§ The Temporary Chairman
I think it would be convenient if, together with the Amendment which has just been moved, we took four other Amendments, namely, those in page 2, line 33, leave out:on or after the appointed day";in line 35, at end insert:after a period of ten years from the appointed day";1139 in line 36, leave out "said Acts" and insert:Colonial Development and Welfare Acts, 1940 to 1955",and in page 3, line 4, leave out "the two foregoing subsections", and insert "this Act".
They could all be discussed together.
Mr. Creech Jones
Yes, Mr. Thomas.
The Amendment raises a frightfully difficult problem in regard to the future financing and economic arrangements of territories which are emerging from their colonial status to independence, as to the future of Colonial development funds, both in relation to the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts and also to the Colonial Development Corporation arrangements under the Overseas Resources Development Acts.
This problem is likely to be with us for some time unless the Government can be induced to take some action affecting these emerging territories. After the declaration of independence they will be free and responsible for their own self-government and, accordingly, responsible to themselves for their own revenue and for the means for carrying on the independence which they have achieved. This Amendment is designed to focus attention on this problem, particularly in connection with the Gold Coast.
There are special reasons why the Government should give consideration and sympathetic attention to this problem as it exists in the Gold Coast. It will be obvious that if no more schemes are passed under the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts a gap will occur in the arrangements for development in Ghana. It is necessary, therefore, for us to see what alternative provision is likely to be made. It can be said that it was some time after the passing of the Act that the Gold Coast made serious application for any substantial grant under the terms of that Act. The people of the Gold Coast were anxious to carry on as far as possible with the means at their disposal, and it was some time after the war before the Government submitted schemes, plans or projects for development in the Gold Coast.
During the ten years since plans were invited the Gold Coast has seen only 1140 about £4 million devoted to its projects, with £46,000 in grants for research. From 1951 to 1955 only £3½ million has been allocated from Colonial Development and Welfare moneys. Compared with the large sums allocated to other territories, that is a comparatively small amount for a territory which has been so energetic, has shown so much initiative and engaged in so many development plans.
Hon. Members will agree that a grant over the last ten years of £4,137,000 is not at all excessive. In the Gold Coast the Government have tried to make use of existing revenues. Even the building of the university college just outside Accra has been achieved largely from funds created in the Gold Coast, and some of the important industrial research has also been done at the expense of the Gold Coast. Other development schemes have been financed locally and even in connection with its last five-year programme of development work, envisaging a sum of no less than £125 million, it was decided to call on the Colonial Development and Welfare moneys to the extent of only £1½ million.
In looking at the problem we should be conscious of the considerable contribution which the Gold Coast has made to the health of the sterling area. The fact that it has been able to win dollars as a result of sales of cocoa in the American market has been of immense importance in regard to our own financial difficulties. Although the Gold Coast was able to earn such a large volume of dollars, it exercised a close restraint on its own consumption of dollar commodities. In this country we have had the use of the sterling balances of the Gold Coast amounting to something like £213 million, and that has been of considerable use to us during the difficulties which have confronted our nation in the past few years. Also, in the mining of gold, the Gold Coast has added something like £45 million in the last three or four years to our gold reserves.
In the light of these facts, I submit that there is a case for special consideration of the Gold Coast in finance, and that there should be some sympathetic treatment over the situation in which it is likely to find itself following the passing of this Clause. Moreover, the Gold Coast faces special difficulties due to the 1141 uncertainty of the price of cocoa. That will cause a degree of unsettlement in the days ahead when the Gold Coast Government will face a large number of heavy charges resultant upon independence. Already the Gold Coast is committed pretty heavily to expenditure on development works and a big programme of essential needs has been prepared. Some of the items of that programme will have to be abandoned if financial difficulties arise, particularly if a slump occurs in the price of cocoa, The Gold Coast is looking ahead with regard to the Volta River project and it would be a great pity if, because of financial stringency the Gold Coast Government found that this proposal had to be postponed indefinitely.
There are other considerations which apply. Frequent reference has been made today to the backwardness of the Northern Territories where there is a tremendous amount of development work to be done. Social services; the physical development of the territory; the improvement of the soil; the question of soil conservation; irrigation; communications and education are all matters which will have to receive the attention of the Gold Coast Government when independence is proclaimed.
There is also the development work which has to be done in connection with Togoland. Let the Committee note that we are transferring some of our liabilities in respect of both of these territories. We are transferring them to the Gold Coast Government although Togoland has been until now a trusteeship territory and the Northern Territories have been a Protectorate. Under the Protectorate, which has lasted for sixty years, we were under obligation to improve the standard of living and the physical conditions of the territory as well as to protect the people concerned. That territory remains backward today, and it will become the obligation of the Gold Coast Government to carry forward development plans so that higher standards of living and the kind of economic development which is so necessary may be brought about. Under the Covenant of the United Nations and the Trusteeship Agreement in respect of Togoland, we were under obligation to build up the life of that territory.
1142 What we are doing by transferring these two territories to the Gold Coast and agreeing that the Gold Coast should now be independent, is to impose considerable liabilities on the Gold Coast Government in the days ahead. I submit that many of these economic developments cannot conceivably bring revenue to the Gold Coast for quite a long time ahead. There will not be for some time any prospect of any tangible results from the developments which will occur. Therefore, for these reasons, it seems obvious that, as we are escaping our own liabilities under the Covenant and the Protectorate arrangements, some special consideration should be given to the financial position in which the Gold Coast will find itself when independence is established.
It will be agreed by the whole Committee that it would be a thousand pities if financial difficulties were to follow from independence because economic resources were not available for the proper development of this new independent State and if we were to see a great deal of the magnificent work which our own officials have done—the development plans and schemes which they have initiated—fall because confusion overtook the Gold Coast as a result of the financial arrangements being hopelessly inadequate. Therefore, if we are to preserve the work which our own people have done in the past in bringing this territory to independence, special consideration should be given to the financial position.
I should also like to ask whether the situation confronting the Gold Coast after 6th March can be modified in respect of the central services established under the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts. It is sometimes forgotten that the money voted by Parliament has not all been spent in the territories themselves. Some of it has been spent on the training of officials, in helping to establish university colleges, in forwarding the work of research, in topographical and geological surveys, and so on—all these central services organised at home on which the various departments inside the colonies may draw.
It would be a thousand pities if it should happen that after 6th March the central services which are available, and which matter so much in the developing life of these territories, were completely withdrawn. Therefore, I should like the 1143 Secretary of State to tell us what is the position.
The problem in regard to projects and schemes under the Colonial Development Corporation is already obvious. I believe that already some projects which were in mind have been postponed or abandoned, but we shall have something more to say about that when we discuss the Amendment on the Colonial Development Corporation proposals.
As I pointed out a few minutes ago, it is clear that the problem arising in the Gold Coast as a result of the declaration of independence is one which must arise in quite a number of territories in the next few years. Therefore, we are entitled to ask the Secretary of State what consideration has been given, and is being given, to this situation. The matter was raised in the debate in this House on 30th November, and very few constructive ideas were forthcoming from the Government Front Bench. I believe that some reference was made to a Commonwealth Development Finance Corporation, but it should be remembered that that would be a most inadequate instrument for the purposes which we have in mind now. Such a corporation or company, whatever it may be, is largely a commercial undertaking seeking high profits for shareholding companies and people. It might create an embarrassing situation if a Colonial Government were anxious to proceed with a project the capital for which may have to be found by a corporation whose shareholders were in active competition with those to whom the Government would give the contract.
Therefore, I think that the Secretary of State should offer to the Committee at this point some constructive ideas about how the situation may be overcome. What is wanted is some kind of Colombo Plan arrangement which, irrespective of whether a territory is sovereign or not, may provide technical and financial assistance, and may share through international agencies the resources which could be mobilised. Some kind of coordinating corporation should be created which might be of assistance financially for the purpose of raising capital, securing the training of technical assistants and so on. Along those lines such a corporation might act.
An interesting suggestion was made in The Times the other day in an article by 1144 Sir Charles Jeffries about the mobilisation of staffs which may be required for some of these emerging independent territories. In any event, there is an overwhelming case for some new thinking, some constructive ideas, about how these territories can be helped when independence is achieved. We regard the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts as instruments of immense importance, not because they have been able to contribute so substantially in the matter of finance, but largely because they have stimulated all our territories to action, to development, and have urged the Colonies to raise a considerable amount of the cost of the various schemes which have been put in hand. Our contribution has tended to become comparatively small against the very large contributions that they themselves have made.
We therefore deplore that, with the coming of independence on the Gold Coast, these funds are not available under the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts. I ask the Secretary of State to inform us whether some other large alternative conception cannot be brought into action which will assist the Gold Coast in the difficult passage ahead, particularly when it has these heavy obligations in respect of its existing commitments and of Me territories which are embodied in the new sovereign State.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I am grateful to the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones) for the clarity and brevity with which he has moved the Amendment. I recognise the great importance of many of the points that he has made. I would like to make it clear to the Committee and to the people of the Gold Coast that the Bill does not mean that we intend to wash our hands of all their affairs or to dissociate ourselves from their future development. Quite the contrary is the case.
Ways and means whereby economic assistance will be available might come more appropriately in a few moments, when we discuss Clause 3 (4), I think it is, which deals with the Colonial Development Corporation. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not feel, if I do not deal with all his points, that I am evading an answer to the main suggestion. I am in touch with the Gold Coast Government on the question of economic aid and I 1145 am ready at all times to discuss personally and through the Governor matters of that kind.
We are dealing with several Amendments to Clause 3, namely, the first, third, fifth, eighth and tenth Amendments. I mention this in order to get quite clear in my mind and in the minds of other Members exactly what the points are on which it now falls to me to comment. I think I am right in believing that the eighth and tenth Amendments are consequential on the first, with the result that if the first Amendment is carried Ghana will be eligible for colonial development and welfare assistance at least until the end of the current Act, that is, until 31st March, 1960.
On the other hand, if the third and fifth Amendments were carried the result would be to continue colonial development and welfare assistance for a period of ten years without, unlike some other Amendments on the Order Paper, restricting the new schemes to circumstances existing before independence day. The general idea running through all the Amendments is the same, that colonial development and welfare money ought to continue after Ghana becomes an independent member of the Commonwealth, although the precise effect of the two groups of Amendments is somewhat different. I would now say a word or two about the Colonial Development and Welfare Act in general, in relation to Ghana.
§ Mr. Ronald Williams (Wigan)
Does not that situation arise because, for the convenience of the Committee, we are taking the Amendments together? If they were taken separately as alternative propositions there would be no contradiction.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I was not attempting to make any point about inconsistency or irregularity. I was only trying to get clear in my mind a matter which is a little complicated, when so many Amendments are moved to the same Clause.
The effect of Clause 3 (1) will be that the Gold Coast will cease to be eligible for assistance under the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts after the attainment of independence. I have 1146 always understood that it was the intention of the authors of the first Colonial Development and Welfare Act and of all successive authors of the various amending Acts that have followed—indeed, specific promises were made to this effect—that the funds made available by Parliament should be devoted to expenditures for the benefit of the non-self-governing territories. The Colonial Secretary has been constantly and properly challenged both on the amount of money available for the Colonies and how the money is divided up, and in some cases on how it is spent.
I, as Secretary of State, and my predecessors, have had to satisfy ourselves, and my successor will have to do the same, that the money is properly divided among those dependent territories for which I am now responsible. The Permanent Secretary of the Colonial Office and the accounting officers have to satisfy the Public Accounts Committee that the money is properly spent in accordance with the terms of the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts. Those terms have always been generally understood to mean that the money must be available for the non-self-governing territories.
Many changes are coming in the structure of the British Commonwealth. It is a matter of great regret, on historical grounds, that after next March I shall not be responsible for the affairs of the Gold Coast. It is a matter of equal regret that after next August I shall not be responsible for the affairs of the Federation of Malaya. The responsible Minister to deal with these two great countries in this House in the field of Parliamentary Question and answer will be my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I am quite happy where I am. These changes are coming about in the political structure of these territories and in Ministerial responsibility for Question and Answer in Parliament. It is quite clear that as some territories move out of the scope of the Colonial Development and Welfare Act they move into closer association with the Commonwealth. Other means of 1147 assisting them can be discussed when we come to the later part of the Clause.
There are two points I ought to make in regard to subsections (2) and (3). Hon. Members may want to know whatthe making of paymentsmeans in subsection (2). This is relevant to some of the points made by the right hon. Member for Wakefield. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, colonial development and welfare moneys are issued to colonial Governments on the basis of estimates made for each scheme. We have to adjust the issues so as to bring them into line with the actual expenditure on each scheme. Audited accounts to determine the actual expenditure are not available until some time after the expenditure has been made, and it may be necessary, from time to time, to issue further colonial assistance although the expenditure was not incurred before independence. That is the reason for the phrase to which I have referred.
