§ 3.50 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd)
As the Committee knows, I am at present somewhat preoccupied with the affairs of West Africa. I am grappling with a conference of some 82 delegates and advisers from Nigeria. Now I have for the moment to turn my attention from West to East and Central Africa. It is not for me to make any comparisons on Africa.
1086 I certainly do not share Sergeant Davy's view that the further he went West the more convinced he felt that the Wise Men came from the East. I have certainly found a lot of wisdom—and much of it does not reach the headlines—in East and West and Central Africa.
I hope that one result of the debate will be to dispel the idea held by at least one hon. Member opposite that my Department, because of what the hon. Member called its diminished responsibilities, should be added to another Department. This debate is on racial policy in the Central African Federation, in Kenya, and in Tanganyika. The Federation occupies a special place in the British Commonwealth and is on a very different footing from Kenya and Tanganyika. The Federation, as the Committee knows, is not sovereign, and pledges on this subject have been given in unmistakable terms during debates on federation in both Houses. Those pledges arc enshrined in the Preamble to the Constitution.
However, if the Federation is not yet sovereign, it is largely self-governing in internal affairs. I retain certain responsibilities and, despite the rather hysterical letter in The Times a few days ago, I continue to do so in respect of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. In some other matters the Constitution itself reserves final powers to my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary will wind up the debate tonight.
Unless they come within my responsibilities in the Northern Territories, most of the subjects with which we are concerned in considering racial relations do not come within the responsibility of the United Kingdom Government. The Constitution of the Federation, as the Committee well knows, contains important provisions for the protection of African interests. It is very important that we should all realise that it would be contrary to the spirit of the Conventions which govern our relations with the Central African Federation if we on this Committee discussed the internal affairs of the Federation. I know that many hon. Members realise that problems of racial discrimination cannot be solved by debate here, but only by mutual confidence there.
1087 Those who discourage anybody in the Federation from looking to the Federation Government and to the territorial Governments as the natural focus of their loyalties in the wide range of responsibility devolved on those Governments are not choosing the best way of building up mutual confidence in the Federation. Such an attitude is, in the view of the British Government in the United Kingdom, harmful to the real interests of Africans.
I imagine that the debate will range over race relations in economic and social affairs and also over the broader question of multi-racialism or partnership versus African nationalism as the proper basis for constitutional development in Central and East Africa. On the problem of race relations, I hope that in the last two to three years I have made my own personal position clear. As far as I am concerned, it is quite a clear and simple issue.
Discrimination on grounds of colour is quite deplorable, and all rudeness is both stupid and offensive. It has been very well said that because the sources of racial prejudice are manifold and ubiquitous it can be successfully combated only by a fundamental attitude which penetrates and governs life in all its aspects. The poisoned atmosphere, it was said, could be replaced only by continuous draughts of fresh and clean air. Every individual is daily contributing, sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously, by his attitude and behaviour to the increase or diminution of racial animosities.
Nothing seems more ungenerous or unwise than to ignore the immense number of our fellow countrymen in the Federation and elsewhere who recognise this wholeheartedly and who are following these lessons, sometimes under circumstances of great difficulty, in their daily lives. I have never felt that it is a question which should be dealt with or could be dealt with by Government action. I do not believe that we can have Government action to deal with matters of this kind.
Certainly, the Government should take action where they are in a position to act themselves, for example, in settling the conditions of service, recruitment and remuneration in the public service in Central Africa and East Africa. Here, over the last few years, there has been very considerable progress.
1088 Another way I saw with great interest when I was recently in Northern Rhodesia. Hon. Members will know to what I refer.
May I say what a tragedy it is for all of us and for Northern Rhodesia and the Federation that Mr. Wroth, an excellent member of the Government of Northern Rhodesia, has died so suddenly and prematurely? The Government of Northern Rhodesia, with a number of people deeply conscious of their responsibilities, are now launching an experiment which is an attempt not to deal with racial discrimination by a Government fiat, but to set up statutory machinery which will help enlightened public opinion to bring itself to bear on problems which may arise of actual discrimination in practice in Northern Rhodesia.
Some of those people who are inclined to dismiss as non-existent the efforts of our fellow countrymen in Northern Rhodesia to deal with matters of this kind should follow with care this recent legislation. I and my colleagues will certainly watch with the greatest possible interest and sympathy to see how this plan works out.
In all matters of race relations there are certain dangers against which we have to guard. I agree personally, and I think that many hon. Members on both sides of the Committee agree, that an attempt to get rid of racial discrimination must itself be freed of all kinds of sentimentality, as in that way no real progress lies. A man who is a great friend of mine, and who is well known to many others and who has done as much as anybody over recent years to help in these problems, has lately written, and I commend it to hon. Members on both sides of the Committee, thatThere is such a thing as colour feeling in reverse. People who want to do good to another race tend to form an ideal picture of those belonging to it as all alike the innocent and patient victims of injustice and oppression.Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.
He went on to say that Dr. Thomas Jesse Jones, who made so notable a contribution a generation ago to thought about African education, used to dub these people, "professional sympathisers." We know some of them at close quarters inside the Committee, not always taking an active part in its affairs but usually 1089 doing so, and outside as well. "That attitude is not what is meant," as he rightly said, "by treating human beings as human beings. The true meaning of the latter is to treat people for what they are, irrespective of their race of the colour of their skin."
The other real danger into which many of us, I think, are sometimes apt to slip is the danger of getting this thing out of perspective, out of proportion. Most frequent visitors who have been recently in the Federation and in East Africa have come back with, I think, a recognition and understanding that there really has been a very considerable improvement in recent years in this matter and that there is a growing number of people anxious and ready to give a lead in the right direction.
Of course, any visitor is bound to come on instances of rudeness and stupidity, just as any visitor to the United Kingdom will find that among men and women of the same race, but I would, with great respect, suggest to hon. Members that the best way to handle these sorts of things is with tact and sympathy, and not with a superior feeling of moral indignation.
We here, in the comparatively cloistered calm of the United Kingdom, are far removed from the difficulties of life in modern Africa, and we find it hard to understand that just as Africans are faced with tremendous problems of mental and spiritual adjustment when plunged into Western education and the modern world simultaneously, so the members of the more advanced races in Africa are also faced with tremendous problems of adjustment as more and more educated Africans begin to emerge. This applies to men and women of our stock whether they are in the Highlands of Kenya, or farming in other parts in East or Central Africa, or whether they are miners from the United Kingdom, or the sons and daughters of miners who went out there to start the Copper Belt going and now see in African advancement what they imagine is a threat to their own way of life.
I recognise that there is a very real danger that not enough members of the advanced races will make this adjustment quickly enough and that the resentments that this will cause will encourage a growing tendency toward racialism from the other side. This is a very real danger which we should be most imprudent to 1090 ignore. I like many of my colleagues in Parliament—and in this matter I think we are colleagues, whichever side of the Committee we may sit—have had the opportunity in recent years of many talks with leaders of opinion in East and Central Africa, and they are well aware of this danger, whether they come from Kenya or Tanganyika, from the Northern Territories, from Southern Rhodesia or from the Federation itself.
I know that for one my friend, Sir Roy Welensky, is very conscious indeed of this danger. I believe that we shall best help these leaders of opinion if we send out to East and Central Africa from both sides of the Committee not a message of carping criticism or moral superiority, but a message of encouragement and good will.
Before I pass from race relations in general to what I believe to be the only hope of the future in East and Central Africa, that is, partnership as a basis for constitutional development, I should like to say one word about the Asian communities. Many Asians have been in East Africa for generations and have identified themselves wholly with East Africa and have given loyal service to East Africa and to the British Crown. The problems of race relations do not mean only resolving the differences and difficulties which may arise between Europeans and Africans. They mean also seeing that justice is done to the Asians, the people who, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) said just fifty years ago this summer, after he had been in East Africa,more than anyone else developed the early beginnings of trade in East Africa and opened up the first slender means of communication.Without the stimulus that those Asians provided in East Africa we of this generation should have had to have waited many more decades before African development could have reached its present stage of romantic and great possibilities. It would be, whether in Kenya, Tanganyika, the Federation, or Uganda, which is not covered by this Motion, very short-sighted indeed for any Government or group of people in those territories to belittle the contribution which those of Asian origin have made or can make, or to fail to recognise the enduring claim which they have to play their part in the multi-racial endeavour for the greater prosperity of all races.
1091 Now I pass to another aspect of this problem, which, I imagine, the Opposition have very much in mind, the multiracial or partnership approach as the basis for constitutional development in East Africa and in the Federation. I think it is important here to get one or two fundamental facts in our minds. One fundamental fact is that although in East Africa and in Central Africa, throughout the territories we are discussing, the majority of the population—a very great majority—are Africans and in most of these territories the non-Africans are only a very small proportion of it, none the less it is only the skills and capital of the non-African races which have enabled the present population and standards of living to be attained. We ought also to recognise that without these skills and capital it would be impossible for these standards to be maintained, let alone improved.
Anybody with my responsibilities, when faced with this undeniable fact, has to do all that he can to see that constitutional development does not take such a form or is not pressed on at such speed as will drive non-African skills and capital out of East or Central Africa. We have also got to realise—I am sure I shall have hon. Gentlemen with me—that non-African skills and capital are needed not because they are non-African but because they are skills and capital. This is sometimes hard, I think, for some people to understand.
It is no good ignoring the fact that in the territories which we are discussing today the number of Africans who are equipped to take their full place in a modern economy and a modern political organisation are still comparatively few. They are sometimes tragically few, but we have to do everything we can to make it easy or easier for these few to take their proper place, and we have to increase their numbers over the years by expanding education and by giving every possible encouragement to the emergence of more and more Africans with qualities of individual responsibility.
Like that of many of my colleagues in this Committee, my imagination was fired last year by the Makonde water scheme in Tanganyika, initiated by the driving force of Sir Edward Twining, the Governor of Tanganyika, whom hon. 1092 Members on both sides of the Committee are welcoming to London next week and in the next few weeks.
The Governor asked an eminent banker known to many hon. Members on both sides of the Committee how he felt the ladder ought to be built in Tanganyika whereby Africans could climb to what the Governor called "a share in the equity of Tanganyika," and the banker put the rungs in this order. He said that to him the most essential starting rung was cash crops. Next to cash crops, the second rung was land ownership and credit facilities and urban house ownership. The third rung would be share ownership; at the start, share ownership in projects close to their own homes where they could watch progress and identify themselves with the imaginative changes which are taking place.
One of the most heartening features of the history of East Africa in the last few years has been the expansion of paying cash crops grown and marketed by Africans in so many parts of the region, but it would be a mistake to imagine that these changes have come about very quickly. I am very sorry to say that I missed the recent lecture given in London by Mr. Swynnerton. I wish that I had been there, for I have the highest admiration for the wonderful work he has done and is doing in Kenya.
The June Report of the African Land Development Board contains some warnings. It shows us how the transformation now beginning and got off to a good start in the Kikuyu Reserve has taken twenty years among the Kipsigis which, as the Report quite rightly says, arean intelligent and co-operative tribe who started with no problems of fragmentation or land tenure.These dramatic changes in Kenya are due above all to a host of devoted agricultural and veterinary officers, often meeting the most stubborn opposition—some of it as, I regret to say, in the last few weeks from young African leaders sometimes politically inspired—solid indifference and disappointment after disappointment.
These men have been helped enormously, as they are the first to recognise, by European farmers and their wives, who have tried equally hard to teach modern methods of agriculture to the people 1093 whom they are proud to call their African friends, workers and neighbours. The result is that, especially in Kenya, we have now being made, I pray securely, the foundations of a stable economy in a stable agriculture, organised in a nonracial way.
If the first rung in the ladder of advancement is cash crops there are some encouraging signs there. In the Central Province of Kenya coffee production rose from 7,500 acres in 1955 to 12,000 acres, and where there were 5,000 African growers five years ago there are now 32,000—six times and more as many. The coffee nurseries now established will allow 5,000 fresh acres of African-grown coffee to be brought annually into cultivation. The 400 acres growing tea which the Africans now have in Kenya should be 3,000 acres in 1960. With this development, and all the hope for the development of Africans with a sense of responsibility and a stake in their own land has come, largely with its help, the growth of the African co-operative movement to which I gladly give credit. For example, the Meru Co-operative Union handles considerable sums of money, increasing from £12,000 in 1950 to £200,000 in the last few years.
Anyone who has seen the work on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro of the Chagga tribe will know what I mean when I say what hope lies in this sphere. In Tanganyika the area of cotton cultivation was 90,000 acres only four years ago. This year we hope that it will be 400,000 acres. Sixty per cent. of all that cotton is marketing and handled by co-operators, and African co-operative societies now run no fewer than thirteen ginneries in Tanganyika. When some of us in this Chamber tend to put too great an emphasis on politcal speeches by African leaders, I wish we would spare the time to read speeches made in the legislature by non-official members in Dar-es-Salaam asking for a study area by area of productivity in the whole country.
We can also watch what is happening under inspired leadership to the farming schemes run by the Tanganyika Agricultural Corporation. Many who felt their dreams evaporating with the failure of the groundnut scheme can take encouragement from the fact that there are 250 African tenants on these farms now and the prospects are good for future development.
1094 Passing from agriculture to industry, if we want to see the chances that are open in industry to Africans having "a share in the equity" we have only to turn to the opportunities now open in the Copperbelt because of the courage and imagination of companies like the Selection Trust and the Anglo-American group. Like many other hon. Members I have recently seen at first-hand the work of managers on the spot like Mr. Thomson and Mr. Bennett, to whom future generations of Africans will owe their first real chance to establish themselves as people of independence in the world. This scheme has got under way and several hundred Africans have progressed to advanced jobs. The Job Survey has also made a very good start.
If we are to encourage Africans to play a proper part in the government of their country, it is not only by chances of this kind in agriculture and industry that we must do it. We must do everything we can to see recruited when they are available, and as fully as they are able, into the Civil Service of the territories, likely Africans to help organise the complicated machinery of modern life. It is my profound belief, shared wholly by all my colleagues and, I think, the whole Committee, that no barriers of race, in name or fact, should exist in this field and that qualifications and ability, which must include character, should be the sole guide of advancement in the Civil Service of East and Central Africa. We believe that any temptation to lower standards in order to meet some particular complex in one's mind should be most firmly resisted in the interests of the Africans.
In East Africa, as the Committee will know, the Lidbury salary scales were adopted by the Government. There are now basic salaries applicable to men and women of all races with inducement allowances to attract the best people from the United Kingdom, but these inducement allowances not carrying with them any suggestion of higher status or authority. The Northern Rhodesian Government about two years ago made a very important pronouncement about the Civil Service, and in May of this year they announced the introduction of new posts open to Africans possessing certain qualifications. I know that last August we were all delighted when the Federal Government announced that there would be one Federal public service 1095 open to members of all races. This dramatic and most important announcement was received on all sides of the House of Commons with the welcome it deserved.
These steps, whether in industry, in agriculture or in the machinery of government, all in their different ways are increasing a new sense of responsibility among Africans. They are helping us along the road to associate African leaders more and more with responsibility for their own affairs, but doing it in such a way as to lessen and not increase racial tension and to give every encouragement to racial co-operation. In some parts of the territories this is called partnership. In some parts it is called multi-racial policy. In others it is called non-racial policy. I do not think that the phrases matter very much. What matters is that it is the general idea of treating a man on his own merits, of thinking in terms of rights and responsibility, duties and obligations rather than of one or the other of these pairs of policies.
The Committee will perhaps forgive me if I give one or two practical illustrations of what is happening in the territories concerned in this sphere of a multi-racial approach to constitutional problems. We had a debate in which East Africa played a considerable part as recently as 6th May. On that occasion I spoke of Tanganyika and of certain changes there. I said that we were very glad to be able to announce that a ministerial system was being created in Tanganyika and that six assistant Ministers were being appointed, of whom four were Africans, one was an Asian and one was a European. I had the Governer's authority to say that the people chosen for these six posts were those who, in his view, were the individuals best fitted by experience and interest to address themselves to the aspects of government concerned.
At that time there were difficulties in the Legislative Council over elections in specified constituencies. I see in an interesting leading article in the Manchester Guardian today which is a helpful and thoughtful approach to this problem, a query as to quite how it has come about that this difficulty in Tanganyika has been resolved. I am glad 1096 to say that by agreeing to have elections in all the constituencies, but spreading them over two years, there has now been unanimous approval in the legislature to this plan. There is agreement that for 1958 and 1959 elections will be introduced in Tanganyika for all the representative members of the legislative council under a system which, I believe, combines the allocation of seats by communities with a single common rule for people of all races who fulfil certain qualifications.
This is something I have long wanted to see started, as I know have many other hon. Members, and it must be a source of particular pride to the Governor that it has now been possible to promise it in Tanganyika. On how this works, and the lessons we learn from it, we shall be in a much stronger position to know what we should do in the future, both in Tanganyika and elsewhere, though it is a great mistake to assume that the problems are always the same, even if the territories are comparatively near.
§ Mr. A. Fenner Brockway (Eton and Slough)
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, simultaneously with this, the restrictions upon the Tanganyika African National Union are being withdrawn?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
No, Sir, that is not so. As I have explained, particularly in the debate on 6th May, the taking to itself by certain branches of the Tanganyika African National Union of the assumed authority of government has created a problem which is a genuine threat to peace and order and good government. Had the Governor, with my full approval, not taken strong action there, the hopeful signs of development, which the mass of the Africans want, would have been frustrated at the start. The way away from these regulations, which are as distasteful to me as everybody else, lies clear before the leaders of that union, and I hope they will profit by the lesson, which can clearly be shown, of the reactions of the mass of people of Tanganyika to the opportunities that lie open to them in a more fruitful field.
In Kenya we have a Council of Ministers on which, until recently, there sat unofficial ministers from three races, and on which it is still open to unofficial members from three races to sit. We 1097 have still in Kenya a communal system of elections and I am bound, naturally, by the undertaking given by my predecessor, Lord Chandos and repeated by myself, not to initiate steps to alter that system before 1960 unless there is agreement between the three races that it should be altered.
I know that a number of hon. Gentlemen opposite feel that there is a good case for such a change in Kenya, and the Kenya Government are doing everything possible to facilitate discussions between representatives of the different communities. In this case, and in at least one other case where these undertakings have been given by me or my predecessors, to promise stability for a period, I think it is right that they should not be regarded as precluding changes which aye genuinely wanted by all concerned.
I have, however, been very much surprised to find that some people seem to think that undertakings of this kind can be lightly thrown over under pressure from one side or another, even when one or more of the parties concerned would like to see them adhered to. If I were in any way to lend substance to the feeling that undertakings solemnly given on behalf of the British Government could he regarded as light and trivial, I would be doing a very great disservice to the cause of orderly progress.
Those of us who know Kenya fairly well know that there are not only three races but four races there. I am sure that a message of goodwill also will go from this House to our Arab friends on the coastal strip. Before the constitutional changes of last November, the leader of the Arab community the Liwali of the Coast, held only the position of personal adviser to the Governor on Arab affairs. As such, he was invited by the Governor to attend the Council of Ministers when Arab affairs were discussed, but by the November changes it was agreed that the Governor should appoint an Arab, who is a member of the Legislative Council, to represent Arab interests in the Council of Ministers. This Arab, the Liwali of the Coast, now has, and exercises, the right to attend any meeting of the Council of Ministers and to participate in all discussions in the Council, with a status equivalent to that of other ministers, though not a minister 1098 himself. I am sure that all who realise the contribution which the Arab interests can make, and have made, will be glad that this is so.
Finally, a word on the constitutional position of the Federation—
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
Before the right hon. Gentleman leaves Kenya, may I ask whether, although we all recognise the difficulties of making changes before 1960, it is not of great importance to begin negotiating now, indicating what the changes will be in 1960, and further indicating that those changes may be necessary even if there is not consent from all parties?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I certainly interpret the undertaking I gave, and which my predecessor first gave, that changes would not be initiated unless there is readiness by all the communities that they should be initiated. I feel it would be just as much a breach of that undertaking to start preliminary talks, as to have the actual substantive talks if they came from government initiative alone.
§ Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly)
The right hon. Gentleman has referred to the pledge given, and I appreciate that it must be observed. It would be of advantage to the Committee if he could tell us in what precise terms that pledge was given, because it is important.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I have not got the actual words by me, and on a matter of this importance the precise words should be quoted. I will ask my hon. Friend, when he winds up the debate, to quote the exact words, to which I myself gave reiteration when I was first in Kenya as Secretary of State. The general intention of the words was quite clear, that while we would not rule out changes, we would be glad to listen to any suggested changes which have the support of all the communities. The Government of Kenya or the Government of the United Kingdom would not themselves initiate any changes.
Finally, a word on the constitutional position of the Federation. The Governors of the two Northern Territories are holding discussions there about the future of their own territorial constitution. Naturally, I had talks with the Governors when I was there and with leaders of opinion in all the communities. I know 1099 that the aim of the Governors of Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia is to devise proposals which would be calculated to increase inter-racial co-operation and to give a feeling of security to responsible people of all races.
As regards the Federation as a whole, insofar as it is proper for a United Kingdom Minister to answer, my hon. Friend will speak about the affairs of the Federation generally. I would urge hon. Members to realise the proper limitations of our responsibility in this matter, for without that recognition I think our friends in the Federation would have a genuine and legitimate grievance.
I should like to make one comment, as I have been talking about constitutions, about paragraph 10 of the communiqué which was issued after my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and I and the Under-Secretary of State had conversations last April with Sir Roy Welensky and with Mr. Greenfield. Perhaps I might again say what a pleasure it was to welcome them here and how impressed we all were by their understanding of the real problems of Central Africa and their readiness also to see our difficulties without in any way failing stubbornly to reflect, and rightly so, what they believe to be the views, desires and needs of their own people.
Sir Roy told us that the Federal Government intended to introduce a Bill which would have the effect of increasing the total membership of the Federal Assembly in Salisbury from 35 to 59. He said that the number of ordinary elected members would be increased from 26 to 44, an increase of just under 70 per cent. and the total number of African members would be increased from six to 12, an increase of 100 per cent. Four of the African members from the Northern Territories would continue as hitherto to be elected by bodies designated by the Governor of Northern Rhodesia and the Governor of Nyasaland, respectively, as bodies representative of some Africans, but the six additional African members would be elected by a multi-racial electorate.
We told the Federal Prime Minister that proposals on these lines would be acceptable to Her Majesty's Government in principle, and a Bill to give effect to them has since been published and will 1100 now be considered in Central Africa in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Constitution. The Federal Prime Minister was not in a position to inform us of the Federal Government's definite proposals for the franchise, and I understand that discussions on this subject are still proceeding in Central Africa.
