HC Deb 24 February 1954 vol 524 cc382-3
42. Mr. Benn

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will place in the Library of the House copies of all surrender leaflets designed to bring in suspected Mau Mau adherents, distributed in Kenya.

Mr. Lyttelton

Yes, Sir; only one such leaflet has been issued. A copy of this has already been put in the Library, together with a copy of the statement issued by the Governor at the time.

49. Mr. Benn

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies under what authority surrender terms are offered to Mau Mau suspects in Kenya; how far they are accepted as binding by the Kenya Government and on whom; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lyttelton

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 17th February to the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Sorensen).

Mr. Benn

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is of the very greatest importance (that the word of the Government of Kenya should be taken by those for whom it is intended to be binding? Would the right hon. Gentleman also make it clear that, when a surrender leaflet offers an amnesty to a prisoner, the Attorney-General, the judge or whoever is involved in the processes of justice, should recognise that that word is binding upon him?

Mr. Lyttelton

I certainly would agree to that, provided that the conditions laid down in the amnesty leaflet are fulfilled. It rests, I think it is correct to say, upon prosecuting counsel to enter a nolle prosequi if the conditions have been fulfilled. What has to be ascertained is whether those conditions have been fulfilled.

Mr. Beiui

Is that made clear in the surrender leaflet? If there is uncertainty about this, it is bound to have most undesirable results.

Mr. Lyttelton

The surrender leaflet does lay down the conditions under which a man who surrenders can obtain an amnesty. I think the hon. Member will find that clear, if he will read it.

Mr. Fernyhough

In view of the need to bring about an early settlement in Kenya, would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that to forgive even those who have been guilty of serious crimes and not prosecute them if they surrender would be helpful if they promise in future to play the game?

Mr. Lyttelton

The hon. Gentleman's question touches on a number of policies, on which I could not possibly give a detailed answer.