HC Deb 22 December 1954 vol 535 cc2772-99

12.41 p.m.

Mr. Brockway

I was saying that there were two problems in Malaya, one political and the other military. I urge the right hon. Gentleman to take steps by which the new Government, which is to come into operation in Malaya this year, may have an opportunity, and may not be so heavily committed by expenditure on the jungle war, that it will not have money available for educational, social and economic reforms.

On the military aspect, I would again appeal to the right hon. Gentleman for an effort to end the fighting. I find it difficult to believe that some contact with the leaders of the insurgents could not be made. I believe that if proposals were made for the laying down of arms without the threat of the death penalty, and within a reasonable period a liberation of those in detention who were not guilty of crimes of a civilian character; if citizenship were offered, not before the coming general election, but in a postponed period, say of one year, it would be possible to bring an end to the fighting in Malaya.

I do not want to be dogmatic on these points. I make the suggestion to the right hon. Gentleman which I put in a Question this week, that it is time, in the seventh year of these hostilities, that we should send to Malaya an all-party delegation to examine both the political and the military situation and to make recommendations to this House. The all-party delegation to Kenya did great service, and I believe that a similar delegation to Malaya could, in this situation, contribute an even greater service.

But it is to Kenya especially that I wish to direct the attention of the Minister. There hostilities are in their third year. I wish to take this opportunity to renew my appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to take advantage of the situation, which occurred during the negotiations of last April, to make a new effort to end the fighting. On that occasion it was proved that 1,000 adherents of Mau Mau were ready to lay down their arms. They had gathered together in a certain place. Fighting took place nearby. They thought they had been tricked, so they dispersed.

When one knows that so large a part of the Mau Mau adherents are prepared to lay down their arms, I say that it would be criminal if new efforts were not made to bring an end to the struggle. It is estimated that the total Mau Mau forces are only 7,000. If 1,000 laid down their arms, that action would be followed by others, and an end to the fighting in Kenya could be brought about.

The difficulty is to restore the confidence of Mau Mau, as they thought they had been tricked on the last occasion. I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that there are methods by which that could be achieved. A European and an African could be found who had the trust of the African population. They could begin negotiations; and if such negotiations once more added the end of the death penalty, as was included in the terms of last April, I believe that we should be near the end of the fighting in Kenya.

The second thing upon which I wish to concentrate is the question of the death penalties in Kenya. I asked the right hon. Gentleman to give details of the death penalties imposed upon Africans since the beginning of the emergency, month by month. His answer appears in the OFFICIAL REPORT of last Thursday, in column 192. I say that no one can look at those figures without being shocked. The average number of Africans hanged in Kenya each month during the last four months is over 50, but of those hangings less than one-quarter were for the crime of killing anyone else.

In August-September the total number hanged was 73. The number charged with murder was 2. In September-October, the total number of executions was 52 and the number charged with murder, 7. In October, the number hanged was 35, and the number charged with murder 3. In November, the number hanged was 56, and the number charged with murder 10.

One is not surprised that there is uneasiness in wide circles in this country over this fact, expressed not only in "The Times" and by Christian missionaries who have been in Kenya. How can we retain our moral right to denounce the abominable atrocities and excesses of Mau Mau if we ourselves are pursuing this policy of 50 hangings a month, and less than one-quarter of those hangings follow a charge of murder?

The other charges are unlawful possession of arms and ammunition; consorting with terrorists; administering unlawful oaths and furthering terrorism. The right hon. Gentleman knows of the animosities there are now in Kenya among the Kikuyu, and how easily possible it is—indeed, as recent trials have revealed—with members of the Home Guard having an animosity to other Kikuyu, and being in possession of ammunition, for ammunition to be planted upon someone against whom there existed antagonism.

I have earlier in this House raised the case of an African who was a member of a Quaker mission. He was sentenced to death. It was only because he had friends who were in a position to exert pressure and to bring evidence on his behalf that that death sentence was repealed. Two bullets had been found in a shirt in his hut and he was sentenced to death. How easy it would have been for any opponent of his to have placed those two bullets there. This man had friends and he has been reprieved. But how many hundreds of Africans—or how many tens of Africans, I do not want to exaggerate—who have been hanged had no friends who could take up their case? We must all have an uneasy feeling that an injustice has been done.

The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd)

I hope that the hon. Member will allow me to say that I should deplore it—as I know he would—if the view were taken that only those who commanded influence had justice done to them. The Governor and the other responsible persons review with equal care and agonising appraisal all the cases that come before them, whoever the prisoners concerned may or may not know.

Mr. Brockway

I did not mean to suggest that improper influence had been used, but in the case to which I have referred the prisoner was a member of a Quaker mission. In Kenya and in this country there are Quakers who are friendly to him. Attention could be brought to his case, and his friends had the ability to state the evidence.

But think of a man with no friends; a man without the same ability to put his case, and who cannot call upon others effectively to do so. Whilst I do not for a moment suggest that it was because of the influential character of the representations made on the prisoner's behalf that a favourable decision was reached in his case, I do say that other prisoners who have no friends are not in as advantageous a position.

Because of the limited time, I conclude. We are now in the midst of the greatest progressive social revolution of this century—the arising of the peoples of Asia and of Africa to a position of equality. I hope that Britain will be identified with that progressive revolution. If so, we must change the psychology of African populations over a large part of the Continent. We did it in India at the end of the war and we can do it now, in Africa, if only our policies in the Colonies are sufficiently bold and imaginative.