There is no Bill as yet in existence dealing with the franchise, and, therefore, I cannot at this stage make any statement as to what would be the attitude of the United Kingdom Government towards various schemes which have been mooted if one of them were now put forward. The Constitution of the Federation quite plainly puts responsibility on the Federal Government, and not on the United Kingdom Government, for initiating franchise proposals.
I have noted with great interest what the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) said recently in Salisbury, if he was correctly reported, that in the present state of development of the Federation a qualitative franchise was necessary. The right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), writing on 24th March this year in the Salisbury Sunday Mail, said that, while universal adult sufferage was the ultimate aim:… during the transition period there would have to be varying kinds of franchises adapted to suit the circumstances of each territory.These recognitions of what might be called the facts of constitutional life are a help to all of us, for I am sure we are all anxious so to advise our African, European and Asian friends in Central Africa and East Africa that there would, as far as possible, be the minimum of changed policy in the United Kingdom in the unlikely, and, to me, unhappy, event of a change of Government in Britain.
§ Mr. James Johnson (Rugby)
Will not the right hon. Gentleman agree that I never said that I was in favour of a two-tier system whereby the Africans, no matter how many millions of their voters there may be in the lower tier, never count for more than half of the Europeans who are in the upper tier of the two tiers?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
No doubt what the hon. Gentleman says is correct, but what I was concerned to elicit was that he said—he has not challenged it—that a qualitative franchise was necessary. As 1101 to whether the franchise proposals will command his support when they emerge, that is another matter, and we must wait and see what the proposals are.
§ Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East) rose—
§ Mr. Callaghan
No. I am sure that the Colonial Secretary will realise from what he has said that there is a close relationship between the franchise and the increase in the number of members to sit in the Federal Assembly. However, what might appear to be an increase in the number of African members could, in theory or in practice, turn out to be a reduction if the qualitative franchise was fixed at such a point that the number of Africans voting was far fewer than the number of Europeans. Consequently, I would put the following point to the right lion. Gentleman. Will lie in his conversations propose to Sir Roy that the implementation of the increase in the size of the Assembly should not come into effect until the franchise proposals have been agreed and put through?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I think it would be wise if I did not add much now. I would merely say that the relation between the franchise and the size of the Assembly was an aspect of the problem of which we were fully conscious and about which we held discussions when the Ministers from the Federation were here.
There is another important point of which I want to remind the Committee. It is very significant. It is one to which the United Kingdom Government attach a great deal of importance. Sir Roy assured us that in the Federal Government's eventual proposals British protected persons otherwise qualified would not be required to change their status in order to be elegibile for the Federal franchise and that qualification for the franchise would permit a reasonable number of British protected persons to acquire a franchise.
I know something of the intensity of feeling on this subject among Africans and also among Europeans, and I think we ought to pay a warm tribute to the 1102 imagination and steadfastness of Federal Ministers who have recognised our point of view in this matter and have stated emphatically the undertaking which I have just quoted. It is of the first importance. I am very glad indeed that they made such an unequivocal statement. I know that the Africans of the Northern Territories, who value their protected status very much indeed, will regard, and should be led by their leaders of opinion, whether African or European, to regard, this undertaking as a very considerable help.
The next step will be for the Federal Government, as soon as they have reached a decision on a detailed franchise scheme, to incorporate it in a Bill, which will then have to be considered, first in Central Africa and then by my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, under the procedure which was clearly laid down in the Federal Constitution.
I must apologise to the Committee for the lengthy speech I have made. I am afraid that I have taken up a great deal of the time of hon. Members, but the subject for debate is a very wide one. On how we fulfil our responsibilities in East and Central Africa will, I am convinced, in large part depend the judgment of this generation by future generations here and in Africa.
§ 4.38 p.m.
§ Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)
With what the Colonial Secretary has just said there will be no dispute. I should like to express our thanks to him for coming to the House this afternoon and interrupting his negotiations with the Nigerian leaders. We all appreciate how difficult it is to turn one's attention from one set of problems to another. I also especially thank him for having, from visual evidence, put his personal seal on the speech.
We understand the problems with which the right hon. Gentleman is faced. With a number of the sentiments expressed by him I find myself in hearty agreement. Indeed, if he will permit me to comment on his general approach and bearing, if buoyant optimism and good will could solve our problems in East Africa I believe there would be none left at the end of the right hon. Gentleman's tenure of office. However, I shall have 1103 to say later that I think he did not face some of the real problems that exist in these territories, and it is to these that I shall, in pursuance of my job, have to direct the attention of the Committee in due course.
The Opposition asked for the debate for two reasons. The first reason was that we wished to obtain the view of the Colonial Secretary about the agreement which has recently been concluded with the Federal Prime Minister in Central Africa. Secondly—this was, perhaps, just as important a reason—we asked for it because we believe that in the present state of African politics there is much to be said for the British Parliament stating its view about the relationship between Africans and Europeans, between black and white.
At a time when in parts of that Continent for which we are not directly responsible the screw is being turned, freedom of worship is being lessened and university apartheid is being encouraged and driven through, it is as well that the House of Commons should recognise what effect this is having upon Africans throughout the rest of Africa.
The tragedy of South Africa is not what is going on merely in her own territories, but the consequential effect which it is having upon territories for which we have a responsibility and the suspicion which it is arousing in the minds of many millions of people who look to the Colonial Office, or, indeed, to the Federal Government, for their future. For these reasons, therefore, we considered it desirable that we should hear the Colonial Secretary expressing the Government's views on the attitude of the British Government towards the proper relationship between the various races which make up the communities in Africa for which we have a greater or a less responsibility.
We in the Labour Party recently put out a document which sets out our views about the conditions and principles that ought to govern the transfer of power. They are worth re-stating here today so that they shall be fully understood and our approach to the problem shall be in no doubt.
First, we believe—I think we would carry the Colonial Secretary with us in 1104 this—that the foundations must be established for the growth of full democracy in these territories. That seems to us to be absolutely essential. Secondly, there should be no racial discrimination if transfer of power is to become effective. Thirdly, it is for all the people of those territories to determine what shall be the final form of the constitutional arrangements under which they are to live.
At the outset, we believe that it is universal adult suffrage which should determine the nature of the arrangements which are to be made. These seem to us to be principles which command support not only in the Labour Party, powerful though that may be, but throughout the great broad sections of Liberal opinion and, I trust, Conservative opinion in this country. Because we believe these principles are vital in governing our future relationships, we consider that they should be stated quite clearly.
The Government have recently had discussions with Sir Roy Welensky, upon which the Colonial Secretary has commented, and in the light of those discussions I should like to examine some of the principles that I have enunciated in four brief sentences.
Consider, for example, paragraph 10 of the communiqué, to which the Colonial Secretary drew our attention. Here is a proposal, as the right hon. Gentleman clearly said, both for altering the federal franchise and for enlarging the Assembly. The nature of the alteration of the franchise is vital in determining our attitude towards the enlargement of the Assembly, because any alteration of the franchise should, in our view, be of such a character as to make it more possible and not less possible for the Africans to play a larger part in the election of members to that Assembly. Therefore, the test that we shall apply to the proposals when they come before us is whether they achieve that end.
Although Sir Roy Welensky may be a very good friend of the Colonial Secretary—I do not wish to demur from anything that the right hon. Gentleman has to say about him—it is awfully difficult for him to persuade his African electorate or would-be electorate that the idea of the alterations of the franchise is to increase their share in the government of 1105 the country, or when he has to go to a by-election—and we all know what by-elections are like—to explain to his electors that what this enlargement of the franchise has meant in Southern Rhodesia is that only 600 Africans have managed to secure the vote in 33 years.
If he has to do this, on the one hand, to keep his European followers with him, how can he expect the Africans, on the other hand, to feel that extensions of the franchise will be weighted in the direction of enabling them to take a greater and not a less part in the government of the country, of which, as the Colonial Secretary rightly said, they form a vast and overwhelming proportion of the population?
My first criticism of the speech of the Colonial Secretary is that I am afraid the real dilemma in Central Africa has not yet been faced. As the African in the Northern Rhodesian and Nyasaland territories understands it, the idea of the Colonial Office was trusteeship to prepare him for self-government. When these territories came under the Colonial Office in 1923, there were, no doubt, merely a handful of Africans who had that conception. Now, however, that conception has grown wider, broader and deeper, and, of course, it has been greatly accelerated by what has happened in the State of Ghana.
On the other hand, we have a situation in which the Federation has been set up with a dominant white element—I am not attacking it; I am stating it as a fact—which is laying down as a condition for advancement of the Africans to partnership that they should be able to attain something close to the standards of the European settler who lives there. This presents a great dilemma if we are trying to yoke these oxen together. If Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland were moving forward, given what has happened in Ghana and what the Colonial Secretary is about to agree to in Nigeria, they could expect, within a reasonable time, whether they reached the levels of European administration or not, the right to run their own affairs.
What they fear—I derive this from my conversations with the Africans; although I have never had the privilege of visiting the territory, some of us hope to remedy that in the near future—is that federation will mean setting back their hopes of 1106 governing themselves and running their own affairs.
What is the answer to this dilemma that the Government have to offer us? Sir Roy Welensky says, "We require that the loyalty of the Africans should be directed to the Federation." One cannot require loyalty or command it; one can command subservience and obedience. We can only earn and deserve loyalty. The degree of loyalty that the Central African Federation will secure from the 6 million Africans who reside throughout the whole of its territories will be the degree of loyalty that it can command because of advancement that the Africans see to terms of equality at a pace not less than they could have secured had Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland been moving on and on.
The Africans see this as clearly as we do. Because they see it—we must face this as a fact—they are not reconciled to the idea of federation. To make up for my other deficiencies in never having been there, in preparation for this debate I have read all the debates which have taken place. A striking pattern runs through them ever since 1950–51 and many of the speeches read very well. I say that as one who has never before had the opportunity of making a speech on this subject.
There was undoubtedly a strong hope that once federation had got going and after the benefit of the economic advantages, to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred this afternoon, which has undoubtedly happened—the advancement and development of those territories on the economic side is astonishing—antagonism to the political concept of federation would die away. The Colonial Secretary did not comment upon it, but I do not think he could have told us that it had died away or, indeed, that it had lessened.
Making as honest an assessment as I can of the position in the Northern Territories, I would say that that antagonism is as great as, or greater than, it was at the time when the concept of federation was first translated into legislation in this Parliament.
§ Mr. Raymond Gower (Barry)
Would not the hon. Member agree—in spite of the fact that most of what he says commands the maximum amount of agreement from hon. Members on both sides 1107 of the Committee—that there is inevitably bound to be some slight divergence between the development of a country like Northern Rhodesia and that of a country like Ghana?
§ Mr. Callaghan
Of course, I would, and I shall come back to that point later. I fully recognise the position of the European settler in that country, and I realise that we have to protect him, but I want to state the conditions upon which I think that that can be done, and I shall do so later if the hon. Member will allow me.
I should like to give one short example of the reason why it is difficult to overcome the suspicions of the Africans. In Lusaka, so I am told—and I have seen evidence which persuades me that it is true—there was a proposal by the Catholic community to set up in the Northern Territories a multi-racial college—St. Augustine's College—for boys over the age of 15 whom they regarded as having attained the necessary educational standards. This project having been launched by the Jesuit Fathers, the Minister, Mr. Greenfield—whom I personally respect—made a speech in which he said that it was the policy of the Government that multi-racial education should not be extended below university level. Whether or not it was as a result of this speech, this project has come to an end.
The Africans in the Northern Territories argue with me—and I cannot refute their argument—that had there been no Federation they would have been free to go ahead, on the lines of the old Colonial Office administration, with their multiracial college, which would have had the effect of lessening tension. They argue with us, "How can it be said that federation is not hindering our advance? Federation is holding us back. What we fear is"—and I put their point of view strongly to this Committee because it must be recognised—" that the less liberal African policies of Southern Rhodesia will spread into the North rather than the more liberal policies of the Colonial Office spread into Southern Rhodesia, as a result of federation." This is the dilemma. Whether Sir Roy Welensky and his fellow Ministers will be able to overcome it before 1960 remains to be seen. If they do not the future of federation, whatever may be said dogmatically about 1108 its being settled policy, cannot be regarded as such by a great many people in this country.
In pursuance of our responsibilities towards these two Protectorates, I would like to ask the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations one or two questions. First, the Colonial Secretary did not refer to the position of the Copperbelt miners' leaders who were imprisoned and who were later rusticated to their villages and are forbidden to return from those villages. I believe that my hon. Friend the Member for Wigan (Mr. R. Williams) will have something to say about the legal aspects of that matter if he catches your eye, Sir Gordon. Although I am not competent to go into it, it seems to me abhorrent that a group of men, against whom no charge has been made—and apparently against whom no charge is going to be made—should be rusticated and forbidden to return to an area, apparently indefinitely, for no limit has been set to this period. Although I do not know at first hand the exact manner in which they are being rusticated, if such an action occurred and became well known it would cause considerable criticism in this country.
I now turn to the attitude of the Colonial Office to the African National Congress. Whether or not this Congress is liked by the Colonial Office, it exists. It is a large and growing movement, and it commands the support of a great many Africans. Can the Under-Secretary tell me whether the Colonial Office has a policy in its relations with this Congress? It seems to me that the Colonial Governors are putting the native authority chiefs, as instruments of policy, in a dilemma in this matter. If the native authority chiefs show sympathy with the Congress they lose favour with the district Commissioners. Evidence has been brought to me that some chiefs have actually been suspended from their posts. On the other hand, if the native authority chiefs spurn the Congress they lose contact with a great many of their people and have to rely upon the European district commissioners.
As I understand it, the native authority chiefs form an electoral college. They elect the next stage up in the Legislative Assembly. That is a political act, and yet, at the bottom, we are asking them to divorce themselves from politics and be 1109 neutral. The only political instrument I know of in these territories is the African National Congress, and I should like to know the attitude of the Colonial Secretary and the Government towards this body.
My view is that it should be our task to show sympathy to it and not spurn it—and in that way to encourage it as the only instrument of argument and voting through which we can channel and canalise racial tension. We should show it, through our policy, that it is our desire that such bodies should grow up and become responsible political parties, able to take their place in the scheme of things. But if they get letters from district commissioners, as they have done, saying, "I do not recognise the right of the Congress to speak on behalf of your people," they are merely being driven away from the democratic channels through which they might go forward into the staging of demonstrations and boycotts as the only way of showing their feelings.
I wish that the Colonial Secretary would take some time off, if he has not done so already, to sit down and think about the question whether the present policy which is being followed towards the African National Congress is really achieving the ends he wants to achieve.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
Perhaps I may follow the hon. Member's advice by getting up instead of sitting down to say that in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland the policy being followed with regard to each of the two African Congresses—there is no African National Congress as such; there are congresses in the various territories, and they are not necessarily connected—is now exactly the same. They are recognised as mouthpieces of African opinion and as bodies representing African opinion. As such they are brought into the picture, and as such I met their leaders, when I was in both territories last year.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I am glad to hear the Colonial Secretary say that, and I hope that it will be widely reproduced and specially brought to the attention of the Federal Prime Minister, who described these congresses recently as being seditious bodies.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
The fact that I see their leaders does not mean—I fear—that they are not seditious bodies. I should be flattered if I felt that a single interview that I had with them robbed them of any potentiality of sedition, or that one visit that I made, for one month, necessarily meant that whatever they did or said was within the law. I must make that clear.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I do not know which leg the right hon. Gentleman is trying to stand on; either they are responsible bodies which he is prepared to recognise as organisations for expressing African opinion, or they are seditious. They cannot be both. The Colonial Secretary has said that in his view they are bodies which can express African opinion. That seems to me to be a sensible view, and I hope that in his haste to defend the Federal Prime Minister he will not rush into saying that they are, at the same time, seditious.
I recognise the Colonial Secretary's difficulties, as I recognise the difficulties of the Federal Prime Minister, and I would not want to say anything that would make his task more difficult, especially remembering the by-election which he has on his hands. It would not be my desire to say anything that might be said to influence the result of an election there in any direction. Even though he hurled some insults at us in the course of one of his ebullient speeches, I take no offence. We have been called far worse things by members of the Conservative Party here.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
That is why we do so well at the elections. We do not mind while we are winning votes.
§ Mr. Callaghan
As my right hon. Friend says, we do not much mind what we are called as long as we go on winning by-elections as we are doing, while the party opposite is losing votes to the extent which it is. However, I do not think that this is very germane to the debate, and I have a feeling that we shall be interrupted soon. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Essex, South-East (Mr. Braine) is living on borrowed time in this House, and he should recognise it, and so is his hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Cooper), who is sitting next to him.
1111 Coming back to the major point, I feel that it is important that sympathy should be shown to the African National Congress, and that it should have the ear of the district commissioners as one of the bodies which can express African opinion. That is a sentiment with which I entirely agree. I should like to make clear that I welcome the statement by the Colonial Secretary that constitutional reform is being pursued by the Governor at the present time; that was what I understood him to say. I believe there is a substantial case in Northern Rhodesia for a much wider extension of the franchise—or indeed, an introduction of the franchise—in order to enable African members to be elected on a wide scale.
I want to devote my attention wholly to the Federation, because others of my hon. and right hon. Friends, if they catch your eye, Sir Gordon, will want to discuss the position in Kenya and Tanganyika, and I myself am not really competent to say much about either of those two Territories.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I am really not ready to argue with the hon. Gentleman about it. I hope I approach this matter in a spirit of reasonable humility, and I trust that other hon. Gentlemen will do the same, because I regard this as one of the most difficult problems which any Government has to tackle. In the comments which I am making, I wish to say that we must face the real issue and dilemma of the Government which is to try to get a reasonable settlement for all the races in these territories.
I should like to draw attention to a problem which The Times brought to our attention this morning. Sir Roy Welensky is quoted in the editorial in The Times this morning on the subject of partnership as saying:Partnership does not mean the lowering of standards. It means a man can have what he can earn.I think that what the Federal Prime Minister means is that the conception of 1112 partnership, as seen by himself and his friends, is that the Europeans set a certain standard or level, and that the Africans must attain to that level before they can be admitted as full partners. That is what I think he means by it. The Colonial Secretary, in using the word partnership, did not define what he meant, but it becomes quite clear more and more as we talk to people from these territories that this is not the only conception of partnership. [Interruption.] If I may say so to the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight, I am repeating what I am told.
§ Sir P. Macdonald
I suggest that the hon. Gentleman should make his visit to the territories and return here before he lays down things which he does not understand.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I should certainly make it my business to find out what I can when I visit the territories in August, but I do suggest to the hon. Gentleman that there are certain principles of political life that are universal, which apply not only in this country but throughout the world, and it is those principles which I am trying to discuss this afternoon.
Partnership, as the African sees it, has been greatly influenced by what has happened in the State of Ghana, and what he wants from partnership is not a long-term concept from which, in twenty or thirty years' time, as he approaches closer to the European standards which the European settler has set, he secures parity with him. He wants an immediate dividend, and this is indisputable. The question is how he is going to get it. He wants to see immediate results about the colour bar and adult suffrage introduced, or at any rate something very close to it, in the almost immediate future. He does not want to be regarded as a second-class citizen. He is not a second-class citizen in Ghana, and he sees no reason why he should be one in the Federation.
I shall be told that that it what the leaders or the handful of political agitators tell them, and that the mass of Africans themselves do not feel this way. The mass of people never felt like their leaders. Their leaders never are typical. I have never thought that the right hon. Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) 1113 was very typical of anybody in the land, but he could express in the summer of 1940 the thoughts and aspirations of a whole nation. It really is absurd to dismiss the inarticulate masses of Africans as not in agreement with the views of the so-called handful of hot-headed agitators, when this handful of people are expressing the unspoken aspirations of the people whom they lead. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for the Isle of Wight should either be quiet for a moment or two, if he can, or go out.
The African concept is that the Europeans—and we must face this issue—should take their places in an African State as a minority, as a privileged minority, perhaps, but as a minority, and that the Africans themselves should have the same opportunity of governing a State in which they are overwhelmingly predominant as they have already secured, or are at the moment securing, in West Africa. But the Europeans want a European society—a European society to which the Africans shall aspire.
Of course, the African has to make and is already making a great accommodation with twentieth century industrialisation, and to that extent the European has the merit on his side. I am certain that the African will not be content unless he feels that he has the same opportunity for advancement in a country in which he forms 95 per cent. of the population as he has in a country where he forms 100 per cent. of the population.
The Colonial Secretary, in a reply to a Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson), said that what my hon. Friend should do was to try to reduce the tension by taking certain steps. I put this to the Colonial Secretary and, indeed, to all hon. Gentlemen opposite, some of whom, I think, really do not understand this matter. If we want to reduce tension between races, the way to do it is to channel it into politics. If we are to rely upon Africans using only the weapons of the boycott—boycotting shops, demonstrations, invading hotels and boycotting buses—if these are to be the only methods, then I warn this House that there will be a growth of racial tension.
The real way, indeed I believe the only possible way, which we have before us, and it has been true in our own community and is true everywhere else, is to 1114 substitute for demonstration and boycott argument and the vote. This is the outlet for aspiring people to express their aspirations, and the only way that I can see, to put it in one sentence, is that democracy is the answer to racialism, whether black racialism or white racialism.
§ Mr. Callaghan
Yes, I know, and that is a question-begging word, too. It is like the word "partnership". I am not being unfair to the Colonial Secretary this afternoon; the right hon. Gentleman has many responsibilities. But partnership is also a question-begging word. On whose terms, on what basis have both words to be defined? Are the Government of Ghana responsible or not? Of course they are. Some hon. Members opposite may think not, but 99.9 per cent. of the people of this country think that Government are responsible; and the Northern Rhodesians and the Nyasaland people will say that they are quite capable of forming responsible Governments in a short time.
§ Mr. Braine
Repeatedly throughout his most interesting speech the hon. Gentleman has drawn a comparison between the independent Sovereign State of Ghana, which owes its independence to the fact that it was one of the most advanced Colonial Territories in Africa, and the Territory of Northern Rhodesia where people live who do not know that the spoken word can be written down or of such simple aids to living as the wheel, the plough or the loom. The two territories cannot be compared, and the two lines of advance cannot be compared. If this be so, a large part of the hon. Gentleman's argument falls to the ground.
§ Mr. Callaghan
It is eleven years since I was in the northern territories of Ghana and there one needs only go a few miles out of Bolgatana to see the level of advance which has been reached in that territory. It was so backward as hardly to have moved. But the pace at which events have moved in Ghana over the last eleven years would have been unbelievable to me when I was there in 1946.
The point I wish to put in reply to the hon. Member is that the same events 1115 will speed up what is taking place in these territories. I am not suggesting, and I wish to make it quite clear, that in Northern Rhodesia—indeed I do not think the Africans there would suggest it—or in Nyasaland the time is ripe for self-government. But they want to feel that conditions are being prepared for it. They do not feel that as things are at present. This is the basic dilemma with which we are faced when deciding whether federation is going ahead after 1960 or not.
