§ 2.20 p.m.
§ Mr. Stan Awbery (Bristol, Central)
Today we have had an interesting debate on a problem which affects the whole world—disarmament. Then we discussed the housing of ex-Service men. I want to initiate a debate on the question of Malaya. I believe that the solution to the first problem and to this one can be reached by mutual help and understanding, good will and co-operation. If those attributes can be displayed between the nations of the world and our Colonies, we can solve the problems satisfactorily.
I want to draw attention to the recent negotiations that have taken place with the Alliance. I will come back to that in a few moments. First I want to outline the position in Malaya which led to the demand by the Malays for increased representation in the Legislature. There is no doubt that changes are taking place in the attitude of the colonial peoples towards the mother country. We must have regard to those changes and adapt ourselves to the circumstances, otherwise we shall alienate the sympathy of the colonial people.
As we look not only to Malaya but to the whole of the Colonies, we find that there are pent up forces seeking release. There is an upsurge, a gathering of momentum, towards self-government which cannot be held back. That is the position in Malaya. There is also a keen, and perhaps a growing, resentment against alien domination. Sooner or later these people will achieve their freedom. Sometimes we call it Communism because we do not like it, but we cannot excuse ourselves by calling their demand for self-government by the name of Communism. We cannot ease our conscience by making statements like that. That is the position. Everywhere the Colonies are seething with unrest and frustration.
Colonially, we are living in the midst of events unequalled in our history, and perhaps in the history of mankind. Nationalism in Malaya and elsewhere is marching on. Nothing can stop it. We must not, as sometimes we do, regard this nationalism as a crime. It is not a crime for a man to want self-government. If it is a virtue in Britain that a man 925 should love his country and be patriotic, it is not a vice for the colonial to love his land and want what we want for our country.
It appears to me that we are at the crossroads. There are three roads. One leads back to colonialism, and I am sure that no one wants to travel that way. The whole idea of colonialism has been killed by two world wars. Then there is the road leading to Communism, and the majority of people wish to avoid that. The other road is the road to a speedy freedom—the establishment of a political democracy, with all that that implies in Malaya and in all the other Colonies.
I know that there are people who say that we are trying to go too fast. There is a danger in that; but there is a danger in going too slowly. There is a danger also in standing still. In the earlier debate one hon. Member said that science was marching and that the scientists could not stop it. That is the position in colonial development, and, as statesmen, we must march on. We cannot stop it. We do not tell the scientist that he is going too fast. He can travel faster than sound. He can produce the atomic bomb and the cobalt bomb, but we do not say that he is going too fast. Yet we tell the Colonies who seek freedom that they are going too fast.
A little while ago representatives of the Alliance in Malaya visited this country to discuss with the Secretary of State for the Colonies the constitution which is about to set up a Legislature in Malaya. I am glad that the Secretary of State met the Alliance and discussed the problem, as a result of which they have come to some understanding with the people of Malaya. The Alliance is a body which represents 500,000 Malays and Chinese in the Peninsula of Malaya. The Alliance has achieved almost the impossible. We have often said in this House that the first thing that must happen in Malaya is that the three races—the Malays, the Chinese and the Indians—must get together and that, then there is a possibility of achieving self-government. The Alliance has done that.
The United Malay National Organisation and the Malay Chinese Association which compose the Alliance have brought these races together and done what was almost impossible. The people are now united in their demand for a political 926 democracy. That was the reason why their representatives came to Great Britain. They came not to ask for patronage or for any favour, but to ask for justice and equity.
I should like to thank the Secretary of State for the Colonies for dealing with these representatives as he did. If he had not done what he did there would have been something akin to civil disobedience in Malaya today in addition to the trouble in the jungle; but the right hon. Gentleman made concessions to them—he showed an understanding of their problem.
The problem was that he had promised that in the new Legislature they should have 52 elected representatives—elected by the vote of the people—and that there should be 46 non-elected members so that the elected representatives would have a small majority. They were not satisfied with that. They wanted increased representation. They pointed to their next-door neighbour, Singapore, where it had been suggested that there should be 75 per cent. elected representatives; but they were to have only 52 out of 98.