12.52 p.m.

Mr. Walter Elliot (Glasgow, Kelvingrove)

I am sure that the House is indebted to the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Fenner Brockway) for affording us this opportunity for a further discussion of our colonial affairs, even though it be a short one. I shall do my best to be extremely brief, because there are many other hon. Members who wish to speak. I gladly recognise what a severe curb the hon. Member for Eton and Slough must have placed upon himself, especially when his speech was interrupted by the arrival of the Royal Commission. No doubt there were very many things he wished to say which he had to put aside.

The hon. Member touched upon the affairs of three of our territories overseas—Cyprus, Malaya and Kenya. If he will excuse me, I shall follow him only upon the subject of Kenya, about which I and others who went out there a little under a year ago had certain opportunities to acquire information. The hon. Member was kind enough to refer in approving terms to the work of the delegation. I can only say that it was an all-party delegation and that it reached unanimous findings, which is a rare enough occurrence in these days, especially upon a matter so controversial.

It is now just a year since we were preparing to set out, however, and I do not think that anyone would deny that a great improvement in the situation has since taken place. I refer not only to the military situation. I admit that there are still very great difficulties, and I agree with the hon. Member that it was a tragedy almost beyond words that the arrangements for the surrender of the Mau Mau forces were cut across by an untimely outbreak of hostilities somewhere upon the fringe of the area, which led to the collapse of what then seemed to be a very hopeful initiative.

The hon. Member made special reference to the administration of the law in Kenya, and to a feature of it which naturally distresses us all, namely, the number of trials and executions that take place. It seems to me, however, that the emergency, in a way, has led to one of the greatest colonial developments of the past year—the enormously important initiative which has been taken in Kenya, namely, the setting up of a multi-racial administration. In Kenya—almost uniquely upon that side of Africa—a situation has now developed where Africans as well as Europeans are Ministers; where other Ministers are of Indian origin, and some under-Ministers of Arab origin.

We have here the seed from which I hope will grow a whole new series of administrations upon the eastern side of Africa. I have some acquaintance with the western side, but the position there is quite different. The minorities are tiny in number, and the association of the Africans with the Europeans—as the Africans would be the first to admit—is of very much longer duration, and has carried the Africans very much further, than is the case in the great eastern territories. But here, in the past year, this great thing has been done, and the first thing that we must do is to foster and encourage it in every way.

Given the responsibilities which this new Administration is taking up, it must be regarded with sympathy and understanding. Between this House and the Legislature in Nairobi there is a sharing of responsibility; and this moment is the most difficult of all, because, while we still feel our responsibilities, the Administration there is, naturally, jealous of the new rights which it is beginning to exercise.

Only this summer all the Parliaments of the Commonwealth assembled in Nairobi. A delegation from this House visited that city and was received with the utmost hospitality, as are all who visit Kenya. But, while every word which is spoken in this debate will be reported in the newspapers of East Africa, I fear that we do not get anything like the same meticulous reports of the proceedings of the Legislature of Kenya, in Nairobi. I suggest that the time has now come for us to invite a reciprocal visit from the Kenya Legislature. I suggest that it should consist of an adequate number of representatives—certainly, not fewer than six. I think that the Kenya Legislature can be trusted to ensure that its multiracial character will be reflected in the delegation which comes here.

Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly)

I intervene only to say that I am glad that that point has been made. I express the hope that the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion will be implemented and that we shall have a visit from an all-community delegation from Kenya in the very near future.

Mr. Elliot

I am glad that my suggestion has been echoed from the other side of the House by the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), with his great knowledge and authority. I trust that the all-party character of the proposal will be noted. I am sure that we can safely leave it to the Kenya Legislature to see that the representation of its delegation is adequate.

While it is very important that we should understand Kenya's problems, it is also important that Kenya should understand ours, and a visit to this country might be of great use in that it would enable the Legislature to realise the difference between the local view of its affairs and the view from this country. Kenya is, inevitably, pre-occupied with the strain under which its people are living. All of us who journeyed in that country must realise how pre-occupied anyone living under those conditions must be.

One reads of the most distressing things—a little child snatched from its playground and found dead; a lonely farm shot up or burned. These are most terrifying things; in fact. I think it is very creditable that equable temper has, on the whole, been preserved under these great strains. I know that when we were there one could go to a garden party, with lawns surrounded by rose bushes, like a vicarage here at home, and see an old lady coming round the corner, and at her waist, where normally one would expect to see her knitting, one saw a revolver. In these circumstances, it is difficult for people to keep their eyes focused on the long-distance objective, and for that reason I think it would be a great advantage to them, as well as to us, for a few of them to visit this country at an early date.

A further point is the development of these territories, and the active continuation of the thrust of modern agriculture and modern industrialism which is very necessary. In Kenya and other parts of the world, I have been very struck by the enormous appeal that the industrial Revolution makes to primitive people. We, who have been closely associated with it for so long, are a little inclined to look nostalgically at pastoral people living in agricultural or shepherd surroundings. But that is not the way in which it is looked at there.

To have power in one's hands, the control of the machine, the whole thrust which we felt in this country over 100 years ago, and which was felt in America 50 or 60 years ago—we see that reflected in the mines and factories there. We must see that the Industrial Revolution is brought to them under perhaps easier conditions than when it arrived in this country. But for that, they must have their own leaders, of their own people, to explain these things to them.