I do not intend to back horses in Derby week, but I would say that Sir Roy Welensky and his Ministers have three years in which to win the assent of the Africans and so far as I can I have tried to lay down some of the principles which, if followed by him, might win a future for the Federation. I think it will be for the European element in the population to determine whether they have the foresight and the imagination to see that they win a position in these territories which they will not require to hold by force but which they will hold because of the trust and respect in which they are held. That, I think, is the future which lies ahead in the next three years, and time is running out very fast indeed.
§ 5.13 p.m.
§ Mr. Archer Baldwin (Leominster)
This afternoon we are discussing something of vital importance to East and Central Africa. A great deal of responsibility for the conduct of this debate rests on the House. Last Friday we had what was in my opinion a most interesting and valuable debate initiated by the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson). That debate was conducted at a high level and there was evolved what was as near as possible to a bipartisan policy to show to the Federation of East Africa. I hope that during this debate the high standard set on Friday will not be lowered.
We are bound to face the fact that at present the leaders both in East and Central Africa are asking for a bipartisan policy. The feeling between the races in these territories is not improving. A few days ago Sir Roy Welensky said there was a danger that the tendency was developing for the African to look over his shoulder to London instead of to the Government of the Federation. I hope that we shall abolish the idea that we in 1116 London propose to take on the responsibility of Government in those countries where we wish to see multi-racial self-government.
I wish to say something about Kenya. There we have seen in the last few months, since the election of several Africans to the Legislature, a situation developing which is going from bad to worse. At one time, before the elections, many of us met representatives of the Kenya Legislature here and we were all impressed at the advance made by the African in his outlook on colonial affairs. I was particularly impressed by O'Hanga who was, unfortunately, defeated in the elections, and the line he took at a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meeting. I thought that here was a sensible, level-headed man who could do a great deal to help multi-racialism in Kenya.
We are apt to forget the history of Kenya. Sixty years ago the African was living in a most primitive state. He relied on shifting cultivation. He was engaged in tribal warfare which kept down the numbers of the population, as also did disease. During those sixty years, and especially in the last ten or twelve years, great progress has been made. We must remember, as was said last Friday, that up to the outbreak of the Second World War the money available in Kenya from European settlement was extremely limited. We also have to remember that the future of these territories depends upon their economic position. The advance which has been made since the time when I first went to Kenya, and especially in the last eleven years, is, to me, extraordinary.
Do not let us get impatient about the position. It is not true to say that things are standing still. There has been a tremendous advancement. In the last few years we have seen some extremist settlers go out of Kenya and liberal-minded settlers, like Michael Blundell and his colleagues who wish to bring about multi-racialism take their place. Since the African elections we have seen something dangerous developing. I am glad that the hon. Member for Rugby called attention to the action of Tom Mboya and his Nyasaland Province colleagues and what they had been saying. I do not wish to refer to that further 1117 except to say that Tom Mboya is a clever, able young man and very ambitious. I shall defend him so far as possible by saying that, in my opinion, he may have been extreme in the action he was taking in order that he would be able better to argue with the European members of the Legislative Council when they met. I am glad to see that the African members are meeting the European members of the Legislative Council, and I can only hope that something will result from this. I think it of extreme importance.
§ Mr. J. Johnson
May I inform the hon. Gentleman that since the debate last Friday I have had a personal letter from Tom Mboya. In it he explains the situation, and I hope to be able to quote from the letter if I have an opportunity to speak later. Tom Mboya also published a longer letter in the Manchester Guardian explaining the whole of the circumstances of the allegations made against him by people in Kenya and quoted by the Manchester Guardian.
§ Mr. Baldwin
I am delighted to hear that. I read the report sent to me from a Kenya paper and also what was reported in the Manchester Guardian, and it struck me that there was an extremely dangerous situation arising in Kenya.
We must remember that Kenya and the Africans there depend largely on the amount of capital which will enter that Colony. Its economy is based almost entirely on agriculture, and therefore it is an economy which cannot possibly carry out all the requirements of raising the standard of living of the Africans to the extent which is desirable.
The leader in the Kenya Weekly News last week ended with these words:These are anxious days in Kenya, especially for those who realise how unexpected and most unreasoned folly can, at any time, throw backward African tribes into a state of confusion, violence and bloodshed.That is undoubtedly the case in Kenya. During the last few years investment in Kenya has dropped by a very large extent, and unless all races can work together and can produce a feeling of security it will be very difficult to get the necessary money made available for Kenya's economic development and the advancement of the standard of living of 1118 the African. I hope, therefore, that the result of the meeting now taking place will be that the Africans will accept positions in the Legislature and thus prove their worth from its benches rather than go out into the wilds talking to a mass of very primitive people. That is their only hope for the future.
I now want to turn to Rhodesia.
§ Mr. John Stonehouse (Wednesbury)
I wonder whether the hon. Gentleman would expand a bit on the point that he made about the co-operation of the communities in Kenya. Would he agree that one of the essentials of that co-operation is the opening up of the unused land in the Highlands for farming development by all communities?
§ Mr. Baldwin
I did not deal with that matter because I did not think that I had the time in which to do so, but I would remind the hon. Gentleman that sixty years ago the Highlands were unpopulated except for the ever shifting tribes. In those days it was frequented by the Masai and the Kikuyu, and the Masai raided the Kikuyu because they wanted their women. To say that the Highlands ever belonged to the Africans is not correct. There was no land which belonged to them. With shifting cultivation they eroded a piece of the Highlands and then moved on somewhere else, and then did the same thing again. It was only after the Europeans got there and stopped them fighting that the position which exists today was brought about. Erosion has been going on for too long.
At the moment, a tremendously good job is being done in land consolidation in the reserves as a result of which the output from agriculture in those reserves will be enormously increased. My right hon. Friend mentioned the matter of coffee. It is astonishing how since 1945, when only a few acres of land were producing coffee, that crop has been increased. It is bringing tremendous wealth to the African. He is taking advantage of it by forming his co-operative societies and organisations to harvest the crop.
I hope that it will not be repeated that the Europeans went to Kenya and stole the Highlands from the Africans. Land is available in the Highlands, and I have no doubt that in due course it will be made available to the Africans after they have proved themselves as cultivators. At 1119 the moment, however, I do not think that that would be desirable. We must remember that today there are more Africans in the Highlands than there were when we first went there sixty years ago. They are employed on the farms there.
I must say that I am not in love with the system under which the Africans live in the Highlands. I think that the squatter system wants doing away with entirely. I should like to see a system of villagisation in which the Africans can have their schools, hospitals and sports grounds, etc., and, what is more important, a small plot of land which they can cultivate. They should have a feeling of security and know that when they reach the end of their working life they will not be kicked back into the reserves. That is essential for the welfare of Africa generally, and particularly of the Highlands where labour is required.
I now turn to the question of Rhodesia, which I visited in company with the hon. Member for Bristol, North-East (Mr. Coldrick) who, I hope, will take part in this debate. We went there as a Parliamentary delegation to produce a report on whether we considered federation was right or not. We produced an agreed report which, I am glad to say, was published. We unanimously agreed that federation would, on the whole, be to the good of Central Africa. We came to this conclusion after we had been in the territory for something like four or five weeks during which time we met representatives of almost every organisation that existed there. We met representatives of the Girl Guides, the Boy Scouts, the women's institutes, mine owners and workers' unions and coloured people's organisations, and so on.
I wish to try to put right something which I said during the debate on the investment of capital in Central Africa a few weeks ago. I then gave the impression that the standard of life of the African in Rhodesia was a low one. It is a low standard for many Africans, but, at the same time, there are may other Africans who enjoy a very good standard of living. It is surprising to know that some Africans in Rhodesia are making an income of over £1,000 a year. I met one of them.
§ Mr. Baldwin
I do not know how many, but if some can make an income of over £1,000 a year it shows that the possibility exists for others who so desire to do the same. The Prime Minister of Rhodesia told me when I was there that he had told the Africans that they must prove themselves economically, that he regarded economic advance more important than political advance.
In my opinion, the condition of the African in Rhodesia was better than anywhere else in East or Central Africa. I had the privilege of visiting the Copperbelt which has frequently been criticised in this House. I saw what the mine owners were doing by way of providing houses for their workers. They were encouraging the workers to remain on the spot in the houses instead of being migrant labourers coming from the reserves to work for nine or ten months in the year and then returning to the reserves. They were encouraging them to be house proud. The manager of the estate told us that houses of two different values were being built. When an African first started work in the Copperbelt he was given a house of two rooms. If he proved to have any ambition he was rewarded by being given a better house. That was done to encourage him to improve his standard of living.
It is no good saying that the African worker has not been able to improve his standard of living in the Copperbelt. When we were there we were told that if the present attitude of the Mine Workers' Union was maintained there would eventually be bloodshed. The European Mine Workers' Union was very bitterly against the African getting any advancement at all. I am very glad to know that since that day the European miners and the African miners have got together to a very large extent and that it is now possible for the African worker, if he has the ability to move forward, to get a better job and higher wages.
We also had the privilege of seeing a new town where houses were being completed for the Africans at the rate of one a day. They were very nice little houses which were being built by Africans supervised by European foremen. It is true that there were almost as many Africans putting tiles on the roofs as there were tiles, but that did not matter. A complete new town was 1121 being erected for Africans. The main town was called Umtali. It had a sports ground and a hall which would be the envy of many provincial towns in this country. Therefore, those who think that the Rhodesian people are not helping the Africans should spend a month there—not going to see just what they want to see, but seeing some of the other things which are taking place there. I am quite certain that if they did that, when they came back, if they were fair minded, what they would have to say about it in this House would be completely different.
With regard to the question of universal franchise, this is art extremely difficult matter. It is quite obvious that universal franchise must be long-distance. I am not one of those who say that there should not be qualified franchise. I very often think that there is room for a little more qualification in this country. [HON. MEMBERS: "That is Hornsey."] The qualification is that at least people should be able to write their name and count up to ten. Sir Roy Welensky is bringing forward something which will be extremely important to the Africans. I think that it is quite wrong to compare Ghana with East and Central Africa. There never will come a time when Ghana and Central Africa will be the same. We have to work multi-racially or there is no future for the Africans at all or for the Europeans if we keep them always building on the idea that at some time in the near future the Africans are to get universal suffrage and the Europeans are to be turned out. The Europeans are there and will remain there, and they will not be kicked out by Government in this country or in any other way.
§ Mr. Callaghan
It is all very well for the hon. Member to say that it is no use comparing the two. I am saying that this comparison is being constantly and increasingly made by the Africans. How is he going to convince the African that his comparison is wrong?
§ Mr. Baldwin
He has to be convinced by such men as Sir Roy Welensky and Lord Malvern. They are prepared to see the Africans advance, and we must have patience in this job.
The right hon. Member mentioned multi-racial education. It has been sug- 1122 gested in this House that the multi-racial college at Salisbury is the wrong idea, that it should be possible for all races to mix freely in the dining rooms and sleeping quarters. But if that had been insisted on it would have meant that there would have been no Europeans going to the university.
§ The Temporary Chairman (Mr. Frank Bowles)
Order. I must point out to the hon. Member and to the Committee that any reference to higher education in the University College at Salisbury is out of order because it is a matter for the Federal Government and not for the Colonial Secretary.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
May I ask you, Mr. Bowles, to bear in mind that the university in Rhodesia is being helped financially by this country and by this Parliament and since we are contributors towards it under the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund for which Parliament has to vote the money, may I respectfully submit that reference to that university is in order because we have our responsibility towards it?
§ Mr. Bowles
It is a difficult matter, but I have been given some instructions by the Deputy Chairman. On 9th April, the hon. Member for Deptford (Sir L. Plummer) asked a Question of the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations. He asked:… on what basis the selection of students is made by the College Council of the University College of the Federation of Rhodesia; and to what extent it is proposed to increase the proportion of African and Asian to European students.The Under-Secretary of State replied:These are not matters for which Her Majesty's Government are responsible. The selection of students is a matter for the College Council, which is governed by the Charter of the College. In these, and in other matters, the College is autonomous."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th April, 1957; Vol. 568, c. 107–8.]May I also point out to the right hon. Gentleman that in the Second Schedule of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (Constitution) Order in Council, 1953, there is a long list of matters in which it is left for the Federal Legislature to make its laws and one of the matters, as he will probably remember is number 31:Higher education (including higher education of Africans), that is to say, institutions or other bodies offering courses of a university, technological or professional character.
§ Mr. Griffiths
I am much obliged to you, Mr. Bowles, but may I direct your attention to the fact that any grant from the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund cannot be made for any purpose unless it is operated in Commonwealth territories? If the Government have made a grant outside those terms, they have made a grant outside the law. Therefore, if we are making a grant to this university we are making a grant which brings it within the perview of the Colonial Office. In making this grant towards this university it brings it within the responsibility of the Secretary of State for the Colonies and within the authority of this House. The question which my hon. Friend the Member for Deptford (Sir L. Plummer) asked, and to which a reply was given, was about the selection of students. I could quite understand the Minister saying, "I am not responsible for that," because the university is an autonomous body selecting its own students, as in the case of our own universities. The question of the selection of students would be out of order, but questions about general policy would, I think, be in order.
§ Mr. Bowles
I wonder if the Colonial Secretary could help me on this matter. He may possibly confirm what the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) has said, and if he is right then I am wrong and the hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. Baldwin) would be in order.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I am reluctant to feel, but I think that I am right in feeling, that I should not be able to get up in this House and make a speech saying exactly what I feel about the University College and its brilliant principal, Professor Walter Adams. I should very much like to be able to catch the reflected glory. It has got off to a splendid start. But I think, Mr. Bowles, that your Ruling was right and that we cannot discuss these affairs here. Her Majesty's Government agreed to contribute £1¼ million through the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund, and more recently there has been a further allocation of £150,000, making a total of £1,400,000 from United Kingdom funds. Despite that fact, I understand that we cannot discuss the affairs of the university in this House, but I am not myself in a position to advise you, Mr. Bowles, beyond that, except to say 1124 that whether we discuss it or not and whether it falls to my responsibility or to that of my right hon. Friend, I think that the way it is tackling this responsibility is beyond praise.
§ Mr. Griffiths
May I put it to you, Mr. Bowles, and through you to the Colonial Secretary who has told us that £1½ million has been granted towards this university, that we are entitled to ask the right hon. Gentleman who spends the £1¼ million how he spends it?
§ The Temporary Chairman
In view of what has been argued, I think it is probable that the hon. Member for Leominster would be in order to refer to the university's affairs, but not to deal with the selection of students.
§ Mr. Baldwin
The University of Salisbury has been regarded as a step towards bringing the races together. If it proves to be successful at Salisbury I want to see it working in Kenya, in the secondary schools, and so forth. It is through the younger generation that we shall build up a multi-racial society. Some of the old diehards are beyond redemption and we shall never get them with us. We sympathise with them, but we must not let them jeopardise what we want to do.
Now I would say something about the African Congress, which the right hon. Gentleman mentioned. He touched upon something which is extremely difficult. I quite agree with the right hon. Gentleman that the leaders in Africa had better sink some of their differences and endeavour to co-operate with that Congress. I have had some contact with this matter and I have some knowledge of how difficult the Congress can be.
In all the meetings that we had in the Federation about four or five years ago, the only unpleasant one was the last meeting we held in Nyasaland. The D.C. who organised the meeting said that he was sorry to say he was bound to agree that members of the Congress should come to the meeting, as otherwise, there might be trouble. There was a certain amount of trouble. When the African Congress came to the meeting it dominated it, and local Africans had no say whatsoever.
We realised that the D.C. was right. While the meeting was being carried on we saw on the green outside the meetinghouse a body of toughs who would have 1125 made it very difficult if their leaders had not been inside talking to us. That showed to me that they were difficult. We must face that fact, but we must not treat Congress as though it did not exist. I was very glad to hear from my right hon. Friend that Congress is to be treated as representative of some of the Africans.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
This is rather important. I would make it once more quite clear that the attitude of the Governments of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland is that Congress in the two territories represents some Africans, their members, but not all Africans. They are ready to hear what it has to say in regard to its members whom it represents. The appropriate organs through which the Governments will consult African opinion in the two territories as a whole are African members of the Legislative Council, the African Representative Council in Northern Rhodesia and the African provincial councils, in both territories, and similar bodies.
§ Mr. Baldwin
That statement has made the position quite clear. We have to face the position as it exists and will exist, and it is no good ignoring it. We have to realise that Congress has a certain amount of force, not as much as it sometimes says, because its membership is extremely small, but it can be helpful. I hope that the result of this debate will not make it more difficult for liberal-minded people in the East and Central African Territories to bring about multiracial agreements. We must take on a great sense of responsibility in carrying this policy through over the whole field. As a result of this debate, I hope that East and Central Africa will agree that there is a certain amount of bipartisan policy in the House of Commons.
§ 5.45 p.m.
§ Mr. John Dugdale (West Bromwich)
I welcome the debate, and not least for the speech which has just been made by the hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. Baldwin). Much of it was considerably more advanced than any remarks that I have heard him make in the past. I welcome too the remarks made about the colour bar by the Colonial Secretary, which were exceedingly helpful and which ought to do a great deal of good in Central Africa.
1126 I was a little puzzled about the Secretary of State's opening remarks because they sounded as though he thought it was our duty not to have a debate at all about Central Africa. I cannot repeat his exact words, but I think he said that it was contrary to our duty or contrary to our powers, to discuss the internal affairs of the Federation.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I said that it was contrary to the spirit that governs the conventions in such matters if we discussed the internal affairs of a territory so largely self-governing as the Federation. Of course, there are aspects of life in the Federation that are properly discussable, and we are discussing them, but we ought to bear in mind the particular status of the Federation and the wide powers that the Federal Government have, powers which, in certain branches, are on a par with some of the self-governing territories whose affairs we do not discuss in this House. I was only saying that as a warning.
§ Mr. Dugdale
I appreciate the point, but we have certain duties to protect African interests over a very wide field. We may think that they do not need to be protected and that the Government of Central Africa will conduct its affairs so that there will be no need for us to exercise that power, but we must recognise that we have that power and that we would use it if necessary, so we should discuss matters pertaining to it.
Not only were we not to discuss internal affairs, but I gathered that there was some doubt whether we could discuss external affairs also, judging from the report of the meeting between Sir Roy Welensky and the Secretary of State. I hope that we can discuss both external and internal affairs within certain limits, and I propose to do so myself.
The first point is the possible new franchise. I want to be clear about what is likely to be introduced. We are told that there is to be a percentage increase, which will be greater for the Africans than for the Europeans. That is all very well. Let us take the example of the House of Commons. Suppose we had a percentage increase here. We might increase the percentage of the Liberal Party by a very considerable figure, say 300, and there would still be very few 1127 Liberals. If we were to increase the percentage of the Government by a much less figure, it might have the most disastrous consequences.
If we were to increase the percentage of the Opposition to that extent it would completely alter the state of affairs here and we should be the Government. One can play with percentages, but one has to be very careful to play with them in such a way that the Africans will get something nearer a fairer representation than they have today, rather than the contrary. That is the spirit in which we should look at any proposals for altering the franchise.
I would ask the Under-Secretary of State to tell us his views on the Tredgold System that is proposed for Southern Rhodesia. Many of us here view it with the very greatest suspicion, So far as I can understand it, there are to be two kinds of franchise, one ordinary and mostly for Europeans, and the other a special franchise on which most of the voters will be Africans. I have been given a certain example, which I will give the Committee.
Suppose 3,000 votes were cast in a constituency and 1,200 were special. Those could not count more than 900, because they may not count for more than half of the ordinary votes. It is a most peculiar system, which would react very badly for the Africans. We have to look very carefully at it before it is adopted in any territories for which we are responsible. If Southern Rhodesia wants to adopt it, that is her affair, but we should look at it most carefully. I should find it very difficult to agree to it myself.
The Under-Secretary of State may say that some of us are unduly suspicious that the white population of Central Africa are not willing to do their very best to bring about a genuine partnership and a genuine multi-racial system. I think we have some grounds for suspicion when we consider some of the speeches made by the leaders of the white population of Rhodesia.
I take no less an authority than Lord Malvern. He has made some very strange statements. The latest I could find was when he said thatWestern communities, with their ultra-democratic systems, had not yet demonstrated to his satisfaction that they had all the answers. In fact, they seemed to have created world chaos at the present time.1128 In fact he was not enamoured of democracy. In this House we think there is something to be said for democracy, although there may be a state of world chaos. I do not want to get involved in a question on which I would be out of order and to debate the question of the hydrogen bomb and world chaos, but we believe in democracy, and in that we differ very considerably from Lord Malvern.
I have the very greatest respect for the Colonial Secretary. I look upon him as a kind of St. George who is defending a poor African maiden from the white dragon which might swallow her, if it had its way. What I am a little afraid of is that St. George might drop his sword and go and have a drink, and forget about the whole business and the fate of the African maiden might be very serious indeed. [Interruption.] He can have a drink now, by all means if he wants to.
I should like now to consider, not so much the Federation, as the provincial Governments. Here there is no disagreement about our responsibility. We have a great responsibility, one which we can exercise in a very fruitful manner if we determined so to do. The first thing I would examine is the system of election—or rather, not the system of election, because it is not election, but the system of representation—in the provincial Governments. I think it is time that an advance was made in that sphere. Take the case of Nyasaland. There, 2½ million Africans are represented by six members and 15,000 non-Africans by five members. I shall not go into the question of whether they are elected or nominated—that is another question—but surely that very large number of Africans should have much greater representation than that very small number of Europeans. I think we should take steps to increase that representation, and I hope that we shall do so.
Turning to Northern Rhodesia, we find that 2 million Africans have only four representatives and 60,000 non-Africans have nine representatives. I suggest that we have to take a step there in the direction that has been taken by Tanganyika. Tanganyika has solved this problem in a very remarkable manner. She has given equality of representation to each race. That is the aim we have 1129 got to have in Central Africa. We have to take a step, and take it fairly soon, if we are to keep the confidence of the Africans there. If we do not do something like that, we shall fail to keep that confidence, and if we do not keep that confidence it will be disastrous to Central Africa.
I turn now to the question of social conditions. They were referred to by the Colonial Secretary. As I said, welcomed many of his remarks about colour discrimination, and I think it is time we took further steps away from it in Central Africa. A few steps have been taken, but not all the steps which are needed. Consider, for example, the question of pass laws. We all say what a terrible thing it is that there are pass laws in South Africa, but that, terrible as that is, we have no responsibility for South Africa. Yet we have responsibility for what happens in the individual provinces of Central Africa.
