§ 3.33 p.m.
§ Mr. A. G. Bottomley (Rochester and Chatham)
The Secretary of State for the Colonies appears at the Dispatch Box boiling over with confidence, but my experience seems to be that he has very little steam left with which to do anything effective. The answers I have been given over a period of months now have either been flippant, or no answers at all, and that is not good enough. On other occasions I have referred to the previous Secretary of State for the Colonies and I do not want at this stage to make a contrast, but I expect that as a result of today's debate we shall at least get some answers.
The right hon. Gentleman will remember that I sent a letter to him on 5th January concerning Malta, of which I will not quote the substance. Ten days afterwards, on 15th January, I received a letter from his private secretary stating that the Secretary of State would like to talk to me. A telephone call was made and a meeting was agreed. The Secretary of State then went away and, of course, I recognised that he was on official duties and, therefore, made no attempt to disturb him.
1304 However, as soon as the right hon. Gentleman returned from his official tour, I telephoned again and suggested that we might have the agreed meeting. To date that meeting has not taken place. I cite that as an indication of what I consider to be dilatoriness on the part of the Secretary of State.
§ The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd)
May I say straight away to the right hon. Gentleman that he and I meet repeatedly in the House of Commons. No one who knows me well, as I thought he did, would accuse me of being unapproachable. Even yesterday evening we had a brief talk about the debate today and this is the first time he has made any such charge. If the right hon. Gentleman feels it necessary, for purposes unknown to me, to make these suggestions in Parliament, surely he should also, as a colleague, make them to me first.
§ Mr. Bottomley
It is not at all monstrous—for this reason, that I made this suggestion to the Secretary of State and if his office is not in a position to convey to him messages that I leave, he must look to his Department. I would not have thought that he would want to hide behind his own Department, but rather that he would wish to accept responsibility.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
In fairness to the Civil Service, which serves hon. Members of all parties with equal impartiality, and whose merits and integrity are known to the right hon. Gentleman, who was one of my distinguished predecessors, I indignantly repudiate that suggestion. If there is any fault, it is my fault, and certainly not that of my officers. The charge I am making is that the right hon. Gentleman, for purposes which perhaps will be disclosed later, is making general charges which he has never made personally to me or, as far as I know, to my advisers.
§ Mr. Bottomley
The right hon. Gentleman cannot have it both ways. He cannot, on the one hand, say that he knows nothing about representations that I have made and, at the same time, try to suggest that I am criticising the civil servants. I am quite sure that the civil servants conveyed to him my request for a meeting. 1305 Therefore, he must accept responsibility and expect a rebuke from this Box if he does not give the kind of treatment which a colleague in the House of Commons has a right to expect.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I have in my hand a recent answer to the right hon. Gentleman over which, with my advisers, I took enormous trouble. It dealt with a host of points affecting Kenya, and the right hon. Gentleman might have drawn the attention of his colleagues and of the Committee to this answer. It extended over six columns of Hansard of 17th February and went into great detail. It was given after much research into what I thought were all the outstanding things which were causing anxiety to the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Bottomley
I was referring to delay over a matter concerning Malta.
I am coming to the statement which the right hon. Gentleman gave me in reply to the Kenya questions and I shall have a great deal to say about that. At least I can say now—and you, Sir Charles, will remember—that on an earlier occasion, when I tried three times to get answers to Questions, I had to seek the support of Mr. Speaker to find out how it was possible to get answers. Mr. Speaker suggested to me that I should seize the right opportunity. I thought that was today, and if the Secretary of State will wait, I will acknowledge the great work he put in to provide those answers; but he must not expect me to say that they are satisfactory if I consider them to be otherwise.
What I want to do, after this initial brush—about which I feel just as unhappy as the Secretary of State, but for which he must share the responsibility—is to talk about Kenya, because that is the matter about which I am most qualified to speak. To meet the wishes of the right hon. Gentleman, I am beginning with that and, as he knows, my right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones) will follow, with some support on other matters. It is to meet the convenience of the right hon. Gentleman that I have agreed to follow this procedure, which is not customary. Perhaps, later, the right hon. Gentleman will make an acknowledgment of that, as an indication that he has not found me unresponsive in trying to work on these matters to our mutual advantage.
1306 During the debate on the previous Estimates, on 16th February, I pointed out, quite rightly, that we in Britain were being asked to subsidise the handling of the emergency in Kenya. No one can dispute, therefore, that we here have a right to say how we think that emergency ought to be handled and how a settlement can be brought about.
I stated certain principles and made a number of suggestions on that occasion and, while they may have been considered, there has been no answer about the things which I believe to be fundamental to a settlement of the emergency in Kenya. I want the Government—we have a right to expect it—to state exactly what their position is. In the present confused situation in Kenya it is absolutely essential that the Government should clearly make known their attitude to the methods of handling the emergency and to the new Kenya which we all hope to establish.
I should like to know, for instance, where the Government stand on land policy. The Secretary of State must be aware that three European elected members who are members of the Council of Ministers have publicly stated that they will allow no tampering with the White Highlands. Let it be noted that this statement has been made before the Royal Commission has reported. We have been told to keep off the subject until the Royal Commission makes its report. Consequently, the comments which have been made by the European elected members who are members of the Council of Ministers should be noted. They have been heard by the Africans in Nairobi and the Reserves. How do the Government think those Africans feel about things? Is that the way to conduct affairs and make it much more profitable for negotiations to go forward?
The Secretary of State ought to be in a position to tell us whether those views represent the views of Her Majesty's Government. In the present situation we cannot wait another six weeks before we get the report of the Royal Commission. We and the people of Kenya have a right to know whether the views of the European elected members represent the views of the British Government. Is the demand of the Africans for a new 1307 land policy to be supported by the British Government, or are we to allow the claims of the Africans to be by-passed because of the statement made by the Members of the Council of Ministers?
The hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport) is well qualified to speak on these matters, and he has made his position about the land situation clear. I commended him at the time, and I do so again, for the very statesmanlike utterance that he made. We have a right to know whether the statement that he made represents the views of Her Majesty's Government. Something must be said about this.
§ Mr. Beresford Craddock (Spelthorne)
Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us what the views of the Africans are on the land problem, so that we may follow him better?
§ Mr. Bottomley
If the hon. Member wants me to take a good deal of the time of the Committee I will certainly try to give the information that he wants. However, the views of the African have been presented and are well known. The views of the Africans are by no means solidified any more than are the views of the Europeans, but the Africans are unanimous in their opinion about the White Highlands, and that is a matter that we can debate and discuss.
I have views of my own on this subject, and I have previously expressed them. We can certainly say that to lay down that the White Highlands area is to be a permanent reserve for the Europeans is not the way to secure the support of the Africans. If we say that at this stage, that is about as far as we can go in the present debate.
I also want to know whether the Secretary of State is in agreement with an integrated educational system in Kenya. That is the only way that we shall secure a genuine multi-racial society in Kenya. The Secretary of State must be aware that this has been tried out in some parts of Africa, particularly the Belgian Congo. If it can be done there, why cannot it be done in Kenya?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
Would the right hon. Gentleman suggest that we should also follow habits elsewhere, where there are no political rights of any kind? Once 1308 we started on a system whereby there were no political rights for Africans or Europeans, no doubt economic development could take another form; but that has not been our method.
§ Mr. Bottomley
Do I understand that the Secretary of State is answering me already and is saying that he does not believe in an integrated educational system?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I was merely replying to the right hon. Gentleman's remarks about the Belgian Congo.
§ Mr. Bottomley
Apparently to that extent the right hon. Gentleman does not agree with what I thought was the ultimate desire of all of us, a multi-racial Government and a multi-racial country.
I also want to know whether it is still the view of the Secretary of State that there should be separate racial political organisations and representations. From my point of view, that, again, is a negation of a multi-racial society. I want to know whether the Secretary of State will consider introducing by some method or other a common electoral roll so that it will be possible to have representatives of the Kenyan nation instead of separate racial groups.
Does the Secretary of State think that we can help the healthy development of African politics by creating tribal associations? I gather that there is already an attempt to bring this about in Nairobi. It should be an essential part of the handling of the present emergency to state clearly to the Africans, in particular, what our intentions are about their political future.
The Secretary of State referred to certain answers which he has given me. I thanked him for them at once. Perhaps I was being over-generous in doing that He will recall that I sent him a letter on 20th October, but I had to wait until the middle of February before I got the answers. I agree that it took some time to prepare the answers. However, I assume that the right hon. Gentleman got the answers out when he did because it was the day before we had a debate on Kenya. Having taken that into consideration, I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman gave replies as full as he might have done; some of them were far from direct and others certainly were not clear. 1309 The right hon. Gentleman said that Africans could be encouraged to stand for election to location and district councils. In his answer he said that by this means we should ultimately get leaders. Does he really believe that we can get leaders when most of the prominent Africans are in detention camps? If we are to get leadership which will really be effective, we want it now. If we do not have the leadership now, the emergency will continue.
As is well known by my colleagues who are interested in Kenya, I took up with the previous Secretary of State the question of a mission. I pay tribute to the courage and determination of the previous Secretary of State, for he went to Kenya and secured, against great argument, particularly with certain sections, the establishment of the multi-racial Government. But does the present Secretary of State really believe that one African Minister and two African Parliamentary Secretaries from a nation of more than 5½million Africans is the way to secure proper democratic representation? I have heard Africans describe it as a mockery, and if I were an African I should probably take that view.
I want to know when the Government will give genuine encouragement to, or even the opportunity for the development of, African political organisations. Without such organisations there can be no truly African representative leadership.
Continuing to deal with the answers which the Secretary of State has given me, I should like to say that there has been no satisfactory explanation yet of the resignation of Colonel Young. The Parliamentary Mission, led by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kelvingrove (Mr. Elliot), said it was essential that the Kikuyu Home Guard should have strong backing from the military and the police. The Secretary of State says that it is necessary to absorb selected members of the Guard into the tribal police.
Speaking as a member of the Mission—I know that some of my colleagues share this view—Ishould say that that is hardly the kind of backing and police leadership for which we were looking. I should like to know from the Secretary of State when the police force of Kenya is to be freed from the political restric- 1310 tions which have been placed on it. Unless that happens, it cannot give genuine support to the attack upon subversive movements.
While we are talking about subversive movements, we must not forget that there is a white subversive movement. I read the other day the remarks of a prominent African trade union leader, one of those upon whom we are depending for some kind of help to end the emergency. He said:The trend of events shows that if certain sections of the European settlers are allowed to continue as they have shown during the last few weeks, then any hope of race harmony in Kenya will have been completely destroyed.We want that kind of leader. It is such leaders who will help us to bring about the kind of society in which I thought we all firmly believed. These irresponsible Europeans, by their behaviour, are sowing deep seeds for future racial tension and perhaps of outbreaks of even more serious emergencies in the future.
We also said, in the Parliamentary Mission's Report, that we found it essential to formulate and declare policies for dealing with the long-term problems of Kenya and we insisted that the Government should be reinforced with new elements of personnel. Speaking for my colleagues on this side, we cannot accept that the establishment of either the War Council or the Council of Ministers has met these demands. No new principle was involved by setting up the Council of Ministers. The Executive Council, which was a system to be compared with the Cabinet system, had included members of all races, so that although it was a move in the right direction it was no new principle.
It is essential to make a totally new approach to the political leadership in Kenya. We really should draw upon the abilities of all, whatever their race or creed, who are willing to try to help to end the state of emergency in Kenya. In our Report we suggested that the Government reconsider giving all the help they could to the trade union movement. One of my colleagues went so far as to suggest that there should be released from detention under the Emergency Regulations all trade union delegates and representatives. I do not know what has happened about that. Perhaps the Secretary of State will 1311 tell me how many trade unionists have been released since the Report was published, which is now a very long time ago.
We also recommended an inquiry into the sociological and the psychological aspects of Mau Mau. This was carried out by Dr. Carothers, who prepared an excellent report. But we are entitled to know what the Government and the Government of Kenya have done about it. Are they accepting some of the recommendations? Is there any desire to implement these regulations? We have a right to know the answers.
From the answers given in the document to which the Minister referred, it appears that another committee has been set up to investigate wages and conditions of employment in agriculture. There was, as he knows, a committee established as long ago as 13th October, 1953, to deal with social security legislation. We will not deal with the emergency by appointing one committee after another. That is only delaying matters, allowing the troubles to grow, failing to remove the Africans' grievances and making it possible for Mau Mau still to continue.
I ask the Secretary of State whether he can truthfully say that he has attempted in the House, even after several pleas from me, to make any kind of answer. I do not claim to have any greater knowledge, but if I put forward suggestions and make propositions, I do not want them lightly pushed aside after the time and trouble that was taken by members of the Parliamentary Mission. Without in any way suggesting that these are the things which will end the trouble—these are questions I have put to the Secretary of State privately and in the House—has any consideration been given to a general amnesty for all who are detained in the camps? Has he considered the appointment of a Resident Minister in Kenya? Is there any intention that the Parliamentary Mission should revisit the Colony? Have the Government discussed holding a conference in London with members of all races in Kenya invited to discuss the situation and the future? It will be within the knowledge of the Committee that, not once but many times, I have put these questions. I have received, except in the case of the first one which 1312 was answered by the previous Secretary of State, no answer at all, or one of a flippant character.
I conclude by saying that we are subscribing £14 million out of £16 million which is to be spent on the Kenya emergency and we have the right to hear from the Government the answers to the questions I have put. On this side of the Committee we firmly believe that the only hope of ending hostilities in Kenya—and, equally important, ending them in a way that will enable Kenya to look forward to a peaceful and co-operative future—is by clearly stating the shape of the new Kenya which we envisage.
We cannot expect to secure the support of the African community unless we are prepared to show them that we are determined to help their interests. If we can bring about this kind of atmosphere in which they can trust us, then the end of the emergency is more likely to be in sight than it is now. We have to show them that we are different and mean to be different from the past, and that they have as bright a future as we can wish them, if they are prepared to co-operate.
This subject is of world-wide importance. Nowhere else in the world do we have these communities—Africans, Asians and Europeans—living and working together. If we can overcome this emergency, if these people can work together, that may pinpoint a way towards solving racial problems. The Secretary of State was affronted by what I had to say this afternoon. Let me retort in kind by saying that he has been ill-advised in the way he has attempted to answer questions in the past. I certainly hope, for the future of Kenya in particular and the desire of the world in general, that he will answer some of the points which have been put this afternoon.
§ 3.57 p.m.
§ Mr. Bernard Braine (Billericay)
I am very glad to have caught your eye, Sir Charles, because, as the Committee knows, I was privileged to be a Member of the Parliamentary Mission which visited not only Kenya, but other East African territories, Rhodesia and the Union of South Africa in the autumn of last year. I carried away with me three abiding impressions of Kenya.
The first was the extraordinary restraint and courage of not only the European 1313 settlers, but the African loyalists. I do not for one moment subscribe to the view of the right hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mr. Bottomley) that the bulk of the African leaders in Kenya are at present in detention camps. On the contrary, I was privileged to meet Africans of many kinds, Kikuyu in particular, men of great Christian character who possessed qualities of leadership that gave great promise for the future of Kenya.
The second impression was the degree to which multi-racial government has already been accepted by the European community. The third impression that I carried away was the way in which, despite the awful psychological and economic pressures of the emergency upon the economy and the life of Kenya, agricultural development, industrialisation, new housing schemes, and so on, were being pressed forward with great vigour.
It struck me then—this was last August and September—that the major problem facing Kenya was not the shooting war, although, of course, many months of that lay ahead, but the rebuilding of the shattered lives of the Kikuyu people, the problem of rehabilitation. Because of that, I should like to take this opportunity of saying that I believe my right hon. Friend and the Government of Kenya were absolutely right about the surrender terms. I can quite understand the feelings of my friends in Kenya, the loyalists among the Africans and the Europeans, who felt frustration and bitterness over these surrender terms. But the choice in politics, it was once put to me by a very wise man, is never a choice between the good and the bad. It is the choice between the bad and the worse, and it is terribly important that we choose the bad. That, of course, is a cynical point of view; but there is much wisdom in magnanimity.
What Kenya needed then and what Kenya needs now is a cessation to the fighting and an opportunity to get on with the job of rehabilitation. There is a great deal of talk about rehabilitation and about the need to raise the living standards of the Africans and to change their pattern of life, but there is not a great deal said about the means by which these ends are to be attained.
I submit to the Committee that, broadly speaking, north of the Union of South Africa, where large-scale industrialisation 1314 is possible, there is only one way of bringing a change to Africa, and to Kenya in particular, which does not mean the complete disintegration of social life and the creation of a vacuum into which either Communism, Mau Mau or some other evil cult will rush, and that is by the development and expansion of the peasant agriculture by which millions of Africans still live.
As I have said before, land is life to the African, but the tragedy is that it represents only a miserable life. It need not. That is why the key task, not only in Kenya but throughout the whole of the Colonial Empire, is to change the traditional methods of cultivation and to do so quickly. Everything of importance flows from that, higher living standards, social betterment and political stability. I think that it is in order to refer to the great achievement at Abyan in the Western Protectorate of Aden.
A Parliamentary Question elicited from my right hon. Friend recently the fact that here in what was part of the Arabia Felix of the ancients—happy Arabia, which has remained in obscurity for long centuries—change is coming today as a result, on the one hand, of the great Aden refinery and, on the other, of the patient, painstaking agricultural work being done at places like Abyan where ten times more people live today than in 1947, all on a higher standard of life.
This, then, is the means by which we shall bring about change in Kenya and elsewhere in the Colonies. It is a task which cannot be tackled leisurely. Everywhere, it is a race against time. On one side, we have Governments doing their best to arrest soil erosion, to restore lost fertility to the soil and to persuade peasants to change their methods of cultivation; and, on the other, we have population increase threatening to outstrip even the barest means of subsistence, overstocking in some areas hastening deterioration of the land and everywhere we look environment conspiring against change.
Inevitably, congestion on the land leads to a drift to the towns and to the creation of a landless, frustrated, and embittered proletariat. If these tendencies are allowed to continue—and they are manifesting themselves in Kenya and elsewhere—the gulf between the "haves" and "have-nots"—already wide—would 1315 widen. Frustrations—already great—would grow. The goal of partnership in multi-racial territories, to which we on this side subscribe just as much as hon. Gentlemen opposite, would become remote, if not impossible of attainment.