The Malays, like everyone else, want to move on. I suggest that the Minister should tell them than when their election takes place next year they will elect a Parliament for a period of four years and that at the end of that period he will increase the representation to 100 per cent. The Malays will then elect their own Legislature for the whole of Malaya. If he does that he will have the wholehearted support and warm co-operation of the Malayan people.
There is a real, genuine, nationalist movement arising in Malaya. They want to control the country themselves, and in this regard there are two or three steps we have to take. I realise that the Sultans and the rulers must be consulted, but they must realise that the world moves on and that they must move with it. They have to concede some of their power if we are to have a democratic system in Malaya at all. I know that the Minister will say that they are moving on. They are—but with feet of lead when we want the progress to be fleet of foot.
The men who came to this country representing the Alliance were very reasonable. They spoke with a glow of 927 appeal and conviction, and I think it was that which had influence with the former Colonial Secretary. They have gone back, and instead of agreeing to boycotting the elections and withdrawing their representatives on the other bodies, they are co-operating. I do not want us unduly to stretch the patience of these people. I want them to move on as fast as possible.
I want to say a word about the jungle warfare. That warfare must stop sometime. A solution must be found by some one. Is it too much to ask the Government to tackle this problem now and see what they can do, even if it is a question of negotiating an armistice with the people themselves? I do not think that we are adopting the right attitude. A few hours ago I received a letter. The last paragraph reads:As one whose life may be at stake in this game, I do not share their rejoicing.The first paragraph reads:I read in the 'Sunday Times' of 18th July that military and police intelligence officers are worried because of the lack of surrenders this monththat is, from the jungle—The police certainly have cause for worry, particularly as everyone is aware that the lack of surrenders is due to their own incredible action in taking court proceedings against a surrendered terrorist which resulted in his being sentenced to death.We are asking terrorists to give themselves up, saying that we shall deal leniently with them and then, when they surrender, they are brought before the court and sentenced to death. I do not think that the Minister knows about this, so I would not expect him to give a reply, but we must seek some way out of the problems and difficulties we have in Malaya.
The Malayan people are not bandits. The Malayan people, as I found when I was there, are kindly, hospitable, friendly and co-operative. If we co-operate with them, we shall find that it is reciprocal. If we give them tolerance and comradeship, they will give the same to us. Perhaps we have put too high a value in the past upon trade and commerce, upon tin and rubber, and too little upon the well being of the people. I hope that we shall re-assess our values and give greater weight to the human side. Let us show as much interest in 928 the people and conditions in Malaya as we do in fighting the bandits and in winning the tin and rubber When we reach that stage, we have won Malaya. The idea of the mother country and the colonial child has gone for ever We must meet them now as equal partners.
I want to mention the trade union movement over there. Some time ago I went out to hold an inquiry into the development of the trade unions. Rubber and tin are the two great industries. In 1951 they earned more dollars for us than the whole of the exports from this country. That shows how valuable the peninsula is to us. What have we done for those men with regard to their organisation? We have given recognition—a patronising recognition—to their trade unions. A patronising recognition is not enough. I remember myself, as a young organiser of a union, that years ago the employers gave the same patronising recognition to the union, but there were always difficulties when it came to negotiating wages and dealing with other problems.
It appears to me that we are pushing them on with our left hand and pulling them back with our right. That policy towards the trade union movement is not helpful for Malaya. We have sent out advisers and we should stand behind the advice they are giving. The Malayans want to see us practice what we preach. We send out trade union advisers, but if we are to recognise the trade unions we must recognise them in peaceful times as well as when they are in trouble. I am not satisfied that the conciliation machinery which has been set up is working as it should. I do not want to criticise what some of the conciliators have done, but to me it appears that the confidence of the workers has been destroyed almost before the conciliation committee has met.