In Northern Rhodesia, I understand, an African wishing to go out after ten o'clock at night has to go to his employer and ask permission to get a pass. Is that right? What is the reason for that? Is it because the African might cause some disturbance? After all, people create disturbances in this country after ten o'clock at night, but there are no pass laws here. People create disturbances in the United States of America after ten o'clock at night, and there are no pass laws there.
We have to look very carefully at these pass laws to see whether they cannot be abolished, so that we can say quite clearly that in Rhodesia we have a system which is far more advanced than that in South Africa and is not a system which in many ways is comparable to it. What would be the feelings of an employee in this country at having to go to his employer and ask, "Please may I go out after ten o'clock?" Then the employer asks, "Why do you want to go out after ten o'clock?" The man has to give his reasons and the employer, if he is unpleasant, may refuse to give the pass. I wonder how many British workers would like to encounter that kind of situation. It is high time we looked at these pass laws to see whether we could not abolish them altogether.
A partheid is something that we deplore in South Africa. I am glad that many 1130 steps have been taken recently to improve conditions in that respect. I welcome, for instance, the proposal that Africans may now have meals in dining-cars, although I could have wished that the concessions had been given with rather better grace and that Sir Roy Welensky had not said "so long as they behave themselves and are properly dressed" Africans may have meals in dining-cars. Surely that applies to everyone, white, black, or any colour. To give the impression that Africans are not likely to behave was perhaps rather an unkind way of introducing what is an excellent reform.
I understand also that there have been improvements in hotels and that many Africans are now allowed to go into hotels which previously they were not allowed to enter, but I believe it is still the ease—I hope the Under-Secretary can contradict this—that there are separate queues in post offices and that people buying stamps have to stand either in the white queue or the black queue. A partheid is something we should not allow in a territory for which we are responsible. I agree that it is nothing new and it may be said that it existed when my party was in power, but it is wrong and we should take steps to put an end to it.
I wish to say a few words about education. I do not propose to say much about the University, except that, although I had the gravest misgivings about its formation and the manner in which it was formed, and although I still think that it would have been very much better if it had been completely inter-racial from the start, nevertheless, I welcome all the steps that Dr. Adams has taken to get the nearest he can to a multi-racial university, given the conditions in which it was started. I understand that he has started football teams of mixed races and is applying for membership of the Matabele League. I hope that he will be successful, and I hope we shall do everything possible to encourage him.
But that is not the only kind of education which affects the African in Rhodesia. Very few people go to universities, but a very large number go to schools. Only one African in ten who wants higher education has an opportunity to have it; yet every white child who wants it can get it. That does not seem fair, and although it is not an example of apartheid, it is an example of 1131 differentiation between the two races. I wish we could take an example from the United States of America. We often attack conditions in the deep South of America and say how much more advanced we in this country are, but in the deep South they now have multi-racial schools and have obeyed a law of the United States which says that children have the right to go to any school, regardless of their colour.
I wish we could see something like that developing in Central Africa. My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) mentioned a school, St. Augustine's School, which has been prevented from opening owing to the objections raised by white people in Central Africa. When we talk about how fine, how advanced, and how noble those white people are, let us remember that they are preventing missionaries from opening a school which would help to educate Africans. Surely that is an attitude of which we cannot approve.
I recognise that considerable advances have been made in many directions in which we wish to go, but there is a long way yet to go, and I am not sure that the white people in Central Africa intend to follow the path right to the end, the path of multi-racialism about which they talk so much.
It is often said that those on these benches who seek to cast any doubt on the good will of the people of Central Africa are doing harm and stirring up trouble there. I should like in conclusion to mention the remarks made to me by an African who is over here for the Labour Party Commonwealth Conference. He said:The knowledge that many people here understand and sympathise with the African point of view saves many Africans all over the Federation from looking on the white man as their enemy and as the enemy of their people. If ever they did that, it would bring disaster to the Federation.That is what we want to avoid.
§ 6.2 p.m.
§ Mr. Bernard Braine (Essex, South-East)
I agree entirely with both the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) and the right hon. Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Dugdale) that it is right that the House should insist that Parliament speaks in clear and unequivocal terms on the subject of race relations in Africa. Indeed, I can think 1132 of no more pressing and searching problem facing mankind in the second half of the twentieth century than that of bridging the gulf between the races. Whatever the pattern to which we set our hand, however it is worked out in Africa, it will have an important, perhaps decisive, effect upon the future of the human race.
Certainly there is no lack of discordant voices on the subject of race relations in Africa itself. There are a number, happily, I think, a decreasing number, of extremist white people who believe that the black man is inherently inferior and that it is not only the duty of the white man to lead, but that it is his right to dominate. Then there is an increasing number of black extremists, if my observations are correct, who believe that in the multi-racial territories at any rate, the days of the white man are numbered and that the future lies in an exclusive black nationalism. Opposed to these there is a third school of thought, which happily appears to be growing in strength, which holds that these doctrines of race domination are not only morally indefensible but in the end must spell material ruin for those who advocate them.
You would quickly call me to order, Mr. Bowles, if I said much about the Union of South Africa, but there is not much doubt, even among those who wish the Union well, that her apartheid policies are breaking down on the rock of economics, and are doomed. Among European settlers I have met in Kenya, in Tanganyika, in the Rhodesias and elsewhere in Africa, I do not believe there is any reasonable person who believes that the white man can stay in Africa unless he is prepared to help the black man to improve his status and to advance towards the goal of partnership.
There is no dispute between us then that the way ahead for all the multiracial African territories that we are considering in today's debate lies in building an inter-racial society in which men are judged not by the colour of their skin, but by the contribution which they make to a common civilisation.
How could it be otherwise? Let us recognise certain of the basic facts of the situation. The white settlers of Africa are sometimes referred to as interlopers. Historically there is no basis of 1133 truth in that at all. The white man landed on the tip of southern Africa three centuries ago, roughly about the same time as the Bantu were pressing down from the rain forests in the north. Both were moving into empty country. The British went into Rhodesia about sixty years ago and conquered the Matabele, but the Matabele who were in possession of the land had in fact conquered it some sixty years before that and had maintained a cruel and merciless rule over the Mashona, killing or enslaving them. If then we are to talk about the title to the land, I do not think that the bullets of pioneer columns conferred any greater title or any less title than the assegais of the Matabele warriors.
Consequently, there cannot be any dispute that those of our kith and kin who live today in the Rhodesias, and in Kenya and Tanganyika, as well, are there by right, as, I was glad to hear my right hon. Friend say, are their Asian fellow citizens, too. The latter's ancestors were brought to East Africa as soldiers, Sikhs and Sepoys, to pacify the country and to open it up. They also went there as traders and, as my right hon. Friend rightly said, they have filled a gap in the economy which no one else was prepared to fill. They are there as of right. Europeans and Asians have created order out of chaos. Even now they are providing the means whereby the great mass of their African fellow-citizens can be lifted out of the rut of poverty and of ignorance.
We must, however, face the fact that these white and Asian settlers are a minority in every territory. Indeed, the further north we go the smaller the minority becomes. We must also face the fact that there is no example in history of a small governing race or class maintaining its position of dominance permanently. There are many examples of such peoples ensuring survival by education of the governed and a timely sharing of power.
Again, therefore, I think there is no division between us. For those anxious to preserve civilised standards in Africa, whether they are living in Rhodesia, Kenya, or Tanganyika, or whether they are in this Committee, there is only one possible line of advance. True, there are differences between the races. But the argument seems to turn not on whether 1134 the existing gulf between the races in these multi-racial territories—in capacity, in social behaviour, and in outlook—can be bridged, but on how quickly it will be bridged. Mr. Strydom, for example, is on record as having said that he does not think that the gulf can be bridged at all. On the other hand, Lord Malvern and Sir Roy Welensky have made it abundantly clear that they do not agree with him.
The right hon. Member for West Bromwich was most unfair to Lord Malvern. He should have searched a little more diligently to find damaging quotations, for there was nothing damaging in the quotation which he produced. He could have produced quotation after quotation to the effect that Lord Malvern, one of the great founding fathers of Central African Federation, believes that although there is a gulf between the races in terms of capacity and. performance, it is a gulf which can be bridged. Lord Malvern, with his medical background and life-long knowledge of human beings, has said that man is very much a product of his environment. If we can change the environment we can change the man.
Therefore, it seems to me that the issue in East and Central Africa is not whether the goal of partnership can be reached but whether the journey is being undertaken at the right speed. I understood that to be the gravamen of the most interesting speech of the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East. What I am about to say, therefore, is no argument against pressure being exercised from this country. It is right for us to talk about these matters. Where there is no challenge there will obviously be no response. Nevertheless, I should have thought that it was the beginning of wisdom to recognise that, in the end, these matters can be determined only by those who live on the spot.
It is easy for people to condemn racialist views as immoral or suicidal. The fact is that they are held quite sincerely by large numbers of people, and by even larger numbers subconsciously because fear outweighs all the considerations in their minds—fear not merely of being swamped politically or even economically, but of being swamped ethnically, or, as the famous South African leader Mr. Jan Hofmeyr put it many years ago, "the fear of being drowned in a black sea".
1135 Such fears are not restricted to Europeans. If one applied literally some of the doctrines announced from the benches opposite from time to time, though not necessarily by the party as a whole—such doctrines as that of one man one vote, and the divine right of the majority—over the Colonial Empire as a whole, what would be the effect, for example, on the Turkish Cypriots, in permanent minority in Cyprus? What would be the effect on the Fijians, in danger of becoming a minority in their own island? What would be the effect on the Malays, knowing as they do that there is grave danger of their becoming a permanent minority in their own land?
In other words, speeches made on this subject in this House, threats of what future Governments might do, the way in which they might try to speed up progress from outside, are not, I suggest, likely to move the hearts of people who hold these racialist doctrines or to remove the fears that permeate their thinking. On the contrary, I suggest that all experience supports the view that pressure of that kind would only give those people the excuse for holding views which, in their heart of hearts, they know to be irrational—
§ Mr. Braine
Indeed, I agree with that. Common rolls must replace communal rolls.
I was about to say—and I think that this is relevant to the theme—that last year I was privileged to tour part of the Southern States of the United States of America. I met many Negro leaders. The great controversy over race relations there is, of course, not really between segregationists and integrationists, but between those who want to move slowly and steadily—which, I suggest, is the wise course, using pressures in those areas where, for example, in the case of segregation in schools, there is a reasonable chance of success—and the militants who want to go slap bang into a situation where an explosion could quite easily occur.
1136 The point is that in the United States, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bromwich pointed out, racial segregation is doomed. It will take time to die out. But great changes have been taking place. I was in the United States when Miss Autherine Lucy was refused admission to the University of Alabama, and the interesting thing was that that action was condemned by the leading newspaper of that southern town. That would have been unthinkable a few years before.
William Faulkner, I suppose the South's most prominent man of letters, wrote in 1955:To live anywhere in the world … and to be against equality because of race or colour is like living in Alaska and being against snow.In other words, a change which nobody thought possible a few years ago has been taking place in the United States, with pressure and without it—but it is taking place—
§ Mr. Kenneth Robinson (St. Pancras, North)
Would not the hon. Member read the subsequent announcement of Mr. Faulkner, given in an interview with the Sunday Times, in which he expressed himself in very much less liberal terms?
§ Mr. Braine
Because a man later expresses another opinion does not invalidate the truth of what he has said earlier. Leaders in the South told me that what was forcing the pace of change there was not so much the liberal view—that was something that came along—but the effect of accelerating economic change. My belief is that the best way to encourage a change in relationships in Central, or indeed, in East Africa, is to encourage the pace of economic change.
After all, the justification for federation in the first place was that by the pooling of the resources of this rich and promising part of Africa it would be possible to generate new wealth and new confidence, start new industries, and give an opportunity to spark a whole range of economic developments that would improve the lot of the African, raise his status, and so make partnership realisable. That is why, when the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East was trying to compare the modern, relatively progressive State of Ghana—which we are so delighted to know has received its sovereign independence—and countries 1137 like Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, he was really transporting himself out of this world and was not comparing like with like.
How can one possibly talk of a partnership now, at this precise moment, between one people living on a subsistence economy and another living on a wage economy? There are Africans still living who do not know that the spoken word can be written down, and are unaware that there are such simple aids to living as the wheel. In time we may have partnership because, as Lord Malvern has said. change the environment and you change the man, but the process will not be short and easy.
In that connection let me call in aid a right hon. Gentleman whose words. I think, cut a lot of ice with the party opposite, and sometimes with hon. Members on this side, when he is facing realities. He has said:Freedom is the by-product of economic surplus. I speak here not of national independence—I am speaking of the full panoply of political democracy which includes these liberties and others besides.If democratic institutions are to be helped to take root in the Orient"—and, in this context, this applies also to Africa—it can be done not by sending professors to teach the virtues of democratic constitutions, but by sending the means to raise their material standards. Man must live before he can live abundantly.Those passages are from the book written by the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) entitled "In Place of Fear."
Now having said all this, I believe that it is not the slowness with which changes are coming about in Africa that should astonish us but the fantastic speed with which they are happening. I am very conscious of your earlier Ruling, Mr. Bowles, on what was and what was not within the competence of the debate. African affairs are, of course, not the responsibility of the Federal Government in Central Africa, except in matters concerning the franchise, but I think it is relevant to point out that where the Federal Government have had the power to do anything, they have moved, and have moved fast when one remembers what the position was a few years ago.
1138 The Civil Services are open to people of all races, regardless of colour. Railway legislation has been modified in order to help Africans to avail themselves of the facilities. A multi-racial university has been launched, and most of us feel that it has been launched successfully.
At the territorial level one can point to quite a number of other changes which are noteworthy. In Southern Rhodesia there is the move to introduce multi-racial trade unions. In Northern Rhodesia there is legislation to remove some of the more offensive forms of racial discrimination. There is a steady upgrading of workers in the copperbelt. Many of us would like to see that process extended more rapidly, and believe that the African has the capacity to take on positions of greater responsibility in industry. Reference has already been made to the decision of Northern Rhodesian hoteliers to open their hotels to people of all races. None of that would have been possible without acceptance by the broad mass of European opinion in Central Africa.
I should like to say how much I enjoyed the speech of the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson), in opening our debate last Friday. There was one matter on which we were all agreed, on both sides of the House—of course, there were differences of opinion—and that was that we agreed with the Royal Commission that unless there was a revolution in African agriculture, unless it was made possible for the peasant farmer to have a stake in his land, to own it, and to have the inducement to farm it scientifically, there was not much of a future for Africa. What is more, there was not much of a future for democratic institutions, because unless a man acquires a sense of responsibility towards the land, he will not have a sense of responsibility towards the community as a whole.
I should like to say how much I agreed with my hon. Friend the Member for Leominster (Mr. Baldwin) when he said that progress in that field is more advanced in Southern Rhodesia than in any other part of British Africa. When we are talking about the territories for which we are responsible, let us face the fact that there has been greater advance in the direction of creating a responsible African middle class in Southern Rhodesia than there has been in any 1139 other part of Africa. In that territory there are now 5,000 African master farmers, farming anything between 100 and 1,000 acres. They are farming profitably. And they are now as many of these master farmers as there are European farmers.
Thus, there is an African middle class emerging in Southern Rhodesia. There is a new movement towards the creation of that sense of responsibility without which it is futile to talk in terms of partnership.
§ Mr. J. Johnson
It is all very well having a middle class consisting of men with a stake in society, but the hon. Gentleman should remember that when he talks of 5,000 master farmers, less than 500 have the vote on their own. That is the danger—economic advance but not political responsibility.
§ Mr. Braine
A much larger number than that could have the vote. The hon. Gentleman is misleading the Committee; 4,000 could be on the register. If they have not so registered; there may be some reason which I will not go into now. It may be that the trend which is now developing will induce larger numbers to register. The right to vote is there, and I am sure that it will be exercised by an increasing number of people.
If the emphasis is to be put upon speeding economic advancement, there is a consideration which applies perhaps even more strongly to Tanganyika and to Kenya than it does to the Rhodesias, where there has been considerable success in recent years in attracting capital investment. I refer to that great imponderable, confidence. Tanganyika is the best illustration that I can give. It is generally agreed that race relations in Tanganyika are probably better than anywhere else in Africa. There is a good spirit prevailing. The territory has considerable natural resources, and if adequate capital could be attracted and communications provided, a bright future would loom ahead for all races.
Unfortunately, there is a political uncertainty hanging over the territory which is now spreading far beyond its confines. Many of us on both sides of the Committee have become aware in recent months of the anxiety of those who live there about their future. Part of that 1140 uncertainty is due to doubt of what the future holds, whether United Nations pressure from outside is going to encourage the emergence of the kind of black African nationalism to which I referred earlier, or whether a slower political pace and more rapid economic development will give encouragement to a steady building up on the basis of race partnership.
I believe that there is only one way in which that uncertainty can be resolved, in Tanganyika at any rate, even if it is not possible in respect of the rest of British Africa. There should be a broad bipartisan approach to the problem in this House. I do not believe that that is impossible. In the absence of such an approach, in the absence of confidence, it will be impossible to attract capital on the necessary scale. The Royal Commission Report made it clear that East Africa needs investment but the investor does not need East Africa. It is no accident that the bulk of American investment in the outside world, other than in oil, has been in Canada and in other countries where political conditions are stable. Therefore, if capital is to be attracted into that territory, and if the conditions are to be created to enable the African population to be uplifted, confidence must be restored.
I believe that this debate and that we had last Friday are a good augury. They promise a bipartisan approach to the problems of these territories, I trust that what follows in the rest of this debate will strengthen that impression, and will make people feel not only in East Africa, but in Central Africa, too, that if we take an interest in their affairs, if we probe and inquire, it is because we wish from the bottom of our hearts to see these territories advance to their full destiny.
§ 6.28 p.m.
§ Mr. Ronald Williams (Wigan)
I am sure that the hon. Member for Essex, South-East (Mr. Braine) will acquit me of all discourtesy if I say at once that I do not propose to follow him, because in this very wide debate so many of us have special fields of interest, and if I were to follow him in his argument it would be impossible for me to confine my speech within the time limits which now remain.
1141 I say at once that I agree most heartily with the Colonial Secretary in what he said about the role of the Rhodesia Selection Trust in bringing about a state of affairs which provides for African advancement. I think the Colonial Secretary well knows that I was in close touch with what was going on in the Copperbelt at that time, and I join with him in paying my tribute to the employers and particularly to Sir Ronald Prain who took a very clear moral stand. Without that, there is no doubt that we should not have had the degree of African advancement which has taken place.
I now come very quickly to join issue with the Colonial Secretary, because, while I agree most heartily with him that there should be no carping criticism, as he put it, about certain actions done in these Territories, there should, in my view, at the same time not be anything in the nature of a conspiracy of silence. When grave things have been done, which have not yet been referred to in the course of this debate, it would be monstrously wrong if this occasion passed without some very clear, straight things being said about the situation which obtained, and still obtains, in Northern Rhodesia. I hope that, when the Minister comes to reply, we shall have from him some explanations which will, I will not say remove completely the anxieties I feel, but will help, perhaps, in that direction.
In speaking in these terms, I think that I am entitled to say, with modesty, that it will be recognised in this country and in those parts of Africa, from what I have been privileged to do out there on behalf of Africans and others, that I certainly do not, on any point, take up an attitude of carping criticism. On the other hand, if I find that some grievously wrong things have been done, which have injured my own people, perhaps, more than the Africans themselves, I will not remain silent.
The particular matters in relation to Northern Rhodesia, about which I hoped to hear from the Colonial Secretary, can be put very shortly and, I hope, without challenge as to their accuracy. I have checked and cross-checked the information which has come to me. As I understand it, an emergeny was declared. In carrying out their responsibilities in the 1142 emergency, the Government thought fit to arrest fifty-four leaders, most of them trade union leaders in Northern Rhodesia. They took them from their beds in the middle of the night and put them in a detention camp about seventy miles from the nearest railroad. Many of them were beaten. Those things having been done, we should not be silent in this House of Commons, but we should, in the course of our debates, find out whether it was something which we found regrettably necessary or which, in certain circumstances, we might even approve. We should not let it pass without comment.
It seems to me that certain things which have emerged are, if anything, more disturbing than the facts to which I have already referred. The Government themselves, in the course of carrying out the arrests, did their job in a way which was not in accordance with their powers under the emergency laws. Consequently, the persons who had been taken and put into detention camps had a right, under our common law to cause writs of habeas corpus to be issued and those writs were, in fact, issued. The shocking thing is that, in anticipation of those proceedings being successful and the detained persons being in a position to claim damages for wrongful imprisonment, the Government of Northern Rhodesia did not, as they might have done with complete justification, bring in an indemnity Bill to protect the officials who had been concerned. I mention that because nobody wants a particular police officer to be put in a difficulty because he has either to lose his job or carry out his orders. What the Government did was to bring in one of the most astonishing Measures I have ever seen in times of peace. It was a Measure whereunder a commissioner could sit in camera, having the power to call before him any citizen, that citizen having to show cause why he should not be subjected to a banishment or restriction order.
I have been most careful in making these observations to confine myself to questions of fact, not of opinion. These things have, in fact, happened. What has occurred out there to justify a complete reversal of a fundamental principle of our law? We take pride in the fact that a man is presumed to be innocent unless he is proved to be guilty, yet here we have a tribunal actually sitting, before which, 1143 in effect, the presumption is that the citizen is guilty unless he proves his innocence. I am not denying that there are precedents, in times of great national pressure or in times of war, when we are forced reluctantly to turn our backs upon legal and moral principles, but those circumstances do not obtain in Northern Rhodesia, and there is no excuse for this state of affairs continuing for another day. I beg the Colonial Secretary to look further into it and to take some steps so that our name will not be further besmirched.
I am afraid there is worse to come. While the detainees were in detention, it was thought right to inquire into the causes of the industrial unrest which had given rise to the emergency, and the Branigan Commission was set up. What a fine opportunity there was here for multi-racialism in practice. There is, after all, on the Continent of Africa a great fund of legal experience, some of it at chief justice level, to be found among the Africans themselves. I am not comparing Ghana with some other part of Africa, but I am simply saying that there was here a chance of bringing on to that Commission an African who was an experienced judge, whose word would carry weight with the Africans as well as with our people. The Colonial Secretary knows of such men, and, I am sure, is a personal friend of many of them. That opportunity was not taken. There was another point which was perhaps even more obvious, that is to say that this was a question of industrial unrest, yet not a single trade unionist was a member of that Commission.
I am not casting the slightest reflection upon the members of the Commission in the job they did. What I am saying is that greater imagination should have been shown by those responsible for setting up the Commission. A more representative Commission should have been appointed, so that justice would have appeared to be done. Still less am I casting any reflection upon any individual member of the Commission.