Here are two problems upon which my right hon. Friend might care to comment. The first is the problem of the urban African living in squalor in the town, not knowing whether his roots are in the town or way back in the tribal homeland; and the second is that of the rural African whose present unorganised and inefficient methods of cultivation yield but a low level of subsistence. Basically, the task is to find an answer which provides a satisfying status for a man. It may be that for the urban African that will find expression through the medium of trade unions, through achieving industrial status and home ownership.
When I was with the Parliamentary Mission I saw some really fine housing schemes, both in Nairobi and Mombasa, which were a great credit to the Kenya Government and an example to the rest of Africa. This is the direction in which we should move. But I do not want to make any further observation on that; I am concerned primarily with the agricultural problem. The need here is that the rural African should be provided with a real stake in the land, and the knowledge, skill and the inducements to farm it scientifically.
The answer in Kenya, clearly, is not to provide more land for the African to misuse in his customary, traditional way. Sir Philip Mitchell, in his famous despatch, made the point very clearly when he said:A solution for the problems of congestion commonly suggested in Kenya is that more land should be added to the area affected for occupation and cultivation by Africans on traditional tenures and by traditional means … the addition of more land with no change in methods of farming is in fact no solution at all.Those of us on both sides of the Committee who have visited Kenya, or lived and farmed there, know that there is widespread misuse of land. One reason, which, I hope, will occupy the attention of my right hon. Friend, is the native law and custom on land tenure.
The Swynnerton Report is extremely illuminating on that subject. It points out that: 1316All the African lands in Kenya naturally suited to semi-intensive, or intensive, farming are already populated, some more, some less densely, suffering from low standards of cultivation and income and, in particular and as a result of African customary land tenure and inheritance, from fragmentation whereby any one family may possess several, and in recorded instances 10 to 29, small to minute fields scattered at wide intervals so that they cannot be developed economically either to the system of farming best suited to the area or to the inclinations of the farmer himself. It is impossible under such circumstances to develop sound farming rotations, to cart and apply manure, to establish and manage grass, to improve the management and feeding of livestock or to tend cash crops in any satisfactory manner.The delegation which went to Kenya was delighted, therefore, to discover that great changes are beginning.
§ Mr. Braine
The all-party delegation which went to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference at Nairobi last year and which, both before and after the conference, toured the territory.
Among some tribes—and this is most remarkable when one recalls the situation there ten or twenty years ago—there is now a movement towards the consolidation of fragmented holdings, and a development of the idea previously alien to some of them of individual ownership. The authorities are encouraging enclosures to prevent the misuse of grazing land.
I was most impressed by the way in which the agricultural officers are devoting themselves to their task. It was refreshing, for example, to note that even before consolidation of the holdings is carried out agricultural officers were insisting upon a basic conservation plan being drawn up, upon proper surveys, correct siting of roads and waterways, and the building of protective bunds along the contour lines. All this is preliminary to persuading the peasant to abandon monoculture, to diversify his crops and to accept de-stocking. Some African communities are co-operating very well. In the Kipsiqis Reserve of Nyanza Province about 10 per cent. of the farmers have switched over to progressive farming and more are following.
In the European areas I think that the time has come to end the squatting system. 1317 The Committee will know that the squatting system is an arrangement under which an African squatter lives on a European farm, with his family, and is given permission to cultivate a small acreage, and perhaps to run a few head of cattle, in return for work on the farm. There is a growing fear among African squatters—in fact, it has been in evidence for a long time—that they are insecure. Dr. Leakey, in his very remarkable book, "Defeating Mau Mau," says that in his opinion the squatter system is most unsatisfactory, and that,certainly the Mau Mau leaders were able to get a very big following from among these people, because of their discontent and mental state of uncertainty.In other words, basically what is required is agricultural change which will give the African a feeling that he has a real stake in the land, and a satisfying status. All the airy talk about multi-racial government is useless unless it is based upon a recognition of that fact. The limiting factor—and here I come to my major point—to bringing about this change is the acute shortage of specialist personnel. I noticed a few weeks ago, in a statement made by the Department of Agriculture, in Kenya, that the recruitment of agricultural officers was only just keeping pace with the wastage. That is bad enough, but to effect real agricultural change, one needs to encourage people to think in terms of soil and water conservation. That means surveyors and soil scientists; it means drainage and water engineers.
There is an acute shortage of those people, as any one who has studied the Swynnerton Plan will have observed. Over and over again the Swynnerton Plan refers to the shortage of water engineers and surveyors. Referring to the African Land Development Board, it states:The staff of two of the sections, both for hydraulic and irrigation engineers and for surveyors, is depleted because salaries are not attractive or competitive to trained or experienced men.This is an extremely serious situation.
We all know the story of how, for want of a nail, the shoe was lost, and for want of a shoe the horse was lost. If we lack these people, these experienced personnel, we may talk until our faces are black and blue about the need to induce change in Africa, but the change will not 1318 be induced. It seems to me that here is one field in which false economy could pave the way to utter and irretrievable disaster.
Nearly everything in the Colonial Empire depends on the availability of administrative and specialist personnel of the very highest quality. It may be that blood and sentiment will keep together the older parts of the Commonwealth. But where new emergent African and Asian States are concerned, what, more than anything, will determine the pattern of their loyalties, the probity of government, the possibility of economic development, the raising of standards of health and education of the people concerned, is the quality of specialist advice that we make available.
I wish to know what my right hon. Friend is doing about the shortage. I wish to know from him whether he is satisfied about recruitment, particularly for the agricultural departments in the Colonial Empire, and in Kenya especially. Is he satisfied that the job is important? If so, salaries and conditions of service must be made sufficiently attractive to bring in the right men. I wish to ask, also, whether our recruiting agencies are hard at work in the Overseas Dominions. I am more than ever convinced that what we need is a broad Commonwealth Service, a corps d'elite of specialists, in which none but the very best of Her Majesty's subjects are employed. I wish to know too whether a special effort is being made to attract younger men from the universities.
There is a great deal of talk about this being the new Elizabethan age. The old Elizabethan age was great precisely because the spirit of adventure led great men in little ships to sail into the unknown. It appears to me that those who, today, go to Dependencies, like trouble-torn Kenya, to assist simple, backward, unsophisticated peoples to conquer their environment and to stand on their own feet, are, in fact, helping to make the new Elizabethan age a memorable one. They will do that—if there are enough of them—because they will be setting a seal upon the world in a fashion which they can scarcely comprehend. I hope that I may receive from my right hon. Friend a reply to the questions which I have raised.
§ 4.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Creech Jones (Wakefield)
I hope that hon. Members will forgive me if I take their attention away from the Continent of Africa for a few minutes, though I fully appreciate that their attention will not be diverted from that subject for very long. I wish to draw particular attention to the situation in Malta and the Aden Protectorate.
For Malta, we are asked to grant an additional sum of £142,000 in aid of the local revenues. It is said that the money is required for an expanded emigration programme. All of us are aware that Malta is afflicted with a number of very grave problems. There is, first, the problem of over-population, which presses very hard upon her limited economic resources. Secondly, there is the problem of the maintenance of employment and the prevention of social squalor. Thirdly, there is, for the Maltese Government, the problem of financial viability. Some of us are beginning to fear that there is no easy answer to these problems, and that perhaps Malta may prove quite incapable of solving them herself. Indeed, the verdict of her recent general election was just this: that she is prepared to prejudice her own autonomy to some extent in order to find an answer to her social and economic problem.
I have no desire to enter now into the constitutional problem at present being raised by the Government of Malta. But I wish to know whether it is the intention soon that representatives of all the parties in the Malta Chamber should come to this country to discuss with us the constitutional problem. Certainly, Malta now seems prepared to forgo some of her autonomy to find an answer to this problem.
The Vote is concerned primarily with the emigration scheme. We well appreciate that a policy of emigration, important and helpful as it is for the social problem of Malta, will not solve the economic difficulties which confront her, or give her the answer to the problem of the employment of her people.
While it may not be the function of this House—having conceded so much in the way of autonomy to Malta—to ask about her economic and social policy, none the less it is important, when we are making money available for emigration, that we should know what the Govern- 1320 ment of Malta are doing in the planning and organising of their own resources, and about the development which may be called for in that connection. Therefore, because this country may be faced with a recurring liability in regard to the problem which I have indicated, I should like to know what is now being done by the Maltese Government in the matter of their own economic and social arrangements.
Have the Government of Malta any new economic programmes, or are any plans being worked out to cope with the problem of employment, which seems only capable of some partial solution in terms of emigration. Secondly, I should like to know—possibly I ought not to confess my ignorance of this matter—how far the reconstruction work which was planned during the latter part of war and immediately following it has proceeded, and whether those big plans of rehabilitation and reconstruction are now completed. That work certainly absorbed a great number of builders and employees, and it would be interesting to know whether the £30 million which was voted by this country has now been exhausted, or whether a great deal of that building work has still to be done. Those are the points to which I wish to draw attention on Subhead B.2. in this Vote.
I am also interested in the problem of the Aden Protectorate. I think that we shall have the advantage this afternoon of hearing from the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs who recently paid a visit to that Territory. I feel that we should congratulate the Government on making that visit possible, because I believe that this is the first time that a Minister of the Crown has gone into either the Colony or the Protectorate to examine it for himself. A Minister may have called at the Colony on a voyage, as I did on one occasion, but he has certainly never examined the Protectorate for himself.
I think it appropriate that we should ask the Minister to give us some indication of the progress that is being made in the Colony and in the Protectorates. Under this Vote, we are asked for £157,000 for central and Protectorate services. Those services include education, transport, subsidies to local forces, fisheries, and so on. Therefore, the money required will be employed in a fairly wide way.
1321 We are all aware that, in the last year or so, very substantial developments have taken place in the Colony and in the Protectorate. There has been the provision of the oil refinery, rebuilding, and the extension of port facilities. All these things are of very great importance, not only for the development of the Colony, but obviously for the development of the Protectorate as well. I think that one ought to say that this country owes a debt to a number of its colonial servants who have administered this part of the world in days gone by, and I refer particularly—although it is invidious to mention names—to Sir Bernard Reilly, and also to Harold Ingrams for the peace arrangements which he made with the tribes in the Protectorate.
I confess that I was a little puzzled when I saw this application for £157,000, because the prosperity of Aden seemed to be assured. At any rate, from the latest returns of the Protectorate which I have been able to see, all seemed to be going very well. Four years ago, the revenue was £1,100,000. Last year it was £2,400,000—£750,000 greater than was actually estimated. What puzzles me is why, with a surplus of £344,000 in the local coffers, it is necessary that this additional money should be paid out by the British Government.
I merely want an explanation. I do not object to local territories building up their revenues and securing surpluses for their future works, but it certainly seemed to me a little odd that, with a surplus of £344,000, we should now be asked to make a further grant of £157,000, quite apart from moneys which may have been voted under the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund.
Will the Minister tell me what is going forward in the Protectorate? First, I should like him to tell me, if it is in order, what is the situation in Aden itself so far as the crater is concerned. I must confess that when as Secretary of State for the Colonies I saw the damage that had been done in the crater, I was really astonished at its magnitude, and I therefore thought that a very considerable amount of rebuilding and reconstruction was necessary. I should like to know whether the rehousing and the re-establishment of that area of Aden has yet been achieved.
It is quite true that some new industries are coming in. As I understand, a 1322 huge refining plant has recently been created, and there has been a great deal of work for people in the building trades. But what other work is actually being done?
As we are concerned in this Vote with educational services, I should also like to know whether the educational facilities in both the Colony and the Protectorate have now been reasonably well expanded. For many years now there was talk of a Lloyd College, the establishment of a technical school, secondary instruction, and the rest. I should like to know what educational progress is now being made, and whether certain of these secondary schools have already been established.
The hon. Member for Billericay (Mr. Braine) referred to the irrigation scheme at Abyan. I was pleased to note in an article which I read the other day that, last year, first-class cotton to the value of £2½ million had been produced there. This really magnificent development plan—the irrigation work, the conservation work, and the new or improved products which were forthcoming caught the imagination of the people at one time. All that is a remarkable story which redounds to the great credit of our technical officers, and one which ought to be widely known in this country. I should like to know whether further development work of this kind is taking place in the Protectorate and whether colonial development and welfare moneys will be made available for the purpose.
I come now to my last point, which concerns constitutional development. Perhaps I should be the last person in the world to urge that no steps should be taken in the field of constitutional growth, and especially that the model adopted in so many of our Colonies should apply in the Protectorate of Aden, but I am anxious to know something about the constitution which was offered to both the eastern and western sides of the Protectorate, and also what is to be the final situation, in the light of some resentment which has been and is being shown by certain of the local rulers. I believe that there are 19 protected States on the western side, and two on the eastern side—or it may be the other way round—most of which are protected as a result of treaties.
In those treaty arrangements the respective States are guaranteed their 1323 independence and a large degree of autonomy. In accordance with form, I believe that during the last few years we have been trying to create a legislative council and a governor's full-blown executive council, with some relationship to the legislative council. I may be wrong, but the rumour has reached me that when the rulers were sounded as to the wisdom of some modification of the existing arrangements they expressed their desire to continue along the old orthodox lines, and thought they had little reason to put any faith in some remote authority such as a legislative council and the proposed executive council. It did not seem that they would view with very great favour a political development of this kind.
The Minister has been reported as telling the rulers, during his recent visit, that these matters would not be forced upon them. This situation gives rise to a great many questions, and I should welcome a statement from the right hon. Gentleman about the present position. This part of the world is undergoing rapid change. The developments seem to be all to the good. I felt it right, especially in the light of his recent visit, to ask the Minister these questions so that the Committee could be informed and have an account of what the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs did when he was in the territory.
§ 4.35 p.m.
§ The Minister of State for Colonial Affairs (Mr. Henry Hopkinson)
I hope that it will meet the convenience of the Committee if I intervene at this stage to deal with the points relating to Malta. Aden and the Aden Protectorate, which were raised by the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones)—who had so much to do with the beginning of the reconstruction work in both territories during his period of office—and by my hon. Friend the Member for Billericay (Mr. Braine), who also touched upon the question of the Aden Protectorate. I should like to deal with those points at this stage, leaving my right hon. Friend to reply at a later stage to the points raised by the right hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mr. Bottomley)—whose speech surprised me 1324 —and other speeches dealing with Kenya and Africa.
As the right hon. Member for Wakefield said, after the war Malta was faced with a great task of reconstruction and, with the approval of all parties at the time, generous help, amounting in all to about £31 million, was given to her by Her Majesty's Government. This money was primarily intended for the repair of war damage. It is hoped that that scheme of reconstruction will be completed within about a year. Of the sum given, about £7 million now remains.
When that work is finished a problem of unemployment will be created in Malta, which makes it all the more important for us to consider the increase and development of emigration. Under colonial development and welfare funds Malta receives additional help, which has largely been used for building schools, hospitals and roads. All the money has been allocated, but it has not all been spent. A satisfactory feature of the situation is that for the past three years the Maltese Government have balanced their budget—but there still remains these two overriding economic problems of unemployment consequent upon the completion of war damage reconstruction and over-population.
In 1952, Her Majesty's Government undertook to meet two-thirds of Malta's annual expenditure upon emigration up to a maximum of £200,000 in any one year. This was to last for a period of four years, beginning with the financial year 1953–54. During last year it became evident that, owing to the favourable reception conditions for Maltese emigrants in Australia, many more could be sent than had been foreseen. As a result, it was decided that the financial provision for emigration, to which Her Majesty's Government were contributing, would not be enough, and it was therefore arranged that the sum of £475,000, which had been granted to Malta for general financial purposes in 1952–53, but which, thanks to the balancing of the Maltese budget, had not been used for that purpose, should be reallocated for emigration.
In order to do this, there will be a total notional repayment by Malta of £475,000 and a voting of fresh sums to Malta—again notional—which is what we hope to do this afternoon. Last year, £227,000 was voted as a Supplementary 1325 Estimate; £142,000 is being asked for today, and the balance of £106,000 will be asked for at a later date as and when it can be spent by the Maltese Government.
The result of this vigorous emigration policy, which has been fully endorsed and supported by Her Majesty's Government throughout, has been that since 1946 over 47,500 persons have emigrated from Malta. Last year over 11,500 emigrated, which is by far the largest number in a single year. Of these, about 8,500 went to Australia. Since the war, in fact, 60 per cent. of all emigrants from Malta have gone to Australia, the majority benefiting from the assisted passage agreement and other assistance given by the Australian Government. It is only fair to say that the outstanding success of the Maltese Government's emigration programme has been due not merely to the provision of money but also, and very largely, to favourable conditions in the receiving countries, especially Australia.
The right hon. Gentleman asked me to say something in a rather general way about the political situation. The position is that my right hon. Friend expects to have round-table talks with party leaders from Malta in the next two or three months to discuss the so-called "Home Office offer" and related topics. The new Maltese Government have only just taken office and will require some time to settle down before they are able to discuss these matters with us here.
I turn from Malta to Aden and the Aden Protectorate. I was very fortunate in being able to pay a short visit to these territories during the Recess, and, as the right hon. Gentleman says, I think I am the first Colonial Minister to visit the Protectorate at all. It was a most fascinating experience to visit some of these Sheikdoms and to go up country in the hilly country on the frontier with the Yemen, not unlike the North-West Frontier of India in more than one respect.
I had not been in Aden for some 15 years and was inevitably impressed by the tremendous development that has taken place in that Colony since the end of the war. I am not thinking only of the extensions made to the port or of the actual development in the town, of which I shall have something to say in a few minutes, but of the great new oil refinery 1326 constructed in about 18 months at a cost of £45 million. It is a tribute to the Government and people of Aden and of the Protectorate that the strains and stresses which accompany such a very great development, including the employment of thousands of Arabs from the Protectorate coming down from the wilds of the country for the first time into the town in order to work at the refinery, have been successfully withstood. It is very remarkable.
In the Western Protectorate, where I visited some six of the States, there has been development throughout, and in particular on the Abyan scheme, to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred. I am satisfied that the development which has taken place in that Protectorate is very welcome to the rulers with whom we are in treaty relationship. They are most anxious to have further help from us and for further progress to be made. I have also found—I made this point when I left the Protectorate—that there was doubt in some of these States whether it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government to continue to fulfil their obligations under our treaties with these territories. I wish to take the opportunity of stating again most emphatically on behalf of Her Majesty's Government that there is no foundation for these doubts and that we are determined to carry out all our obligations, both now and in the future.