Then there are the delays in dealing with the various problems in industry. Last week 10,000 employees of the Singapore City Council went on strike. I do not want to go into the details—I am not fully conversant with them—but the men were asking that a recent award should be dated from last June 12 months. That shows that there has been a long delay in negotiating in the Colony. These delays in negotiating with the trade unions are causing no end of trouble. I 929 would tell the Minister that delays are very often more dangerous and cause more trouble than the original demand made by the union.
I want the Minister to ask the employers out there to give more recognition than they do to the trade unions and to speed up their negotiations with them. I also want him to pass on to his colleagues the difficulties of the employees in Government Departments out there, because I find that the Government Departments are the biggest culprits. We have a naval base there where there is no end of industrial trouble, much of which is due to delays in negotiations. I hope the hon. Gentleman will ask the various Departments to handle these matters much more quickly.
The wage of the rubber workers is about 3s. 6d. a day. When they asked for an increase in wages when prices went up, the wage machine was slow to operate, but when the price of rubber came down and employers wanted a reduction in wages the machine operated very quickly indeed. We can win the jungle warfare, but if we fail in the economic war to raise the standard of the people, we shall lose Malaya. If we do not meet the situation as we ought, we shall drive these people to Communism because their standards will be reduced.
I ask the Minister to see that the Government in Malaya give to the people reasonable wages and hours. They want what we have got. We have Workmen's Compensation, and they are asking for a similar scheme. We have National Insurance. They want that. We have education and social services. They want all these things. We have a tremendous responsibility if we take from Malaya the value of all her rubber and tin without giving something in return by way of these services.
Let Her Majesty's Government deal with the people of Malaya with clean hands and unchallenged authority. The Malayans have a right to expect more than they are getting from us, and we have no right to withhold from them some of the things for which they are asking. They not only want the benefit of social services. They ask for our friendship and comradeship, and if we give that to them, they will give it to us in return.
§ 2.43 p.m.
§ Mr. W. T. Proctor (Eccles)
I am sure that we are all grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, Central (Mr. Awbery) for having raised this subject of Malaya so that we can express our opinions and our good feeling for the people of Malaya.
My hon. Friend said that we live in times of great change, and we have certainly had a number of changes recently so far as the Colonies are concerned. We have a new Colonial Secretary. I think it is an agreeable fact that we should be debating Malaya immediately after the resignation of the former Colonial Secretary, for I am bound to say that he has scored some great successes in Malaya. The great changes that have occurred in Malaya may augur well for the future of the world.
The decision to proceed with the new Constitution was a great decision, as was the decision to give an elected majority in the new Legislative Assembly. The decision of the former Colonial Secretary to agree to the suggestion of my hon. Friends that he should see the delegation from Malaya and treat them as an official delegation and discuss matters fully with them was also a great decision for which we give him full credit. We used all our persuasive power with the right hon. Gentleman; he agreed to make that decision, and much good has come out of it.
It was indeed unique that the Opposition should spend so much time dealing with this matter and that there should have bean co-operation between the various Opposition leaders and back benchers and the Colonial Office in order to settle this problem. It was with some difficulty that we got the Colonial Secretary to walk past the winning posit and make the final small concession which brought political peace to Malaya, but we are all very glad that this new situation in Malaya starts off so well.
Malaya has all the problems which baffle the civilised world today. It has a multi-racial society. It has an economic problem, some very great poverty, and it has all the other difficult problems which go with it. My hon. Friend has referred to the notable situation in which there is such close co-operation between the Malayan organisation and the Chinese-Malayan organisation. We welcome that co-operation, and we trust that it will lead 931 to a firm democratic base on which the new society of Malaya will rest.
A great responsibility rests upon this Government. One of the great problems confronting the Colonial Commonwealths, including the Malayans, is education. No country is better able to assist them in that matter than this country, and we should be generous in our offers of help. We should send out educationists of great standing to see whether they can make a plan for Malaya in co-operation with this country, which would take them ahead in education very quickly. We should lend them teachers and offer to train their own teachers.