What a mockery it is, from the standpoint of the African, for us to say that we will set up a Commission of that kind when the question to be decided is what are the causes of the industrial unrest, 1144 when the opportunities for both sides to present their cases are so unequal. On the one side, there are the wealthy, powerfully placed employers, the Anglo-American group and the Rhodesia Selection Trust, having all the advantages at the Chamber of Mines for the purpose of preparing their case, handing their papers over to the most experienced firm of solicitors there which, in turn, briefed the most powerful advocate at the Bar. That was how the employers' case was presented, and I do not blame them; if I were similarly placed, I should do exactly the same. It was the right thing for them to do, so that their case would be properly presented, but there was no real opportunity for the Africans, except for Mr. Katilungu who represented a very small part of what was once a very large union of which he was president. Other leaders of the union were in the detention camp and were brought before the Commission for two or three days. There w as no legal help or representation of their case in proper form for them. Whether justice was done or not done by that Commission it manifestly appeared not to be done. That is the sort of thing which makes nonsense of the fine speeches which are made on this subject in this Chamber.
It is because I find these things grievously wrong and so terribly injurious to our good name that I criticise them. I am not criticising particular individuals, but I am taking my part in drawing attention to something which was absolutely shocking and quite unnecessary. It could so easily have been done in another and better way. We have forfeited a great deal of the respect of the African as a consequence of doing that. I have said enough to indicate that there is something more than carping criticism involved in this, that there is real ground for our feeling ashamed of ourselves in that, directly or indirectly, we had any part in this. The Colonial Secretary should do everything to make sure that there is no recurrence of this sort of thing.
I want to deal with the general question—
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I am sure that the hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. R. Williams) is not assuming from my silence that I am accepting any of the various charges he has made. I am asking for certain inquiries to be made. 1145 My recollection, which may be wrong, is that the Branigan Commission was a one-man commission with assessors. The hon. Member spoke about membership of the Commission being more widely drawn, but that would have been contrary to the intention of having a single commissioner. However, I am having inquiries made about the matter.
§ Mr. Williams
I am sure that the Colonial Secretary would be the last person to ride away on a debating point. I am sure that that is not his intention. The point of my argument remains. If it was necessary to have a one-man commission with two assessors, then the question of having other assessors with very differing experience, particularly since it was a matter affecting both races, should have been taken into account. 'The point of the argument remains, whether it was a single commissioner with two assessors, or whether there were three members of the Commission.
I turn to a more fundamental point which is related to what I have said. My main criticism is that, having all the resources of the rule of law, we neglected the rule of law in many ways. We turned the rule of law on its head when we deprived the accused person of the presumption of innocence. If we are to succeed in these territories, we must look much further than mere economic or educational questions, important though they are.
When the hon. Member for Essex, South-East, who spoke with great sincerity and force, was reminding us about people who did not know the use of the wheel such a short time ago, I could not help thinking of the status and position of some of our own people at the time of the signing of Magna Carta in this country. It made me think that one need not deny justice to people merely because they were not erudite. I thought at the other end of the scale that there were people in Central Europe, in Nazi Germany, who could read and write very well and who could yet do very evil things.
Let us get away from this. Let us ask ourselves—and I hope that the Colonial Secretary will regard this as a constructive suggestion—what we can do to help multi-racialism. Can we do anything? If we start by saying that all the whites are wrong that they ought not to be 1146 there and ought to be swept out, if we pick out the various points in their speeches and condemn them as evil people, and if we say that all the black Africans are always in the right, that is nonsensical. In territories like Kenya and the Central African Federation there is no hope for the future except through multi-racialism.
What can we do about it? Here we are in danger of missing the boat on one issue and I put it as strongly as I can to the Colonial Secretary. If we consider our own society at home and think of it as part of the free world, as a free democracy, what are we really thinking about if we put it specifically? Surely we are thinking of the rule of law. The distinction between ourselves and the Nazis is surely that they would regard something like the independence of the judiciary as fundamentally wrong, because the judges were not there to administer the law, but to carry out the policy of the State. In this country we have always made it absolutely clear that one of the cardinal points upon which we rest our claim to be a free democracy is the independence of the judiciary.
That is something which has not come down to us easily. It has come through struggle and it is drenched in blood in our history; it is now part of our bones, as one recent writer put it. It is absolutely essential to our liberties that the judiciary should be independent. Let us have a look at the position in Kenya and in Central Africa. Is it not time that we started thinking about it? I lay no blame whatsoever at the door of the present Colonial Secretary or his predecessors. I say only that sometimes some of us have to go out on these limbs and make bores of ourselves in studying particular aspects of these problems.
If the Colonial Secretary leaves the judiciary and the administration of justice as they now are in Kenya, a judge there will continue to be simply another civil servant. The judicial function and the executive function are combined in one single person. That is fundamentally wrong. Let the Colonial Secretary say that. In the weeks of studying this subject in Kenya which I was privileged to spend a little more than a year ago I found that the judges there had done far more for the rule of law than I will ever be called upon to do. I found that 1147 in the administration of justice they and the Law Officers had been taking tremendous risks in ways inconceivable to us who live in a more settled community. My criticism is not of any of the judges. My criticism is that we are keeping for ourselves something which we are not passing on in Africa. In our own country we say that we would not be the country we are if we did not have an independent judiciary, and yet we deny it to these territories while we have the power to concede it.
I do not want the judge in Kenya to be as he is today. I want him to be completely independent of the Colonial Service. If that is done, we will get away from this nonsensical confusion in which an apparently sensible white man can say that he would not like to be tried by a black judge, but can look confused when I tell him of certain defects in his character and education compared with certain African judges who are my personal friends. If there were an independent judiciary, there would be far fewer occasions when emergency powers would be necessary because the Africans and the Europeans would come to learn that the rule of law is not an academic exercise, but a powerful and severe guardian of their liberties. The time has come when non-political Africans, graduating, and getting their experience at the Bar, as barristers do in this country, should go to the bench in the ordinary way. The whole population would then simply ask, "Is he a good judge?"—not "Is he black or is he white?"
That will not happen if we do not have an independent judiciary in Kenya and in the Central African Federation. I put it as strongly as that. That will not happen with a judiciary which is not independent. We cannot have an independent judiciary if the judiciary is in the Civil Service, because, if it is, the whole population knows that, for instance, a young magistrate is looking over his shoulder, remembering that he may make a wrong decision and that his prospects of promotion may be affected by it. I am not suggesting for one minute that there has been a single decision which was wrong. I am not obliged to do that. What I am saying is that if we see a constitutional defect we ought to put it right. If we possess that which is so sacred to us that we are prepared to die 1148 for it, it is our duty to contribute that to people who have not the benefits of our traditions but who can have the benefits of the great advances which we have made.
If I never make another speech in a debate on colonial affairs I shall be able to feel that this one was sufficient if by it I am able to leave in the mind of the Colonial Secretary the conviction that the time is now ripe for giving the judges a far greater status, the status of complete independence, which the judges in this country have. If that step is taken nothing but good can come from it. An amazing amount of good could come from it. Above all, it could not be said of us that while we treasure a constitutional and legal principle as part of our great traditions we deny it to people in even greater need of it than ourselves.
§ 6.53 p.m.
§ Major Patrick Wall (Hull, Haltemprice)
The hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. R. Williams) in a most forceful speech has brought forward some very important matters particularly related to recent events in the Copperbelt, which I know have worried a number of Members on both sides of the Committee, but I am sure that he will not mind if I repeat his own opening words and leave the answer to him to be made by the Under-Secretary of State, because I am sure he would rather have an answer from the Government than guess work on my part.
I should like to revert to the wider sphere of racial policy which the Committee is discussing today. In the Commonwealth we have succeeded in developing a system by which nations of all races and of all colours live together for the common good, because it is to the advantage of each of them to remain in the Commonwealth. Our Commonwealth is now faced with two main problems. The first is the problem of multi-racial States and the second the problem of the fortress territories. If we in the Commonwealth can solve the problem of sovereign nations on the international level of Asians, Europeans and Africans living together, surely we can also solve the problem of men of these races living together in the same territory. This problem has to be solved, because on it depends not only the future of Africa but, to a large degree, the road which the Commonwealth is to take in the future.
1149 We must agree on both sides of the Committee that in a multi-racial State a man whether of European, African or Asian origin has a right to regard the country as his home, has a right to defend it and a right to live in it, and I think we must therefore agree—and hon. Members opposite have indicated that they agree, though I wish they had made that a little clearer—that the European settlers in Kenya and the Rhodesias have as much right to stay there as the African and the Asian inhabitants of those countries, just as we on this side of the Committee must agree that the Africans who have attained the standards, educational and otherwise, of the Europeans have the right to demand every advantage enjoyed by the Europeans in the country that they both regard as "home."
If we can recognise and reconcile these two points of view we are then left with only two alternatives for the future—the multi-racial State, that is, partnership; or apartheid. The majority of hon. Members on both sides of the Committee, I believe, completely reject the doctrine of apartheid particularly in the form in which it has recently been set forth, which I personally regard as anti-Christian.
Can partnership work? I suggest that any form of partnership depends on two things, willingness to compromise and mutual trust. It is our duty in this Committee to try to encourage these two factors, to try to encourage the extremists on both sides to compromise and to try to encourage the African to trust the European and the European to trust the African.
Change is suspect. It always is. Therefore, the ground has to be prepared slowly and change effected gradually. Do not let us think, however, that because change is suspect, because it has to come gradually, enormous advances have not been made. Before the war, so far as I can find out, there were no African members in any of the legislatures of the countries we are discussing today. Now there are African members in all of them, and African Ministers in some. The colour bar is dying out. On both sides of this Committee we believe that the sooner it dies out completely the better.
1150 All this has been achieved by gradual evolution. What struck me as a particular sign of advance of multi-racialism was a matter referred to in a speech not so very long ago by the Governor of Tanganyika, in which he said that in 30 of the 56 districts in Tanganyika the native authorities of their own volition have asked non-Africans to join their counsels. That shows a very fine spirit. That spirit was shown by the Africans. We have seen it, too, among Europeans, in the increased number of Africans in local and Parliamentary government, particularly where African Ministers have been introduced into legislatures.
This morning I received a newsletter from Rhodesia House. In an article on the Bill to increase the size of the Parliament of the Central African Federation it states:The effect of the Bill is to increase the number of members specifically concerned with African interests from nine to 15.What is even more important, it continues:But a proviso in the Bill provides for the ultimate elimination of members elected on a racial basis.
§ Mr. Brockway
Would not the hon. and gallant Gentleman agree that the value of that Bill as a means to racial equality must depend entirely upon the franchise? If Africans are to be elected by a majority of Europeans, how can they represent the Africans?
§ Major Wall
I agree with the hon. Member, and I was just coming to that question.
I shall deal with the question of inter-racialism under four headings: the franchise, investment, land, education. I believe that all four are of vital importance.
I think the hon. Member will agree with me that probably the most valuable way to help inter-racialism in all the territories of East and Central Africa today is on the basis of common roll franchise. We have the common roll in the Rhodesias and a common roll, at any rate for Europeans and Asians, in Nyasaland. My right hon. Friend said today that in the near future there would be a common roll in Tanganyika. One hopes that eventually there will also be a common roll in Kenya. If the principle of the common roll is accepted, then 1151 the problem we must solve is one merely of restrictive franchise. I think that hon. Members will agree with me about that, even if they do not agree to plural voting as proposed in Kenya or alternative qualifications as proposed in Southern Rhodesia.
I want to find out exactly what hon. and right hon. Members opposite feel about the franchise, because they have often spoken against the various suggestions to restrict the franchise whilst at the same time, as far as I know, they have never said clearly that they believe in one man one vote, immediately or in the near future. I would refer the Committee to the pamphlet "Talking Points, 1955, Nos. 18 and 19", price 4d. issued by the Labour Party.
On the multi-racial problem discussing Kenya and the Federation it says:In all these territories society is divided into communities almost entirely based upon racial characteristics. Our form of democracy, embracing the principle of adult suffrage and one man—one vote, would, of course, ignore such racial difficulties. Yet in each of these territories the division of cultures, religion, languages, and skin colours so deeply affects public consciousness that such a simple solution is certainly not acceptable at present.If that is the feeling on the benches opposite, I am sure that it corresponds very largely the feeling on this side of the Committee. We agree in principle that eventually one man—one vote may well be the right answer. If we can agree that this will not work now or in the, immediate future. I think that we shall get nearer to finding solutions to the problems that face East and Central Africa today.
There is great danger from extremism on both sides. We have seen how unnecessary warmth from African elected Members in Kenya has resulted in curtailment of freedom of discussion there. Extremists always produce a reaction. The right hon. Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Dugdale) cited Tanganyika as one of the best examples of racial parity, where there is equality in elected racial representation in the legislature. Yet in Tanganyika the Tanganyika National African Union is already advocating that there should be twice as many African Members as Europeans and Asians.
§ Major Wall
I understood the hon. Member to agree earlier that all these things should be achieved only on the basis of trust and mutual confidence. How can Europeans and Asians have trust and mutual confidence when they agree to parity and, before the first election takes place, one race says, "One man one vote immediately. We want to dominate you."? That leads to fear and extremism on the other side and it can only do harm. We should encourage inter-racial parties as far as possible. There is one in Tanganyika and the Capricorn Africa Society has advocated it in Southern Rhodesia and elsewhere. I believe this conception has the support of both sides of the Committee.
§ Major Wall
I think that the hon. and learned Member agrees with me entirely as to the importance of inter-racial parties.
The African is intrinsically loyal. We must try to change his loyalty to his tribe into loyalty towards his own national Government. If that Government is inter-racial, the African will look to it rather than to us here in Westminster, which is what we eventually want to see. It is the policy of both parties that our Colonies should eventually emerge as independent members of the Commonwealth.
The East Africa Royal Commission has been criticised for concentrating in its Report upon economic and social problems and leaving out the political point of view, which was not in fact in its terms of reference. It is a mistake to criticise the Commission on that score. If we can get the economic factors right, the social and political factors will follow. The trouble is that people want to rush the politics before the economics are sound.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Essex, South-East (Mr. Braine) has said, investment is absolutely essential in these territories. Public investment cannot meet the bill. If there is no political stability we shall never have private investment, and we shall never have the 1153 inter-racial schools, the health services, the hospitals, the transport and communications that we all want. This is a fact which must be repeated again and again so that the African learns to understand it, because it is absolutely fundamental for the future of that part of the world.
Land has been frequently discussed and the question of the White Highlands again brought up in debate. We fail to realise that which the Commission on East Africa pointed out—that in East Africa half the land is pastoral, a quarter is marginal and a quarter just arable, and that 40 per cent. of all the land is affected by the tsetse fly. Added to that, there is erosion and a lack of water and communications. Reference has been made to land consolidation and to a cash economy, which is vitally important. In Kenya this has been achieved voluntarily by Africans for Africans, and it has proved to be a success.
I understand that in the Kikuyu country land consolidation will be completed by next year. The success has been such that other tribes are saying, "These are the Kikuyu who were bound up with the Mau Mau. What about us?" We hope they will demand to have their lands consolidated. That consolidation will allow the African to employ labour and use much of the available manpower and will increase purchasing power.
The White Highlands were mentioned in last Friday's debate and the point has been made that it requires no Act of Parliament or Order in Council to open up the White Highlands. It is purely an administrative matter. If we take politics out of this question I believe that once the Asian or African reaches the standard of farming of the European no one will stand against his entering the Highlands. The basis must be the standard of farming rather than a man's colour or politics.
Education is the key to the future in the eye of many Africans. We want to see universal education established, but obviously we shall not see that for some time if only because of the cost, which would be astronomical. Hon. and right hon. Members here want to go as fast as they can, and that surely is also true of Europeans in Kenya and elsewhere. I was very much impressed by the Report of the examination by the Nairobi 1154 Chamber of Commerce of the East Africa Royal Commission Report. I should like to quote to the Committee one or two paragraphs from it, dealing with teachers, missions, the training of girls, which is very important, technical training and general comprehensive education.
This is what the white settlers in Africa had to say about teachers:There cannot be education without teachers, and the availability of teachers and the cost to cover the whole of East Africa are impossible at the present stage. It is therefore recommended that a realistic view should be taken and that a number of selected people from all tribes in fair proportion should be given the opportunity of the best education possible so that they in turn will become a nucleus of teachers for the next generation.I am sure that hon. Members will agree.
The Nairobi Chamber of Commerce also discusses mission schools and points out that there is still a great scarcity of teachers and of schools. It says quite rightly:… Missions should be encouraged to increase their responsibilities as another means of increasing the general education so needed by the African population.One of the most important factors is to make certain that the wives can keep up with their husbands. The education of girls is immensely important for the future of Africa. This Report statesWe agree entirely that the education of girls should be encouraged as much as possible, again with emphasis being laid on the training of teachers for the next generation.It advocates not only compulsory education in the towns, which was advocated in the Report of the Royal Commission, but says that this should spread to the country as well as, otherwise, there will be a drift to the towns.
§ Major Wall
Not as far as I could see from the Report, but I am coming to that point. If it is any consolation to the hon. Gentleman, however, I would advocate them, but gradually. These things must come gradually and voluntarily. Personally, I believe that multiracial schools must come eventually and that this is the best way to create true partnership, because one must start with the youngster. But this development must come gradually, as it is coming in the University of Rhodesia which has already been referred to.
1155 I believe that the importance of partnership transcends party differences in this Committee. As I said at the beginning of my speech, on it depends probably the future of Africa and possibly the future of the Commonwealth. I believe that both parties are working on the same basis. Hon. Gentlemen on the left of the Opposition cry "Faster"; hon. Gentlemen on the right of the Government cry "Slower". However, both wish to see partnership, and they wish to see it well established. It has been interesting to listen to the joint delegations which went to Kenya and Uganda. They have told us in conversation that both agree along the common line of policy in those countries. Joint delegations are to go to Tanganyika and the Federation, and one hopes that they will come back with the same report.
As regards the Federation, I believe that hon. Gentlemen opposite could do a great deal of good if they would state clearly that there is no question in their minds of secession by Nyasaland or Northern Rhodesia from the Federation. Surely that would be against the Constitution which was agreed and adopted by the House of Commons with the agreement of the right hon. Gentleman who then led the Opposition? If hon. Gentlemen opposite, therefore, who say that they want more equality for the Africans more quickly, would go so far as to say clearly that they would not agree to secession or to any breaking up of the Federation as part of their policy, that would spike the guns of many extremists in that part of the world, both of the Right and Left, and would do untold good. I make that suggestion to the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones).
§ Mr. J. Johnson
Would it not be a good thing if the hon. and gallant Gentleman would also say to the Europeans in the Federation that before 1960 at Lusaka and Zomba the African population should have a large degree of autonomy in its own affairs in the two northern territories?
§ Major Wall
I think it would be a good thing if my hon. Friends on this side of the Committee would say that they wanted the Africans to go faster, and it would be a good thing if, on the other hand, hon. Gentlemen opposite 1156 would recognise publicly, as some have done, the rights of the Europeans. That would quieten the extremists on both sides.
I must point out that there is a colour bar in this country, and the sooner we set an example here by ending it, the better. I am referring to workers in the trade unions, not the leaders, and even to landladies in this city. Such a thing does only harm. Also, many white Europeans are going out to Africa today to a standard of living to which they have not been accustomed in this country. The firms who send out these people should educate them in what to expect when they get to Africa because those who are not used to having servants in the house sometimes do not know how to treat them, and a little rudeness and bad manners by such Europeans can undo the good done over past years in cementing racial relations.
On the question of African students in this country, I can speak from experience as the hostel of Hull University is in my own constituency. Students come there not only to study science and the classics, but to pick up our way of life. It is therefore important for people in this country to take these students into their homes. Only in the home and family can they understand and learn how true British democracy works.
I believe that there is a great deal of agreement on both sides of the Committee, as there was last Friday when we were discussing the Report of the Royal Commission. If that is the message going out from this Committee today, the debate will do untold good to the future of Africa.
§ 7.15 p.m.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
This has been a most interesting debate. It is curious how the House of Commons works. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies will not feel that I am patronising if I say that today we have had admirable speeches from both Front Benches and that probably in a month's time there is not one of us who will have the least recollection of a single thing that has been said today.
Then we had a speech from my hon. Friend the Member for Wigan (Mr. R. Williams), which I doubt if anyone of us 1157 who heard it will ever forget, because what he said touched on what must be one of the cornerstones of a multi-racial society, namely, the principle of justice; a principle which must not only be but appear to be equal and independent and above all. There is room to add very little to what my hon. Friend said, but I will add one thing. There cannot appear to be justice so long as juries drawn from one race judge issues in which more than one race is involved. I do not believe that the jury system is a suitable one for a multi-racial society.
I am seeking to make a constructive rather than a critical speech, but I want to raise one matter of criticism, and only one, because it is involved in the question of justice. I refer to the appointment of Mr. Richmond to be African Affairs Officer under the Aberdare County Court in Kenya. The facts are as follows:
On 4th May, 1955, a sum of money was found missing from a home guard post for which Mr. Richmond, who was then a district officer, was responsible. A man called Kaumau, a clerk under him, was arrested. This man always denied the theft, but he was taken to the police station. There he was very severely flogged by two police officers named Waters and Fuller; not merely flogged in the conventional place, but flogged across his chest, arms and belly with a hippopotamus hide whip. He was then tied up with a stick through his elbows and under his legs and his hands were handcuffed behind his neck. One can imagine the pain of that, on a concrete floor, to a man who had been flogged all over.
In that condition, the man was seen by Mr. Richmond, the district officer and a magistrate—it should be remembered that this was a man who had not been charged with any crime or been brought before a magistrate—at the police station, and no protest was made.
Next day the man was taken to a baraza called by Mr. Richmond. At the baraza he was tortured by a method which is not fully described in the evidence, but he is described as having sticks tied to him. It is said that the sticks were tied to him so that he would feel pain and confess. He rolled about in his agony, and pointed sticks were placed by Fuller so as to prevent him rolling in his 1158 agony. He had then been heavily flogged and was described as swollen and bleeding.
Mr. Richmond then came to address the baraza. Whether he came before or after the completion of the torture is not certain, but at any rate he saw the man immediately after the torture, and urged his clan to make him confess and hand over the money. The man was then taken away, and from the 5th to the 9th he was flogged, made to eat earth, tied up to a post all night, and thrown into a river, among other things.
The man was then brought to another baraza summoned by Mr. Richmond. At that time he was covered with weals that were bleeding. He was described by the witnesses as very sick and smelling badly of putrefaction. His toes were bent up and looked as if they had been cut, and he was incapable of either walking or standing.
