, whether they belong to Dr. Malan's Party or to the United Africa Party, they all have an identical view as to the way in which Africans should be treated and that special safeguards are particularly necessary? The hon. Gentleman will agree that he did not see a single African soldier marching in the South African contingent.
§ Mr. Dodds-Parker
I saw many of them in 1940 and 1941. I do not believe that it is possible to amend this Bill for the reasons given by my right hon. Friend and which have been fully explained by him, as all these points have been explained, about six times over during the last 18 months. This is, as it were, the ratification of a treaty which cannot 1217 be amended, and I am sure that when the Orders in Council come to be drawn up the points made by hon. Members opposite will be taken into account.
§ Mr. James Hudson (Ealing, North)
The hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Dodds-Parker) made reference to the way in which he was moved by the sight of South African soldiers marching through the streets of London. Although I have a very great respect for his views in a matter of that sort, I hope he will agree with me that the reference was just as irrelevant to the matter in hand as, for example, to say how wonderful it was to see Russian ships participating in the Naval Review. However wonderful that was, it has nothing whatever to do with the problems that arise in connection with Russia, and in the same way what the hon. Gentleman said just now did not deal with the problems which arise in Central Africa today.
What we have been saying in this debate is that this country was woefully careless at a time when African interests should have been safeguarded by us. Though we were full of the best possible desire to be of help to Africa, we were woefully careless on the sort of matters to which my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) referred, and, in particular, to the matter I now propose to raise, that of the co-operative movement.
I readily admit that in the course of his speech the hon. Member for Banbury referred to the producer co-operatives, and not without sympathy, although, having made the reference, he passed quickly away from the problem. In the same way, it would be just as easy for the new authority which is to be set up in Federated Africa to do as the hon. Gentleman did and pass quickly away from what must be regarded as the vitality of this matter if anything approaching success in the new Federation is to be obtained.
I know that hon. Members, and perhaps not merely on one side of the Committee, sometimes look upon the Co-operative movement as the more humdrum of the social movements about which we speak when matters of this sort arise. Although I am entirely in sympathy with all that has been said about trade unions and the necessity to provide 1218 effectively in the law for their development when the Federation of Africa comes about, I believe that even more important is the question of safeguarding the right of a people to climb by its own efforts to the practices of democracy in its own affairs and its own institutions in the same way that the Co-operative movement in this country has provided such opportunities for our people.
It is of the greatest importance that that right should be properly safeguarded. I am certain that if it is, and if due regard is paid to it by the new Government, no harm will be done to what the Colonial Secretary has said is the aim of the Government in bringing in Federation. I am willing to suppose that the right hon. Gentleman wants to see a general improvement in production and in the economic situation of the peoples in the areas concerned. If co-operation is properly watched he will be doing something to secure that end.
The question of co-operation in the Colonies and in our Dominions is a very much newer question than it is in this country. Within my lifetime I have seen co-operation arise in practically all the British non-self-governing Territories. I saw it arise in India. Before we handed over India to be governed by the people of India, co-operation was well established in many parts of the country. It was also well-established in Ceylon. When India was handed over, we were probably well justified in not pressing the matter, but in leaving it to the Government that became responsible for India to pursue the matter of co-operation in their own way, which, in fact, they are doing.
It is not the sort of organisation that makes spectacular progress. It depends a great deal on education and the learning of new habits of working together, which do not come in a day. But it is remarkable what can be done when a great social experiment like the Federation of Central Africa is undertaken by seeing that those responsible for the educational part of co-operative development are fully acquainted with the subject, and by sending out to Africa those who know something about it. Then there is the further access by Africans in the new territories to the Co-operative organisation here where, not only in Co-operative colleges, such as the one we have in this 1219 country but in the actual Co-operative shops, workshops and societies they can see what is going on.
If all these things are in the minds of those who begin the new experiment in Central Africa, there may be a chance that what some of us have predicted will be the results of Federation will be minimised. When I press upon the attention of the Government the necessity to defend from the very beginning the right of the Africans, with no loss of their right to continue the development of the cooperative movement, I am putting forward a proposal which should be of real assistance to the Government in what it hopes will be done in Central Africa. I know that is a pretty big claim, but I cannot be accused of any bitterness in what I have said.
§ The Minister of State for Colonial Affairs (Mr. Henry Hopkinson)
I can reassure the hon. Gentleman at once that under the Federation all the co-operative schemes and developments remain under the Territories as at present, except as will be seen in item 50 of the concurrent list, which concerns agricultural co-operatives; and, again, they remain with the Territories if there is a majority of Africans in the co-operative. We know that the co-operatives have done exceedingly well: they are doing very well in Nyasaland, as I saw, and they are doing well in Northern Rhodesia. It is provided, therefore, that plans for developing the co-operatives remain in the hands of the Africans and the Territories, as at present.
§ Mr. Hudson
The same point was made about trade unions when my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West was speaking, but although the Territories may have considerable rights in continuing this work——
§ Mr. Hudson
Not necessarily all the rights, because some of the rights are not merely legal; they are the rights of the ordinary economic method and procedure. For example, there is the right and the custom which arises where one raises one's credits for the co-operative movement. If there is a thorough-going 1220 capitalist government, credit may be raised by recourse to central joint stock banks, which is not the co-operative method at all. The co-operative method is that of encouraging people to save for themselves, to use their own money, to manage their own money and to watch their own money co-operatively, and in the process to be assured that, generally, proper use is being made of the money which has been collected together for co-operative purposes.
That is the sort of issue in which reserve powers do not cover the issue, if, in the Federal Government, a body of people who are capitalists in outlook expect to obtain the development of reliance upon joint stock banks rather than the development, underneath, of the co-operative credit facilities. That is not purely a legal matter or a question of the reserve issues but is an extremely important question from the co-operative point of view.
§ Mr. Dugdale
The Minister said none of these matters would come under the Federal Government but would be under the Territorial Legislature. If that is so, is there anything to prevent the Government from accepting the new Clause which asks that the Federal Assembly shall not pass certain laws. If he says these matters are to be left to the Territorial Governments, would it not be better to accept the new Clause which is in line with the Government's intention.
§ Mr. Hopkinson
There are two lists— the exclusive list and the concurrent list, which will embrace both Federal and Territorial. All residuary powers remain with the Territories, and we do not want to pull one thing out and alter it by accepting such a new Clause as this.
§ 5.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Hudson
I am sorry that the Minister missed the chance which my hon. Friend offered, for had he accepted it, it would have put an end to my argument. Let me turn to another economic issue. The success of the co-operative movement in the Colonies and Dominions in the past has been largely due to the tremendous help given to them by a central authority—our own authority. I am not accusing the Colonial Office of neglecting this matter in the past; I think the co-operative department of the Colonial Office has done wonderful work, 1221 and the setting up of special officials and the use of public money in order to help the co-operative movements get started, to encourage them and audit them and watch them and guide them, has played a considerable part in the development of the organisations of which I speak.
But now we are losing the direct control and contact of the Colonial Office which has existed in the past. It is no good the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations shaking his head. It is inevitable in the establishment of this Federation, and the political power which operates in the Federation, that an obstacle will be placed between the beneficence of the British Colonial Office and the needs of the ordinary people at the bottom of the great social scales. I am not talking about reserve powers; I am talking about the processes of economic development which have gone on in the past, and I am saying that unless at this stage we can indicate clearly to the House that there is to be no falling off, either legally or in economic custom, in what we expect in the new experiment— namely, the development of a co-operative movement where people will be responsible for their own economic affairs—we cannot be satisfied with the Government's proposals.
I therefore strongly press that far more should be said by the Government if we are to be satisfied in meeting the situation which faces us. We talk about educating the world in our way of life. We are teaching the Germans democracy and we are hoping to inspire in the Russians a different attitude towards the problems of government, but we seem to do very little to ask ourselves what our way of life really is. The people who talk about it forget, for example, that there are more than 10 million co-operators in this country with more than 100 years of experience of co-operation behind them—members of a movement in which people hold regular meetings of their own, elect their own committees and find their own managers of shops and workshops. They do the job despite opposition and sneers and do it successfully, so that hundreds of millions of pounds worth of trade is carried on in this country by co-operative means. Happiness is brought into the homes of ordinary people—a happiness which has certainly been increased as a 1222 result of the efforts they themselves have made co-operatively.
That is a vital part of our way of life, and we hope we can see developed in Central Africa the growth of the cooperative spirit which we have seen in Tanganyika, where the most amazing success has been achieved in a very short time. Indeed, since the days of Donald Cameron in Tanganyika there has been wonderful success on the slopes of Kilimanjaro amongst native African cooperative producers who today are prosperous because of their own efforts and because of the good will which has been shown to them by the Colonial Office in the past. It is because I see the possibilities of the diminution of the encouragement which should continue to flow from some central place, as it has been flowing in the past, that I have a right to ask that in the new organisation there shall be no slackening, no loss of legal or any other right, in the development of this very necessary part of what may become the prosperity of Africa.
§ Mr. Alport
The Rochdale pioneers laid down as one of their main rules that the movement should have no connection with or play any part in politics. I think that they would have been rather surprised, therefore, not only at the presence of a spokesman of the Co-operative Party in this Committee, but at the proposed new Clause on the Order Paper. Nevertheless, I assure the hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson) that I think producer co-operatives have a great part to play in Africa. The reason why I say that is the reason to which the hon. and learned Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing) referred, namely, that it is one way in which the African who at present has no capital can be enabled to accumulate by co-operative effort sufficient capital to provide himself with the basis from which to expand economically in business and commerce.
§ Mr. Hudson
Is it not clear that all that I have been speaking of in the non-self-governing Territories has been accomplished in the last 50 years—a long time after the Rochdale pioneers—because some organisation has encouraged people in the Territories to try what the hon. Member now agrees with me is a thoroughly beneficent process. That encouragement has been effected through 1223 the Colonial Office very largely, especially when there were working at the Colonial Office politicians of the character of the late Sidney Webb and men like the predecessors of the present Colonial Secretary. Is it not clear, therefore, that politics came in all the time?
§ Mr. Alport
I do not want to get into an argument on history, but I think that the real progress of co-operation in the Colonial Territories and of Government assistance dates from 1937. That was when the first co-operative schemes were set up in many of the Colonies. I am sure, however, that it is pleasant for both the hon. Member and myself that on this question we agree.
We have listened to a number of highly provocative and tendentious speeches during the course of the Committee stage of this Bill. The fact that not all the points that have been put forward have been answered by hon. Members on the back benches on this side of the Committee and all the inaccuracies corrected does not mean that we do not resent bitterly the attitude that a number of hon. Members on the other side of the Committee have taken. Nor are we unconscious of the immense damage which their statements do not only to their own party but also to race relations in Africa and elsewhere. Their statements have given the impression and confirmed the opinion of many people in Africa that hon. Members opposite are not pro-Africans mainly, but actively anti-European, and that if one is a European in Africa and one wants to find one's enemies one has to look for them in the party opposite.
Nothing is more likely to bring into disrepute the Parliament of this country than the idea that there is a large section of hon. Members who are against a single racial community anywhere in the Commonwealth and the Empire. I would hope that there are other hon. Members opposite who will take the opportunity in this debate to disabuse opinion overseas that this is the attitude of the Socialist Party.
I gave public notice to the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) that I intended to reply to him when I rose to speak. He accused me of making a personal attack upon him in asking 1224 whether the document which he produced relating to Mr. Michael Blundell was a forgery. I certainly asked that question on a previous occasion. I ask it again and, having been given personal notice, perhaps the hon. Member will take the opportunity after he reads HANSARD to reply to my question.
I ask the hon. Member whether he took any steps before he produced that document to the House of Commons to find out whether it was a forgery. He came to the House very shortly after his return from Kenya and made a very slanderous attack on Mr. Blundell. He had an opportunity of meeting Mr. Blundell. Did he realise that when he met Mr. Blundell he had the opportunity of asking him whether it was his signature that was on the document? Actually, when he met Mr. Blundell the hon. Member spoke to him in an extremely friendly manner.
§ Mr. Paget rose——
§ Mr. Alport
The hon. Member for Oldham, West is perfectly capable of looking after his own interests in this matter, and if he had accorded me the normal courtesy——
§ Mr. Wedgwood Benn (Bristol, South-East)
On a point of order. Surely it is intolerable that the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport) should be pursuing a personal dispute which has nothing to do with the Committee stage of this Bill or with this Clause and justifying it on the ground that he gave my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West notice? This is some squabble which the hon. Member for Colchester is anxious to pursue, and he should do it in a statement at the end of Questions.
§ Mr. Paget
Further to that point of order. Is the hon. Member for Colchester aware that this being the Committee stage no names appear on the enunciator and it is quite impossible for my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West to be aware of the moment when the hon. Member for Colchester would be called?
§ Mr. Alport
May I explain that, earlier in this debate, before the hon. Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn)——
§ Mr. Alport
It may have escaped the hon. Member that this matter was raised by the hon. Member for Oldham, West, who I see has at last returned to the Chamber.
§ Mr. Alport
The hon. Member for Oldham, West challenged me earlier in this debate and said that I had made a vicious attack upon him. He said that in relation to a document which he produced with reference to a certain wage agreement in existence in Kenya, affecting particularly Mr. Blundell, I had asked whether that was a forgery. I asked that purposely in order to find out whether the hon. Member had made any attempt before he produced it in this Chamber to make certain that it was a forgery or not. It will be in the recollection of the Committee that the hon. Member for Oldham, West made an extremely slanderous statement with regard to Mr. Blundell immediately after his return to the United Kingdom from East Africa.
§ Mr. Hale
On a point of order. The hon. Member is saying that I made a slanderous statement. He has not referred it to me and I have not the faintest idea of what he is talking about. If the hon. Member makes an accusation of this kind—and I welcome mud from Colchester—he should at least say to what statement he is referring, when it was made and to whom it was made.
§ The Temporary Chairman (Mr. G. H. R. Rogers)
In any case, I do not see that the remarks of the hon. Member for Colchester have anything to do with this debate, and I think that he had better change the subject.
§ Mr. Hale
I have been called back to the Chamber because, as I have been told, a personal attack full of calumny was being made in my absence. I submit to you, Mr. Rogers, that it is impossible for you to terminate the discussion without giving me the opportunity to answer after having permitted the hon. Member for Colchester to make that attack.
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Bing
Further to that point of order. When Sir Charles was in the Chair I think there was some discussion on this matter and it was then ruled, according to my recollection, that it was very appropriate 1226 to discuss what were trade union rates in Kenya and what were the rates paid for employment in Kenya because this was a matter which enabled us to decide whether or not it was necessary to have safeguards with respect to the neighbouring Territories, and it was upon that basis that this discussion proceeded. The issue seems to be, what are the rates paid in Kenya? The suggestion by the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport) is that the wage sheets have in some way been forged by my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale).
§ Mr. Alport
I put this point particularly in order to make certain from your predecessor in the Chair, Mr. Rogers, that I would have a right to reply to the allegation which the hon. Member made against me that I had made a vicious attack upon him, and I was under the impression that I was in order in doing so. I had always felt from the very beginning that the hon. Gentleman's remarks had no relevance whatever and were never intended to have any relevance to the matter. I therefore fully support your Ruling that this subject is out of order. This incident reminds me of the incident that often takes place——
§ Mr. Alport
It reminds me of the incident that takes place on a Rugby field when one of the opposition side loses his shorts and all his colleaues gather round to prevent any unseemly result from it. If I may continue with my remarks——
§ Mr. S. Silverman
On a point of order. Now that the hon. Gentleman has finished his point of order about the Rugby player's trousers, may we get back to the point of order which my hon. Friend raised just now? The hon. Member for Colchester, when my hon. Friend intervened, was talking about some alleged slanderous statement which, he said, my hon. Friend had made about Mr. Michael Blundell. The hon. Member having been challenged, now seeks to run away and protect himself under your Ruling from telling us what he was talking about, presumably because he is afraid to continue with the attack once it has been 1227 challenged. I submit to you, Six, that that is not within his rights and it is not a thing in which he would be supported either by the Committee or by the Chair.
Having begun to make a charge, I submit that he ought to be told that he must state precisely what his charge is or withdraw the charge unreservedly. Surely it is not to be permitted that a man should say enough about a charge to leave a smear and then shelter himself behind the Chair when his accusation is challenged?
§ Mr. Frederick Gough (Horsham)
Were not the remarks of the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) a criticism of the Chair? I heard distinctly "Tell the hon. Gentleman not to pursue that line of argument."
§ The Temporary Chairman
I was not in the Chair at the time, but I understand that this issue was started by the hon. Member for Oldham, West—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—who accused the hon. Member for Colchester——
§ Hon. Members: No.
§ Mr. Hale
May I intervene in order to assist the Chair? I referred in the course of my speech to an observation recorded in HANSARD, which I quoted, in which the hon. Member, without previous notice to me and without telling me that he intended to suggest it and without any inquiry from me or any request for production of the documents, had suggested that I produced false documents to the House. If in the view of the Chair that is starting an issue in which I am now accused of slander, then of course I did it, but for the moment I am trying to find out what I am accused of. Surely, having been fetched back to the Chamber by my colleagues and told that I am being subjected to a vicious personal attack, it would not be unreasonable that I should be told what is the nature of the charge of slander, when it was made and to whom it was made?
§ The Temporary Chairman
I agree with the hon. Member for Oldham, West that it might not be unreasonable, but I still think that the discussion of this issue is out of order. Therefore, I must rule that the hon. Member continues with his speech.
§ Mr. Hale
On a point of order. I have been accused of forgery and slander. Is the Chair ruling that that can be said, published and circulated in the Press and that I shall not have a chance of rejecting it and showing how foul and vicious a calumny it is? This is an unprecedented state of affairs and is one in respect of which I shall ask the leave of the Committee to move that the Chairman do leave the Chair in order that I can debate the proposition that has been made.
§ The Temporary Chairman
I have great sympathy with the hon. Member, but I think he should raise that point on the proper occasion. This charge to which he refers was made some time ago. It has now only been raised again —[HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] Order. There will be every opportunity on the proper occasion for raising the matter again.
§ Several Hon. Members rose——
§ Mr. Paget
An accusation has been made, Mr. Rogers, of producing and uttering forged documents. An accusation of slander has been made. Those were repeated by the hon. Gentleman— I suppose one must so call him—today. I ask you, Mr. Rogers, to rule that those observations were unparliamentary and ought to be withdrawn.
§ Several Hon. Members rose——
§ Mr. Hughes
Yes. If my recollection serves me aright, a moment ago you said that the proper course for my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West was to raise this matter at the proper time. You used the expression "proper time." I submit to you that no time is more proper than the moment immediately after such a grave charge has been made for my hon. Friend to have an opportunity of repudiating it—indeed, of having an opportunity of having it defined so that he may repudiate it.
§ The Temporary Chairman
I understand that the charge referred to was made some time ago. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] The hon. Member for Oldham, West himself referred to it in his speech, and therefore, I assumed that it was made some time ago.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
May I suggest that there are two misconceptions which have crept into the matter? One is that my hon. Friend interven ed to complain about a reference to something said long ago. That is not so, as I understand the matter. What he intervened to do was to challenge what the hon. Member for Colchester was saying, namely, that my hon. Friend had produced forged documents and secondly and more particularly that he had on some unspecified occasion made some unspecified slanderous statement about a Mr. Blundell.
I know that this is not the occasion to challenge your Ruling, Mr. Rogers, about whether those matters were ever in order, and I therefore do not challenge your Ruling that one cannot continue to discuss them now. But if that is so, does it not inevitably follow that the hon. Gentleman, having been assured by you that he would be out of order in completing his charge and that my hon. Friend would be out of order in answering it, should unreservedly withdraw the charge which obviously he never had any right to make?
§ Mr. Alport
Perhaps I can help. Hon. Members opposite are getting into a state of some confusion and agitation. What I asked the hon. Member for Oldham. West was whether on these previous occasions to which reference was made by him, he had taken steps to ensure that this was not a forgery.
On this particular occasion, Mr. Rogers, before you ruled me out of order—thereby, by implication, ruling the hon. Member for Oldham, West out of order—I went further and said that the hon. Member for Oldham, West had had an opportunity which in my view put an obligation upon him to make certain that the documents were not forgeries before he made an attack on somebody which I regard as being of a slanderous nature. The words I regard as slanderous were those he used in referring to this particular individual as a "slave master," or "slave driver," or "slaver."
§ Mr. Alport
That is the line of argument I was developing in making my answer to the attack which the hon. Member for Oldham, West made upon me quite out of the blue, without giving me any warning that he intended to do so. A vicious attack was made upon me. When I raised the point of order—when Sir Charles MacAndrew was in the Chair —I wanted to make quite certain that he would give me an opportunity of making the statement which I have made and which I have not the slightest intention of withdrawing unless I am ordered by you to do so.
§ Mr. Hale
May I seek your guidance, Mr. Rogers? If I refer to this matter in unparliamentary language, shall I be told that the hon. Member for Colchester cannot refer to it? This is an additional allegation, made in defiance of the Ruling of the Chair. Am I to be allowed to make an observation about this? Have I the right to make a personal statement now? What right have I?
§ Mr. Hale
I am much obliged, Mr. Rogers. I should like to make a personal statement without being controversial. I have never used, in private or in public, the words attributed to me by the hon. Member for Colchester in reference to Mr. Blundell. I have never, either in private or in public, said a derogatory word about Mr. Blundell. My relations with him in Kenya were perfectly friendly.
What happened was that in the course of the debate on Kenya I produced a large number of employment agreements. I did not quote the names of the parties set out in those agreements. When I had finished giving the details of the rates of wages an interjection came from the other side of the House, which is not reported in HANSARD. An hon. Member said, in quite a friendly way, "That must be an Asian employer"—or he may have said "an Indian employer." I forget which word he used. I then said that the 1231 employer in these agreements was Mr. Michael Blundell, the leader of the European members of the Legislative Council in Kenya. To the best of my recollection that is precisely what I said, and no more. In a later debate I certainly referred to the conditions of employment as "slave conditions." I said that this was the nearest thing to slavery existing today throughout the world, and that I repeat.
The documents which have been referred to were in fact produced to Mr. Blundell when he was here. He made no suggestion whatever that there was anything wrong with them. These are legal documents, covering four foolscap pages, appended with the thumb prints of the workers—because they cannot read —and bearing the rubber stamp and the signatures of the employers. Most of them are certified by the official representative of the Kenya Government, whose duty it is to supervise these agreements.
These documents have been produced to a number of hon. Members opposite who asked to see them. They were handed out at a meeting which Mr. Blundell addressed, and he was questioned by one of my hon. Friends about them. I observed, on the front page of the "Daily Worker," a report of an interview in which a representative had questioned Mr. Blundell about these agreements immediately upon his arrival, and my name was given as having produced them. Mr. Blundell never made the slightest suggestion that the agreements were not authentic. Those are the facts. It is for you to decide, in those circumstances, what is the appropriate course to take with the hon. Member for Colchester.
§ The Temporary Chairman
The Committee have now heard the facts from both sides, and it is for them to make up their minds. As this discussion is quite out of order so far as the Amendment is concerned, it is time that we got back to the Amendment. Does the hon. Member for Colchester wish to continue his remarks?
§ 5.45 p.m.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
On a point of order. We are not now on the question whether the whole incident was ever in order; we are now on the question only of the actual charges which were made by the 1232 hon. Member for Colchester. I am willing to believe—as we all are—that the charges were made in good faith and in ignorance of the facts. You allowed my hon. Friend to make a personal statement in which he set out the facts.