My hon. Friend referred to the economy of Malaya, and it is certainly true that unless that country has a prosperous economy it is not much use having anything else. We must see that there is introduced into that country a plan for an organised economy on a firm basis. This is a challenge not only to this country but to the whole of the free world. I heard the late Mr. Ernest Bevin once say that America refused to accept the necessity for planning in her own internal organisation, but that as soon as the Americans see the ocean they are ready to plan the world.
I say that great responsibility rests on the free world, and we cannot exclude America. The Americans should take a great interest in Malaya. It would be almost a small gesture on their part to give us a permanent market in rubber and tin at a fair price, which would place the economy of Malaya on a firm basis of prosperity, and it would enable Malaya to have an assured market. That would be a very small thing for America to do, and I think it would be a gesture which would warm the hearts of the whole world towards the American people.
We are in a period when everyone hopes that co-existence is possible. One of the advantages of the House of Commons is that, although there may not be many Members present to address, it is possible to address the world. While I have said a word or two to America on this subject, I think it would be proper to speak to Russia as well. If she has any interest in pursuing the jungle warfare, let her call it off. Let the Communist world recognise that here is a 932 place where co-existence can be established. Let us together establish peace, and let the free world assist in establishing prosperity and advancement in Malaya. In that way, a new focal point of contact between the two conflicting worlds may be established in Malaya.
My hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, Central referred to the question of the trade union movement in Malaya. I should like to say a few words about the trade union movement in all the Colonial Territories. We have the advantage of an incomparable Civil Service. Our greatest gift to civilisation is our British Civil Service. What is not always appreciated, however, is that our trade union movement has a civil service—a kind of steel framework of administration—of its own. But this administrative ability is missing in some of the colonial areas.
We should do all we can to persuade the British trade union movement to come to the rescue of its sister movements within the colonial areas by giving them the benefit of its experience and the necessary office organisation in order to enable them to build up a solid movement of their own. This is especially desirable in Malaya. I hope that the Trades Union Congress and British working people will give some attention to this matter and help to achieve this object.
It has always seemed to me that we must not only take the necessary action to enable the colonial peoples to achieve political freedom, but must recreate an economic and political understanding between those people and ourselves afterwards. We are a small country, with a population of 50 million. Inside the Colonial Empire we have a population of 65 million. I should like to see brought into existence a kind of political and economic machinery which would enable those 65 million people and our 50 million to become an economic federal commonwealth. The great resources of manpower, and the productive force and industrial and political "know-how" which we could provide would make that unit a very remarkable one.
The Colonial Territories would gain great benefit by continuing to work in close association with us. At the same 933 time as we extend freedom to these various Colonies, we should extend the hand of friendship. I should like to see the Colonial Office develop into a federal Parliament for all the Colonial Territories and ourselves. I am sure that such an association would enable these Territories to advance at a terrific rate in comparison with that which they would achieve if they completely cut the link with us. We have so much to offer them, and they have so much to offer us, that we should make every effort to continue in close co-operation, on the basis of complete equality and absolute freedom.
When the delegation came from Malaya we all had the pleasure of meeting Tanku Abdul Rahman, Dato Abdul Razak and Mr. T. M. Tan, who represented the two sides of the alliance. We found them to be real statesmen, and the fact that they went back resolved to reach an agreement and to settle political differences, if humanly possible—and succeeded in doing so—is of very great historical importance. I hope we shall spare no effort to co-operate and do all we possibly can to further their great efforts in democracy.
I notice that there is no representative from the Colonial Office here this afternoon, but we welcome the representative from the sister organization—the Commonwealth Relations Office. Perhaps the Under-Secretary of State will convey our good wishes to the new Colonial Secretary. I cannot say that I hope his tenure of office will extend beyond the next General Election, but I hope that it will be fruitful with good works.
§ 2.55 p.m.