Richmond was in charge of the baraza. The man was carried before Richmond because he could no longer walk. He was dumped down in front of the table. Richmond addressed the baraza and again urged the clan to make the man confess, but they failed to do so. The man was taken back by the two police officers who over a period of five days had reduced him to that condition. Among other things, it could not be seen whether he was handcuffed, because his arms were too swollen for handcuffs to be visible. That night or the next morning the man died. Richmond then went and informed the doctor that he had seen the man in the morning of the day he had died and that he had been quite fit. That was categorically untrue.
For reasons which I have never found wholly satisfactory but which had something to do with Kenya juries, Richmond was not charged with murder. He was, however, brought before a disciplinary court, where he was summarily dismissed from the service. If the Colonial Secretary thinks that what I am saying is unfair, every word of it is direct from the evidence that I have here, which was taken down and typewritten.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I do not think the hon. and learned Gentleman should have said in the privilege of the House of Commons that he could not understand why somebody who was not charged with 1159 murder was not charged with murder. That, I think, is unfair. I dealt with the case at the time. I hold no brief for the shocking treatment to which this unfortunate African was subjected, but no charge of any kind was brought against Mr. Richmond. I hold the view that Mr. Richmond was guilty of a misguided attempt to shield fellow officers. Frankly, I do not know how I should have reacted in the circumstances of the tension relating to Mau Mau in Kenya. I thought Mr. Richmond ought to have another chance, and I am glad that he has been given another chance.
The appointment has nothing to do with me. I believe that the Government of Kenya, which is responsible for the post, is not consulted about the occupant of it, but is now considering whether appointments to that sort of post in the Aberdare County Council and other county councils ought not also to be subject to the Kenya Government's own views.
I would deplore going again over this horrible story. I agree that it is a horrible story, but it is also a very old story, and I trust that it will not be taken by anybody in the House of Commons or outside as representing anything that has happened recently in Kenya.
In fairness to this young man, subjected to terrible strains, as people in Kenya were, and never having been charged with any of the revolting crimes which were committed by other people who were charged and punished, I hope he might be allowed to settle down in a new life in Kenya now, which is what I think most people would wish him to do.
§ Mr. Paget
I am afraid that in this particular I cannot be so generous. It is not a question that Richmond merely tried to cover up other officers. He conducted the two barazas. He conducted the second baraza where the man in that terrible condition was carried before him and carried back again. Richmond, who was the district officer and the protector of Africans there, allowed the man to go back with the people who had reduced him to that condition. Surely to heavens, that man is someone who ought not to be back in the public service, and, above everything, ought not to be in charge of Africans if we care for justice. I say that seriously. I cannot believe that the 1160 right hon. Gentleman had full particulars of what was involved when he expressed approval of the appointment. I think nobody—
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
The case was in the autumn of 1955. We have had many discussions about the situation in Kenya at that time and the strains to which people were subjected. I most earnestly pray that no one would believe that it is in the least likely that a similar situation would arise again. The matter was fully discussed in the House at the time, and I have made a number of statements about it. I feel that in fairness to this man, who has not been charged with any of these offences, the matter might now be allowed to rest along with many other sad things which have been happening all over the world in recent years.
§ Mr. Paget
That is not the issue. I am not suggesting that this sort of thing happens now or that it happened often even then. I say that it is one of the dreadful things that has happened in our colonial history. I have raised the matter now only because in answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) the right hon. Gentleman appeared to approve the appointment of Richmond.
When I was in Kenya I found nobody who shared that view. Everybody excused it as a most unfortunate accident which had happened through an omission, but when that sort of thing happens there ought to be no indication whatever here that we approve, or could approve, that sort of appointment. I say no more than that. I am really not trying to be awkward. I have raised it simply for the reason which I have given.
If we are to obtain a multi-racial society that works, the second vitally important matter is education. I do not think we can get multi-racialism unless we get people to be educated together. After all, if we are to survive as a community in Africa, we can do so only by achieving the tolerance of the enormous majority. In Kenya there are nearer 200 than 100 Africans to every white man resident there. I do not see how we can continue the society that we have created unless we involve the Africans in it, and I do not see how we can do that without bringing the leading Africans into our educational system so that they have not only the same learning but, so much more 1161 important, the same disciplines. With African education, as we discovered with our public school system many years ago, character formation is a great deal more important than learning. We need a system which imposes the disciplines of character formation.
That has been the cause of the phenominal success of the extraordinary institution at Wumumu, which I have had the pleasure of seeing. It began as a reform school and has turned out to be, I consider, the most successful educational institution in Kenya. It is now working on a permanent basis. There is tremendous competition among the Africans to enter it, and it is producing really first-class citizens. Nothing would serve better than to base our secondary boarding education on a multi-racial system whereby both nations together could enjoy the same disciplines.
The other important thing, which I would say with regard to that is this. I believe that in Africa at least, and possibly elsewhere, the Army is among the greatest of educators. I remember my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) saying on one occasion a good many years ago words to this effect. "Any decent nation grows round an army, and its character depends upon the character of the army out of which it grows." There is an immense amount of truth in that.
The common responsibility that forges a collection of people into a nation is the responsibility of defending themselves. It is in the Army that the individual sacrifices himself to the whole, to his neighbours. It is that spirit of defence that builds and makes a nation. Without that common task which people have come together to perform, unless they perform that task and create the instrument of that task, I doubt whether any body of people have had the necessary corporate experience to he an effective nation. There is very much that we can do in Africa here.
In another context, I have urged the raising of an African division, if only to relieve ourselves of commitments which we do not have the volunteers to fulfil. I really urge upon the Colonial Secretary that this should be pressed upon the War Office, because I believe that nothing would do Kenya, or, indeed, Tanganyika, more good than the task of creating a 1162 force, apart altogether from the purely economic point of view of bringing that additional spending power into a country that needs it so urgently. These disciplines of education, building in this way and building a force which of its very nature must be multi-racial, are the second thing.
Thirdly, there is the political aspect. In Kenya, we are faced with these two problems. This is the dilemma. On the one hand, there is such an African majority that nothing on God's earth can prevent Kenya being ruled by that African majority. Nobody with whom I discussed this in Kenya seriously doubted that.
On the other hand, there is a civilisation, a culture and an economy which has built up the population and has built up the way of living and it is the work of a tiny minority. It is a culture whose expansion and whose existence depends not only on the confidence of the white man and the Asian within Kenya, but upon the confidence of other white men controlling capital outside Kenya. That is the dilemma. There is to be African Government and we have to get it upon such terms that it will be acceptable to and enjoy the confidence of the European minority. Heaven knows, it is not an easy task.
I believe profoundly that the Lyttelton Plan is going the wrong way. because it calls into being communal rolls. Communal rolls mean racial politics. Racial politics end in the victory of one race. inevitably in this case the black race, and it is a race which comes into power as the conqueror of the area in political terms and it will not enjoy the confidence of the conquered. It is a method of bringing about Africa rule by the worst possible means, and I would very much hope that the communal rolls will be brought to an end before there is even another African election. Once the African communal roll really gets under way and really becomes the expression of the African electorate, nothing can stop it.
I hope that we shall be told something concerning the Lyttelton declaration. I have always understood, and in all conversations and discussions I have had in Kenya it has been understood, that the Lyttelton declaration precluded us from altering the Constitution before 1960. I was alarmed at the suggestion that it might prevent us considering what we 1163 would do in 1960 before we got to that year; because if we have not made our plans by 1960, I think it will be too late. The African communal roll will then have established itself, politics will be organised upon racial lines and nothing will stop it.
I believe that it is necessary to abolish the communal rolls altogether and go right over to a common roll. It is not good enough simply to impose a common roll over the communal roll. I say that as the result of a conversation I had with Tom Mboya. I discussed this with him and asked whether he would stand on the communal roll or the common roll. He said, "The communal roll, of course. That is the only one which will speak for the Africans." That is the danger.
This is what I would say. Have a common roll, arrange the qualification, educational and property, so as to give about the same number of voters to each race initially; arrange the constituencies so that each one has a considerable bulk of voters from all three races. Let each constituency return as three members one of each race and let every voter have three votes, which he must exercise, one for each of the three candidates.
That would have three effects. First, it would bring back the moderates, because nobody can succeed who does not get a majority of votes from the other races. Secondly, it will mean that every African who is elected has beaten another African, with the assistance of people of the other races, and the same will apply to every European. Thirdly, it imposes parties and those parties must be multiracial. If I wanted to get elected, I would have an African on my ticket whose friends would be asked to vote for me.
To get this accepted, we must promise the Africans, first, that the qualification will not be raised and, secondly, that they will get additional members in proportion to their advance as more people qualify, so that at the later stage it will be one European, one Asian and two Africans in each constituency. The second African, however, would only get elected if he came into a party system, which by then would be established. Eventually, it would be three Africans, but we would have got there by bringing them in at the party level, at the electoral level and at 1164 the legislature level upon terms in which they must co-operate with the others.
There is an immense danger in a civilisation which is created by an alien race of less than 1 per cent. That sort of civilisation has never succeeded in surviving. If we can achieve it in this case it will be a unique performance—but I believe that that is the sort of work that we should be doing now. For heaven's sake, do not let us wait until 1960 comes. Let us realise that a workable multiracial constitution must be imposed. It can never be negotiated; once we try to negotiate we shall have so many safeguards introduced that the final product will be unworkable. Somebody must have the guts to impose a constitution, and then it will be worked. That is the only way to do it—and the preliminary work must be done now.
§ 7.40 p.m.
§ Mr. Douglas L. S. Nairn (Central Ayrshire)
Perhaps I should start by saying that I still travel upon a Southern Rhodesian passport, and that I felt it is a very heavy responsibility to take part in a debate of this sort. Although often there are very few of us here, what is said in the House of Commons has wide repercussions in the countries about which we are talking—repercussions which may not effect us very much but which have a tremendous effect upon both Europeans and Africans in Africa.
I should like to refer for a few moments to the speech made by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callghan). It was a fascinating and charming speech. During the course of it I became almost mesmerised. Everything seemed to be so easy, as he put it, but I had a feeling at the time that he was not really facing up to the hard facts of life in Central Africa and the problems of setting up this multiracial society which we want to see. He admitted the tremendous advantages that Africans in Central Africa had obtained from having a European population living there, but when he suggested that a Government of the type that exists in Ghana might be established there in the near future, with universal suffrage, he did not face up to the fact, the inevitable result, that in those circumstances it would be impossible for the small European population to continue to exist.
1165 This debate can do a great deal to help the progress of the Federation, but it will help only if the broad message that we send out, as a result of the debate, is that we trust and rely upon both Europeans and Africans to work out their salvation together. If we tell them that we are going, to give them all the help that we possibly can, and that in giving that help we will introduce the minimum amount of interference consistent with our responsibilities, we shall be doing a great service. I am not quite sure that the speech of the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East was on those lines.
Several quotations have been made from a speech made by Sir Roy Welensky on 18th May, and I should like to make one more. He said:we are following a liberal, rational and civilised policy, and we are carrying it through with responsibility.That is an accurate description of the point of view of nearly all the Europeans in Southern Rhodesia. I know that there are exceptions but, broadly speaking, that is the intention of almost every European in the Federation. It is not too much to say that Europeans in Southern Rhodesia are intensely proud of their long record of racial harmony, which has scarcely been broken in the last fifty years. They are also proud of the great help that they have given to raise Africans to their present standards in such a short space of time.
When I opened The Times this morning I was very surprised to read, in a leading article, a statement which said:a large number of Europeans are reactionary, and would welcome the introduction of the South African racial policy.I do not know where The Times got that information; I believe it to be completely and utterly inaccurate. I admit that there are some reactionaries; there always arc, in any community. But even amongst the reactionaries that there are in Southern Rhodesia very few would welcome the present South African policy. One would be hard put to find more than a handful of people who could properl be described by that sentence in the leading article in The Times.
If the day should ever come when a large part of the population of Southern Rhodesia became reactionary and admired the South African policy the 1166 blame would lie largely with this country, because such a thing could happen only if we fail to understand Southern Rhodesia's problems and if we speak of the Europeans in that area in the sort of language that was used by Mr. Arthur Gaitskell in a recent letter in The Times. Nothing could do more harm than to refer in the scathing sort of way that he did, to,Sir Roy Walensky and his whitesand then go on to put words into Sir Roy's mouth which I am quite sure he never said, namely, that Africans who argue can be dealt with as agitators. That is only causing trouble, and that is the very thing which may make reactionaries out of people who are at present determined to make multi-racial government work.
My hon. Friend the Member for Essex, South-East (Mr. Braine) told the House about many of the opportunities being given to Africans in the Federation. I welcome the opportunity afforded by the debate to mention a few of the things that the Southern Rhodesian Government are doing and have done to bring forward the African population so that it can play its full part in the government of its country.
The Government have recently embarked upon a five-year plan for African education. To show that that is not only a good intention but that the Government are determined to carry it out it is necessary to quote only one or two figures. In 1956 the African education vote amounted to £1½ million. By 1960 it is expected to be over £3 million. African school children on the school rolls in 1954 numbered 300,000; in 1957 they number 400,000, and by 1960 it is expected that the figure will rise to 600,000. It is interesting to remember that the number of school children on the roll then will be more than the entire African population in the country in 1902. It was then estimated that the population was only 500,000.
Africans taking the junior certificate in 1956 numbered 300, and by 1960 the figure will have risen to over 1,000. Africans taking the Cambridge certificate in 1956 numbered 80, and by 1960 the figure is expected to rise to 240. At present over 10,000 teachers are teaching African children. I admit that only 1167 about 4,000 are qualified at the moment, but even here all our teachers are not yet qualified. By 1960 the Government hope to provide an additional 4,000 qualified teachers. They will do that from two new teacher training schools which have been built, helped by 24 mission schools.
I will not say anything about the University, except that it sprang from the ideas of the Europeans out there. Enough has been said about the multi-racial university, but it is quite clear that no Government and no people would spend all this effort in improving the education of the Africans unless they intended to raise their status year by year. One does not educate the people one wants to keep down.
Tremendous progress has also been made in housing. Altogether, 5,000 houses have been built for owner-occupiers between Salisbury and Bulawayo. These are being sold to Africans at about £400, including all interest charges, payments being spread over twenty-five years. I am told that one of the interesting things about the new town near Salisbury is that although there are more than 2,000 houses there is practically no crime. I think that has been the general tendency all through. The Southern Rhodesians want to develop the Africans, and in these towns there is every indication that the Africans are developing a growing pride in their homes.
The same progress is being made in agriculture. Last Friday, there was a debate in this House which dealt largely with agriculture in East Africa, and with the problem of achieving native ownership of land instead of the system of communal ownership. This was started in Southern Rhodesia in 1951, and if anyone who has not seen the country since 1947 went to Southern Rhodesia today, he would be absolutely astounded by the change that has taken place and the progress that has been made in the native areas, and in all these areas cultivated by Africans. The Government have provided more than 80 European advisers, and with them more than 600 African demonstrators. Every year, the yield per acre from African farms is increasing by leaps and bounds. Although many people do not realise it, there are scattered through the native areas 1,800 African 1168 trader-producers, and a law has just been passed to set up an African co-operative society for the handling of African products.
All this clearly shows that the Southern Rhodesians, at any rate, are determined to help the Africans to reach the same level as themselevs as soon as possible. It is true that a great deal, in fact, most, of the criticism of the Federation so far comes from Nyasaland, but I think it would be a mistake to imagine that that criticism really represented the views of the broad mass of the Nyasaland Africans. I say that with fairly good reason, because there are working each year in Southern Rhodesia no fewer than 120,000 Nyasaland Africans, who go there quite voluntarily.
Some on my own farm have been there for eight years, while many come for only two or three years. We rely entirely for our labour force on these people going home and reporting that they have been well treated and looked after, and that they have enjoyed themselves. If that did not happen, we should have no labour force. It is quite clear that the people who come from Nyasaland, not only to work on the farms but also to work in the towns, are very satisfied with their conditions and the way in which things have gone in Southern Rhodesia.
§ Mr. Coldrick (Bristol. North-East)
I appreciate the argument which the hon. Gentleman is putting forward, but I would ask him whether it is not a positively dangerous argument? On that assumption, because a large number of people from Nyasaland go into the Union, one would assume that they are fond of the Union and would prefer the South African policy?
§ Mr. Nairn
I doubt if they would prefer the South African policy, but in some ways they are looked after in the Union. They get good wages, and go home with the money they have earned, but in Southern Rhodesia many of them stay, not only for the contract period of two or three years, but settle down for as long as eight or ten years. Indeed, many of them do not want to go home at all, and one of the problems of the Nyasaland Government is to make sure that those people who have gone to Southern Rhodesia do in fact return home.
1169 I would not say by any means that everything is set fair, but I do believe that the developments that are going on in that part of the world are going to work out, and I am convinced that people who go there from year to year must be astounded at the progress that has been made in the last fifteen years.
I should like to make one more reference to the leading article in The Times today, because I think it gives a slightly wrong impression. It says this:Sir Roy Welensky's party faces a by-election on Thursday in which their candidate is opposed by Mr. Winston Field, the leader of the Opposition. Will that by-election show that the Prime Minister has gone too far in the progressive direction to hold the European vote?From that statement in The Times, one would think that if they voted for Mr. Winston Field, they would want less progress than if they voted for Sir Roy Welensky's party, but I am absolutely sure, from knowing Mr. Winston Field fairly well, that if he were in power, his policy would be every bit as progressive as that of Sir Roy Welensky, and that he would very quickly shake off any reactionary elements that may have tacked themselves on to his party.
I think that, if the Government lost that election, the deduction might be that it showed a feeling amongst the people of Southern Rhodesia that they have come to the conclusion that we in this country have started to lose faith in them, and that it would also indicate that they were starting to lose faith in us. That is where the real danger in that part of the world lies. It is the danger of a growing mistrust between the Europeans who have made their homes in Central Africa and those of us who still stay in this country.
I am sure that we in this country can either help or hinder the progress that is being made towards complete equality in the Federation, but, whether we like it or not—and my hon. Friend the Member for Essex, South-East (Mr. Braine) emphasised this—racial co-operation and understanding in Africa entirely depends, at rock bottom, on the Europeans and Africans who live in Africa. Theirs is the responsibility. We can only help them. If we try to take that responsibility from them, we shall fail, and if we 1170 fail we shall be doing far more harm than good.
§ 7.57 p.m.
§ Mr. Kenneth Robinson (St. Pancras, North)
I hope the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Nairn) will forgive me if I do not follow his observations, because I do not feel qualified to speak about the Federation. I hasten to add that that does not mean that I subscribe to the theory which was apparently adumbrated by the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight (Sir P. Macdonald) in a series of rather offensive interjections during the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan). It is the theory that one is not competent to speak about a country's affairs if one has not visited that country.
§ Sir P. Macdonald
I still maintain that view, and if I am allowed to speak I shall deal with it thoroughly.
§ Mr. Robinson
I shall be glad to hear the lion. Gentleman's justification of his point of view.
I want to talk about the situation in Kenya, which I visited in January last as a member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association delegation from this country. As I have not had an opportunity of speaking since I came back, I should like to say how extremely grateful we all were for the kindness, hospitality and help shown to us by members of all races in Kenya in the course of an extremely interesting but perhaps even more exhausting, trip.
My colleagues and I found the relationship between the Africans and the Europeans in Kenya rather better than we had expected. Indeed, my own view was confirmed in a conversation that I was able to have with Sir Philip Mitchell, who, as hon. Members will know, after retiring as Governor of Kenya, bought a farm and has been farming there ever since. He knows Kenya probably as well as most people. He told me that in his view relations between the races have never been better. That was somewhat surprising, immediately after an emergency as bitter and as hardly fought as the Mau Mau emergency.
I asked myself why relations were so good in the circumstances—I am speaking about the month of January. I think 1171 that one of the reasons is that the Mau Mau emergency undoubtedly stimulated the Administration in Kenya, and Her Majesty's Government, to speed up the pace of social and economic development for the Africans. The pace quickened, the front widened, and more money was spent although, I would add, not nearly enough. The whole idea of land consolidation received an enormous fillip, particularly in the Kikuyu areas. I do not wish to deal with that at any length, because I agree with what was said by the hon. Member for Armagh (Mr. Armstrong) during the debate on Friday, when he devoted his speech entirely to the question of land consolidation.
In my view there is nothing less than a revolution in African agriculture in progress at the moment. In the whole of the Kikuyu areas land consolidation is not only transforming African agriculture, but is literally changing the face of the countryside. The emergence of planned holdings and the villages, which do not stem immediately from land consolidation but rather from the emergency, have utterly changed the landscape. Certainly they have paved the way to efficient and profitable African farming, probably for the first time in Kenya.
In this connection I would pay my tribute to the excellent work of the team of European technical officers who are helping the Africans to carry through these great developments. They are bringing to their task a devotion and enthusiasm which is infectious not only to the Africans themselves, but also to the occasional visitors such as we were.
As was said during the debate on Friday, land consolidation brings its own social problems. I do not subscribe to the view that it creates a landless class in the sense of a class of people who previously owned land and do not own it any longer. But it underlines the problem of the landless because as African agriculture becomes more efficient, a better living is won from the land, but as I see it, fewer will be required to till that land. The corollary is that more and more Africans must look to industry rather than to agriculture for their subsistence. That will make it necessary, perhaps urgently necessary, to bring some kind of industry into the African reserves. although for a very long time the main sources of employment in the industrial field will be in the towns.
1172 Here the question of the minimum wage is one of increasing urgency. Progress from what is known as the bachelor minimum wage to the family minimum wage is very slow indeed. The pace of the advance was never envisaged as particularly fast, but even so it has been slowed down because of general economic conditions in Kenya. It is impossible for Africans in the towns to lead a tolerable existence on the existing urban minimum wage.
We found it extremely difficult to get proper statistics about the relationship between rents and wages, but, from the figures that I was able to obtain, it seems to me that most Africans in the towns are required to pay about one-third of their income for their accommodation. That, of course, is a situation which cannot be allowed to continue. It emphasises something which strikes any visitor to Kenya for the first time, the enormous disparity between the living standards of the African and the European.
The question of minimum wages applies not only to industry. A report on the minimum wage for agriculture has been in the possession of the Government for some months, perhaps for more than a year. Yet that report has not yet been published. It is no less necessary to establish a minimum agricultural wage.
Another factor in the relations between the races is the extent to which the African has access to social services. Here the pace, although it has been to some extent accelerated, has been slower than in the agricultural sphere. One of the most exciting things of our visit to Kenya was becoming aware of the enormous thirst for education evident among Africans of every tribe. Not only education for the males, but what is even more revolutionary, education for the females. That poses a serious and acute problem for the Administration of Kenya, which has, I think correctly, placed the provision of eight years of primary education for every African child as its first priority.
