HC Deb 05 May 1955 vol 540 cc1877-8
10. Mr. E. L. Mallalieu

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations when he proposes to set up a legislative council in the Bechuanaland Protectorate.

12. Mr. Fenner Brockway

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if, in view of the indefinite adjournment of the Basutoland National Council because of its opposition to the recommendations of the Moore Commission and of the proposals made by Tshekedi Khama in Bechuanaland, he will establish legislative councils in the three High Commission Protectorates.

The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. Douglas Dodds-Parker)

In the view of the Government, and in this we are in accord with the views expressed by the former Labour Government, the present need in all three High Commission Territories is for the development of local government institutions. Until further experience has been gained at the district and village level, it is premature to consider what advance at the centre will be practicable. There are advisory councils in all three Territories, which are consulted on all matters of importance affecting them.

Mr. Mallalieu

Have not the Government considered the views of Tshekedi Khama on this matter, and would they not agree that his views are very much to be taken into consideration on any matters concerning Bechuanaland? Are the Bechuana peoples really to be added to the long and dreary list of peoples whose natural aspirations have been frustrated by the Tory Party?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

As I say, the views which this Government take on the matter are in accord with those of our predecessors, and we take into account the views of all the responsible authorities in the Territory.

Mr. Brockway

Does not the hon. Gentleman realise that the tempo of progress has increased greatly among African peoples during the last three years, and that what may have been satisfactory three years ago is absolutely inadequate today?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

Yes, and the building up of the basis of democratic government, which is local self-government, education and ecenomic development, has developed in the last three and a half years of Conservative Government more than under the previous Labour Government.