43. Mrs. White
asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations the present position concerning constitutional discussions in Basutoland.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. Douglas Dodds-Parker)
After discussion in the district councils, the Moore Report was brought before the Basutoland National Council in March this year. The Council at that time showed unwillingness to consider the recommendations on their merits. There has since been some 558 indication that the Basuto would favour re-examination of the Report. It is now being discussed again in the district councils and will probably be referred back to the National Council in September. When the considered opinion of the Basuto is known, Her Majesty's Government will decide what action to take on the recommendations in the Report.
Would the hon. Gentleman not agree that the action of the Resident Commissioner in dismissing the Council without consulting the Paramount Chief was not the best way to obtain its acquiescence in the matter under consideration? Will the Minister please place in the Library a copy of the reply sent by his noble Friend to the letter from the members of the Basutoland Council, drafted by them when meeting informally after they had been dismissed by the Resident Commissioner?
§ Mr. Dodds-Parker
The reply to the first part of the hon. Lady's supplementary question is that the Resident Commissioner was entirely within his rights in the action he took. I consider that what he did, after eight days of discussion, was perfectly proper. I will see, without any commitment, what can be done about the second part of the hon. Lady's supplementary question.
44 and 46. Mr. Dugdale
asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (1) on how many occasions during his term of office, on what dates, and for what length of time, the late High Commissioner visited Bechuanaland, Basutoland and Swaziland, respectively;
(2) when the present High Commissioner expects to visit Basutoland and Swaziland.
§ Mr. Dodds-Parker
The previous High Commissioner, who assumed office in October, 1951, paid four visits to Bechuanaland, totalling thirty days, four visits to Basutoland, totalling twenty-two days, and six visits to Swaziland, totalling nineteen days. Since the details of these visits are lengthy I will, with permission, circulate them in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
The present High Commissioner visited Swaziland from 4th July to 9th July and 559 expects to visit Northern Bechuanaland from 27th July to 4th August and Basutoland from 6th September to 12th September.
Would the hon. Gentleman not agree that these visits are few and far between, considering the duties that this gentleman has to perform? Does he not think that it is becoming increasingly difficult for anyone to be responsible for these three territories and to live at the same time in the capital of a country which is pursuing a racial policy diametrically opposed to that pursued by Her Majesty's Government in these three territories? Will the hon. Gentleman not consider separating the two offices so that there may be somebody responsible for running the territories separately?
§ Mr. Dodds-Parker
No, Sir. The right hon. Gentleman knows better than I do that the High Commissioner has
|Visits to the High Commission territories by the present High Commissioner's predecessor|
|Year||Dates||Territory||Length of visit|
|1951||…||…||2nd-7th November||…||Swaziland||…||5 days|
|14th-18th December||…||Basutoland||…||4 days|
|18th-21st December||…||Bechuanaland Protectorate||…||3 days|
|27th-29th December||…||Swaziland||…||2 days|
|1952||…||…||10th-13th December||…||Swaziland||…||3 days|
|1953||…||…||6th-17th March||…||Basutoland||…||11 days|
|19th-28th June||…||Bechuanaland Protectorate||…||9 days|
|1954||…||…||21st-24th February||…||Basutoland||…||3 days|
|26th February-2nd March||…||Swaziland||…||4 days|
|19th June-2nd July||…||Bechuanaland Protectorate||…||14 days|
|22nd-25th July||…||Swaziland||…||3 days|
|10th-14th October||…||Bechuanaland Protectorate||…||4 days|
|13th-17th November||…||Basutoland||…||4 days|
|12th-14th December||…||Swaziland||…||2 days|