That is a modest enough target by Western standards. But at today's prices even that provision would cost over £22 million a year, a figure which represents about three-quarters of the total Kenya budget. It also compares with the figure of less than £5 million devoted to education in the current budget. Somehow or other that target must be reached, and 1173 that soon. The shortage is not only one of money, but of teachers, and teacher training facilities are being expanded as rapidly as possible.
But the money must be forthcoming, and so far as I and my colleagues could see, it cannot come from Kenya's own resources. That is one of the matters regarding which a very heavy responsibility rests on Her Majesty's Government. This is a critical moment in the history of Kenya, and in my view, assistance of that kind must be given quickly to enable the demand for education to be met as fast as the provision of teachers and other facilities will allow.
The second thing I wish to say about the social services concerns public health. It is difficult to secure much information in that respect because there are no vital statistics available in Kenya. Unless there is that foundation of vital statistics, it is difficult to assess the health needs of the population, or the success of experiments carried out, or of anything else. I understand that preparations are being made to collect some vital statistics, and they are long overdue. The health services which I saw in the country vary between the reasonably good—indeed think the very good—services in Nairobi and one or two of the larger towns in the reserves, and the rudimentary or non-existent.
In some areas, hospitals were carrying on in most primitive surroundings and conditions trying to cater for an enormous population of hundreds of thousands of Africans. Probably the Administration are right in trying to expand the health services by means of health centres. I think that that is the most economic way of providing some kind of health service in the country as a whole. Here again, more money is needed, and progress is not nearly as fast as it should be.
There is one field in which the Colony's economic stringency has led the Administration to take measures which I think are wholly retrograde—the introduction of health charges in hospitals for in-patient treatment, and also for outpatient treatment in clinics and dispensaries. The Government argue, first, that the African is used to paying for medical treatment—they quote the mission hospitals—and second, that he values something the more if he has to pay for it.
1174 I was rather sceptical of that argument, but if there is anything in it one would have expected the attendances to have gone up significantly when the charges were introduced. What happened, in fact was what the normal person would have expected—the attendances dropped. When I inquired, I was told that in the first experiment of this kind in Nairobi, attendances dropped in the first few weeks but very soon reverted to normal and it was expected that that pattern would be followed for the rest of the country.
I understand from a recent reply by the Colonial Secretary that that is not happening. What is happening is what, when I was there, I feared would happen. The introduction of those charges has resulted in a serious drop in attendances, a drop of about 50 per cent., and that, in turn, must mean that Africans who need medical treatment and facilities are being denied them because of inability to pay. I would ask the Colonial Secretary to take up this matter with the Kenya Government, because they did undertake to keep it under very close review,
Much has been said in today's debate about the chances of building a multiracial society. I hope that it will be possible to do so, because I believe that in that way the country can best develop in the interests of all races and, in particular, of the Africans. I readily recognise that the Europeans in Kenya have made significant contribution to the raising of the standard of the African in the last half century; and that they can make a significant contribution in the future. I believe that their technical skills and capital are needed, and that with a genuinely multi-racial society, based on partnership and not on domination, great benefits can accrue to all races.
Multi-racial society, however, presupposes two things. It presupposes a restraint and a measure of patience on the part of the Africans, but it equally presupposes vision and foresight, sympathy and understanding, on the part of Europeans—and also a lively consciousness that they are outnumbered by the Africans by 100 to 1.
I had the good fortune to meet many Kenyans—in the Administration, farmers, politicians—whose outlook was generally liberal and progressive and who would not for one moment deny what I have 1175 just said. I also met the other kind, who believed that everything could be solved provided one exercised a firm enough hand and adopted tough enough policies. I believe that the pace at which the African is advancing is accelerating all the time and that it is the job of the European to help and to encourage, and even to make sacrifices to assist that advance. One thing that the Europeans in Kenya—and this is probably true of the other territories—must never do is to give even the impression that they are trying to hold back that advance. These are flood waters, and they must be guided and canalised into ways that are constructive and of benefit to all, or they will engulf us.
I can see only two alternatives facing Kenya. The first is the development of a multi-racial society, a genuine partnership on the lines that have been discussed this afternoon, and the second is the completely African State. Some Europeans still think that there is a third choice. They cling to the idea that the European domination, even in its present modified form, can continue indefinitely I believe that that idea is not only moonshine, but dangerous wishful thinking.
That leads me to the political aspect, and I should like to say just a word about the White Highlands. I do not want to argue about the rights and wrongs of the European tenure of the Highlands, but I want to remind the House that the continued exclusion of Africans from that area is an explosive political grievance which must be removed—and removed quickly.
One thing—it is quite small—seems to me to be symptomatic of the less farsighted European of Kenya. That is the appearance from time to time of official advertisements in The Times and elsewhere for more European settlers to go to Kenya. Whatever one may say about the policy of accepting more Europeans for settlement in the White Highlands, at this critical stage in the political development of Kenya to advertise, and to let the Africans in Kenya know that one is advertising, in London for settlers for the Highlands seems to be the height of folly.
The time has now arrived when African tenant farming in the Highlands could be developed with benefit to all. I do not agree that one has to wait until there 1176 are large numbers of Africans capable of reaching the highest. or even the average, European farming standard. There are plenty of good African farmers today. Of course, one has to have minimum standards of agricultural capacity, but I believe that the time has certainly come when that experiment should be embarked on.
That brings me finally to the question of the Constitution. Since we were in Kenya in January it is obvious that what I then thought were the surprisingly good relations between Africans and Europeans have deteriorated. Since the African elections the demands of the African elected members for a revision of the Constitution, and their refusal to take part in Government have led to a falling off in confidence between the two races. Certain speeches have been made at public meetings—many of them, I understand, have been rather deliberately misreported in certain sections of the Press, which has resulted in restrictions on public meetings. That is a mistake in policy on the part of the Administration. I am a great believer in public meetings. If there is political feeling it is often very useful to have a public meeting as a safety valve for frustrations of that kind, and I think that it is probably dangerous to drive those frustrations underground by forbidding open, public discussion of them.
The African elected members are demanding this revision of the Lyttelton Constitution: instead of the eight seats they now hold, they are asking for fifteen, which would give them parity with the elected members of all the other races put together—all the other races, whom the Africans outnumber by roughly 25 to 1. This does not seem to be an outrageous demand. The Colonial Secretary can, if he wishes, take refuge in the declaration of his predecessor which, as he told us today, was repeated by himself. That was the declaration that there was to be no change in the Constitution before 1960 without the agreement of the three races. He may be justified in doing that, but I think that he would be extremely unwise to do so.
I hope that all his efforts and all the Governor's efforts will be directed towards getting the three races together to discuss a revision of the Constitution by agreement at the earliest possible date. I believe that certain discussions have already 1177 begun, and that they had a rather unhappy start. I can only hope that they will recover from that beginning and will proceed in a reasonable atmosphere.
In my view, time is not on our side. Time is against us here, and this is not an unreasonable demand or one which could not be safely met. Indeed, I think that it can be resisted only with serious danger. I hope that any revision of the Constitution will include the beginnings, at any rate, of a common roll. I do not find myself able to go as far as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget). I do not think the time has come to scrap the communal roll and substitute a common roll entirely. One very strong reason against that is that it would involve the disenfranchisement of a large number of Africans who have at this moment got the franchise. That in itself would make any scheme based upon a common roll of this kind highly suspect and, I should have thought, totally unacceptable to the Africans.
I agree with my hon. and learned Friend that it is absolutely necessary to get some members elected to the Legislative Council in Kenya on a common roll, and I should have thought that that kind of arrangement ought to take place very soon. If we do not get the common roll soon, it may be too late because there is no great enthusiasm amongst the Africans for a common roll as such. If we delay much longer they will not even be prepared to discuss it. I believe that a common roll is an absolutely fundamental prerequisite to building in Kenya the multi-racial society which I believe we should all like to see.
§ 8.23 p.m.
§ Mr. F. M. Bennett (Torquay)
In common with most speakers this afternoon, as this is such a wide-ranging subject and there are so many aspects to touch upon, I know that the hon. Member for St. Pancras, North (Mr. K. Robinson) will forgive me if I do not follow him in all of his remarks.
This has been a fascinating debate, and one has heard a lot of new ideas. Certainly I have become aware of a lot of new facets today, although I have had the good fortune to travel widely in these territories and actually to live in the Federation for some time.
1178 I am sorry that the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) has now left the Chamber. For I was priviledged this afternoon to see the detachment of the King's African Rifles over here rehearsing for the Royal Tournament. I was interested, therefore, to hear what the hon. and learned Member had to say about the effects of pride and self-assurance on people as the result of forming a defence force. No one who has seen or will see that detachment could have anything but intense pride in the way that they carry themselves and in their obvious keenness and self-assurance. There, at least, is no lack of dignity or of purpose, and I hope that as many people as possible will go to see them.
No one who is really interested in this subject of race relations in Africa can but view the future with some apprehension. I agree that the challenge seems to be stepping up from day to day and the time seems to growing shorter and shorter in which we can prevent a racial line-up. Many causes have been mentioned today. For my part, I believe we under-rate the effect on the one hand, of the march to complete independence of Ghana and Nigeria and, on the other hand, the repressive policies of the Union of South Africa. It is all very well for us here—and I share these views completely—to say that conditions are not the same in Rhodesia or Kenya or in other multiracial societies as they are in Ghana or Nigeria; but that argument, although right and convincing to all of us, and although factually and economically correct, is not necessarily one which appeals to an ardent African nationalist living in those territories, who cannot quite see the problem in the same broad pattern that we can with our wider Imperial responsibilities.
That is another reason why, as a result of this contrast between what I may call the black nations marching towards complete independence and the Union, on the other hand, apparently determined on white supremacy, that this concept which we are trying to put into effect is having such a very severe buffeting at the moment.
Many hon. Members have touched on the fact that if we do not speak up on behalf of native African interests we shall be in danger of losing their confidence and support. No one would deny that 1179 such a danger exists. But, in all seriousness, I do not think that at the moment it is as dangerous as our encouraging the African nationalists in territories which we know are not suitable for the Ghana or Nigerian solution. Hence I assert that much more vital is the need for us in our actions and our speeches not to give credence to the idea that we think that anything other than partnership is going to succeed in those territories.
Secondly, just as we must not lose the confidence of the African native, we must be careful not to lose the confidence of our kinsmen overseas. Here I speak as one who has lived in those territories. Unless one has lived in such places, it is difficult to realise the extent to which people out there—rightly or wrongly is immaterial at the moment—resent what they regard as unjustified interference from people in this country who do not know first-hand about conditions in Africa. I am not saying whether that is justified or not, but the feeling does exist in the Central African territories and elsewhere.
There are two sections of European population there; and oddly enough they both share this feeling equally, although they have different reasons for doing so. First of all we have the settler, so-called, who has lived there, as the phrase has it, for more generations than many of the Africans surrounding him. He says, "This is my country. What are you doing telling me how to run my own affairs?" On the other hand, we have the more recent addition, now amounting to about 50 per cent of the white population, of people who have gone out from here. They are the same as ourselves. They are the people who a few years ago were voting for either of the parties represented in this House. If they get the impression that we think that although until recently they were our fellow countrymen nevertheless they cannot be trusted to know anything about affairs in Africa, another equally dangerous type of resentment sets in. Those are two of the potential dangers arising for us if we are not very careful.
Some hon. Members spoke today about the colour bar. There is no need to waste the time of the Committee in reiterating one's views on this. I believe that everybody deprecates it and would like to see it lessen and depart as soon as it 1180 practically can, but I believe also that we should be very wrong if we thought that it was a matter which could be dealt with simply by the effect of accumulated criticism here or by legislative methods. All of us know in our hearts that the colour bar really comes from fear, whether reasonable or otherwise.
We have seen something in this country which gives point to the resentment sometimes expressed in the Federation, that we simply do not know what it is like to be surrounded by a black population which one day may take away our jobs, our livelihood, or our farms. There was a good deal of chuckling when a comparative handful of West Indians came to this country, and immediately, as we know, the row started. The right hon. Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Dugdale) had particular experience of this sort of thing in his constituency. If I may say so, people over here often behaved in a manner which, I am sure, we should deprecate very strongly if we read of it happening in Salisbury. Let us not stand in a white sheet in regard to this; we all share the anxiety when it is brought home to us that another race, superior in numbers, may drive us away from what we regard as our proper economic interests.
I have had brought home to me most acutely when travelling in the United States from South to North that there is nothing intrinsically different in their moral outlook towards the colour problem between a man in Texas and a man in Massachusetts; but they both have a completely different idea as to the potential danger to their own interests. What does it come from? As I say, there is no difference in the moral approach or Christian capacity of a man living in Massachusetts or a man living in the deep South, but in the one case, in Massachusetts, there are very few negroes to threaten him by their presence and in the other, in the South, there are very many. That is really the answer. The fear, the colour bar, is present almost exactly in direct ratio to the potential threat felt in the minds of the people living in these places.
I have felt a sense of considerable personal satisfaction today, because there has seemed to be a great measure of unanimity in this Committee on the subject of our colonial and racial policy. I 1181 hope that, in making a plea for a bipartisan policy as far as possible on Commonwealth and colonial matters, I shall not be misunderstood. In advancing it, I do riot believe that this is simply a party matter or that my party or another party can get some advantage or disadvantage out of it. This is one matter in regard to which I should like to see a bipartisan policy adopted. I do not ask that it should be so for party reasons. There are not many votes to be gained, either in agricultural or industrial constituencies, on racial questions in Central Africa, but those of us who plead for a bipartisan policy in these matters believe that it would he a tragedy for the Commonwealth if any idea developed in people's minds overseas that one party in the House of Commons supported one race while in office and the other supported another.
I make no criticism of one side or the other, and I am not alluding to many right hon. or hon. Gentlemen opposite; but there is a danger that, if present trends are not altered, and if some more extreme hon. Gentlemen opposite continue to give the impression that, when a Socialist Government is re-elected in this country—
§ Mr. Bennett
If and when. This is a serious point I am trying to develop. If and when a Socialist Government—
§ Mr. Bennett
I should be quite happy to join the right hon. Gentleman in a little jovial mockery later on, but I am trying now to develop a serious point.
If it comes to be believed throughout our Colonial Territories that, if and when a Socialist Government gets in, great advances and benefits will come to coloured races, then extremist demands must be accentuated, and if, on the other hand, as a concomitant, the white races believe that their interests will suffer, the more extremist elements will now press their demands for a greater degree of independence.
§ Mr. J. Callaghan
Does the hon. Gentleman not agree also that, if politicians 1182 in the Colonies, even Federal Prime Ministers, attack a particular party in this country, they are more likely to rally the support of Africans to that party?
§ Mr. Bennett
I have been particularly careful to avoid criticisms on either side today, either abroad or here. The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) is, of course, entitled to make that point but one must, of course, point out that those leaders to whom he refers could well say that they were not attacking but defending, the attacks having been made in the first place. I leave to him to work out which came first, the hen or the egg; that is an exercise into which I do not propose to follow him.
I am not making a party point in bringing out the following facts and figures. When we consider the record of the Labour Government in the past and the record of the present Conservative Party, a bipartisan policy is in fact clearly shown to be running through what has happened. It is only when Opposition spokesmen in opposition take up a drastically different attitude from their line in government that the impression is given abroad that the bipartisan policy is not being pursued.
Earlier this afternoon the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bromwich produced figures to show how scandalously small was the representation of Africans in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland compared with the numbers there. I am not making a party point in saying that these problems have a continuity. I remind the right hon. Gentleman that when he and his right hon. Friends were in office and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) was responsible for this the African representation in Northern Rhodesia which he approved was a maximum of two out of 23. In Nyasaland the figures were a maximum of two out of 19. Those representations have now been doubled and ought to be that much more satisfactory to the right hon. Member for West Bromwich, being at least twice what the right hon. Member for Llanelly thought right for Africans only six or seven years ago.
I think that I have shown that this is not a simple matter of one party coming to power and immediately introducing "one man, one vote" throughout the 1183 Commonwealth. When right hon. Gentlemen opposite held power they pursued approximately the same policy which we have been advancing, of having fair representation as fast as local and other social, political and economic conditions would permit. It would be wrong to give the impression that any very different situation now obtains or is likely to obtain in the foreseeable future.
As I have lived in the Federation, I want to devote my concluding remarks to one or two facts, as opposed to some of the stories which have been given credence, about conditions in Southern Rhodesia. They bear rather well on one or two critical comments from the benches opposite. Some extremely passionate and yet reasonable pleas were made by the hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. R. Williams) and the hon. and learned Member for Northampton about an independent judiciary, separate from the executive. Oddly enough, in Southern Rhodesia the judiciary is already independent of the executive, whereas that is not the case in territories under our more direct control.
Hon. Members have pleaded for voting rights on a common roll. Southern Rhodesians have had a common roll for a very long time. I pledge myself openly, irrespective of any necessary economic or other qualification, that I always support having a common roll. I share the apprehensions that once we start to elect people on the basis of representing a particular race we shall perpetuate racial discords for all time. I hope that it will be remembered that it is along the line of the common roll, irrespective of race, that we must keep moving, so that we can from time to time get black men represented by a white and vice versa, rather than a strict colour delineation.
The hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson), in an interruption, said that the Africans in Southern Rhodesia who could vote numbered only 400 or 500. In fact the figure is reckoned at about 8,000, although only about 400 have actually registered. There is no prohibition against them. One of the reasons for the discrepancy given to me was by an African who had an income well above the necessary figure and did not want to declare the fact so that he would not have to pay Income Tax.
§ Mr. Bennett
That means that 471 wanted to vote and took the trouble to register, but it would be wrong to give the impression that that is the number allowed to vote. It is estimated that 8,000 could have voted if they had wanted to and if they had taken the trouble to register.
In this context it is worth commenting, too, on the notable lack of civil disturbances in Southern Rhodesia. In this respect Southern Rhodesia has the best record of any territory in the Continent of Africa. Not a shot in anger has been fired in Southern Rhodesia for a much longer period than is the case, I believe, with any other territory directly or indirectly under our administration in Africa.
I have tried to devote my remarks to making a reasonable approach and to showing that we would be in very grave danger if we permitted our natural interest in all these matters to be interpreted abroad as a basic and fundamental criticism of the ability of our kinsmen overseas to rule themselves as soon as conditions permit. The only effect of that would be repetitions of the Boston Tea Party in another way. Whether we liked it or not, the Federation has gained a degree of independence which makes it impossible for us constitutionally, or, which is unthinkable, by the use of military force, to undo it. If we give the impression that we do not trust the Federation, and that it is our purpose to reduce its powers, if we appear to be too critical, the result can only be to give more power to the extremists in the Federation to do what all of us here would regret—lead that country towards a greater degree of union with, or dependence upon, the Union of South Africa. That would certainly not be to the benefit of this country or of any of the inhabitants of any colour of any of the territories in question.
§ 8.41 p.m.
§ Mr. James Johnson (Rugby)
The hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett) will forgive me if I make only one comment on the speech he has just made. Like so many of his hon. Friends, he has pleaded for a bipartisan approach. That is becoming quite a theme song on 1185 the benches opposite now. There is no harm in it. Let them not misunderstand me. I am not saying that there is. All I would say about it is that it would be a pity, as the hon. Member for Torquay said, if overseas the Labour Party were to be identified with a purely black nationalist movement and the Conservative Party were to be regarded as the party of the white settlers. That would be dangerous. When this party comes back to power in two years' time we shall have very great difficulties indeed if that impression gets about.
I am glad, Mr. MacPherson, to have been called by you, because I now have an opportunity to amend what I said in a speech in the debate we had on Friday about the East African Commission. I called attention to an article in the Manchester Guardian about a meeting at Kisumu at which, it was alleged, Tom Mboya, the leader of the elected African members of the Legislative Council, said things which caused concern not only to me but to my hon. Friends. I wrote to Mr. Tom Mboya to get his version of that meeting and I asked him to send me his comments. I asked for them in the hope of having them for the debate on Friday, but, unfortunately, they did not reach me in time. However, I have a letter from him now containing his version of what was said at the Kisumu meeting, and, in view of what I said on Friday, I should like to put on record what he says in this letter. He corrects a wrong impression. He writes:I can well appreciate your concern at the article that appeared in the 21st May issue of the Manchester Guardian. I was myself completely amazed at the inaccuracies and distortions prevalent in the article. I have already written the Guardian a correct version of my Kisumu speech. I can say a lot of political nonsense but it is incomprehensible to imagine that anyone would accuse me of saying that we had more educated people than the Gold Coast or that land consolidation was brought about by the Lyttelton constitution. If the Guardian publish my letter you will see that these two statements are untrue. On the allegation that I advocate violence by saying that unless Government acceded to our demands war shall continue, I would say this is either a failing on the interpretation of phrases or translation from Swahili to English or a deliberate attempt at distortion. All I referred to was that 'the struggle will continue'. The word struggle in Swahili is vita which is also the word far war.1186 I wanted that on the record because in the debate a few days ago I called attention to his speech which caused many of us in this Chamber much concern.
My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) said that in his view the Federal politicians in the Central African Federation would have to convince the Africans of their sincerity. In 1960 the five Governments are to meet at Lancaster House to discuss further changes in the constitution of the Federation. I agree with my hon. Friend that the acid test in 1960 will be the answer to the question whether or not by the end of the next two or three years the Federal Government, which is essentially European, will have convinced 6 million Africans that they have tangible benefits as a result of the federal set-up.
I spent about four weeks recently in the Federation and, candidly, my answer to that question is "No. So far, the Africans are not convinced that the Federal constitution and the Federal leaders are giving them tangible benefits." But we have some years to go yet. I would be the first to agree with hon. Members opposite that Sir Roy Welensky and his colleagues in the Federal Cabinet are facing a difficult and complex task. They have got off to a bad start. Federation had been imposed upon the African population and there have been some injudicious speeches by the European leaders causing further suspicion.
Deeds convince Africans much more than words and whilst it is an excellent thing that Africans are now able to have a meal in the dining-car on the Federal railways, it would be a much better thing if Africans were also on the footplate, and had jobs as engine drivers and stokers on the railways, as they have in the Belgian Congo and Mozambique.
As to the colour bar, I was almost terrified by the atmosphere, particularly in the Copperbelt where there is what I would term social apartheid. There is an alarming cultural gap between white people and the Africans, and what is more difficult to understand is the lack of contact between them. Those Europeans who are liberal and wish to "get over the colours" and mix socially are called "Kafir borties." I spoke to one lady who had made efforts in the Copper- 1187 belt to get a mixed party going in amateur theatricals. She suffered greatly from a whispering campaign. In this sort of atmosphere there is a species of social blackmail. Those who attempt to get over the colours in this way find it a very difficult job.