The right hon. Gentleman asked me about the Federation proposals. These are no more than proposals. They are in fact little more than cockshies at what might be done. I know they cause anxiety to some of the rulers, but the proposals have not been put to them formally. They are something that has to be thought about before any definite step can be made. We must all realise the advantages which can be gained from unity in this part of Arabia and in other parts of the world.
As regards the Abyan scheme, I pay tribute to the foresight of the right hon. Gentleman and his advisers at the time. This territory was only entered for administration purposes for the first time in 1938 to quell the feuds between the Yafai and the Fadhli tribes. At that time there were only some 1,000 acres under a desultory sort of cultivation. Between 1940 and 1947 cereal production took place and some 5,000 acres were cultivated. It 1327 was then that the Abyan Development Board was created for the specific purpose of developing a very large area of 120,000 acres in all on the basis of flood irrigation from two rivers, the Wadi Bana and the Wadi Hassan. Through irrigation, it was hoped to be able to produce not only cereals but many other crops, and particularly cotton.
The hopes of the right hon. Gentleman at that time have been more than justified. The Abyan board was organised on the lines of the Gash board, which some hon. Members may remember operated very successfully in the Kassala province of the Sudan. It is a triple partnership between the Government, the tenant and the landlord, the members being appointed by the Governor of Aden. The success of the scheme can be judged by results. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the fact that some £2½ million worth of cotton, of a very fine grade of the best Gezira cotton, was produced lastyear. This was an increase from the production of 1,500 bales, worth £115,000 in 1949. As the right hon. Gentleman says, the effects of the scheme are no less remarkable than the economics. It is a very great achievement, and great credit is due not only to members of the board but to the Government of Aden, and particularly to the Government's advisers who have helped so much with the scheme.
The oil refinery at Aden was constructed at a cost of some £45 million. It is now in full production. In fact, when I was there they were cutting down production owing to lack of world demand for crude oil. At that time the Government had secured a £4 million Treasury loan to provide municipal services and repairs to the refinery.
Port developmentis also going ahead. I will not attempt to go into the details of this scheme, but the plan is estimated to cost about £2 million, which is a very large sum in a small place like Aden, which had only 50,000 inhabitants. This population has now grown to no fewer than 130,000, and the increase has created the housing problem to which the right hon. Gentleman referred. The problem is being dealt with as rapidly as possible by the Government, particularly in the suburb of Sheikh Othman, which the righthon. Gentleman may remember is just on the edge of the Aden Protectorate.
1328 Building is also taking place in the Crater zone, not on as large a scale as in the Sheikh Othman. It is hoped that the housing programme of the Government will make it possible to provide for a very large number of people in Aden in the next few years.
The right hon. Gentleman asked me why, if Aden Colony is so prosperous, which it is, and if it has a surplus, we are asking this Committee for additional funds. The fact is that the central services referred to under the subhead of the Vote serve both the Colony and the Protectorate and that while the Colony is prosperous the Protectorate remains extremely poor. It is in particular for the services for the Protectorate alone that the money is required.
The right hon. Gentleman asked me about education both in the Protectorate and in the Colony. In the Western Protectorate there is the Lahej secondary school, which was the first to come into existence of a number of secondary schools which it is hoped will be established. It is under the control of the Sultan of Lahej, who has the advice of the Governor of Aden in matters of organisation, staff and so on. In the Eastern Protectorate there is an impressive secondary school—unfortunately I had no time to visit the Eastern Protectorate—at Gheil-Ba-Wazir in the State of Mukalla. It has been very successful, and it is in fact a show-piece.
Meanwhile, efforts are being made to develop primary and secondary education in other parts of the Protectorate, but lack of teachers is one of our great problems, and consideration is being given to the starting of some form of small teacher-training college.
§ Mr. J. Johnson
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether there are school places for all the Somali children who go there?
§ Mr. Hopkinson
I shall have to look into that point and write to the hon. Member. Certainly the schools in the Colony are catering for the Somalis in Aden, of whom there are already a great many. In the Colony itself there is a pressing need for additional schools, largely due to its economic growth and the expansion of the population. The Government are being repeatedly urged to provide more schools, 1329 and in particular more schools of a technical character, so that there will be available the skilled labour to fill more senior posts in government, commerce and industry without undue foreign immigration which has hitherto taken place.
A Select Committee is going into this matter, and the Government are pressing on with developments which will certainly be carried out as the necessary funds become available. They have in mind particularly the construction of two intermediate boys' schools and one primary school at Bureika, which is the main village for the new refinery across the bay at Little Aden. Then, of course, there is Aden College itself which is designed to serve the needs of both the Colony and the Protectorate. That was finished in 1953. It has 15 staff houses, two laboratories and theatres, an assembly hall, a mosque and boarding accommodation for 30 boys. It takes pupils as far as the Cambridge Certificate and the General Certificate of Education.
Then there is the Associated Technical College which was opened a few years ago and which will take pupils as far as the examinations of the City and Guilds of London Institute. Again attached to the Aden college—I am speaking of the Colony and not the Protectorate—there is a one-year teachers' training scheme for men teachers. Our hope is that this Aden college will in due course develop into a university college.
The right hon. Gentleman referred to constitutional matters. I think he had in mind in particular the question of federation to which I referred just now and which, as I said, must be regarded as being in a very preliminary stage—something which we are all thinking about but which is not being proceeded with at the moment. I should perhaps take this opportunity of calling attention to the fact that the Aden Executive Council, which was originally established in 1937, and the Legislative Council which was established in 1947, in the time when the right hon. Gentleman's party was in power, have now also been modified and their powers increased. On 17th January the Governor announced that the Executive Council, consisting at present of himself, five officials and one unofficial, was to be increased by one Arab unofficial member, and at the same time there are to be changes in the Legislative Council, 1330 which will include some degree of election of unofficial members, which are now being discussed with unofficial nominated members. I can tell the Committee that this statement has been extremely well received in Aden itself. The changes are now under discussion and, therefore, confidential for the time being.
I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will feel that I have dealt with all the points that he has raised. I apologise for taking time on this subject, but we must remember that there are these smaller places in the Colonial Territories to which attention should be given and which deserve the interest and the support of this House as much as some of the others which occupy more prominence in the public mind.
§ 4.55 p.m.
§ Mr. A. Fenner Brockway (Eton and Slough)
I do not think the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs has any reason to apologise for answering the questions which have been put about Malta and Aden. There is a danger that we may overlook parts of the Colonies which are regarded as small.
It was particularly relevant that the references to Malta should have been made. I believe this is the first occasion on which there has been a discussion about Malta since the General Election there, and this House ought to take note of the very historic expression of opinion which was made in that election. There, I suppose for the first time in the history of the British Colonies, the people have decided by democratic means that their desire is to become associated with this Parliament.
I recognise the right of Colonial Territories to independence when that is their desire, but equally I welcome the fact when the people of a Colony desire to be associated with our Parliament in that kind of way. I hope very much that in the discussions which are to proceed a time will come when we shall have the opportunity of welcoming their representatives in this House.
§ Mr. Cyril Osborne (Louth)
Ought not the hon. Gentleman also to recognise the right of the English people to independence if they want it?
§ Mr. Brockway
I hope that my later remarks may cover that point, which seems to me a little irrelevant now.
1331 I want to deal particularly with the subject of Kenya, not because the problems in Kenya are important for that Colony alone, but because I feel that they are so symbolic of what is happening in Colonial Territories generally. In the minds of many of us there is the question whether the Colonies in Africa, and in East and Central Africa particularly, are to move towards racial equality and racial co-operation, or whether they will develop into the unhappy situation which exists in Kenya of violence, conflict and race war. I believe that our answer to the present problems in Kenya may determine not only the future of Kenya but the future of other territories in Africa as well.
Ever since I first visited Kenya five years ago I have had the dream of that Colony becoming an example of a democratic multi-racial society, a society in which the European, Asian, Arab and African populations could co-operate politically, socially and economically, and I still cherish that hope today. I cherish it despite the physical conflict which there has been in Kenya in recent years, and the only contribution I want to make to our debate this afternoon is to submit proposals which I believe would help in the realisation of that goal.
I believe that the right hon. Gentleman will himself agree that the most urgent issue in Kenya, if there is to be hope of establishing a democratic multi-racial society there, must be an effort to bring about an end of the fighting now taking place. When I put a Question to him in the House the other day, the right hon. Gentleman suggested that I was harking back to old issues. I want to assure him that that is not my mind at all and that my reference to old issues was only because I thought some illustrations could be drawn from them to avoid mistakes in dealing with the immediate issue.
I have welcomed the surrender proposals which were made to try to bring about an end to the fighting, but the point I want to make to the right hon. Gentleman is that the methods by which those surrender proposals have been offered may prejudice their acceptance and may prejudice the realisation of peace in Kenya. On the last occasion on which there were negotiations to bring about the end of the fighting, what has been 1332 described as an unfortunate accident occurred. A thousand Africans, who had gathered to lay down their arms, dispersed because they had been tricked.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
That would be a very inaccurate statement to have on the record. It is thought that a large party of Africans—a thousand—dispersed because of the unfortunate firing of shots in the neighbourhood. Even that is not proved. But what is absolutely certain is that there was no trickery of any kind and that the firing in the neighbourhood was an unfortunate accident and had nothing whatever to do with the possible large-scale surrender.
§ Mr. Brockway
The right hon. Gentleman will forgive me for saying so, but I choose my words carefully and nothing which he has now said is a correction of what I said.
What I said was this—and I did not mean it in an unfair or misleading way at all: a thousand of the Kikuyu and the Mau Mau had gathered together to lay down their arms, and an unfortunate accident occurred which led them to disperse because they thought they had been tricked.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
If that is what the hon. Gentleman said, I beg his pardon, but I think the record of the House will show that what he said, in fact, was, "because they had been tricked." I should not have dreamed of interrupting him if he had said that they thought they had been tricked. Indeed, that is quite possible, and if that is what he said, I apologise to him. But although my voice is bad today, my ears are still very keen.
§ Mr. Brockway
If this exchange has cleared up that point, I am quite happy. I certainly intended to say, "because they thought they had been tricked." I did not mean to suggest that they had been tricked on direct purpose in any way at all.
The point I am trying to make is that the fact that that happened meant that there was distrust in the minds of the Mau Mau; and therefore any further offer of surrender which had to be made should have been made after preparation to destroy that distrust. That distrust being present, the Mau Mau had to be convinced of sincerity and reality in the offer.
1333 On more than one occasion I have made the suggestion in the House, as well as privately to the right hon. Gentleman and in correspondence, that preparation for any surrender offer should have been made by starting talks through a European and through an African who had the trust of the Africans. I have privately suggested names. I do not want to suggest names publicly, but I say that there are Europeans, outside this House, who would have had the trust of the Africans in that way and that there are Africans who have been found not guilty of any association with Mau Mau, but who unfortunately are still in detention, who similarly would have had that trust. If they had been able to commence negotiations in Kenya, to commence conversations, I believe that they would have been able to convince the Mau Mau leaders of the sincerity of the offer which was being made.
§ Mr. Beresford Craddock
Would the hon. Member say who are the Mau Mau leaders with whom these negotiations could be carried out, because that is very important?
§ Mr. Brockway
Certainly. We found them in the case of "General" China, who is quite well aware who the other leaders were. Indeed, he intended to go from gang leader to gang leader, if the previous discussions had not broken down in the way which I have described. I think it would not be difficult, if contact were made with some of the leaders, to find other, at present unknown, leaders whose names are not immediately available to us.
What I was arguing was that if an effort had been made on those lines we might have expected large surrenders by members of the Mau Mau. I have no doubt at all that they now appreciate that the continuing of the physical conflict is of little avail. I have little doubt that if an offer had been prepared in this kind of way, which had their trust, we might today be very near the end of the fighting.
I assure the right hon. Gentleman that in saying this my intention is not to be critical but it is to ask him, even at this stage, when the surrender offer has only one more month to last, to try to find some method by which an approach can be made which will convince the adherents of Mau Mau of its sincerity. I 1334 emphasise that because I believe that some approach of that kind is the first necessity in the Kenya situation today.
The next thing I want to urge upon the right hon. Gentleman is that he should make some change in the conditions under which Africans are being hanged in Kenya. I have in my hand the answer which he gave to a Question I put last Thursday, which shows that since the emergency 836 Africans have been hanged. That means an average of 30 a month. What is particularly disturbing is the fact that less than one-third of them—262 out of 836—have been found guilty of murder.
I understand the emotions about this matter. I understand what may have been in the mind of hon. Gentlemen opposite—the thought that Europeans have been killed and that a much larger number of Africans have been killed. I understand that emotion completely, but there is a difference between that and the cold-blooded hanging of people by methods of justice, by methods of administration; and the bitterness which arises from that is much longer-continued than the bitterness which arises in violent conflict between one side and another.
May I again ask the right hon. Gentleman to make some revision of the offences for which these hangings take place? Out of the 836, 330 are for unlawful possession of arms and ammunition. I do not want to revert to the point which I put to the right hon. Gentleman before—that in conditions of animosity such as exist in Kenya, not just animosity between the Armed Forces and Mau Mau but among the Africans themselves and among the Kikuyu, it is so easy for emnity to lead towards bullets being placed in huts and then men arrested, but—
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
The hon. Gentleman would also agree that when charges are often made against loyalists for certain offences, it is almost equally easy for those charges, too, to have been framed.
§ Mr. Brockway
Certainly. I do not know why the right hon. Gentleman seems to think that I am arguing this from only one side. I accept it entirely from the other point of view and I welcome it from the other point of view What I am saying is that on both sides 1335 one ought now to limit the capital offences to cases of murder and that unless we do so, we are likely to maintain the bitterness and the racial hatred.
The third question I want to put to him has been raised a number of times from these benches, and it is the question of discipline in Kenya. I do not think that the cases in which British troops have been involved are in the least typical. Indeed, I am inclined to take the view that the presence of British troops in Kenya has been of disciplinary value and has limited the acts which have been exposed in other cases, but when we have said that we must add that the right hon. Gentleman cannot be happy about the reports of illegal, physical conduct by the forces, military and police, which have so frequently been seen in the Press and to which attention has been drawn from these benches. I hope that there will be a further inquiry about this and a further insistence that justice will be meted out fully.
I thank the right hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mr. Bottomley) for raising the issue of Kenya in his opening speech, and I want to deal briefly with four points which he put forward. The first is the land question. Of course, the hon. Member for Billericay (Mr. Braine) is right when he says that one does not want more land to be used if that land will not be well used. But that is only half the picture. The other half of the picture is this. The Kikuyu are now so crowded upon their land that even if they were farming the land well, they would be unable to exist by their own production. One million two hundred thousand Kikuyu crowded into a Reserve, 440 to 1,000 per square mile—even with the best agricultural system possible, they would not be able to exist under those conditions, and 500,000 of them have been driven away.
On the last occasion that we discussed this matter, the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport) made a very courageous stand. I have been so often attacked in the Kenya and East African Press that I had sympathy for him when the attack turned on him rather than on me after that debate. Is there any doubt at all, in view of the land hunger that there is in Kenya, that the White Highlands must be made open for competent African farmers to engage in cultivation? 1336 How can we possibly maintain that in a British Colony where, as long ago as 1923, a Conservative Minister declared that the interests of Africans should come first, when there is land hunger among the African population, the White Highlands should be reserved for Europeans only? I say to the right hon. Gentleman that it is very desirable indeed that those who hold official positions in Kenya should not prejudice this situation before the report of the Land Commission has been received.
The second point mentioned by the right hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham, to which I want to make some reference, is the co-operation of the Africans. May I again try to convey what I apparently failed to convey before when I made this plea to the right hon. Gentleman? I recognise that there are African loyalists who are co-operating with the Government. But when we divide the Africans into loyalists and into Mau Mau, we are not making a proper analysis of the African point of view. Indeed, I would say that between those two there is a great body of Africans who hate the methods of Mau Mau but who also are not prepared to become indentified with the British Administration in Kenya because of the character of that Administration in the past; and, indeed, as these hangings illustrate, in the present.
In my view, the right hon. Gentleman and the Government in Kenya itself ought to have had the breadth of mind to seek the co-operation of Africans who, while they are critical of our Administration, equally hate the methods of Mau Mau. It is that type of African, some now in detention camps, some outside, who is likely to appeal to the mass of the African people much more than either the Mau Mau extremists or the African who is sometimes regarded as the stooge of the British Administration.
The next point to which the right hon. Gentleman referred, and which I support, is the plea for multi-racial education. When I was last in Kenya I found a good deal of antagonism between the European, the African and the Asian races. The most inspiring thing that I saw was the children's queue at the Saturday morning cinema. In that queue were European, African and Asian children standing side by side. They were excitedly discussing, without any of the poison 1337 of racial antagonism, the film which they were going to see. I do not believe that in children there is any natural race antagonism at all. If there is hatred, it is because they have been poisoned by the minds of their parents, and if we are really to develop a multi-racial society in Kenya we should begin in the schools.
I recognise facts, and I recognise that in Kenya now there is an antagonism which would mean that parents would not be sending their children to multiracial schools, but I am going to suggest that the right hon. Gentleman should follow up the present multi-racial nursery schools with multi-racial elementary and secondary schools. He should not make them universal at the beginning, but he should make them the best in Kenya, with the best buildings, the best equipment and the best teachers. If he would open pilot schools of that character, invite parents to send their children to those schools, and give the best education available, I believe that he would do something to penetrate the present racial system of education that we have there.
The last reference I want to make is to the plea of my right hon. Friend against tribal political organisations. I join in that plea. I want to ask this question of the right hon. Gentleman, and I am putting it as a question because I have not the answer. I have seen it stated that it is now proposed, not only that political organisations should be on a tribal basis but that trade union organisation also should be on a tribal basis. Ido hope that if the Government are thinking on those lines they will think again. It would be absolutely disastrous if the workers in Kenya when joining trade unions must remember that they belong to this, that or the other tribe. If there is any suggestion of that character, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will repudiate it this afternoon.
I regret having spoken rather longer than I intended, but I hope the Committee will agree that the issues about Kenya which I have raised are of some importance.
§ 5.22 p.m.