It is the invariable custom of the House—and it has been for many generations—that in such circumstances the hon. Member who makes a statement about his own part in the controversy shall have his statement accepted by the House as true. In that case my hon. Friend has established that the charge made by the hon. Member for Colchester was untrue, though it was perhaps made —and we are all ready to believe that it was—in all innocence and good faith, and in ignorance of the facts. In those circumstances is it not now the duty of the hon. Member for Colchester fully and unreservedly to withdraw the charge— and if he does not willingly do so. is it not your duty to tell him that he must?
§ The Temporary Chairman
If one hon. Member denies that he said certain words another hon. Member ought to accept his explanation. I was hoping that the hon. Member for Colchester would accept that point of view and withdraw what he had to say. I cannot compel him to do so, but I trust that he will.
§ Mr. Alport
In regard to the misconception which there has been the whole way along—that I accused the hon. Member of producing forgeries—that has never been true. What I asked was whether he took steps to see that they were not forgeries before he produced them here. I am perfectly willing to accept his statement that, to the best of his knowledge and belief, the documents he produced were perfectly genuine. Nobody has denied that, but the Committee will remember that this incident goes back some six weeks or longer.
§ The Temporary Chairman
Order. We cannot continue to argue this matter. It is the general wish of the Committee that the hon. Member for Colchester should accept the explanation given by the hon. Member for Oldham, West and withdraw his remarks.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
I put it to you, Mr. Rogers, that the hon. Member for Colchester said that my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West had made a 1233 slanderous statement. You asked the hon. Member for Colchester to accept the statement of my hon. Friend about what he said, to the best of his recollection. Would it not be conforming to the best traditions of the House for the hon. Member for Colchester to withdraw the charge of a slanderous statement which he made earlier?
§ Mr. Alport
To be quite frank, my recollection differs from that of the hon. Member for Oldham, West as to the circumstances of the matter. If my recollection is wrong I willingly withdraw what I said, and I am sure that if his recollection of this incident is wrong he, on his side, will withdraw any allegations he made either against me or against Mr. Blundell.
§ The Temporary Chairman
Order. My Ruling is that we must now leave this matter and proceed to the debate. Mr. Alport.
§ Mr. Alport
I wish to follow the point I made by referring to the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Horn-church (Mr. Bing). He and the hon. Member for Oldham, West spoke for some length about the right—
§ Hon. Members: No.
§ Mr. Hector Hughes
In my respectful submission, the hon. Gentleman said he withdrew the remark conditionally, subject to his recollection being right, and that is not a withdrawal. The hon. Gentleman should be called on to withdraw categorically and without any qualification.
§ Hon. Members: Withdraw.
§ Mr. Alport
Perhaps the hon. and learned Gentleman would wait to hear exactly what I want to say about his speech before deciding whether to reply to it.
§ Hon. Members: Withdraw.
§ The Temporary Chairman
Order, I hope that the Committee will accept the hon. Member's explanation. He was perfectly in order in withdrawing what he said, with certain qualifications. The Committee should accept that. It will be better for the Committee if we now proceeded with the discussion on the Clause.
§ Mr. Alport
I was referring to the legislation under which the Deportation Order was made. The Committee should recollect that that legislation was passed while the previous Government, the Socialist Government, were in power. Hon. Gentlemen on the other side were in the position at that time to protest against it and try to ensure that it was not operable against British subjects in the way in which it was used on recent occasions. To the best of my knowledge they did not do so.
The truth of the matter is that that power is quite essential in the hands of any Government. It is most important that a Government should have the right to remove from their boundaries people who, not being citizens of the territory concerned, use their influence not for the maintenance of law and order in a proper and responsible way but for the contrary. That was the principle accepted by the party opposite when in power and they cannot repudiate it when they are in Opposition.
My third point concerns trade unions. I listened not long ago to somebody from Northern Rhodesia putting the case for the European trade unions there. His arguments, as the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) will realise, were exactly those which we hear week by week, month by month and year by year in this country from the trade unions in the United Kingdom. They are arguments against the dilution of labour and against trying to reduce the rights and status of members of a trade union by 1235 introducing other elements in order to force down wages, or whatever it might be.
It is all very well for us to take a rather light-hearted attitude to this problem. I deprecate, as I think all Members of the Committee do, any form of racialism whether it be in the trade unions or in any other aspect of community life, but it is not possible for us to solve this problem by introducing an Amendment to a Measure of this sort. It is something which can be changed only as the result of education over a considerable time of the European trade unions in the Rhodesias. That can be done only by establishing confidence about the future of European work, settlement and conditions there.
This debate has done a lot to damage that confidence because of the speeches which we have heard from the other side, but I hope that in some way that will be changed now by trying to reassure the European communities that their future is not to be recklessly jeopardised by the misrepresentations of their point of view which we have heard from the other side. I hope, as I said earlier on before this long interruption took place, that we may be able to reassure them that in the work that they have to do there they will have the full support of Members on all sides of the House of Commons.
§ Mr. W. E. Padley (Ogmore)
The incident which has just occurred brings to my mind the point that it may be as well to put the trade union position right with regard to Central Africa so that such altercations as that which has taken place between my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) and the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport) will not occur in the future. I regard this matter as a crucial issue in respect of Central African Federation.
As a trade unionist, I regard the attitude towards free trade unionism for all men and women as the acid test of a man's belief in human rights and liberty. When I hear a reference to the liberal attitude of Southern Rhodesia, my acid test of free trade unionism for all men and women, whatever their race, 1236 colour or creed makes me doubt that general statement. It may be said that paragraph 12 of the Federal Scheme adequately deals with this question because it says that trade union law and the settlement of disputes between unions are matters exclusively for the territorial Governments. I want to draw the attention of the Committee to three points in connection with that matter.
First, the Federal Legislature has certain powers with regard to the employees of the Federal Government. I have a very real fear that the first act of the Federal Government will be to repeat in some respects the reactionary trade union laws at present in existence in Southern Rhodesia. Secondly, I would ask hon. Members to bear in mind that the trade union issue naturally creates the maximum of suspicion about the Federal Scheme. In both South Africa and Southern Rhodesia the Industrial Conciliation Acts have been used to prevent the establishment of free trade unions among African workers. Moreover, those Acts have been a principal vehicle of racial discrimination. Those things have happened despite statements made in this House in 1909, 1922 and 1923 that there were adequate safeguards against them.
My third reason for saying that paragraph 12 is not an adequate answer to the question of trade union rights is that the main purpose of the Federation seems to be economic development. There can be no healthy economic development without a proper growth of trade unions, because all healthy trade unionism is shaped by and responds to the growth of the industrial structure. As I shall hope to show later, it is doubtful in the extreme whether there can be federal economic development while restricting trade unions to a purely territorial basis.
I recognise, as do the hon. Member for Colchester and his colleagues, that the trade union issue in Central Africa is complicated because dilution and the fear about undercutting the rates of skilled men get mixed up sometimes with the racial issue; but let no one have any doubt that there is no solution of these complex problems by adopting the trade union legislation of Southern Rhodesia. It is legislation which, in my view, is likely to influence the development of the Federal Government.
1237 6.0 p.m.
It ought to be more generally realised that these Industrial Conciliation Acts prevent the growth of real, free trade unions among African workers. There are about 10 pages of the White Paper on comparative native policies on this issue. I need not, therefore, go into details, but the fact is that there are, with the sole exception of the railway workers' union in Southern Rhodesia, no real, genuine, free trade unions in Southern Rhodesia. Such small associations as exist do not enjoy the right of collective bargaining. Instead, we find a bogus set-up of so-called Whitley Councils, and we find that native associations have a cap-in-hand relationship with the native board and the Southern Rhodesian Government.
The exclusion of Africans from the definition of an employee in the Industrial Conciliation Act has also had the effect, in addition to preventing the establishment of genuine, free trade unions, of maintaining, indeed, giving legal force to the colour bar in industry, and it is strange that some hon. Members opposite should argue that it is the attitude of white trade unionists that is responsible for undesirable features of trade union law and relationship in Southern Rhodesia when they have never raised their voices against this legal perpetuation under the Industrial Conciliation Acts.
Let us be frank. The Southern Rhodesian Government are quite blunt about their attitude. If we refer to paragraph 74 of the White Paper on comparative native policies we find these words:The Southern Rhodesian Government consider that African labour has not yet become sufficiently stabilised and that the African himself is not yet sufficiently advanced to be capable of organising and managing trade unions successfully with a due sense of their proper purpose.In Southern Rhodesia practically all the semi-skilled work in manufacturing industry is done by African labour, and much of the semi-skilled work in the mines is done by African labour.
I agree with the hon. Member opposite who said that the trade union picture in the Northern Territories is by no means a perfect one, but there can be no doubt that one of the most hopeful things in Africa in recent years, in an otherwise rather grim picture, has been the success 1238 of the beginning of building genuine, free trade unions in Northern Rhodesia. Following the appointment of a trade union officer under the late Government there has arisen in Northern Rhodesia a number of unions which promise excellent development. The outstanding case, of course, is that of the Miners' Union, now over 30,000 strong. The Colonial Secretary himself paid a tribute to the leaders of that union the other day in the House.
My hon. Friend the Member for Wigan (Mr. R. Williams) had the honour and privilege to go to Rhodesia recently to assist that union in presenting its case before the Arbitration Board. He returned to this country, and his testmony impressed his colleagues of the trade union movement in this Committee. This Miners' Union succeeded in running a strike, a substantially successful strike, towards the end of last year. They organised that strike with determination and discipline. There was no calling out of troops, there were no riots or people being shot down, and there was no deportation of leaders, which are common features of labour unrest in Central Africa. I should say, therefore, that though what is happening in Northern Rhodesia is but a beginning it is an effective reply to the view of the Southern Rhodesian Government which I have quoted from the White Paper on comparative policies in the three Territories.
Under paragraph 12 of the Federal Scheme the Federal Government will be able to set up some kind of conciliation machinery to deal with disputes relating to federal employees—presumably, in the public service; but I find that in the Report of the Conference, paragraph 21, it is also said:This does not extend to the rights of association of federal public servants.I am not a lawyer, but I am a trade unionist of considerable experience, and for the life of me I do not see how it is possible to draft a conciliation Act which is to settle disputes between the public servants and the Government without also dealing with questions of trade union law, and without guaranteeing or denying the rights of public servants in all three Territories within the Federation.
Paragraph 21 says:This does not extend to the rights of association of federal public servants.1239 I would ask the Colonial Secretary whether this means that any Africans employed in the public service are to continue to be denied the right of free trade union organisation, because surely, this is the position, that if the Federal Government do carry through an Act which sets up conciliation machinery, while maintaining for Southern Rhodesia the definition of employee which prevents the African public servant from being covered, it means that the Federal Government themselves, in the only field where they have any power over conciliation and trade union law, adopt precisely the Southern Rhodesian formula on the question of conciliation and trade union law.
The object of those words is to protect the right of federal servants, and to protect the conciliation machinery and the trade union machinery in relation to the federal service of the Federal Government. I think the hon. Member is on the wrong line.
§ Mr. Padley
I am sorry, but that intervention certainly does not allay my fears, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will look into this matter a little closer, because paragraph 21 of the Report of the Conference says, quite clearly:This does not extend to the rights of association of federal public servants.After all, "public servant" is a very wide term. In Britain, at any rate, it covers manual workers and many grades of skilled workers.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I do not want to interrupt the hon. Member, but he really is on a false track here. Those words were put in to protect the rights of federal servants in relation to the Federal Government.
§ Mr. Padley
I do not doubt for a moment that that was the intention of some of the people concerned with this agreement, but I do ask the right hon. Gentleman to examine my argument, because it seems to me that since the Federal Government will exercise their power under paragraph 12 to draft an Act governing conciliation for public servants, unless they intervene and change the present set-up in Southern Rhodesia, they will give the position away in 1240 principle at the very beginning of Federation.
The second danger to which I wish to call attention is this. Looking down the list of powers to be given to the Federal Government and the list of powers to be concurrent between the Federal Government and the territorial Governments, we notice that they deal principally with economic matters. For the life of me, I cannot see how there can be a federal development of economic life, with federally registered companies establishing works and enterprises in various parts of the three territories, simultaneously keeping the trade unions on a purely territorial basis, with African trade unions, for practical purposes, illegal in Southern Rhodesia and legal with some restrictions in the Northern Territories. It seems, to me at any rate, that, sooner or later, and probably sooner than later, this will give rise to much industrial trouble.
There may be a company registered by the Federal Government with works in each of the three Territories. In Northern Rhodesia, with a strong free African trade union, they may by collective bargaining raise rates and wages, but if it is discovered that that company is directing more of its orders to Southern Rhodesia, where trade unions among Africans are illegal and where wage rates are lower, there is a real danger of the African trade unionists in Northern Rhodesia quarrelling with their employers, not only about their own grievances but about the danger of their standards being undercut by what happens in the same firm's employ in Southern Rhodesia where trade unions are illegal.
Therefore, at a time when there is the beginning of some hope of the growth of an effective free trade union movement in Central Africa, it is a matter of serious concern that in this Bill there is no specific reference to the question of guaranteeing the right of all men and women in the Territories, of whatever colour and whatever race, freely to combine in real trade unions which enjoy the rights of collective bargaining.
§ Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)
I intervene in this debate with considerable diffidence, and I shall do so very briefly. I realise the difficulty which has been mentioned by hon. Members opposite. If, in a debate on this subject, an 1241 hon. Member stresses points which seem to favour either the native African or, on the other hand, the European he is apt to be represented, or misrepresented, as being wholly against the opposite party.
I think that is untrue, as will be appreciated if hon. Members will only cast their minds back to the speech made by the Leader of the Opposition in a recent debate on this subject, and many other speeches made from this side of the Committee in which hon. Members have gone out of their way to say, "We realise that now, for better or for worse, this scheme is launched, and we certainly wish it well. We hope that it will bring benefits both to the white people in Africa and to the native Africans themselves." I also see that when considering this Bill in Committee it is an extremely difficult Bill to amend.
But the form of the Bill is certainly not the fault of anyone on this side of the Committee, and the fact that it may be difficult to write Amendments into the Bill does not, in my view, make it any less necessary to stress certain points which are proper Committee points on this subject.
There are many points on the series of Amendments we are now considering which are of very great substance and importance, but I should like to mention only two. First of all, there is the Amendment which seeks to safeguard the position of the trade unions. Now, I am a supporter of private enterprise, but it is undeniable historically that private enterprise can work satisfactorily only within a certain framework of law and within a society in which there are reasonable safeguards, not only for employers but also for employees. In a society in which the employees are in a very much weaker position than they are in Europe today it is particularly vital to make quite sure that their rights will be protected.
I do not know whether this Amendment will be acceptable to the Government, but I certainly hope some assurance will go out from the Government that they are in sympathy with its objects. I cannot help thinking that hon. Members on all sides must be seriously alarmed at some of the wage rates paid in Africa today. They are quite indefensible. In a country in which it is not organised, in which trade unionism is not built up. 1242 labour is at a very serious disadvantage in bargaining, and I do feel that this is one point on which the Government should give us some serious assurance, not only that it is their hope that wages will be raised and proper working conditions enforced, but that they will take steps that it is given effect to.
The other point I wish to mention is the subject of deportation. Again, I think that to hon. Members on both sides it must be a matter of the deepest regret that British subjects should be deported from parts of the British Commonwealth in the way that has sometimes occurred.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
The hon. Member is talking about deportation in the sense in which it is used here. It does not necessarily mean deportation from where the person originally resides.
§ Mr. Grimond
I hope the time is coming when we shall regard ourselves as citizens of the whole Commonwealth. The fact that I happen to reside in Orkney or in London does not, to my mind, make it any better if I am deported from another part of the Commonwealth.
I agree that there may be peculiar difficulties in these Territories, but I find it very difficult to believe it is essential to deport a man like the Reverend Michael Scott in the circumstances in which that was done. I find it very difficult to believe that the Undersecretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, brought up on the law of this country, could really defend it. I think that it was repugnant to most people in this country and in the Commonwealth. I do not claim to know Mr. Scott particularly well, but from what little I do know of him I find it hard to believe that it was necessary to deport him, if it was, it need not have been done in the way it was done, and I cannot help feeling that the fault cannot have been entirely with him.
I do not think that is a useful matter to pursue too far, but I do say that the Government should give us very serious assurances about their attitude on this matter, also. I do not think it is something about which concern is felt by the Members of one particular party, or even only by politicians. There have been all sorts of requests from people right outside politics that the Government should go rather farther than they have gone in 1243 reassuring opinion in this country on these sorts of points. If they reassure opinion in this country they will also do something to remove the suspicions in the minds of the Africans.
There are many other points, such as the encouragement of the co-operative movement, upon which the Government could still do a great deal to remove suspicion and give a further impetus to their scheme, since it is to go through, and to give some further signs of good will, and to remove what are, to my mind at any rate, the justifiable suspicions which still remain among the native inhabitants of these Territories.
§ Mr. Wedgwood Benn (Bristol, South-East)
Part of the difficulty we have got into in this debate, both on Second Reading and in Committee, is the different circumstances in which the two sides of the Committee feel that this new Federal State will function. When I hear the Colonial Secretary holding forth I sometimes think that he imagines himself to be launching a great ship of State, which is to go out on calm seas and under clear skies.
We believe—and I think this is a fair representation of what is in the minds of hon. Members on this side of the Committee—that we are setting adrift three rafts loosely tethered together. We are anxious to see that there is enough food on the rafts for the people who have to guide them, that they know where they are trying to make for and are equipped to deal with all sorts of weather conditions.
I realise the difficulties, and, therefore, there seems to be greater justification for our persistent anxiety to see that proper safeguards are put into the enabling Bill. I think that the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport), who has now left the Chamber, should credit us with sincerity in what we say, and realise that we are as anxious as he is that racial relations in Central Africa should be as good as they possibly can be.
We are anxious that there should be safeguards, and we are discussing now a great number of safeguards, including those affecting trade unions, deportation, and so on, which we want to put in the Bill, because we believe that it is our responsibility as the British Parliament to 1244 look after the interests of the Africans in this matter. Hon. Members opposite are always proud of the affection and loyalty which draws Africans to the Crown. We have stressed today in this debate and in other debates on this subject the loyalty, affection and regard which many Africans feel about Parliament, the House of Commons and, indeed, this Committee; and it is because we are at this moment, and until this Bill becomes law, charged with responsibility for them that we are putting these safeguards into the Bill.
Why are we so anxious about safeguards? I am not one who seeks to belittle or attack the Europeans living in Central Africa. I have lived there myself for a year, and I know many of them and the difficulties under which they work. It is because of those difficulties and because of their geographical position that we are anxious to put these safeguards into the Bill. Europeans have the responsibility for operating the Federal Constitution, and they are surrounded on the one side by the Union of South Africa, whose racial policies we believe will lead ultimately to disaster, and further north they see Mau Mau and the chaos and crisis in Kenya.
It is impossible for a constitution operating in Central Africa to operate without regard to the circumstances in other parts of Africa. Although the African racial policy of Dr. Malan may be limited by the boundaries of his own territory, the fear, hatred, suspicion and lack of confidence engendered by this racial policy will spread and have their influence into Central Africa as well. Europeans trying to work this Constitution are bound to be deeply involved in the psychological struggle which is going on in Africa and are bound to be affected by it. We are particularly anxious to put safeguards for Africans into the Bill, because if there is any trouble in Central Africa—and I think that it is essential that we should speak frankly about the prospect of trouble there—we want to be certain that the Federal Government will not deal with that trouble by suppressing every possible expression of African opinion.
One of the tragedies of the situation in Kenya which we see is that the Government of Kenya, in order to deal with the emergency there, have chosen, one by one, 1245 to suppress, for reasons we are not concerned with in this debate, the only organs of African opinion. It would indeed be a very serious situation if the Federal Government of Central Africa, with experience of what has happened in other parts of Africa, had the right and power to do that sort of thing.
I must say that when I saw Mr. Nehru in London before the Coronation, I could not help thinking that had the Colonial Secretary been responsible for dealing with the situation in India after the war, Mr. Nehru would probably now be held in prison as leader of a nationalist movement. I do not think that we can treat a nationalist movement as if it were a sort of crime wave and I do not think that we ought to put into the hands of the new Federal Government the power to do that.
Let me deal with one argument which has constantly been put forward by the right hon. Gentleman in the course of his interjections in these debates. He has constantly pointed out to us that the things which we were discussing were reserved powers for the Territories and had nothing to do with the Federal Government, or were the very limited concern of the Federal Government. That may be a good legal point, but the fact is that this Bill is sending Central Africa out on her own and is going to provide for a Constitution there which will be amended within itself. Although there will be certain safeguards, inevitably in a federal State, particularly in these days of large industrial concerns, the Federal Government will get increasing power.
The founders of the American Constitution would have been horrified if they had been alive today to see the extent to which the Federal Government at Washington exercises control over the States in the American Union. I put it to the Colonial Secretary that it is right and proper for us to draw attention to that general movement, which is the movement for centralisation in Central Africa, and that we must try to provide safeguards to the things which we feel important and the power which the Federal Cabinet will have over them.
When we on this side of the Committee talk of the colour question in Africa we are accused of being idealists. I have never been ashamed of it, although 1246 attempts have been made to belittle practical suggestions which have been made on those grounds. In the Amendments which we propose, dealing with co-operative organisation, trade unions and the Federal Assembly, we are being intensely practical. It is in the immediate field of what concerns the African that he is best able to get experience in running his own affairs. It is because a group of people together realise that as employees they are not having a fair chance, they band themselves together, set up a committee and get practice in public speaking as members, perhaps, of a deputation. That is the way in which the trade union movement educates people for democratic self-government later on.
It is absolutely essential that the trade unions in Central Africa should not only be free to develop among the African members, but that they should be blessed by an Act of this House. That is what we are asking for today. The Africans are very quick to learn and to co-operate. I remember talking in Rhodesia, during the war, to British fitters of the R.A.F who had Afrioans helping them with the aircraft and in repairing engines at the Rhodesian air training centres and realising how men who had come out of the bush only a few years before were able to pick up semi-skilled operations—I do not say skilled operations—with very great speed.
We must do nothing to hold them back in developing their own trade union movement. It is also on the general point not only what we ought to do but what is inevitable that we must address ourselves today. It is the inevitability of African development that makes us on this side of the Committee feel that we should be a step ahead and see whether, while we have yet the time, we can guide that movement. I shall be 75 in the year 2000, and I think that by then we may see a far greater degree of African development in Central Africa than today. In the end, the African racial group in Central Africa will be the dominant political influence.
What we must do is to look ahead and see that the framework which we are establishing there from this House of Commons is a framework which will encompass that development and guide it into fruitful directions. One has only to look at the experience of this country 1247 to see how much we may learn from our own experience. Long before the people of Britain thought to operate universal franchise they had the right to petition the Crown. Bills in this House of Commons were based on a form of a petition to the Crown long before the franchise was granted. Every day, on the Adjournment, we celebrate the right of the people to air their grievances before the House can be adjourned. It was by the free debates in this Chamber, long before there was universal suffrage, that political development in Britain came about.
What we are doing in the Bill is to lay down in a document the means by which African development and European development in Central Africa will take place. It may seem a very small thing to the Colonial Secretary now, but we wish to insert a word about trade unions. His answer so far has been that he is very much in favour of trade unionism itself, but it has nothing to do with the Federal Government. The arguments that he advances will seem of trifling importance with the passage of time.
My hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) gave us some curious examples of the way in which things have consequences which they were not intended to have. I do not believe that Magna Carta was intended to have the effect on British political life that is now attributed to it. Yet that is one of our proudest constitutional documents. The people who amended the American Constitution made special provision about a member of the public not having to answer a question if it tended to incriminate him. I doubt if they realised the effect that it would have on Congressional investigations in Washington at the present time.