I would suggest that as the next step, education—education of the women as well as the men—is of primary importance there. I think we shall find that will be more easy along the line of higher education than along the line of primary education. Education in Europe did not begin with universal primary education in all the schools. When Abelard was lecturing in Paris, his audiences were not based on a widespread system of education among the peasantry of France. Education grows from above to below, as well as from below to above. I am no advocate of the belief that we cannot have higher education until we have universal primary education on which to base it. Therefore, I suggest that this year, or, rather, next year, we might embark upon a proposal which I venture to put forward for the consideration of the Secretary of State.

I suggest that we should institute a group of scholarships, to be held by scholars of each of the communities, that is to say, European, African, Indian and Arab—possibly a small number at the beginning, perhaps 12 in a year. These should be known as Queen's Scholars. I think that it would not be unfitting that they should have that high title in view, among other things, of the very close connection of Her Majesty with Kenya, because it was actually there that she succeeded to the Crown of this country, and of this Empire.

They should, in the first place, I think, if we are to do this quickly, be brought over to this country and educated together as a group in one of our higher educational institutions—one of the universities or technical colleges, according to the scheme worked out by the two Governments concerned. Then we should, as early as possible, try to have this expanded and extended in Africa itself, in the first place at Makerere, or, as soon as possible, in what I hope to see established in the next few years, a multi-racial university in Nairobi itself, where, I think, they would get the coeducation which we realise to be necessary if the races are to understand each other.

But we must keep the swing on the job. I read with distress of the resignation of Colonel Young. I am not at all sure, incidentally, looking at this at first sight, that I share the opinions which Colonel Young holds, as against the opinions of the Government. I think there is a great difference between an African, newly-recruited into the constabulary and someone in this country recruited into our constabulary, with all the centuries of our civil experience behind him. I think it would be very dangerous to put a constable in the British position in a constabulary which is drawn from such raw material—and the executive word is "raw."

We were all impressed by the visit of Mr. Michael Blundell. We are zealous to see the liberal ideas, which he expressed, proper and brought forward. We want to say here that we look with sympathy across the ocean. Especially we want, as I have said, to keep the swing on the job.

I suggest, then, that, in the first place, we should forthwith see about inviting a delegation of their Parliamentary Legislature over here, thereby get the two legislatures in touch. Next year, if possible, we should see whether we can get this annual increment of scholars, which I would put at not less than a dozen, including women as well as men, and which should certainly be a multiracial group, financed from over here.

I think that should be our contribution because, among other things, it would give us a much greater say in the courses and curricula and the progress of the student than we would have if we merely recommended Kenya to add to its very considerable expenditure. I think that as a gift in the new year we should concede a dozen scholarships, working up to 20, and as soon as possible to a still higher number annually, for a course of higher education in this country, with the object eventually of transferring the education of these groups to an African institution.

There are many more things which I would like to say, but I have chosen from them two suggestions which, I hope, may add to the usefulness of our debate this morning.

Mr. A. G. Bottomley (Rochester and Chatham)

In substantially supporting all that has been said by the right hon. Gentleman, would he not agree that the troubles in Kenya are easier only because over 50,000 Africans are detained in prisons? Would he not also agree that the bitterness of those detained and the repercussions in their families are creating difficulties for the future? The Government should show more courage in trying to provide facilities for more effective African leadership.

Mr. Elliot

It may be that that is so. The essence of this debate is for as many hon. Members as possible to express their point of view, and I have limited myself to the two small but important points which I have put before the House.

1.9 p.m.

Mrs. Eirene White (Flint, East)

I will not touch on many points which I should like to deal with because I know that there are others who wish to speak, and if my remarks are in many respects critical that is only because of shortness of time. I feel that I cannot spend much time on emphasising some of the progress which has undoubtedly been made in Kenya in the period since the emergency began.

The tragedy is that so much social progress is being fostered in that country that, if it were not for all the background which saddens us so much, one could have felt that this was a period of relative prosperity for all the communities there. In spite of the progress made, there are some very disquieting matters to which we wish to draw the attention of the right hon. Gentleman.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mr. Bottomley) has already referred to the large number of persons who are still in the detention camps. We fully appreciate the difficulties of dealing with these people, owing to the very large numbers involved, and I understand that considerable progress has been made in screening and in bringing people into their different categories. Until that has been done, it is impossible to have any rational treatment of the people concerned. I think the right hon. Gentleman might tell us how far that process of dividing people into different categories for further treatment and rehabilitation has gone.

I know, from the answers to Questions given in the House, that the actual physical problem of moving from the camps those who ought to be moved to a further stage in rehabilitation has been impeded because of typhoid in certain camps. Is it true that the Mau Mau organisation within the camps, which, we are told, is a fairly strong organisation in all of them, has quite deliberately taken steps to spread typhoid, which is not an impossible thing to do? If it is true, I think the country should know that that has been part of the Mau Mau work in these camps.

One of the great dangers of keeping people any longer than is absolutely necessary unsegregated in these camps is that it gives the Mau Mau organisation one further opportunity of putting pressure upon other Kikuyu who may quite possibly be innocent, detained in error, but who come under the most direct influence of the Mau Mau leaders in the camps. I think we are entitled to know something more about that.

I want to ask the Secretary of State more particularly about the younger people who, I believe, are in detention. I understand that the Mau Mau have what we may call their own call-up system, and I believe that an effort is being made—I should like the right hon. Gentleman's comments on the point—to deal with the younger men in some sort of youth camps, and to give them special training and education, which is of the utmost importance. Could the right hon. Gentleman therefore tell us whether there has been any attempt to segregate young people, who are possibly still in their 'teens, from the older ones, and give them a special chance to become more useful citizens?

