Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £3,973,550, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1955, for sundry colonial services, including grants in aid; and certain expenditure in connection with the liabilities of the former Government of Palestine.—[Mr. Lennox-Boyd.]
§ 8.39 p.m.
§ Mr. A. G. Bottomley (Rochester and Chatham)
This Supplementary Estimate covers additional expenditure in respect of Kenya, and I regret that we have such little time to discuss the subject. It is fair comment to say that the Opposition have provided time for debate of the Parliamentary delegation's report on another Supply Day. I should like to thank the Colonial Secretary for the comprehensive list of answers to Questions which I have put to him, which appear in today's HANSARD. Those replies will avoid a good deal of questioning at this stage. They show that a great deal of good work has been done, but, at the same time, there is a good deal to be criticised.
What I am troubled about—and I have said this before—is that there have been successive statements from Ministers that things are improving in Kenya. There is no doubt that some of the Ministers in the administration are really able men, doing a good job, but there is a good deal of confusion and ineptitude in the Kenya Government.
There is no doubt about the division of views between those in authority. There is ambiguity in the statements made by Government members, to say nothing of 486 the rifts between Europeans on the question of what the situation requires. There has been the resignation of at least one quite important official and Mau Mau terrorism still continues. This means that heavier burdens are going to be carried, and the reforms upon which all are agreed are being delayed.
I would suggest to the Secretary of State that it is not a very dignified position with which we are confronted and with which we must face the world. We in this Committee send our sympathies to those who are suffering. The emergency which has gone on for two and a half years is a terrific strain on all. I have said before, and I repeat, that it is unfortunate that many of the benefits in Kenya which have been provided by the skill and enterprise of the Europeans are not being acknowledged, and it is unfortunate that at a time when more progress has been made we have this disaster.
I have stated before that the Government themselves hear a major responsibility. I think they were wrong to ban the Kenya-Africa Union. By banning that Union they left a free field to the Mau Mau terrorists and gangsters. Rounding up those whom they thought were Mau Mau sympathisers and putting them into detention camps has meant that there is no effective African leadership, and that is what is required. I go so far as to say that in the whole of Kenya today there are few African sympathisers with Her Majesty's Government. The bulk of them are passive and the others are either Mau Mau or sympathetic to it. That is the situation we have to face.
There are 60,000 people in detention camps who are feeling bitter and the repercussions throughout their families are also causing anxieties, worries, troubles and difficulties. I believe we are building up for the future a much more vicious task than confronts us today. There are many responsible people who say that there are thousands in detention camps who are innocent, and others have stated that Mau Mau sympathisers have contaminated the internees, making them into anything but reasonable citizens. Indeed, this has been supported by prison officers.
As the Secretary of State must know, higher officials have been saying that Africans will not be released unless they 487 are actively opposed to Mau Mau. I suggest the Government should do something about changing that situation. As far as I know in the first nine months about 400 have been released, but 2,000 more were added. Recently, at the time of the proposed amnesty, 1,000 more were detained in Nanyuki. So here we have this situation of increasing the numbers in detention and if only for economic reasons—I will not quote what a noble Lord said in another place recently, when he referred to the fact that he could not get labour—these people should be released because the economy will fail if the workers are not available.
If I had the time I should like at length to congratulate the Church Missionary Society for a good deal of the work it is doing and for the way in which it is stimulating thought. When I was with the Parliamentary mission I suggested that O'Dede, the acting President of the Kenya-Africa Union, should be released and that people like Mathu and Awori, members of the Legislative Council, should be used to appeal to Africans not to follow the Mau Mau terrorists, but to work for progress and good order.
That suggestion was not accepted, yet some time later "General China," one of the thugs, one of the gangsters, was given the opportunity of making an appeal to those in the forest. I also suggested in this House that there should be an amnesty for the detainees. That was turned down, but later the Kenya Government made a proposition that the men in the forest, those really responsible for all this terrorism, should be granted an amnesty. We are doing these things in the wrong proportions and far too late, whereas if the chances had been taken in the way I suggested for the Opposition, things might have been a little easier.
To refer to the possibility that those people might have talked subversively, what does the Minister intend to do about the important Member of the Legislative Council, Mr. Slade, who is quoted in the "East African Standard" as saying to the Security Forces that they should not serve a Government which had repeatedly let them down so badly? What would happen if an African, an Asian or an Arab made a similar appeal? This is frightfully bad. It is sedition. The 488 Minister ought to consider carefully what he is going to do about members of the community in Kenya who behave in this way.
We in this Committee have a responsibility. We are asked to provide money for the Kenya Government, so we are entitled, without insisting on too much detail, to lay down the broad principles within which it shall be used. It is important, therefore, when considering this Supplementary Estimate, to state clearly the general aims we have in view and for which we consider the money should be used. The money will be used, of course, for the emergency in Kenya and it ought to bring that emergency to an end. If it is to be brought to an end, it must be brought to a peaceful end, and we must watch carefully the methods used and the situation at which we are aiming.
It is time that the people of Kenya, and particularly of its European community, recognised that Britain has no intention of subsidising the establishment of a system based upon apartheid. The members of the Kenya community should be left in no doubt about this. Racial separation or segregation can have no part in the new Kenya, which is the only Kenya we are prepared to subsidise. The philosophy of segregation is diametrically opposed to the basic values of Western civilisation, and we can be no party to such a betrayal of human values in any of our Colonial Territories.