We must not be too legalistic and too narrow in our approach. What we do now will be embodied in a document which, long after it has passed this House and is forgotten by hon. Members, will be in a museum in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, or wherever the capital of these Territories happens to be, and will be exercising its influence on the people there. I beg the right hon. Gentleman to consider our plea that he should incorporate in this historic document the rights 1248 of trade unions to be organised, the rights of co-operatives to develop, civil rights regarding deportation and right of entry, and the rights of the African, though not yet fit for universal franchise, to equal representation in the Federal Parliament.
§ Mr. John Rankin (Glasgow, Tradeston)
My hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn) wanted his raft properly provisioned. It is because of that fact that some of my hon. Friends are very anxious that the safeguards to which he has referred should be given by law to the Co-operative movement. Besides being a great provider, the Co-operative movement is, as I am sure the Colonial Secretary, with his experience, knows, a great instrument for thrift. If there has to be an incentive to provide the capital which is necessary for development, then thrift has to be encouraged. Membership of the Co-operative movement is a method of creating the money which will be the source of further development. It is also a means of personal saving. Millions of people in this country can pay tribute to that fact arising out of their Co-operative experience.
It is also a method of democratic control. I take it that it is still the intention of the Government not merely to do something to help the economic development of this part of Africa but, at the same time, also to bring the people of that area along the road that will lead to political emancipation. The Co-operative movement is a means of teaching people the art of government.
The hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport)—this is only a minor point, but I feel that a correction should be made —said that when the Rochdale pioneers first started——
The Deputy-Chairman (Mr. Hopkin Morris)
The hon. Member is not in order in reviewing the history of the Co-operative movement.
§ Mr. Rankin
I was simply referring to a point made by the hon. Member for Colchester, Mr. Hopkin Morris. In your absence, he referred to the fact that the Co-operative movement was pledged by its pioneers to take no political action. I only wanted to say that that was not true. The pioneers of the Co-operative movement made no such pledge, nor did those who preceded the Rochdale pioneers, the Fenwick weavers.
§ Mr. Rankin
I wished just to refer to what the hon. Member for Colchester had said. I am sorry that I am doing it behind his back, but I have no evil intention in doing so.
The reason why it is important that these proposals should be accepted by the Government is that there is a fundamental difference between the Co-operative movement in Britain and the co-operative movement in Africa. In Britain, the movement springs directly from the demands of the people. Our experience has shown that if the movement is to be developed in Africa it requires to be sponsored and to have Government assistance, and that is why our new Clause is important.
I know that during the course of the debate the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs has assured us—I hope he will give me his close attention in case I misquote him—that existing relations between the home Government, the Colonial Office and the protected Territories will not be disturbed and the existing powers of the Colonial Office to grant assistance for the development of the co-operative method will remain when the Bill comes into operation. We accept that, but this is just where we find our difficulty. Why could not this be incorporated by statute into the law and practice of the two Protectorates?
My hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, South-East said that we were creating a new form of Government to cover Southern and Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland and that, however honest and sincere the intentions of the Government may be at present, it is difficult to see how they will resist the almost inevitable demands which will arise from the central authority to expand its control over Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia. It is because of that fact that many of us here who are deeply interested in the Co-operative movement would like to see its future safeguarded within the Bill itself.
There is another reason why we feel so. We are not quite sure that many people on the other side of the Committee are so fond of the Co-operative movement as the right hon. Gentleman and his right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs. Reference has already 1250 been made by the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport) about what has been done in co-operative development through Government encouragement in days gone by. It is not so great as many people imagine, and I am not seeking to score any party point when I say that most of that development took place between the years 1945 and 1951.
I want to quote from a document issued by the right hon. Gentleman's own office, in which we are told that in 1945 there were six marketing societies and one credit society in Northern Rhodesia.
I am not quite sure how this is relevant to the new Clause because that Clause, as I understand it, seeks to make sure that there shall be no limitation on the activities of the Co-operative society.
§ Mr. Rankin
It is because I fear that there may be limitations that I am seeking to advance this part of my argument, and I hope it is relevant to the point I am seeking to establish. There may be limitations. There have been limitations in the past, or at least there has been lack of appreciation of the great functions that the Co-operative movement can play in building up the lives of the people in those territories where it operates.
I was quoting from a document issued by the Colonial Office to show that in Northern Rhodesia there were only eight registered societies in 1945 and that by 1951 the number was 97. There was a membership of 763 in 1945, but in 1951 it had grown to 15,560 and the paid-up capital had risen in the same years from £18,450 to £277,000. This emphasises the point I made somewhat earlier that if there is to be co-operative development in these areas the approach has to be different from here. There must be Government assistance, and we are entitled to press that point and ask the Government to accept a new Clause of this nature.
I do not think that this comes within the terms of the new Clause, which does not deal with Government assistance but seeks to make certain that there shall be no restrictions upon development.
§ Mr. Rankin
It may be that I am not reading it properly, but the Clause says:Nothing hereinbefore contained shall authorise or shall be deemed to authorise the Federal Assembly to pass any law, statute, 1251 order, statutory instrument, rule or ordinance abrogating or limiting the right of co-operative societies, both consumer and producer, to be established within the Territories or limiting the rights or powers of co-operative societies as established by the laws of the United Kingdom.Our case is based on the fear that if that is not accepted then those rights may not necessarily be extended to the cooperative movement.
I am seeking to show from these figures that we have a statistical and experimental basis for our fears. There was very little encouragement in the past until we had a Labour Government in power. In Nyasaland, there were no marketing societies, no credit societies and no consumer societies. The party which is now charged with giving effect to this Measure was the party that had the power to give the assistance that was necessary for development, and they did not do it. Little was done until 1945. As a result the membership in Nyasaland rose to 3,097 within the six years and there were 35 marketing societies. The people responded when they got encouragement, and that is what we are pleading for here. Encouragement is necessary and though we have been assured that that encouragement will be forthcoming, we cannot accept lightly the pledges given by the right hon. Gentleman and the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs. We respect them, but we feel that, having given those pledges, they should take the consequential step of giving them the sanction of law.
I hope there is nothing in that which is out of order. We are not asking for too much. There is a vast and abiding interest in the Co-operative movement in the development of the Colonies. At their annual congress in Margate, in June, 1952, Congress, representing nearly 11 million British co-operators, noted with considerable pride and satisfaction the progress made in developing co-operative societies in overseas territories and in the British Commonwealth. The figures provided by the Colonial Office bear witness to that progress, and we feel that if such progress has to be maintained then the Government ought to accept the new Clause, which I am glad to support.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I have a very large field to cover and I hope the hon. Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn) and the hon. Member for Tradeston (Mr. Rankin), both of whom made thoughtful contributions to our debate, will bide their time because I will deal with the matters they raised as I go, but I think the best way in which I can conduct myself is to go through the Amendments more or less one by one.
Therefore, I must begin with the Amendment in the name of the right hon. Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Dugdale), 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:That Amendment, if passed, would involve radical changes in the scheme, so radical as to alter it entirely. I do not object to that in any way, but I do not think he put it forward with the expectation that it would be accepted, but rather in the expectation that I should cover the subjects which he raised and on which he seeks certain assurances. It would be unacceptable to us because it would tear up weeks and months of careful negotiation.
Indeed, in many speeches made on the other side of the Committee one might have thought that the speakers were entirely against the principle of Federation. Again and again remarks have been made which seemed to show that the idea of Federation was repugnant to hon. Gentlemen who were taking part in the debate. Yet the Labour Party not only subscribed to the general idea of Federation, but also regarded the official scheme in which the proportions of African representation were laid down as generally acceptable.
During the entire debate upon this matter I do not recall much discussion about the composition of the Federal Assembly in detail. I want to be strictly fair—and my memory is notoriously unreliable—but I think I am entitled to make the point that Amendments which 1253 are intended to alter and distort in every way the Federal scheme are not apparently in accordance with the policy of the party of the hon. Members who move them. However, I do not want to go into that very far because I hope we shall make quicker progress when I have dealt with——
§ Mr. Benn
I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman would not want his words to go on record about greater representation for the Africans representing a distortion of the Federal scheme since it is an Amendment which, though not acceptable at this stage, must inevitably come. Therefore, I give the right hon. Gentleman an opportunity to withdraw his use of the word "distort."
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I was using the word "distort" not merely with regard to the first Amendment, as I should have done, but also with regard to the whole debate. I agree with the hon. Gentleman that it alters in a material way the scheme which has been agreed, and, therefore, we could not accept it, but if he would like me to withdraw the word "distort" I am willing to do so.
§ Mr. A. Fenner Brockway (Eton and Slough)
May I make a further point? The right hon. Gentleman said that during the debates here there had not been opposition to the composition of the assembly, but surely he will agree that the larger part of the opposition from these benches to the scheme has been because it gives domination to a white minority and that domination is expressed through the composition of the assembly.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
The hon. Member is not quite doing my argument justice. The composition of the Federal Government was published in an official report. We all agree that the composition of the Federal Legislature is one of the fundamentals upon which the entire scheme rests. The Labour Party of that day said that the official scheme, although they did not subscribe to every jot and tittle of it, was generally acceptable.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
No, I must be allowed to develop my argument. I will give way periodically, but I must be allowed in 1254 this debate to say a few connected sentences without continual interruption on every point. I will give way to the right hon. Gentleman when I have finished this passage.
I will now discuss the other reason why we cannot accept this Amendment. It has nothing to do with the fact that we are more or less pledged to it. I will deal with it on its merits. When the right hon. Gentleman was moving this Amendment, he said: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'." —[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th June, 1953; Vol. 516, c. 180.]That sneer is entirely unjustified. I do not want to reiterate the arguments I used last week but perhaps partnership can be summed up in the words of other people. I know of no better way of expressing it than by using the words which Sir Godfrey Huggins himself used on this very matter—if I can find them——
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I could go on to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who said that the idea of Federation would foster the conception of partnership.
The right hon. Gentleman, whose mind is confused on these matters, discloses ignorance in confusing equal shares and partnership. What we are doing now is bringing a junior partner into the business. Within the Federal Assembly of 35 there will be nine members specially selected to represent African interests. What we are doing is to bring a junior partner into the business, and we shall not be acting properly to that partner unless we do all we can to train and teach him to earn and deserve a bigger share in Government.
It would be most unfair to ask him to share equally the responsibilities and liabilities and obligations of government at this moment in the present state of his training. That has to be made perfectly clear. When I come to discuss, later, some matters connected with the African Affairs Board, I shall show that one of the difficulties at this stage is to find sufficient people of all races to carry on government. 1255 If the Amendment were accepted by all the four Governments concerned—and negotiations with all four would be necessary—the cause of economic development would be damaged and retarded at this moment. For example, those who are realistic know that at this stage of African training and development, if we gave them equal representation in the Federal Parliament as this Amendment seeks, we should completely dry up the flow of overseas capital, for example. In that way the political advancement of Africans would be retarded.
The claim is frequently made when we want to go patiently at a matter that it is reaction. There are many instances now of difficulties which have occurred because we have gone a little too quickly. Often we have gone too quickly because, in the past, we went too slowly. In these matters I sincerely believe that if we had now a Federal Assembly consisting of half and half we should be retarding the political advance of Africa.
The cause of self-government is set back when inefficiency, corruption, and what not, appear. I am not suggesting that corruption would appear in this case, but I think the cause of self-government would receive a set-back when it is clear that we could not find the necessary number of Africans of sufficient experience and skill to exercise the responsibility.
On that matter it seems to me that our duty is quite clear. It is to see that this condition of affairs does not continue. That must be done by the promotion of education, and particularly of higher education in these Territories. I shall not pursue that now, but that is the right line. It is not the right line to be unrealistic and to create a Federal Assembly in which there are not sufficient people of the necessary experience and skill to conduct the Government.
I often wonder what kind of evidence I would think was a sign of a true partnership having grown up. I believe that it will be true partnership when an African is elected to a Federal Legislature by European votes or a European is elected to the Assembly by African votes. Then I think we shall have got near the kind 1256 of society at which we aim. We in this House are able to pronounce upon national matters whether we are Scottish, Welsh or English, and we are able to take a British point of view while retaining a lively difference of opinion on Scottish and Welsh affairs, even working up considerable enthusiasm in the House when part of the British race beats the other at football or outwits the other in business. The last category, of course, is the almost exclusive function of the Scots who are particularly adept.
But when the clouds begin to pass or larger matters are before the House, we are one, and any attempt to divide the House on racial lines would push us back to the state of affairs before that noteworthy act of Federation, the Act of Union. I really think that in these matters patience will yield the best dividends to Africans and everybody else concerned with Federation.
I now turn to the matter of co-operatives, and particularly to the contribution made by the hon. Member for Tradeston (Mr. Rankin). In the scheme we are careful to circumscribe the Federal Legislature's power to legislate about co-operative societies. The hon. Member was speaking to an Amendment which tried to prevent the formation of co-operative societies being impeded by law. The cooperative societies are already there in all the three Territories, and I do not think that anything that we can write into the Constitution will alter that position. They are legal.
What we have to do is something quite different. In this I am entirely in agreement with the hon. Member, and also with the hon. Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn), who spoke on the same matter. We have to try to push on the co-operative movement, and particularly producer societies; but I do not mention only producer societies, because there is also the distribution side. One is, perhaps, apt to over-emphasise the producing aspect. We must encourage the movement by positive means. The present position is that the formation of these societies is in no way impeded by law. In the two Northern Territories, which still retain a large measure of Colonial Office supervision, the position will be exactly the same after the passing of the 1257 Bill, if it becomes law, as it is today. What I think the hon. Members want is an assurance from me that the beginnings —they are not very much more—of these co-operative societies will be fostered in every way possible.
So far as the Northern Territories are concerned, the policy is based on the despatch of Mr. George Hall, now Lord Hall, of 20th March, 1946, from which I might mention one passage:First, that there should be an officer of the Colonial Government, usually called the Registrar of Co-operative Societies, assisted by a staff of the necessary quality and strength, charged with the duty of guiding and assisting the development of the co-operative movement.I point out to the hon. Member for Bristol, South-East, in particular, that these are administrative matters which, during the short life in which the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) thinks I shall enjoy my present responsibilities, remain matters entirely within my competence. There is no legal bar to these societies being promoted.
The then Mr. George Hall went on to say:… and secondly that there should be a proper legal framework for the movement in the form of a co-operative societies ordinance.Then, he said:The policy should therefore be one of cautious, but not too cautious, experimentation in the gradual relaxation, as the societies gain in experience and competence, of the full supervision which is necessary at the initiation of the movement.I recognise the cadence of this language, which, I agree, is deplorable, but nevertheless that sentence is full of wisdom. So much for the matters of the co-operative societies.
The next thing that hon. Members will wish me to discuss is the matter of trade unions in these Territories. The Amendment on this subject wishes to make the trade union legislation in these matters exactly the same as in the United Kingdom. I do not think that that would be wise. Although agriculture is still the largest industry in the United Kingdom, ours is a highly industrialised country. That is not true of the three Territories, whose economies are still, in spite of copper, and so on, largely agricultural. I do not think there could be any case for the rigidity such as the Amendment would 1258 seek to impose and which would be indefensible over trade union legislation in these three Territories.
I again remind the Committee, and especially those in whose names the Amendment appears, that the Federal Legislature has no powers with reference to trade unions other than regarding disputes between the Federal Government and its own officers. Again, as I tried to say in an intervention during a speech by an hon. Member below the Gangway opposite, the trade union law in the two Northern Territories is unchanged by the passage into law of Federation.
On the matter in Southern Rhodesia, the views of the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia on this subject are well known. He believes in the gradual evolution of trade unions. He is probably not going as quickly as hon. Members opposite would like, but I have not the slightest doubt that he is perfectly sincere. I find it a little difficult to listen to adjurations about how necessary are trade unions to industries. I have spent many years of my life in one way and another in industry, and I do not require any convincing that no properly constituted industrial system can exist without the bargaining power between the trade unions and the employer.
§ Mr. J. Johnson
I asked a question in the last debate and I got a rather vague answer from the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations. Do the words on page 14 of the White Paper mean that there will be unions under a federal basis for both white employees and African employees? The important question is whether Northern Rhodesian Africans who come south—to the postal and telegraph services, for example, at Salisbury—will still have their union and will still bargain, by their union, with the new Federal Government that is to be set up?
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I will identify the point again, but I think that that is so.
Over the trade union matter, as over the co-operative societies, we must do much more than merely show that legislation permits these associations and gives them in the main, with appropriate variations for an agricultural community, the right of bargaining which is embodied in trade union legislation in this country. In the short time that I 1259 have been in office I have had some experience of these matters, particularly in Malaya, where I have carried on negotiations and conferences with trade union officials when the unions were in their very early days—almost at birth, in fact. I take this opportunity of saying that the T.U.C. and the trade union movement have always shown themselves willing to help in every way possible by lending us the services of skilled officers to show how trade unions can be built up.
One cannot make a healthy trade union movement by legislation any more than one can make a good man by legislation. What we can do is to see that the legislation does not prevent, but rather is inclined to foster, the building up of these trade unions. Here, again, the position is unchanged by this Measure if it becomes an Act. We must do very much more to foster trade unions than merely to take the negative attitude that legislation should not circumscribe them or hamper their growth.
There were one or two matters raised by the hon. Member for Oldham, West regarding external affairs. I think that the position is now quite clear, but I might as well reiterate it. Such external affairs as are entrusted or delegated by Her Majesty's Government will be a Federal, and' not a territorial, settlement. I am a little uncertain about the point made by the hon. Member about trade marks and other things included in the proposed Schedule.
All that it means—I think this is in accordance with his own thought—is that instead of having three people dealing with copyrights, patents, trademarks, the imposition of duties, and so on, there is only one person. I think that the hon. Member's idea behind his Amendment was that these matters are international matters of great importance. I can only suggest that we are making a step in the right direction by centralising these things within the power of the Federal Government and making it in the Exclusive List.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I cannot quite follow the point; I do not know what the hon. Member means by the reserved Clauses. I think the position is that the Federal Government legislates on those things which are on the Exclusive List and matters in the Exclusive List have been designed particularly so that they do not affect what we might call the daily life of the African.
§ Mr. Hale
I am anxious not to interrupt unnecessarily, but item 2 in the reserved Federal list is Defence, item 3 is Immigration and item 4 is Aliens. Does it mean that in all those matters the Federal Government are only taking over such powers as exist in Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland? How do we know the extent of the powers given?
§ Mr. Lyttelton
That reservation clearly would not apply to defence, but I think it would apply to the other matters mentioned by the hon. Member.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
Because once we organise defence federally there is a change in regard to Nyasaland, which has not any defence of her own. It becomes a Federal subject and blurs the demarcation line of grant aid to Territories as they are now and what they will be under Federation.
I think the last point which was raised is related to the so-called deportation of British subjects and also the matter of emigration and immigration within the Federal boundaries. The reason why emigration and immigration should be a Federal settlement can best be illustrated —I have picked my words very carefully —by an entirely imaginary illustration. Suppose there were a great economic slump in South Africa and very large numbers of South Africans wished to emigrate to the Federation. If there were no power of the Federal Government to restrict such an immigration there might be an employment crisis of the first order, a move to restrict wages, and so on. It seems important that emigration and immigration should be within the competence of the Federal Government. I am not a great advocate of economic planning in the sense in which the words are usually used, but it seems a quite necessary part of Federal Government that the 1261 Federation should control the influx of labour to protect the labour situation within its own boundaries.
As I have now covered all the points raised I may perhaps go back to the beginning and say that in laying down this composition as the officials did—I think that, generally speaking, at the time it had the support of the Labour Party —we are making a move for increasing African representation in the management of their own affairs. No one wishes to see that composition photographed, or frozen, permanently. On the contrary, the whole idea is that by proceeding in a sensible and patient way, by increasing education and opportunities for responsibility Africans should get an increasing share in the management of these Territories.
That is our object. We may differ upon how quickly, how slowly, or patiently, or rashly we are going. Nevertheless, I have some reason to feel that this original composition was not widely out of the idea of the Labour Party at the time when they espoused the cause of Federation.
§ 7.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Dugdale
As the right hon. Gentleman has returned to the same subject, I think I am correct in saying, speaking offhand, that the words used were that the Labour Party considered the Government should make a constructive approach. I do not think that can be said to be a wholesale acceptance of the scheme.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I think the right hon. Member does me an injustice. I always made the reservation that I must be fair and that the Labour Party did not accept the scheme line by line and every jot and tittle of it, but, on a matter of this importance, I think I am entitled to say that the Labour Party were sufficiently in agreement with the composition of the Federal Assembly, to use the words used by the right hon. Member. The Amendment moved by the right hon. Member is so wide that I think I am entitled to say that I understand why his Amendment is not officially supported by the Front Bench opposite.
I hope the Committee will realise that Her Majesty's Government are most anxious that all these matters should have 1262 full discussion and they certainly have had full discussion. I think this is about the tenth day on which we have been over parts of this course. The fences are already beginning to show signs of being broken down by the feats of hon. Members jumping them. I hope we may make much quicker progress after this group of Amendments has been dealt with. If there are any matters that I have not covered, I will try to see that they are rectified shortly.
§ Mr. Paget
On some occasions recently I have somewhat fiercely attacked the right hon. Gentleman. It is, therefore, with considerable pleasure that I am able to express, for myself at any rate, considerable welcome to the speech he has just made, which I believe in many particulars will do a lot of good in Africa. All who know him here know that the right hon. Gentleman is far less reactionary and far more human than he appears to be. The trouble is that Africans do not always know that and they gain the wrong impression. I feel that by the attitude he has taken today he has at least done something to reassure them.
For my part, I am one who agrees very profoundly with the Prime Minister that if we are to have Federation we must all hope that it works satisfactorily. I have found great difficulty in making up my mind on the whole question as to whether Federation is desirable, although I am bound to say that recent events have confirmed me in my opinion that it is unwise to do it now. But, if it is to be done, let us hope it will succeed.
There is one general point I wish to make. That is the kind of sneer which comes from the back benches opposite whenever one of their not very vocal hon. Members gets up to speak—the idea that the attitude of the Opposition in opposing Federation is somehow anti-British. That seems extremely difficult to understand because if we oppose Federation what we are supporting is that Britain should retain power in these Territories. If we support Federation what we are supporting is that Britain should give her powers away. We for our part believe that Britain has a very fine record there through the Colonial Office and we want that retained.
Having made those general remarks, I wish to ask for some elucidation on particular and perhaps rather narrow 1263 points which I find difficult. We are accustomed here to an unwritten Constitution. An unwritten Constitution is not available to a federation. It is of the very nature of federation that the powers shall be defined.
I should have thought that it was vitally important here to define the powers not only as between the Federation and the Territories but as between the Federation, the Territories and the Government in Westminster. All those three will be exercising powers within that area. Surely it is essential to the well-being and success of this Federation that it should be clearly laid down who exercises what powers and where. One cannot leave it to custom. Here is a Federation for which there must be a written Constitution.
This Bill is the mere foundation of the Constitution. The Constitution as I understand it—and I hope that the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs will correct me if I am wrong—will be the Order in Council when it is made. It may well be that the new Clauses which we propose will be more properly placed in the Order in Council than in the Bill. I turn to the new Clause about reserved powers which, together with the new Schedule, seeks merely in a suggestive way to define what are the powers retained here in Westminster.
If we do not define those powers then at some future time we shall get ourselves into a muddle. We have put down a Schedule and a Clause which we do not for a moment expect the right hon. Gentleman to accept. We put them down to suggest the task which will need doing when we come to write the Constitution. As I understand the position, the right hon. Gentleman says that the powers which in the White Paper are referred to as the Exclusive List are powers now exercised by the Territories which are being transferred to the centre.