§ Mr. A. Fenner Brockway (Eton and Slough)
I only want to add a postscript to the speeches which have been delivered by my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, Central (Mr. Awbery) and my hon. Friend the Member for Eccles (Mr. Proctor). I should like to pay a tribute to the very great service which both those hon. Members have rendered to the people of Malaya. That service is not of recent origin; it has continued over a period of years. Their speeches this afternoon are an indication not only of their interests, but of their great knowledge of the subject.
I am sometimes regarded as an unreasonable critic of the administration of 934 the Colonial Office, and even of the Commonwealth Relations Office. Perhaps I should begin, therefore, by saying that I fully appreciate the difficulties with which the former Colonial Secretary had to contend in Malaya, and I am very conscious of the difficulties which the new Minister will face in that area. There is a double problem. First, there is the jungle war; and, secondly, the multiracial community, which, although it does not sympathise with the war, holds very strongly to its national demands for self-government.
I have never taken the view that the war in the jungle is a genuine manifestation of the nationalist movement. I do not think there is any doubt that it began as part of a Communist conspiracy throughout South-East Asia, finding expression not only in Malaya but in India, Burma and Indonesia. But although that war began with acts of individual terrorism levelled against European managers of rubber plantations, it became greatly extended, and I cannot absolutely absolve the Colonial Office from responsibility. I believe that it was as a result of the policy pursued by the Colonial Office that what began with acts of individual terrorism extended into a much wider conflict.
I think it is very likely that it will be possible to end the war in the jungle by physical means within a reasonable period of time, but when that war does end we must remember that the people of Malaya still have to live together. It is of the greatest importance that the physical conflict should end in such a way that subsequent co-operation between the various peoples will be ensured.
It is on those grounds that I suggest to the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, who is to reply to the debate, that the time has come when an amnesty should be offered in Malaya, when we should make proposals for ending the jungle war on such terms sand conditions that the bitterness and the hatred that have found expression in that war shall not be continued.
I was surprised by the letter that was quoted by my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, Central. It told of a terrorist who had surrendered, and against whom, after his surrender, court proceedings were taken that ended in a death sentence. I ask the Minister to give us the 935 facts about the surrender terms that are offered in Malaya, because they are in contrast to the surrender terms that are being offered in Kenya.
I put down a Question yesterday to the Colonial Secretary, and in reply the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs, I think for the first time, gave the terms which were offered to the Mau Mau during the "General China" negotiations. I acknowledge at once that I was surprised by the generosity of those terms. They not only said that terrorists in Kenya who surrendered would not be shot at while surrendering, would not be ill-treated after surrender, would not be prosecuted for being in possession of arms and ammunition, butwould not be executed for crimes committed before the date of their surrender."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th July, 1954; Vol. 531, c. 106.]I acknowledge that I was surprised and pleased at the breadth of view that found expression in that last provision, and I ask the hon. and learned Gentleman that in Malaya terms shall be offered to the terrorists who are ready to lay down their arms that shall be equally generous to those offered in Kenya during the negotiations with "General China."
I hope that we shall proceed from offering terms equal to those published yesterday to some proposals for an amnesty in Malaya as well as in Kenya, which will mean that the fighting will end not with bitterness, not with hatred, but with an opportunity for some racial co-operation. I say this, bearing in mind that in Malaya as well as in Kenya, if the fighting ends in a different spirit from that, we may find that those who have been engaged in the terrorist struggle in Malaya will go to neighbouring countries and apply their doctrines there, as may so easily happen in the Continent of Africa.
That is the first point I wanted to make My second point is that outside that jungle struggle there is a large population in Malaya, partly Malay, partly Chinese, partly Indian, and in that population one hopes to build a cooperating self-governing democracy. If we are to achieve it we have to be much bolder, even than the Government recently have been in their concessions, in recognising the rights of those peoples to self-government.
936 I welcome the fact that, as a result of the recent negotiations, there is now agreement that the Malayan people as represented by the Alliance shall take part in the coming election, but I hope, when that election has taken place, and as they are likely to have a large majority in the Legislature, that, as my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, Central said, there will be no delay in proceeding with full self-government for those people. If, on the one hand, we are fighting the terrorists, we must, on the other hand, have confidence in, and win the co-operation of, the people who are not terrorists in Malaya.