One other thing I ought to mention is in relation to Clause 3 (3). There are a number of regional schemes in British West Africa in which some or all of the four British West African territories—Nigeria, the Gold Coast, Gambia and Sierra Leone—participate. They are financed to varying extents from colonial development and welfare moneys, both in respect of capital and recurrent expenditure.
I think that the Committee will agree—this is partially in answer to a point made by the right hon. Member for Wakefield—that as a matter of public policy those regional organisations should continue and Ghana, after independence, should be able to continue its association with them on a contributory basis. We felt, on looking carefully at this matter, that this participation might be rendered ultra vires by virtue of the provisions of Clause 3 (1) on the ground that Ghana would benefit from colonial development and welfare funds granted by an organisation from which it derives benefit. We have expressly made that clear in subsection (3) so that Ghana may continue to participate.
I do not want in any way to mislead the Committee. The right hon. Member for Wakefield asked about some central colonial development and welfare 1148 schemes. What I have said applies to the regional schemes in West Africa. In regard to the central schemes the effect of the Clause will be that Ghana will lose the benefit of participating in various schemes financed from central colonial development funds like university grants, but I am assured by those who have gone into the matter in great detail that the financial effect of its exclusion from the centrally financed colonial development and welfare schemes will be negligible. It is hoped that Ghana will continue to participate, where appropriate, on a paying basis in such schemes, and we shall be glad to make any necessary arrangements.
Perhaps it may help the Committee to get the matter into perspective if, in amplification of what the right hon. Member said, I say a word about how far colonial development and welfare money has been an effective instrument in the remarkable development of the Gold Coast.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
The right hon. Gentleman will recall that the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations referred, on 11th December, to the Kumasi College of Technology and how important it was to maintain it. The Under-Secretary said:It is, therefore, proposed, subject to Parliamentary approval, that the college should receive a special grant of £350,000 from the Commonwealth Services Vote towards the cost of suitable projects in its building programme."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th December, 1956; Vol. 562, c. 239.]The point I wish to put is this: apparently the Under-Secretary was arranging for money to be available from some fund available to the Commonwealth Relations Office for doing precisely what C.D. and W. had been doing before. Can the Secretary of State tell us whether, when Ghana becomes independent, it is proposed that the Commonwealth Relations Office shall have available to it funds to continue to provide for independent territories like Ghana money to be devoted to projects such as was available to those territories, when they were Colonies, under colonial development and welfare provisions?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
The right hon. Member is right in drawing attention to the fact that special arrangements have been promised in regard to Kumasi. The £350,000 is being made available through 1149 the Commonwealth Services Vote. That was quite proper, because of the expectations aroused some time ago that that would be available. I repeat the promise that it will be available. As to whether other enterprises in the independent Ghana in the Commonwealth would be or could be financed the same way out of the Commonwealth Services Vote, is a matter which will have to be discussed from time to time when any applications are made. Any help from that source would of course be at the expense of other schemes. It would not be for me to comment on whether or not it would be forthcoming, but certainly it would be a proper subject for consideration.
§ Mr. J. Johnson
Does that mean that we shall be able to ask Questions on this matter, as we can ask Questions about High Commission moneys, spent in the Commonwealth?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I should not like this to be taken as a dogmatic assurance. I should imagine that it would be just as possible, but no more possible, to discuss that as it was to discuss some money granted recently to the new University of Salisbury, about which there were discussions in this House. I must not be taken as saying that any different principles would apply than were held to apply in that case.
§ Mr. George Wigg (Dudley)
Surely the right hon. Gentleman will not take on himself the duty of saying what is to go on the Order Paper and what is not to go on it by way of Questions? That would be a lamentable doctrine.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I think I have enough to do at present and, quite apart from the impropriety of such a proceeding, I would hesitate to add that task to my labours.
To put in perspective the question about money available from colonial development and welfare funds to the Gold Coast, I should say that under the 1945 Act a territorial allocation of £3.3 million a year was made to the Gold Coast. When that Act expired £1,440,000 of the allocation remained to be spent, but under the current Act under which we are working now, in common with Hong Kong and Singapore, no allocation has been made for the Gold Coast. It is expected that about £300,000 1150 of the territorial allocation under the 1945 Act will remain unspent on Independence Day. That, of course, will be available for other territories for which the Act was expressly designed. As I told the right hon. Member and the Committee, the Minister of State and I will deal with alternative sources of finance in more detail when we discuss subsection (4).
§ Mr. Ronald Williams (Wigan)
Will the right hon. Gentleman help me on this point? Looking at Clause 3 (1) we see that the subsection says:No scheme shall he made on or after the appointed day under the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts, 1940 to 1955, wholly or partly for the benefit of Ghana.The Amendment before the Committee proposes that those words be left out. Were those words left out, the position would be that such schemes could be made but there would be a constitutional difficulty arising then because such schemes are applicable only to Colonies and similar non-self-governing territories. Considering the Bill up to the point which we have reached, we are in the position that under Clause 1, paragraph (a), it is stated:no Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom passed on or after the appointed day shall extend, or be deemed to extend, to Ghana as part of the law of Ghana, unless it is expressly declared in that Act that the Parliament of Ghana has requested, and consented to, the enactment thereof.Were it to be the case that there was a scheme which was proceeding under the Acts referred to in Clause 3 (1), would not the Minister be in a position, subject to a request being received from the Government of Ghana, of making a very simple amendment to the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts and thereby getting over the constitutional difficulty which besets him? I put this to the right hon. Gentleman because I am absolutely convinced that the Colonial Secretary is most anxious to give all the help he can.
I hope that a message will go out to Ghana that this is a point which has arisen, not because we are in any way niggardly about the disposal of funds to help Ghana, but because we are met with a constitutional difficulty, that is to say, if we set aside funds for a Colony we cannot apply them to a non-Colony. 1151 Therefore, if we give Ghana independence so that it is a separate, independent, sovereign State, it cannot make claims or expect to be considered under those parts of our schemes which relate exclusively to Colonies.
Although this is a constitutional point which is a complete bar to our giving money under these Acts—much as we should like to do so—since the provision has so clearly been made in Clause 1 of the Bill, would the Minister have second thoughts about it, to enable the matter to be dealt with in that way?
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I certainly hope that, through the hon. Member's suggestion, I can make it clear to the people of Ghana that we are anxious to help in all proper ways in their economic development, but I am afraid that I cannot fall for his blandishments; it is not just the technical difficulty that the Act would preclude us from doing this but is a question of policy that we do not think this fund should be used for development in territories for which the Secretary of State for the Colonies is no longer responsible.
§ Mr. H. A. Marquand (Middlesbrough, East)
We were glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that he had no desire economically to wash his hands of Ghana, but his other remarks did not seem to me, at any rate, to be satisfactory. He has just said that it is a matter of policy that the kind of grants made from the colonial development and welfare funds should not be made to an independent territory. I must say that personally—and I think I am speaking for my hon. and right hon. Friends—I disagree with that conception.
He has told us that what he has to say about future economic collaboration between Ghana and this country he will say on the paragraph of the Clause which deals with the Colonial Development Corporation. We hope that he will then say something encouraging, but we should not find completely satisfactory merely a promise to continue or to expand in some other way the work now done by the Colonial Development Corporation.
The kind of work which has been done by the C.D.C. is quite different from the kind of work carried out with the aid of C.D. & W. Fund grants. In one case 1152 there is investment and in the other case there are grants. I feel very strongly that at this stage in the development of Ghana and other territories now emerging into independence the continuation of grants is absolutely necessary.
It is true that, in response to an intervention by my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), the right hon. Gentleman said it was just possible that in the future the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations might be able to make some additional grants, apart from those already promised for the continuation of university college projects, but that half-promise—I do not think the right hon. Gentleman said more than that—does not take us very far.
§ Mr. Marquand
We must continue to press one or other of our Amendments. I do not disagree with the right hon. Gentleman's explanation of the effect of these groups of Amendments. It is true that the first group would enable colonial development and welfare fund money to continue to be used to help Ghana only until 1960, whereas the other group of Amendments would extend the period for ten years. As is always the case in drafting Amendments to Bill, we have to put down our Amendments when not completely certain what might be in order or what might attract a favourable selection by the Chair. Speaking for myself and, again, I think, for my right hon. and hon. Friends, I must say that we all feel that a guarantee that it would be possible—1 do not say essential—to continue colonial development and welfare fund grants for a further ten years is what we want.
As the right hon. Gentleman said, the original intention of the Act for which the Labour Government were responsible was to make aid available for non-self-governing territories and not for self-governing territories. We should never have dreamed, therefore, of suggesting any Amendment whereby C. D. and W. fund aid for Ghana would continue for ever. We certainly look forward to the day when Ghana will no longer need that aid.
In all the circumstances of that underdeveloped country, however, we think we ought not at this moment to cut off all 1153 aid with a knife. There should be a tapering-off period. It might not take the whole of the ten years to tail off the aid. It might be that the Government of Ghana and the Government of the United Kingdom at some time in the period of ten years would reach an agreement and say, "This will now be stopped". Nobody on this side of the Committee would object to that. We feel, however, that there ought to be room for a gradual tailing-off.
Certainly the achievement of independence by an under-developed country does not mean that it no longer needs aid. We all know that to be the case from the example of India, Pakistan and Ceylon, who have achieved self-government within the Conmonwealth but all of whom continue to need aid, to press for it and to receive it from this country under the provisions of the Colombo Plan.
It is vitally important that Ghana should continue to receive some form of aid from this country. Whether it should be only on the Colombo Plan system of a release of sterling balances I do not know, but some kind of aid is essential. If we say to Ghana that there is to be no aid at all, Ghana may very well reply, "We have no alternative but to use our own dollar earnings for ourselves and not for the general welfare of the sterling area." Some kind of aid must continue.
This colonial development and welfare fund aid—using the word "aid" for want of a better—must not be misunderstood as being any form of charity or, in my opinion, even involving any substantial sacrifice on the part of this country. I am convinced that the kind of aid which is given by the fund is necessary not merely as a moral duty to help the more undeveloped parts of our Commonwealth to raise their standard of living; it is desirable in our own interest in order to sustain and expand demands for the kind of manufactures and goods which we can produce.
We are continually being warned by Her Majesty's Ministers of the difficulties of competition from the large number of other industrial nations which are going ahead with new developments in other parts of the world. We are told that we must tighten our belts or increase our competitive capacity because of this.
1154 How much the more necessary is it, then, to ensure that there are expanding markets all over the world in which our goods may find an outlet. It is this kind of aid, as well as C.D.C. aid, which does precisely that. I know that expenditure of C.D. and W. Fund money is mainly on non-revenue-producing projects, but the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Colonial Development Corporation have both told us in successive Annual Reports that they cannot continue to do their job of investment properly in under-developed countries unless there is—using a word which the soldiers invented some years ago—an infra-structure of grants; that they cannot find in these under-developed countries, with their extremely low standards of life, involving low standards of health and education, the proper ground in which to carry on their investment; and that they need to have a big infra-structure of social development, which can be created only by grants.
I think I am at liberty to refer to the fact that I had the advantage of a long conversation with Mr. Eugene Black in Washington recently, during which I raised this very point with him. He confirmed to me most emphatically what he had said in his Annual Reports—that we need grants for social development in the under-developed territories in order that our investments can be made effective.
It is no good going in there merely with capital, which must earn interest, and starting new industrial enterprises unless there are the schools, hospitals, maternity centres and the social provisions for encouraging the ability of local people to take part in those new industrial undertakings. That is what C.D.C. is doing in our colonial territories, and what it is doing in Ghana at present.
What do we read in the 1954 Report, the latest available to us? I will not detain the Committee with lengthy quotations, but I should like to give just one or two. The first is:The Gold Coast, in spite of all efforts made over the last few years, has still an enormous housing problem to solve. During and just after the war, the lack of materials and staff impaired progress and, at the same time, considerable development in commercial, industry and mining activities caused a considerable influx into the towns, giving rise to social and economic problems.1155 In other words, the new mining activities, the new commercial and industrial activities, cannot carry on unless housing is provided for the people. Those activities will be stultified unless such provision is made.
A similar difficulty arises in education. It is obvious that we cannot carry on modern activities, and properly develop an under-developed country by modern methods, unless we have educated people, able to use those modern techniques. But this is what we read about the Gold Coast:Some new buildings were erected in rural areas as a result of local effort, but in certain areas the financial difficulties of local authorities restricted development.Therefore, there are parts of the Gold Coast in which, because of lack of funds, it is not possible to build sufficient schools and so produce an educated population.