That is a very difficult proposition when we come to external affairs. Is the Federation to conduct external affairs for itself on three different levels of power for three different Territories? The power to conduct the external affairs of Southern Rhodesia is at one level, the power for Northern Rhodesia is at another and that for Nyasaland is at a third. Therefore, we should have one 1264 authority exercising a common power for three Territories but at a different level and with a different quantity of power in the three different areas of its territory.
§ Mr. Paget
As the right hon. Gentleman said, the power in the Federation to conduct external affairs is no subtraction from the powers of the British Government. It is simply the combination of the powers already delegated to the three separate Territories. That is what I understood the right hon. Gentleman to say.
§ Mr. Foster
No. The Government have the power to delegate and can keep the power. It is not a question of the combination of the powers already delegated: it is the powers which may be delegated.
§ Mr. Paget
I should be glad if this could be cleared up because I think that it is the opposite of what the right hon. Gentleman said earlier. What I noted down was that the powers existing now in the Territories shall be exercised by the Federation. He said that it meant no more than that. That is what I noted at the time.
§ Mr. Foster
The powers in the Territories. If Her Majesty's Government care to give them the powers they will have them. That is the point.
§ Mr. Paget
Powers derived from Her Majesty's Government—directly derived in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland and in a rather different category in the semi-Dominion of Southern Rhodesia—but all powers admittedly derived originally from Her Majesty's Government are now there. Those are powers which have been delegated.
§ Mr. Foster
No. The whole thing is concerned with the power to delegate. The hon. and learned Member should not bother about what is delegated but with the power to delegate. Her Majesty's Government have the power to delegate to the three constituent territories. In practice the hon. and learned Gentleman is right. They have delegated those powers at different times and in different degrees, but I should like to suggest to the hon. and learned Gentleman that he 1265 should not bother about that. He should confine himself to the power of Her Majesty's Government to delegate. The Government will have the power to delegate external affairs and, in so far as they delegate, the Federation will exercise the power. So far as that Territory has a Treaty entered into on its behalf by the Government, the Federal Government will be entitled to implement it by internal legislation. That is all in the same area.
§ Mr. Paget
I am afraid that I find it difficult to depart from what has already been delegated. That is where the difficulty arises. At present we have powers to delegate at different degrees in the three areas. If nothing else is done and there is no new delegation then the powers previously delegated to the three Territories will become exercisable by the Federal Government.
§ Mr. Foster
The hon. and learned Member is under a misconception. Foreign affairs are not delegated for universal purposes. Each case is a separate delegation. Therefore, this does not involve the transfer of delegated powers to the centre. That is why I say that the hon. and learned Gentleman is neither right nor wrong. I do not think that it is in point.
§ Mr. Paget
Here is an assurance which I think will help us a great deal. Can I understand the position, because I think it will relieve my hon. Friends if this is understood. Foreign affairs or external affairs will be dealt with exclusively by Her Majesty's Government here, but where these decisions are taken there will be questions of implementation necessary within this area. Whatever is necessary to delegate for the purpose of implementation will be delegated ad hoc and nothing else will be delegated. If that can be said, I should be satisfied.
§ Mr. Foster
No, that is not quite right. I think that it is impossible in talk backward and forward between two lawyers to arrive at it. I am afraid that is not 1266 right, because Her Majesty's Government might delegate to the Central African Federation the right to make a treaty on some subject, and the exclusive decision would not then be made by Her Majesty's Government.
§ 7.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Paget
If it is difficult to arrive at a conclusion by a debate between two lawyers surely it is all the more important that this subject, which is so difficult to elucidate, should be explained somewhere. I should have thought that the only proper place for it to be explained is the Constitution; that is where I would ask for it to be put.
§ Mr. Paget
I am delighted to have that assurance that there will be a clear definition of what this amounts to, of what are the powers of Her Majesty's Government. [Interruption.] How else can one define what may be delegated and what may be not without saying what shall stay here and what shall go there? The Secretary of State must realise that he cannot expect blank cheques from this Committee. He really cannot expect us to agree, and we should not be doing our duty if we agreed, to things which he was wholly unable to explain. Incapacity to explain can only arise from incapacity to understand.
Let us look at the various other subjects. Does defence, which is to be in the Exclusive List, mean the defence rights existing in the Territories now or is it to be a new power subtracted from Westminster and given to the Federation? If it is not, what is it? After all, the only power which this Federation can have is something which we give it; that is the point of this Constitution and the Bill on the consideration of which we are now engaged. Either this Federation is given powers which now exist in the Territories or powers which exist here. Is the defence power which we are giving a power which exists here, which we are subtracting from ourselves to give to them, or is it a power which already exists in the Territories and which we are taking from the Territories to give to the Federation? It is important that we should know.
What will be the position if we wish to send United Kingdom forces into this Territory? How do we stand if we give all these defence rights away? Surely these are matters on which we are entitled to elucidation, and if they are not 1267 elucidated clearly in the Constitution they will raise awkward questions in future. I wish to point out the sort of problems which arise and why we consider that the Constitution should clearly define what are the reserved and residual powers remaining at Westminster.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I wish to clear up the point of the hon. and learned Member's question. I think it will be better to wait for the Order in Council and then, if the hon. and learned Member is not satisfied, this matter can be discussed again. We shall, however, get into an awful tangle if we proceed by question and answer on these complicated matters which, when we come to discuss them, will be clarified.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
The problem on this point does not really exist except in the mind of the hon. and learned Gentleman. He says that by making defence into a federal subject we are adding it or subtracting it from somewhere else. That is not so. Her Majesty's Government can delegate such defence matters as they like to the Federal Government. The Federal Government are perfectly able to raise a couple of regiments of cavalry if they like to do so, but that is not necessarily subtracting from powers elsewhere. I think that the hon. and learned Member is making difficulties where they do not exist.
§ Mr. Paget
The right hon. Gentleman is thinking in terms of soldiers not of power. If this non-existent Federal Government have no powers, as they do not exist, and if they are to have powers, these must come from somewhere. They will either come from the Territories or from us. In so far as they come from somewhere they are subtracted from the place from which they come; that is inevitable in logic. I apologise to the Committee: where it can possibly be avoided legal argument should be avoided here.
§ Mr. Foster
Even assuming that I accept the hon. and learned Member's terminology, what unfavourable conclusion does he draw, supposing that I agree with him about subtraction?
§ Mr. Paget
I am not drawing any unfavourable conclusion; I am only asking for the matter to be defined.
I am contending that we shall not get this matter straight unless there is a list of reserved powers. This Federation will be a growing thing. There are powers reserved to Westminster and there must of course be the right to delegate those powers, but we must clearly define the powers which we are reserving the right to delegate. I should have thought that foreign affairs and defence were eminently the sort of powers to be reserved and to be subject to the right of delegation. Each delegation should be specific—we might delegate the power to raise a regiment, or whatever it may be, for defence—but the general power of defence, the right of command when we wish to exercise that command, the right to send in United Kingdom or Dominion troops should strategic conditions require it, should reside in Westminster. This should be made clear or we shall get into this sort of muddle.
I shall not labour this point further but it is an illustration of the sort of legal difficulty we shall get into when this area becomes more and more independent and arguments arise as to what we have the right to do. That must be defined. So far there is no indication that the powers reserved to Her Majesty's Government are anywhere defined.
My only other point is with regard to trade unions. I welcome tremendously what the right hon. Gentleman said on that subject. It is something which it is the duty of the Government to foster. Agricultural trade unionism may require laws rather different from those applicable to a more general industrial trade union. I welcome tremendously what has been said but after all the Constitution will be and must be a written one, and the right of human beings to organise themselves industrially is among the most important of basic human rights. Where there has to be a written Constitution human rights must be written into it. Some clause is required in the Order in Council expressing in whatever terms seem good to the Government this fundamental right of trade union organisation to be recognised because the whole purpose of the Federation is to bring about the industrialisation of this area. 1269 It is during the phase of industrialisation that the great human brutalities of the industrial revolution occur, and it is just during that phase that the protection of the trade unions is most vital, because it is during that vigorous time that trade unionism comes under the most bitter and violent assault from employers. That has been the history of the matter, and the constitutional rights ought to be protected.
This has to be a written Constitution, and I hope that, when the Government come to draft this tremendously important Order in Council, which will govern the lives of the people in what we hope one day will be a great country, and perhaps govern the future of Africa, the reservation of these elementary rights will be considered. This must be a document to which both heart and mind must be applied. It cannot be a document which is only half-thought-out, because that will only lead to disaster.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
In this debate, we have had to cover an enormous number of subjects, and, therefore, it is perhaps a good thing to divide them up into compartments. Because of the details and complications in this Bill, if it had been sent to a Committee upstairs, hon. Members would have had a better chance to discuss them all in detail, and I am sorry that that proposal was not accepted.
The speech of the Colonial Secretary has reassured us on some points, but there are still one or two questions which I should like to put to him. The first concerns the trade unions and the co-operative movement, both of which can and will play a very important role in the development of these Territories. It is not only in a colonial setting that trade unions and the co-operative movement render services of an economic and social character. They provide for people who have been taken out of their own setting, and they provide a new kind of discipline and a bond to keep them together, and they play a big part in the new social organisation being built up.
The Secretary of State said that, under the scheme now before us, trade union matters are the exclusive right of the Territorial Governments, and that means that, in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, trade union law and regulations and practice will remain what they are, and, 1270 therefore, under the aegis of the Colonial Office. That is an assurance which we very warmly welcome. The record of the Colonial Office in promoting, developing and encouraging trade unions and the co-operative movement, with the very full support of our Trades Union Congress and the International Federation of Free Trade Unions, as well as our own Co-operative movement, is one of the most hopeful developments of the past few years.
The point that remains is this. Trade union law and practice in Southern Rhodesia differ rather fundamentally from what they are in the Northern Territories, and the question which we have to ask here is what trade union law and practice will apply to the employees of the Federal Government? That seems to me to be a narrow but important field. We may get, in these Territories, a Federal Government with federal employees, but on page 14 of the White Paper we read:Subject to sub-paragraph (2) of this paragraph the Legislatures of the Territories wilt have exclusive power to make laws with respect to—(a) trade unions and other like associations;As I understand, it will be reserved to the Federal Government to determine what trade union law shall apply to federal employees. I believe I am right, and that is the issue.
What I want to ask the Secretary of State is this. In the federal structure, the federal employees may include African employees; what trade union law is to apply to them? Is it the trade union law of Northern Rhodesia, which permits Africans to have trade unions, and indeed encourages them? I think they now have very strong and important unions, as is the case, similarly, in Nyasaland, where they have not developed in the same way, because the country has not been industrialised so quickly.
Why should not the Secretary of State accept this Amendment, which would write into the Constitution the provision that the Federal Government, which would only be able to legislate to allow trade union organisation for those in federal employment, should apply the trade union law and practice of this country? For this purpose, it is 1271 eminently desirable, and it also gives an opportunity to the Ministers to write into the Bill something that will give an assurance that the Bill itself is not intended to retard the development of the Africans.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I should like to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman to say this. I think I nodded my head at the wrong moment, because I may have given the impression that the Federal Government would have power over trade unions when "conciliation machinery" would be the correct phrase. I do not wish to be inaccurate, even in a small particular. The Federal Government will handle the conciliation machinery between itself and its own employees, but that does not apply to the railways and the outside corporations.
§ Mr. Griffiths
So far as the employees of the Federal Government are concerned, it is the Federal Legislature and the Government that will determine the trade union law under which the federal employees will be organised. Southern Rhodesia will have a majority in the Legislature, and, if they import into the federal structure and apply to federal employees their own trade union law and practice, as it operates in Southern Rhodesia, they will make it very difficult, indeed almost impossible, for Africans to organise in trade unions.
I therefore say that the only way in which we can safeguard this position is by an Amendment of this kind. I speak as a trade unionist, and as one who is proud of the way in which trade unions are developing in these Territories. I will not go into the question of the relations between the black and the white trade unions, or in the situation in the Copper Belt, though that is a problem that could not be entirely dealt with by legislation. The thing is to get black and white miners together, and I hope that the efforts which are being pursued, and are being supported, will be successful.
What arises here is that, under the federal structure, we ought to make sure, as we are entitled to do, that none of the barriers which now exist in Southern Rhodesia should be imported into the federal structure to prevent Africans from enjoying rights which they now 1272 enjoy in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
I come now to the matter which has been raised by several of my hon. Friends, including my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget), who has just spoken—the question of defence. I understand that, on all these questions of external affairs and defence and powers that are delegated, the Federal Government will have such power as Her Majesty's Government delegates to them. What has not been made clear is whether the powers which are to be delegated are already determined in the scheme.
§ Mr. J. Foster indicated dissent.
§ Mr. Griffiths
They are not. As I understand, therefore, as time goes on and the Federal Government are in operation, Her Majesty's Government will determine from time to time what authority in external affairs will be delegated to the Federal Government. This is rather important. Do I gather, therefore, that it is not Her Majesty's Government's intention, nor is it incorporated in this scheme, that sole authority for external affairs or for defence is to be delegated to the Federal Government. Her Majesty's Government have at times delegated some authority in matters such as treaty rights, and so on, to dependent Territories, but they always kept control in their hands and were able, so to speak, to pull back that authority. Will power be retained by Her Majesty's Government to say to the Federal Government, "You cannot do that in external affairs and defence"?
§ Mr. Lyttelton
The right hon. Gentleman used the phrase "sole right to be delegated." That certainly confuses me because what happens, as I understand it, is that Her Majesty's Government delegates certain things to the Federal Government, and, obviously, they cannot be determined in advance because Her Majesty's Government may delegate anything at any time. They may say to the Federal Government, "We authorise you to make an agreement as you think fit relating to tsetse fly with the Belgian Congo," and the day after tomorrow it may be that Her Majesty's Government will delegate power to the Federal Government to make a trade treaty forbidding the importation of oil cake from 1273 Basutoland. I do not know. The point the right hon. Gentleman is seeking to make, I think, is that the Federal Government cannot exercise powers in external affairs which are not delegated to them by Her Majesty's Government.
§ Mr. Griffiths
Let me put it this way. Would the Federal Government, for example, be entitled on some issue of foreign policy to pursue a different policy from that of Her Majesty's Government?
§ Mr. Griffiths
Therefore, the final control in external affairs rests with the Government here, and if the Federal Government wanted to do something which was not in conformity with the policy of Her Majesty's Government the authority would be withdrawn.
What, in effect, my hon. and learned Friend is saying is that when we are creating this new Federal Government we should make it much more clear in the Bill or in the Orders in Council that these powers are reserved. His view, and my view, is that the best way to do this is not by Orders in Council, but by the Bill.
Finally, I wish to say a word about the composition of the Legislature. The Secretary of State is quite right in saying that in the original proposals the present composition was embodied. The Secretary of State knows that because the composition had to be inserted at that stage special provisions to safeguard the Africans were made which have since been removed. Had they provided a Constitution in which there was an equal number of Africans and an equal number of Europeans, they would not have bothered about an African Affairs Board or a Minister. It is because in this partnership there is to be a senior and a junior partner that it is absolutely essential, in their view, to have these special provisions in order to ensure that the African is safeguarded.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
The right hon. Gentleman said that the safeguards have been removed, or he thinks that they have been weakened. They have certainly not been removed and I, personally, think they have been strengthened. That is where we differ. The right hon. Gentleman must not say that they have been removed.
§ Mr. Griffiths
If I said that they have been removed I was at fault. What I meant was that some of the particular safeguards in the final scheme have been removed, such, for example, as the Minister and some of the powers of the African Affairs Board. The right hon. Gentleman, I know, thinks that the existing safeguards are stronger than the original ones.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I should like to refer to the freezing of the Exclusive List, which is a new protection, and also to the Affirmative Resolution procedure of this House, which are both new and greatly strengthened safeguards for the Africans.
§ Mr. Griffiths
So far as those things have been incorporated in the scheme they are an improvement, but I was thinking, in particular, of provision for African representation inside the Government through the appointment of the Minister, and through the powers of the Minister and of the African Affairs Board. In my view, those things have been weakened, and, therefore, there was a case for reconsidering the position of the Legislature.
Last week we sought—and I thought we put our case without exaggeration— to get the Government to accept an Amendment which would ensure that there would be African representation within the Federal Cabinet. We were perfectly frank about it. We realised at this stage in their development that not only one of them should be in the Cabinet, but that someone with more experience than they should also serve.
I believe that having weakened those safeguards we were entitled to raise this question of the composition, and I only wish that the Government had been ready to respond to this. I would not tie myself to equal representation because I know the difficulties about that. It is because I know the difficulties that I say again, and all my colleagues share my point of view upon the retention of the Minister, that while there is a senior and a junior partner we must be the trustees of the Africans. But have we not surrendered so much of the power of the trustees in the changes that have been made that it may be found in future that we cannot safeguard as much as we could have done under the original scheme?
1275 I have not sought to define partnership. The only recent definition we have had of it is that of the Archbishop of Canterbury, to which the Secretary of State referred. The Archbishop said:There has been a demand for a definition of 'partnership.' I have doubt whether it is possible to give a definition. I think it is more than anything else an attitude of spirit applied continuously in practice as one thing or another comes up. But I do not think you can anticipate the general questions which will arise for solution and say how they must be solved by partnership.I will give a definition of my own. I would define partnership as having two heads: first, a settled purpose to do everything possible with mutual good will for the progressive social, intellectual and moral advancement of the African peoples. That, I think, we all accept. Secondly, the inevitable result of partnership must be that the proportionate place held by Europeans will steadily diminish and the place occupied by Africans will steadily increase as the results of economic development and educational and social development have their effect."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 2nd April, 1953; c. 602.]One of my disappointments is that from Rhodesia and from the Government we have had no affirmation that there is only one inevitable and desirable end to a partnership, namely, ultimately to lead to full democracy. If we could have that assurance many of the fears would be removed. We have not had it so far, but I hope that before the debate ends we may get it.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ Sir R. Acland
The right hon. Gentleman has accused us of inconsistency because we have moved an Amendment suggesting a constitution for the Federal Legislature which is different from that which was suggested in the original scheme brought out at the time of the Labour Government and accepted by us, not in every jot and tittle, but as a practical suggestion worthy of consideration.
I think that the weakening of the other African safeguards which has taken place in the hands of the present Government since that scheme was brought out can be regarded as a justification for our changing our view about the composition of the Legislative Assembly, but there is another point; not only have we to take words into account but we have also to take deeds, and when the officials' report was brought out some three years ago I, for one, confidently expected that the 1276 three or four year period which would elapse between the publication of that report and the implementation of any Federal scheme would be used to put through many deeds translating partnership from a vague aspiration into a concrete reality.
If those deeds had taken place between that date and this, it might by now seem not intolerable to introduce a Legislative Assembly with a high proportion of European members in it, but as there have been almost no deeds in these last three years advancing towards partnership, as the discussions on the subject broke down entirely, it seems to me that we are being at any rate not inconsistent in asking that assurances of future advances towards partnership shall be given in the form of a higher proportion of African members in the Legislative Assembly than was proposed in the original report.
Passing from that point, I feel it right to answer the suggestion made once again by the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport) that we on this side of the Committee are the enemies of the whites, because as often as that false accusation is made against us it ought to be specifically answered, otherwise it will appear that we are accepting the truth of the charge by default.
It is, of course, the fact—and I make a present of this to the hon. Member— that we on this side of the Committee do not desire that the white minorities in Africa shall have quite such untrammelled powers as large numbers of those white minorities would themselves wish to have. We cannot possibly escape from that position, which we make clear in debate after debate on one aspect after another of the great African problem.
But I would make this point, and I hope that the hon. Member for Colchester will appreciate the sincerity with which I make it; this does not mean that we are the enemies of these white minorities. On the contrary, we appreciate the work they do and the efforts they make and, above all, looking into the future—perhaps 25, perhaps 50 years—to the days in which, as the Archbishop of Canterbury said in the quotation which my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) read, when ever-increasing power will be in the hands of the African majority, we 1277 earnestly hope that all the qualities, the abilities, the skills, the technology, the sense of administrative responsibility, which exist among white people, all those great gifts and many others, will be available to these great African countries.
§ Mr. Alport
I am very glad the hon. Member has made that point. What I said was that the impression which is given very often in Africa is that the party opposite is the enemy of the European communities there, and I hoped that that impression would be corrected in the debate.
§ Sir R. Acland
In all humility, we believe that we look to the long-term interests of the whole of these communities and the white elements in them with perhaps a little more objectivity than do some hon. Members opposite and than do some of the white peoples now living in those countries, who must naturally be conscious of their short-term difficulties and short-term self-interests, which must often conflict with the long-term interests.
The last time this subject was debated the wise words of Miss Margery Perham. in her letter to "The Times" of 8th June, were quoted. She wrote:It is no defamation 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.Those who think that this statement contains great truths are not to be regarded or described as being the enemies of the white people in these African lands.
I come to a point in which I find myself in disagreement with my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget). I am sorry that he has left the Chamber for a moment. I must say that I did not share his satisfaction with the speech which we heard from the Government Front Bench to-day, for I felt that the right hon. Gentleman fell below the level of the opportunities which are available to him in these discussions on so many important points relating to this Constitution.
I understand, although I regret, the position into which he and the Government have got themselves, in which they have to regard this Federal scheme as being almost of a treaty nature—one 1278 which cannot be amended without going back on the moral obligations which the Government have undertaken. Although I regret that they have placed themselves in that position, I understand why he is obliged to resist those Amendments which necessitate a reopening of all the discussions which have taken place with the leaders of the three territories concerned, particularly the leaders of Southern Rhodesia.
I felt, all the same, that he might have shown a little more active and vigorous sympathy with the spirit of the Amendments which we have moved. On the day of our last debate on this matter, "The Times" spoke strongly in terms of which I thought the right hon. Gentleman himself might have taken note. I am sure every hon. Member has read the words, but I do not think they have been quoted in the House, and I should like to do so. After describing exactly the position in which the Government are bound at this stage in the discussions to resist Amendments, "The Times," in its leading article, said:Yet the Colonial Secretary will commit a grave error if he does no more than this.It means, do no more than resist Amendments more or less mechanically because of their inconsistency with the discussions which have gone on with the African Governments.
The article continues:It is not to the letter of these Amendments but to their spirit that he has to address himself—and his voice should be heard all over Central Africa. He must say in words stronger than any he has yet used that the decisive test of the new constitution is that it shall preserve and extend the rights of all the inhabitants of the Federation, whatever their colour or race; that partnership shall be founded upon equality before the law and of opportunity—and facilities—to advance without discrimination.The right hon. Gentleman can speak charmingly and very eloquently when he is on a subject on which he feels deeply. Indeed, I well remember—this was nearly three years ago—when a matter of the National Theatre was discussed. It happened by chance to be my week to do "The Week in Westminster." I remember with what pleasure I described the charm, eloquence and real spirit with which the right hon. Gentleman discussed this matter, and the determination which he showed that this thing should go forward to a happy conclusion. I am 1279 sure that the right hon. Gentleman will remember that occasion with great pleasure.
How very differently I would feel at this moment if he, with all the authority that he has—let us be clear about this— with the white rulers, as they very soon will be, of this Central African Federation, used the same kind of eloquence about this matter as he showed in connection with the National Theatre. They are much more likely to be influenced by words from him than by any words from any hon. or right hon. Gentleman on this side of the Committee.