I have said that we have responsibilities and we here as well as those in Kenya can be condemned for the present crisis. Equally, we condemn Mau Mau, but we have to think of the state of mind which made it possible. The Kikuyu were essentially friendly people. Thirty years ago Norman Leys wrote that certain policies and attitudes which we were following would lead to this kind of trouble. Well, we did little about it, and we are now facing the trouble. We must change these attitudes and policies if we are to overcome the emergency. Therefore, I want to make one or two suggestions.
I know that the Royal Commission on Land is due to report. Perhaps the Minister will tell us when we are likely to get its report? I do not want to anticipate it, but the entire land position in Kenya must be radically changed. The 489 preservation of the White Highlands is certainly a basic cause, both psychologically and practically, for a great deal of the African discontent. In a genuine multi-racial society the only test for a land holding should be that of good husbandry, not the colour of one's skin. I was disappointed to see that one European Minister advocated the reservation of the White Highlands for Europeans for ever. That is not the way to help this situation.
On education, in a genuine multi-racial society there can be no separate educational organisation. In time all the educational systems must be integrated, and we should not fall behind the United States of America, which has set an example in this direction. We welcome the principle of a multi-racial Government. I have previously congratulated the Secretary of State upon that.
I also said that I thought it would be wise on his part to ensure that there were two African Ministers in the Administration. Surely the present position cannot be allowed to continue. If we are really to succeed in making a multi-racial Government work, the Africans themselves must have representatives who know the feelings and desires of their people. This can only be done by building up African political organisation, which we ought not only to allow but should encourage.
I do not believe that we can think in terms merely of separate political representation. The political organisation should be responsible to all the races in Kenya. What we should aim at is preparing the ground for the gradual introduction of a common electoral roll and preparing the ground for a Government which is truly Kenya in its representation and responsibility instead of, as now, being divided into separate groups.
We in this House of Commons should state these views clearly and lay them down as policy. I also believe that we ought to give further consideration to the question of a general amnesty for all detained in the camps. These ought not to be just platitudes or pious hopes; something really bold and dramatic is called for if we are to end the emergency.
I believe I was right earlier in suggesting that a resident Minister should go to Kenya. I still believe that that should be done, and I should like the Secretary of 490 State to consider it. If he does not consider that to be a proposition, I throw out another suggestion which has been made in another place, that there might be another visit to Kenya by the Parliamentary Mission.
A third suggestion, the one I favour, is that there should be a conference in London, with the Secretary of State presiding, to which I would bring Europeans, Asians, Arabs and Africans, and among the Africans would be Odedi, the acting chairman of the Kenya African Union. I would have the Secretary of State saying to them that all the things which I have narrated shall be the basis of discussion. I believe that if that can be done we shall be able to give a lead which will do much to ease the emergency, and perhaps end it.
If we fail to do that, gone will be all the influences for good, law and justice, culture, economic progress and commercial development, the proper use of technological and scientific knowledge—all the things which can lead to a fuller and richer life for all in Kenya. I put the proposition to the Secretary of State in as reasonable way as I can, because I genuinely believe that this is the only way to tackle the very important question of ending the emergency in Kenya.
§ Mr. C. W. Armstrong (Armagh)
First, I must ask you, Sir Rhys, and the Committee for the indulgence it is customary to give an hon. Member who is facing the ordeal of his first speech in the House.
I venture into the debate because it happens that, until a few months ago, I was farming in the troubled areas of Kenya. Most of my workers were originally Kikuyu, and I still have many of them. As far as I am concerned, they have been helpful, friendly and courageous, and I am very grateful to them. I suggest to the Committee that the news from Kenya which sometimes tends to imply that we have made no progress in changing the minds of the Kikuyu is false and misleading.
Perhaps I may try to make my point by giving a personal experience. I remember early in the emergency being asked to patrol a piece of road at night by jeep. I asked some of my own Kikuyu whether they would like to go with me. The answer I got was, "Yes, 491 we would like to go, but we do not think we had better go because if we were seen to be helping we might get into trouble and our families might be molested."
For about the last six months, or longer, before I left Kenya we were almost every night having patrols and ambushes and so on. After that first experience, I never again asked anyone to go with me. I let it be known that I was going and always there was a party of volunteers to go with me. At first it was only the Kikuyu, but later there were men from other tribes.
There was another peculiarity about the patrols. We had been told by the police, by the C.I.D., that all the Kikuyus in our area had taken what was known as the platoon oath, one of the rather more murderous oaths. So one had this situation—it was in no way peculiar to me but was happening to Europeans all over the country—of going on patrol with people supposed to have taken these murderous oaths who were armed with spears, bows and arrows and pangas and the European being the only man armed with a rifle.
It would of course have been the easiest thing in the world to put a spear through the European and be in the mountains or forests with his rifle in the morning. But I never felt the faintest flicker of doubt about my Kikuyu, and if the idea occurred to them, I believe that they put it out of their minds.
I should like to try to suggest to the Committee what in fact has been going on in the minds of the Kikuyu. I do not agree with the right hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mr. Bottomley) that the great bulk of the Kikuyu are still our enemies and still favour the Mau Mau. I have spent most of my life away from this country in Asia and Africa and, on the whole, I have been surprised not how different varying colours and races are but how alike they are.