I am receiving disturbing letters from Malaya saying that the younger generation is not only losing confidence in our colonial administration but, what may be more dangerous, is losing confidence in Malaya's own recognised leadership. The young people are not as happy about the acceptance of the recent compromise as the Malayan leaders are and as we in this House have said we are. They are caught up with the movements of colonial peoples throughout the world towards not only political freedom but social and economic freedom. We may give Malaya its self-government, but that will still leave economic control in the hands of great rubber companies and great tin companies that will remain.
So, economic control will remain in alien hands, and we must do something not only to give political rights, not only to encourage the trade union movement, not only to encourage the co-operative movement, but to enable the Malayan people themselves to go forward to the control of their own natural resources so that the wealth they create shall be used for their own development, for their own education, for their own planning and for their own advancement.
If we can hope that the new Secretary of State will approach this problem in that kind of temper and spirit, then there is reason to be confident about the future of Malaya.
§ 3.7 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. John Foster)
It is very fitting that on the day of the Adjournment at the end of the term the question of Malaya should come up for discussion and that it should be the occasion of very graceful tributes 937 by hon. Members of the Opposition to my right hon. Friend who was lately the Secretary of State for the Colonies. My right hon. Friend was, I think, extremely proud of the help he got from Members on the other side of the House, and from the desire of all the peoples in Malaya, of all parties and all classes, to try to achieve a constitution that would have the best chance of working successfully.
The committee, which was drawn from all sections of Malayan society and which reported at the beginning of this year, provided a blueprint of a constitutional change which was agreed on most points by the unanimous vote of the members of the committee. On the question of the numbers of the elected members of the Legislative Council, there was some difference of view. A minority recommended that the majority in the Legislature should be of elected members, while a majority recommended what some of the minority thought was too small a number of elected members.
The members of the Alliance who came over here and saw my right hon. Friend went back to Malaya and at first decided to withdraw from participation in the Government, but I am glad to say that the British spirit of compromise and good sense prevailed, especially in the light of the assurance given by the High Commissioner that the five nominated members would be appointed by the Governor but not in the spirit of being in opposition to the party that obtained the majority. In other words, it would not be their duty in any sense to oppose. In fact, the assurance was given that consultation would take place with the members of the majority party and that people would be selected whose views would not be out of harmony with the views of the elected majority. On this, the Alliance with great political good sense, decided to come back into the constitution.
We can, therefore, say that the constitutional advances have the best chance of receiving the support of a great majority of the people of Malaya. That, as hon. Members have said, is due both to the good sense of the people out there and to the efforts and statesmanship of my right hon. Friend the former Colonial Secretary. I want to join with hon. Members in wishing good luck to the new constitutional advancement. I feel sure 938 that the proof that this is likely to succeed lies in the successful negotiations which have already taken place on subjects of difference.
One outstanding matter remains. Hon. Members will recall that the Alliance wished that an independent commission should go to Malaya and report on the advisability of further constitutional change. The view of the Alliance was that the commission should be composed of members drawn from outside Malaya. That proposal was submitted to the Rulers Conference which met in July and, while not expressing a firm and conclusive opinion, that conference was of the preliminary opinion that perhaps the appointment of an outside commission was not altogether the best means of deciding the question of constitutional change in Malaya. The question has been adjourned to their next meeting and, again, we can count on this matter, like others, being considered in a spirit of political good sense.
The hon. Member for Bristol, Central (Mr. Awbery) raised a question about trade unions. Her Majesty's Government entirely agree with him on the importance of the trade union movement, both throughout the Colonial Territories—a point to which the hon. Member for Eccles (Mr. Proctor) referred—and, in this instance, more particularly, in Malaya. The figures of the growth of the trade union movement are encouraging. In December, 1949, in the Federation of Malaya there were 169 trade unions with 42,300 members. By June, 1954, the number of trade unions had increased to 214 and the number of members to 106,000. It is true that the figure for 1949 showed a decrease on that for 1948, but hon. Members know the reason for that; the Communists had infiltrated into the trade unions and a new beginning had to be made.