In page 85 of the 1954 Report, there is a long list of the kind of jobs which still remain to be done by the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development which that Department cannot do without grants—without money. In this comparatively undeveloped country, they have not all that money. This Department of Social Welfare and Community Development wants to engage in:the eradication of illiteracy;the increase of agricultural output by every possible means;the prevention of unemployment in the rural areas and the checking of the drift to the towns;the improvement of village communications and amenities, including improved water supplies;the fostering of public health, adult education and useful recreation in the villages;the improvement of housing;the special education of women in the improvement of the home and care of the family;the promotion of indigenous handicrafts and small-scale industries.That is the kind of work which is done with the aid of C.D. and W. funds.
Can the right hon. Gentleman now assure the Committee that, when that expenditure is now already being curtailed —and will in a few months stop altogether if our Amendments are not carried—that all these things will be possible in the Gold Coast; and that they will be able to carry out development 1156 at the rate necessary to enable the removal of the admitted evils which still exist there? I do not believe that he could possibly give that assurance.
We on this side feel that continued aid from us, not only by way of commercial investment through C.D.C. or by private enterprise, but in the form of sustaining these social, educational, welfare and economic activities, is necessary. We realise only too well, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones) has already said, that this territory, though it is certainly a great source of wealth, is dependent heavily upon one crop; that lately the prices of that crop have been going down—and, for all we know, may go down still further—thus lowering the national income, because of forces completely beyond that community's control. We ought not to look forward to such a possibility. We ought not to continue to regard with equanimity the uneven spread of the wealth in that area—as, for example, that between the Northern Territories and the cocoa-producing areas on the coast—and say, "Well, they have reached their independence. They cannot expect any more money from us."
I would conclude on the note on which I began. I believe that it is to the mutual advantage of ourselves and of Ghana that the kind of social aid financed by C.D. and W. funds ought to continue. I still hope that what I have said may make some impression upon the Government. Perhaps the Minister of State—whom we are glad to see today, and whom I take this, my first opportunity, to congratulate on his appointment—will be moved to make us some concession, give us some more reassurance than we have so far had. I am afraid that if we do not have such a reassurance, I, for one, would advise my hon. Friends to divide the Committee.
§ 6.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Page
I cannot follow the argument advanced by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand) that when a Colony gets its independence we should still continue colonial grants to it. That seems to be a negation of independence. As the right hon. Gentleman read out certain things for which he wished us to make colonial grants, it seemed to me that he 1157 was reserving to this country the right to govern independent Ghana. All these things are, indeed, matters of government for an independent State which has, as I understand, a revenue of some £80 million a year. Earlier today we were accused of wanting to hold back some items of independence from Ghana. I think that that is now the case on the other side. The right hon. Gentleman wants to continue colonial status for this independent State.
§ Mr. Marquand
I certainly do not mean anything of the kind. I would be only too happy—indeed, I would suggest it—if these grants were continued but were called Commonwealth rather than colonial grants. I would be interested to hear if the hon. Member can adduce any evidence whatsoever to show that the people in Ghana at present would object to or refuse the continuation of these grants if the Amendments were carried.
§ Mr. Page
I think it is wrong to use this type of grant as the method for the future. The right hon. Gentleman said that there would still be need for aid of some sort, but surely it should be aid of the same sort as is now afforded, through the Colombo Plan, to other undeveloped Commonwealth countries, and not a continuation of colonial grants in any form.
I am sure that an independent State with a revenue of £80 million a year would treat as an insult the continuation of the frankly paltry sums that have been advanced by grant during the past ten years. I thought as the right hon. Gentleman was speaking that I must have extracted the wrong figures from the Report.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
This is very important. What we are anxious about is that there shall be available from this country aid to a country like Ghana—and to the others when they become independent. That does not in any way derogate from Ghana's independence. If it does, what about us? Have we not heard in the last few weeks that we are to get more help? If that does not derogate from our independence, why should it derogate from Ghana's?
§ Mr. Page
I do not think it derogates in the form of colonial grants from 1158 across the Atlantic; but I would say this to the right hon. Gentleman, if I understood him aright in complaining about that very situation, that I should not like that situation to occur between this country and Ghana. The Gold Coast is becoming an independent State.
Let us look at the figures and get this matter in proportion. I find that, over the past ten years since 1st April, 1946, there have been, according to the Report, grants for development and welfare to the amount of some £4,130,000 and for research £46,000. That is a total of £4,176,285 in exact figures over a period of ten years, giving an average of £400,000 a year. That is to be compared with the situation of a country with a revenue of its own of £80 million. If it is true that there are not sufficient schools, roads, and welfare services, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Middlesbrough, East suggested, I am sure that Ghana itself would want now to control those things and use its own revenue on those social welfare projects.
Last year's figure, according to the Colonial Development and Welfare Report, was only £38,453. That sum per year is all we are talking about. Surely, if we are to say, as hon. Gentlemen opposite would wish us to say, "We will be very generous to you and continue to pay £38,000 a year to build such things as the Accra—Takoradi road" that is what it was spent on—will that not be insulting to this new independent State? It does not seem to me to be a very good way to start. There are far better ways in which we can help this independent country than by continuing small Colonial grants.
§ Mr. Hector Hughes
The hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Page) is, of course, legally correct. As soon as Ghana ceases to be a Colony, it emerges from the jurisdiction of the Colonial Office. The Minister was correct in adopting that line. But this is a very grave matter affecting not only the independence of Ghana as a new State, but affecting its place in the Commonwealth of Nations and affecting the Commonwealth itself in a very important respect.
The Government as a whole must have considered the matter, and I invite them to state their policy. It is idle for the Minister to ride off on a legalism. I am not using the term "legalism" in any 1159 disrespectful way, because, of course, I stand for the implementation of the law; but this is really not a matter for the Colonial Office. It is a matter for the Commonwealth Relations Office, because Ghana is emerging from the jurisdiction of the one into the other, and, through the two, it is a matter affecting the whole Commonwealth of Nations.
I therefore ask the Minister to state the Government's policy. It is a matter of very great gravity for the future of Ghana and the success of this Measure, which has been very properly called an experiment. It is the duty of the Minister to regard the Amendments which we are now considering not in any restricted way as though they affected only the Colonial Office, but to take the correct broad view from the point of view of the Commonwealth Relations Office also, into the jurisdiction of which Ghana will pass. He should tell us what his policy is and whether the Government will continue to help Ghana economically and industrially as we suggest should be provided for through the elimination of the Clause.
§ Mr. Sorensen
The title of the Acts to which reference is made in Clause 3, the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts, might seem to preclude any kind of assistance under this particular Bill. But when hon. Members opposite suggest that the granting of certain sums of money might be insulting because they are too small, that first of all reflects upon us because we were not more generous and, secondly, it might prompt us to ask the recipients whether they think it is beneath their dignity to receive them.
I agree, of course, that the sums are, compared with the total need, inadequate. That is all the more reason why we should have been more generous in the past. On the other hand, these grants do stand for something which is symbolically of some value, and I suggest that we should not in any sense appear to penalise any of these dependent territories which are about to achieve their independence.
I am certain that the possibility of some financial or economic loss accruing from the passing of this Bill was appreciated in the Gold Coast. Equally, I am certain that those who did appre- 1160 ciate the implications of the Bill were anxious that some means should be found by which the benefits so far received would continue. It is, therefore, the intention of the Opposition in moving these Amendments to try to extract some guarantee from the Secretary of State that the operation of that which has worked within limits to the benefit of the Gold Coast, namely the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts, should continue in some other form.
The Secretary of State said that when these and similar Acts were drawn up, the intention on the part of their authors was merely to extend aid to those inhabiting non-self-governing territories. I believe that if that was so it was because there was no anticipation that there would be such a swift development towards self-government, particularly in the Gold Coast, as there has been in fact.
Surely, the deeper purpose of those Acts originally was to try and do something to redress our failure in the past. It was an endeavour to extend from this country some kind of economic aid to backward and neglected areas so that they might begin to get on their feet again. Does anyone suggest that the economy of the Gold Coast is on its feet? Does anyone suggest that there is not still a continuing need for the same kind of assistance as was extended to it heretofore? The Gold Coast will not change overnight with the passing of this Bill. If there was a need before the passing of the Bill, the need will surely continue.
I agree that the need is very great and requires much more than we extended by previous Acts. That does not mean that we should therefore be niggardly and say, "We regret it, but we must none the less penalise you by withdrawing even such aid as we did give."
Reference has already been made to the very great need in Ghana in education, public health, and social services generally. That will be there for a long time to come, although, fortunately, in some respects the economy of Ghana is expanding. We must not forget, however, that it depends to a very large extent on cocoa, and if the world market for cocoa collapses, or if cocoa is produced elsewhere in increasing abundance and the country's one prosperous industry of cocoa growing becomes 1161 correspondingly less prosperous, it may well be that the Gold Coast would find itself in financial and economic difficulties. I hope it will not; I hope that, if it does, the difficulties will be no more than transitory. I hope also that there will be a diversified economy so that the Gold Coast will not have to rely so much on one particular industry.
The fact remains that we have found the Gold Coast as a Colony extremely useful to us in days gone by. For more than a hundred years, but particularly in the last hundred years, we have gained very substantial economic and financial assistance from the Gold Coast. I am not saying we have exploited it all; I am merely stating a fact. To return to the Gold Coast a little of the benefits which have accrued to us from our ownership is surely by no means charity but simply granting some small measure of compensation for what has come to us.
We should see to it that, in the passing of this Bill and the pleasure it gives to us all, there should not be any inner regret on the part of the Gold Coast people that they are to achieve the significant status of political independence but achieve it at some financial and economic cost which might be avoided. We do not intend to be mean, and I am sure that the Secretary of State does not intend to be mean, but we do not want to appear to be mean. It seems to us that if we do not incorporate the purpose of the Amendment, there may appear to be some act of meanness on our part to those who are welcoming our intention in passing the Bill.
Reference was made earlier to the fact that the Gold Coast must be very careful lest it frightens away private capital. I quite agree. Surely, one means by which we can encourage the investment of private capital, which is certainly urgently needed in the Gold Coast, is for ourselves, as a Government, to go on with what we have been doing. That psychology will have its own particular service to render in the expanding economy of the Gold Coast. Apart from that, it is on the psychological grounds that I beg the Secretary of State to think again and, after further thought, to give us some guarantee that the purpose of the Amendment shall be met in full.
§ Mr. E. H. C. Leather (Somerset, North)
I should not like it to be thought that those of us on this side who share the same objective as hon. Members opposite are letting this matter go by default. I think that hon. Members opposite are completely dissipating the force of the argument by fighting the wrong battle. I want to ensure that we take major steps towards Commonwealth economic development generally and this Clause is the immediate point of contact. If by some unhappy chance the Amendment were forced to a Division, I should not have any hesitation in voting against it.
I am certain that the colonial development and welfare funds are not the right instruments to achieve our purpose, and I am also certain that many important people in Ghana do not want it done that way. There is a strong and sound opinion there that because they want economic aid and assistance—everybody does; it is a very sensible thing—they do not want instruments of this kind, which are well established Colonial Office instruments, which, they feel, would compromise their position and, as one of my hon. Friends has said, quite rightly, in some way derogate from their independence.
I would say to hon. Members opposite that the real battle, which certainly I want to fight—and I hope we can all fight it together—is on subsection (4) of the Clause. That embodies the important question of what is to be the main instrument for economic development. I am quite sure—
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
The hon. Member will appreciate that in the development of colonial development and welfare and the Colonial Development Corporation, these two agencies have been supplementary and complementary to each other. C.D.W. has been devoted in the main to promoting social developments of all kinds and C.D.C. to industrial development. We regard both kinds of agency as having a service to perform to countries like Ghana.
§ Mr. Leather
I accept the right hon. Gentleman's analysis, but not his conclusion, because the social development of the country in matters such as schools, hospitals and roads is a job for the Ghana Government and not for us.
1163 The colonial development and welfare grants are made at the discretion of, and on the authority of, the Colonial Secretary. If hon. Members opposite suggest altering the entire system, I would be in agreement, but that is another point and one which arises on subsection (4). The present colonial development and welfare set-up automatically implies an interference by a Government Department here in Ghana's own affairs, which, I am certain, Ghana does not want, and I do not think it would be the right method to use. If the Government of Ghana want to come to London to raise money for these things, if they want to raise loans on the London market or require assistance in things of that kind, I would gladly give it to them. I repeat to hon. Members opposite, however, that all that comes under the wider picture of economic development under subsection (4) and not under the subsection we are discussing.