§ Mr. C. J. M. Alport (Colchester)
The hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Fenner Brockway) and I seem fated to follow each other on occasion after 1338 occasion and on most occasions I find myself in very strong disagreement with the views he puts forward
On this occasion, however, I would prefer not to follow his speech in detail because he has expressed his point of view and I wish to apply myself, in the short time I have to speak, to expressing a different point of view, one which does not touch on many of the points raised in his remarks. But I must say this in reply to one point he made. I cannot see how he can maintain that the memory of a judicial hanging is more repellent and long lasting in the minds of the people than the memory of a brutal murder by the slashing, with a panga, of an infant, whether a European or an African.
I always think the hon. Member is apt to get his ideas—his sense of values—out of proportion in these matters. I respect his objection to capital punishment, but I do not think he should allow that to get his appreciation of the attitude of mind of Africans and Europeans in Africa, in Kenya in particular, out of perspective.
The right hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mr. Bottomley), who opened the debate, referred to a speech I had the privilege of making here just before Christmas and asked my right hon. Friend whether, on that occasion, I spoke for the Government. The right hon. Member knows as well as I do that no private Member ever speaks for the Government in this House.
§ Mr. Bottomley
If the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport) will look at Hansard he will see that he has misunderstood what I said. I said that the hon. Member was a supporter of the Government and made comments with which I agreed. I wanted to know whether Her Majesty's Government supported those views.
§ Mr. Alport
Then I withdraw, but I was quite clearly under the impression that the views stated by the right hon. Member, if read by a perhaps not very well-informed public outside, would give the impression that he was trying to pin on Her Majesty's Government the personal views I expressed on that occasion.
§ Mr. Bottomley indicated dissent.1339
§ Mr. Alport
I think there is convincing evidence that the situation in Kenya during the last three or four months has shown a very considerable improvement. For instance, twelve months ago there was an imminent danger that the Mau Mau movement would spread to other tribes, yet within the last few days we have seen that an influential section of the badly disaffected Meru Tribe has renounced the evil doctrines of Mau Mau. I think there is no reason to doubt at all that the operations "Hammer" and "Anvil" have dealt a very severe blow indeed to the organisation and morale of the hard core of the Mau Mau movement.
At this time, the rains will soon be breaking, or have already started. That means that those gangsters who are on the run will have a most unpleasant life in the forests, if they are still there. For Africans everywhere there is the immemorial urge to plant the crops on which the survival of men, women and children depends for the ensuing year. As those who know Kenya will realise, the clouds lie low, like wet blankets, over the whole of the Highlands. I suggest that this is the psychological moment, this moment when the fiercer tensions of life in Kenya today are perhaps temporarily relaxed, when a supreme effort should be made to give a new direction of policy to the Colony.
I am convinced that the majority of the Europeans are sick of the dissensions which have been such an unhappy feature of political life in Kenya during the last 12 months and which, incidentally, I fear have done such great harm to the reputation of the European community in the Colony. I am convinced, likewise, that African and Asian opinion is ripe for a decisive lead which will direct the minds of the people as a whole and their energies, regardless of race, away from the fears and irritations of the emergency to the constructive work of rebuilding the life of that Colony.
I think that that lead must come from the top. The idea seems to have grown up in recent years in the Colony that democracy means government by public meeting. That, I feel, is a most dangerous fallacy, particularly during an emergency when the memory of the recent past and the anxieties for the immediate future tend to warp human judgment. I do not think that responsibility for initiating 1340 what I call a decisive lead can be left only to the individual members of the Kenya Government. I believe that the initiative, primarily, must rest with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and, secondly, with his Excellency the Governor of Kenya.
To my mind, there is a choice between two lines of policy. On the one hand, there is the possible policy of retribution. I was startled and amazed to hear a report of a speech made by one of the unofficial European members of the Kenya Legislature in which he said—when he was expressing his antipathy to the amnesty—that he would prefer the emergency to go on for another three years than to accept the conditions of the amnesty I cannot believe that responsible opinion in Kenya as a whole feels that is a possible or desirable policy to follow.
One thing, I think, should be remembered. It is that as the emergency goes on with the rough justice—if I may use that expression—which any emergency entails for all races, and in this case particularly for Africans, bitterness is bound to increase. It is wrong to suppose that the memory of that bitterness and of the petty injustices, the restrictions and the irritations of life in an emergency will easily be removed from the minds of Africans in this generation or in the next.
I remember very well that during the last war we were unable to recruit any of the Nyasas for the Military Labour Services. The reason was that they remembered all too clearly what had happened to the Nyasa porters in the East African campaign of 1916 and 1917. The tribal memory—the clan and family memory—of the African is very long, and what we do not want to do is to feed that memory with continued bitterness and with the continued irritations and inevitable injustices, as they may regard them, which are occasioned by emergency conditions. Therefore, I believe that not only for the present but, what is far more important, for the future it is vital that we try to bring the emergency to an end as quickly as possible. We cannot do that if we follow that first alternative, the policy of retribution.
The second alternative is a policy of reconciliation. I agree with the hon. Member for Eton and Slough and with my hon. Friends on this side who have 1341 underlined the support which we give on an all-party basis to the efforts made during the present amnesty to bring about a substantial surrender of the Mau Mau. It is important that that should be continued. I regard it as most important that particularly during this last month—if. indeed, it is to be the last month—a new and more vigorous appeal should be made by the Government, now that the rains are coming and conditions for the gangs will be worse than during the last nine months or so, to obtain a greater measure of surrender and to impress on the minds of the Mau Mau the urgency and the fact that in the end, if they fail to take this opportunity, then, for that hard core that remains irreconcilable, retribution will be the only policy available to the Government of Kenya.
There is another point that we must not forget. Admittedly, it is relatively easy for the House of Commons to vote another £12 million to help with the emergency in the Colony, but how much all of us would prefer that money to be spent, not on police measures or on the creation of new internment camps, but on the essential and vital work of producing new economic and social development to improve the life of Africans, Asians and Europeans in that part of Africa. Therefore, I would say that again the policy of reconciliation, in so far as it is most likely to reduce the length of the emergency, is the only one which can be followed.
Since I have been bold enough to say that the initiative in this must rest with my right hon. Friend and with His Excellency the Governor, I should like to suggest one or two of the steps which might appear to be desirable. First, I believe it urgent that the process of handing over responsibility for operations against the Mau Mau from the military to the police should be accelerated. I know that great progress has already been made in establishing a firmer police control over the Kikuyu reserve but I should like to know, after the latest operation in the Forest of Mount Kenya is completed, what is to be the administrative and military policy towards future operations and responsibility for them.
I believe that as the new phase starts it would be valuable if the new Commander-in-Chief designate were to proceed and be available on the spot to 1342 take over responsibility for the new phase, which, presumably, will fall to his lot. Can my right hon. Friend say when General Lathbury will be available in East Africa to take over command there? I ask that question without any sense of criticism whatever of the services rendered by the present Commander-in-Chief, General Erskine. I merely feel that the long gap between the announcement of a new appointment and the taking up of an appointment by the officer concerned is always a mistake and should be avoided as far as possible.
Secondly, I believe it is vital that there should be a speeding up of the restoration to normal life of those who are cleared of direct implication in Mau Mau and who are at present being detained in the camps. It has been fascinating to me to hear from many of those whom I know in Kenya, who have been employers of Kikuyu in the past, that they intend to take them back into their service, and that as far as the great majority of them are concerned no questions will be asked. If that is the spirit—it shows immense generosity and breadth of mind on the part of European employers—the sooner they are able to take these men back and restore them to the normal routine of life, the better for all concerned.
We cannot allow a Colony which is really a small Colony in numbers and resources to bear indefinitely the burden of administration and of cost which is involved in maintaining large numbers of Africans in the very unsatisfactory, as it must be, and certainly unnatural, expensive life of the internment camps.
The third thing which I also regard as vital is that there should be a new programme of development which would give concrete evidence of the intention of Her Majesty's Government here and the capability of Her Majesty's Government in Kenya to provide higher standards of living for the African population. I know that my right hon. Friend could quite easily reply, "We are already doing that," and I know the constructive efforts which have been made, not only in the last few months, but over many years, to achieve this aim; but now is the moment when one wants some dramatic development.
It is interesting that in the case of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, the decision to go ahead with the Kariba 1343 dam has been, so to speak, a shot in the arm to the morale and attitude of mind of all sections of the Rhodesian community. Some big and imaginative scheme of that sort, although, obviously, it would not solve all the problems, would at any rate give a feeling to all the people in the Colony that we in this country and Her Majesty's Government in particular were confident of the future of that Colony.
For instance, nothing could be more important to Africa as a whole and to Kenya in particular than the development of a comprehensive water policy. My hon. Friend the Member for Billericay (Mr. Braine), in an earlier speech, said that the development of peasant agriculture was vital; he said that land was vital. But millions of square miles of land in Africa are no good because there is no water. In some ways water is more important—it is certainly equally important—than land.
We know quite well that in various parts of the Wakamba Reserve and the Masai area, and in other parts of Kenya away from the well-watered highlands, African and European alike, there are great stretches of land to which the answer is water, and water only. If there has been a successful experiment in Tanganyika of providing water for waterless country on a co-operative basis, in which Africans are encouraged to provide some of the finance—for the provision of water is very costly—cannot that same principle be extended to Kenya? Cannot we make progress in that way in associating the Africans directly with the development of their own territory as well as with the enjoyment of the advantages of that development?
I ask my right hon. Friend what new industries are coming to Kenya at the present time? I know very well that one or two have been started even during the emergency. It would be a tonic to public opinion in the Colony if the people there knew that British enterprise from this country had gained sufficient confidence in the future of the Colony that at this moment in the Colony's history it was prepared to make new money available for development and that new industrial development was indeed taking place. I should like my right hon. Friend, if he can, to give me some idea of the progress there.
1344 What progress has been made in extending the supply of electricity from the Owen Falls scheme towards Nairobi? From the point of view of the scheme itself and from the point of view of Nairobi that extension of supply is absolutely vital, and it would be another indication that, despite the setback of the emergency, this great Colony is making progress and has a great future.
Some reference has been made during the debate to a speech which, as I have already recalled, I made at the end of last year. I still believe that it is quite vital that the land issue should be removed from politics and treated as an agrarian problem. I am well aware that my right hon. Friend has given an undertaking, as, indeed, did his predecessor, Lord Chandos, that there would be no change in the present situation in Kenya before 1960. While I am, frankly, suspicious of a timetable of standstill, as I am of a timetable of a programme of advance, at the same time, knowing that that undertaking has been given, and that, therefore, there will be no—does my right hon. Friend wish to intervene?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
Yes, if my hon. Friend will allow me to do so. In view of the very great important of what my hon. Friend is saying, perhaps I should interrupt the debate once more—for almost the tenth time. When I was in Kenya I said, knowing, as I do, the intense interest that all races feel in the land, that I interpreted the undertaking that there would be no fundamental change before 1960 to mean that there was nothing in the agreement that would preclude consideration of the Royal Commission's report. In so far as there might be proposals affecting the rights of any community in land which was reserved to it by ordinance or agreement the word "consideration" meant consideration alone. I think it is rather important to repeat what, I think, are almost exactly the words I used, in view of the possible misunderstanding.
§ Mr. Alport
I am grateful to my right hon. Friend. What I am trying to say is that undertakings have been given by the Government in respect of this matter and that I believe that this is not a question in which the initiative should come from the Government here or, for that matter, from the Government of Kenya, but that 1345 it should come from the European community in Kenya. That is because I believe that unless the people of that community are prepared to take this initiative in trying to draw the land problem out of the sphere of politics it will continue to bedevil the politics of Kenya and race relations in Kenya indefinitely. I believe that it can be done without doing any damage at all to the legitimate and proper and long established interests of the European community.
For instance, we are to have, as we know, very shortly the report of the Royal Commission. I must say I had hoped that that report would have been available now rather than in about six weeks' time or two months' time because, as I have said, I believe that this is the critical moment in the history of the colony. However, it should not be an initiative resulting from the Royal Commission report that should start the European community in Kenya trying to find a solution to the land problem. It simply cannot be ignored. It is there for better or worse, and, like all political problems, until it is solved, until the attitude of mind of the people there has changed towards it, it will continue to be a source of difficulty and division.
After all, if a community in any society claims the rights of leadership it must realise—as this community realises, I am sure—that leadership involves paying a price, and the price that has to be paid is taking the initiative in tackling the most difficult questions. It is very often a price which involves concessions, concessions which may not be particularly popular, but concessions which are inevitable if that leadership is to be maintained.
Therefore, I would ask—and pray, indeed—that instead of trying to put off facing the great problems which land undoubtedly produces for Europeans, Asians and Africans alike, the European community in Kenya will do its best to try to find a solution, which may be along the lines which I have suggested, or which may be along the lines which Mr. Lipscombe, in his recent book, suggested; but a solution which will draw the whole question of the land out of the dangerous arena of politics.
I believe that it is wrong for us to approach either the problem of the land or the whole problem of Kenya simply 1346 upon a single Colony basis. I think we are doing wrong not to realise that, whether it be in dealing with the land or dealing with power supply, communications, or any of the great problems of Africa, we have to deal with it on a regional and area basis, and not allow our minds to be cribbed and confined by the artificial frontiers and boundaries created by the political carve-up of Africa at the end of the last century. One example of this is to be, seen in the difficulty that arose in Somaliland and resulted in the recent protests of the Somali representatives. In that case we were inevitably bound by the ties of history, but we cannot allow that to happen for ever. The artificial frontiers of Africa will burst if we do not deal with such problems as land on a regional basis.
I have, therefore been concerned—and I must say so—at the way in which, during the last three years, particularly during the emergency, the other two territories of East Africa, Uganda and Tanganyika, have tended to draw away from Kenya and to dissociate themselves from the problems of that Colony. They cannot do so in the long run. They cannot live in a little world of their own, remote from the great movements and the great problems of Africa. On the whole, the future of those three territories, whatever form that future may take, will be a single one. I do not say that that means political federation, but it does mean much closer economic collaboration than we have known in the past. I hope that that is one of the matters upon which the Royal Commission, when it reports, will be able to give us advice.
I really believe that the greatest of the difficulties which is facing the Government and people of Kenya at present is psychological. They have been told that their problems are unique. I do not believe that they are unique. They have happened in history many times before. I do not believe for a moment that the Kikuyu are so very different from other Africans in their general approach. I am quite certain that the Europeans in Kenya are no different from other Europeans, that they do not live in a little world of their own, isolated, with different problems, with a different point of view, remote from the rest of the Commonwealth and remote from the rest of Africa. They are all part of a whole. That being 1347 so, I believe that a lead at the present time, an attempt to bring to the people of Kenya, regardless of race, giving new hope and prospects for the future, from the Government and through His Excellency the Governor, will do more than the voting of money by this Committee to improve the prospects of that Colony, and to restore to it at an early date the programme of development which was undertaken before the awful tragedy struck it.
§ 5.50 p.m.
§ Mr. James Johnson (Rugby)
It is always a pleasure to catch your eye, Sir Austin, but especially so when it means that today I follow the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport). I hope that the hon. Member will not mind my saying that, as I listened to him, I had the impression that the mantle of Elijah had fallen on Elisha, since he followed my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Fenner Brockway). The words of the hon. Member and of my hon. Friend will go out to East Africa and no doubt will be published in the "East Africa and Rhodesia Magazine" and the "Kenya Weekly News." Settlers, particularly in the Highlands, will be saying, "At long last we have what we have so long asked for—something like a Council of State in the House of Commons," because the two speeches have been so complementary.
I could not agree more with both speakers in emphasising the significance of the so-called "passive wing" of Kikuyu people between the hard core of Mau Mau in the forest and those outside—again a hard core—the anti-Mau Mau Home Guard. There are about 1 million passive Kikuyu and if we do not get the African leaders among them behind us we shall never solve the problem of Mau Mau. The hon. Member for Billericay (Mr. Braine) spoke of having met African leaders, and stressed the fact that not all African leaders were inside the detention camps. Who knows who are the African leaders, until we have elections, and thus allow the Africans to choose their own leaders? I therefore welcome the appointment of the Coutts Commission and look forward to the 1956 elections when the Africans will be able to say, "These elected Members in Nairobi have the same coloured skins as we have. 1348 These men who are facing Mr. Blundell and Mr. Havelock are our leaders." Africans too often see, whether in Zomba, in Nyasaland, Nairobi, or Dar-es-Salaam, people in office, whom I will not describe as "stooges," but whom the Africans certainly regard as men who are there because they are favoured by the whites. Until we have in Kenya a feeling among the Africans that people chosen openly by themselves are to be their leaders, we cannot say that we have on our side loyal Africans who will co-operate freely and fully.
When we last debated Kenya, on 16th February, I quoted a London evening newspaper in connection with the amnesty terms, and by inference criticised Mr. Michael Blundell for having said, to what the newspaper described as… a hostile meeting of European electors …that the following day he would give the date of the withdrawal of the amnesty terms.
I asked the Minister to say whether that was to be so and the right hon. Gentleman replied: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 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."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th February, 1955; Vol. 537, c. 507.]
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I think that the hon. Member knows that I did not say "indefinite." I said that it was an offer that would be limited, or a phrase to that effect. It was inadvertently reported as "indefinite." Immediate steps were taken to correct that, but I think the hon. Member knows that I myself made it quite plain that it would be subject to some eventual repeal. Three months had been mentioned and that would take it up to April, but nothing final had been said about this coming to an end yet.
§ Mr. Johnson
I am most happy to hear that admission. I feel, personally, that these terms should be offered indefinitely. It would be a pity if they were withdrawn in the near future. I believe that I misunderstood Mr. Blundell on that matter. I am sure that he spoke at that meeting with the full knowledge of his colleagues in the Government and the 1349 War Council in Nairobi, and that he said quite sincerely and wittingly that he would make an announcement the following morning. I want to make that clear.
I turn from the question of amnesty terms to say a few words about land, which has been mentioned so often in our debates. My hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough is, of course, correct. There are in the Kiambu location about 40,000 Kikuyu on 40 square miles. That is simply appalling, and we have to find some place for these people to go. What will happen to the White Highlands? I feel, like the hon. Member for Colchester, that the European leaders and the white highlanders must soon face the fact that the White Highlands will not always be a tribal enclave for white people.
We may have sometime to go to Tanganyika and Uganda to settle the land hunger of the millions in Kenya. However, some emigration of the Kikuyu into the White Highlands will not settle their difficulties by any means, because there is insufficient vacant land there. Again, I am not in favour of evicting white farmers or buying them out, but access to the White Highlands would pay enormous psychological and political dividends, if we allowed some Africans to enter as tenant farmers. A test of competent farming could be applied and a clearance certificate by a board required, just as in this country the county agricultural executive committees have to give a competence certificate A, B or C, as it were, to British farmers. I see no objection at all to that.