The important thing is the growth in the number of trade unions and their members in the four-and-a-half years since 1949, having regard to the unsettled nature of much of the country and the great difficulties in which the trade union movement necessarily had to operate in those years. General Templer and the authorities have attached the greatest importance to this development of a strong trade union movement and the trade union advisers of the Colonial 939 Service, by their wise advice and leadership, have had great success in this development of the trade union movement.
§ Mr. Awbery
My point was that the Government Departments are not quick in realising what the Minister wants. I want him to meet the trade unions and negotiate with them. The civilian employees of the three Departments in the naval base there should be recognised and should be treated as an organisation which is recognised by the Government.
§ Mr. Foster
The hon. Member may be interested to know—or probably he knows already—that a Whitley Council has been set up in Singapore, and I think that will go a long way to meet the point which he made. The Whitley Council should enable a dispute to be more quickly settled and the two sides to get together to thrash out the differences.
A member of the National Union of Seamen has been appointed as a seamen's welfare officer. No doubt the hon. Member is aware of that development, which should result in an improvement in relations in that industry. In the rubber industry, it is true that when the arbitration tribunal decided that wages would have to be reduced, there was a good deal of bitterness, but I think we can say that relations are now very much improved, and I gather that the hon. Member's information is to the same effect. The Government entirely agree that we have to be on the watch in these trade union matters to see that confidence is fostered, that both sides of industry face their responsibilities in a statesmanlike way and that the necessary machinery exists, both in trade union advisers on the Government side and in the usual trade union machinery, in order that decisions may be reached before there is discontent or lack of confidence arising from delay.
Perhaps I may turn to the case which both the hon. Member for Bristol, Central and the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Fenner Brockway) raised about the man who surrendered. That was an exceptional case. The hon. Member for Eton and Slough mentioned the terms of the Mau Mau surrender. He will have noticed that one of the terms was that nobody would be executed. It is therefore envisaged, obviously, that 940 they might be prosecuted but not executed. There might be prosecutions for offences committed before surrender—I am only reasoning from what the hon. Member told me; I have no outside knowledge—but nobody who surrendered would be executed for an offence committed before surrender.
§ Mr. Fenner Brockway
The following clause says that those who surrendered would be put into detention camps and the Government would decide how long they remained so detained. I assume that while there would be no executions, in some cases there would be a period of detention.
§ Mr. Foster
It looks as though that is possible.
The sentence has been quashed in the case in Malaya and the man will not be executed. I can give the assurance which the hon. Member wanted in this case; the death penalty will not be carried out.
§ Mr. Brockway
Does that mean that the principle will be accepted generally? Will offers of surrender be made in Malaya similar to those which I read as having been made in Kenya?
§ Mr. Foster
The only thing I can do in that connection is to forward the hon. Member's remarks for attention. I understand that the terms of surrender for Malaya have never been published.
§ Mr. Foster
That is what I understand. I think we might say that the fact that there are steady streams of surrenders subject to the paragraphs which the hon. Member quoted shows that they are satisfied with the surrender terms. After pardon, many of these men join the loyalist forces and fight with them, which shows that they have surrendered with a change of spirit, which of course is the important thing. In getting a surrender we do not want somebody who is surrendering merely to save his skin; we want him to surrender because he is converted to the belief that his previous ideological attitude was unsound.
941 I think this is as far as I need detain the House today on these matters. It is, as I have said, very fitting that among the many successes of my right hon. Friend the ex-Colonial Secretary the question of Malaya should be discussed today. Again I should like to express my thanks to hon. Members opposite for the very statesmanlike way in which they have approached this problem and for the way in which they have expressed their appreciation of the achievement of the Colonial Secretary.