§ Mr. Marquand
Has the hon. Member not read the Reports of the Colonial Development Corporation, in which Lord Reith himself says that he is hampered in C.D.C. work for lack of sufficient social grants, which cannot be profit earning? It cannot be done by loans on which interest is paid.
§ Mr. Sorensen
Would the hon. Member suggest that heretofore, while the Gold Coast has been a Colony, there has been any resentment on the part of the Gold Coast at assumed interference on our part in extending the provisions of the Act to them?
§ Mr. Leather
I am not saying that there has been any resentment—I have no evidence one way or the other. What I am saying, without any hesitation whatever, is that there are at the moment very real reservations on behalf of many prominent Gold Coast politicians on this principle. There was an article and correspondence about it in The Times only a few days ago, which, I am sure, was right.
I am in some difficulty, from which the Minister can possibly extricate me. In the first place, what is the position in regard to the general schemes of colonial development and wel- 1164 fare from which the Gold Coast may be benefiting? We have heard that the only scheme from which it is benefiting directly is at Takoradi, but there are a great many schemes—for instance, the Central Organisation for Colonial Geodetic and Topographical Surveys, the Colonial Produce Laboratory and the Inter-University Council—from which the Gold Coast may be benefiting. Will the Gold Coast continue to benefit from the Jungle Scheme?
Secondly, the Secretary of State says that it is difficult for the Gold Coast to come within the scheme when it ceases to be a Colony, and yet I notice—somewhat to my surprise, I must admit—that in the Report on the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts it is stated that there is a scheme for the development of trachoma research in Jordan. I had never supposed that Jordan was a British Colony. We have discussed Jordan on other occasions at considerable length, and I do not propose to discuss it now, but it seems to me that if Jordan can be included, there is no reason why Ghana cannot come in. I should very much like to be enlightened by the Minister on these points.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
This is interesting. If what my right hon. Friend says is true, it completely destroys the case which the Government have put against us. May we, therefore, ask the Government to declare that they will treat Ghana the same as Jordan—for "Jordan" read "Ghana"? That will put the matter right.
That is an interesting suggestion, to which, I hope, the Minister will give a final decision from the Government as to their intentions. I hope he will tell us what sort of alternatives the Government propose. If the Government propose adequate alternatives to C.D.W., that is one thing, but unless they propose definite alternatives that will give quite as much money as C.D.W. gives, we cannot possibly agree that C.D.W. should be left out of the scheme.
§ Mr. Bernard Braine (Essex, South-East)
I quite understand and sympathise with the difficulty in which many hon. Members on the other side of the Committee find themselves. They are riding in the right race, but on the wrong horse. The right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand) showed 1165 that by his intervention only a few moments ago, when he referred to a request, which, he said, appears in the last Report of the Colonial Development Corporation, by the Chairman, Lord Reith, that more aid was needed for what, I think, the right hon. Gentleman called social development.
If I remember aright, when the Overseas Resources Development Bill was being discussed by the House—this is relevant to the present discussion—the case for the Colonial Development Corporation was not that it should undertake marginal social or even marginal economic projects. It was to be the instrument to undertake and encourage that kind of economic development in the territories from which colonial development and welfare legislation was excluded. The beauty of the C.D.W. technique, one to which both parties have contributed, is that it helps people to help themselves by investing in basic social development and economic development and keeping the two in balance.
This afternoon, when discussing an earlier Clause, the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) said that by granting self-determination to Ghana we are also granting full responsibility. He is, of course, absolutely right. I want to relate what he said to this discussion and in doing so to support wholeheartedly what my hon. Friend the Member for Somerset, North (Mr. Leather) has said. We are faced here with a real dilemma. Obviously, there is a case for continuing financial and technical aid to Ghana after independence is reached. Such aid will be needed. The fact that Dr. Nkrumah himself has referred to this and has given certain assurances is an encouraging sign that, as far as he is concerned at any rate, such aid will be welcomed.
We all agree that in the case of territories like Ghana, where political development has outstripped economic advance, this country should give such aid. There is not a person in the House or in the country who does not wish this brave experiment all success. But the success of this constitutional experiment must depend upon the speed with which economic viability is reached. Nevertheless, Ghana in due course will become independent and it would then be wholly inappropriate for an organisation known as the 1166 Colonial Development Corporation to continue to operate in an independent, sovereign territory. I know that the Overseas Food Corporation operated, during a sad, period, in the independent, sovereign State of Australia, but I do not believe that that is a very good example to follow.
§ Mr. Ronald Williams (Wigan)
Is the hon. Member suggesting that the difficulty here is one of policy or one of law?
§ Mr. Braine
I think that there is a practical difficulty of reconciling common sense and propriety with the feelings and susceptibilities of the people of Ghana.
§ Mr. Williams
If the hon. Member and the hon. Member for Somerset, North (Mr. Leather) were convinced that we could legally produce this result and continue these schemes without any difficulty whatsoever and with the consent and at the request of Ghana, would their argument not then be overcome?
§ Mr. Braine
That is an interesting argument, and I follow the hon. Member's point, but there are two aspects of the matter which we shall consider. First, there is the fact that this Bill is the first of a series of such measures. In other words, what we do here will set a precedent when we come to discuss the independence of Malaya, of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland and of the Caribbean Federation. Therefore, what we do now does not have specific application to Ghana alone. We are setting the pattern for all the emerging territories of the Colonial Empire. Secondly, if it is agreed that some instrument of this kind is necessary in Ghana and in other territories, why is it that we are raising these objections?
§ Mr. Williams
What we are saying is that it is perfectly legally possible for this to be done under the terms of the Bill, and we cannot understand why that should not be agreed, since we all want to help.
§ Mr. Braine
I am not altogether certain that the hon. Member is right. As I understand it, the existing law under which the Colonial Development Corporation operates precludes the Corporation working on these lines. After all, we cannot have it both ways. Either we grant the proud people of the Gold Coast 1167 full sovereign independence and thereafter they take their destiny in their own hands and enter into arrangements with us as to how best the aid they need shall be provided, or else we say, "You are achieving independence but we, of course, recognise that you are enjoying a special status and the Colonial Development Corporation will continue to operate and to expand its operations." I believe that that would not accord with the proper feelings and susceptibilities of the people of Ghana.
§ 6.45 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
We are members of the United Nations, which has a number of agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the World Health Organisation, and the Technical Assistance Organisation, from which large numbers of independent countries derive the kind of benefits that schemes under C.D. and W. has provided for our Colonies. The Gold Coast, therefore, when it becomes Ghana will be able to go to the United Nations for the kind of assistance which C.D. and W. has given in the past, but we on this side of the Committee are saying, "Let Ghana be able to go to both these bodies for assistance." If the hon. Member merely means that we should change the name, we can call it the Commonwealth Development Corporation.
§ Mr. Braine
I am surprised that the right hon. Gentleman, who is better versed in these matters than any of us, is mixing up two entirely different things. I was in fact referring to the Colonial Development Corporation and, as I understand it, the intervention of the hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. R. Williams) related to that specific organisation.
§ Mr. Williams
Now the matter becomes much clearer to me, because the hon. Member is apparently addressing himself to subsection (4) and the debate on that has not yet commenced. This debate relates to subsection (1). I do not like intervening when the hon. Member is speaking, but I put these points at an earlier stage of the debate on subsection (1). The Colonial Secretary, who was then in his place, said, as I understood him, that it was not a question of legal difficulty and of our not being able to do this thing under the Bill, that prevented our giving this aid, but that it was 1168 because of a question of policy. It may be that we can debate that, but I want the hon. Member and the hon. Member for Somerset, North to understand clearly where they are going and that it would be on a question of policy and not on a question of constitutional law or of definition of the word "colonial" that we should be refusing this aid.
§ Mr. Braine
I have allowed the hon. Member to say what he said at great length because it is important that there should be no obscurity about this. He is quite wrong. I was not mixing up the two things. At the outset I was careful to make a distinction between C.D. and W. and the Colonial Development Corporation, and what I was saying on subsection (1) had application to both.
Here we shall have an independent sovereign State continuing, if hon. and right hon. Members opposite have their way, to enjoy benefits which were expressly designed by this Parliament for those dependent territories overseas for which we have special responsibility. I am saying that as a matter of policy, and here I agree with hon. Members opposite, I think it would be wrong for us to agree to perpetuate any suggestion of colonial status and subordination when we are giving generously and with a full heart this measure of independence to the people Ghana.
May I make a plea to my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs? If my hon. Friends and I agree to support this Clause, and in particular this subsection, I feel that we are entitled to ask—though it may be difficult to give a detailed assurance tonight—what instrument the Government have in mind for ensuring, after independence has been reached and a new status is enjoyed by the people of Ghana, that the economic ties between our country and the new sovereign State of Ghana and the flow to her of financial and technical expertise from this country is continued.
I am convinced that in this changing Commonwealth we must adjust ourselves, and adjust our machinery here, to take account of the changing needs and aspirations of these emerging territories. That is why I ask my right hon. Friend, when he replies, to indicate what the Government have in mind in order to meet this very valid point.
§ Mr. Fenner Brockway
The hon. Member for Essex, South-East (Mr. Braine) began his remarks by saying that hon. Members on these benches were in some difficulty. If he throws his mind back to the debate held last Friday week, he will find that he and his colleagues are the ones in difficulties. His hon. Friend the Member for Somerset, North (Mr. Leather) said that we were on the wrong horse. The hon. Gentleman is not only on the wrong horse himself but has proved to be in the wrong race, because he has been arguing as though this Amendment referred to the Colonial Development Corporation.
§ Mr. Braine
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way, and I am sure that he would not wish to misrepresent me. The point is that if we are agreed, as a matter of policy, that it is wrong for an organisation run by the Colonial Office to operate in a territory whose relations with this country will be conducted through the Commonwealth Relations Office, if that is wrong in relation to the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts, it is wrong also in relation to the Colonial Development Corporation. That is as logical as night follows day or as day follows night.
§ Mr. Brockway
I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention, which is almost as long as the speech I intend to deliver. I take his point immediately. We are concerned that this assistance shall still be available to the Gold Coast, but on 6th March it will end. Even at this moment I am aware of schemes for the Gold Coast for which assistance is being declined because of the independence which will be achieved on that date.
None of us wants that. The only quarrel in this Committee is as to the name of the fund. The argument of hon. Gentlemen opposite is that a colonial development and welfare fund cannot be given to a country when it becomes independent. All right. If the Minister will give us the undertaking that this assistance will be continued in some form or other, even by a change of name from colonial development and welfare fund to, say, Commonwealth development and welfare fund, I do not think it will be necessary for us to press this matter to a Division. We do not mind about the name, but we want the assistance to continue.
§ Mr. Maclay
I find myself in a dilemma in replying to this part of the debate because, consciously or unconsciously, many hon. Members on both sides of the Committee have slipped backwards and forwards between the Colonial Development Corporation and C.D. and W. funds. That is probably inevitable, but it makes my job no easier. As my right hon. Friend suggested in his opening speech, what I would have preferred to do would have been to leave the broader statement of what should happen in the future until we are discussing subsection (4) and then discuss the whole matter.
With respect, I would have thought that at that point hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite might reach a decision as to whether or not they wanted to divide the Committee. Of course they may wish to divide on both questions if they are not satisfied with the answer, but I see the difficulty. I want to make a rather lengthy statement of what happens in the future. I do not want to make it twice, and it comes more appropriately under the C.D.C. discussion. However, I must leave it to right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite to decide what they want to do about that, and I will now cover the wider aspects of what happens in the future on one or two points that have been raised.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Dugdale) raised the question of Jordan and asked how it happened that C.D. and W. funds were operating there. They are operating there for the best reason in the world, that it is the best place to study the disease in question and that the results will be for the benefit of the entire Commonwealth and Empire.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
I understand that, but it means that the Colonial Office was not debarred from voting this money because Jordan was not a Colony.
§ Mr. Maclay
I do not think that we can necessarily draw that conclusion from what I have said. The fact is that in a C.D. and W. scheme which is to benefit all the Colonies one can go to the place where the disease can be studied most effectively. The conclusion drawn by the right hon. Gentleman does not necessarily follow. Surely the obvious thing to do is to go where the disease can be studied most effectively and then 1171 make its benefits available to all the Colonies.
The right hon. Member for West Bromwich happened to summarise in three questions points raised by a number of other hon. Members, and that is why I am dealing with his points. For instance, he raised the question of the surveys. What will happen in the future is made clear by Clause 3 (3) which states that Ghana will be able to benefit from general schemes in such cases—… where Ghana has undertaken to bear a reasonable share of the cost of the scheme.I hope that will not be thought to be mean. The point has been made by several hon. Gentlemen opposite and by some of my hon. Friends that independence has a certain meaning and that there are some things which will have to be done by the Government of a newly independent country which may be difficult because previously other aid has been available. However the very fact of independence means that they would normally wish to make some contribution to these general schemes.
