HC Deb 09 March 1955 vol 538 cc417-22
8. Mr. Beresford Craddock

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make arrangements to supply to members of the Government and to the public of Tanganyika copies of the Report made by the delegation of the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations which recently visited Tanganyika.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

This Report was released as a United Nations document in New York for official use on 24th January. It has not yet been printed for sale to the general public. Arrangements have been made for the Tanganyika Government to be supplied with sufficient copies for free distribution to leaders of public opinion in the Territory, and to members of its Government.

Mr. Craddock

Would my right hon. Friend not agree that it is the duty of the Trusteeship Council to make available copies of this Report to the Territory affected as quickly as possible, particularly when, as in this case, the Report contains many controversial recommendations and observations?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The Government have very strong views indeed about the contents of this Report, but, in fairness to those who drew it up, I must say that the normal procedure in regard to release was scrupulously followed by the Trusteeship Council. None the less, we recognise the disadvantages as pointed out by my hon. Friend. Our delegates are approaching their colleagues on the Council to see whether some different procedure can be devised.

Mr. J. Griffiths

In view of the public interest aroused by Press reports containing some of the statements in this Report, will the right hon. Gentleman make it possible for Members of the House to obtain copies of the Report in the House, because I think it would be of value to all of us to read it in full?

Mr. Braine

Can my right hon. Friend say whether it is true that the Chairman of this mission dissented from all the major recommendations in the Report?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Yes, and, of course, that is a very significant fact, as my hon. Friend says. With regard to the point raised by the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), there are two copies in the Library, the United Nations Office in Tavistock Square has others, and the printing of others is, I hope, proceeding speedily. It is, of course, the responsibility of the United Nations and not of Her Majesty's Government, but we are putting forward suggestions for a possible change in procedure, and I will do all that I can to see that Members of Parliament are able to collect copies from U.N.O. as soon as possible.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider whether the time has not come when Members of Parliament ought to be able to obtain all these Reports, as that is essential to our deliberations? Will the Minister take up the matter with his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I am taking up, through the United Kingdom delegation, the question of a proposed new procedure in regard to this matter. I have very much sympathy with what the right hon. Gentleman says.

10. Mr. Beresford Craddock

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what proportion of their time the delegates of the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations organisation, during their recent visit to Tanganyika, devoted to the hearing of evidence from witnesses representing the Tanganyika African National Union.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I cannot say how the Mission apportioned its time. Its Report, however, gives disproportionate emphasis to the views of the Union, and makes comparatively little reference to the much larger body of African opinion that exists outside it.

27. Mr. T. Reid

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the names and countries of the members of the Trusteeship Council Committee which recently reported on Tanganyika; and what proposals of theirs were objected to by the British representatives at the United Nations organisation.

38. Mr. Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards the 'recommendations made in the Report of the United Nations Mission to Tanganyika.

63 Mr. Anthony Greenwood

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) what changes Her Majesty's Government propose to make in the constitutional advance of Tanganyika, so as to attain self-government within the period indicated by the United Nations Visiting Mission, in paragraph 30 of its Report.

(2) if Her Majesty's Government has accepted the recommendations on educational reform contained in paragraphs 656 to 663 in the Report of the United Nations Visiting Mission to Tanganyika.

(3) if he will accept the recommendations of the United Nations Visiting Mission to Tanganyika, made in paragraphs 533 to 535 of its Report, regarding the training of Africans for higher grades of the Civil Service and for all grades of the local government services.

66. Mr. Harold Davies

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies; if Her Majesty's Government has accepted the recommendation of the United Nations Visiting Mission to Tanganyika, made in paragraphs 470 to 474 of its Report, that an elective system be adopted as an early step in constitutional reform.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The United Nations Visiting Mission to Tanganyika had the following members:—Mr. Reid of New Zealand as Chairman, Mr. Eguizabal of El Salvador, Mr. Jaipal of India and Mr. Sears of the United States. The Mission reported to the Trusteeship Council, which is now debating its recommendations. The views of Her Majesty's Government on these recommendations are fully set out in the detailed observations which have been submitted to the Trusteeship Council. A copy of these observations has been placed in the Library of the House.

In general, I fear that Her Majesty's Government do not regard the Mission's main recommendations, from which the Chairman dissented, as helpful or realistic. In particular they regard as wholly unacceptable the proposal to establish a time-table for political advance in Tanganyika.

Mr. Reid

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree with me that the Chairman, bearing the name of Reid, did not do anything wrong? But in regard to others, would the right hon. Gentleman suggest in future that the United Nations appoint responsible people to the Trusteeship Council?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

It might be a little improper for me to make a suggestion of that kind, but when Her Majesty's Government feel moved to say of the inaccuracies and wrong assumptions in this Report The accumulated substructure of error tends to vitiate the whole report and to deprive its recommendations of any claim to authority, I hope that fact will not be lost sight of in the proper quarter.

Mr. Brockway

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many hon. Members will repudiate the suggestion that representatives from America, India and El Salvador on this Visiting Mission are irresponsible? Is it not a fact that this country administers Tanganyika under the Trusteeship Council and ought to pay more serious attention to a report from this Visiting Mission?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Naturally, what I had in mind were not the countries of origin of these various people but the way in which they discharged then-responsibility. It is, of course, open to U.N.O. to inquire into the administration of the trust territory. It is the duty of the administering authority to give them every facility to do so, but the decision on what, if any, of the Mission's recommendations should be carried out, is one for Her Majesty's Government alone on whom alone lies the responsibility for administration.

Mr. Beresford Craddock

Would my right hon. Friend not agree that the Trusteeship Council should pay more serious attention to the excellent work that the British Administration has done in Tanganyika for many years?

Mr. Greenwood

While appreciating that the right hon. Gentleman has placed the Government's proposal in the Library, could he say now, for the purpose of the OFFICIAL REPORT, what are the Government's proposals for training Africans to occupy local government and Civil Service positions, and for extending educational opportunities?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I think it is generally understood by the mass of Africans themselves that we are in favour of progressive extensions of education opportunities in Tanganyika. On the question of the employment of Africans in the Civil Service, we do not dissent from the recommendations of the Mission, which broadly correspond to our intentions, except that we do not intend to lower administrative standards or to direct educated Africans into the Civil Service.

Mr. Harold Davies

Is the right hon. Gentleman seriously damning this Report because it seems to disagree with the point of view of the present Government? Does he appreciate that the Report itself says that more positive and immediate steps should be taken, and practice is the best and only test of local administration? Let us learn from the mistakes we made in Malaya.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I think that had it fallen to my predecessor the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) to write the comments of Her Majesty's Government, they would have been broadly similar to my own.

Mr. Alport

Is my right hon. Friend aware that responsible Asian and African opinion in Tanganyika views this Report with just as much concern and regards it as being just as unrealistic as does responsible opinion in this country?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Yes, Sir, I think that is certainly so. That so much attention should have been paid to the views of one particular body while very little regard was paid to the views of educated African chiefs, elected either traditionally or by ordinary election, and of elected councils, is a sufficient answer.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Will the right hon. Gentleman make available to us, in addition to the Report, the comments, if any, made by the Legislative Council? Ought we not to be informed of their considered view on these recommendations so that we may have a balanced view to consider in this House?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

That is a reasonable suggestion, and I will try to do that, although I cannot give an undertaking.