If the right hon. Gentleman had been able to say with real spirit and determination that co-operative organisation would be pressed forward, if he showed a determination that trade unions should go on from strength to strength, and if, while saying that we must reserve powers of deportation, he expressed regret at the deportation of Michael Scott and said that so far as he had any influence deportations would not be used merely to remove from the Territories those whose views happened to be a nuisance to the existing Government, the writer of "The Times" leading article and I would feel very much happier then we do today, after his rather uninspired handling of the theme raised by the Amendments.
Before I conclude, I want to draw attention to one other matter which is covered by the Amendments, and particularly by that which deals with the composition of the Federal Legislature, which will have the dominant say on matters of major industrial development. It has been one of the chief arguments for Federation all the way through that with Federation we can attract foreign capital for economic development and that without Federation we cannot do so. It has been almost taken for granted by those who have used that argument that economic development of the kind which would be sponsored and undertaken by foreign capital would be beneficial to those Territories and, in particular, to the African majorities who live in them.
That does not necessarily follow. Whether any particular part of economic development is or is not beneficial to the great African majorities of these Territories depends enormously on the way it is put through and the extent to which 1280 real, genuine African co-operation in the development is sought. It depends also on the purpose we have in mind in the economic development. Have we in mind that, first and foremost, European shareholders and directors are to get good money, good salaries, good positions and good jobs and that as an almost incidental by-product, out of taxation raised on company profits, we may be able to build a few schools and hospitals and a few Africans will be able to attend them? Or are we thinking of development aimed at raising the whole social life of African communities?
On this point I want to quote a few words which, again, I suppose the majority of hon. Members now present have read, but I do not think those words have been put on the record of this Committee. They are:Nothing could be more conducive to frustration and zenophobia than that the great mass of Africans should stand aside while people from outside develop their country and raise their standards of living for them…. African opinion views with mixed wonder and dismay the portents of economic development. Africans are impatient that they cannot participate more actively and they suspect that the developments may not be designed for the benefit of Africans…. It is as communities that their co-operation"—that is, the co-operation of Africans in economic development—is required since a mob of de-tribalised workers with no social cohesion and no community spirit will achieve little in the campaign to improve their conditions.That is not written by a Left-wing idealist on this side of the Committee who has no experience or knowledge of East African affairs. It comes out of Dispatch 490/52 by the present Governor of Uganda. I seriously believe that the kind of consideration mentioned in those crucial sentences will have a better chance of being taken into account if the trade unions were strengthened and a better chance again if we had increased representation of Africans in the Legislative Assembly which will be dealing with major industrial developments. For all those reasons I regret that the Government feel inclined to resist the Amendments.
§ 8.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Hector Hughes
We are all agreed that the Bill, the Amendments and the debate are of very great importance to the Rhodesias and to the white and 1281 coloured peoples not only of Africa but throughout the world. I am glad that the debate has been restored to the high level which such a topic deserves, and that we have passed from the personal note which was struck rather discordantly a little time ago. I beg the Committee to continue to consider this great topic according to the noblest of principles.
The Secretary of State seems to pin his faith to an Order in Council in a way which seems to miss the real point in our Amendments and in the speeches supporting them. The point seems to be that the Bill should be fuller, more explicit, more informative and more like former federating statutes in the British Commonwealth of Nations. The secretive manner of this skeleton Bill is unfair not only to the Africans concerned but to Britons in this country and to the inhabitants of the whole Commonwealth of Nations. This is well calculated to arouse the suspicions which, in fact, exist in Africa concerning it. Further, the lack of explicitness is contrary to the best constitutional principle and practice and is at variance with most other federating statutes in the British Commonwealth. Africans and Britons alike are entitled to have the scheme fully before them in the form of a Bill which can be amended, rather than in the form of an Order in Council, with which the Secretary of State is so much enamoured.
The Amendments would give this skeleton Bill flesh and blood, would breathe life into this dead Bill and give it vitality to work and to win success like the other federating statutes in the other parts of the British Commonwealth. The words of the Clause sought to be amended about Government and Legislature are indecently bare. Theyprovide for the establishment of a Federal Government and a Federal Legislature,These words are bare bones. They give no indication of what sort of federal legislature, what is to be its constitution, how many members it is to have, what are to be their qualifications, how they are to be elected. The Clause as it stands is quite inadequate. The answer of the Secretary of State is that all these will be attended to in the Order in Council. That was not the procedure adopted when federation was proposed for other parts of the British Commonwealth of Nations.
1282 Our Amendments ask for nothing new. They are well based on precedent. There are in the British Commonwealth many excellent models at which the Government might have looked when drafting this Bill, many federal statutes and constitutions which answer all the questions I have just asked. Our Amendments seek to add words which will answer some of these questions. They will complete the Clause sought to be amended and make sense of it.
One of our Amendments seeks, after the word "Legislature," to insert words on the lines of an earlier model, words which will indicate the kind of legislature which it is sought to set up. The words are: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.Another of our Amendments seeks, after "Legislature," to insert words which are also descriptive of the kind of Legislature. The words are:in which there shall be an equal number of Europeans and Africans.These Amendments, in my submission, will complete the Clause and make explicit the democratic intentions of the Government with regard to this Bill.
I, therefore, support these Amendments because they are clear, explicit, factual, and accord with constitutional precedent. The Clause as drawn is defective, confused, far from explicit or factual, and conflicts with previous British constitutional precedents. This is a constitutional matter which should not be the subject of party feeling such as that which was exhibited earlier today.
I ask the Secretary of State, in absentia, if he will divest himself of his preconception about these Amendments and consider them afresh on their merits, and consider them in the light of the precedents in various other parts of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Those precedents have succeeded. Some have succeeded better than others. This should 1283 be a non-party matter. I do beg the Secretary of State to consider this matter on that basis.
Our Amendments are essential because this Bill, unlike its predecessors, is too streamlined. This Clause is a good indication of the Bill in what it expresses, but, more particularly, in what it withholds. The words are mere skeletons. "Provide for the establishment of a Federal Government." How is it to be formed? We are left at large. "Federal Legislature." How is it to be elected? What are to be its powers? We are left at large. Three observations should be made upon these obvious questions. One is that the Amendments answer them; the second is the Amendments answer them according to precedent; and the third is we should be guided in this matter by precedents which have been eminently successful in other parts of the British Commonwealth.
Contrast the former models with the wording of this Bill. Similar problems of drafting were presented on the earlier occasions which arose in various periods of British history when federation was then implemented with clarity and has since been worked with success. Look at some of the earlier statutes briefly, now operating with such success in other parts of the Commonwealth. They were explicit and they have worked well. They were frank and they have won support. They were democratic and they have tended to consolidate the British Commonwealth and Empire.
But this bare boned skeleton will have —I hope not, but it may have—the very contrary effect of causing disaffection in the Territories concerned and may tend towards trouble in the British Commonwealth. These Amendments recognise that a constitutional machine is to be set up which should be defined in the statute setting it up; otherwise it cannot and will not work with good will. It will not gain the public support which is essential for its success. Look at the earlier models and note how explicit they were.
§ Mr. Hopkinson
The hon. and learned Gentleman refers to examples. When the Malayan Federation was set up in 1946, it was necessary to repeal the Straits Settlements Act of 1866, and the British Settlements Acts were applied instead. 1284 The Bill iself did not refer to the Malayan Union, but a White Paper was laid at the time and was debated. An Order in Council followed the Bill which was debated at the same time as a White Paper containing the details of the Constitution. That went through, and the Malayan Federation was set up. Unfortunately, it did not appeal to the Malays, and the thing had to be rescinded in a year. Next came the Federation now in existence, which was put through by Order in Council, in precisely the same way as we are doing now.
§ Mr. Hughes
lam obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for referring to the Malayan Federation, which is a much more modern one and departs from the series of precedents—indeed, the Minister is overborne by the weight of evidence— the series of precedents, which are all the other way.
§ 8.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Fenner Brockway
Did my hon. and learned Friend notice that a year after this proposal for Federation was introduced it was so much opposed by the people of Malaya that a new proposal had to be introduced, and does he not think that might prove to be a precedent on this occasion?
§ Mr. Hughes
I am very much obliged to my hon. Friend for drawing my attention to that. He will recall that I did say a little earlier that one of the essentials of the success of federation anywhere is that it should be of such a kind as will win the good will of the people subject to it. My submission here is that this streamlined, skeleton scheme of federation is not of a kind which will win the support of the people who will be subject to it, and it is therefore likely to be a disintegrating rather than a consolidating influence in Africa.
The instances to which I was about to refer the Committee and, more particularly, the Minister, are, first, the New Zealand Act, which had over 100 Sections. This Bill has only two. The Canadian Act had 150 Sections. This has only two. The Leeward Islands Act had 33 Sections. This has only two. The Australian Act had 128 Sections. This has only two. The South African Act had 152 Sections. This has only two. The Irish Free State Treaty and 1285 Constitution together consisted of 101 Articles. This has only two. More recently, those for India, Pakistan and Ceylon were long, explicit and careful models, the very antithesis of this bare-boned little Bill which does not indicate the kind of constitution to be set up.
In my submission, this Bill is incomplete, and the Amendments which it is sought to insert are such as will help to complete it and to give it a better chance of working with success.
The New Zealand Act is a very good example which contrasts with the present Bill. It was entitled:An Act of Parliament establishing Provincial Councils and a General Assembly in New Zealandin 1852, designed to grant a Representative Constitution to New Zealand. It consisted of 100 Sections. Section 2 established six provinces in New Zealand; Section 3 provided for the establishment of provincial councils, each of which should consist of no fewer than nine members.
Section 32 was in the following terms:There shall be within the Colony of New Zealand a General Assembly to consist of the Governor, a Legislative Council and a House of Representatives.Section 33 provided for the appointment of members of the Legislative Council being not less in number than 10. There is nothing of that kind in this Bill. Section 40 gave power to summon a House of Representatives to consist of not more than 42 members. There is nothing of that sort in this Bill.
I shall not trouble the House with more of that New Zealand Act. This is a very brief adumbration of only part of the New Zealand Act, sufficient to contrast the present incomplete Bill with that past constitutional Act which was worthy of its task and has done well and brought peace, brotherhood and success to New Zealand. I want to see federation a success. To achieve this we must have a Bill which is explicit and complete, a Bill which will attract the support of the people who will be subject to it. This Bill, as drafted, may cause trouble and may wreck federation, which has worked so well elsewhere. In my submission, Government policy in this matter is short-sighted, anti-democratic, and indeed autocratic, and a grave peril 1286 to Britain, Africa and the Commonwealth.
I have here particulars, with which I shall not trouble the Committee, of the Canadian Federation Act of 1867. That also was a good model which the Government would have done well to follow. It also gave details of the kind of constitution that was to be set up. I also have details of the Leeward Islands Act of 1871—another good model which the Government could have followed, because it gave details in a factual way which would attract the support of the people who had to live under it.
Again it is my duty to point out to the Committee that this skeleton Bill is incomplete and the Amendments which it is sought to incorporate in it are essential to make it workable. The same applies to the Australia Act, 1900, another excellent model. Here again is the contrast with the present Clause. I shall not trouble the Committee with the details of it. The same applies to the South Africa Act, 1909, which I have here, and with which I shall not trouble the Committee. I have already mentioned the Irish Free State Constitution. I shall not trouble the House with that. But the same argument applies to them all.
All down history, the successful instruments of federation in the British Commonwealth of Nations were those which incorporated in the Statute the details of the constitution to be set up. The statute, according self-government to India, Pakistan and Ceylon are recent and still in our memories. We recall that they were each detailed pieces of legislation, drafted with care, learning, humanity and dignity, each worthy of a great constitutional occasion, and as constitutional instruments of freedom and progress.
They contrast with this Bill which is slim in every sense of that sinister word, furtive in the hidden evils it conceals, suspect by all because of its skeletonic ambiguity, a departure from the decent designs of precedent, rushed through and thrust upon an unwilling people. The Bill needs the Amendments which have been proposed from this side of the Committee to make it at all workable, and I hope that in the interests of good statesmanship, sincerity and good government, the Government will reconsider their attitude to these Amendments in order to 1287 make the Bill approximate, even in a distant way, to its great predecessors which have brought federation with such great success to other parts of the British Commonwealth of Nations.
§ Mr. Dugdale
I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment in my name and that of my hon. Friends on the understanding that the Amendment which appears later—page I, line 10, after "Legislature," insertin which there shall be an equal number of Europeans and Africans.—will be called and that there will be a Division upon it.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Sir F. Soskice
I beg to move, in page 1, line 10, after "Legislature," to insert:to be elected on a franchise which shall be subject to the approval of the Secretary of State and any change in which shall be subject to the like approval.In form, it is the purpose of this Amendment to insert these words in Clause 1 (1, a) of the Bill. In form again, what the Amendment purports to do is to write into the Bill those changes already in the draft scheme with regard to franchise and to go a little bit further, but further in a very important particular, than what appears at present in the Federation scheme.
May I, at the outset, say this in moving this Amendment? I submit to the Committee that when we get on to the topic of franchise we really are touching the very nerve and root of this scheme. I am reminded of what the Northern Rhodesian African representatives said at the Victoria Falls conference. They said that they would be willing to consider the scheme provided that the subsection on partnership had been defined and when so defined had been put progressively into operation. I am sure the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs will agree with me when I say that the working out of the concept of a real representative franchise lies at the root of any partnership scheme in the real sense. Without a live franchise, partnership must be a purely dead notion. It is with this all-important topic of franchise that my Amendment deals.
1288 Perhaps I might remind the Committee how the matter stands at present in the draft scheme. The arrangement is set out on page 16 of the scheme, and it is that for the first General Election, which is to be held when the Federal Legislature is to be set up, the existing franchise is to apply. If one asks what the existing franchise is one finds that in Southern Rhodesia—this matter is well-known because it has frequently been alluded to in our discussions about the scheme—only 4,000 Africans are on the register to represent an African population of two million, and there are 129,000 Europeans of whom 50,000 are on the electoral register. That is the scheme which is to operate under the terms of the federation for the first General Election in Southern Rhodesia. On page 17 we find that the existing electoral arrangements are also to operate in Northern Rhodesia and that in Nyasaland the franchise is to be governed by regulations to be made by the Governor-General.
Paragraph 16 provides that the Federal Legislature may introduce amendments and changes in the existing franchise system. If such changes are introduced, they have to be passed by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the total membership of the assembly and they have to be reserved for the signification of Her Majesty's pleasure. What I seek to do in this Amendment is to write into the Bill a requirement that, when formulated, the Order in Council shall contain a provision than any electoral franchise which is to be applied not only for future General Elections but also for the first General Election and any subsequent changes that are to be made in that franchise shall be subject to the approval, and under the continual scrutiny, of the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
I hope that we shall not be met by the stone wall with which we have repeatedly been confronted in our debates that the Secretary of State has already committed himself so far that he can make no change in the Federation scheme as it is at present formulated. That is a very sterile and wholly unjustifiable answer. As I have said before in these debates—I hope the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs will agree with me—if the Secretary of State and he have committed themselves to a scheme which has defects, then they have acted with an extreme of unwisdom and it is their plain and patent duty, if 1289 that is the situation, when the defect is pointed out to them in the course of our debates, to go back and renegotiate that part of the scheme which contains the defect with those with whom they have already negotiated the draft scheme. Therefore, I hope that we shall not be met by the simple barren answer that nothing can be done at the moment.
I also hope that we shall not be met with the answer that the right time to discuss franchise is when the Order in Council is before the House. That is too late. When the Order in Council is before the House no Amendment can be introduced into it, and we have either to accept it lock, stock and barrel or to reject it in toto, and if we disapprove of the electoral arrangements as disclosed in the Order in Council we are completely powerless to do anything about them. It follows that now is the time for us to discuss the franchise arrangements upon which the federal legislature is to be based.
I hope this is the basis upon which the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs will reply to us. If he is going to take refuge in the answer that he cannot now do anything because he has already unwisely committed himself to the scheme so far that he cannot alter any portion of it, I hope he will at least take this opportunity of telling us what the Government's intentions are about the franchise. We want to know that, and it is quite obvious that the question of franchise is a subject upon which the Government must have pondered long and deeply, as well as all those who are committed with the Government to the formulation of this scheme.
Therefore, it emerges as a subject of crucial and first rate importance which must have been thoroughly examined by the Government, and a subject on which the Government must be in a position, if they are to measure up to their responsibilities in this matter, to pronounce on their intentions. If the Government cannot accept the Amendment, I ask the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs to say what are the intentions of the Government with regard to the franchise.
May I follow that up by saying that I have pointed out what the existing franchise system is which under the terms of the scheme as applied for the purpose 1290 of the first General Election. I would ask the Minister to agree with me that it should be altered, because the existing franchise, which returns 14 out of the 26 elected members for Southern Rhodesia, is not a satisfactory franchise to form a permanent feature in this Federal scheme. In the course of its administration, there must be an alteration unless the term "partnership" is a merely empty phrase. A new franchise system must be gradually and rapidly introduced, which will provide for real representation for the African population of 2 million in Southern Rhodesia.
In Nyasaland I suppose it will depend on regulations, and in the three Territories it is urgently necessary and of first-class importance that a scheme should be formulated for a franchise which will progressively give the Africans a greater measure of responsible representation in the composition of the Federal Parliament. If that is right I ask the Minister, what control is he retaining over the setting up of the franchise structure?
Without, I hope, incurring the risk of being called anti-European—that is a cowardly accusation which hon. Members opposite are too ready to throw at my hon. Friends and it is an accusation which I entirely reject; I was very glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Gravesend (Sir R. Acland) repudiated it —may I observe that a federal franchise in Southern Rhodesia, which gives the white population such an enormously preponderant influence and will continue unless changed to give the white population such a large preponderant influence in the return of 14 Southern Rhodesian members, must obviously be unsatisfactory.
But is there really any likelihood that, unless the Secretary of State intervenes and makes his influence felt in the direction of producing some change in the system, the scheme which is to be operated for the first General Election will be changed for coming General Elections? It would be a matter of the greatest misfortune if that scheme, blocking, as it does, to all intents and purposes,, the growing measure of African representation, is to obtain not only for the first General Election, but for many General Elections to come. If that is so, this scheme, if it is introduced and made to operate, will remain something which 1291 is utterly sterile, unreal, and unable to cope with the developing situation in that part of Africa.
I hope, therefore, that the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs will agree with me that it is in the interests of everybody concerned that something should be done progressively to moderate and amend that franchise set-up as it at present exists in Southern Rhodesia. And the Southern Rhodesian representation, be it remembered, is the largest representation in the proposed assembly. The elected representatives in the proposed assembly are to be 26, and 14 of those —that is to say, more than half—are to sit for Southern Rhodesia and are to be elected upon that franchise which, I fear, may remain the franchise for the Federal Parliament for a long time to come unless the Secretary of State intervenes to change it.
I want to follow that by asking the Minister a question. I have looked carefully through the scheme and through the report which accompanies it, which is Command Paper 8753, to find some indication as to the intentions of the Government in regard to the franchise. Unless something escaped me, the only reference in the report, which, after all, gives some indication as to how it is intended that the scheme is to work, is that contained in paragraphs 42 and 43. I shall be grateful if the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs will indicate what is meant by the proposals contained in those two paragraphs. I shall not read them, but they indicate that it is proposed that there shall be two stages in the implementation of the Federal scheme.
The first is to be a preparatory stage and, according to paragraph 42, during that there is to be a temporary Ministry which will be concentrating largely during this stage on setting up a Government machine and preparing "the interim electoral law." What is that interim electoral law to be? What is to be its form and what is it to provide? Is it a law which is designed to change the franchise? If it is designed to change it for the first general election, paragraph 2 would seem to be in conflict with paragraph 16 of the scheme to which I referred earlier and which provides that the existing franchise is to govern the first general election.
1292 Will the Minister please tell us what is meant by that? Paragraph 43 says:The second stage will start, probably not later than the date when the interim electoral law is ready, with the official coming into force of the Constitution together with the necessary transitional provisions. During this stage the elections will be held and the temporary Ministry will increasingly take over day-to-day governmental functions.As I have said, it is possible that I have missed some reference to the working of the franchise, but that is all I have been able to find. What does that mean? What is the interim electoral law to be? Is it to govern the first General Election? If it is, or if it is to govern any subsequent election, in what way is it proposed that the interim law is to differ from the existing law which, according to paragraph 16 of the scheme, is to govern the first General Election?
I hope that the Minister will be able to indicate clearly what the Government envisage as being the franchise system which in the future, both in the near future and the more distant future, is to govern the electoral arrangements for the new Federal Parliament. If he does not give us a detailed account of that. I suggest that he has been seriously lacking in his responsibilities if he has not yet thought out this fundamental feature of the Scheme. The whole Scheme rests upon it.
The hon. Member behind the Minister is laughing. This really is not funny. We on this side treat the matter seriously, even if the hon. Member does not. I am glad to see, however, that he does, and that he withdraws the grin with which he greeted what I said before. I hope that the Minister will treat the matter seriously because that is how we on this side regard it.
What we seek to do in the Amendment, in the wording we have chosen, is to provide that the Secretary of State is to be the approving authority, not only for the first franchise set up, but also for any change in it. The wording we have chosen is designed to give him not merely a power to veto the franchise scheme. Under the existing Federation scheme any proposed measure of change, being reserved for the pleasure of Her Majesty, can as such be subject to a veto.
We desire to go a little further than that and to put into the hands of the 1293 Secretary of State, as Her Majesty's principal adviser in this matter, a power actually to initiate and activate proposals for change. We felt that the right hon. Gentleman ought to have it in his power to bring about changes from the existing system, for the reason that I have given: namely, that we feel there is a serious danger that if there is not some initiating power in the hands of the Minister, the existing scheme, which we on this side think is wholly unsatisfactory, will probably continue to be operated.
Speaking from this side of the Committee, I do not venture to suggest what should be the actual form of franchise. I am conscious that there are grave difficulties in formulating an actual franchise scheme. Obviously, it is a matter that must be carefully thought out, and for that very reason we are entitled to a full and detailed answer from the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs giving the results of the Government's ruminations upon this subject.
For those reasons, I hope that the Minister will be able to say that he can accept the Amendment. If he does, it will greatly reassure, not only my hon. Friends on this side of the Committee but, I feel sure he will agree, African opinion and the opinion, European and African, throughout various countries and in this country which is concerned as to the future operation of the Federal scheme. If the right hon. Gentleman can accept the Amendment—or, at least, if he cannot accept it, if he makes a statement which will reassure the apprehensions which are at present entertained— he will have done a very real service to the Committee and to all those who are interested in the future of this Federation.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker (Smethwick)
It seems to me that the Amendment is needed in the Bill for reasons of logic and of justice. First, to touch briefly on the question of logic, as I read the scheme there seems to me no doubt that changes in the franchise in future would be reserved subjects which would be subject to the direct approval of the Secretary of State.
As I see it, any change in the franchise would mean a constitutional Bill. as defined in paragraph 144 of the 1294 Federal scheme, and, therefore, would be reserved. Even if that were not so, the African Affairs Board could, obviously, easily make any change in the franchise, subject to the approval of the Secretary of State, if they thought it in any way was detrimental to African interests. And so I presume that any change in the franchise in the future would be subject to the approval of the Secretary of State. Therefore, it seems a matter of simple logic that if changes in the franchise must be subject to the right hon. Gentleman's approval, a fortiori the original scheme, which is very much more important than changes in it, should also be subject to his approval.
The Amendment also has relevance to the point, raised by my right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Neepsend (Sir F. Soskice), of the interim period before the full Constitution comes into effect and has been got going. I share my right hon. and learned Friend's great difficulty in understanding how it is intended that this interim period shall be worked. By definition, there will not be safeguards. The safeguards in the Constitution come into operation only when the Constitution is there. Therefore, in the interim period the safeguards will not be operated.