Mr. Creech Jones
As I understood it, the Secretary of State said the exact opposite. The right hon. Gentleman said that Ghana would still share in those schemes in which it was associated with Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Gambia, but that central schemes—that is, grants for the university, for research, for geological
§ and topographical surveys—all those general services would no longer be available to the Gold Coast once independence was declared.
§ Mr. Maclay
That is quite right. I was quoting from subsection (3) of Clause 3 and was merely making it clear that on the matters covered by the subsection Ghana, on payment, would be able to continue. I can also state that on technical assistance—possibly on payment, possibly not, because one cannot tell—we in this country will always be willing to do what we can to help, even if Ghana no longer comes under the schemes. At the same time it would be impossible to prejudge at this stage whether it would be by payment or without. So there is no real reason for concern on this point; although obviously it would be nicer for everyone concerned, including myself at this Box, if I could say that everything will go on as happily as it has done in the past, but obviously that is not possible under these conditions.
There is not much more I can usefully say until I come to a more general description of how I think this will work in the future.
§ Question put, That the words proposed to be left out, to "on" in line 33, stand part of the Clause:—
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 185, Noes 135.1173
|Division No. 31.]||AYES||[6.59 p.m.|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col, R. G.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Conant, Mai. Sir Roger||Gurden, Harold|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Corfield, Capt. F. V.||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfd)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hay, John|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Hesketh, R. F.|
|Balniel, Lord||Cunningham, Knox||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Currie, G. B. H.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount|
|Barter, John||Dance, J. C. G.||Hirst, Geoffrey|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Deedes, W. F.||Holland-Martin, C. J.|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Holt, A. F.|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||du Cann, E. D. L.||Hope, Lord John|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Dugdale, Rt.Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)||Hornby, R. P.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Errington, Sir Eric||Horobin, Sir Ian|
|Bidgood, J. C.||Fell, A.||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence|
|Biggs-Davison, J, A,||Finlay, Graeme||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Fisher, Nigel||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)|
|Bishop, F. P.||Fort, R.||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.|
|Body, R. F.||Freeth, D. K.||Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun)|
|Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan)||George, J. C. (Pollok)||Hyde, Montgomery|
|Braine, B. R.||Gibson-Watt, D.||Hylton-Foster, Sir H. B. H.|
|Browne, J. Nixon (Cralgton)||Glover, D.||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)|
|Bryan, P.||Godber, J. B.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Green, A.||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)|
|Butler,Rt.Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden)||Gresham Cooke, R.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Channon, H.||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Joseph, Sir Keith|
|Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot||Maude, Angus||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Mawby, R. L.||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Kerr, H. W.||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Speir, R. M.|
|Kershaw, J. A.||Medlicott, Sir Frank||Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)|
|Lagden, G. W.||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.||Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)|
|Lambton, Viscount||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Leather, E, H. C.||Nairn, D. L. S.||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Leavey, J. A.||Neave, Airey||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)||Temple, J. M.|
|Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Nugent, G. R. H.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Oakshott, H. D.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Linstead, Sir H. N.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Osborne, C.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Page, R. G.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)||Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)||Vickers, Miss J. H.|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Partridge, E.||Vosper, D. F.|
|McAdden S. J.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Wade, D. W.|
|Macdonald Sir Peter||Pitt, Miss E. M.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Pott, H. P.||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|McLaughlin, Mrs. P.||Powell, J. Enoch||Wall, Major Patrick|
|Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Maclean, Fitzroy (Lancaster)||Raikes, Sir Victor||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|McLean, Neil (Inverness)||Redmayne, M.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Macmillan.Rt.Hn.Harold(Bromley)||Remnant, Hon. P.||Whitelaw, W.S.I.(Penrith & Border)|
|Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Renton, D. L. M.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Maitland,Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Robertson, Sir David||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)||Roper, Sir Harold||Wills, G. (Bridgwater)|
|Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Russell, R. S.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Markham, Major Sir Frank||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Marlowe, A. A. H,||Shepherd, William|
|Marples, A. E.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Marshall, Douglas||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)||Colonel J. H. Harrison and|
|Mathew, R.||Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)||Mr. Barber.|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Pearson, A.|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Hamilton, W. W.||Peart, T. F.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Hannan, W.||Pentland, N.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Hastings, S.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Hayman, F. H.||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Balfour, A.||Henderson,Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)||Probert, A. R.|
|Benson, G.||Herbison, Miss M,||Randall, H. E.|
|Beswick, F.||Hobson, C. R.||Rhodes, H.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Holmes, Horace||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Blackburn, F.||Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)||Ross, William|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Royle, C.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Hunter, A. E.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Jeger, George (Goole)||Slater, J. (Sedgefield)|
|Boyd, T. C.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Jones,Rt.Hon.A.Creech(Wakefield)||Snow, J. W.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Kenyon, C.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Stones, W. (Consett)|
|Carmichael, J.||Lawson, G. M.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Swingler, S. T.|
|Champion, A. J.||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Coldrick, W.||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)||MacColl, J. E.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Collins, V. J. (Shoreditch & Finsbury)||Mclnnes, J.||Thornton, E.|
|Cove, W. G.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||McLeavy, Frank||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Mann, Mrs. Jean||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Delargy, H. J.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Wigg, George|
|Dodds, N. N.||Mason, Roy||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John(W. Brmwch)||Mellish, R. J.||Willey, Frederick|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Messer, Sir F.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Mitchison, G. R.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Moody, A. S.||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Mort, D. L.||Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||O'Brien, Sir Thomas||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Oliver, G. H.||Winterbottom, Richard|
|Fienburgh, W.||Paling, Rt. Hn. W. (Dearne Valley)||Woof, R. E.|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Pargiter, G. A.||Zilliacus, K.|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Parker, J.|
|Grey, C. F.||Parkin, B. T.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Paton, John||Mr. Short and Mr. Deer.|
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
I beg to move, in page 3, line 12, to leave out subsection (4).
I shall open the discussion on this Amendment in a very short statement because the Minister has indicated to us that he will make a statement intimating what are the Government's intentions about both the promise and the pledge of aid to countries like Ghana when they become independent, and, what is equally important, what machinery they are going to use.
We had a very full and interesting discussion on the whole of this problem of Commonwealth development in the House on Friday, 30th November, on a Private Member's Motion moved by the hon. Member for Harrow, West (Sir A. Braithwaite). I listened to a good deal of that debate, and there was no doubt that there was unanimity in the House about some of the proposals. First, there was complete unanimity that as a Government, a Parliament and a country we ought to make provision, in association with other Commonwealth countries wherever that was possible, to aid those countries in the Commonwealth that need our aid—economic aid, social aid, technical assistance, etc. There was a unanimous expression of view by the House that there was need for that kind of assistance to continue.
The Bill is one of a series that we shall have. Today it is Ghana; shortly it will be Malaya; and, in the not too distant future, the Caribbean Federation. It is therefore of great importance to realise that what we are doing now is to set the pattern for an increasing number of territories as they become independent.
Since 1948, under the Overseas Resources Development Act, the Colonial Development Corporation has been operating as one of the agencies by and through which Her Majesty's Government have been assisting the dependent territories. It was my view from the beginning that colonial development and welfare funds and the Colonial Development Corporation were supplementary and complementary to each other. My experience led me to the view that there was need for an ever closer association between the two—a closer planning of their schemes—because I believed that they could help each other.
1176 I am not going into any long disquisition about the history of the Development Corporation. It was established because it was realised that in promoting economic development within the dependent territories there was a field which private enterprise would not take the risk of entering. That was the real reason for the establishment of the Corporation. Like all similar bodies, it has had a varied experience, but none can deny that it has proved itself of real value in promoting economic development and, in particular, of diversifying the economies of the Colonies.
Subsection (4) says that as from 6th March, apart from those schemes which have already been begun by the Corporation, Ghana is to be completely outside the area in which it can provide assistance. We shall very shortly be doing precisely the same thing, in exactly the same kind of Clause, about other territories, and it is very important that the Committee should consider what can best be done. First, do we think that there is any need to continue aid from our country to these territories when they become independent? Secondly, is there any need for continuing a public corporation through which at least some part of that aid may be administered? If the answer to the first two questions is "Yes", the third question is whether we should adapt the Colonial Development Corporation for that task, including changing its name, rather than create a new institution. I hope that the Minister will deal with those three points. I put them shortly because we want to hear the Minister's views.
First, on the question whether, after Ghana and other territories have become independent, there is a continuing need for the kind of aid which we have been providing them with through the Corporation, I say that we have a moral responsibility to ensure that that aid is forthcoming. Although we shed our technical responsibility once Ghana becomes independent, our moral responsibility for the success of this great project continues. Ghana has said that she wants independence within the Commonwealth, of her own volition, and that also places a responsibility upon the Commonwealth. We must pledge ourselves to continue that aid.
1177 Consequently, I think that it would be much better to change the name of the Colonial Development Corporation and to make any other changes required. The Corporation has an experienced staff and could be used as the instrument through which we can continue to provide aid. I ask the Committee to support the deletion of subsection (4). I hope that the Government will accept at least the purpose of the Amendment, namely, to ensure the continued existence of some agency through which this help can come, and that they will also accept our view that that agency should be the Colonial Development Corporation, adapted for the purpose.
§ The Temporary Chairman (Sir Robert Grimston)
I should make it clear that the Amendment in page 3, line 14, after the first "day", to insert:or within ten years thereafter",should be discussed together with the Amendment which has been moved.
§ 7.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Braine
I do not necessarily agree with the request made by the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), but I agree in substance with what he said. He asked whether, in the case of Ghana—and he also had in mind other territories—there was a case for continuing aid from this country. The answer is "Yes". The only difference between us is as to the best way in which that can be ensured. My own feeling is that the Government have no choice but to ask the Committee to agree to the subsection as it stands. To do otherwise would be to make nonsense of sovereign independence.
Nevertheless, I should not be happy to accept that subsection unless I had some assurance that those who have responsibility in the matter have in mind some scheme to ensure that the appropriate agencies will be created to take account of the changing needs and aspirations of territories such as Ghana. I repeat the request which I made to my right hon. Friend at an earlier stage, and I hope that he can give us an assurance that something of this nature is in mind.
So long as we have a Colonial Office as well as a Commonwealth Relations Office in a Commonwealth and Empire in which the most important Colonies are 1178 fast disappearing and moving away from political dependence upon this country towards partnership with it—even though some degree of economic dependence may remain—anomalous situations like this will arise. The case for colonial agencies is passing. We need to revise the whole machinery for Commonwealth cooperation and development to take account of what is happening, not only in Ghana, but throughout the Colonial Empire.
§ Mr. R. Williams
It would be helpful if we first considered the difficulties in relation to the discredited word "colonial" in this context. If we could get that out of our minds we could proceed very rapidly to a point where we could make some positive and constructive proposal which might command the assent of all hon. Members of the Committee. I am quite sure that there is a great fund of good will among hon. Members opposite in relation to schemes which should be put into operation for the purpose of giving all possible help to the independent State of Ghana.
At the same time, I fully understand that we cannot have a State which is a Colony and a non-Colony at one and the same time. Consequently, if we decide that the schemes which are to be put into operation must be attached to something which is done for a Colony, if the status of a territory is changed so that it becomes an independent sovereign State, it cannot come within the provisions of a scheme so circumscribed.
How can we get out of that difficulty? At first sight it seems insuperable. The first point I want to make is that we must first decide how far the Bill takes us. Clause 1 (a) says:no Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed on or after the appointed day shall extend, or be deemed to extend, to Ghana as part of the law of Ghana, unless it is expressly declared in that Act that the Parliament of Ghana has requested, and consented to, the enactment thereof.Having agreed to that, we find ourselves embarrassed because of the title "Colonial Development Corporation". I suggest that we can deal with the Act which set up that Corporation and alter its name. We can do that at the request of and in co-operation with the Government of Ghana. We can provide everything under the schemes which would 1179 flow from that and which we can now provide.
In fact, we can go further and extend the provisions which now obtain; and finding that we are not now restricted in certain respects in the way in which we were because we were dealing with a Colony, we can go very much further in providing schemes for the benefit of this independent State. That, broadly, was what I meant when I intervened earlier. I wanted this removed from the legal difficulty. We can so easily get into a debate which would be entirely negative in effect if we say, "This is a sovereign State and these arrangements between Sovereign States can be considered at the proper time."
There is an interim period, there is a hangover. There have ben schemes which have done well in Ghana and proposals which have not yet resulted in schemes. Now there is a splendid opportunity for the Minister to take account of the great work which the Colonial Development Corporation has been doing and to ask himself, "How can we do this sort of work as a matter of policy and in a legal way as well?"