When I hear people talking about the Asians or the Africans or the Kikuyu as though they were people whose responses and reactions were quite different from our own, I am always extremely suspicious. It is, I think, a fair parallel to compare the Kikuyu in Kenya under the influence of Jomo Kenyatta the Mau Mau with the ordinary rank and file of the 492 Germans in Germany under Hitler and the Nazis. There was the same prestige of success in the early stages and the same national conceit, the same lure of self-interest but stronger than all those the fear of what might happen if one protested or showed opposition on any count at all. Now in Kenya there is no longer the prestige of success, there is no longer the lure of self-interest and, most important of all, there is no longer the fear of showing oneself in opposition to Mau Mau.
Time is short and I will not try to say all that I had thought of saying. [Hon. Members: "Go on."] There is one point which I wish to make on which there are misconceptions in this country. There is a belief that, even in the restricted areas where Mau Mau has been active, this is a struggle of black against white.
The last night I spent in Kenya during the Christmas Recess I spent in the Athi River rehabilitation camp, of which many hon. Members know. There, they are trying to rehabilitate the Kikuyu by Christian principles. The African perhaps primarily responsible for the work in the camp is David Waruihu, whose name I have heard mentioned here by, I think, the hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern). David Waruihu's father was a senior Kikuyu chief who was murdered early in the emergency.
Putting aside ideas of revenge, the son has devoted himself in this camp to helping his countrymen, or his fellow tribesmen, who to his mind have lost their way. He told me that that morning one of the men detained in the camp had said that he wanted to talk to him. What he had to tell him was that, having seen that in the camp there were no ideas of revenge, he wanted to inform him that he had been the messenger who had carried the money to his father's murderers.
In that camp I talked to quite a big group of Mau Mau detainees who had been rehabilitated. Some of them had been leaders of the Mau Mau in their own districts, where they were well known. They said that they were anxious and willing to go back to the districts where they were known and had been leaders, and there openly to denounce the Mau Mau. The message that these people asked me to take away from that camp 493 was that, to their minds, this was no longer a struggle of black against white; to their minds, it was a struggle of right against wrong.
§ Mr. James Johnson (Rugby)
I have never had to follow a maiden speaker before, and I count myself fortunate to be able to follow the hon. Member for Armagh (Mr. Armstrong) on this occasion. Normally, we listen with typical sportsmanship and attention to a maiden speaker. Tonight, we listened more attentively than ever before, I think, because of the obvious sincerity and the deeply informed knowledge of the hon. Member. I have been to Kenya and sometimes I speak about it, but as I listened to my hon. Friend—I think I can call him that—I felt humble to think that I go on public platforms and attempt to tell people what the position is out there. I hope that we shall hear him often in future.
The civil war in Kenya is not, and never has been, a war of black against white. It is a civil war among the Kikuyu people, black against black. I have said that before in this House and I repeat it, reinforced as I am by the hon. Member for Armagh, who has amore intimate knowledge than I of the present scene in this beautiful but most unhappy land.
I wish to support the suggestion of my right hon. Friend the Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mr. Bottomley) about a delegation coming to this country, an idea originally sponsored by the right hon. Member for Kelvingrove (Mr. Elliot). But when they come let the delegation do some work as a conference. I have found that the news of a delegation being invited to this country has been taken by some Europeans as an invitation for them to come over here and be told what they should do. That is the last thing that should be allowed to happen. Both white and coloured people should be asked to come here and put forward their ideas about the future of the Colony.
Twelve months ago I went to Kenya with five of my Parliamentary colleagues; and tonight I think that we might do a little stocktaking because there is a great deal of anxiety about this emergency, which is referred to in the C.M.S. pamphlet on Kenya entitled, "Time for Action." Hon. Members may or may not agree with the editorial in the "Daily Herald "which said: 494The dirty business of Kenya's Mau Mau war will be debated tomorrow in Parliament. Drastic proposals are overdue to end a situation which is smirching Britain's reputation in Africa. Lets have new ideas.I hope that we shall have some new ideas. I hope that the Secretary of State will tell us some of the ideas which I am sure that he has in mind, and which he hopes to carry out in the future.
A few day ago there was a debate in another place in which Lord Milverton made what was, I believe, a bitter and moody speech, castigating the Government of Kenya and, by implication, Her Majesty's Government. I take the opposite view. If we are to spend money in the Colony I want it to be spent on upholding law and justice in ways which I hope to suggest. I hope that the Minister will tell us a little more about the resignation of Colonel Young. I hold the view that this problem of Mau Mau is essentially an African question and can be settled only by Africans and with the cooperation of Africans. We must gain the loyalty and goodwill of the African or we shall never settle this beastly business.
What are we doing to gain the loyalty of the African? In these indiscriminant sweeps which have taken place we are pulling in far too many loyal Kikuyu. On 2nd February the "East African Standard" stated:They find themselves bracketed with the suspects when there is any incident or screening operation. They have very little sense of real security, and in some the spirit of bitterness is developing.One hears of reputable Africans like Tom M'boya, the Secretary of the Kenya African T.U.C., talking about their anxiety regarding screening in the camps and I hope that the Minister will give the figures. I understand that about 50,000 are now in the camps. So far, only about 6,000 have got out to work in the rehabilitation camps, and only 450 have been screened and are back at their lawful vocations.
I think it unfortunate that we should speak about white and black in screening operations. We might use happier terms than whites who are clean, and blacks who are not quite so pure in this conspiracy. I do not think that we have heard all that we should or might. I do not think that Colonel Young and the police under his administration have had a square deal. If, in the conspiracy in 495 Malaya, Colonel Young could have been on the War Council in Kuala Lumpur, why could not he have had the same status in Kenya, with an equally important job to do? If he was good enough for General Templer, I say that he is good enough for General Erskine. I can put it no higher than that.