Then there is the extremely disturbing series of reports, incidents, hints, and so on, of which the resignation of Colonel Young is perhaps the most significant incident, though there have been a good many others, which, I must say, leave us in this country rather bewildered as to what is really happening in regard to the police and the Kikuyu Home Guard, and the relationship of both to the Administration. The resignation of Colonel Young is a very recent matter, and it has been a very great disappointment to people who hoped that he would be able to complete his work there. I put down an Oral Question to the right hon. Gentleman which was not reached today, but perhaps this debate will give him an opportunity of giving me a fuller answer than he might be able to do in reply to a Written Question.

I have also obtained the sessional paper issued by the Kenya Government last week, but it is not very much more informative than the newspaper reports. It does make it clear, however, that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kelvingrove (Mr. Elliot), who preceded me, was not correct in attributing to Colonel Young the suggestion that all Africans in the police force should be endowed with the rights of constables as understood in this country. On the contrary, according to the sessional paper, Colonel Young suggested that such powers should be given only to police officers of the rank of inspector and above, which, after all is a very important proviso.

I do not think that anyone in this House would suggest that independent powers should be given to any African recruit to the police force in present circumstances in Kenya, but that is not, apparently, the point at issue. It was suggested that it was only the senior police officers who should be given some independence of the Administration, and this seems to me to be an exceedingly important matter on which I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give us a great deal more information.

We saw a report in "The Times" yesterday from its correspondent in Nairobi, from which it appears that one of the difficulties has been that the police have been told by the Administration that, for reasons of expediency, certain arrests, for example, should not take place. That is something on which we are entitled to know a good deal more. If a police officer believes that he has evidence to make a charge against some person regarding a crime, possibly of murder, and he is told by the Administration that he must not make that charge, because it would upset people or be very awkward, the independence of the police is challenged. One can envisage circumstances in which it might be very tempting to say such things, but if we were to allow considerations of expediency to weigh, it would be very difficult to see where these considerations are ever to stop.

Again, "The Times" colonial correspondent, commenting on the matter yesterday, suggested that, other considerations apart, the locally recruited Kenya police reserve is inevitably involved in local politics, and Colonel Young had suffered frustration. It is not surprising that he did, because, if the police is not to be independent of local politics, how can we expect justice in the sense which we in the British tradition consider proper?

Again, there are these stories about the Kikuyu Home Guard, which are most disturbing, because the Home Guard is under the Administration and not under the police. There was an article not so long ago written by a Catholic missionary and published in "New Commonwealth," suggesting that there have been cases of abuse of power recently in Kenya. There was one recently in Nyeri, which is still subject to appeal, so I shall not say much about it, but which, as far as the Supreme Court was concerned, it was accepted that there had been Kikuyu Home Guards who had been illegally detaining people for very considerable periods and using violence, even in some cases to the extent of murder, and that all this had been going on under the supposition that it was being done under the Administration and against Mau Mau.

One of the impressions that we seem to get is that the anti-Mau Mau organisation has now become, in some places, as tyrannical as Mau Mau itself. If that is true—and I say that it is only an impression which we obtain from a series of isolated reports and incidents—it is an extremely serious matter. I know that the Governor recently had something to say about improper detention, but this whole series of events makes one very uneasy as to what really is happening in Kenya between the Administration, centrally and locally, and the police, and I therefore hope we shall be given much further enlightenment.

Colonel Young has just resigned, and, presumably, before his resignation, some correspondence passed and I should imagine that he gave some reasons why he felt unable to continue with the reorganisation of the police force. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman can tell us whether this correspondence is to be made available, so that we may know more about this important matter.

I think that in drawing attention to these matters I have at least done something which should bring to the forefront some of the principles involved in this troubled period in Kenya. After all, there are only two ways, it seems to me, of dealing with matters in British Africa. Either we follow what one might call in short the Union of South Africa policy, or we follow the British liberal tradition. There is really no in-between method. If we are to try to follow the British liberal tradition, then it must be done consistently.

However difficult it may be. I feel certain that once one begins to slide on matters of principle, such as independent justice and independent police action, there is really no end to it, because then one slides into the other philosophy. It is because I feel so strongly on that point, and because I know that many people in Kenya feel strongly on it, that I should welcome a statement from the Minister on it this morning.

1.21 p.m.

Mr. C. J. M. Alport (Colchester)

My right hon. Friend the Member for Kelvingrove (Mr. Elliot) has asked me to say that he intended no discourtesy at all, either to the House or to the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White), by leaving before she had terminated her speech. For him to have remained would have meant a greater discourtesy in another quarter.

I merely wish to deal with one point. Before I come to it, I would say to the hon. Lady that I think she will find that steps are already being taken by the Administration in Kenya to deal with one of the important points which she raised, that of tackling the problem of rehabilitating the adolescent supporters of the Mau Mau movement. Indeed, I remember seeing, with other members of the delegation, a camp run by a very fine young district officer, whose name, I think, was Nottingham, in which he was carrying out precisely the sort of experiment which the hon. Lady had in mind. As that was a year ago, I have no doubt that the example which he set in that camp has extended throughout the Kikuyu reserve.

May I say to the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Fenner Brockway), with whom I have crossed swords on many previous occasions, how much I welcomed the moderation with which he spoke today? May I also say that I hope that over the Christmas Recess he will contemplate how he would have been placed had he been alive nearly 100 years ago and been a spectator of the struggle between the North and South in the American Civil War. In those circumstances, I think he may find that the principles which he enunciates in respect of self-determination in the 20th century might have been very different had he been dealing with the same sort of problem of self-determination for Confederate America in the 19th century.