I intervened earlier to point out to the Colonial Secretary that, if he had the will, he had the legal power, even under subsection (1) of the Clause, to go on with the schemes should he desire. The right hon. Gentleman made clear to the Committee that it was not a case of any constitutional or legal difficulty. It was not a question of there being, as it were, a separate self-governing entity known as Ghana, on the one hand, and another known as the United Kingdom, on the other, which was the difficulty. It was a question of policy.
I can understand, although I may not agree with it, the point of view advanced by the Minister, that there could be arguments for and against on the basis of policy. But if we agree that everything should be done—and I think it is highly likely that the Committee is unanimous that everything possible must be done to help Ghana—then the way is open for the Minister. I invite him to intervene in the debate, because quite obviously from the tone of the speeches made in connection with the earlier provisions, and the views expressed so far in this debate, he can do more than set aside fears. He has an opportunity of going further.
1180 In welcoming this Bill earlier, we congratulated the Colonial Secretary on taking a great and historic step, and I associate myself with those congratulations. But let us preserve the same spirit and get away from fears and being niggardly, and say, "What can we do which will really be a surge forward, now that we are not being hamstrung by the narrower schemes which would apply to the Colonies?"
Cannot we go on to greater schemes which could apply here, bearing in mind that this territory has a special claim upon our finances? It has that special claim, because this is probably one of the greatest steps taken within the last few years. When so much talk is being heard about Western imperialism, a great fact like this can be the best answer, because a fact is much stronger than argument any day. This is one of those great facts which can be made even greater if the Minister will go forward, not merely with the statement that he will put into effect some opportunities for schemes to be advanced, but with generous schemes; schemes that will hurt in the sense of giving a lot away. That would be a tremendous help in the development of Ghana.
It would not be inappropriate to bear in mind that the Colonial Development Corporation has done great work in the Gold Coast. I see that in 1951 its engineering department undertook the Government contract to resurface 287 miles of the Mampong-Bolgatanga road. That is not a small job. I say that that sort of work should go on; that there should be more of it.
There is something in the fact that a new State coming into existence, with all the difficulties and economic troubles which Ghana will experience, will not find a great market of credit waiting for it, or people with open arms waiting for Ghana to come along and set up schemes of development. It is in the most favourable market available that we should expect the best terms will be provided. Surely this is an opportunity for us to show, not only that Ghana is being welcomed into the Commonwealth, but that the welcome is extended under the most favourable terms possible. I invite the Minister to make such a pronouncement, if he can, in such generous terms that it would make nonsense of our Amendment.
§ Mr. Maclay
I do not know whether I shall succeed in making complete nonsense of the Amendment, but I hope that what I propose to say will put this whole matter into perspective and make clear just what is possible and what we hope will be possible in the future. I am advised that there is only one C.D.C. project in the Gold Coast at the moment, the Coast Construction Company, and that the stake which the C.D.C. has in it is not a large one in proportion to its total capital. I think that is right—
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
Is the right hon. Gentleman quite right in saying that there is only one project? Is it not true that for some time the C.D.C. has been told it should not consider schemes in Ghana?
§ Mr. Tilney
Is it not true that there is a major scheme also under consideration in which the C.D.C. cannot take part?
§ Mr. Maclay
Yes, I was getting the picture into perspective. There are some future schemes which I understand were under consideration but which the Corporation will not be able to go through with on present form. I have a note about one of them which I may deal with a little later in my speech. I am not sure that it is strictly relevant to what I was going to say.
If the Committee will forgive me, I will restate some obvious things, and carry on from there. I think that is the only wav to get this matter tidy. We have to face the fact that, when a Colony assumes the status of independence, it must accept responsibility for its future economic development. That fact cannot be avoided. The United Kingdom Government ceases to bear that responsibility. When that happens it is both just and logical that forms of assistance designed and intended only for Colonies should cease to be available to territories which are no longer Colonies. There is no disagreement about that. It is a question of what happens when that particular form of assistance has gone.
The C.D.C. will be able to continue with projects which were in existence prior to independence but, as I have said, it will not be able to start up new projects. The fact is that when we grant independence to a Colonial Territory we hand 1182 over to the Government of the territory the ultimate responsibility for its future economic development. But that does not mean that we cease to have any further interest in its economic development. It has been made clear at successive Commonwealth economic conferences that we are far from indifferent to the importance of doing whatever we can to assist the development of independent Commonwealth countries.
The record shows that, despite the many claims on our resources, we have, both as a Government and as a country, through private enterprise perhaps, managed to make a substantial contribution to that development in a variety of different ways. We shall not view any less sympathetically the needs of new members of the Commonwealth.
We recognise that, as members of the sterling Commonwealth, an independent Ghana—and for that matter an independent Federation of Malaya, in due course—will naturally look to the United Kingdom as a main external source of capital for its development needs. What we are debating, therefore, is not the principle that we as a country should give help where we properly can within the limits of our resources, for that is a principle which we all accept, but the question of how that help is to be provided.
A fundamental problem for us is that of the resources available in the United Kingdom. We start with the principle that investment in the Commonwealth is a vital necessity both economically and politically, but if we are to be able to invest in the Commonwealth on the scale we would wish to, this country must generate the additional savings necessary to enable us to invest at home and overseas on the scale we consider necessary. To do this we must be able to achieve a current surplus of about £350 million a year. That is our target, but unfortunately we are a long way off it at present.
There is also the question of whether any new machinery is needed or could be provided for assisting in the economic development of independent members of the Commonwealth. In the debate on Friday, 30th November, my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations said that the Government intended to consult other 1183 members of the Commonwealth regarding various suggestions made in that debate for the improvement of machinery. That is the first point—that these consultations will be carried on and that, until they have been completed, nothing more can be said on the subject, save that the establishment of new Commonwealth machinery would, by itself, be of no very great practical significance unless new resources can be found to channel through it. That is one of the points on which we are consulting Commonwealth Governments.
It may be argued that until newly-fledged members of the Commonwealth have established their credit worthiness in the eyes of the investor they may have difficulty in attracting the external investment they need. We recognise that there may well be a special problem here, and if it does arise we will consider how we might help those Governments in solving it. Undoubtedly the Government of Ghana will have by its own policies and efforts to establish its credit worthiness in the eyes of the outside investor, but probably one of the best ways in which it can establish relations of confidence with the private investor in the United Kingdom is through the assistance of an organisation like the Colonial Development Finance Corporation.
§ Mr. Griffiths
I hope that the Minister will tell us something more about this organisation. What does it do? Who provides the money? What is it all about?
§ Mr. Maclay
I will come to that. I said at the beginning of my remarks that I wanted to review the position rather carefully, and I think it better to give the whole picture in one statement rather than to jump from one subject to another.
There are various exciting forms of external assistance which will be available to all these countries, and these I will specify also. Between them they provide a flexible system for meeting needs of various kinds. I can illustrate this by mentioning Pakistan. The Pakistan Government had run into balance of payments difficulties which, in default of external assistance, would have held up the Pakistan development plan. Her Majesty's Government were able at very short notice to arrange a credit through the Export Credits Guarantee Department 1184 of £10 million. That is a practical example of how a development plan which looked like being slowed down by existing machinery was able to be helped on at very short notice indeed and was not help up.
I summarise what I have said so far by saying that, whatever may be the outcome of present consultations with other members of the Commonwealth regarding the provision of new machinery—one hopes very much that something will come out of that; it was discussed in considerable detail in the debate and the Government are following up the proposal very hard—it would be quite wrong to use for the purpose of assisting the development of independent members of the Commonwealth machinery and resources which were designed to enable Her Majesty's Government to carry out their direct responsibility for the development of the Colonial Territories.
§ Mr. Maclay
Because it would be using the funds for a purpose for which they were not originally intended, and that seems generally to be considered to be wrong.
§ Mr. Maclay
I do not accept that. If one states a fact it may be wooden, but it does not make it any the less of a fact.
I come to the sources of capital for economic development which will be open to Ghana after independence. First, an independent Ghana will be eligible for membership of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and also the International Monetary Fund. As such she will be eligible to apply to the International Bank on her own merits for loans for specific projects acceptable to the International Bank.
Secondly, in the light of undertakings which Ghana Ministers have agreed to give—I shall be dealing with this in a later Amendment—Ghana will be eligible to go to the London market for loans which will have trustee status. The third point I make is that Ghana will be able to have recourse to the Commonwealth Development Finance Company Ltd. for advisory, technical and financial services and, in conjunction with the United Kingdom financial interests, the capital for 1185 the types of enterprises which the company has been and is assisting throughout the Commonwealth.
The most important and welcome recent development is the decision of the C.D.F.C. to make available to certain territories a financial and industrial advisory service to try to secure for the Governments of these territories, on their request, financial, technical and other advice on specific projects of industrial development or economic enterprise. The C.D.F.C. is able to draw, through its shareholders, on a most impressive list of bodies and enterprises in this country which cover a tremendously wide sphere. The Gold Coast Government have already indicated their desire to avail themselves of this new service.
At our request the C.D.F.C. has agreed to extend into certain other terrotories, if so desired, including the Federation of Malaya with whom we shall be discussing the matter shortly. Thus, thanks to the co-operation of the C.D.F.C., machinery has already been created which will ensure that the emergent territories will be able to draw on the best financial and technical advice whenever they want it. C.D.F.C. is available to assist not only with advice but with finance, so that here too the fact that the C.D.C. will be confining itself to the job of basic and economic development in the Colonies will not create a vacuum.
I believe, too, that there is great practical and psychological benefit to be gained by these emergent countries from a direct access to and association with City and business interests. I believe that the expansion and development of this new approach is along the right lines. I have the personal assurances of the Chairman, Lord Godber, that C.D.F.C. will fully play its part in this widening of its activities in fields other than direct financial participation.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly asked where it got its funds. I will try as quickly as I can to give a short answer. The C.D.F.C., under the Articles under which it was incorporated in 1953, is permitted to lend or invest up to £45 million. Its present portfolio is in the region of £13½ million. It borrows from the market, and at the moment C.D.F.C. has not exhausted its immediate facilities. If in future the facilities are 1186 exhausted, I am sure that we can rely on the C.D.F.C. to be active in seeking further facilities when they are needed.
§ Mr. Griffiths
We are speaking of Ghana, and we shall be speaking later of these other territories. I am told that this C.D.F.C. has been founded since 1953, three years ago. What has it done for the Commonwealth during all these three years? Let us find out what it has done. My information is that it is of no use at all for meeting the kind of problem that we are discussing.
§ Mr. Maclay
The right hon. Gentleman will realise that I have only mentioned it, and I do not accept that it has done nothing. I consider that it is a very valuable body indeed, one of the methods that I have been pointing out for helping the work that was previously done by the C.D.C. One must not assume that this is the only method. I have been detailing other methods open to Ghana in future.
There is one other point, which is that the import of capital goods into Ghana for economic development will be greatly assisted by the operations of the Export Credits Guarantee Department.
§ Mr. Maclay
It is no good my hon. Friend saying "Nonsense". I am going through the normal methods of helping countries that need capital to get it. I will not accept that it is nonsense, much as I respect and love my hon. Friend. Ghana will not be in precisely the same position after independence as it was before. It cannot be. That is in the nature of becoming independent. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, myself and all of us are anxious to find means of making Ghana able to get what it needs, but one cannot go further than the facts of the case dictate.
We have picked up the proposals made in the last debate and are consulting with the Commonwealth to see whether a bigger scheme within the Commonwealth is a practical possibility. Beyond that I do not think I can go this evening. I have tried to summarise, possibly in a wooden manner, but nevertheless to summarise.
§ Mr. Griffiths
If the content of the Minister's speech was as pleasant as his manner we should not be intervening now. We want to delete Subsection (4), which prohibits the Colonial Development Corporation from operating in Ghana. The effect of the Minister's speech is that the C.D.C. cannot do that, and if the Government stand by that, there is nothing to take the place of the C.D.C. In other words, the Government wash their hands of it. [An HON. MEMBER: "That is too silly."] It is not "too silly". The C.D.C. is a Government agency and is able to call upon public funds to invest in economic development in the Colonies. We suggest that the C.D.C., or some other organisation should be brought in, either by changing the name of the C.D.C. or, if necessary, changing its overseas application, so that it can operate in Ghana.
Governments, including our own Government, have spent C.D.C. money in Australia. Therefore, I presume that no change is necessary. If a change is necessary, and I will not quibble about that, it is essential that, in addition to all these agencies that have been mentioned, there should be a public agency. The Government have apparently decided that we are to rely upon all these other agencies and that the C.D.C. is to be excluded from Ghana. Next year it will be excluded from Malaya, the year after from the Caribbean and so on. This is frightfully disappointing.