At the moment, tens of thousands of black Africans are farming among the white settlers. What are squatters but black African farmers? They have two or more acres among the white farmers, and what is the objection to giving them larger units for 20, 30 or 40 years, of land on which to farm? If, as it is whispered, the Commission were to come out in favour of access to the European White Highlands and if the European leaders in the Government were to oppose that, and were even to leave the Cabinet, what would happen in Kenya? Would we be able to carry on with the situation as it is, with nominated white Ministers like Mr. Vasey, Mr. Cavendish-Bentinck, and others, plus Asians, plus Africans, 1350 or would we have to suspend the Constitution and govern from London?
The detention camps have been mentioned and I share the fear and dismay of hon. Members about the slow tempo of screening in them. I would not only go faster with the clearance, but I would clear out up to 90 per cent. of those now in the camps. There are many in them who will never be given a black certificate. They are perfectly clear. I would take a chance and clear out 90 per cent. and allow them to pursue their own normal activities in the Reserve. I appeal to the Minister to look at this matter again and to consider what is said by African labour leaders like Mr. Tom Mboya and others whom we know, and in whom we have confidence, that there are trade union leaders in the camps who should be cleared and be free to help in the job of organising African labour. Particularly is that so in view of the difficulties which there have been at the Mombasa Docks and elsewhere over these last few months.
If the amnesty terms are withdrawn, if we take a long time over the screening in the camps and if we contemplate a fight to the finish—I myself think that things are on the mend and that they are better than they were—I want to know what is to happen to the "hard core" in the jungle and bamboo forests. Where are they to go? Are they to be sentenced and put away in camps in the Northern Territories? I should like the Minister to tell us what are his intentions about this hard core of gangsters who are at the centre of the Mau Mau conspiracy.
I do not want to see them again living among the Kikuyu society. They are thugs and gangsters, who are not fit to be back there. I would hate to see that hard core of 2,000 or 5,000 return and carry on a sort of internecine or civil war vendetta, paying off old scores against the Home Guard or other loyal Kikuyu who are on our side today against these gangsters in the forests.
I should like the Minister to say what are his hopes about the future of government. I would like to see him introduce an experiment by means of a "common roll" electorate. I should like to see an experimental constituency, perhaps in Mombasa, perhaps in East Nairobi or in some of the other areas, where common polls could be introduced. In that event, 1351 what would the Minister's attitude be if the Europeans were vehemently opposed to it? Would the Minister and the Government go on with this suggestion of common polls if they were consistently and persistently faced with opposition from the white electorate in Kenya?
Like the question of land that was posed by the hon. Member for Colchester, we have to face up to these facts, because we are moving towards a multiracial society based upon a multi-racial electorate. I do not want to see a black Kenya in the same way as one talks of a black Uganda. I want to see a multiracial society and a multi-racial government, but the dominant white society will have to make some concession, not merely on land but on political matters, too, because if they showed—and, personally, I do not think that many of them will—a desire to copy the Union of South Africa in this matter, I imagine that they could not do it. There are only 10,000 white families in Kenya. They have not a white police force or a white army, as the Strydom régime has in the Union of South Africa, where there are two million whites to seven million coloured. In Kenya, we are faced with the fact that the whites will have to co-operate with the Africans and that in the future we shall have to tackle these problems together.
I would say to the Minister, if he wants my advice, that he cannot deny to the Africans their advance in these matters, and to the white leaders overseas I would say that they would be short-sighted indeed if they stand in the path of the African march. It would be for them to make a declaration on the subject, and their leaders have to show some leadership, and make some concessions. I hope that in the future, on the question of land and of multi-racial education and, even more important, on the question of political advance, the white Africans—and I name "white Africans" because many of them have been there for one or two generations—will make a gesture, if one likes a psychological gesture, to the black Africans which will convince them that the whites are there to stay and work and live with them, and, in the shortest possible time, to lift up the black Africans alongside them.
§ 6.6 p.m.
§ Mr. Beresford Craddock (Spelthorne)
The hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) started his speech by commenting upon the fact that in this Committee this afternoon we seem to have resolved ourselves into a Council of State. I shall be saying some things which may tend to break up that happy atmosphere for which I shall be very sorry.
§ Mr. Beresford Craddock
If an hon. Member wants to say something contrary to the general tone of the debate he always says that we must be realistic or we must face the situation with realism; but I will not quarrel with the hon. Gentleman.
Before I draw attention to some particular points, there are one or two things which have been said which ought to be corrected. We agree that one of the main problems of Kenya now, and, indeed, always has been and will be for many years to come, is the problem of land. The hon. Member for Rugby suggested that there was something in a report which is shortly to be published about African settlement in the White Highlands. I have no knowledge of it, and I do not understand where he got that from, because I understood that a report not published, and particularly a report of a Royal Commission, until it was published was highly confidential.
§ Mr. Johnson
What I did say was that if in the Commission's report there were recommendations for access to the European Highlands I hoped that the Minister would tell us what his attitude would be in the face of almost certain white opposition.
§ Mr. Beresford Craddock
I am very much obliged to the hon. Gentleman. I had no intention of misrepresenting him at all. All I would say about the report of the Royal Commission is that I hope that when it does appear my European settler friends in Kenya and the white Africans generally will give careful consideration to it before they come to any definite conclusions. That is very important indeed.
When land in Kenya is mentioned—and this is the point that was indicated by the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Fenner Brockway), who, I am sorry to 1353 say, is not here now—I always turn to Colonial Paper No. 290, published in 1952, on "Land and Population in East Africa," which is a series of dispatches from Sir Philip Mitchell. All of us know that Sir Philip has greater knowledge of the problems of East Africa than anyone living today and over a long period has rendered tremendous services to those territories.
It is important that this should be said in connection with land. I want to refer to paragraph 18, page 6, of this document, where Sir Philip says:Secondly, the extent of arable land in European occupation adjoining the Native Land Units is exceedingly small in relation to the area at present in African occupation and could at best provide only slight and temporary relief for African congestion.Sir Philip goes on to give details of the very small proportion, relatively, of land occupied by the white settlers in what are commonly called the White Highlands.
Then as my last quotation from this document I want to read an extract from paragraph 20, page 8, where he says:For the basic problem of the future is a much wider one than of the European farm lands in Kenya; it is the problem of adapting the system of African agriculture to the needs of rapidly growing population."—That is very much on the lines of what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Billericay (Mr. Braine).
I have a good deal of sympathy with what was said by the hon. Member for Eton and Slough as to his attitude towards the hangings that have been going on since this unhappy emergency arose as the result of Mau Mau. Everyone deplores it, but we have to get it into its right context. We must not forget that in the same period, when about 700 Mau Mau have been hanged, 1,350 civilians—African, Asian and European—have been killed and nearly 800 have been wounded.
As far as the security forces are concerned, in the same period 480 have been killed and about 400 have been wounded. So, when we talk about hanging, which we all deplore, we should bear in mind the other side of the picture, because the bulk of the civilians who have been killed and wounded have been mauled in the most brutal and ghastly fashion by that appalling instrument the panga.
In this debate and in others to which I have listened in the House, and in Questions, there has been a certain amount of 1354 criticism of the European settler—I will not put it higher. When I hear such criticism I recall an unpleasant experience which I had some years ago when travelling up country in East Africa. On that journey I spent one night in a rest house. It was the usual mud and wattle hut familiar to many of us, with a corrugated iron roof and, inside, bare rafters. When I awoke in the morning, I looked up and, to my horror, I saw immediately above my head, curled round the rafters, a large horrible-looking snake. I lay there absolutely stiff with terror. Part of its head and body was moving and weaving about. I wondered whether it was about to strike or would uncoil and drop on top of me.
§ Mr. Beresford Craddock
It may have been, but it was a very unpleasant experience and you can judge of my relief, Sir Rhys, when, after a few moments, it turned away and glided along the rafters. I got out of bed and out of the door of that rest house with a speed which, even compared with the four-minute mile record of these days, would be judged remarkable. It took me some hours to get over what was a frightening experience.
I always recall this experience when I hear criticism of the attitude of the European settlers, and indeed of the Africans, because my nightmare lasted only two or three minutes, or five at the most, whereas the African and European settlers in Kenya have been enduring for the last two years a continuous nightmare every minute of the day, never knowing when they or their wives and children might be brutally attacked. So, when we hear unfortunate expressions of opinion from the white settlers, it is only right that we should not forget the appalling nervous strain which they have had to undergo during this period.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mr. Bottomley), in opening the debate, gave me the impression that he believed the Mau Mau trouble was entirely a political one and could be settled by political means. That view is shared by many hon. Members on both sides of the Committee, but I do not subscribe to it. I have always been of opinion that Mau Mau was a reversion of certain Africans to witchcraft and barbarism and that it 1355 had nothing to do with land settlement or political differences.
§ Mr. Beresford Craddock
It is not a new thing. I have said this in the House before. I remember seeing, in the early 'thirties, some Africans in Kenya horribly mutilated because they would not join one of these secret societies. I cannot explain it, I do not suppose anyone can, but I believe it is an inherent characteristic of this stage of their existence. We must not forget that only fifty or sixty years ago a large number of these people were cannibals. Having, therefore, lived for centuries in an atmosphere of superstition or witchcraft, it is not unreasonable that there is a tendency among some of them to revert to it.
§ Mr. Bottomley
I know that the hon. Gentleman and myself are at one in wanting to overcome this problem, and I put the emphasis on the political aspect for this reason: I agree with the hon. Gentleman that there is a desire to go back to the bush—the Parliamentary Mission said that—but we say that the aim at political control has made it easier for Mau Mau because the Africans are being taken back along the road of the Mau Mau movement, whereas by good political leadership they would be taken along the road of progress and wellbeing.
§ Mr. Beresford Craddock
I am grateful for that explanation, though I cannot agree entirely with the right hon. Gentleman, because much has been done over many years for the Africans in Kenya and in East Africa and Central Africa. I believe that, if there is any rational explanation of the Mau Mau trouble, it is the desire of certain of the more educated Africans, who are out to get power, to drive the European and Asian out of Kenya, and, to do so, they have played on the superstitions of their fellow Africans. It is difficult really to find the real cause of it, but I agree that every effort must be made to stop it.
Cmd. 9103 of March, 1954, gave a statement of the policy of Her Majesty's Government. The first objective was:To prosecute the fight against terrorism with the utmost vigour and to ensure the maintenance of law and order throughout Kenya.1356 I believe that anything calculated to bring about the cessation of this unhappy state of affairs should be tried, and I agree with hon. Members on both sides of the Committee that Her Majesty's Government were wise to issue the recent surrender terms. They may not succeed at first, but they were worth trying, and all we can hope is that they will succeed in due course.
The right hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham rightly said that we ought to be considering the future of Kenya all the time. I was going to suggest that what was needed was a certain amount of original thought but, on reflection, I do not think there is any substance in the idea of original thought, any more than there is substance in the doctrine of original sin. Be that as it may, what is wanted is re-thinking, as the right hon. Gentleman suggested.
Not so much in this debate as in the past, when this House was voting money for the emergency in Kenya, the criticism has been voiced: why should the Europeans not be asked to pay higher taxation? We ought to have the facts of this matter on record. In Kenya's financial year 1953–54, Income Tax raised more than £5 million sterling, and 90 per cent.of it came from the Europeans in Kenya and only 10 per cent. from the Asiatics. That is astonishing, particularly when we remember that there are only 40,000 Europeans compared with more than 100,000 Asiatics.
Also, to put it very mildly, we all know that the Asiatics are doing rather well. The only direct taxation that the Africans pay is poll tax, and from 5½ million Africans it brings in £800,000. Africans also contribute to indirect taxation, of course, but I am now talking only of direct taxation. Therefore, when statements are made that the Europeans should pay more, do not let us forget the facts as they exist today and have existed for a long time.
For the future, I am sure everyone will agree that one of the things that must be done is to increase still further than has been done in the last year or two the number of administrative officers. I believe that good administration is the basis of good government and progress. It is not easy to obtain these people. I know that my right hon. Friend is alive to this fact and is doing his best, and the same 1357 was true of his predecessor and the two right hon. Gentlemen opposite who previously occupied the post. I agree with what has been said by members of the delegation which went to Kenya—
§ Mr. Beresford Craddock
I am not going to say that it is "the" delegation, but it was a delegation which produced a very good report.
I refer to the delegation of which my right hon. Friend the Member for Kelvin-grove (Mr. Elliot) was the leader and of which the right hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham was a member. I agree that one of the most important things for the future is to have a well-trained police force, and that means many more European police than there are today. In my view, two of the most important requisites of sound progress are good administration and well-trained and efficient police officers.
We all recognise that the things about which we are talking call for more money. At this juncture, Kenya is not a tremendously wealthy country. I believe that we shall have to continue helping her with finance for many years. I believe that the Mau Mau trouble has retarded Kenya's progress for at least 10 years and perhaps 15 or 20 years. Consequently, a greater burden will fall upon this House and also upon the European settlers.
I believe it to be right and proper to remind right hon. and hon. Members opposite that the backbone of Kenya is the European settler. We all appreciate that in past generations the African has made very little contribution to agriculture in Kenya. The African, whether agricultural or pastoral, has been nomadic. Consequently, we have the situation, which is often forgotten, that the European settler has as much right to be considered a native of Kenya and East Africa as has the black African, whether the Kikuyu, the Meru, the Embu or whatever tribe one likes to take.
For many a long day the prosperity of Kenya will have to depend, as it has done for many years, on the productive power of the White Highlands where the European settler is farming. It may well be possible for land to be leased to Africans in due course on condition that 1358 they cultivate the land according to the principles of good husbandry. In Kenya the period since the beginning of the century has been one of extensive farming. We have now to concentrate more and more on intensive farming if we are to produce the wealth and the food to keep the rapidly growing population going.
I am sure that every other hon. Member will agree with me when I say that I am all for giving as much help as possible to the African through colonial development and welfare funds. I believe, also, that we shall have to devote a certain amount of money to emigration from this country to Africa to help the building up of a still stronger agricultural community there. There is in Kenya at present an organisation which has been built up with the idea of helping young farmers from this country and other parts of Europe to start farming in Kenya, but I believe that in the interests of the future of Kenya we must do very much more in that direction. I hope that my suggestion will be found worthy of at least consideration by Her Majesty's Government.
I agree with what my hon. Friend the Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport) said about the future. Probably there will have to be some sort of federation. We do not know what form it should take. I do not believe that Kenya, Tanganyika or Uganda can exist on their own. The problem of federation is really a problem of Uganda at present, and it has been so for many a year. I doubt whether Uganda will ever be—in fact, I am satisfied that it will not be—a country for European settlement. Uganda is essentially, for want of a better expression, a "native" or African State. Having lived there myself, I do not believe that the climate is such that any Europeans could settle there and bring up their families as can be done in Kenya and Tanganyika.
I believe we ought to be thinking about federation between Kenya and Tanganyika, leaving out Uganda at this juncture. It may well be that the inevitable trend and final form will be some federation of Kenya and Tanganyika with the Central African Federation. Be that as it may, I believe that that is probably the way it must go eventually if these territories are to expand and progress as we all wish them to do. I see the hon. 1359 Member for Rugby shaking his head, but—
§ Mr. J. Johnson
I should like to see a black federation of Nyasaland and Tanganyika, but not a federation of Tanganyika with Kenya.
§ Mr. Beresford Craddock
I am much obliged, Sir Rhys, and will conclude my remarks.
Suffice it to say that I believe that all of us in the House of Commons, whatever our views may be, have precisely the same goal, the happiness and prosperity of these territories, although we may differ as to methods or speed. I am very glad to support the Vote, and I hope that, above all, it will help to bring the emergency to an end.
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ Mrs. Eirene White (Flint, East)
I think that if any of us on this side of the Committee thought that the money we were being asked to vote would be used towards promoting federation, we should have very different views of the question that is now before the Committee, but, obviously, I cannot pursue this topic at great length.
I am sorry that the hon. Member for Spelthorne (Mr. Beresford Craddock) brought that into this speech. He spoiled an otherwise excellent speech and I can only say that it is extremely dangerous to make references of that kind in a speech primarily devoted to other matters. It might be taken out of context and quoted in East Africa. Surely he will have learned from the experience of his former right hon. Friend, Lord Chandos, who made a remark by the way on federation. It was, of course, misconstrued and misconstructed and caused endless trouble in Uganda. We do not want the same sort of thing in Tanganyika.
The main part of this debate has been devoted to Kenya, which is the major item in the Vote. I should like to have an explanation of another item, that referring to internal security measures in African territories. I should especially like, at the outset, to have a definition of what is meant by internal security. It may be said that it is self-evident, that it means law and order, and so on.
1360 However, a short time ago there was a conference in London which was concerned with defence problems in Africa. We have never had in this House—or, I believe, in the other place—any very detailed account of what took place at that conference. Obviously, the major part of the discussions was concerned with wider strategy and would not be in any way connected with internal security. I am concerned to have a definition of what is meant by internal security in the light of what was said in the Union of South Africa.
Mr. Erasmus, the South African Minister of Defence, was present at the conference, which discussed defence and security throughout the Continent of Africa south of the Sahara. Mr. Erasmus's ideas on the defence of South Africa seemed to be rather different from what we would recognise as being the normal sense of that expression. As recently as 7th March, in a policy statement in the South African House, Mr. Erasmus said that the policy of the South African Government was to defend South Africa against possible Communist aggression—presumably from without—and to prevent fifth column activities.
Again, it has been said in the newspaper "Die Transvaler," which is very closely associated with the present Prime Minister of South Africa, that the South African Government's policy there and in the talks held in London was to urge countries in Africa with interests south of the equator to work together to combat possible Communist aggression in Africa. The writer continued that these countries, Portugal, France, Belgium and the United Kingdom, should co-operate with South Africa on the basis of reciprocal obligation in an alliance through which South Africa could ensure its home defence.
All this leaves us with rather an uneasy feeling. What does the South African Minister mean by fifth column activities? What was agreed at these discussions about the use of these forces for which we are making provision in any sort of co-operation with South African forces? For instance, the Central African Federation is concerned in this matter. Has there been any kind of agreement that the forces in the Federation should be at any time, or in any way, at the disposal of the South African Government, or that there should be any right 1361 to call upon forces from the Union against what Mr. Erasmus and his colleagues called fifth column Communism?