The régime in Kenya must be based upon justice and not upon fear. The most important development in the last twelve months is the African feeling of good will towards the police. The success of the police since our Parliamentary Mission went there can be measured in the number of cases exposed by the C.I.D. and in the number of Africans coming forward to help the police. There is now more faith in the police than in many parts of the Administration, which is a rather sad thing.
I want to touch upon some of the abuses and misdemeanours that have occurred. It is quite obvious that the Administration wished for a quid pro quo—an amnesty for the Mau Mau together with an amnesty for the Kikuyu Home Guard. I am informed upon good authority that at least 25 prima facie cases of murder in the Home Guard were pending, but those cases have now been dropped because of the amnesty consequent upon the offer of 18th January. Perhaps the Minister will comment upon that matter, because these things are doing us no good either in the Colony or outside.
I hope that first-class law officers, such as Mr. Whyatt and Mr. Griffith-Jones, are getting all the official backing they should get. They are having a very difficult time in this colonial society, and sometimes have to face social ostracism. It is very difficult for them to steer a path of objective justice between black and white, when they do not always have the backing they deserve.
I hope that Mr. Hartwell will continue in the office of chief secretary. He is a man of the utmost integrity. We should do our utmost to back up the men who are fighting this difficult battle against an emotional, ill-inspired and often vicious campaign, not merely against these officers but against Mr. Blundell and Mr. Havelock.
I should like to say a word about Mr. Slade. I have the "Kenya Weekly 496 News" here and am staggered to read what Mr. Slade is reported to have said. He is a very skilful lawyer, but what he has said verges upon sedition. He has apparently been telling the police that they might think twice about helping the Government and the War Council in this emergency. I should not like to think what may happen to Mr. Patel or Mr. Eliud Mathu if they talk upon a communal platform in this fashion.
The Lyttelton Settlement was a bold and imaginative concept, and we are encouraged by the fact that for the first time we have a black Cabinet Minister in Central Africa. The course is set, and we have to go ahead. But the utterances of many Europeans in Kenya do not help this project. If the Lyttelton constitution is upset or capsized, the government of the colony comes back to this House, which is paradoxically what the Europeans do not want.
There are three points upon which the communities differ, and if we can settle these the money which we are now voting will be well spent and we shall move towards a harmonious and co-operative society out there. The three points upon which the communities seem to be split, and on which they are pushing and shoving, are land, education and political representation.
I have not much time to talk about the land question. We all await the Land Commission's findings—and we wait in hope. In the Report of the Parliamentary Commission we gave quite a clear hint. It was unanimous from both sides of the House. I am glad to see the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport) in his place, because I assure him, if he needs assurance, that his letter in "The Times "and his comments in the House have caused quite a furore in the Colony. This bears out what we all think should be the policy—an honest, open access to any land in the Colony. The test of farming should be that of competent husbandry and not the pigmentation of a man's skin. Let us hope we shall see that recommendation in the Land Commission's Report.
No one in the House or outside thinks that if we give the Africans all the White Highlands, the 16,000 square miles, it would solve all their difficulties. It would not. There is land congestion and land 497 hunger on an enormous scale, and also bad African farming. But the important point is that if we were to allow some of them into the area, it would pay enormous dividends and have an enormous psychological effect in obtaining the good will of the Africans. If we allowed some of them to farm these territories instead of being squatters, as they have been in the past, it would create good will.
The Asian and African races want some kind of multi-racial education. Let us spend some of this money in this Vote upon one good multi-racial secondary school, and give the different colours a chance to live together. As I have always said, we might get a more closely-knit adult society if we attempted something of a closely-knit adolescent or school society. If they meet at school, there is a chance that later, having played games together at school, they will work together in business or commerce, for instance. I hope the Minister will comment on that. I am worried to see that the Europeans in Kenya are talking in terms of a separate European education board. This is a move towards a communal——
§ The Deputy-Chairman (Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris)
I do not think that education arises under the Vote. It deals with expenditure for the emergency and for agricultural purposes, but education does not enter into it.
§ Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly)
Charging my memory, I think that the emergency Vote is a comprehensive Vote which includes not only the operations in the emergency but also funds for the future. When this was announced, I think by Lord Chandos, I think part of it was to be spent on social services, including education.
§ Mr. Johnson
I thought that some of the money was going towards teacher-training colleges, for example, which would be social service expenditure, quite apart from other money spent on sending the Lancashire Fusiliers and other troops to the Colony.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
Looking at the terms of the Vote, I see nothing in it about education. There is a reference to agriculture and administration but nothing about education.
§ Mr. Johnson
I bow to your ruling, Sir Rhys.
498 In view of the time, may I turn to the last point—popular elections? We are delighted that the Coutts Commission is there, and, of course, we hope soon to have some good news about the franchise for Africans. It would also help enormously if we had an experiment of a common electorate as opposed to a communal electorate. I heartily agree with Mr. A. P. Patel's suggestion of having 10 cross-benchers in the Assembly, elected by a common vote on a common roll.
I end by appealing, if I may, to the European leaders in the Colonies, many of whom I know personally, in the coming months to put the common weal before their own communal and personal interests. In my closing sentences I find it sad to have to tell the Minister that in tonight's evening paper, the "Star," I read that the surrender offer is to be withdrawn. This newspaper stated:The Kenya Government are to withdraw the surrender offer to the Mau Mau, Mr. Michael Blundell, Minister without Portfolio, told a hostile meeting of European electors today.He said, according to A.P., that the Government would make a statement in the Legislative Council tomorrow giving the date of the withdrawal.I deprecate the whole tone of this announcement, but, even more, I deprecate that it should be announced to a hostile European audience and not made to the Legislative Assembly in Nairobi or by the Minister here in this House.