I want to say in relation to my main subject—and I am concentrating my remarks strictly on the problem of Kenya—that I believe we have reached a critical moment in the affairs of that Colony, not so much in respect of maintaining law and order, but a critical moment in that, unless there is some adjustment of the attitude of all the communities towards the future of the Colony, it is possible that the progress which has been made during the last 12 months may be reversed.

I believe, in particular, that the European community as a whole must realise and must give practical expression to the realisation that the multi-racial experiment is working and working extremely well, and that it deserves their open support, and not, as appears so frequently, their opposition. If they do nothing else, they must do what every politician has to do, and that is to consider the alternative. This was set out very clearly in a leader in "The Times" this morning, which states: The success of the multi-racial Government so far is certainly an augury for the future—when Mau Mau can be overcome. It is impossible to see any alternative should it break down. The British Government"— and I think this goes for both parties— could never consent to the devolution of so much authority to one community alone. The only alternative proposed locally is a federal partitioning of Kenya which would be unworkable. Most people there know as well as we do here that it would be unworkable. The leader goes on: There would almost inevitably have to be a return to Colonial Office rule which would be welcomed by none. From a practical point of view, those in Kenya who have faced with so much courage the dangers of the present situation, must also face the realities of the political situation. They must realise that we in Britain are not going to uphold a political or social pattern of life in Kenya, with the support of money and men from this country, which, for better or worse, has, in fact, already ceased to exist for some years past even in Great Britain.

Africa, as we know, is going through a period—as, indeed, the hon. Member for Eton and Slough said—of social and political transition. That is always an uncomfortable process, and, very often, is accompanied by extremely violent and unpleasant experiences. The experience which Kenya is facing today is not a unique one. It has happened in the life of almost every community. I think that this knowledge may help them to achieve a surer sense of proportion. They must now consider distant policy as well as the immediate urgencies of the present situation—and realise that out of all this disaster and tragedy may come a far happier and more successful future for the people of Kenya as a whole—provided that all the communities are able to adjust their points of view to the changing circumstances which exist in Africa, in general, and in East Africa in particular.

Classes or communities which want to survive in such a period must be adaptable in their outlook as well as united in their resolve. To adapt one's policy in the light of changing conditions is not a sign of weakness or appeasement, but a condition of survival. After the Mau Mau has been defeated, the European community, and, indeed, all the communities there, will have to realise, and must realise now, that they will be accountable, not to those who have organised Mau Mau—as, indeed, they will not, because Mau Mau will be dead—but to the public opinion and aspirations in other sections of the African community. They will have to face the immense problem of finding a pattern for the new relationships—social, political and economic—which are even now coming into being.

Despite anything that can be done or is hoped for by the three communities, African, Asian and European, Kenya is never going back to be the Kenya of 1939, or, indeed, the Kenya of 1949. There may be some who will regret that, and a great many who, when they face these new circumstances, will understand that in the process there have been gains as well as losses.

I believe that now, and not after the Royal Commission has reported or after the Mau Mau episode is over, the European community, in particular, must reconsider its whole attitude towards the problem, for instance, of land. In my view, there can be no secure future for Europeans or Africans while both races are separated from each other in reserves, from which the other is excluded, and as a result of which there is as little contact as possible between the peoples of both races.

I realise that what I am about to say is liable to be misunderstood. The idea of a European reserve such as is represented by the White Highlands is a political and economic anachronism today. Tomorrow, it may very well be a positive liability to the European community. I therefore feel that the time has come for that community to try to see what new form of design, not only for land tenure but of relationship to land use in Kenya can be worked out in respect of both communities.

I believe that there are lines upon which a satisfactory solution for all concerned can be produced, without violating the prejudices of, and without running contrary to, the real, long-term interests of any community. For instance, it would be easily possible to reach a conclusion whereby a willing seller of land in the White Highlands would be permitted to sell that land to the Government, and for the Government to be empowered to grant tenancies over that land to people who were able to reach a standard of efficiency in the exercise of agricultural technique and were considered fit to maintain a reasonable standard of agriculture and husbandry in the use of the land in question. The opportunity might very well be available to all communities, irrespective of race, on a basis of voluntary sale to Government only, and not of any form of compulsory confiscation. I am sure that that might be acceptable to all communities.

What is to happen in the White Highlands? Whatever else may happen, there must come into existence a system of villages, in place of the present squatter system, and those villagers must occupy land in order to exist. If the villagers are to occupy land, even though it is on a tenancy basis, the principle of the extension of tenancy rights to Africans has been conceded. Along those lines there is room for manoeuvre for future policy for the European community.

On the other hand, there is equal importance in reaching a solution which would make it possible within the African reserve for industries to be established which would need European management and supervision. The European managers and supervisors must be able to live near the factories. That means that land would be made available for European tenancies in the reserves, though, obviously on a limited scale. It would mean that European tenants would live in certain sections of the African reserve, where those tenancies were attached with certain forms of employment in a managerial or technical capacity. Along those lines, perhaps, one of the most obstinate and difficult problems of Kenya could be solved.

If Kenya Colony is to achieve a future beyond the existing tragedy of Mau Mau, it is time that views were changed, and that public opinion, which, at present, is naturally so much wrapped up with the urgencies of this emergency situation, was being directed towards a consideration of how to adapt itself to changing circumstances which must have a powerful influence on the future of Kenya.

