HC Deb 26 October 1955 vol 545 cc193-4
27. Mr. Wade

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies into what languages, either in full or in an abridged form, the Report of the East Africa Royal Commission has been translated.

54. Mr. Beresford Craddock

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will publish an abridged or popular version of the Report of the Royal Commission on East Africa.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

To be properly understood, the Report needs to be read and studied as a whole. The official preparation of an accurate, balanced and readily intelligible summary of so closely reasoned a document either in English, or still more in translation, presents great difficulties. Hon. Members will realise the danger of a popular summary replacing the Report itself.

It should be remembered also that the general contents of the Report have been made widely known through articles in the European and African Press, and through radio broadcasts. I am, however, still in consultation with East African Governments what may best be done. I do not think it would be practicable to undertake the enormous work of translating the whole of the Report into Swahili or other East African languages.

Mr. Wade

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that if the ideas propounded in the Report are to be accepted it is important that language should not be a handicap to any who are willing and ready to study it? Could he give an assurance that the fact that some of the economic proposals are far-reaching and controversial will not lead to this Report being shelved?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I can certainly assure the hon. Gentleman that the Report will not be shelved, but language difficulties do exist, however hard we attempt to disguise the fact, and Swahili is not even a lingua franca in Kenya.

Mr. Craddock

Would it not be possible, as, with great respect, I have suggested in my Question, to publish, not the full Report translated, but an abridged or popular version? Would my right hon. Friend be kind enough to give that consideration, because I think it is very important that it should be done if possible?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

My answer deals with the dangers of attempting to abbreviate such a lengthy and considered document as this, but it does also give some answer to what my hon. Friend, I think, has in mind.

28. Mr. Wade

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will now make a statement on the recommendations of the East Africa Royal Commission.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which my right hon. Friend gave on 27th July to the hon. Member for Govan (Mr. Rankin). Examination of the Report on the lines described in that reply is going ahead with all possible speed but is unlikely to be completed until early in the New Year.