I have spoken longer than I intended. I hope the Minister will answer some of the questions I have asked him most sincerely because as he knows no one desires more than I to see a happy ending to this business in Kenya.
§ Mr. Frederic Harris (Croydon, North)
I should like to join with the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) in congratulating my hon. Friend the Member for Armagh (Mr. Armstrong) on his maiden speech, to which we all listened with very great interest. My hon. Friend speaks with considerable personal knowledge. Last September, in Gilgil, I had my only car accident in 20 years. The person I nearly killed was the hon. Member for Armagh. I would certainly have been terribly disturbed to feel that I had deprived this House of the speech he has delivered tonight.
499 The right hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mr. Bottomley) sought to put a certain amount of blame for our troubles in Kenya on this Government, but far too little is said of the blame which attached to the Socialist Government in the six years prior to our coming into office. [Hon. Members: "Oh."] There is no time to challenge that point now——
§ Mr. Harris
—but far too little has been said about it.
I wish to refer briefly to the surrender terms about which the hon. Member for Rugby has spoken. I am sincerely hoping that what is reported in the Press statement is not exactly accurate. We must be very practical. We in this country expect parents to agree to their sons going to serve in Kenya, fighting there and risking their lives. We also expect people in this country to vote this money to help everyone in Kenya. We cannot expect this support if there is no real endeavour to end the emergency quickly. To do so, we must either root out the hard core of Mau Mau or persuade them to surrender.
On the question of trying to root out the hard core of Mau Mau, anyone with practical knowledge of the Aberdares will immediately realise the tremendous difficulties facing our forces there. On the second suggestion, we cannot expect the criminals, however bad they are, to come forward and give themselves up if they are to fear the death penalty as soon as they have done so. Therefore, I personally fully support the endeavours that have been made by the Kenya Government and Her Majesty's Government in order to obtain the maximum amount of surrenders they can. I only have some doubts as to the timing, but we must assume that there was good advice from the people on the spot who must have been satisfied that the timing was right.
My real worry, and I am sure that of many hon. Members, is that the surrender offer may not be as successful as we all wish it to be. I think most of us would also agree that we should at the same time endeavour to press home the military operations as hard as we can.
500 There have, unfortunately, been misunderstandings about the surrender offer. There was a general belief, certainly when I was in Kenya—my hon. Friend the Member for Armagh (Mr. Armstrong) will, I think, bear me out—that miscreants who surrendered would get off scot free. That, of course, was absurd, but nevertheless that misunderstanding existed, and someone was to blame when there was a lack of appreciation of what the real offer was.
People who criticise an offer of this kind should put forward their own alternative. The real trouble is that people will not put forward alternatives because they cannot suggest them. Therefore, I am deeply concerned in case the voices of the settlers and those in Kenya who disagree with the offer—the hon. Member for Rugby correctly referred to Humphrey Slade; and many of us must deprecate what we have heard he said if the Report was true—should have any deterrent effect and should convey the impression to the wrongdoers that even if they give themselves up, the Government will not keep its word. If this should lessen the chance of success of the surrender offer, the responsibility lays clearly on the shoulders of those who are prepared to make these statements.
I should like to see a stepping up of the rehabilitation of the Kikuyu under controlled villagisation schemes, which are most effective. We do not want unnecessary detention in screening camps for long periods. In my opinion, Kikuyus are being kept too long in these screening camps. Officialdom is moving far too slowly in Kenya, and I hope that my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary will be able to give instructions to speed up this work.
I consider that such rehabilitation will make the Kikuyus realise the wisdom of being good citizens for the future and will in itself lead to better conditions. It might even be wise to endeavour to establish clean areas in parts of Kenya. Every sensible person who has the future of Kenya at heart must obviously wish to bring this unfortunate emergency to an end quickly and would fully support the actions of both the Kenya Government and Her Majesty's Government.
It is extremely easy to criticise, and many people here and in Kenya do so only too frequently. It is a different 501 matter, however, when one asks for practical alternative suggestions. In the absence of such alternatives being put forward, we should all do our utmost in this House of Commons to support the Kenya and Her Majesty's Government in endeavouring to bring this very troublesome emergency in Kenya to an end.
§ Mr. M. Philips Price (Gloucestershire, West)
I will be brief, because time is short, but I should like first to say how, like other Members of the Committee, I listened with great interest to the speech of the hon. Member for Armagh (Mr. Armstrong), because I know the kind of thing he has been through. I know the country where he has been living, and I, too, was there last autumn. I was to have gone to a farm—and nearly did—if it had not been for another programme that I had to carry out. When I got back to Nairobi, I heard that the owner of the farm had been carried off to the forests—he has since been buried alive—and his wife strangled. So I know the kind of circumstances under which the hon. Member was living.
I quite understand that there are those among the settlers who feel bitter, but all the same, bitterness is no substitute for statesmanship. It is statesmanship we want now. Therefore, I am glad that the surrender offer has been made, and I hope that it will be successful.