§ Mr. F. Harris
On a point of order. If reference to federation is to be out of order, is not a reference to South Africa rather strained?
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I understand that the hon. Lady is asking what this sum involves, and for a definition of internal security.
§ Mrs. White
It has been announced that an agreement has been reached. I want to know the scope of this agreement and whether there is any kind of understanding that the forces for which the money has been asked can be used for internal security. Are these forces to cross the borders of their own territories? If so, under what circumstances and at whose behest? We are entitled to have this information. I see that Nyasaland forces are particularly mentioned and I want to know whether or not forces from Nyasaland might be used in certain circumstances.
§ Mr. Hopkinson
I think my right hon. Friend will probably wish to deal with this point later, but I can now tell the hon. Lady that all the forces in the Federation are a Federal responsibility and do not come within the scope of this Vote.
§ Mrs. White
I find that a little hard to follow. Am I now being informed that the Nyasaland forces are in no way included in the present Vote? They were included in the original Estimate.
§ Mr. Hopkinson
The Nyasaland forces form part of the Federal forces which are now a Federal responsibility and are not included in this Vote.
§ Mrs. White
In other words, forces which were included in the original Estimate which is asterisked in page 33 are now excluded in the revised Estimate. Is that so? I will give way to the right hon. Gentleman if he will make this clear. In page 33 the asterisked figures refer to Mauritius and Nyasaland.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
If these forces are now a Federal responsibility, it is clear that it would not be in order to discuss them on this Vote. That provides 1362 a partial answer to the hon. Lady's question about the meaning of internal security. They are under Federal control.
§ Mr. Hopkinson
I will ask my right hon. Friend to look into this and give the hon. Lady the information she requires when he replies to the debate. As I understand, forces in Nyasaland have now been transferred entirely to the Federal Government, although they were at one time part of the K.A.R. They were referred to in the original Estimates possibly because responsibility for them had not then been transferred to the Federal Government.
§ Mrs. White
Presumably that means that none of this money which we are being asked to vote is for any forces in any part of Central Africa, or in Mauritius. But what about Mauritius? That is referred to in the starred items. Is that figure now deducted or included in the revised Estimates?
I see that the Colonial Secretary has now come back to the Chamber. I do not know whether he can clear the matter up. We are in some difficulty. It is possible that in the original Estimates, page 33, certain amounts were included which relate to Mauritius and Nyasaland. It is now being suggested that the whole cost of forces in Nyasaland has been deducted and, therefore, nothing in the revised Estimate in any way refers to Nyasaland, although presumably some of it refers to Mauritius. It is most important to know whether or not we are discussing expenditure in relation to Nyasaland or expenditure referring only to the other East African territories, and presumably also to Mauritius.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I regret that I have not had the advantage of hearing the discussion. I am sorry that I was absent for a few moments. I hesitate to intervene and certainly could not with any great authority, but I shelter behind any view expressed by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs, who is invariably right. Also, of course, there is the constitutional fact that the Nyasaland services are a Federal responsibility.
§ Mrs. White
If that is so, then, as a matter of drafting, it would have been of great assistance to hon. Members if it had been made clear in page 33. If one lot of expenditure is to be included in the 1363 original Estimate and then removed before we reach the Supplementary Estimate, then that should have been explained in the explanatory note. That has not been done. The note says:In regard to the East African Forces, assistance from Her Majesty's Government has hitherto been necessary only in respect of that part of the cost of the internal security provided by those Forces which relates to Mauritius and Nyasaland, but it has now become necessary to make a special contribution towards the cost of the internal security forces not met by the increased contributions of the other Governments concerned.That is not clear. If the Committee is being asked to discuss something different, then those who prepared the Supplementary Estimate should have made it clear, in fairness, that since the original Estimate was presented there has been a radical change as far as part of the expenditure is concerned. We should have been told.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I am sorry if, in any way, this is having any effect on the scope of the hon. Lady's speech. I think that the explanation which, I understand, my right hon. Friend gave is the correct one, but I will check on that before I reply to the debate. Though I had intended to deal almost exclusively with Kenya, I will gladly deal with that point.
§ Mrs. White
I hope that the Minister will. It is of great interest to know precisely what our obligations are in this respect, especially, as I was saying when the right hon. Gentleman was absent, in view of the policy of the Union of South Africa in this matter. As there seems to be some doubt, it is very difficult to say anything about the conditions of internal security in Nyasaland, which is the subject which I had hoped to discuss.
Ido not know whether the right hon. Gentleman is in a position to say anything about the other territory in which in fairly recent times we have had internal disturbances—Sierre Leone. I should imagine that it is difficult, because we are awaiting the report of the Royal Commission on Land. That being so, I must restrict my remarks and await with interest the reply of the right hon. Gentleman.
I should like to make a few comments on the major subject of our debate—Kenya. I hope very much that we shall soon have the report of the Royal Com- 1364 mission. Again and again this matter has been mentioned here, but until the report is available it is difficult to have constructive discussion either here or in Kenya. I am at one with everyone on this side of the Committee in welcoming the recent expressions of opinion by the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport) and the hon. Member for Spelthorne (Mr. Beresford Craddock) on the subject of land. I wish that some of those in Kenya who privately hold the same opinions would have the courage to express them publicly.
It is discouraging to find, when talking to visitors to this country from Kenya and discussing the matter with others in Kenya, that, privately, they will agree that the policy advocated is the proper one; but that, such has been the pressure of public opinion in Kenya, apparently these people find it impossible to express their opinions openly. That applies to people in the very highest ranks of the administration and of politics there.
I hope very much that when we get the report of the Commission it will give some added courage to those who undoubtedly agree with the hon. Member for Colchester, the hon. Member for Spelthorne and others, but who have doubts or fears which make them unable to give public expression to their view. The sooner we have the report, the sooner we may hope to have something of the local initiative which is much the best way of dealing with the problem.
I hope that there will be no question of us having to press upon the Government of Kenya a way of dealing with the land problem which would be done so much better if it could come from leaders of opinion in that Colony itself. If one could solve the land problem satisfactorily in the next few years it would hold out some hope to African opinion. It would focus progressive opinion among Africans; it would make them feel that there really is some chance of genuine co-operation with the other races.
I believe that the publication of the report, which has been long awaited now, will be of the greatest importance to all of us. I wish that this debate had come after the publication of the report, so that we could have had a rather more constructive discussion on the subject. It is unfortunate that we should have had two debates on Kenya within a fairly short 1365 time. When we receive the report we shall have to hope that, within the Parliamentary time-table, we can have another discussion on this extremely important matter. I am certain that none of the money which we have been asked to give to Kenya could be better spent than in implementing what I hope will be the statesmanlike recommendations of that report.
§ 6.48 p.m.
§ Mr. Ronald Russell (Wembley, South)
I hope that hon. Members will forgive me if I follow the example of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones) and divert the debate from the troubles of Africa to what are, politically at any rate, the more peaceful waters of the Caribbean. I refer to Subhead F.14 under the heading: "West Indies. Purchase of Canned Grapefruit." This may appear to be a detailed and mundane subject in the light of the debate so far; nevertheless, it is important, and there is a phrase in the Vote which puzzles me. It says:Reimbursement to the Ministry of Food of the net difference between the cost of purchase and the proceeds of sale of 1953–54 surplus production of West Indian canned grapefruit.I should like to know what is meant by the words "surplus production." Surplus to what? Has any direction been given to the West Indian canning industry to restrict production? In the excellent reports of the Commonwealth Economic Committee on fruit—published every other year—I can find no reference to any restriction on production in any part of the Colonial Empire. Therefore, I am puzzled by the meaning of the words "surplus production."
I hope that there is no intention of restricting the production of fruit or anything else, especially in the West Indies, which are probably facing greater economic difficulties than any other part of the Colonial Empire today. Perhaps I am asking too much in raising this problem today, because I know that my right hon. Friend is awaiting the report of a fact-finding commission on the citrus fruit industry which went to the West Indies, I think last autumn.
Secondly, I know that we are all awaiting the White Paper, to be published next Tuesday, on the results of the conference on G.A.T.T. recently concluded at Geneva. I, and I know many of my hon. 1366 Friends, are hoping that this White Paper will reveal that some aid is to be given to the canned grapefruit industry and other industries in the West Indies which are suffering so much at the present time.
Naturally, I support this supplementary Vote of only £60,000. But I wonder also whether a great deal more could have been achieved if a certain amount of money had been spent, not only on reimbursing the Ministry of Food for the loss of this fruit, but also on stimulating the sales of canned grapefruit in this country. I may shock connoisseurs of fruit by saying that I prefer canned grapefruit to fresh grapefruit—certainly so far as the flavour is concerned—just as I prefer canned pineapple and canned rhubarb to fresh. I gather that a number of hon. Members agree with me.
We should think of doing what we can to stimulate the sales in this country of Empire grapefruit and fruit of all kinds. A little money spent in that direction would perhaps help towards alleviating the economic conditions of the West Indies just as much as any fiscal alteration which we may hope for from the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.
§ 6.52 p.m.
§ Mr. M. Philips Price (Gloucestershire, West)
I know that the hon. Member for Wembley, South (Mr. Russell) will forgive me if I do not follow him. I wish to say a few words about Kenya, which has concerned this debate quite a lot and to which I understand that the Secretary of State proposes to devote a good part of his speech.
This debate has shown that both sides of the Committee are actuated by one motive and are in general agreement, at any rate on the fundamentals, namely, that after this terrible struggle in Kenya there must be reconciliation; and after reconciliation there must be reconstruction. The object of this debate is to discuss the voting of money for the purpose of reconstruction. I hope that a good part of the Vote will be used for that, although I suppose some of it must be devoted to the successful issue of the emergency.
But money will not solve everything. There are many intangible problems hidden in the dark forests of Kenya, and money can assist only indirectly in their solution. I am not sure whether we all 1367 realise the nature of these problems. No amount of money will, quickly at any rate, solve the problem caused by the breakdown of the tribal system in that part of Africa, with all its age-long beliefs and superstitions.
Unfortunately, there never was an ancient culture—as in Asia and in Europe—on which the institutions of man could be founded, whether it be Christianity or Islam. The Arabs came down the east coast of Africa and founded their religion—great civilising religion as it is—but alas, they did not extend their influence far into the interior. They kept to the coast, and when they went into the interior, alas, it was only for the purpose of carrying on the slave trade. Of course, Christianity has been growing in Central and Eastern Africa and is a basis on which something can be founded. But the fact still remains that the ancient tribal customs and beliefs are breaking down, and for many Africans there is nothing to put in their place.
Not only is there a spiritual vacuum, but there is also a social vacuum. The uprooting of Africans from their tribal system of land tenure has resulted in a drift in search of work to towns like Nairobi, Nakuru and Mombasa, and there is no social welfare system or proper housing plan to deal with them—or such things are only just beginning. In consequence a kind of gangsterdom has developed on which Mau Mau has flourished.
When I was in Nairobi last autumn I had a very interesting talk with that fine man, the Bishop of Mombasa. He said that, in dealing with Mau Mau, we have to deal with a problem of something like Chicago gangsterdom mingled with the black magic of the backwoods. Indeed, it is a terrible potion. I am afraid that in part we are responsible because of our neglect; because of our failure to see that in the growing industrial centres of East Africa there must be proper social services and welfare arrangements to deal with the inevitable drift of the detribalised African into these centres and thus prevent evil organisations and evil ideas from spreading.
After all, it was "Operation Anvil" which showed, when the military authorities struck in Nairobi, that there was the chief centre of the Mau Mau—or, at any rate, one of their important centres. After 1368 "Operation Anvil" it was possible to say that we had struck a serious blow at Mau Mau which was operating right under the nose of the Government.
I believe that the difficulties of the Kikuyu are the difficulties of a very intelligent tribe; the most able and intelligent of all the tribes in East Africa. I understand from those who know the Kikuyu well, and with whom I have discussed this matter, that they are, of all the tribes, seeking out something new. They are trying to modernise themselves. They are anxious to obtain education, but their minds are undisciplined.
The Kikuyu are a people of the forest, they are not like the Masai and other tribes north of the Great Lake who live largely in open country. For various reasons, including the fact that when the Masai were powerful they drove them back into the forest, the Kikuyu have had to adapt their lives to forest conditions. They have lived in the past—and to some extent still do so—in small clearings in the forest, which they clear and cultivate themselves. They live a strong, independent type of life in their struggle with nature. They are self-reliant, but they are not easily subjected to discipline.
Now they wish to modernise themselves and learn European ways of living. But though able and intelligent, they are handicapped by the backwash of this old type of mind which does not easily train or discipline itself to the new task. Hence, so I am told, the tendency of the Kikuyu has been, whenever they come up against difficulties, to say, "Ah, it is an act of fate." And "fate" is the hated foreigner—in this case the British. That is why, I think, we have this anti-European, anti-British line just among this tribe; not, apparently, extending anywhere outside, but confined to this forest area. I believe there is a definite physical reason, a climatic reason, for this. In voting this money, we must hope that it will help them to perform the task which they are trying to perform, but I firmly believe that it is a problem which will not be solved by money alone.
It has been said in this debate that at the back of the minds of the Kikuyus there is the question of more land. My hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Fenner Brockway) stressed the land problem as one of the main causes of the present difficulties. I am 1369 certainly inclined to agree that there is great overcrowding in the Kikuyu reserves which is made worse by the fact that, since the emergency began, many Kikuyu workers have been sent back to the reserves because the European farmers in the White Highlands did not think that they were any longer to be relied upon. Again, many went to the reserves of their own accord, which has, of course, only increased the problem.
But, from what I saw from my stay in the Nyeri district, I am convinced that not only is the land not overcrowded, but that it could support a bigger population than at present if properly farmed. As I went round with the agricultural advisory officers, I saw land being terraced where erosion had taken place through overcropping and overstocking. I saw dams being built, in spite of the fact that the emergency was actually going on, in the forest only 20 or 30 miles away. Coffee plantations were being laid out, and the Africans were being encouraged to grow coffee. Coffee is a very valuable commodity, and the growing of it calls for a great deal of skill and attention. Not everyone can grow it. A little further in, I saw the effects of the irrigation work which had been started.
If all these things are maintained and further expanded—and I hope that some of this money will be used for these purposes—then I do not think that there need be any serious overcrowding even in the Kikuyu Reserve which, as I have said, I believe could support an even bigger population than it does at present. I hope that it will be possible for the European farmers in the White Highlands to take back those Kikuyus who have left the farms. I believe that one hon. Member said that he understood that would be the case.
I entirely agree with the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport), who most courageously stated his view today, as he has on previous occasions, that the agricultural communities in Kenya should be settled side by side and that no political issue should be involved. If we truly believe in the multi-racial State in East Africa—as I believe we all do—then we must support the idea of allowing some of the waste lands in the White Highlands west of the Aberdares to come under African cultivation.
1370 I know that on this matter the Secretary of State is tied by various agreements and treaties which go back, perhaps, for very many years. But treaties were made for man, not man for treaties, and, in time, they must give way to the only wise and common-sense treatment of this subject. I believe that nothing would better demonstrate to the Africans that we really mean business in the multi-racial State than by allowing African settlement to take place in the White Highlands.
I saw a lot of very interesting colonisation going on in the area close to the White Highlands, in the Mau forests which I visited, where Kikuyus have been settled and are working in the big State forest round about. I know it is sometimes said that the Africans get very low wages, that the Kikuyu tribesmen are earning only about £2 a month. But I found that on land newly planted by them, these tribesmen are allowed, on half the estate, to cultivate crops between the young trees for four years. The whole of those crops belong to them, and some of the Kikuyus were making very good money out of it. Therefore, the £2 which they receive for their work for the State was being supplemented very substantially by the crops they were growing for themselves. That is the kind of thing for which, I hope, this money will be used, because it is the sort of thing that, more than anything else, will help to overcome this serious psychological difficulty.
There is also the question of the enclosures. It is very important to raise the standard of African cultivation, and to cut adrift from the old communal, tribal distribution of land which makes it impossible for the cultivator to improve his land. Improvement is going on, and must be encouraged still further. In the Elgevo Reserve, where recently I spent a little time, I saw some magnificent crops of wheat being grown by Africans. They have demanded the right to enclose for themselves land from the tribal reserve so that they can spend money on it, in many cases co-operatively. The holdings are their own and are fenced and stocked by themselves.
I know that there are difficulties here, but a conflict on the matter is going on within the tribe. The elders and the old people want to see the old methods perpetuated, while the younger men want 1371 to see new methods adopted. The Government are in a bit of a difficulty over this, but, of course, they must come down on the side of progress in this matter, and the old people must not be allowed to hold up this progress.
There are other problems, too, connected with the towns, many of them in Kenya. The other day, I read a very interesting pamphlet written by Dr. Carothers entitled "The Psychology of Mau Mau," in which he goes into the whole question of the mentality of the Kikuyu tribe. He says that a very serious and rather dangerous divergence has developed between the sexes in the tribe. Some of the men have gone to the towns where they have worked for months, and even years, always intending ultimately to go back to their families. In many cases, owing to the long separation, the wives have fallen victims to Mau Mau. A very interesting thing is that many Kikuyu women have been found to be very great protagonists of Mau Mau, whereas the men have been much more indifferent about it. Hence the danger of this segregation to which Dr. Carothers refers.
I think that the only answer to that problem is better housing conditions and better welfare facilities in the towns, and equally, if not more important, better wages. The time has come when those who bring their families to live in the towns, in houses properly provided by the local authority, should receive better wages than those who come for only a short time, with the idea of going back to the Reserves. We must do something to stop this tendency to drift between town and Reserves, because it helps to create these difficulties.
Once more, it is a problem which is concerned not only with the money which we are voting this afternoon, but with the question of confidence. When I was in Kenya I was enthused by the prospect which I saw there, in spite of the dark times. I saw a great opportunity to build a multi-racial state, which is the only real reply to the dark South African theory of apartheid, on the one hand, and Mau Mau on the other. I do not know which is worse. To those who think that there is a simple way out of these difficulties we can quote the words of Shakespeare:There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
§ 7.12 p.m.
§ Mr. Frederic Harris (Croydon, North)
I agree with very much of what has been said by the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Philips Price). He has obviously taken a very deep interest in the problems of Kenya, especially those of the Kikuyu tribe.