None the less, things will have to be done in this interim period which are the sort of things for which the safeguards were inserted. Consequently, the Secretary of State in this interim period will have an immense responsibility to see that the spirit and the letter of the Constitution, as it finally comes into force with all its safeguards, shall also operate in this interim period.
I cannot understand any more than could my right hon. and learned Friend quite what happens to the interim franchise, but it clearly is possible that a franchise will be introduced in this interim period, when there will be no African Affairs Board. That only comes into operation when the full Constitution is working. Therefore, if the Secretary of State is to exercise the very great responsibilities that will fall on him to make sure that this is justly and properly run he must have the powers to do so. He will not have those powers unless this Amendment is incorporated in the Bill.
1295 9.0 P.m.
It seems to me that the nature of the first franchise under this Constitution will be of vital importance. It is perhaps the most important single factor of all. It will make a great deal of difference to the general atmosphere in which Federation comes into existence—the general attitude of Africans and others towards it—if this is a good, progressive, forward-looking franchise on a common roll and with a fair and reasonable composition. It will make a vast difference to the atmosphere.
If the consent of the Secretary of State is needed for the introduction of the first franchise, that will arm him with very great influence and enable him to make sure that this first franchise is of such a sort that it will give us the best possible chance for a good and happy launching of Federation and of the Constitution. I therefore think this Amendment is one of very vital importance. If the Secretary of State does not have the power to put into the Bill or into the Order in Council the powers intended to be given him by this Amendment he will not be able to discharge the duties he owes to us in this Committee and to the population, black and white, in this area for which we are legislating.
§ Mr. R. W. Sorensen (Leyton)
I endorse all that has been said so far, particularly because I think it is highly necessary in order to go some way towards minimising the very great suspicion on the part of Africans to place the responsibility for the franchise on the Secretary of State in this country.
I do so because we have to recognise that the Southern Rhodesian Government have not set a very good example of what may be pursued when once they have larger powers under the proposed Scheme. So far as Africans in Southern Rhodesia are concerned there is a literacy test, plus a monetary and a property test. I believe I am right in saying that at present franchise of Africans rests not merely on their ability to read and write but also on whether or not they have capital of £500 and an income of something like £240. If that is the standard already prevailing in Southern Rhodesia, we are justified in assuming that the Southern Rhodesian citizens in the new Scheme will do their utmost to establish 1296 the same criterion throughout the whole Federation area.
I know that it has been said that even under the existing franchise in Southern Rhodesia far fewer have exercised their franchise than could have done. I am quite aware of that, but at least until comparatively recent years the percentage of voters in this country—who are literate—has been extremely small. I know that there have been county council elections in which 8, 9 or 10 per cent. of the total electorate have voted. But we have not proposed because of that that the vote should be taken away from the other 90 per cent. We have expressed our regret and dismay that only 10 per cent. or thereabouts have shown any civic interest in county council affairs, and we have gone on to try to educate the others to use their franchise better at the next election. We have succeeded in securing a much greater response.
Therefore, the argument that only a small percentage of the Africans entitled to vote in Southern Rhodesia have exercised the franchise is to me not a sound one. Moreover, I would suggest that at least something can be said for the argument that because the Africans in Southern Rhodesia have heretofore been in such a minority in elections that they have been seized with a sense of futility and have thought it hardly worth while to trouble to vote. A great opportunity is presented to the Secretary of State to encourage Africans to recognise the significance and responsibility of the franchise by saying at once that he disagrees with the criterion of property or income.
The right hon. Gentleman may perhaps agree with the criterion of literacy but if he agrees with that and not with the other two qualifications I hope he will say that the franchise for Africans under the new scheme shall be on that basis. I would say in passing that I do not necessarily say that literacy should be the only test, for in our great sister Power of India, now fortunately inside the Commonwealth, where millions were illiterate at the last election, they nevertheless had the most successful and largest democratic election in history. They surmounted the illiteracy difficulties by means of symbols which, in spite of a great deal of preliminary criticism, worked very well indeed on the whole. 1297 I suggest that even that might be considered in regard to the extension of the franchise for Africans throughout the whole of the projected Central African Federation.
Be that as it may, if it is felt that some kind of test is required, I submit that the literacy test is all that is required. There is no assurance that that will be the sole test. One can understand why, because it is highly probable that the Southern Rhodesians would object to the withdrawal of the existing financial and property qualifications. In those circumstances is it not a responsibility on the part of the Secretary of State to set an example and give some reassurance to our African friends that although they may have disagreed so strongly and energetically with the scheme as a whole he will prove his interest in their well being from a political standpoint by insisting at once that the basis of the franchise shall be much more generous than that which has been sustained in Southern Rhodesia up to now?
One argument that has been used today and might be used in connection with this proposal, and indeed in regard to the whole Bill, is that we must not suggest that it is impossible to trust our kinsmen on the spot. I am sure that quite a number of hon. Members opposite have used that argument and would use it again, and a good deal of what I might call, I hope not uncharitably, synthetic indignation has been expressed today at the mere idea that we suspect the possible infiltration of South African personnel who, if they infiltrate even more than they have done up to now, might try to prejudice the whole scheme in favour of a more contracted and restricted franchise throughout the whole of Central Africa than now obtains in Southern Rhodesia.
No one suggests that the South Africans are not valiant or courageous men nor does one believe in the fallacy that they are all in favour of apartheid. It may not be accepted by the majority, although it seems to be. Certainly the severe form of apartheid to which Dr. Malan gives his support may not be acceptable to the great majority. But we have to recognise that there has been a considerable immigration of South Africans many of whom do hold these very severe apartheid convictions.
1298 In these circumstances, is it not worth while that, before they can secure that power which can implement their apartheid convictions, we should from this side see to it that Africans are guaranteed. as far as we possibly can guarantee under this scheme, against that contraction of their civic rights which we know full well they intend, if they can, to achieve?
The argument that, because South Africans fought with us in the war, we should not criticise them now is untenable. The Russians fought with us in the last war. Does anyone, therefore, suggest that it is discourteous, unkind or irrelevant to criticise Communism? If we are prepared to recognise, as we do, the valour of Russian forces in the last war, and the fact that they were fighting for what we believed were sound principles, but, nevertheless, we criticise their political convictions, we can do the same in regard to South Africa, without being accused, as we have been accused today, of being anti-British, anti-white or anti-European, or of trying to disparage the courage and valour of those who fought with us in the last war. I hope that argument will not be used again, because it is an unworthy one.
On the other hand, we must recognise that there are a large number of Europeans in Central Africa who may be prepared to have a wider franchise than that which operates in Southern Rhodesia, but who may be deterred from their advocacy by the fear of Europeans who do not possess the same convictions. If, therefore, the Secretary of State in this country could define and describe what shall be the terms of the franchise for Africans themselves, those who fear to express themselves can be relieved of that fear, and can, to use a colloquialism. "pass the buck" and declare that it is the responsibility of the home country.
Indeed, it should be the responsibility of the home country, because we ourselves already retain a certain amount of administrative power and power in regard to the native populations in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. If we do that, it is for a reason. Whether it be that we suspect danger to the Africans if all their affairs are left to Europeans is not for me to say. What I do claim is that if, in fact, we are retaining in direct British 1299 control certain administrative functions in respect of native interests, there is a reason for it. Whatever that reason may be, it is as operative under the proposals in regard to the franchise as it is operative in regard to the administration of native affairs in their own particular area.
There is one other point I should like to mention. Whatever may be our convictions regarding the advance of self-government in the Gold Coast, we must recognise it is highly improbable that Southern Rhodesians would have sanctioned the granting of such powers. Thus we are aware of the outlook on the part of many Southern Rhodesians to the status of Africans, on the one hand, and on the other, the disagreement with Southern Rhodesians which, I understand, is shared on that issue by both sides in the House. That is yet another reason why, because we believe we are above the local racial battle and because it is a fact that we could exercise authority and make decisions that are not involved in heated prejudice, responsibility should rest upon the Secretary of State himself to determine what shall be the scope and nature of the franchise for Africans immediately the scheme is put into operation.
I conclude by hoping that the Minister who will reply will go some way towards meeting us. I am not suggesting myself that we should necessarily say there shall be no limitation, but the Minister at least can say that he will see to it that the initial franchise for Africans shall be purely a literacy test. Because I am afraid that large numbers of Europeans in Central Africa, whether of British or Afrikaan stock, would not even agree to that, but would want to preserve or to extend the existing property and financial qualifications, I suggest that one way by which a great deal could be done to restore the waning confidence of Africans is to say that for a given period at least the basis of franchise shall be purely a literacy one. That would go some way to restoring the confidence between the Africans and ourselves which at the moment is so weak.
§ 9.15 p.m.
§ Sir Leslie Plummer (Deptford)
The Minister will be aware of the emergence already in Central Africa of new political groupings and new political parties 1300 among the white people. Some 10 days ago, the "Manchester Guardian" published a very important article from Salisbury describing the way in which Afrikaners coming into the Territory were now trying to develop a new Democratic Party described by them as an instrument to oppose the negrophile—it is not my word, but theirs—policy of the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia.
Quite clearly, there is emerging as a result of the efforts on behalf of Federation a new line by all political forces. The Federal Party, led by Huggins and Welensky, is now seen to be faced by an Afrikaan Party consisting of men who are determined to take into this new federated country a political philosophy alien to our philosophy and which is practised in South Africa by the Nationalists.
The language being used by these people and by the opponents of the Democratic Party in defence of their own party is not, if I may put it as conservatively as I can, designed to appeal to the African people. If, as is now happening, the Afrikaners are saying to the Federalists, "We are going to oppose you because you are too kind to the Africans," then there is a tendency for the Nationalists to say, "Hey, we are not so kind to the Africans at all; we do not like them any more than you do."
Those of us who are engaged in the political battle in this country will recognise that those are the sort of errors of over-simplification which are likely to be made whenever a political battle is going on. But the net result is very serious for the Africans who now and in the future are to have a franchise which robs them of political expression and power to protect themselves against that form of racialism which is the basis of the Democratic Party.
This Amendment, which I support, gives the Government an opportunity to say to the African people, "We are really seriously concerned about the depth and measure of the opposition you are showing, and it gives us a chance of making clear to you that most of your misgivings are groundless."
The thing that worries me particularly is that Federation, without proper safeguards for the political future of the African people, has had the deplorable result of putting the whole system of indirect rule in jeopardy. There is no 1301 dispute between either side of the Committee as to the desirability of indirect rule. Both sides are pledged to its continuance, as, indeed, we must be, because anything else but indirect rule means, of course, that we go to a worn out and hopelessly costly system of Government.
Unless there is an opportunity presented to Africans of being able to express themselves through a franchise which is acceptable, their opposition will take the shape of refusing to co-operate in the maintenance of indirect rule. Look what is happening today. In Northern Rhodesia, chiefs upon whom we are totally dependent are being deposed because they are refusing to co-operate, because they are worried about the future of themselves and their people under the terms of this scheme. In Nyasaland, although the figures of deposed chiefs seem to be in some dispute, it is clear that indirect rule is breaking down.
If any of my hon. Friends wish to pay tribute to the Europeans in Africa, they can do so through the medium of indirect rule. Those of us who have lived in the country have seen the way in which chiefs and district officers and district and provincial commissioners have carried on the Governments of the country and have looked after the welfare of the African people through this wholly acceptable form of indirect rule, which is dependent for its success on absolute sympathy, understanding and confidence on both sides—the confidence which is now being destroyed and which this Amendment gives an opportunity to the Government to restore.
I do not know whether hon. Members appreciate how absolutely dependent the future economic success and political advancement of the country is upon the maintenance and improvement of the relations through indirect rule. "The Times" correspondent, writing from Fort Rosebery on 7th February, wrote these words—and they are of very great significance:These regulations can, in practice, be enforced only by the Native authority—that is, by the chiefs, who are being closely advised on these matters by Congress officials. If they should begin to set their advice over that of the administrative officials there would, of course, be a breakdown of the whole system of indirect rule in rural areas.1302 That would mean the breakdown of the whole system of Government as it is understood, for there is nothing to put in the place of indirect rule.
Hon. Members on both sides would reject direct rule. We turned our backs on it 50 years ago and we cannot go back to it; it is immoral, inefficient and costly. We must, therefore, maintain indirect rule literally at all costs, and the cost to us now is to take a step which removes from the minds of the African people this suspicion that a rejection of an Amendment such as this is an indication of a refusal on the part of the Government to trust the African in the direction in which he should be trusted. We have seen what happened among the Bamangwato, where we have destroyed indirect rule. It is not a pleasant picture. It will take years and years before the spirit of confidence which once existed between tribesmen of the Bamangwato and the central authority is restored.
I beg the Government not to follow that example and not to get into a situation where this carefully fostered spirit of indirect rule, this confidence which has been built up between the people, is destroyed because we are not prepared to amend a scheme of Federation which is manifestly failing in what it should do.
To get that confidence back is a simple thing. All that the Government have to do is to accept an Amendment like that which has been moved, as a demonstration to the African people that though their suspicions may have been founded in the past only too solidly on the absurd and indeed violent things said by some of the advocates of Federation in Africa, this House of Commons will restore that confidence by acceptance of the Amendment.
§ Mr. Hopkinson
The two Amendments which we are discussing are limited to a comparatively narrow point compared with the very wide field of most of the Amendments and Clauses which we discussed before. It is certainly a rather narrow field but, as hon. Members have pointed out very clearly in their speeches, it is a very important field of discussion.
Both Amendments deal with the question of the franchise on the basis of which members of the Federal Assembly are to be elected, but there is a major difference between them. The Amendment in the name of the hon. and learned Member for 1303 Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) proposes an entirely new system from that laid down in the agreed scheme. The system of election in this scheme goes back to the original Officials' Report of March, 1951, in Annex VII of which, I think it was, suggestions were made for arrangements for the election of both the elected members and the members chosen to represent African interests. That was further developed in the draft Federal Scheme of April, 1952.
The original proposal of the Officials' scheme was that the method of election for the Federal Legislature should be based on the methods of representation at present used in the three Territories. There was in that scheme apparently to be no difference between first elections and subsequent elections. This proposal has, in fact, remained intact in the present scheme, in so far as elections to the first Federal Parliament are concerned. I shall have something later to say about the questions which are raised in the report of the conference on which the right hon. Gentleman opposite sought information.
There has been a departure from the original scheme in regard to the permanent arrangements for election. This departure first appeared in the April scheme of last year and it provides that, except in regard to Nyasaland, the Federal Legislature will be empowered to adopt its own electoral law, subject to the reservations which will be found in paragraph 16, sub-paragraph (2) of the present scheme. I gathered up to now that that was fairly well understood on both sides of the Committee. But from the speeches which were made today, particularly by the right hon. and learned Member for Neepsend (Sir F. Soskice), it has appeared that hon. Gentlemen have not understood that the Federal Legislature will draw up an electoral law as one of its first acts.
The point I wish to make about the Amendment of the hon. Member for Leicester, North-East, is that at no time has it ever been suggested, as proposed, that elections should take place on a franchise loosely drawn up on certain principles formulated by the Secretary of State, which is what the Amendment suggests. Apart from that, the Amendment goes right outside the Federal scheme. I do not propose to go into 1304 detail, but it would constitute a retrograde step, not only for the self-governing Colony of Southern Rhodesia, but also for the Protectorate of Northern Rhodesia, to go back to a scheme of remote control from Whitehall.
The main Amendment we are discussing, which was moved by the right hon. and learned Member for Neepsend, is of a different character. It reproduces in somewhat different words what is already in the scheme. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Neepsend has said that the intention of the Amendment is to provide that the Secretary of State should be the approving authority under the existing form of election and in the future. I have looked at the Amendment very carefully. The wording is that the election is to be… on a franchise which shall be subject to the approval of the Secretary of State and any change in which shall be subject to the like approval.That is, the approval of the Secretary of State. I cannot see that that contains any power for initiating changes in the franchise, but if the right hon. and learned Gentleman would care to explain it a little further I should be glad to give way.
§ Sir F. Soskice
As I explained, the Amendment which I moved goes beyond the Federal scheme in that the Secretary of State is to be the approving authority for the first as well as the subsequent franchise arrangements. The Federal scheme, as I understand it, at the moment provides that the existing franchise is to apply to the first General Election, and that the Federal Parliament may but is not bound to change the franchise arrangements for the purpose of subsequent elections. What I propose in my Amendment is that for all elections, the first and every subsequent one, the form shall have the approval of the Secretary of State. That means, in the sense of his being the initiating approval. The approval which actually commends the form has to be obtained from the Secretary of State.
§ Mr. Hopkinson
I still cannot see how the formula in this Amendment contains any provision for initiating changes or initiating methods of election.
§ Sir F. Soskice
May I explain? If a change is proposed to the Secretary of State and he does not like it he will say, "I do not approve of this change." As he has to approve of each franchise for every election, unless they then alter the change that they propose and submit something else he does approve, there will not be any franchise or election, and there has got to be an election, and the Secretary of State has to approve some franchise. It follows that the franchise will have to be in a form which pleases him.
§ Mr. Hopkinson
The position at the moment is that as regards the first election the approval of the Secretary of State has been given in this scheme, and it will be conducted on the present system in Southern Rhodesia; it will be conducted on the present basis in Northern Rhodesia; and as far as Nyasaland is concerned power will be in the hands of the Governor-General to lay down the arrangements with the agreement of the Governor of Nyasaland. That, as I understand it, is the present arrangement. As regards the future, it is quite clearly laid down in the Federal scheme, in paragraph 16 (1) that:… the Federal Legislature will be empowered, subject to the provisions of this Scheme, to make provision for the election of Elected members. …That means that there will have to be an electoral law, and the preparation of the electoral law will be one of the functions of the interim Government.
§ Sir F. Soskice
The Federal Parliament is empowered but not obliged to. It can retain the existing electoral law, and the existing electoral law, I submitted to the Committee, was highly unsatisfactory for the reasons that I gave.
§ Mr. Hopkinson
If the right hon. and learned Gentleman looks at the scheme again he will see that the reference is to transitional provisions for Southern and Northern Rhodesia, and transitional provisions for Nyasaland. It makes it quite clear that there is intended to be a new law. That is the intention of the Secretary of State, and it will certainly be the intention of the Federal Government. There will be a new law, and that law will be subject to the approval of the Secretary of State; any modifications afterwards will equally be subject to his approval. Not only that, but they will 1306 also be subject to the approval, and at any rate scrutiny, of the African Affairs Board, who will have the power and duty to draw attention to any differentiating aspects of the measure under which Africans might be subject——
§ Sir F. Soskice
I am sorry to interrupt again, but this will be the last time. If the right hon. Gentleman maintains that my Amendment does not go beyond the Federal scheme as at present prepared there can be no objection, such as he and his right hon. Friend have previously urged, to writing my Amendment into the Bill. It does not go beyond the scheme and could, therefore, be perfectly well included in the Bill, and we shall be very content if it is.
§ Mr. Hopkinson
There is one important reason why it cannot be included in the Bill, which is that the Federal scheme lays down certain methods of amending the Constitution. We know what those methods are—a two-thirds majority, matters reserved for the Secretary of State, and, if there is disapproval by the Territories, coming before the House of Commons——
§ Mr. Hopkinson
I am saying, that is the provision with regard to amendment of the Constitution; and that will be the provision in regard to any amendment of this franchise. They will have to go through that process——
§ Mr. Griffiths rose——
§ Mr. Hopkinson
Perhaps I might be allowed to explain. They will have to go through that process and will eventually come before the House. That is the process which has been laid down for the whole of the rest of the Constitution.
§ Mr. Hopkinson
It is laid down with regard to any amendment to the Constitution, if the hon. Gentleman looks at paragraphs 144 and 145.
§ Mr. Hopkinson
What I am saying is that this particular section in the Constitution is not necessarily sacred, and any amendments altering this section in the Constitution would have to be made by the method prescribed in paragraphs 144 and 145, or by paragraph 16 (2). If the words proposed in this Amendment are written into the Bill, any revision in that respect can only be carried out by an Act of this Parliament. It means introducing a totally different arrangement for amending a provision of the Constitution, and we see no reason for pulling this provision out and writing it into the Act in this way.
The Committee will have noted that in addition to these safeguards there is the safeguard provided in paragraph 16 (2) and the safeguard provided by the right of the African Affairs Board to scrutinise any change of franchise, or indeed any initial franchise under the legislative law, which is not acceptable. Any property clause, or anything else attached to it, is subject to the African Affairs Board and to approval by the Secretary of State in the initial electoral law
In addition to that, there is a further safeguard under which in the case of Nyasaland they cannot be brought into the scheme at all unless and until the Governor of the Nyasaland Protectorate so decides. So there is a series of safeguards written into this scheme which will form part of the constitution as attached to the Order in Council. I am only too glad to give the Committee a firm assurance that these three points will be fully covered in the Constitution.
I had several other questions addressed to me by the right hon. and learned Member for Neepsend and by the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) which I should like to deal with because they are questions of importance. The right hon. and learned Member for Neepsend asked me whether I could give any indication of the Government's intentions with regard to the franchise. I think that I covered that point when I explained that it is for the Federal Legislature themselves to introduce their franchise law after the first election. I therefore cannot give any indication of the Government's intention because it will not be the responsibility of Her Majesty's Government to initiate that franchise. But it will be our intention to watch over 1308 it very carefully as it comes to us and to scrutinise it with the greatest care.
Then the right hon. and learned Gentleman went on to refer to paragraph 42 of the Report, and to ask me how the reference to the preparation of an interim electoral law, under which the first assembly would be elected, fitted in with the arrangement described in paragraph 16. The explanation of that is that the federal law referred to in paragraph 42 is simply the arrangement for carrying out the election. The Committee will remember that the Governor-General has certain duties to carry out under paragraph 18 (2). He has power by regulations to delimit electoral districts, to make any alteration in the electoral laws of Southern and Northern Rhodesia required to enable them to be used in the federal elections and to deal with the physical question of drawing up the list of voters, the preparation of voting booths and things of that sort. That will be carried out under paragraph 42 of the Report by the interim Government.
Another point to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman asked me to reply is what control we are retaining. There, I believe, I have covered the position by saying that there is complete control by the Secretary of State of the electoral law franchise as it will come forward in the first electoral law passed by the federal assembly and in later electoral laws. I entirely agree with the views expressed by the right hon. and learned Gentleman himself and by other hon. Members of the Committee with regard to the importance of satisfying to the best of the ability of us all the Africans' doubts in regard to this franchise.
I would point out that when it has been suggested that the franchise has been raised from one time to another in order to keep pace with the improving economic position of Africans, that would be impossible under the present scheme. It would be quite impossible to do that because it would be subject to the veto of my right hon. Friend.
§ Mr. Dugdale
Will the right hon. Gentleman say how it would be impossible to do it? It was thought to be impossible to make any alterations in the Southern Rhodesian Constitution. It was thought that there would be no discrimination there. It was then suggested that if such alterations were made it 1309 would be to the detriment of Africans. Are we certain that something of that kind cannot happen to this?
§ Mr. Hopkinson
I would not agree with what the right hon. Gentleman says in the first instance, but I am certain that the safeguards retained in this scheme which has been prepared after great thought, will in fact entirely safeguard the position in that respect.
The right hon. Member for Smethwick put another question to me. He asked what was to happen during the interim period, and what safeguards were to be provided before the establishment of the African Affairs Board. I think that is an entirely legitimate and, indeed, important point. It was considered and although it was not thought possible to set up an interim African Affairs Board ahead of the Constitution we sought to keep the number of interim authorities down to the lowest possible number. It was laid down, as will be seen in paragraph 142 of the scheme, thatDuring the period between the establishment of the Federation and the first meeting of the first Federal Assembly, both the legislative and executive powers of the federation will be vested in the Governor-General, and the Governor-General will be empowered to use those powers for taking any action with respect to any matter which will be within the powers of the Federal Executive or Federal Legislature under the Constitution. …
§ 9.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
Would the Governor-General be responsible to the Secretary of State for the exercise of those powers? Presumably, he will not be an arbitrary person. He has no one there to whom he will be responsible, so surely he will be responsible to the Secretary of State.