§ 7.45 p.m.
§ Mr. F. M. Bennett (Torquay)
From what the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) has said, and from the terms of the Opposition Amendment, I am afraid there seems to be some slight misunderstanding on a subject on which there was unanimity a few Fridays ago.
We all agree with the principle that there needs to be a complete overhaul and reorganisation of the means of economic development within the Commonwealth both for independent and dependent territories. That does not mean that because one takes that view one thinks that the Amendment to delete subsection (4) is right in any way whatsoever.
I would remind the right hon. Gentleman of one complete anomaly that would 1188 follow if we were to accept the Amendment and the subsection were deleted. I am sure he will understand this upon reflection. Not very long ago the House discussed the Overseas Resources Development Bill, in which we expressly excluded the Colonial Development Corporation from operating in Southern Rhodesia because of the degree of independence which Southern Rhodesia has attained. Would it be right to say now that we should go forward in Ghana and continue, merely with a change of name perhaps, an organisation and a disposal of funds which we expressly barred only a few weeks ago to another independent member of the Commonwealth?
I think I speak for a number of hon. Gentlemen in asking the Government Front Bench for an assurance even more vigorous than the assurance that we have already obtained, that if the Amendment is not pressed the Government will not just talk about it until the Amendment is out of the way, but will call other Commonwealth countries in with a view to getting this new organisation set up. It is not enough to say that we can get away with this by changing the "C" from "Colonial" to "Commonwealth". The very fact of our consulting Commonwealth countries means that we shall have to take their advice on what the new body, to which they are to contribute capital, is to be like.
§ Mr. Griffiths
What are we to consult the Commonwealth countries about? Is it that we shall all join in an appeal to private enterprise, or that the other Commonwealth Governments should enter into a real Commonwealth organisation?
§ Mr. Braine
Would my hon. Friend the Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett) agree with me that it is not sufficient for this matter to be fobbed off on to other Commonwealth Governments who may be willing to join but who may not have the resources; and that, in default of that, we should be ready to set up new machinery ourselves? Would my hon. Friend agree with that?
§ Mr. Bennett
I have not the slightest objection, if the approach to other Commonwealth countries came to nothing, that we should do something ourselves. Merely to alter "Colonial" to "Commonwealth" should not make us think we can render this organisation available for the independent territories. I have not used the words "private enterprise" since I got on my feet. I was trying to recall that extremely interesting debate we had a couple of weeks ago in which many hon. Members succeeded in speaking. I contributed a couple of minutes' intervention. It was suggested that we should consult other Commonwealth countries to see whether we could work up something like the World Bank within the Commonwealth, with a view to making a completely new unit, able to operate in all countries.
As to where the money would come from, I thought the way to do it would be rather like that of the World Bank, getting contributions from the Governments, with extra money raised on the market by securities in exactly the same way as World Bank securities, which are available to anybody. It is ludicrous that an Englishman cannot buy a single share in the C.D.F.C. or the C.D.C. but can go across the road and buy shares in dollars in the World Bank. He is prevented from buying shares in his own organisation. That is the sort of practical suggestion that we have to press on the Government: if we can do the one we ought to be able to do the other.
I am not suggesting that it should be private enterprise alone, but a partnership arrangement. We already have a basis in C.D.F.C. The Minister was pressed to say where those funds came from. Perhaps I can amplify the reply from practical experience. They come partly from a Government grant, and while not coming from the market in the sense of individuals subscribing, funds have been put up by banks and other organisations. I agree that there is a lot to be gained from C.D.C. If we could get independent Commonwealth countries together to see if we could work out something like an international bank with Governments, individuals and institutions all playing their part, we should be able to make the notable advance which everyone in this Committee wants, whatever party is in power, but we shall not achieve that by striking out subsection (4).
1190 We have not even got the views of other Commonwealth countries. If it is to be a Commonwealth enterprise we cannot preconceive what their reaction would be. Therefore, I suggest that we should fully support the Minister in respect of the Clause as it stands, but I warn him that we shall not be as co-operative in the future unless some changes take place in the next few months.
§ Mr. Marquand
It seemed to me that the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett) was prepared to support the Government on a technicality rather than on policy. From what he said, his reaction to the speech of his right hon. Friend was certainly one of disappointment. He had hoped for a more vigorous assurance than he got and obviously wanted a more imaginative and widely-ranging proposal than we have heard tonight. I am not surprised. I must say that my disappointment was very considerable.
When we were discussing the previous Amendment we had been led by the right hon. Gentleman to suppose that if only we withdrew that we would be so well satisfied that we would see that no Division was necessary.
§ Mr. Maclay
I said very distinctly that if, having heard my intervention, the Committee decided that it wanted to divide on the second Amendment that would have the same effect as a gesture.
§ Mr. Marquand
I may have misunderstod the procedure, but I am very glad that we did divide the Committee earlier because we have not yet had a reassurance which leads us to think we were wrong on that occasion. I listened carefully and listed the various agencies which the right hon. Gentleman thought would take the place formerly occupied by the C.D.C. My conclusion very definitely was that Ghana can look forward to receiving substantially less assistance in future from this country and the Commonwealth than she has had hitherto.
The examples which the right hon. Gentleman gave of the possibility of aid from the Export Credits Guarantee Department in respect of balance of payment difficulties, however true they might have been in the case of Pakistan, are not likely to interest the present prosperous Ghana very much. Ghana is a great dollar earner. It makes 1191 dollar surpluses of which we make use. It will not be much consolation to Ghana to be told, "If your position ever changes and you get into a situation like that in which Pakistan found itself, we shall be able to come to your aid with a small credit from the Export Credits Guarantee Department." Private trade goes on to a considerable extent between Ghana and this country and for that the E.C.G.D. is available. There is nothing new about that. Provided the business deal is satisfactory, one can go to the E.C.G.D. and get a risk insured.
That Ghana can join the International Monetary Fund, I agree. That is satisfactory from the point of view of Ghana, but in present circumstances she would be more of a contributor than of a receiver. She can get assistance from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, we are told, but she can do so now. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development has already taken up several schemes in Colonial Territories. There is nothing to prevent Ghana from making an agreement with the International Bank tonight if she wished to do so, although tonight in status she is only a Colony. The International Bank to my certain knowledge has made surveys in British Guiana, British Honduras, Nigeria—
§ Mr. Marquand
—and Malaya. I am not familiar with the Malayan situation. Those are territories where the International Bank is already co-operating, and there are examples in Rhodesia and elsewhere where the Bank has been able to make loans.
We are told that Ghana can come to the London market and raise a loan, but there is nothing to prevent Ghana from doing so today. A colonial loan carries the same trustee security as a loan given to the Government of Ghana would carry in future.
There is no advance on any of these points; they are only confirmation of the existing situation. The same applies to the C.D.F.C., which has already undertaken enterprises in Colonial Territories. Having read the last Report of the C.D.F.C., I think the significant thing about that private enterprise undertaking is that, being a private enterprise undertaking with capital subscribed by private 1192 enterprise concerns, its main investments have been in countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand. I am not objecting to that. I do not mind people investing in Canada, Australia or New Zealand. By all means let them do so but to suppose that Ghana is likely to attract any very substantial loan from that undertaking in its present state of development is, I suggest, much too optimistic.
What we want assurance about is that Ghana is to be developed from being a less-developed country to being something more like New Zealand. Then, no doubt, it will attract private enterprise loans without any difficulty.
When the right hon. Gentleman began his speech and said, "We shall not view any less sympathetically the needs of any new member of the Commonwealth," I knew that we were in for a disappointment. That is a characteristic phrase which indicates that nothing very much is to be done. So far, judging from the nodding of his head, I have had the agreement of the hon. Member for Somerset, North (Mr. Leather), but I might now separate from him. There was not a word from the Minister about the necessary development of social services to support and make possible and practicable direct investment in productive enterprises. Colonial development and welfare and the C.D.C. should always be like Siamese twins; they are closely bound together and should be. Neither can flourish properly without the other.
We had no indication whatever in the speech to which we have just listened from the right hon. Gentleman that he appreciated that fact. That made me more disappointed than ever. However, I do not want to rehearse what I have already said. Here we are supposed to be talking especially about the C.D.C. If I were a member of the Colonial Development Corporation, if I were on its board of directors, and I had been listening to this discussion so far—
§ Mr. Marquand
—I would ask, "Where do I stand now? No one has given me any indication. We are told that existing work is all right and existing undertakings are to go on. That is well and good, but what about those instances in which my officers have been 1193 making inquiries in Ghana and discussing with people on the spot possibilities of new undertakings? What is to happen to them? I am not allowed to carry them on."
Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will confirm the information that I have had. I have been told that recently the Gold Coast Ministry of Trade asked the C.D.C. to assist with the establishment of a cement clinker factory in association with a British cement company. Negotiations went on for months and then had to be broken off because the Secretary of State told them that they would be unable to do that once the present Bill became law. Is that true? I may be wrong.
If it is true, who will continue to carry on these negotiations and who is to take the place of the C.D.C.? Will it be the C.D.F.C.? If that is the answer, may we be given a firm undertaking that the C.D.F.C. will take on that new enterprise? I should like not merely a suggestion that it might do so. Nothing else will satisfy me than a statement, "We know that we stopped the negotiations about the clinker factory but we told the C.D.F.C. that the C.D.C. could not do the job, and we asked them to do it instead." If that happened, then I admit that the right hon. Gentleman would have a fair answer on that point of my criticism.
What the C.D.C. wants to know, too, is where it goes from here. So far we have had no answer. The C.D.C. says, "We were operating in Ghana, we are now told that we must not operate there and that we must drop everything we ever thought of doing there for the future. In a short time the same will be said about Malaya, and next the Caribbean. What is the Government's intention about the C.D.C.?"
Is the C.D.C. being killed, as somebody said on Second Reading, by a thousand cuts? Is it the Government's view that in a few years the C.D.C. will melt away and disappear altogether? If that is so, what are the Government doing about the future of the C.D.C. employees? What programme has been set out for winding up the Corporation? If that is not so, then I seriously suggest 1194 that it is very important that the opportunity should be taken tonight to say so, because the employees of the C.D.C. are very anxious indeed about the situation.
§ Mr. F. M. Bennett
The right hon. Gentleman made specific reference to me, but I allowed him to develop his remarks. He accused me of trying to support the Government on technicalities. I do not accept that. The right hon. Gentleman did not deal with what I venture to suggest is a very important point. It concerns Southern Rhodesia. The right hon. Gentleman has been saying all along that C.D.C. ought to be enabled to continue. That is a valid point. We are, however, entitled to an explanation why hon. Members opposite did not make the point throughout the entire conduct of the Overseas Resources Development Act. Is it because of discrimination on their part—that Southern Rhodesia should not have aid and that Ghana should have aid? Until that explanation is given I think it is wrong that we should be accused of dealing only with technicalities.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
I cannot recall the details of that Act, but the C.D.C. recently put £15 million into the Kariba scheme for a territory which has very rich resources of copper and other materials.
§ Mr. Page
The last C.D.C. Report detailed two construction programmes in Ghana. One was the Mampong-Bolgatanga Road, which has been finished and the contract for which is no longer continuing, and the second was the Coast Construction Company Limited Road, which was a contract of £1,300,000. I suppose that at any one time the C.D.C. had about £300,000 sunk in that. That was the extent of its financial interest and is the extent of its present financial interest in Gold Coast development. We are therefore talking about a very small amount at the moment.
It is true that there was the possibility of a cement factory, but, as I see it, that cement factory is distinguishable from the development of roads. One might say that roads represent a non-profit-making development, but as I understand it, it was intended to run the factory as a profit-making undertaking. I therefore 1195 cannot see that it will be lost merely because the C.D.C. does not intend to undertake it. If it is a sound undertaking I believe that the finance will be found from one or other of the various channels—the C.D.F.C. or perhaps completely private finance on a basis which I propose to suggest in a moment. Surely these matters, particularly the only contract at present in existence, the Coast Construction Company Ltd. contract, are matters of normal government which the independent State of Ghana will take over in its stride when it becomes independent.
I should not have thought that the cessation of the C.D.C.'s share in a development of that nature would be crippling in any way to the new independent State. It seems to me rather a paltry sum which the C.D.C. has invested in the country compared, for example, with the amount invested by the British Banks in the Gold Coast. I appreciate that that is a different type of investment, but surely it is on commercial investment and on commercial development that we must build the social development, such as roads and schools. It is only by sound commercial trade that this can be done. I see that the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) shakes his head. In my opinion the social development can be pricked like a balloon unless it has the basis of good, sound commercial development. For that purpose we need confidence brought to the new State of Ghana, so that the investing world can feel confidence in its stable development.