I visited detention camps, and my impression is that the right thing is being done there in trying to screen those who have taken the Mau Mau oaths. I was given to understand that it was only those who had taken various grades of the Mau Mau oaths who were put into those camps, and that those who had taken the final oaths were thought impossible to be got right again, and they are likely to be detained in the emergency. All the others, however, are in various stages of rehabilitation, and while I was there a number were being released. I think that that is the right policy.
No doubt there have been mistakes, and a long delay, which should be avoided at all costs, but, as one of the district officers said to me when I was visiting these camps, "What we have to struggle for is the soul of the Africans." We have to get them to understand that we are out to try to help them to help themselves.
502 The Kikuyu country has been so much overcrowded, owing to a number of circumstances which I shall not now go into, but if the land is properly farmed, it can, I believe, support the whole of that population there, and many more besides. I was much heartened to see the great progress achieved by those wonderful men of the agricultural advisory service. The work they are doing there is excellent. I spent very interesting and valuable hours with them. They are teaching the Kikuyu tribesmen how to prevent soil erosion and how to grow coffee. Coffee is a valuable crop. I saw several coffee plantations belonging to Kikuyu farmers. The agricultural advisory service men are teaching them how they can earn a good living from the land.
Abuses have gone on, undoubtedly, among members of the Home Guard, Kikuyu bullying Kikuyu, and making a shambles of British justice. That has happened, and I am a little disturbed that those Africans who have been guilty of those kinds of crimes against other Africans are apparently to get off. There may be a reason for it, but I should like the Secretary of State, when he replies to the debate, to say something about that. Is it really necessary? Will it not be a grave danger to the sense of justice which we have to instill into the people of Kenya if that kind of thing is allowed? Of course, it has something to do with the resignation of Colonel Young.
Since the resignation of Colonel Young I have had letters from people in Kenya. My impression is that one must be careful in this matter. In a country like this, in a European country or in America, the police must be quite separate from the Executive and from the political side of the system, but in a country like parts of Kenya where there is a civil war going on among Africans, in a country which is still primitive and with a tribal system, things are different.
The African looks to the" provincial commissioner, to the provincial and district officer, as a man who will be his father and mother. We must be very careful not to appear to divide authority. A simple-minded African will not understand the niceties of a constitution and, therefore, there is a good deal to be said for making the police act within the policy laid down by the Governor, the Executive in Nairobi and the provincial and district 503 commissioners. I do not see how we can do anything other than that. Only in that way will we secure the confidence of the African tribesman, who will look to the district officer as his friend and ally.
§ The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd)
I am very grateful to hon. Members on both sides of the Committee who have cut short their remarks, and particularly to the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Philips Price), who recently travelled with me to Kenya and whose keen interest in and knowledge of agriculture and forestry, two of the foundations of Kenya's wealth, I know from first-hand experience with him.
Six colonial Votes could be debated tonight, but I think that we all recognise that Kenya represents to both sides of the Committee and to all our people our most anxious colonial preoccupation. I should like to join with those hon. Members on both sides of the Committee who have congratulated my hon. Friend the Member for Armagh (Mr. Armstrong) on a really memorable maiden speech. In my long time in the House of Commons I do not remember any maiden speech which has evoked from an hon. Member on the other side who immediately followed the description of the speaker as "my hon. Friend." I hope that my hon. Friend will recognise that his moving and encouraging speech has been of the very greatest possible service to this country, and, indeed, to the Commonwealth.
When some of us who know about my hon. Friend's work in Kenya heard that he had been persuaded by his fellow countrymen in Ireland to represent them in the House of Commons, it might have appeared to us at first sight as if it were a loss to Kenya, but it is not so. It is a gain to Kenya that one who possesses such first-hand knowledge and such a broad and humane approach should be here to give us his views on this most urgent problem. I should like to assure my hon. Friend and his constituents that we know that this is not by any means the first, and I am sure that it is not the last, of the contributions of Ulster to the British Commonwealth.
This has been a very interesting, but, unhappily, a short debate. We have had something nearer the atmosphere of the Council of State during the debate than 504 we have had on many occasions. I should like to thank the right hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mr. Bottomley) and the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) for the way in which they couched their observations. They both know from first-hand visits a good deal about the problem of Kenya. The right hon. Gentleman will know that the advice given by the Parliamentary mission that selective steps should be taken to deal with Mau Mau and the violent crime in Nairobi—although I believe that it is one which will prove to be one of the turning points in the troubles in Kenya—has created one of the great problems of detention with which we now have to grapple.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I hope that release ultimately will make it selective.
The Committee will be most interested in the new surrender terms and I am very glad to make a few comments upon them. Had the House of Commons been sitting at the times when the surrender terms were announced, I should have taken an early opportunity to talk about them in Parliament. There were two previous surrender offers. There was the "Green branch" offer, as it was called, which was made in August, 1953, and which is still in force. Under it there will be no execution of those who surrender if their offences were the carrying of arms or ammunition or consorting with terrorists.
Then there was, in April, 1954, what was called the "China terms"—ad hoc terms. It was hoped that there would be a mass surrender under which even those guilty of murder would not have been executed. That offer may have failed, and very likely did fail through a tragic accident. The War Council of Kenya has been considering for some time the need for new surrender terms and it was generally accepted between it and myself as representing Her Majesty's Government here that when it was satisfied that the time had come for such an offer to be made it should put it forward. That was done in the middle of January and, of course, it had the full support of Her Majesty's Government here.