§ Mr. Hopkinson
If the right hon. Gentleman reads the end of the paragraph he will see that power is given to the Governor-General:….in his discretion, and in relation to any matter …to….decline to accept the advice of the …interim… Executive Council … so … that in that case he will be required to report his views to a Secretary of State and act on the instructions of the Secretary of State.Therefore, during that interim period all the guarantees provided for the Africans will be exercised by the Secretary of State himself.
1310 The hon. Member for Deptford (Sir L. Plummer) raised some important political points arising out of the exercise of the franchise and talked about the possibility of a new Afrikaner Party being built up with an apartheid policy. Frankly, I do not share his anxiety about the possibility of the success of a party of that character in Southern Rhodesia, and still less in Northern Rhodesia or Nyasaland. These people would find it just as difficult to create any effective movement under the new federal system as they have found it in Southern Rhodesia itself where, as the hon. Gentleman knows, the Afrikaner group exercises very little influence.
§ Sir L. Plummer
This fear is expressed by the "Manchester Guardian" correspondent in Salisbury, who warns the Federal Party that unless they look out they will find that the whole bag of tricks will be handed over to Dr. Malan. Those are not my words but the words of the "Manchester Guardian" correspondent.
§ Mr. Hopkinson
I must entirely dispute that view. The poor showing they gave in the referendum is proof of that, and I believe that from the point of view of control of immigration by the Federal Government it will be far less easy for a party of that sort to organise itself in that way in the new Federal territory.
Hon. Gentlemen have referred to the need to secure the co-operation of the Africans in this scheme. Of course, we fully agree with that. I am not as perturbed as the hon. Gentleman is about the dangers of the breakdown of indirect rule. I do not propose to take any risks about this. As the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) pointed out the other day, one must be cautious in these matters. However, I should not say that I am pessimistic about developments in either Northern Rhodesia or Nyasaland. There has been a great deal of exaggeration about the attitude of the chiefs in both Territories.
As I said before, I am very willing to give the Committee the assurance that the provisions of the scheme relating to the franchise, which I have tried to describe, or the safeguards which have been put into the scheme, will be embodied in the Order in Council. I hope very much that in view of that the right hon. and learned Gentleman may feel able to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."1312
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 160: Noes, 173.1313
|Division No. 193.]||AYES||[9.50 p.m.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Grimond, J.||Popplewell, E.|
|Adams, Richard||Hale, Leslie||Pryde, D. J.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Pursey, Cmdr. H.|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Hamilton, W. W.||Rankin, John|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Hannan, W.||Reeves, J.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Hargreaves, A.||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Hastings, S.||Ross, William|
|Balfour, A.||Hayman, F. H.||Royle, C.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S. E.)||Short, E. W.|
|Bartley, P.||Healy, Cahir (Fermanagh)||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Bence, C. R.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Herbison, Miss M.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Holman, P.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Blackburn, F.||Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Hubbard, T. F.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Bowden, H. W.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Sparks, J. A.|
|Bowen, E. R.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Steele, T.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)||Swingler, S. T.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Keenan, W.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Kenyon, C.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Clunie, J.||King, Dr. H. M.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Collick, P. H.||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Thomas, David (Aberdare)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Lindgren, G. S.||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||MacColl, J. E.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||McInnes, J.||Thornton, E.|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Timmons, J.|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||McLeavy, F.||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Deer, G.||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Delargy, H. J.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Viant, S. P.|
|Dodds, N. N.||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C).|
|Donnelly, D. L.||Manuel, A. C.||Weitzman, D.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||West, D. G.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Messer, Sir F.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Moody, A. S.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Morley, R.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Murray, J. D.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Fienburgh, W.||Nally, W.||Wigg, George|
|Follick, M.||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Willey, F. T.|
|Foot, M. M.||Oswald, T.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Forman, J. C.||Padley, W. E.||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Paget, R. T.||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Palmer, A. M. F.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Glanville, James||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Gordon-Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Paton, J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Pearson, A.||Mr. Kenneth Robinson and|
|Grey, C. F.||Peart, T. F.||Mr. Arthur Allen.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Aitken, W. T.||Brooman-White, R. C.||Dormer, Sir P. W.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Browne, Jack (Govan)||Doughty, C. J. A.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Bullard, D. G.||Duncan, Capt. J. A L.|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Bullus, Wing-Commander E. E.||Fell, A.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Burden, F. F. A.||Finlay, Graeme|
|Banks, Col. C.||Butcher, Sir Herbert||Fisher, Nigel|
|Barber, Anthony||Campbell, Sir David||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.|
|Baxter, A. B.||Cary, Sir Robert||Fletcher-Cooke, C.|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Foster, John|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)|
|Bishop, F. P.||Colegate, W. A.||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell|
|Black, C. W.||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)|
|Boothby, Sir R. J. G.||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)|
|Bossom, Sir A. C.||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Garner-Evans, E. H.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Crouch, R. F.||Godber, J. B.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Davidson, Viscountess||Gough, C. F. H.|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N. W.)||Deedes, W. F.||Gower, H. R.|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Graham, Sir Fergus|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Scott, R. Donald|
|Hare, Hon. J. H.||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Shepherd, William|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Harvie-Watt, Sir George||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Hay, John||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Heath, Edward||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Spearman A. C. M.|
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Marshall, Sir Sidney (Sutton)||Stevens, G. P.|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Maude, Angus||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E)|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Holland-Martin, C. J.||Medlicott, Brig, F.||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Hollis, M. C.||Mellor, Sir John||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Hope, Lord John||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Summers, G. S.|
|Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Horobin, I. M.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth. E.)||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)||Oakshott, H. D.||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Odey, G. W.||Touche Sir Gordon|
|Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N)||Turton R. H.|
|Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Partridge, E.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Jones, A. (Hal, Green)||Pearke, Rt. Hon. O.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Perkins, W. R. D.||Wakefield, Edward, (Derbyahire, W.)|
|Kerr, H. W.||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Lambert, Hon. G.||Powell, J. Enoch||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Profumo, J. D.||Wellwood, W.|
|Lindsay, Martin||Raikes, Sir Victor||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Linstead, Sir H. N.||Redmayne, M.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Remnant, Hon. P.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Renton, D. L. M.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)||Wills, G.|
|McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Robertson, Sir David||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Macdonald, Sir Peter||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|McKibbin, A. J.||Russell, R. S.||York, C|
|Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Macleod, Rt. Hon. lain (Enfield. W.)||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas||Major Conant and Mr. Kaberry.|
Amendment proposed: In page 1. line 10, after "Legislature." Insert:
in which there shall be an equal number of Europeans and Africans."-[Mr. Dugdale.]
§ Question put. "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes. 153: Noes. 171.1315
|Division No. 194.]||AYES||[10.0 p.m.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Dodds, N. N.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)|
|Adams, Richard||Donnelly, D. L.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||Hynd, H. (Accrington)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)|
|Anderson, Alexender (Motherwell)||Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Johnson, James (Rugby)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Fernyhough, E.||Keenan, W.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Fienburgh, W.||Kenyon, C.|
|Balfour, A.||Follick, M.||King, Dr. H. M.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Foot, M. M.||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)|
|Bartley, P.||Forman, J. C.||Lindgren, G. S.|
|Bence, C. R.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||MacColl, J. E.|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Gibson, C. W.||McInnes, J.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Glanville, James||McKay, John (Wallsend)|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||McLeavy, F.|
|Blackburn, F||Grey, C. F.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Mann, Mrs. Jean|
|Blyton, W. R.||Grimond, J.||Manuel, A. C.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Hale, Leslie||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.|
|Bowen, E. R.||Hamilton, W. W.||Messer, Sir F.|
|Bowles, F, G.||Hannan, W.||Moody, A. S.|
|Brockway, A. F.||Hargreaves, A.||Morley, R.|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Hastings, S.||Murray, J. D.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Hayman, F. H.||Nally, W.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S. E.)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)|
|Collick, P. H.||Healy, Cahir (Fermanagh)||Oswald, T.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||Padley, W. E.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Herbison, Miss M.||Paget, R. T.|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Palmer, A. M. F|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Holman, P.||Pargiter, G. A.|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)||Paton, J.|
|Deer, G.||Hubbard, T. F.||Pearson, A.|
|Delargy, H. J.||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Peart, T. F.|
|Plummer, Sir Leslie||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Pryde, D. J.||Sparks, J. A.||Weitzman, D.|
|Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)||West, D. G.|
|Rankin, John||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John|
|Reeves, J.||Swingler, S. T.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Robens, Rt. Hon. A.||Sylvester, G. O.||While, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Ron, William||Taylor, John (West Lothian)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Royle, C.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)||Wigg, George|
|Short, E. W.||Thomas, David (Aberdare)||Willey, F. T.|
|Shurmer, P. L. E.||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)||Williams Ronald (Wigan)|
|Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)||Williams W R (Droylsden)|
|Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)||Thornton, E.||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Skeffington, Arthur||Timmons, J.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Sorensen, R. W.||Viant, S. P.||Mr. Bowden and|
|Mr. Kenneth Robinson.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Hall, John (Wycombe)||O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Hare, Hon. J. H.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Amory, Heathcoal (Tiverton)||Harvie-Watt, Sir George||Partridge, E.|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Hay, John||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Heath, Edward||Perkins, W. R. D.|
|Banks, Col. C.||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Barber, Anthony||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Baxter, A. B.||Hirst, Geoffrey||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Profumo, J. D.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Hollis, M. C.||Raikes, Sir Victor|
|Bishop, F. P.||Hope, Lord John||Redmayne, M.|
|Black, C. W.||Hopkinson, Rt. Hon Henry||Remnant, Hon. P.|
|Boothby, Sir R. J. G.||Horobin, I. M.||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Bossom, Sir A. C.||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Robertson, Sir David|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Hutchinson, Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Russell, R. S.|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N. W.)||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Scott, R. Donald|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Shepherd, William|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Bullard, D. G.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Kerr, H. W.||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Lambert, Hon. G.||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Stevens, G. P.|
|Campbell, Sir David||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Lindsay, Martin||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Colegate, W. A.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Summers, G. S.|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Crouch, R. F.||McKibbin, A. J.||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Deedes, W. F.||Macleod, Rt. Hon. lain (Enfield, W.)||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Turton, R. H.|
|Dormer, Sir P. W.||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Fell, A.||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Finlay, Graeme||Marples, A. E.||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Marshall, Sir Sidney (Sutton)||Wellwood, W.|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Maude, Angus||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Foster, John||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Medlicott, Brig. F.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Mellor, Sir John||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Wills, G.|
|Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Garner-Evans, E. H.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Godber, J. B.||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||York, C.|
|Gough, C. F. H.||Nield, Basil (Chester)|
|Gower, H. R.||Oakshott, H. D.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Odey, G. W.||Major Conant and Mr. Kaberry.|
Question put, and agreed to.
The Deputy-Chairman (Mr. Hopkin Morris)
It may be for the convenience of the Committee if the next Amendment, to page 1, line 11, and the one following, to the same line, are considered together.
§ Mr. H. A. Marquand (Middlesbrough, East)
I beg to move, in page 1, line 11. after "Board," to insert:the Chairman of which shall, subject to the approval of the Secretary of State, be appointed by the Governor-General of the Territories.The African Affairs Board to which this Amendment relates is a vitally important part of the proposed new Constitution. It constitutes one of the main safeguards provided in the Constitution for the African population and has been referred to in all the three main documents we have been discussing during the course of this debate. The first outline of the suggested African Affairs Board was referred to in Cmd. 8233 presented by my right hon. Friends in June, 1951. It is the Report of the Conference of officials held in March, 1951.
In that set of proposals the Chairman of the Board was to be the Federal Minister for African Interests.The African Affairs Board"—the document said—would consist, in addition to a Chairman, of three members from each territory, one being the Secretary for Native Affairs, one an official or elected member of the Legislature appointed by the Governor of the territory and the third an African, also appointed by the Governor of the territory.The ordinary members of the Board would be nine members of the Federal Legislature who would be territorial legislators including the Secretaries for Native Affairs. It was to be a powerful body semi-independent of the Federal Legislature.
After that Report was received and presented to this House there was the London Conference in May, 1952. It produced the draft Federal Scheme in Cmd. 8573. In this plan we find already a substantial alteration of the constitution of the Board, in the position of the Chairman. There was to be the Chairman and six ordinary members, but the Constitution was radically changed; none of those persons was to be a member of a Territorial Legislature, as provided in the original scheme; none was to be a public officer. True, none of them was 1318 to be a member of the Federal Legislature; they were still outside that. They were an authority independent of the Federal Legislature, but not carrying the prestige attached to membership of the Territorial Legislatures.
Perhaps even more significant is the fact that in this Constitution the Secretaries for Native Affairs were specifically barred from membership of the Board. The plan said that no public officer was to be a member of the Board. Many references have already been made to the trust which Africans repose in members of Her Majesty's Colonial Service; there is no need for me to repeat them again, they are well-known to every Member of the Committee who has followed these debates. Here we have, in the second Constitution, the dropping from the African Affairs Board of the Secretaries for Native Affairs of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, who are such officers, who are colonial servants and in whom Africans, as we know, repose great trust. They are dropped from the Constitution.
The Chairman at any rate was, however, still to have some association with the United Kingdom Government because the plan said, and these are very important words in relation to this Amendment:The Chairman of the Board will be such person as the Governor-General in his discretion may, with the approval of a Secretary of State, appoint.These are almost the same words as are contained in the Amendment which I am moving, the important words being:with the approval of a Secretary of State. …The second constitution of the Board, though it had weakened it quite considerably, in our view, nevertheless did provide for this continuing link with the United Kingdom and Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies by this particular provision.
When the third proposal was brought forward, Cmd. 8754, there were still more changes made. The Board now ceases to be an authority independent of the Federal Legislature; it becomes a Standing Committee of that Legislature. I know there is something to be said for that; the Secretary of State himself has said it. He said that he regarded it as a great advantage that the members of the African Affairs Board would be able to 1319 speak to the Federal Government from the Federal Legislature as members of the Legislature. I will not discuss those arguments: there is something in them, I agree, though I think there is a lot to be said on the other side.
I confine myself to the Chairmanship. In this scheme it is provided thatThe Governor-General in his discretion will appoint a Chairman and a Deputy-Chairman from among the members of the Board.The Secretary of State has dropped out of the picture. The special link between the African Affairs Board, highly important body as it is, and the United Kingdom Government, has disappeared. We regard it as most regrettable that this specially provided link in the second draft Constitution should have been removed.
The history of this conception of an African Affairs Board, which I have briefly outlined, is one of progressive weakening of its prestige. That is especially exemplified in the character of its Chairman. The Chairman was first to have been a Minister. After that he was to be appointed by the Governor-General after consultation with the Secretary of State. Finally, he is appointed by the Governor-General alone. If it were argued that this was a necessity of the change in the conception of the Board from being a body independent of the Legislature to being a committee of the Legislature, one could understand the argument, but, surely that cannot be the reason for the change. If the Board is still to be part of the Federal Legislature, it would have a Chairman, and the normal procedure would be for a Standing Committee to choose its own chairman and not for the Government to step in and appoint him.
It is the results of these changes which are very confusing and somewhat mysterious, because virtually the same words as are in the Amendment were in the second scheme, and it is not at all clear why they should have disappeared. Is there any reason why these words should not be in the present scheme? I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman to tell us why they were dropped. Was it an accident? Was it a mere matter of drafting which made them inappropriate, or was it deliberate? Did 1320 some member of the Conference object to one of the Secretaries of State taking a special interest in the affairs of this Board? It could hardly be because the Board is now a Committee of the Legislature.
We do not base the case for this Amendment solely on technicalities, however. We put it forward principally because we believe that its adoption would be some small assurance to African opinion of the good intentions of the Government, and, indeed, of those persons of our own race who are to be in the majority in this new Legislature. We know that Africans have, for long years now, placed their trust in successive Secretaries of State for the Colonies. We know that some of those whom they most distrust have proclaimed that they want to get rid of what they call Colonial Office rule, and that that has caused alarm among the African population.
We were told last week that the channel of communication will be the office of the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, and I fear that Africans may take that as meaning that he alone will be responsible for everything to do with the new Federation. We here in this Committee know that the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations is responsible for relations with India, Pakistan and Ceylon, as well as with the older Dominions of Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
We know very well, and I myself know from my own personal experience, that many of his officers are men entirely free from colour prejudice, who are anxious to maintain and cultivate good relations with peoples of other races, and who believe quite strongly in the possibilities of democracy in less developed territories, but, to the African, surely, the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations is the man who maintains consultations with the Government of the Union of South Africa. That is what he thinks when he thinks about the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations.
We have been assured that the two Secretaries of State will consult together, and also that the Secretary of State for the Colonies will keep very close contact with, and indeed maintain supervision over, activities in the Territories of the 1321 special affairs relating to Africans which are to be the responsibility of the Territorial Legislatures.
But is it enough to say that? Is it good enough, when a Federal Government and a Legislature with far-reaching economic powers which will vitally affect the lives and interests of Africans is to be established? Is it good enough merely to say that there will be consultation, that the main channel of communication will be the Secretary of State of whom the Africans have had no experience and whom rightly or wrongly—no doubt wrongly— they distrust?
I ask the right hon. Gentleman to reinsert in the new scheme what was in the draft scheme, and in this way to require that the Chairman of the Board when appointed by the Governor-General shall be so appointed only after consultation with the right hon. Gentleman so that there may be that direct and immediate link, and so that, as it were, the Chairman can look as if he has special and close contact with that Secretary of State whose actions, opinions, policy and general programme in regard to African affairs are most trusted by the African population.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I think I can help the Committee on this matter and that I may possibly satisfy the right hon. Gentleman. The Amendment in the name of the right hon. Gentleman for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) appears to me and to my legal advisers to be unnecessary and to be already covered. If we turn to the Federal scheme we see that paragraph 55 says:The Governor-General in his discretion will appoint a Chairman and a Deputy-Chairman from among the members of the Board.I think this is the point which was raised on the last Amendment and on which we were able to satisfy the Opposition.
The Governor-General has to appoint the Chairman and Deputy-Chairman in his discretion, and those words mean that he is then responsible to the Secretary of State. I am advised, therefore, that the object of the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment is fully covered, and I take it that he put it upon the Paper in order to obtain the assurances I am now able to give. I am very glad he did.
I would also refer the right hon. Gentleman to Chapter IV, footnote 19, where it states:It is provided in paragraph 52 of this Scheme that the Governor-General will act 1322 on the advice of his Ministers except in the exercise of those powers which are stated to be exerciseable in his discretion. In exercising his discretionary powers the Governor-General, while free to consult his Ministers, will not be obliged to do so, or to act on their advice; he will be responsible to the Secretary of State and, subject to that, use his own judgment.I hope that that will satisfy the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Marquand
In view of what the right hon. Gentleman has said, and the general tone of what his right hon. Friend said earlier in reply to the last Amendment, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
The Deputy-Chairman (Mr. Hopkin Morris)
The next Amendment I propose to call is that in page 1, line 11, after "Board," to insert "and." Perhaps the Committee could discuss at the same time the next Amendment on the Order Paper in the name of the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), in page 1, line 11, and the Amendments on page 1689 from that in the name of the right hon. Member for Llanelly in page 1, line 15, to the bottom of the page.
§ Sir F. Soskice
I beg to move, in page 1, line 11, after "Board," to insert "and".
I feel sure that the Secretary of State will be able to give us an answer to the questions which I propose to put to him when I tell him that the series of Amendments to which he has referred are really probing Amendments. We put them down to leave out a series of words to which they relate in order to ascertain what are the authorities, Governments, and so on, which the Government have in mind for incorporation in subsection (1). If the Secretary of State, or the Under-Secretary of State, would be good enough to look at subsection (1) he will see in paragraph (a, i) the words:and such other Federal authorities as may appear to Her Majesty to be necessary or expedient.I can well conceive a number of authorities where it might be expedient, such as the equivalent of the Board of Inland Revenue or the equivalent of the prosecuting authority or something of that sort, and it may well be that the Government have that kind of authority in mind. If that is what they have in mind, I at once recognise that it would be necessary, and 1323 if that is the answer I shall be satisfied, personally, because obviously such an authority has to be set up.
I come to subsection (1, a, ii). The hon. and learned Gentleman will observe that there is reference to "other Governments, Legislatures, Courts and authorities." The object of the Amendments, as far as they relate to this sub-paragraph, is to ascertain what authorities are concerned and with regard to what other "Governments, Legislatures, Courts and authorities" these words are used. No doubt the Government have in mind that it would be necessary to confer some powers upon other Governments, but it is not apparent at first sight, when one looks at the subsection, what is the necessity to confer these powers or what other Government would be involved. I have no doubt that there is some reason which I personally have overlooked, but I should be grateful if the Under-Secre-tary would be kind enough to say what are the other Governments and other Legislatures which he has in mind in using those words.
§ Mr. J. Foster
I think I can answer the right hon. and learned Gentleman in this way: that the Order in Council will correspond to the scheme. There are no Governments or authorities, therefore, outside the scheme. We thought it necessary to make this provision, dealing with the first point, for other authorities such as the Loan Council, Apportionment Commission, and the Interim Public Service Commission. On the second point, the kind of thing we have in mind is that the other Governments would delegate upwards and the Federal authority delegate downwards. Paragraph 48 (3) is a typical instance of the power delegated downwards; it concerns such powers and duties as may be specified under the Order. The right hon. and learned Gentleman can rest assured, because only the things in the scheme will be in the Order in Council.
§ Sir F. Soskice
I am obliged to the hon. and learned Gentleman. The only thing I should like to ask him is this: he says that the other Governments which are referred to are the Governments of the Territories and the Federal Government. I gather that is what he means. I do not know whether he means that Her 1324 Majesty's Government wishes to confer power on itself. He will observe that the Governments of the Territories and the Federal Government are already covered. What is meant by the expression "other Governments"? He will observe that words are included in subparagraph (a, ii), in particular, for the Governments, Legislatures, Courts and authorities of the Territories, and presumably the opening words of the subparagraph include the Federal Government. What I wanted to know, and the point upon which I am not sure he has satisfied me, is what are the "Governments, Legislatures, Courts and authorities" to which reference is made in the intervening words:And on any other Governments, Legislatures, Courts and authorities.Perhaps he can satisfy me on that point.
§ Mr. Foster
That will include Her Majesty's Government, because it may be necessary in the Order in Council to confer power on Her Majesty's Government to take this action. This is only drafting. The right hon. and learned Gentleman can be assured that it is only in the scheme; it is only a way to facilitate the drafting. I do not think he need have any fear at all that anything will be inserted here which is not obvious to the Committee.
§ 10.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Dugdale
I understand that the word "authorities" refers to the list that we have seen. That is all right so far as it goes, but what is the position if, after the Bill becomes an Act, further authorities are set up? Is there complete power to set up authorities of any kind without reference to the Secretary of State? For instance, could an authority such as a Second Chamber be set up? Is there any safeguard to prevent these things happening?
§ Mr. Foster
The instance of the Second Chamber would be a constitutional amendment and therefore would need the procedure laid down for amendment of the Constitution. With regard to any other authority we should have to look at the kind of authority it was and whether it had authority in the Constitution, using the word "authority" in a different way. These words are inserted here from a drafting point of view, because it is intended to set up constitutional authorities in the original 1325 Constitution. It is inserted ex abundanti cantela. Hon. Members can be satisfied that this is only machinery for setting up things in the scheme.