It was suggested earlier that because C.D.C. and C.D. and W. were drawing out we were showing lack of confidence in the new State. I do not think that is so. If C.D.C. and C.D. and W. were still to dabble in this new independent State, that would be more hampering to confidence than otherwise. Certainly confidence is required if Ghana is to develop.
I understand that at the moment the British Banks are restricting credit in the Gold Coast and are moving out economically as we move out politically, which seems to me the wrong objective. As we move out politically and give independence to a Colony, surely we should move in economically and financially to assist it in its new position in order 1196 that the ties of Commonwealth may move from the political bonds to the practical commercial ties which are of benefit to both parties—the ties of investment and of trade. If the British banks are adopting this rather scared attitude, then their place may be taken by the Gold Coast National Bank—quite rightly, but it will do so with dollars; and I am not even sure that their place will be taken by the Gold Coast National Bank, for I think it is more likely to be taken by the Continental banks. We shall thus be losing those ties which we ought to keep. Can the Government do anything about this?
I hope that I am not straying too far from Clause 3 (4), but what I am suggesting is that something must be put in the place of the Government investment and that we must look to institutional and private investment.
Mention of the Export Credits Guarantee Department was cast off rather lightly by the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand). He said, "Of course, this exists at present. Anyone who wants to sell goods there can take out a policy with that Department at present." It is not as simple as that. Of course, it is a simple procedure if one is manufacturing goods here and selling them abroad, whether it be to the Gold Coast, to Cuba, or Brazil. While the goods are here, a policy will be issued and will hold good, because at any moment that Government Department, the E.C.G.D., can take the goods if the money is not paid by the purchaser.
That Department's policy, however, does not fit development in, for example, the Gold Coast. One might wish to undertake the development of a housing estate there. Indeed, that is the sort of development which C.D.C. might undertake. It could quite well be undertaken by private money from this country. We have the executive brains and the skill to do it, and we have the money which is willing to develop the Gold Coast, provided it has a certain backing by the Government here.
That backing can be provided by a proper E.C.G.D. policy. After all, that Department was created to undertake certain political risks. It is not being cowardly on the part of those who want to develop the Gold Coast to say, "The risk there is political. We can fight it 1197 out commercially if you give us an export credits guarantee policy which will fit the type of development to be undertaken there."
Again, the present type of policy is quite all right if one is making cars here and exporting the whole car. One gets paid for the car before it leaves the country. But if it is decided to set up an assembly plant in the Gold Coast, to make the components here and assemble them there, this Export Credits Guarantee Department policy just does not fit the case. If it were made to fit such cases, the money would be available from here, canalised either through C.D.F.C., or through some new Commonwealth organisation, or by separate and private investment. If there were just that backing, investment would go into the Gold Coast, and we would have a far greater development than C.D.C. has ever thought of obtaining.
Imaginative use was made of the E.C.G.D. in Pakistan. We saved Pakistan from disaster. There can be an imaginative development of E.C.G.D. for the Gold Coast as a backing for the money and brains that can go from this country privately, and from institutional and Government sources.
§ 8.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Brockway
The hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Page) has used an argument similar to that which he put forward on an earlier Amendment. He has said that this Amendment really matters very little, because the amount is insignificant. Many of us on this side also recognise that this help has been insignificant, but, contrary to him, we have constantly urged that it should be increased. Therefore, those of us who have urged that these amounts should be much larger have every justification for urging that they should be continued, in the hope that we may have more success in our pleas in the future than we have had in the past.
I recognise at once that the difference between the attitude of the hon. Member and that of those sitting on this side is much wider than the Floor of this House. In effect, he has argued that it will be sufficient so long as we have public funds which assist private investment; that it will be quite enough, if the proposals for public assistance are withdrawn, that 1198 there should simply be public backing of investment in private industry.
I tell him at once that if he has that hope in Ghana, he will be very deeply disappointed. Ghana will not be another Northern Rhodesia, where his policy of private investment means that every year one-third of that country's total wealth goes to financiers in Europe and America. That will not be the situation in Ghana. It will be found that the political independence which Ghana wins will be followed by true economic independence, in which its resources will be owned by and used for that country.
§ Mr. Brockway
No. The hon. Gentleman has heard me remark before that, under existing conditions, a certain element of private investment will, of course, he necessary. What I say to the hon. Member is that the difference between this side of the House and that is that we want public funds for the public benefit—the hon. Gentleman puts a question to me and does not even listen to the answer.
§ Mr. Brockway
What I was saying to him was that the difference between that side of the House and this is that they are seeking public assistance to back up private enterprise and private profit. This side seeks public assistance so that in those countries there may be public effort for the benefit of the whole of the people there. That is the fundamental difference between us.
The speech of the Minister of State consisted of two sections. The first was a long list of organisations which will still be available in Ghana. That part of the argument was completely destroyed by the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand), whose speech indicated that that long list of organisations will not in the least be a contribution to Ghana in the future from which Ghana could not benefit now. There was nothing new in that list. All the assistance from those organisations listed can be given at this moment.
The only new suggestion made was that there will be a discussion between the Commonwealth countries. That was 1199 promised as a result of the debate last Friday week. There will be a discussion between the Commonwealth countries, and then we will seek some solution of the problem. In his innocence, the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett) was satisfied with that promise so long as there would be a guarantee that it would be carried out. I want to ask the Minister for another assurance; not merely that those Commonwealth discussions will take place, but that between now and 6th March, and on 6th March—when Ghana obtains its independence—the assistance now given will be maintained until the new Commonwealth machinery comes into operation.
An instance has been given where further assistance has been refused because of the new policy embodied in the Bill. I can give other instances such as, for example, the case of a co-operative organisation in Ghana which hoped to get the kind of assistance which at present comes from the Colonial Development Corporation but which, because of the policy adopted in the Bill, is not likely to get that assistance.
I ask the Minister to say that, pending the operation of the machinery which will come from consultation between the Commonwealth Governments, he will give an undertaking that, between now and 6th March and after 6th March until the new Commonwealth assistance is available, aid to Ghana will be maintained on the basis of the Colonial Development Corporation or a similar body under any other name.
If the Minister is not prepared to say that that assistance will be continued, then we shall have to oppose him on this occasion as we opposed him on a previous occasion.
§ Mr. Maclay
Perhaps I might put the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) out of pain right away. I do not think I can possibly give him the undertaking for which he was asking. I say that quite frankly, because it would he unwise and misleading to go on with the rest of my speech on any understanding that I could give that undertaking. I thought I ought at once to put the hon. Member out of pain on that matter.
§ Mr. Maclay
Out of suspense. I meant that I would put him out of the pain of wondering what I was going to do.
To my hon. Friend the Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett), I can, of course, give the positive assurance that Commonwealth consultations will go on. We are not just saying these things in order to get through the debates. The consultations will gone on. What will come out of them, of course, one cannot possibly forecast, and it would be quite wrong to try to do so.
Mr. Creech Jones
We have heard a great deal about these Commonwealth consultations. It would interest us to know precisely what it is the Government are going to consult the Commonwealth nations about. I take it it is not only a question of capital and investment. Is it a question of creating some new Commonwealth machinery, for instance something of the Colombo machinery kind, which will have a much wider field of operation, technical assistance, training, and research as well as financial assistance, in helping these emergent Colonies now becoming independent inside the Commonwealth?
I have listened throughout this debate most anxious to know what the intention is. A number of hon. Members have spoken about consultation, but up to now no one has been good enough to tell us what the consultations are to be about.
§ Mr. Maclay
I am advised that the first stage of these consultations will undoubtedly be devoted to asking the Commonwealth countries for their reactions in general to what was said in the debate on Friday, 30th November. That is obviously the point of departure. The discussions arose out of that debate, and doubtless the discussion during that debate will be brought to their attention also. The first stage will be to find out from Commonwealth countries their reaction to those proposals. Beyond that, I do not think we can go at this stage.
§ Mr. Marquand
Will the question put to them include the question whether they are in favour of converting the Colonial Development Corporation into a Commonwealth Development Corporation? This was the subject of an Amendment moved by my hon. Friend 1201 the Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson), which he did not press during the debate; but it was certainly one of the important subjects discussed during the debate and one on which, I thought, he received a great deal of support from hon. Members on both sides.
§ Mr. Maclay
I really cannot go farther than I have done. I have said that the content of that debate will be discussed with the Commonwealth, and everything which came up in it is obviously included in the content. I am giving away a great deal.
§ Mr. J. Johnson
I understand that there is a committee consisting of all the High Commissioners of all the Dominions, with Sir Gilbert Rennie, the Commissioner for the Federation of Central Africa, in the chair. Can the Minister tell us when we shall have some data or facts about this? It is an important matter in view of what has been said. What has not been said is something about the agencies which are going to give some help to these emergent Colonies.
§ Mr. Maclay
I am afraid the point is a new one to me, coming in the middle of my speech. That is more or less a standing committee. If I can get any further information, of course I will let the hon. Member have it after the debate.
Turning to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand), may I say to him that I only got back last night from Singapore and I was not privileged to hear the discussion on Second Reading; but, having been in contact with some of the Ministers of the present Gold Coast Government and knowing a little about that country, I find this to be a disturbing debate to listen to. It seems to me that hon. Members opposite are implying that the Gold Coast is not really ready to take its place as an independent nation. [Interruption.] Yes, that is the impression; and the effect of what they are saying could be understood in that way.
I ask hon. Gentlemen to think about this carefully. Clearly, if a nation is reaching independence, I accept that we must do everything we can to help, as we all agree, in the period of emergence and in the early stages of independence. We have said repeatedly from this Front 1202 Bench that we want to do everything to that end, consistent with independence.
The general line of discussion has proceeded as though the fact that C.D.C. funds were not going to be available for this new country was a disaster for the country. That is really what one would have thought from listening to this debate during the last half-hour. That is a very dangerous and misleading impression to create. The country has large resources. I admit that one of its main exports is liable to fluctuations in price, but as a country it has substantial resources. Its future must depend on the rest of the world, the investing world, wherever it may be, having confidence in the country and putting money into it. If we propagate this general idea that it must have continued C.D.C. and C.D.W. support, that is really not very much comfort for those people who will invest in it. It does raise doubts.
§ Mr. Sorensen
The Minister does not support his case by exaggerating. We said ten years, not indefinitely.
§ Mr. Maclay
No, I am not really exaggerating. Hon. Members opposite have created that impression, certainly upon me as I listened closely to this debate.
Again, although the hon. Gentleman the Member for Eton and Slough will come back at me about this, let us remember that so far the amounts of C.D.C. funds which have gone to Ghana are really very small. There is the scheme I mentioned and the other road scheme mentioned, a sum of £202,000.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
Does the Minister suggest that the fact that the C.D.C. put £l5 million into development in Central Africa is a warning to investors not to go there?
§ Mr. Maclay
That is a very curious inversion of a perfectly valid argument I was advancing.
If it helps at all, I will accept that I must not exaggerate. Equally, I would ask that hon. Members opposite should not exaggerate. It really does damage instead of helping, and we all want this debate to be of help. Having said that, I repeat that the extent of what has gone in so far from C.D.C. funds is not all that great.
1203 A question was raised concerning what would happen about the cement factory. I cannot answer for what the C.D.F.C. will do—it is a matter for the Corporation—but I am advised that the Government of the Gold Coast is already in touch with the C.D.F.C. on matters generally. I do not know whether this project has been discussed, but there is no reason to assume that something cannot be done.
The right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones) earlier today raised the question of whether C.D.F.C. funds could be available for that particular project because of an interest by a company. I am told that that would not make any difference if other things were equal. I have made inquiries concerning that since the right hon. Gentleman spoke. I cannot at the moment say that the C.D.F.C. will do this job. All I am saying is that that other interest does not prevent the Corporation from doing it.
I have covered a good many of the points which have been made. I began by saying that I could not possibly give the guarantee for which the hon. Member asked, but I repeat that I and my right hon. Friend and my colleagues on this side are just as concerned as any right hon. or hon. Member opposite with the future economic success of the Gold Coast. After all, it was my right hon. Friend who introduced the Bill. Tribute has been paid to him for his work on it in months gone by and to others before him. Would he have introduced the Bill if he was not in every way as anxious as any right hon. or hon. Member opposite to see the ultimate complete success of the Gold Coast as an independent country?
§ Amendment negatived.
§ The Chairman
Does the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand) wish to move his Amendment?
§ Mr. Marquand
If we had had the advantage of the presence of the hon. Member for Somerset. North (Mr. Leather), whose remarks I really wanted to hear. I would have moved my Amendment; but as the hon. Member is not here, I will not detain the Committee any longer.
§ Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.