When we remember the many millions of pounds which we unhappily lost on the groundnuts scheme in East Africa and the £14 million Emergency Vote about which we are now talking, we must agree that it would have been a great step forward indeed if only some of this money had been spent in really benefiting Kenya, by way of increased water supplies, better communications and major matters of that kind, and what a great improvement that country would have enjoyed by this time from such expenditure.
Reference has been made to the fact that we may consider ourselves to be a body of experts on matters of this kind. It must be very difficult for people in Kenya to appreciate that we have to deal with their problems in this way, but if we are expected to vote large sums of money for the benefit of the Colony we must definitely be satisfied that the money is being properly spent.
Many of us may not have realised the great improvement which has taken place in conditions in Kenya during the last few months, but on all sides one hears that a real advance has taken place, and I am sure that nothing that any hon. Member says this afternoon is intended in any way to retard that improvement in the unhappy conditions which have existed since the emergency.
The right hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mr. Bottomley) seemed to be the only person to have introduced a jarring note into the debate.
§ Mr. Harris
That is quite untrue. The right hon. Gentleman made remarks which were extremely unhelpful. He made some very wild statements. His speech was quite contrary to that of the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Fenner Brockway), who, on this occasion, took up quite a proper attitude towards the problems which face us. The right 1373 hon. Member deplored some of the statements which have been made recently by Europeans in Kenya. He is not the only one who deplores them. In the previous debate many hon. Members on both sides of the House sought to dissociate themselves from the unfortunate comments which had been made. We must make it clear, however, that they are isolated comments, and should not be automatically associated with the main body of Europeans in Kenya, who are desperately anxious to see that this emergency is brought to an end as quickly as possible. It must be borne in mind that there are many people in this country, too, who make wild statements, and we do not necessarily assume that such persons represent the views of the majority of our people.
The right hon. Member also suggested that certain Africans should be released from detention camps because they were members of trade unions. That seemed to me to be a most extraordinary view. I realise what must be behind his remarks, but, surely, respect for law and order must come first in a matter of this kind. A man should not be released from a detention camp simply because he happens to be a trade unionist.
§ Mr. Bottomley indicated dissent.
§ Mr. Harris
That is exactly what the right hon. Gentleman said. I was very careful in noting his remarks.
We are all very anxious that the surrender offer should have the greatest possible success. If it is thought that there would be a better chance of success if we extended the period for a while, I am sure that the Minister will give very careful consideration to such a thought, because we do not want anything to mar the possibility of the greatest number of Mau Mau surrendering under the present offer.
The right hon. Member has referred on many occasions to the advisability of having a resident Minister in East Africa, and I put a similar question to the Prime Minister some years ago. But we now have not only a Governor but a Deputy-Governor in Kenya, and with two such people stationed there permanently, together with the support of the Kenya Government, I doubt whether it is necessary also to have a resident Minister. I believe that the right hon. Member is the 1374 only person who has made that suggestion today, but I thought that I should mention it because I once followed that line of thought.
§ Mr. Harris
I urge upon the Secretary of State, and also the Kenya Government, the need to speed up the rehabilitation of the Kikuyu as much as possible. I feel that the whole process is moving far too slowly. The machinery is much too rigid. I have recently been in communication with provincial commissioners in Kenya, and I have received the impression that to some extent officialdom feels the same way as I do in this matter.
It is not merely a question of acquiring more land for the Kikuyu, for the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West made the point that the reserves and such districts as Nyeri, about which he was talking, contained some of the finest land in the world. The problem is to teach the Kikuyu to work the land to the best advantage. The agricultural officers are doing fine work in this respect, but it must be speeded up, and there is really a great need to increase the numbers of these officers. We must assist with this as much as we can. That is a far better answer than holding out the hope of land which, if obtained, they might, unhappily, eventually destroy and which would not be any good for the Kikuyu in the long run.
I know from practical experience the great work that has been done by agricultural officers working with Kikuyu in the pineapple growing industry. The Kikuyu went on planting pineapple after pineapple, eventually destroying the land, but under the guidance of agricultural officers they have been banking and terracing the land—so looking after it. That is an example of the great work that has been done, and I am sure that more of that work will yet be done.
Reference has been made to the squatter system. Do not let us be misled on this point. There are some 500,000 Africans working in the Highlands and their proportion is between 100 and 200 Africans to every European. The idea of holding out the hope of Africans going into the White Highlands and owning land there will not help to ease their numbers or even to solve the land prob- 1375 lem. Many Africans, too, like the squatter system, although I am not saying that it is necessarily good. They like working their bit of land and getting wages as well. They cultivate such land, with benefit to themselves and to all concerned. In this way it is not just a question of the land which they get; they get proper employment as well.
Much more should be done to help the migration to Kenya of people who want to go to that country to guide the Africans in developing a future for themselves. We have suffered far too much from stopping Europeans and British people from going into Kenya. Possibly that has not happened so much in the last few months, but since the war it has been very difficult for many good British people and Europeans to get into that country. It is astounding to remember that people can come from the West Indies into Britain even without jobs to go to, yet our own people, with jobs waiting for them in Kenya, have found it extremely difficult to get into that country, although Kenya needs them very much indeed. It may be that as we now have full employment here it is not easy to get people to go to Kenya and to countries like that.
If that is so, I beg the Colonial Secretary to consider seriously whether we can encourage more people from other European countries to go to Kenya. We have Italians and Germans, but such immigration is not seriously encouraged. The country needs to be opened up as much as it can be and we must endeavour to get as many such people as we can there to guide the Africans in their future.
I echo what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport), that whatever decisions we take they must be made now. The time is absolutely right, because conditions are improving slightly in Kenya, and we must try to bring the emergency to an end and give a definite lead from this country to the Kenya people. We must try to tell them exactly what they can expect for the future. I do not know whether General Templer is expected to play any part in the long run in helping to end this emergency. Perhaps the Colonial Secretary will tell us. People in Kenya of all races, British, African and Asian alike are waiting now for a lead and for 1376 guidance to bring this tragic period to an end, and I hope that the time has now arrived when such guidance can be given.
§ 7.24 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd)
I have been dreading the moment when I would have to give my voice full play. I must apologise to Members on all sides of the Committee for the harshness of my voice, which may introduce into some of my comments a harshness of feeling that is normally absent from it.
We have had a very interesting debate. I am grateful to the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones) for his intervention and for what he said in regard to Aden and to Malta. The points he made were dealt with by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, I was recently in Malta and the Governor has recently paid a visit here. As soon as it can be properly arranged, it is intended that there will be a conference here of all the party leaders in Malta.
We have had two other speeches dealing with matters not concerned with Kenya. I must apologise to the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) for not having heard the whole of her speech, and even more for the fact that the observations she had planned were not relevant to the Vote now being discussed. The original sum of money proposed did make provision for a contribution by Her Majesty's Government towards the cost of the Forces in Nyasaland, but that contribution has now been made.
In the Vote for which I am now asking the authority of the Committee, no contribution whatever goes to Nyasaland, where defence is now a federal responsibility, or to Mauritius, for which no Supplementary Estimate is being asked. I am afraid that the points that the hon. Lady wanted to make would not have been in order. No doubt an opportunity will arise whereby she, with her usual ingenuity, will find it possible for me to answer on some of the points; and on others the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations can tell her that it is a matter of federal responsibility.
The hon. Lady asked me about Sierra Leone. A Commission having been 1377 appointed, as she said, we must await the result. She referred to the question of land and population in East Africa, as other hon. Members have done. I hope it is unnecessary for me to say that I have not attempted to exercise the slightest influence on the members of the Royal Commission, either as to what they say or on the speed with which they say it. I have certainly not, as has been suggested once or twice, though not today, taken steps to delay the publication of the Report. Nothing like that would be done by responsible Ministers on either side. The Report is made to Her Majesty, and it will, as I said a little time ago, be ready in about six weeks' time.
We had a speech from my hon. Friend the Member for Wembley, South (Mr. Russell), dealing with the West Indies. He and I share a great interest not only in those Colonies but in the primary agricultural production on which their welfare depends. Last year an undertaking was given to the West Indies that we would help them out if they could not sell all their canned grapefruit. This they were not able to do, so the Ministry of Food bought the unsold balance. I do not want to give ammunition to those who invariably criticise the Ministry of Food, in which I had the honour to serve as Parliamentary Secretary for a short time, when I say that through no fault of theirs the Ministry has resold it at a loss of about £60,000. Nor shall I enter into the machinations of Government in trying to explain why that loss should be borne on my Vote; but there it is.
In the interest of accuracy, it should be realised that the West Indies were unable to sell this crop in part because under American aid in relation to M.S.A., we had already agreed to take a proportion of American canned grapefruit. We saw the consequences of that, and I myself gave an assurance to the West Indian delegates when they were here some months ago that, though grateful for any offers, we would not take any more grapefruit from America this year. Therefore, this particular item is not likely to recur next time these Estimates are presented.
I was asked what the word "surplus" meant. I think the meaning of the word in that connection is surplus to what has already been exported. There is certainly 1378 no intention of applying ruthless production controls in that field. Reference was also made to the Report of the Citrus Mission, which is a very formidable document and is now in my hands. This is an opportunity to express publicly to those who went out on that inquiry the gratitude of Her Majesty's Government for the zeal with which they handled their task and the speed with which they have produced a very important Report.
The bulk of this debate today has turned on Kenya. The debate was opened by the right hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mr. Bottomley) in a speech which—I hope he will nottake it amiss—somewhat surprised me by the personal references to myself. I have at all times made it plain to hon. Members on both sides of the House that, as far as I am concerned, the door to the Colonial Office or the door to my room here, or the door to my private house, is always open to any Member, whatever his political view, at any time he cares to take advantage of it; and indeed a whole host of the right hon. Gentleman's colleagues alongside him and behind him regularly do so.
I should have thought that the right hon. Gentleman and I, who have together explored the East End looking at the conditions in which some of the West Indian immigrants were living some time ago, can both face problems in the knowledge that we are both anxious to promote the welfare of the Colonial Territories. What happened in this case—and I will not take too long about it, because I think the right hon. Gentleman will agree that we have greater issues to discuss—
§ Mr. Bottomley
I am sure we do not want anything to be between us. I accept what the right hon. Gentleman has said about the ever-open door. I would only say that in this House, in Question and in debate, I have submitted matters to the right hon. Gentleman for his consideration and I have never had an answer. I do expect the Secretary of State to give me an answer in this House. I do not think it should be for me to go and ask him privately. May I say that I would not have taken up so strong a position had I known that the Secretary of State was rather under the weather?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
Oh, no; I fought and won a General Election with no voice at all, and I am prepared to do that 1379 again if and when the need arises. Although I am grateful for the right hon. Gentleman's consideration, I hope he will hit me just as hard if I appear to be sick as he would do on any other occasion. At the same time, I value very much the kindly thought which prompted the right hon. Gentleman.
In this case to which the right hon. Gentleman refers, he wrote to me on the subject of Malta and the West Indies, and his letter arrived during the week when I had prepared to go to Nigeria. My departure for Nigeria was delayed for two days during which I was in constant discussion with the Governor of Kenya on the surrender terms which, though announced when I was in Nigeria, had clearly been discussed with me and Her Majesty's Government while I was in this country. Therefore, though my departure for Nigeria had been delayed, those last few days were exceedingly hectic and, as my note to the right hon. Gentleman said, we hoped he would be good enough to ask his secretary to telephone mine so that we could fix a date to discuss that matter. Prolonged researches in my office have not disclosed that such a telephone conversation took place, but if it did I am sorry that nothing has happened about it. A chance will, no doubt, arise for that and for many happy meetings.
The right hon. Gentleman also used the word "flippant" as applying to some of the answers which I had given. I hope no one will think that, when dealing with a matter of such absorbing importance involving the future of a great Colony like Kenya and our obligations in the world, the word "flippant" would be a proper phrase to apply to any approach by any Secretary of State. I am deeply conscious, as my hon. Friend the Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport) said, that much of the initiative for vigorous approaches to this problem must rest with me personally as Secretary of State, and although we have a Council of Ministers in Kenya, an excellent Governor and an excellent Deputy Governor, the Secretary of State himself has very considerable responsibility.
The first real point made by the right hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham was to refer to the fact that—these are his words and not mine—we were 1380 subsidising the emergency in Kenya. Had there not been an emergency, clearly Kenya would not have been in need of aid at the present time. I made a long statement in the House on 23rd February in which I disclosed what were our financial intentions with regard to Kenya for the coming year. I agreed that a further £14 million—a grant of £10 million and a loan of £4 million—would be made available to Kenya towards the cost of the emergency in 1955–56.
In an answer which I gave to a supplementary question asked by the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), and on which I do not think I can improve, I answered his charge that the Kenya people were not playing their full part. I said:In fairness to the taxpayers of Kenya and to the Europeans"—I agree with one of my hon. Friends who spoke about the major Income Tax contributions of the Europeans—… I must point out that in the April Budget in Kenya last year the taxation increases, of which by far the largest was the Income Tax increase, has enabled the Government of Kenya not to call upon the full assistance which we granted in 1954–55. Income Tax in Kenya at the highest rate is 16s. in the £. There are no free hospitals, no free educational services, and the Europeans themselves, who desperately need to attract more capital and manpower, have been in the front line for over two years."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd February, 1955; Vol. 537, c. 1284.]I would only say this, that when Mr. Vasey was over here he made it plain that it was absolutely imperative that at this stage we should not put such another burden on the taxpayers of Kenya as to depress still further the situation already made sufficiently critical by the emergency.
The right hon. Gentleman asked me a question about East African land. He used some hard words, which I shall not remember tomorrow morning, but I hope he will allow me to say that if his speech was meant to be an essay on statesmanship it would have been rather an extraordinary form for it to take if, six weeks before the publication of the Report of a Royal Commission which has been sitting for years on the subject of East African land and population, I should make some contribution from this Box on what I think that Report ought to include.
1381 The right hon. Gentleman also referred to African representation in the Legislative Council. The hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) also referred to this subject. He knows that Mr. Coutts, who has done such excellent work in the West Indies, has now arrived in Kenya to make his initial report on the methods of securing the return of Africans to the Legislative Council.
The right hon. Gentleman asked me about the Resident Minister, and I am sorry that I did not deal with this in the previous debate. I think on that occasion I was talking against the clock. This matter was raised by an hon. Member opposite during the period of office of my predecessor, and he made it plain that with a Governor and Deputy Governor in Kenya, who are the proper links between the Secretary of State and the Council of Ministers, the appointment of a Resident Minister would only be a further link in the chain. It would blur the real responsibility of the Governor to represent to me, as I do to my colleagues, the views of his Council of Ministers. No Government in peacetime, and very often not in war, could be committed by a Resident Minister without reference back to the Secretary of State and Her Majesty's Government at home.
§ Mr. Bottomley
The Resident Minister would be there for a certain period and he would have knowledge of the situation. I imagine that he would indicate, in connection with a statement by European elected members of the Council of Ministers, that they ought not to make irresponsible statements prejudging the Report of the Royal Commission.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I must say that I deplore irresponsible statements, whether they are made in Nairobi or from apparently responsible quarters in Westminster.
§ Mr. J. Johnson
Could not this Minister of State, all the way down the line between Aden and Somaliland, for instance, to Nyasaland and Mauritius, do a good job there, moving about and making political judgments and political decisions, as opposed to the Governors who, of course, are civil servants?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
The close contact which exists between the Governors of the various territories and their people and Her Majesty's Ministers in the United 1382 Kingdom provides all the links that are required. We must also bear in mind the speed of modern travel. In the last two days two Governors have come back to see us very quickly on points which we wanted to raise, and another will be coming next week. With the speed of modern travel there is every opportunity for the views of the Governors, of their Governments and of Her Majesty's Ministers here to be known respectively to each other.
The right hon. Gentleman also asked whether we could have another Parliamentary delegation to Kenya. Of course, in time we should have one, but there have already been two very important delegations comparatively recently. There was one of which the right hon. Gentleman was himself a member, the follow up to which was in the long answer which I gave him on 23rd February. There was a further delegation—the Commonwealth Parliamentary Delegation—to the Union Conference in Nairobi.
Now, at an early date, we expect a delegation to the United Kingdom from the Kenya Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. Surely that is the best way to do it. We have been twice to them from this House and they are now coming here. After that, when we have had time to digest all we have learned from each other, we might well look at the possibility of another delegation—that is to say, those who are then responsible might do so.
§ Mr. Walter Elliot (Glasgow, Kelvingrove)
The return visit of a delegation from Kenya is very welcome news. Could my right hon. Friend give any indication of the date on which we might expect it?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I had proposed to ask the right hon. Member, who made the original suggestion, to see me tomorrow about the date. The proposal is that the delegation should come early in July. I know it will have a most warm welcome here. The members of the delegation are coming as guests of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and we look forward to their visit.
The right hon. Gentleman also asked about a possible round-table conference on which, I gather, one representative might be somebody from the Kenya Africa Union. Frankly, I do not think that is the way to conduct either the emer- 1383 gency or the planning of the post-war Kenya. We have a multi-racial Government in Kenya. It is feeling its way, amazingly successfully, in the face of a great deal of difficulty, towards a common approach to a host of problems.
I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, North (Mr. F. Harris), who said that there has been a significant change recently. There is now, I think, widespread condemnation, amongst the British sectors as much as anywhere else, of the issue of those monstrous leaflets about which I did not disguise my views in the House when the news first came out. Patiently and slowly and under huge difficulties a common approach is being evolved, and a round-table talk by people who would not have the responsibility for carrying out the various recommendations might well lead to nothing but disorder.
The right hon. Gentleman also asked me, as did the hon. Member for Rugby, about the position of trade union leaders who had been brought up for screening. This is a matter at which I have naturally looked personally and carefully and on which I have had talks with people outside the House who are keenly interested in the development of an orderly trade union system in Kenya. Altogether, 45 trade union leaders were arrested, of whom, I regret to say, after very careful examination—and the Governor looked at all these himself—27 have had detention orders made against them. The remainder have been released.
Although I am always anxious to see that the potential leaders in all branches of Kenya's life—as here—should have the utmost freedom to develop their talents, we cannot conceivably have one law for trade union leaders and another for everybody else. Although I would commend the 18 who have been released for being sincere and brave people—as no doubt attempts were made to intimidate them, too—we must not forget that the high proportion who have been detained shows what importance the Mau Mau organisers attached to the trade union movement and how keen they were to infiltrate there. Those figures, I am afraid, are significant, but they do not destroy our belief that a trade union movement, beginning patiently with small beginnings, can once more arise in Kenya.