§ Sir Lynn Ungoed-Thomas (Leicester, North-East)
What is intended about the police? Is it intended that they should come under the central authority, or do they remain under the territorial authority.
§ Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas
Does that mean that the central authority will be passing legislation which it will be the duty of the police under the territorial authority to enforce?
§ Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas
Would that mean that the central authority, the Federation, would be passing laws which this country, as the responsible authority for the Territories, would be responsible for enforcing?
§ Sir F. Soskice
I am obliged to the hon. and learned Gentleman for his statement and assurance. In view of what he has said, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. Fenner Brockway
I beg to move, in page 1, line 11, after "Court," to insert:a Federal Human Rights Commission.I should like to associate with this Amendment the new Clause in my name and that of my hon. Friends which reads as follows:The Order in Council shall provide for the establishment within the territories of a Human Rights Commission to consist of not less than five Europeans and not less than five Africans whose duty shall be to report from time to time to the Federal Government on the measures necessary for a reduction of, and the ultimate elimination of all practices of racial discrimination within the territories, and the reports, both majority and minority reports, of the Human Rights Commission shall be laid before Parliament and be printed.
The Deputy-Chairman (Mr. Hopkin Morris)
It may be for the convenience of the Committee that that new Clause be discussed with this Amendment and 1326 also with the second new Clause standing in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) on page 1695 of the Order Paper, which proposes that there shall be no incapacity to hold office on grounds of colour, creed or race.
§ Sir F. Soskice
On a point of order. Does that mean to say that if we desire to vote on the third new Clause on that page, dealing with laws concerning religion and so on, it will not be called separately and we must vote on the second one?
§ Mr. Brockway
All of us who have sat through the debates on this Bill, which have lasted two days on the Committee stage, must have been impressed by the fact that the real issue all the time is not this or that constitutional matter. The real issue the whole time is one of racial relationships and of human values, and the real ground of opposition of the African populations in Central Africa to this Bill, as well as of those of us who are opposing it, is that under this scheme there would be absolute political domination by one minority race.
That opposition to such domination by the European race is intensified by the fact that in the Territories where their influence is strongest, the two Rhodesias, they have an attitude on human values which makes the African of a lower standard than the European in human relationships. I submit that those are the fundamental issues, and that these Amendments are the method by which we shall be able to give some reassurance to the African populations in Central Africa upon that issue.
I should like first to draw a distinction between the African Affairs Board as it already exists in the proposals and this new proposal for the establishment of a Human Rights Commission. The particular function of the African Affairs Board is a negative function. It is to 1327 draw attention to any Bill and any instrument which has force of law which is, in their opinion, a differentiating measure; that is to say, a measure disadvantageous to the Africans. The African Affairs Board operates when a Bill has been introduced and when it takes objection to that Bill.
The proposed Human Rights Commission would have a positive place. Its duty, in the terms of the proposed new Clause, would be to report to the Federal Government on the measures necessary for the reduction and ultimate elimination of all practices of racial discrimination. That is to say, this Human Rights Commission, composed of five Africans and five Europeans, would have the continuous duty of watching the developing situation and of making continuous proposals to the Federal Parliament for the reduction of racial discrimination. Under the terms of this new Clause, its reports would not only go to the Federal Parliament; they would also come to this Parliament, and would be open for our discussion. In that way both the Federal Parliament in Africa and this Parliament here would have the opportunity to make continuous contributions towards the progressive elimination of the colour bar in Central Africa.
Now I suggest that it is a national obligation upon the House of Commons to include within the Constitution of the new Federal Parliament some proposal of this kind. This Parliament has subscribed to the Declaration of Human Rights of United Nations, and the first Article of that Declaration lays it down that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. If we honestly believe in that, we have no right to enforce the new Constitution applying to 6¼ million people—6 million of whom have virtually no representation in this Parliament now being set up—without making sure that our pledged word to recognise the freedom and equality of human beings is fulfilled within the terms of that Declaration.
If Article 1 of the Declaration is not sufficient, Article 2 lays it down specifically that the Declaration of Human Rights shall apply to exactly the kind of constitution we are now considering. Article 2 of the Declaration reads: 1328Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional, or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self governing, or under any other limitation of sovereignty.These terms cover exactly the proposal for the federation of Central Africa now before the Committee, and we shall betray our international obligations if we do not incorporate that principle in the Constitution for Central African Federation; and not only incorporate this principle, but provide the instrument for its application.
Nearly all the Articles of the Declaration of Human Rights are relevant to the Constitution in Central Africa. Article 21 states that everyone has the right to take part in the government of the country, directly, or through freely chosen representatives, but I do not think that any hon. Member on the other side of the Committee will suggest that a Federal Parliament of 35 representatives with only six Africans and three Europeans to reflect their interests, will express the aims of Article 21 of the Declaration. The Amendment now before us would at least ensure this; that as the African population advanced in educational and social standards, this would be reflected in the electoral system. We could approach the full application of Article 21. the substance of which I have given.
"Everyone has the right to education," lays down Article 26. I shall refrain from developing that theme because my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) has a particular knowledge of it and interest in it. But again I say that if we apply that Article of the Declaration of Human Rights, it means that we must so extend African education to all the communities in Central Africa that within a com-partively limited period it will be possible to apply political democracy there.
Other rights laid down in the Declaration are equality before the law, no arbitrary arrest, detention or exile, freedom of movement, freedom of thought, freedom of assembly and of association, equal access to the public service, the 1329 right to work, the free choice of employment, just conditions of work, protection against unemployment and the right to join trade unions. In nearly every instance there is a challenge in the present administration of Central African Territories to those Articles in the Declaration of Human Rights, which we have endorsed. The Commission which we are proposing should be appointed would have the progressive duty of applying within Central Africa the promises and the pledges which we have given to the world.
Let me take just one illustration. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, without distinction of any kind such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. In other words, when this Parliament accepted Articles 1 and 2 of the Declaration of Human Rights, we said that Britain would do everything in its power to end the colour bar and racial discrimination in any territories for which we were responsible.
When we had taken that pledge, we had no right to introduce a Constitution which makes no reference to it. Let me quote these instances. In Northern Rhodesia, the serving of African customers to the shops through hatches in the wall. Northern and Southern Rhodesia: the barring of Africans from European cinemas, hotels and restaurants. Northern and Southern Rhodesia: separate accommodation for Africans on the railways and the buses. Northern Rhodesia: post offices with separate entrances and counters for Africans. Southern Rhodesia: no registration of trade unions of African employees. Southern Rhodesia, again: work certificates and passes to be carried by Africans only.
All those things are an absolute denial of the pledge which we have taken in the Declaration of Human Rights. If we pass over these countries in Central Africa to the new Federal Parliament without inserting in the new Constitution the endorsement of the principle and some method by which we are applying it, it is a moral betrayal in the face of the world and it is a betrayal of the African community, for whom we are particularly responsible.
1330 Perhaps I might draw the attention of the Minister to what is already happening in Northern Rhodesia; to the "Break the Colour Bar Movement"; to the crowds of Africans who are besieging the "Europeans only" doors at the post offices, the hotels, the cinemas; the movement which began at Broken Hill and is now passing on to Kitwe, Lusaka, and Ndoli; a movement which, in the very centre of the Territory which is to have this new Constitution, is beginning the type of resistance which is now being expressed to the colour bar in the South African Union. I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman, before this Constitution passes out of our hands, to see that it shall contain provisions to ensure that this disaster shall not be repeated.
I apologise for delaying for a moment on an issue which has not been discussed yet, namely, the Asian community in the Central African Territories. There are 13,650 Asians in these three Territories. There is no reference to them in the White Paper. There is no suggestion that they should have any representation in the Federal Parliament or in any other authority. In Nyasaland the number of Asians is greater than the number of Europeans—6,000 compared with 5,000. Yet they are ignored. That is an injustice to the Asian community itself. I regret the affront which it is to the Asian countries which are in our Commonwealth of Nations when they are ignored in that way.
What are to be their Human Rights within the Federation? At present they are treated in Southern Rhodesia as though they were third-rate citizens. Racial discrimination applies to them as well as to the Africans. I want to ask one question in particular. Are the Asians to have freedom of movement between the three Territories? The issue If freedom of movement is on the concurrent list. A decision can be made by a Federal Parliament in which there will be 26 European representatives, six African representatives, and not one Asian. We ought to have in this Bill an assurance that among the freedoms which we will embody and apply is freedom of movement between the Territories of the Federation, for which the Indian population is asking.
I recognise that the proposal for a Human Rights Commission associated 1331 with a Federal Constitution is new. I acknowledge my indebtedness to the ingeniousness, the constructiveness, and the liberal attitude of mind of the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale), who made this proposal. I want to emphasise that although this particular proposal may be novel in this form, the obligation of accepting the Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations and finding some way of applying it has been frequently accepted by international bodies, in the constitutions of new States and in treaties of peace. What has been accepted in those ways can be accepted in one form or another in the Constitution we are now discussing.
The Trusteeship Council accepts the Declaration of Human Rights as its guiding principles and has frequently appealed to them when applying human rights in the Trusteeship Territories. The Agreement between the Trusteeship Council and Italy regarding Somaliland in November, 1949, included a declaration of constitutional principles, reflecting the Declaration of Human Rights, and Article X states thatthe Administering Authority accepts as a standard of achievement for the Territory the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10th December, 1948.The Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia contains two Sections incorporating the provisions of the Declaration of Human Rights. The Constitution of Costa Rica, the Syrian Constitution, the Constitution of El Salvador, the Constitution of Haiti all embody the Declaration of Human Rights which has been adopted by the United Nations. The peace treaties with Italy, with Hungary, with Roumania, with Bulgaria and with Finland all accept the Charter of the United Nations and the essential freedoms in this Declaration.
I say that when this Parliament is passing in the Committee stage the Federal Constitution of Central Africa, with those precedents, we also ought to include in that Constitution the endorsement of the Declaration of Human Rights and the Instrument of Right. We are not wedded to the actual proposals in these Amendments. If the right hon. Gentleman can suggest to us some other method by which in this Constitution 1332 the Declaration of Human Rights is endorsed; if he can suggest to us some method by which there may be an instrument for its progressive application until the poisonous colour bar is entirely removed from Central Africa, until freedoms and liberties to which we are pledged are endorsed, then we are prepared to consider an alternative suggestion and to withdraw the actual suggestion in this Amendment. But, I say that this House will be doing less than its duty to the United Nations and to the peoples of Africa unless we do apply the principles of the Declaration of Human Rights and the Instrument by which the principle can be carried out.
§ 11.0 p.m.
§ Mrs. Eirene White (Flint, East)
The proposal which my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Fenner Brockway) has made should commend itself to the Committee, because in these debates we have been discussing constitutional provisions in a country in which it is quite clear that for some time to come governing power will be in the hands of the minority. We have not been able to secure any assurances from the Front Bench opposite that the various safeguards which we think are necessary for the majority population can, in fact, be embodied in the constitutional instrument.
According to the Government, neither on the proportion of representatives in the Federal Legislature nor on the franchise can there be inserted, at this moment, safeguards which would fully ensure that the rights of the majority of the population would be fully regarded. In these countries where there is a multiracial community, with a minority having the balance of power, there is something to be said for what was suggested in a very interesting letter in "The Times" a few months ago by Professor Max Beloff, Lecturer in Comparative Institutions at Oxford University.
Professor Beloff said that one of the ways of meeting this very difficult political situation would be to enshrine in the Constitution some fundamental safeguards of civic liberties and rights, and if one had that kind of legal guarantee, one could with greater equanimity face the period during which political rights may not be fully granted, and it is for that reason that I feel that a proposal along the lines 1333 suggested by my hon. Friend—who made it clear that, if there was a more direct way of putting it into effect, he would consider it—would be an extremely useful way of meeting that unsatisfactory political situation.
I hope the Minister who will reply will not dismiss this idea out of hand, because it is an idea which is being discussed by people who take a very great interest in this matter and it deserves more serious consideration. In circumstances in which it is inevitable that we shall have difficulties in getting anything satisfactory in the way of political safeguards, legal safeguards could be one of the ways out.
I should like to turn for a moment to the new Clause, which, I understand, we are discussing at the same time, on incapacity to hold office on grounds of race. This also should be considered, though not, admittedly, because we have any very great faith in general declarations of this kind. Past experience in Southern Rhodesia leads one to doubt the effect of declarations of this sort inserted into constitutional instruments, but, at least, we think that a declaration of this kind would be more reassuring, and may even have a greater effect than the paragraph on page 39 of the Draft Scheme relating to eligibility for employment in the service of the Federal Government, because the guarantee given in that paragraph—that no person will be ineligible for employment in the service of the Federal Government on grounds of race alone—is, of course, immediately undermined by the next sentence in that paragraph.
It says:In appointing or recommending persons for such employment regard will be had only to their competence, experience and suitability and in determining suitability regard may be had to the circumstances of the locality in which a person would be employed.That might very well mean that no African might be employed in a senior position which involved residence in Southern Rhodesia or something of that sort.
We feel we should at least put it on record that no action of the Federal Legislature, or any of its servants, should be such as to debar any person from holding any place or employment of any kind on the grounds of colour, creed, 1334 or race. That means not only employment in the Federal service by the Federal Government, but employment in other spheres, with which Federal Legislation or administration might be concerned.
I repeat that we do not attach undue practical significance to this because it is extraordinarily easy always, if one wishes, to evade such a provision. It is, nevertheless, desirable we should make this declaration, and, for that reason, we hope this new Clause will be accepted and enshrined in this Bill so that it shall be there for reference on any future occasion.
§ Mr. James Johnson (Rugby)
I shall not detain the Committee many minutes, but I want to add some contribution to the impassioned, eloquent plea made by my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Fenner Brockway) on behalf of the silent, and I emphasise "silent," millions of Africans who will be soon under this new form of Government in Central Africa.
I want to speak on the new Clause concerning the capacity and otherwise to hold office on grounds of colour, creed, or race. I feel that the only test of fitness for office or of capacity for office, whatever the colour—black, white, or yellow —is character, ability, and, above all, a sense of responsibility. This is to be a Council of partners, and the Colonial Secretary earlier spoke of senior and junior partners; not, of course, a partnership of master and servant. For a long time we shall have European domination. To call domination a partnership is like calling a lion a fish, and is not what we should like to see. Partnership can be good or bad, according to definition.
There is Sir Godfrey Huggins' definition and there is Mr. Welensky's definition. Many of us have had the pleasure and privilege of meeting Mr. Welensky. He said this:A partnership is vitally necessary if we are to establish a successful, happy and prosperous State in Central Africa. We Europeans have a very great burden on our shoulders. We have to produce a solution to this race problem. If we fail we shall condemn Central Africa to a racial struggle as big as that in another part of Africa.Sir Godfrey Huggins says much the same thing, but may I quote one sentence from one of his speeches? He said: 1335We do not pretend there is any equality or partnership at the present time, but the native has joined the firm and has his foot on the lower rungs of the ladder.We shall see how far he climbs that ladder in the next year or two; whether, if he climbs it to a certain height, he will find a rung missing, and whether he will have to climb by his hands or jump the intervening gap. We shall see.
We have to change what I call the "cultural equilibrium"; we have to change the social conditions there. I sometimes think that the white society is not quite so culturally balanced as the black tribal society in its native habitat. We say that the native society is backward, but they believe in hard work and hard play, whereas among our white kinsmen there we sometimes find boredom and even snobbery, which I call "status maintenance."
I come now to the question of education, in connection with which my hon. Friend made a kind reference to myself. Education will be the keystone to this matter of partnership in the coming years before this new Federation attains Dominion status, as we all think it ultimately will. I have said before, and I stick to it, that we must have inter-racial education, if not all the way, at least at this moment of time in higher secondary education and the teacher training level in our new University at Salisbury.
The Carr-Saunders Commission said that there should be a multi-racial college or university at Salisbury. But, without looking a gift horse in the mouth, may I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that we had better have a little cautious optimism about it, if not a little cautious pessimism. Let us look where the safeguards should lie in this new University. It is to be built in the residental quarter of Salisbury on a site, I gather, of some 250 acres.
I wish to make two comments on that. First, if it is to be built in the residential quarter of Salisbury, we must make sure that there is no discrimination of any kind with regard to living quarters or study. But, more important still, is the fact that in my view the site will be too small, because, if we look at "The Times" Educational Supplement for this week, we see that they emphasise the importance 1336 of having a farm connected with the new University, because agriculture plays such a large part in the life of the African.
§ Mr. Johnson
I am sorry, Sir Charles, but I was attempting to suggest that if we wish to have no discrimination and to allow the Africans to have access to all the good things in cultural life, we shall need to let them see that we mean to make a going concern of this Scheme.
§ Mr. Hopkinson
The figure should be 1,250 acres, not 250, which will leave plenty of room for the farm.
§ Mr. Johnson
Of course, 1,250 acres is something like the space required. I will get back into order, so let us forget the figure which I thought was 250.
If this University works, as I hope it will, it will be the acid test of the sincerity of the white people in Central Africa. If we make a go of it, we shall convince the six million Africans, who are at present exceedingly doubtful about their future place in this new society, of what we now say we desire to do for them. If this goes through, as I hope it will, it can swing almost the whole tide of African opinion in favour of this new scheme of Federation.
§ 11.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Clement Davies (Montgomery)
I desire to intervene for only a few moments in support of this Amendment, which has been so ably moved by the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway). If I may say so it was one of the most effective speeches that we have heard from him, and he did not lose, but rather gained, by its moderation.
I regard this Amendment as probably the most important one that has yet been moved in this Committee, for it really gets down to what is the real purpose and meaning of the Federation, what is the aim that the Government have, what they hope to achieve, and what lies behind it. Now, according to the Government and to the originators of this, the idea now is that a new Constitution is to be given to Central Africa, the purpose of which is to create a working Constitution in which the Africans themselves shall take some part, and the idea that is emphasised in every one of the White Papers is that there 1337 should be created a partnership between the peoples of Central Africa—a partnership between the Europeans on the one side, and the Africans on the other.
Unfortunately, as the hon. Gentleman for Eton and Slough has already mentioned, there has been no reference whatever to the fact that there were also Asians, but apparently if there had been a reference everyone would have said we also desire to see a working partnership being created between us, Asians, Africans and Europeans. If that is really the sincere desire, here is an opportunity of emphasising that, and making it perfectly plain.
For what is the Declaration of Human Rights to which this Amendment refers? It was brought before the United Nations somewhere about 1946. For two years it was debated and discussed by the nations, and at last, after all kinds of amendments, I believe some hundreds had been debated and discussed, in December of 1948 it came before the United Nations for last consideration— and what happened? It was accepted without a contrary vote—not one. There were eight abstentions, to which I will refer in a moment.
But all of them accepted it, and it was signed on behalf of this country by the representatives of this country, namely, those appointed by the Government to attend at the United Nations on behalf of this country. In fact, this country had been literally the prime mover in bringing about this Declaration of Rights.
Perhaps I may deviate a moment, Sir Charles, to another matter. Time and time again in this House, and especially from the Government side, it has been said, "We are now taking the greatest care, and putting in the strongest safeguards for the protection of these Africans. We know what has happened in the Union of South Africa, and we are not going to have the Africans treated as they have been treated there. We are not the same as the people of the Union of South Africa. We are very different. We are very sorry for what has happened, and that is the very reason why we are setting up this Federation now and taking this great care that every precaution shall be inserted in the new Constitution for the protection of the Africans."
1338 The Minister has stated this very often when the hon. Member for Deptford (Sir L. Plummer) has called attention to the infiltration from the Union of South Africa of a number of Afrikaaners and has said there was the possibility of a new political movement. The Minister has said that, at any rate, this new Constitution can deal with that and that we are so different from others that we can now probably introduce into the Federation legislation which will deal with immigration. All this has been said to emphasise how different we are from the Union of South Africa in our attitude towards Africans.
That is brought to light in connection with what has happened in the case of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We were the prime movers with regard to that. We took the leading part and 48 countries agreed to it and signed it. We signed it. Every member of the Commonwealth signed it, with one exception—the Union of South Africa. They were the one and only member of the Commonwealth who abstained. They were joined in abstention by Russia and her satellites. Therefore, if anyone wants to see what is the attitude of this country to these matters, that attitude cannot be better brought to light and emphasised than by what took place in that case.
We are now framing a new Constitution for these countries and we are actually saying now that we are anxious to assist and anxious to educate the Africans. In fact, the Secretary of State for the Colonies was cheered from every side of the House of Commons when he said that we were to establish a new university where there shall be no discrimination whatever between Africans and Europeans. They will be treated exactly the same. If that is so, then the purpose surely is to bring them to the same state of education so that Africans can take their part in the responsible government of their own country.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights deals with these very matters. The hon. Member for Eton and Slough referred to Article 2 of the Declaration, which states:Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, 1339 birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.We have solemnly pledged ourselves that we in this country believe that.
Our Government have signed that Declaration on our behalf and have said that that is what we desire. But now that we are setting up the new Constitution it is not suggested that these things should be brought into existence straight away. We are told that we shall set up a committee who will see how soon—not immediately—these very matters which are set out in such detail in this Declaration shall be brought into effect in this new federated Territory. Surely that is a matter which ought to be, and can so easily be, accepted. It is really the test of our sincerity when we are saying, as we have said time and again to the Africans, "We are anxious that you should take your part, not only in the Government of the country, but in working out your own destiny, not as anybody inferior but as actual working partners, having exactly the same rights as the Europeans have today." For those reasons, I should have thought this Amendment, moderate as it is, would be accepted by the Government.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
We are discussing a very important Amendment, and I think it would be for the convenience of the Committee if this debate were adjourned and we resumed on Wednesday.
§ The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Harry Crookshank)
Well, it rather surprises me that the right hon. Gentleman should move this at this stage without any further discussion with me. I should like to be quite clear about his intentions. I say that because there have been certain conversations, which, I thought, were to be resumed before it came out in front of the Committee. I do not know whether he would prefer to withdraw his Motion 1340 for the minute so that we could clear up exactly what the situation is.
§ Mr. Griffiths
We understood that the Government think that this Bill must be completed on Wednesday, or that the further stages would be completed on Wednesday. This is a very important Amendment, and what I therefore suggest is that the Chairman do now report Progress and ask leave to sit again, and that between now and next Wednesday rearrange the time left to us. Between now and then the other stages could be considered through the usual channels.
§ Mr. Crookshank
That is quite agreeable so long as the ultimate objective is reached—as I told the right hon. Gentleman privately, and as I announced earlier today on business—that we hope to conclude all stages of the Bill by Wednesday night. How it is rearranged between this Amendment, the next Amendment and the Third Reading is not a matter of which I have any particular knowledge. So long as I am assured by the right hon. Gentleman, on behalf of his hon. Friends, that the object the Government have in mind, of concluding the Bill by Wednesday night—and not late Wednesday night either—is agreeable.
§ Mr. Crookshank
I will put all the cards on the table. The basis on which I was speaking to the right hon. Gentleman was that we should sit until about half-past ten. That was the arrangement which we reached privately, and I hereby confirm it; that we would move the suspension, if it is agreeable to the House, and conclude the debate at half-past ten. If the right hon. Gentleman prefers to report Progress now and so rearrange with his hon. Friends how he wishes to conclude the business, that is quite agreeable to the Government.
§ Mr. Crookshank
If that is the right hon. Gentleman's intention, and it is done in good faith by both of us, I accept it from him and I shall be pleased to accept the Motion.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next.