1.34 p.m.

Mr. C. R. Hobson (Keighley)

I wish to make one or two observations about Cyprus, about which there is a lot of confusion. What has been asked for is not self-determination but union with Greece, which is an entirely different matter. Cyprus has not been Greek for hundreds of years. There is also the question of the Turkish minority.

A lot of the trouble that has now started in Cyprus results from one factor alone. It has been timed to coincide with the transfer of British troops from Suez to Cyprus, and the instigators of this trouble are the Comintern. That is the cause of the trouble. If these troops had been transferred to Malta instead of Cyprus, we should have had the same set of circumstances in Malta. I hope that there will be full understanding of those circumstances. Union with Greece must not be confused with self-determination. I do not want to develop that point, but to say one or two things about Kenya.

I agree with all the sentiments expressed by all hon. Members on both sides of the House, but I am very concerned about the police. We are faced with the resignation of Colonel Young. I suggest to the Colonial Secretary that he should immediately appoint a British police officer of sufficiently high rank to go out there and to take full charge of the police. I am against local police organisations being in the hands of district commissioners or provisional commissioners. There should be one code of discipline and behaviour. I am particularly concerned about this matter from a constituency point of view. The Conservative candidate in Keighley in 1945, Colonel Dalrymple-White, has been slashed with milk bottles by the police. The cause is being investigated at the moment. Because it is sub judice, I cannot refer further to the case today, but there have unfortunately been questions of perjury also.

Something is seriously wrong with the discipline in that police organisation. Only by having a British police officer in complete charge of the Kenya police shall we be able to avoid occurrences of this kind again. It is absolutely impossible, in view of the state of Kenya at the present time, for development to take place for all races—I use the word advisedly—whether European, Indian or African, if they have no confidence in the police. I feel that they have not confidence at the present moment. The only alternative is one that I may be going gradually towards; I do not know. Some hon. Members on this side of the House think it may be necessary to give General Erskine complete powers over the police, and we may have to do so. There must be co-ordination of police activity in the whole of Kenya. We cannot have unilateral action taken by various inspectors, because it brings the force into discredit. That is one very serious aspect of the problems of this Colony.

I wish the new multi-racial Government every success. It is a step forward in the history of the whole world, and it may be that in Kenya. British ingenuity, British tolerance and British liberalism will find a way of Government which will solve the problem of inter-racial communities such as exist in various other parts of the world. I hope that every support will be given to the Liberal element in Kenya which is so admirably led by the Hon. Michael Blundell. He is doing a good job. Only by his philosophy coming into operation shall we be able, not only to smash the abominable, bestial, sexual savagery of Mau Mau, but to restore stable government and move towards economic progress. All who have visited that country wish to see it peaceful and making progress at the earliest opportunity.

I realise that the Colonial Secretary may want time for his reply, but there are many more things I would have liked to have said. Kenya has many friends in this House. We wish it well. I am all for having a Kenya Parliamentary delegation of all races to visit this country.

1.39 p.m.

Mr. James Johnson (Rugby)

I want to ask a few questions about Kenya. I listened with the utmost admiration to the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport) who was a member of the Kenya delegation. He spent some weeks in my company. But there I think he had better spend a few more here with me and then come over to the benches on this side of the House. He made an admirable speech. I could not have said any better, or even half as well, what he said about land reforms in the Colony.

I should like to ask the Minister a few questions, because Kenya is in a critical condition. Others have talked of Colonel Young, and I hope the Minister will make some comment later on the morale of the Kikuyu in the Home Guard and the police, particularly in the Meru district. From what one hears, old tribal scores are being settled under the guise of legality by members of the police or the Home Guard. Turning to the political scene, we should enlist the full cooperation of others besides Europeans in this present critical situation. I should like to know what concessions have been made to Asians and Africans since Lord Chandos was there in the early part of the year.

The Asians set great store by education. I should like to know what is the right hon. Gentleman's attitude to multiracial education. I know as well as he does the difference in culture and standards between the various communities, but unless we do move soon towards some kind of common school, the future is bleak indeed for the co-operation that we all want. Again, when are the Asians to have their Parliamentary Secretary, promised earlier this year?

On the question of land, I hope the East Africa Land Commission will soon be publishing its findings. Some people have commented about the delay. I hope the delay was not due, as some people have said, to the fact that the Report may not please some Europeans.

I hope we shall see not only a willing buyer and a willing seller as the hon. Member for Colchester said, but access to the European Highlands for people whatever may be the pigmentation of their skin. The test should be one of good husbandry. If present squatters are allowed to stay 12 months on two or three acres amongst the white population, what is the objection to some of these squatters taking a lease for 20, 30 or 40 years on 20 or 30 acres if they are good farmers?

My last point relates to the question of the future constitutional position. There has been a vicious smear campaign against Michael Blundell and Wilfred Havelock who are white members of this Coalition Government, by some of their fellow Europeans. There are many more Liberals in Kenya than some people suppose, and what "The Times" has said this morning has been said for weeks by the "Kenya Weekly News." It is true that there is no future in Kenya for any other than a multi-racial Government. If Mr. Blundell is defeated at the next election by the Federal Independence Party, or if Mr. Blundell and his colleagues were to leave the Government because of any future land and education policies, and thus we lost a multi-racial coalition government in Kenya, the matter will have to be referred back to the Colonial Office. It should be made plain by the Minister that if Dr. Jagan would not work the Guiana Constitution and that was suspended, the same would happen to Kenya.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Keighley (Mr. Hobson) said, the future of Kenya lies in a multi-racial régime. It is a beautiful land and we all fall a victim to its spell when we go there. Its future lies in all races pulling together, and I hope that no word or deed of ours in this House or outside will mar the future of that colony's multi-racial Government set up by Lord Chandos some 10 months ago.