It will be remembered that the offer was that all who surrendered from 18th January would not be prosecuted by the Government for any offences connected 505 with the emergency committed before 18th January. That they would be detained and that the period of their detention would depend on each individual case was, of course, clearly understood. I think it is self-evident that it would be quite impossible to put forward a new surrender offer and continue at the same time the Criminal Investigation Department investigations and prosecutions of loyalists who, in the same period, had been guilty of malpractices.
The results of the surrender offer so far show that 127 people have surrendered since 18th January and I am advised that 25 per cent. are what might be called hard core, raising the weekly rate of surrenders from 11 to 31 a week. It is not a spectacular result but a definite improvement. Here, let me say straight away to the hon. Member for Rugby that there is no question whatever of any statement being made tomorrow in Kenya or anywhere else that this offer is being withdrawn. It has always been clearly understood that it would not be an indefinite offer, and I can assure the Committee that it would not be withdrawn on the morrow of a Parliamentary debate here without my telling Parliament all about it.
I know some hon. Members have been disturbed by what they regard as the immunity granted to those who, while loyalists, have broken the code which we all try to follow. But I think it is necessary to get this matter in perspective. The Mau Mau movement reveals that the terrorism has been mainly directed against the African people themselves. No fewer than 465 members of the African security forces have been killed and 1,308 African civilians have been murdered. This is indeed a formidable total. The first job is to try to stop it. It was our duty, and that of the Government of Kenya, to muster all our forces to stop it, including, naturally, the African people who have borne the brunt of the savagery.
It is true that some of these people, embittered by this savagery, have dealt with Mau Mau in their own coin. We cannot all act in the way that David Waruihu has acted and show generosity and far-sightedness. What is the task of the Government when confronted with such a situation? It is to issue clear orders and track down offenders. What have the Government done? They have 506 done exactly that. While they have not covered up anything, they have brought offenders to public trial and in certain quarters there is an outcry by some forms of public opinion.
The substance of the outcry is that these things should not have happened, but they have happened, and they would not have been brought to light were it not for the action of the Government. The Government brought the offenders to trial, the Government have issued the warning and, they have brought these things into the light of day. I think the Government of Kenya are entitled to praise for the courage they have shown under desperately difficult circumstances.
As I have said, the Government of Kenya have had an extraordinarily difficult task. As I shall show, they have had to deal with no fewer than 250,000 interrogations in Kenya. I do not altogether quarrel with the pamphlet issued by the Church Missionary Society. It is entirely sound in much of what it says, but it is written by people who are immersed and torn by the cares of the Kenya situation, just as I, as Secretary of State for the Colonies am immersed and torn—though I recognise that I am not on the spot, but often wish I could be.
In the words of the Bishop of Mombasa, this pamphlet was one-sided and its issue has caused him bewilderment and embarrassment. And all who know Bishop Beecher know of his standing in Africa and elsewhere. I hope that people who take too easily some of the things in this pamphlet will remember that this responsible bishop has said it has caused him bewilderment and embarrassment. It concentrates on one aspect of the tragic situation and deals with the positive achievements of the Government of Kenya in a sentence or two. It has been widely distributed to thousands of people who do not understand the Kenya situation in any detail, and it has given a very exaggerated picture.
I believe it was absolutely essential that the new surrender offer should be coupled with an offer of immunity to loyalists who had committed offences prior to the same date. Indeed, in the light of the information that is now coming in, it is clear what the effect on morale would have been had there been no such gesture at a time when the working of "Opera- 507 tion Hammer," a military operation, has made it more than ever essential for us to be able to rely on the loyalty of the Kikuyu guard to stop terrorists bolting at the forest edge.
§ Mr. J. Johnson
The gangsters and thugs and murderers in Mau Mau are coming in, or will come in. We will not let them out, but will keep them in a detention camp for a long period of years. Why cannot we also take under guard in detention camps thugs and murderers who are members of the Kikuyu Home Guard?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I think that that would give a distorted picture. We must not forget the strain to which these people have been subjected, many of whom knew perfectly well, in the early days of the emergency, that it was impossible for their own wives and families to be protected, which families have frequently been subjected to the cruellest atrocities. How can one treat these people, who have thrown in their lot with us and with the future of Kenya, in precisely the same legalistic manner as we are obliged to treat with those who are convinced Mau Mau?
As the Committee knows, there has been continuation of the charges against those where charges had already been instituted. I must confess that this aspect of the problem gave me considerable anxiety. There was, for example, the case of Chief Mundia, whom many of us know. It appeared to me and to the Government of Kenya to be quite clear that, where a case had already been started, it was essential that the case should continue; otherwise, the impression would have got around—to give only one reason—that some information had come to light which the Government of Kenya were anxious should not be disclosed.
In the case of Chief Mundla. I am glad that the judgment declared that the evidence showed that his handwork, his energy and his courage in the discharge of his duties had been of the first order. It is quite obvious that such a man would excite the animosity of Mau Mau.
On the question of timing, I was asked whether it was the right moment to make the offer. I believe it was. I share the views of my hon. Friend the Member for 508 Armagh that there is the beginning of a break in terrorist morale. It appeared to the Government of Kenya and to ourselves to be the right moment. It was a gesture made out of strength at a time when nine battalions were involved in "Operation Hammer" and when there was every indication that the strain of Mau Mau terrorism was beginning to make some real change in the hearts of many of the Mau Mau themselves. It is a time, also, when the farm guards are helping to combat the gangs foraging in the central areas and when the situation in the reserves is so much better that the troops have largely been withdrawn, leaving law and order to the Administration and to the police.