§ Mr. J. Johnson
No one wants the union leaders to be let out because they are union leaders. What we stressed was that because they are leaders in their own right they should have their cases examined promptly and not be left to languish with thousands of others in camps.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I can give an assurance that the case of every single one of them was personally examined by the Governor. I was in close touch with him about every single case. I have given that assurance outside the House, too.
The right hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham also asked me about the Carpenter Report on conditions in agriculture and, if my voice lasts out and the patience of the Committee allows me, I will deal with it briefly towards the end of my speech when I give a progress report on the work of the Council of Ministers.
My hon. Friend the Member for Billericay (Mr. Braine) made, if I may say so, a speech of very considerable interest. Indeed, many speakers on both sides of the Committee have lifted our eyes up to the future and away, but not too much away, from the problems of the moment, and I should like to thank my hon. Friends the Members for Billericay, Colchester and Spelthorne (Mr. Beresford Craddock) and the hon. Members for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Philips Price), Rugby, and Eton and Slough (Mr. Fenner Brockway) for the general approach from which they have fashioned their remarks today.
My hon. Friend the Member for Billericay asked what we were doing to get people from the Dominions into the Colonial Service. This has been an aspect of the problem of recruitment in which I, no doubt like my predecessors, have taken a keen personal interest. I will get out the latest figures, but from the end of the war to the end of 1953—which is the latest date for which I have the full figures available—some 346 people from the various Commonwealth countries have entered technical and other posts in the Colonies. Many of us must have met dozens of them all over the place and have been impressed by the vigour and freshness which they have brought to the consideration of age-long problems. I will deal with one or two of the other points which my hon. Friend made in the 1385 course of the summary of the progress being made.
The hon. Member for Eton and Slough sent me a note to say that he is sorry that he cannot be in the Chamber to hear my speech, and I will leave a number of points which he made until I have the chance to talk to him, but I must make it plain at the start that the situation confronting us when the offer was made in Kenya was different from the situation at the time of the "General" China offer. He has suggested from time to time that certain Africans who may have been thought to have sympathy with Mau Mau but who have been acquitted by the court might be used as intermediaries to secure a wider surrender, but we have also to remember that these same Africans are viewed with the maximum distrust by a large number of very loyal Kikuyu, and the use of such people to bring the emergency to an end, while it might enable more surrenders to take place, might well lose us the loyalty of people who have stood fast by their own people in very difficult times.
The hon. Gentleman asked me about capital cases. I can only repeat that I am at all times in touch with the Government of Kenya on this matter and they are fully aware of the need to keep under constant review the list of offences for which the death penalty is mandatory.
Another point to which wide publicity was given was one to which I must refer very briefly, even though the hon. Member for Eton and Slough is absent. A letter was published in a newspaper and the hon. Member himself asked me a very long question about it. It was the alleged brutal treatment of some people who were held for screening very recently. The story is completely untrue, and I hope that after reading the report of this debate the hon. Member will give me an opportunity, by putting down another Question, to tell the House exactly what happened on that occasion, because it is so easy to pick up chance gossip in the present state of emergency in Kenya and to pass it off as gospel truth.
As a further illustration of what chance gossip can do, no doubt there has gone into thousands of British homes the pamphlet which the Church Missionary Society put out. The Society does such good work that I regret some of the 1386 aspects of the pamphlet, which said that General Erskine had said that 20 per cent. of those held in custody would be found to be innocent. That has gone to thousands of British homes. I believe that 600 copies of it were put into the church in the constituency of my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs.
Needless to say, General Erskine said nothing of the sort. General Erskine is one of those people who does not feel it desirable on all occasions to deny what is said, if it is untrue, either in Parliament, from the pulpit or in the newspapers. But he authorises me to contradict publicly as inaccurate and unfounded the suggestion that he had made any such statement.
In the course of the debate we have had references again to "black," "grey" and "white" and other words in connection with the process of screening. I have long detested this particular terminology, and I am glad to say that the Government of Kenya tell me that instead of the terms, "black, grey, and white," with all the misrepresentation and thorough unsuitability of those words in a multi-racial community, the expressions "dangerous, suspect and clear" will be adopted for public use in the future. I hope that every hon. Member will set a good example in using those words.
Several hon. Members have referred to the rate of release. Clearly, we are anxious that those who are "white" should be released at once. [Laughter.] I mean those who are "clear." That shows how dangerous it is to use these words. We are anxious that those who are clear should be released immediately. I understand that there are at present no such cleared people under detention, but the high figure of those held under "Anvil" and waiting for transit to camps to be officially screened—just over 6,000—causes distress to many of us. The delay has been due to the need to build the necessary works camps and to the incidence of typhoid of which, with the exception of a small part of Manyani, the camps are now clear. I hope that this figure will be speedily improved upon.
In February, there was accommodation for 15,000 in works camps. Further camps are being opened, three for 5,400 in March and five more during April for 3,500 and by June it is hoped that the 1387 camp accommodation will take 30,600. It is possible in the works camps to carry out effective rehabilitation, without which the trouble in Kenya would be indeed hopeless. In reply to those hon. Members who have had the anxieties which we must all have had about certain strictures made by judges and others with regard to judicial conduct in Kenya, as I think the Committee knows, after Mr. Justice Cram's judgment a Commission of Inquiry was set up under Mr. Justice Holmes.
That Commission has made a report, Part I of which has been received. It has been submitted to the Chief Justice and the Chairman of the East Africa Court of Appeal who have their own views about it. It would be unwise for me at this stage to comment further. I should like the Committee to know, however, that the strictures of Mr. Justice Cram were not allowed merely to pass into forgetfulness but were the subject of an early hearing by Mr. Justice Holmes of all the circumstances that led to those comments.
Another inquiry was held under Sir Vincent Glenday to inquire into the general administration of the screening camps and interrogating centres. His interim report has appeared and, in view of the changes made, he is now satisfied with the situation. Various administrative and other measures have been taken to prevent any possible abuses when persons are held for screening. Suspects cannot be held for more than 24 hours in Kikuyu Guard Courts and must be released or transferred to interrogating centres under the control of European officers. Therefore, it can be fairly said that any abuses that have come to light are being speedily dealt with—and we cannot but remember that it is the action of the Government of Kenya that has brought abuses to light.
The hon. Member for Rugby asked whether the amnesty could not be made indefinite. That really would not be a very desirable situation. After all, amnesty gives freedom from the capital sentence for those who committed offences prior to 18th January and, in time, the purpose of the amnesty would clearly work itself out. The hon. Member also asked me for an assurance that the irreconcilables will not be allowed to return to the homes of loyal Kikuyu.
1388 I repeat the assurance which I gave in Kenya and in Press conferences and on other occasions recently that irreconcilables will not be allowed to return. But as Christian and hopeful people we must not lose hope of anybody. We shall pursue the task of rehabilitation to the utmost extent, but as long as anybody is irreconcilable there is no question of his return to his former home. This assurance which is absolutely essential for the peace of mind and co-operation of loyal Kikuyu, cannot be too often stressed.
A chance has now arisen to take stock of the situation in Kenya and see what progress is being made to carry out the statement of policy of Ministers when a multi-racial Government was first formed in Kenya under the auspices of my predecessor. With regard to the first and most urgent matter—the emergency—we can say that the scale of attacks on terrorists has mounted steadily and there has been also a great reduction in the number of civilians and loyalists attacked—a very great reduction indeed. Numerous firearms have been recovered and very few lost, which is a significant improvement. The gratitude of the whole Committee must go also to General Erskine, whose drive and leadership has played such a large part in successful military operations.
It is fair enough to say that the ordinary African population in the Reserves or the farms is showing increasing hostility to the gangs and is helping the Government. This has been much aided by the growth in the number of villages and the protection which that provides to loyalist families and the way in which it bars the terrorists from obtaining information and food. A further operation in Mount Kenya is now under way and we have also the surrender offer, the results of which I could not claim were spectacular but which has brought in a number of waverers and a great deal of valuable information.
The next task which the Government of Kenya set themselves was to improve the general administration in the Reserves and throughout the country. Their aim is to bring about an orderly economic, social and political development in the native land units and to bring home to the Africans in the undisturbed districts 1389 the clear realisation that there is no question whatsoever of their interests being subordinated to the interests of those who have joined Mau Mau. We must never forget that only one-twelfth of Kenya is subject today to the horrors of Mau Mau.
This definite intention to have closer administration, demands an increase of administrative staff and the building of more administrative sub-stations. Twenty-one have been built and 28 have been planned. Increases in the number of administrative officers have brought the authorised total now to 230, of whom 190 will be in the field. We hope that some will come from the Sudan. Others will be local or from the United Kingdom. This will enable there to be much closer and more effective contact with the Native Authority.
Side by side with this there is the transfer of the Kikuyu Guard to the tribal police, the tribal police reserve and the special watch and ward group, which will be responsible for local protection. The tribal police, especially of the Central Provinces, has been increased to 1,800 from 900 and the tribal police reserve will be 6,400. The remainder of the Kikuyu Guard are armed only with native weapons, and yet it is responsible for the protection of the villages and adjacent areas. At the same time we have to build up the police force in the sense of consolidating it rather than expanding it. The European officers are up by 33 to 238, the inspectors by another 100 to 1,565 and the African police by another 1,000 to some 10,000.
Recruitment, I am glad to say, is going very well. There are 63 inspectors from the United Kingdom already training at the police training school and 33 European officers to increase the establishment to the desired number are already in Kenya and in training. A great deal of emphasis is being placed on the Service side of the police force and, in fairness, we must make it quite clear that on this Colonel Young throughout his distinguished career here and in this Colony has always laid such considerable stress.
The work of rehabilitation is now considerably improved and, together with the improvement in the works camp which I mentioned, will, I hope, lead very definitely to a better situation. The first step in this dreadful business is to get the poison out of the minds of the men and 1390 women, and this can only come from a personal confession, and the tribal elders and others well versed in the difficulties of making contact with Africans in these circumstances are playing a large part in this initial stage. Then comes the task of rehabilitation on which the future so much depends.
Another great issue with which the Kenya Council of Ministers has been confronted has been the economic progress of their country. There is a very elaborate Agricultural Bill before the Legislative Council, about which I talked when I was in Kenya some months ago, to see that land in African and European hands is being properly used and developed. There is the Troup Report on the Highlands with its provisions for better loan facilities, for water development, for reducing the size of the average farm to about 2,000 acres, and by which capital investment in the Highlands will be increased, it is hoped, in 10 years by £20 million a year produce of that great territory.
There is also the Swynnerton Report on African farms demanding, as it does, a large increase in the number of officers, a subject referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Billericay. No fewer than 63 of the 95 officers required to carry out these Swynnerton Report plans have been recruited, and we can confidently hope for a really substantial increase in production. Indeed, if our hopes are fulfilled it will take a most impressive form.
We hope to raise in 15 years the African tea acreage in Kenya from 41 acres to 12,000 acres, the coffee acreage from 3,000 acres to 71,000 acres, to double the cotton acreage and to raise the pyrethrum production from 1,000 to 48,000 acres. When people talk as if the eyes of all Africans ought to be turned covetously and harshly on the White Highlands, I hope they will remember the words of Sir Philip Mitchell which have already been quoted, of the minute contribution this will make to the real problem of African nutrition. Though I would hesitate to make any dogmatic statement, I have been told by quarters which invariably are accurate that if the Swynnerton Plan succeeds—and we have given £5 million to help it—the problem of nutrition may well be conquered. That is a very impressive story, and the Gov- 1391 ernment of Kenya are entitled to great credit for not having lost sight of all these real needs, despite innumerable difficulties.
There are many things which a progress report would bring to light. There is the work done in regard to the preservation, development and conservation of water and soil; and the employment for part of the African population with their families. It is very much hoped that forestry development in Kenya may provide useful employment for some 5,000 Kikuyu families in addition to the by no means negligible labour force even now employed. They are preparing for the opening of 30 forest stations over the period of the next three years, and the planting of a further area of 6,000 acres each year with exotic softwoods in addition to their present planting programme.
I think that is another very formidable achievement, and at the same time they are pressing on with the encouragement of industry in Kenya through the Industrial Development Bill and the excellent work of the Minister of Commerce and Industry. In response to the request of my hon. Friend, I will get out details of the survey and what results have been achieved, but I must point out that any penal taxation imposed on Kenya at this stage to make it appear as if it is paying for what is called its emergency—and it is an emergency of us all—would have a disturbing effect on future investment.
At the same time there has been a really impressive improvement in the educational system, and those of us who have been privileged to go among the people engaged in this task and in the welfare societies which are co-operating know the fund of goodwill there is in the further education of Africans of all tribes. There is no desire whatsoever to hold up this education so that the better jobs can be preserved for the Europeans. The real danger comes from half educated people, and we are anxious that there should be good education with the highest posts only available to those who can prove that they are qualified to hold them.
It would be quite unrealistic to think that this sort of thing will happen overnight, or that there may be turned out by Makerere, or any other university enough national leaders to take over responsible tasks. Of the 136 Kenya inde- 1392 pendent schools which were closed because of the emergency, 59 have been declared redundant—and their purpose was not entirely educational—andi 68 have been reopened or have been scheduled for reopening. The volume of African teachers has largely increased. Some 1,600 teachers were in training in 1952, in 1954 there were 2,300, and by the year after next that figure will be up to 2,800, with a new African women's training college being built. The standard of education in the Arab primary schools has been much improved. We have very considerable responsibilities to the Arab population in Kenya as elsewhere.
I also attached a lot of importance, as I know the Committee does, to the education of women and here we have many formidable and local difficulties to surmount. Nor must we forget the need to press on with European education in Kenya, because all members of the Committee recognise the problem of the White Africans whose home is in Kenya and whose families have been there in many cases for many generations. It is one of which we must never lose sight. The new technical and trade school for Africans at Kwale in the coast province will admit its first pupils this year, and the Royal Technical College at Nairobi will also open this year to students of all races. We will watch that experiment with interest and great sympathy. There has been considerable advance in the question of adult literacy which is a matter of considerable importance.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Rochester and Chatham asked me about the Committee on African Wages. I had a copy of this Report together with the Sessional Paper implementing the Committee's recommendations placed in the Library some time ago. The Government of Kenya have accepted most of this Committee's recommendations, but they prefer to adopt the policy of advancing the adult wage over a period of five years, rather than in the first instance the family wage over a period of 10 years. I should be very glad if the chance arises to deal in greater detail with that approach. The Report was arrived at after very careful study and in the light of the close local knowledge of the problems involved.
There has also been considerable improvement in the health service in Kenya 1393 to deal not only with the problems now but, even more so, with the problems when the emergency is over. A new infectious diseases hospital at Nairobi will be completed in about three months' time. There is to be a large new group hospital at Mombasa, the first part of which we hope will be completed by the middle of this year. The hospital at Naivasha is being increased considerably, and, in the field of preventive medicine a great deal of work has been done.
Anyone who has visited the new villages in Kenya, which have been remarkably successful, will know how much easier they make it to provide good health facilities. Indeed, the new villages have been so successful that at the moment approximately 75 per cent. of the total population in Nyeri and Embu are now in villages, and in Fort Hall some 50 per cent.
My hon. Friend the Member for Billericay asked what the Council of Ministers were doing in regard to the welfare of urban Africans. Here again the Council is entitled to considerable credit for the way in which the Central Housing Board has tackled its task. We all recognise the compelling urgency of providing proper facilities for de-tribalised Africans who arrive in great towns; indeed, it is necessary even in Britain that care should be taken of people who come from remoter parts of this small island. The Central Housing Board received a loan of £2 million last July from the Colonial Development Corporation and has earmarked this for local authorities for housing schemes of various types in Nairobi, in Mombasa, in Nakuru and elsewhere. I think the results ought to be highly satisfactory.
Finally, as I mentioned earlier, in the field of political advancement, Mr. Coutts, who served in Kenya before, has begun his inquiry, and all who feel that the story would not be complete if it were not to include progress in this respect can take comfort from that fact.
All hon. Members have been looking hopefully to the future. It would be idle to suggest that we could be complacent about the situation now, but it would be equally wrong not to give great credit for the work that has been done in the way of social advance under appalling difficulties. That must be my justifica- 1394 tion for taking so much of the time of the Committee in telling the earlier part of this story. There is a romantic future ahead for Kenya, and it is in our hands to make it a splendid chapter in Imperial history.
I share the views of my hon. Friend the Member for Colchester that romantic, inspiring actions are needed at this time. In particular, he mentioned the harnessing of the Owen Falls which, who knows, may owe much to the original inspiration of the Prime Minister 50 years ago in taking the power from the Owen Falls to Kenya. I am glad to say that an agreement between the Uganda Electricity Board and the Kenya Power Company has just been initialled. The future is full of difficulty, but there has been considerable progress, and we are entitled to look forward to it with sober confidence.
The most helpful and encouraging feature of all has been the help given to the Government of Kenya by the chiefs and the loyalists and by the close association between African and local European youths who will have to live then-lives together in the Kenya of the future, as district officers, as members of the Kikuyu Guards and as members of the police. This has provided a new contact, an atmosphere of shared danger and common endeavour, and it ought to be of prime importance in the future.
I know that I shall be echoing the feelings of all hon. Members of the Committee if I send a message of goodwill to the people of Kenya in their difficulties and ordeals and, in particular, to those who support the conception of the multi-racial government, behind which I believe the whole of this Committee is completely and irrevocably united.
§ Mr. Johnson
Before the right hon. Gentleman sits down, can he give an assurance about the constitutional future of the multi-racial government if, unhappily, the European elected Ministers were to leave it? Let us not forget that Mr. Blundell has called a public meeting in his constituency for a vote of confidence? Would the Colonial Secretary allow the present Government to continue with nominated European Ministers alongside the elected Asians and Africans?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I hope I shall not be accused of flippancy if I say that a 1395 number of people in different parts of the world are subjecting themselves to the views of their constituents rather out of the normal time of elections, but it would be unwise for me to anticipate a situation which I do not believe will arise. It was made quite plain by my predecessor, Lord Chandos, however, that in the unhappy event of the constitution breaking down, the powers of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom were absolute as to any action we then chose to take, but I do not think we are dealing with a probability.
§ Question put and agreed to.
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.