1.44 p.m.

The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd)

We are all grateful to the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Fenner Brockway) not only for inaugurating this debate but for the brevity with which he spoke. I think it was very self-sacrificing and cooperative on his part.

Before the House reassembles I shall, I hope, have paid a visit to Nigeria where, as hon. Members know, nearly half the total population of the whole Colonial Empire live. I am much looking forward to that visit. I should like to have taken up a number of points which have been raised about territories other than Kenya, but in the short time available I hope the House will allow me to concentrate almost entirely on Kenya.

With regard to Cyprus, much of what I would have liked to say if I had had time was said by the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Hobson). Anyone who calculates the amount of time that the Russian and Iron Curtain countries spend daily broadcasting in Greek these days would agree with the hon. Member. When I last looked at the times, 4½hours a day were devoted to broadcasts in Greek from Warsaw, for what purpose I think we need have very little doubt.

I was asked about the forthcoming elections in Malaya. They are planned to take place in July, and the new Legislature will, I hope, assemble about August. I know that our good wishes will be with the new Legislature.

I should like to say straight away to my right hon. Friend the Member for Kelvingrove (Mr. Elliot), who told me that he had to leave the Chamber, that the suggestion of a visit from Kenya is thoroughly worth taking up with the Governor of Kenya, and I will certainly do that. I think it is an imaginative idea. The Governor will, of course, read this debate and will learn of the general support that the idea has commanded. I will keep in close touch with him about it and will report to the House at the earliest opportunity. I will also consult on the question of possible Queen's scholarships, though, as my right hon. Friend will know, scholarships granted from this country to a single territory, however deserving, would have to be considered in the light of our obligations over a very wide field.

I should like to say how much I welcome the universal praise which has been given to those who are trying to make the multi-racial Government work in Kenya. I can assure all who are doing it that Her Majesty's Government are solidly behind the conception. I was delighted at the success of the visit of Mr. Michael Blundell and the way in which, among all parties, and, indeed, those unconnected with politics, he established a reputation for far-sightedness and absolute integrity. I am glad that my right hon. Friend the Member for Kelvingrove and the hon. Members for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) and Keighley have all given praise to him on his visit.

Coming to land problems, I do not think it would be altogether suitable for me, with only 13 minutes left to me for this debate and on the last day before the Christmas Recess, to deal with this subject. I must, however, make it plain that while I was in Kenya I gave certain undertakings with regard to the respective rights of the community in land reserved to them by ordinance. Of course, I stand absolutely by what I said when I was in Kenya.

Mr. J. Griffiths

When may we expect the Commission's report?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I was about to deal with that. There is no question of the delay in publication of the report being due to any pressure by myself or anyone else in the Department. The Chairman of the Commission thought that it would have reported before the end of the year, but that has not proved possible and the report will come along some time in the early part of the coming year. It will be published simultaneously here and in East Africa. I express the hope that people in this country and in East Africa will read the report before they comment on it. It hope that will not be considered a rather patronising thing to say.

Mr. J. Griffiths

That includes the Government?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

That certainly includes the Government. The Government will have to take a little longer than other hon. Members to read it.

As for the emergency in Kenya and the chain of events, which has been so much discussed today, we ought to remember at all times that less than one-tenth of the territory in that lovely country is in a state of emergency, and that the three tribes affected—the Kikuyu mostly, the Embu and the Meru—are 1½million out of 5¼million in Kenya. There are, of course, among those tribes many who have been staunchly loyal throughout the emergency, and on so many of them the full savagery of Mau Mau has wreaked the worst havoc.

As the House knows, "Operation Anvil" was completed on 25th May and since then there has been a conspicuous improvement. The right hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mr. Bottomley) intervened to suggest that if things were better it was because a large number of people were in detention, but I am sure he has not forgotten that one of the observations in the Commission's Report, which was of the greatest interest and importance, was that which drew attention to the evils at the very heart of Nairobi with which the Government had to deal. I can think of no other way in which it could have been tackled than by an operation of this kind, regrettable though that is.

The terrorist organisation was broken in Nairobi, although attempts are going on to try to reform it, and the organisation is being continuously disturbed in the Reserve. In the Aberdares and Mount Kenya region there is still some support from the passive wing in the Reserve, but it appears to be diminishing. Morale among the terrorists is undoubtedly declining and the amount of information given to the loyalists and the security forces is improving. Our aim is to clear each Mau Mau infested area in turn and to consolidate the area thereby cleared by establishing closer administration and more police as police and troops move forward. Success depends, of course, on the way in which the consolidation is carried out.

Perhaps I may remind the House, at this point, of the extraordinarily interesting and, I believe, valuable social experiment which is taking place in grouping many thousands of Kikuyu together in villages. Started originally for security reasons, it may well lead to a much better and wider life for countless people in the Kikuyu lands in future generations. Health, schools and community development—all are possible in circumstances of that kind.

To give figures, in the Nyeri district alone local leadership is good—and such leadership is available elsewhere—and 134 villages have already been made, catering for over 100,000 people or 48 per cent. of the entire population of that district. The proportion in Fort Hall is smaller—13 per cent.—but there are different circumstances. In Meru 3 per cent. and in Embu 60 per cent. of the whole population are now living in villages.