African and Asian opinion has accepted the surrender terms willingly. I understand the difficulties in which many of our European friends find themselves today, but I hope they will take to heart the statements that have been made at different times by hon. Members on both sides of the House. It will be a very heavy responsibility indeed on the conscience of any individual if, in the future, the surrender offer in any particular locality should be largely nullified by rather wild statements made by him.
I must confess that there are indications that in certain areas the surrender offer is looked on as a trick, and it may well be that some of the statements made have led to this reaction. I am very conscious that those who regard this as a breach of principle would be less likely to do so if it were successful, and all I can ask is that the same generous approach should be given to the offer at the start as will no doubt be given to it historically if it is successful.
One or two comments have rightly been made about the resignation of Colonel Young, the Commissioner of Police. I must apologise for the speed with which I am obliged to deal with these most important matters. I am very grateful to the Court of Common Council of the City of London, which released Colonel Young, and to Colonel Young himself for the work that he did in Kenya. No Colonial Secretary who knew also of his work in both the Gold Coast and Malaya could fail to realise what splendid qualities he brought to our aid in Kenya.
The hon. Member for Rugby asked why Colonel Young was not put on the 509 War Council, as he was in Malaya. In Kenya, we have a Ministerial system, a wholly different situation from that which existed in Malaya. The representative of law and order in the Ministerial ranks, Mr. Michael Blundell, is, of course, represented on the War Council. I believe it would be a great mistake if we tried to see the two problems as precisely similar.
Colonel Young and I and the Government of Kenya have agreed on a statement about the causes of his resignation. I believe that, as the statement was freely entered into, it is best to leave it as it stands, but I think I can, in fairness to Colonel Young and to the Administration of Kenya, and to myself as Secretary of State, make a very brief addition to it along the lines of what the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West said.
The administration of the African areas is based on a policy of developing African constitution and working through African tribal authorities. The Provincial Commissioner is the principal executive officer of the Government, and under him are the district commissioners, the chiefs and the headmen and the tribal police. They have statutory powers under the Native Authority Ordinance. The Provincial Commissioner is responsible for the peace and good order of the province, and any organisation not subject to him as the principal executive officer of the Government would lead to confusion, endanger the structure of African administration, and be absolutely disastrous at the height of an emergency.
I have followed with great care the improvements of the Kenya police, as shown in the Kenya Sessional Paper No. 24 of 1954, and I look with confidence to the highest degree of co-ordination between police, military and Administration. The Government of Kenya are also taking steps to reorganise the Kikuyu Guard on a more regular basis. Nine hundred have been recruited in the tribal police of the Central Province and over 6,000 are forming a tribal police reserve. As the Committee will know, there has also been an inquiry by Sir Vincent Glenday into screening.
A revised system for reception, examination and custody of suspected persons, terrorists and potential detainees is now being worked out. In his provisional report, made on 14th February, Sir 510 Vincent expressed himself as satisfied that the scheme now under way should allay public anxiety. I recognise that there has been a good deal of public anxiety at the slow rate of releases and I am all the time anxious, as are the Government of Kenya, that this should be speeded up, but the magnitude of the problem should be borne in mind. The Government of Kenya were not equipped to deal with this type of emergency and have had to interrogate 274,000 people.
Fifty-five thousand of the detainees were released after preliminary questioning and 108,000 after screening. Of those detained under "Operation Anvil," about 33,000, 10,500 were released almost immediately and another 5,300 after screening. Of the balance, apart from those already classified as hard core, there are still 6,300 awaiting classification. They have to be sent to work camps for final screening locally and the delay, which we all regret and nobody more than the Government of Kenya, is due to the building of those camps and the long and tragic quarantine periods for typhoid in some of the camps.
I recognise that remedial measures to bring back happiness to Kenya must take an imaginative form and apart from dealing with those who have fallen by the wayside in the present terrible period. I am very conscious of my duties as Secretary of State—and the Government are conscious of their duty—for reconstruction and the rehabilitation of detainees and for the building up of a more prosperous and happier Kenya in the future.
The works of irrigation, road work, agricultural clearing and cultivation are being pushed ahead and I am glad to say that I am now getting the most encouraging reports about the work of child welfare in Nairobi and the Central Province. I should like to give a message of good will from the whole Committee to Ministers like Mr. Blundell and Mr. Havelock and others who are carrying on this splendid work in the face of difficulties far greater than those with which any Minister of this Government has had to contend.
I recognise, also, my duties in the distribution of Colonial Development and Welfare Fund money in the building up of a more prosperous Kenya. I am glad to see that the Kenya agricultural plan 511 provides for dramatic increases in the growing of tea, coffee, cotton and pyrethrum, naming only a few crops bringing a better balanced economy and a better distributed wealth to the people of Kenya as a whole.
I am glad that this debate has taken the form of understanding of the great problems in which Kenya is now engaged, of the responsibilities of the Committee for playing a proper part in discharging them and of gratitude to those Europeans, Asians, Africans and Arabs who are cooperating so loyally and bravely in this most difficult, but vital task.
§ Sir Richard Acland (Gravesend)
I do not think we ought to pass this Vote tonight, if we can keep it open from now until March so that we can discuss it further at any time. I am not quite sure that I agree with the Colonial Secretary that this debate has been like a Council of State debate, in which everybody agrees with everybody else.
§ It being Ten o'clock, The CHAIRMAN left the Chair to report Progress and ask leave to sit again.
§ Report of Resolutions to be received Tomorrow; Committee also report Progress; to sit again Tomorrow.