I am conscious that, although the situation is improving, there are very grave anxieties in the House and elsewhere on certain aspects of the war against terrorism. The hon. Member for Eton and Slough referred to surrenders. The number of surrenders has risen considerably in the last two months. There have been 621 surrenders between August last year and 30th November this year, and 142 of them took place between 1st October and 30th November. I, too, deplore the untimely fate which befell the imaginative attempt to get that surrender policy under way.

The surrender terms of August, 1953, remain in existence and are being widely proclaimed. They are that terrorists would not be executed for carrying arms or ammunition or consorting. If any leaders came forward and satisfied the Government that they could bring people along with them, the Government would respond to that initiative, but there is no central headquarters which the Government can approach. I can assure the House that the Government of Kenya have the surrender policy constantly under review and are certainly not reluctant to adjust and adapt it in the light of changed circumstances and new opportunities.

I gave the hon. Member for Eton and Slough an answer about capital punishment on 16th December, from which he quoted today. I can assure him that in respect of any capital cases other than murder, the cases are not brought to court unless there is evidence that the accused is an active terrorist or helper of active terrorists, but it would be misleading the country to give the impression that the only mortal crimes against the community are those which are classified as murder. The carrying of arms and of ammunition is almost as serious as the act of murder, and while the Government of Kenya have under constant review also the possibility of reducing the number of offences for which the death penalty is at present prescribed—and I am always in touch with them about that—we must allow them the elasticity which they need to meet a constantly changing situation.

A number of hon. Members have referred to the resignation of Colonel Young, but before I deal with that perhaps I should answer one point raised by the the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) about detention camps. She asked me whether there was evidence that there had been a deliberate spreading of disease in detention camps by Mau Mau who are detained. There is no proof, but when I was in Manyani it was made clear to me that there was a strong possibility that that was so. One of the most important and distressing parts of the Administration is to clear up cases of Mau Mau propaganda in the detention camps themselves. Nothing could be worse from the point of view of administration than the spreading of disease in detention camps.

Mr. J. Griffiths

The camps are too big.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I agree that there is always danger in camps on that scale that an epidemic might run right through them. We are anxious to get smaller camps and anxious above all to see people move to works camps. I am delighted to know that while there are 17,000 in works camps at the moment, it is intended to extend that to at least 30,000, and active steps are being taken to bring that about.

The resignation of Colonel Young is a matter of very great importance which deserves much longer treatment that I can give it today. I am very sorry indeed that Colonel Young, who is a most distinguished officer, and has done fine work in Kenya, has felt it necessary to resign, but I would prefer not to elaborate, because of the short time available and also because I am awaiting further information from the Governor of Kenya. Of course, there are bound to be difficulties when the police are confronted with one of the judges called a dual loyalty—the duty to pursue a murder on the one hand and the duty, also, not to hold up the finding of vital operational intelligence on the other hand.

There are bound to be those sort of difficulties, but I must point out that in Kenya we have a most efficient C.I.D. which is admirably led and which, in the proper exercise of its duties, can absolutely rely on full Government support. I do not think that the hon. Lady was quite right, if I may say so, in giving the sort of analogy which she gave, based rather on our own experience here. She said, for example, that if the police were to be interfered with by politicians we should be in an extraordinary position. Of course we should, but perhaps she is thinking of a country like ours with our own political system. In Kenya, those who are administering the country are the provincial commissioners and the district officers, and they are not political leaders but experienced and impartial guides to the people who live in their territories. Clearly the overall responsibility for law and order must rest with the provincial commissioner and the district officer. I do not think that can be disputed.

Mr. Griffiths

I appreciate that we are all in a difficulty here, but in view of the Press comments which have already been made, will the Secretary of State cause to be published either the correspondence which has taken place between Colonel Young and the Governor, which lead to his resignation, or a full statement setting out the conflict which arose and which led to his resignation, so that hon. Members may be able to form a judgment about the matter? All we have at the moment are casual Press reports.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I cannot give an undertaking that the correspondence will be published, because that is frequently confidential and written in the belief that it would not be published. That would be out of the question. But I will look into the possibility of some factual statement being prepared so as better to inform hon. Members about the issues involved. I can give no undertaking, as the right hon. Gentleman will realise, but I will look at the suggestion sympathetically.

Colonel Young was over here in November last. When I saw him I then had reason to hope that the difficulties which had arisen about the relationship between the Administration and the police would be settled by the discussions of the working party which was to be set up for that purpose. I personally became convinced that Colonel Young was returning to Kenya in a happier state of mind and there was likely to be fruitful co-operation on that working party. I am very sorry that has not been so.

The hon. Member for Keighley said he hoped that a Britisher would succeed Colonel Young. The communiqué which was issued said: On Colonel Young's departure, his place as Commissioner of the Kenya Police will be taken up by Mr. Richard C. Catling, Deputy Commissioner and Commissioner-Designate, who arrived in Kenya from Malaya in July, 1954. Mr. Catling began his police career in Palestine, in 1935, and in 1948 was transferred to Malaya. I know that Kenya will have in him a devoted leader who enjoys the greatest respect. There is so much I should like to have talked about on future hopes and ambitions for Kenya, not least the Swynnerton Plan and all that it offers for agriculture. I hope that soon after we return from the Christmas Recess time may be found for a fuller discussion.