Mention has been made of inter-racial clubs, but when the leader of the Africans, Mr. Harry Nkumbula is nominated to such a club in Lusaka one finds the director of medical services for the Colony leaving the club when this black African leader becomes a member. Talk of interracial clubs is artificial indeed if leaders of the European society do that kind of thing. It is really distressing to see the suspicion between the administration and the African Congress leaders.
There are, of course, faults on both sides and there is no doubt that Congress leaders and their members have not been helpful in co-operation in introducing the agricultural techniques of land consolidation, bunding and contour ploughing. On the other hand, I am tempted to say that many people in the administration think that Lord Lugard is still alive. They are working by indirect rule through the chiefs and headmen. Chief Chitemakulu of the Bemba receives £80 a month as paramount chief. Like the Kikuyu in Kenya, the chiefs and headmen are thus civil servants. Native Authority chiefs, who are in this way tied up in the administration, feel a conflict of loyalties with their natural inclination, as fathers and uncles of Congress leaders, to go on the political side and back Congress.
In Northern Rhodesia we find the phenomenon of the new young educated "politicos" who seem to be almost a new creation to the older members of the administration, who find it difficult to mix and work with these new young leaders. Somehow in Africa, particularly in the Federation, we must find a way of integrating these educated Africans into our plural society. It was easy in the past to work with the older traditional native authorities, but we find it much more difficult to work with the new politicians who are now leading the Congress and the African Nationalist parties.
It is impossible to ignore them. These are the facts of political life. It would be futile to ban more and more congress organisations, as we have done in 1188 Lundaze, Petauke and Gwembe as well as other parts of Northern Rhodesia. I had the mixed pleasure of visiting these places and talking to deposed chiefs. Speaking earlier at this Box my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) was correct in saying that far too many chiefs have been deposed in Northern Rhodesia because they were suspect politically and were lining up with Congress, as opposed to taking sides with the administration when they were told to do so.
It is somewhat disturbing to meet the new young politicians who are the sons of chiefs, and to talk to their fathers and their grandfathers, such as Chitimakulu. They are all in sympathy with Congress, yet one is told by the administration that Congress has not got the backing of the people. I assure the Minister that I got about nearly all parts of the territory and I found that National Congress is indeed a national movement with the backing of the people. As was said earlier in this debate, our job is to channel these young men, with their people behind them, and their activities into a law abiding and co-operative stream, working with us. Banning will get us nowhere in these territories.
On franchise I would say that there is much suspicion north of the Zambesi about the findings of the Tredgold Commission and the fear that a similar type of franchise may be adopted in the northern territory of Northern Rhodesia. Africans think it would be a sham and hypocrisy if there were to be special voters and ordinary voters, with Africans on one list in the lower tier whose votes, even if they may number tens of thousands, will never count for more than half the total of the few hundred Europeans who will be in the upper tier.
Whilst I believe in the qualitative franchise—as the Minister flung it across the Chamber at me—I will be forthcoming about this and say that I believe at this stage we cannot compare a plural society like Kenya or Northern Rhodesia with Ghana or India, which are more homogeneous societies. I believe in the qualitative franchise of a common roll to begin with, whilst my ultimate aim is a single member geographical constituency with a universal franchise for all adults in the future. At the moment that is not possible.
1189 On the other hand, I am against the fancy franchise set-up of the two-tier system, which the Africans feel is a mockery and will keep them farther and farther from their ideal, of getting more and more African Members of Parliament. Whatever system we adopt in the elections of the northern territory or the Federal elections, we must adopt some kind of franchise which will give Africans an appreciable number of black Members of Parliament at Salisbury, Zomba or Lusaka, speaking for their own people and going there knowing what is wanted by their own people who vote them into these territorial Parliaments. It is important that we should make evident our desire to do that.
So there is a need for confidence, and in my view a lead is awaited from the liberal Europeans, particularly Sir Roy Welensky at the head of the administration. He is the one man who can give this lead. Earlier in the debate both parties in this Committee were asked to declare their views about Federation and the 1960 talks.
It is much too early to do so at the moment, but it seems to me that if the European leaders in the Federation wish to have in 1960 such a climate of opinion that the African leaders of the two northern territories will talk to them in a co-operative vein, they will need to make before 1960 some statement indicating that they intend to have in the 1960s a large measure of autonomy in the two northern capitals. Certainly this will need to be in respect of African affairs in such spheres as housing, education, agriculture, police services and local government. The European leaders should make it clear that in respect of those affairs they expect to have territorial portfolios in the two northern capitals, and in addition in the 1960s that there will be a majority of elected black Members of Parliament looking after local affairs in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
I am convinced that Her Majesty's Government ought not to give up power in either of the two northern territories in 1960, 1962 or 1964 until the House of Commons, whatever may be the Government of the day, is convinced that the Africans, as a result of having more educational facilities, more experience in 1190 local government and more of their own representatives in Parliament, are sufficiently equipped to hold their own alongside the Europeans who, at the moment, are the dominant partners since they are in every way, politically and economically more advanced than the Africans.
§ 8.57 p.m.
§ Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly)
We have had a very interesting and valuable debate. It was opened with splendid speeches from the two Front Benches. Perhaps the approaches were occasionally different, but I thought that the two speeches supplemented each other very well. We have had a number of very good and very powerful speeches from hon. Members on both sides of the Committee. I am sure that hon. Gentlemen will not take it amiss if I refer to one speech only, that by my hon. Friend the Member for Wigan (Mr. R. Williams), who made a powerful plea which impressed the Committee very deeply.
My hon. Friend spoke about two matters of which he has special knowledge and experience. I am sure that the Colonial Secretary will join me in paying tribute to the work done by my hon. Friend in representing the National Union of Mineworkers, which is also my union, and the Miners' International, in promoting better understanding between European and African mine workers' unions in the Copperbelt. The wisdom and qualities of leadership shown by my hon. Friend entitle him to speak as strongly as he did today. I hope that what my hon. Friend said about the miners' leaders who are now detained, and the major problem, which applies not only to Central Africa but is a matter of colonial policy, of the place of the judiciary and the need for an independent judiciary, will be given the attention which it deserves.
Before I raise any special problems—I shall refer to one or two—I should like to say a few words about how those of us who belong to the Labour Party have been seeking to approach the problems in recent years. It is the duty of all parties in the House of Commons to devote their mind to these problems. We have great responsibilities. It is essential that we should study and understand the problems and that we should declare as honestly and as clearly as we can what we think to be the policy that ought to 1191 be pursued by this country in respect of the territories for which we are still responsible.
It has been my privilege for the past two or three years to be continuously working on these problems with some of my right hon. and hon. Friends and others outside the House who serve our party. We began by preparing, and submitting to our conference, a statement of our general policy for the Colonies. We affirmed what is not only our policy but, I think, the national policy, that we accept the responsibility of working with the people in the Colonial Territories towards the establishment within their territories of democratic States, and that it is our duty to work with them, to help them, and to guide them, to establish the conditions upon which a democratic State can be built on enduring foundations.
We regarded ourselves as having three major tasks in order to build the foundations and the structure upon which a democratic State could be established to which eventually we would transfer power. Those three tasks were, first to help the Africans to build a sound economic foundation for their future State. That is essential as a foundation. We recognised that we had a responsibility of making a contribution. I agree with all that has been said about what the Colonial Territories owe to our country, to our Government, and to our own people who have brought their skill, their knowledge and their experience to those territories and have helped them to lay the foundations. I hope it will not be regarded as in any way partisan, however, when I say that we owe a great deal to the Colonies as well.
I say this in respect of all Governments since the end of the Second World War. Look not only at the aid that we have given to the Colonies, but at the fact that we have been able partly to sustain the sterling area by the colonial balances held in this country. Indeed, the case can be made very strongly that on balance the Colonies have helped us more than we have helped them. However, we all recognise our responsibility towards that end of building the economies of those countries and of raising their standard of living so that when we transfer power to a democratic State, it will be to one with a viable economy.
1192 The second task is to promote in every possible way their social progress, to build their health services, hospitals and the like, and to promote in particular their educational services, so that they will have the equipment to sustain a modern State. The third great task is to foster at every level—at Government level and voluntary level— those democratic institutions by which and through which a modern democratic State can be administered. That is our general policy.
Having set out that general policy and affirmed it once more, we believed that we were making a contribution to national thinking upon this problem by applying our minds to particular aspects. It is not enough simply to frame a general policy. We ought to seek to apply that policy to certain problems which present difficulties and complexities. Indeed, by the time of our next party conference, we shall have published three policy statements in which we set out our views. I hope that they are a contribution to the national thinking. I am sure that the party opposite will do the same.
We published one statement during the weekend in which we show how we have pledged ourselves to devote at least 1 per cent. of our income to developing the underdeveloped territories, including our own Commonwealth. It has, I believe, already received a favourable reception in the Press, and I hope that it will be studied. At the end of this week, we shall be introducing another pamphlet in which we seek to look at the problems of the smaller territories, of which there are a large number, scattered all over the Commonwealth, and what their future will be. That is an old problem, and we have sought to devote our minds to it.
In the pamphlet which is relevant to this debate, we have faced the problem of what we call the plural or multi-racial society. The three territories which have been the subject of our debate this evening are three territories of that kind. The multi-racial character of those three territories in Africa is our responsibility. It is we who encouraged and permitted our own people to settle in those territories in Central and East Africa. It was we who brought the Asians there. We brought the Asians to East Africa as indentured labour to build the railway, and we did it in the interest of rapid 1193 economic development. Because we would not wait until we had had time to train the Africans to do these jobs we brought in the Indians. The Arabs were there before us; they have been there for centuries; but apart from those Arab settlements the character of those societies has been determined by us. They have established their homes there, and they all regard Africa as their home.
Our problem is in finding a way to help them to work together towards a common end. When the Labour Party approached that problem the first question we asked ourselves was, "What is the ultimate objective of our policy for the multi-racial or plural societies?" In respect of the Colonial Territories we have said that, generally speaking, our aim is to work towards a democratic State, and when that has been firmly established, to transfer power to it.
Hon. Members of this House, the people of this country, and those in Central and East Africa must ask themselves whether the ultimate objective in these plural societies is the same. The Labour Party, having asked that question, gives the answer, "Yes". I ask hon. Members opposite what answer they give. In the case of plural societies our ultimate objective is to create a democratic society to which we shall transfer power. We have recognised that in these plural societies the achievement of a democratic society is much more difficult and complex than it is in homogeneous societies.
I agree at once with the hon. Member for Essex. South-East (Mr. Braine) that in this sense we have to be careful in making comparisons between Ghana and East and Central Africa. But we have to be careful only because of the multiracial character of the latter territories. Are we to say that Central and East Africa will never attain the stage in which we shall have established a democratic society in the full meaning of the word democratic"? If we do say that, then we must say what other objective we have.
Our second decision concerned the question, how do we identify a democratic society? What is the hall-mark of such a society? It is accepted all over the world that the hall-mark is adult suffrage and free elections, with a legislature elected by its people and answer 1194 able to its people, and a Government answerable to the legislature, with the opportunity for the country to change its Parliament and Government. We say, therefore, that we aim at establishing democratic societies in those territories, and that in our view the object to aim at is the establishment of adult suffrage. When that has been established there will be a democratic society, to which we can transfer power.
The third decision to which we came is of importance. Since we came to the conclusion that we wanted to establish that kind of democratic society we decided that we would not be fulfilling our responsibilities to the people living in those territories unless we affirmed that we would not transfer ultimate power until a democratic system was properly established. As one who has friends in all three territories—white, black, brown; Europeans, Arabs, Asians, and Africans—I say that if the leaders in Central and East Africa could only agree to make a joint declaration that they are willing to work together towards the establishment of a fully democratic society many of the fears and tensions which exist there would be eased, and the situation would be transformed in a very short time.
All the time we are up against the fear of one against the other, in all those territories—particularly the Africans' fear that it is our intention to prevent them, as a people, from reaching the stage in which they, too, will live in a fully democratic society. I believe that it is very important for us to realise that.
Before I deal with some of the specific problems, I want to say that one cannot think of Africa's problems as though Africa was a continent shut off from the rest of the world. Of course, it is not. Look at what has happened in the last twelve years. In that time, the British Empire has been transformed. Countries in Asia have attained democratic independence, and Ghana in Africa has attained its democratic independence. I think that that is something in which we can take pride. The only new democracies which the world has seen arise since the end of the Second World War have arisen as the result of our joint efforts and work together, in this Commonwealth that we have established. We should realise what a tremendous impetus this has given to Africa.
1195 Let me cite one instance. Have we realised the significance of the fact that the Africans call their political parties congresses. Why? For a very simple reason, but one which is very profound in its significance. There is an African Congress Party in each of these African territories, and they use the name of congress because in India it was the Congress Party that mobilised the national will towards democratic independence. What has taken place in Asia and more recently in Ghana is indeed spreading throughout the whole of Africa and throughout the whole of the world. Everywhere it has given rise to tremendous dynamic forces, and my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) referred to it.
I think we had better realise, because it is very important, that African nationalism has become a tremendous force. Nationalism is a force that can be destructive and harmful. We who live in this old Continent of Europe have paid a terrible price for nationalism that took the wrong turning and expressed itself in the wrong way. It taught us a lesson. Here is a dynamic force. No one who goes to Africa even for a short time can come back without a full consciousness of how powerful it is, and we cannot even stop it growing. I say quite frankly that it would be a tragic mistake if we sought blindly to resist it. What we have to try to do, if we can, is to channel it into constructive paths and efforts. That is our responsibility, so far as we can help here, in respect of the leaders in all the territories in Africa.
May I now put the problem on a personal level for a moment? In the last twelve months or two years. I have had the opportunity of meeting three young men, whom I will name, because I think they will be important in Africa. I may be wrong, but that is my own view. They are the leaders of the African national movement in each of these territories of which we are speaking today.
In Central Africa, one of the leaders of the African National Congress, and perhaps the most important leader, is Harry Nkumbula. In Kenya, it is Tom Mboya, a young leader who is now emerging. In Tanganyika, it is Julius Nyeri. I have met these young men, and other hon. Members have met them, and I have a very strong feeling that these 1196 three young men, gifted, trained, and educated, are as civilised as any Europeans in Central Africa—because we talk about civilised standards.
I have talked and argued with them, and sometimes have argued strongly against the things that they say and do. Of course they say foolish things. Let us be honest; how many of us could put our hand on our heart and say that we have never said a foolish thing? There are foolish things said on both sides. I ask the Europeans in Africa to realise that those three young men represent a great, dynamic force with which they will have to live.
I have talked about the changes which have taken place in the last twelve years. Let us use our imaginations and think of Tanganyika, Kenya and Central Africa in another twelve years. What will be the development of the nationalist movement by young men like those whom we have trained at schools and to whom we have given scholarships to universities? We are training these democratic leaders, and how important that is. If these young leaders do not look to democracy for their inspiration, where else will they look?
I ask all European leaders in those three territories, why do not they meet these young men and talk to them? They can talk to them on equal terms about every problem. They are reasonable people. They count as the people with whom in the end the Europeans will have to learn to live. Sir Roy Welensky and Harry Nkumbula represent two great political forces in Central Africa. If they work together, they can create a worthwhile Central Africa for all their people. Have they ever met? I do not think that they have. What a tragedy.
Sir Roy Welensky and Julius Nyeri have been to this country. Hon. Members have met both of them, but they have never met each other. There is also young Tom Mboya. Reference was made to him by my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson), who said that a word in Swahili used by Tom Mboya was wrongly translated into English. I can sympathise with Tom Mboya. Sometimes I speak in Welsh and have to listen to it being translated into English. Tom Mboya is at heart a democrat, and wishes to work for a democratic society in Kenya, If we 1197 make an enemy of him, what are we doing? Is it not worth the effort to make him into a friend?
Julius Nyeri was trained in a Catholic mission school to be a teacher and he taught in a Catholic school. He is a very gifted person who believes that he has a mission to lead his people towards economic, social and political advancement. He has given the whole of his life to his political work. He has established an organisation, the Tanganyika African Nationalist Union. I have no doubt that occasionally a branch of T.A.N.U., either because enthusiasm, ignorance or inexperience, has in some place or other sought to take the place of the native authority and therefore there has been difficulty and trouble. But—I am sure the Secretary of State will know that I say this because I know this man and have great hopes for the part he can play in Tanganyika—if this young man is made sour and bitter, and feels he is frustrated, it will be a bad thing for Central and East Africa.
I raise these matters because I feel that the nationalist movement in Africa is very strong; because I believe that unless Europeans and Africans come together and find some way to work together, we cannot avoid a clash. Should there be such a clash all hope for a multi-racial society will be destroyed. I therefore advance this as a serious contribution to our discussion: that our efforts should be concentrated on helping these people to meet together and work together towards a common end.
Several of my right hon. and hon. Friends and others have referred to the Central African Federation of the future and to the discussions that recently took place between the Secretary of State and Sir Roy Welensky. I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman a question of which I gave him notice. In the communiqué issued at the end of the discussions between the Minister and Sir Roy Welensky it was announced that the conference on the future of the Federation is to be held in 1960. The Federal Constitution provided that such a conference would be held in not less than seven years and not more than ten years from the date when it came into operation in 1953, so it is constitutional to hold the conference then.
1198 I assume that at that conference there will be a proposal that Her Majesty's Government should give consideration to conferring Dominion status or independence upon the Federal Government. I raise this matter, because I feel that it is better to do so now rather than to let it go on and perhaps in 1960 find ourselves with pledges made which, may be, we have not fully realised.
When discussing matters with Ministers here last year, Lord Malvern put forward the plea that the Federation should have Dominion status and, within its own sphere, should become independent. I have here a report published in the Newsletter issued in London by the Federation's Information Services. It is a report of a speech made by Lord Malvern, as Prime Minister, in the Federal Assembly on 2nd August last. The first quotation is as follows:During the conference leading up to the Federation we came to a clear understanding that the Federation could, in its own sphere, advance in constitutional status to complete independence irrespective of the position of the three constituent territories!The second quotation to which I want to draw attention reads:The position"—under the proposals put forward—would be exactly the same as it is today with the one difference that we would be technically independent.My third quotation is from the same speech. It reads:If the talks with the Secretaries for the Colonies and Commonwealth Relations achieved nothing else they cleared up once and for all that constitutionally there was no obstacle to the granting of independence to the Federation.We discussed that in the debates that we had about the Federation. Dominion status and independence for the Federation can be granted only under the terms of the Constitution, and on the basis of the pledges given to this House. I want, therefore, to quote what is said in the Preamble to the Federal Scheme. That reads:The association of the three Territories in a Federation under Her Majesty's sovereignty, enjoying responsible government in accordance with the Constitution hereinafter set forth, would conduce to the security, advancement and welfare of all the inhabitants; and in particular would foster partnership and cooperation between their inhabitants—1199 and I ask hon. Members to listen to these words—and enable the Federation, when the inhabitants of the Territories so desire, to go forward with confidence towards the attainment of full membership of the Commonwealth.In the debates that we then had, this point was raised by myself and by the hon. Member for Huddersfield, West (Mr. Wade). The then Secretary of State, Mr. Oliver Lyttelton, now Lord Chandos, replied, and I want to quote what he said. Speaking on 9th June, 1953, he said:It would be impossible to create Dominion status unless there were a change in the Constitution. The Constitution would be subject to all the safeguards which are laid down in the scheme, and when Her Majesty took advice upon the matter she would naturally have to take account of whether the majority of the inhabitants—of all the inhabitants—were in favour of such a thing, which I admit would really, by the backdoor, involve amalgamation. In fact, it cannot take place with these safeguards until the authorities of the day are satisfied that the majority of the inhabitants so desire, so there is more than Her Majesty's Government's word; there is something in the Constitution which protects the position."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th June, 1953; Vol. 516, c. 104 and 105.]I have read those quotations at this stage because I think it is very important to do so, as Lord Malvern has reported to his own Parliament that there is no constitutional obstacle to the Federation becoming independent—I take it that he means in the sense in which any of the independent countries in the Commonwealth become independent. It is quite true that there is no barrier in the Constitution, but there are conditions in the Constitution, and the conditions clearly lay down that those three territories cannot become a Dominion and cannot become independent unless the inhabitants of the three territories so desire.
I ask the Committee to realise the difference. What will happen at the conference is that it will be a conference of representatives chosen by Her Majesty's Government, by the Federal Government and by the territorial Governments of the three territories of Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. But the decision about independence and Dominion status cannot be made without the wish of the inhabitants of all three territories—not electors and not Governments.
I think we had better have this information now instead of letting the 1200 matter go on so that when we reach 1960 we find ourselves in difficulties again. Do the Government still stand by the preamble to the Federal Scheme published in 1953 and by the interpretation given by the then Secretary of State, now Lord Chandos, in the quotation which I read?
All of us desire to make our contribution and to help to prevent racial antagonism from developing, to prevent it from becoming a racial conflict, and to work with the people in those territories towards these common ends. We have a responsibility, but the responsibility of the people in Africa is greater still. These are their countries. They have made their homes there. They have to live together, and their children, too, will live together. The pioneers who went to those territories lived with the African in the bush. They have taken the African out of the bush and have put him in the school and in the university. They have put him in the mine and in the factory. We have torn him from his setting. We have taken him from his tribe. We have destroyed his own form of society. Now we must integrate him into our own, and integrate him eventually on equal terms; otherwise there can only be disaster in these territories.
That is the problem. I hope that we shall be able to find ways and means by which we and the people in those territories can advance towards the end of establishing democracy in all their territories. The transitional period may be a long one. It may be a difficult period. There will be all kinds of experiments in the franchise and in every other respect; but if tonight we here and all the leaders in Central and East Africa could say with one voice that we are working towards the establishment of a democratic system, that, I believe, would remove the fears from the hearts of the Africans, and would make it possible for us to look forward to a smooth and peaceful transition towards the kind of Africa that we want to build.
§ 9.30 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. C. J. M. Alport)
Some people may feel that a very significant contribution to mutual respect between the races and a better understanding of each other's prowess was made at Edgbaston during the last few 1201 days, but I think that we may claim here that, during the last few hours, we have made our contribution to the study of what is a most difficult and complicated problem. I hope that hon. Members concerned will allow me to say that I believe that we have heard, from many quarters of the House, most thoughtful and constructive speeches, not least, from my hon. Friends the Member for Essex, South-East (Mr. Braine) and the Member for Ayrshire, Central (Mr. Nairn), and from the hon. Member for St. Pancras, North (Mr. K. Robinson), who spoke about Kenya from the other side.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) will agree with me, I think, when I say that the atmosphere of today's debate is very different from the atmosphere in debates we have had together in earlier years. The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) very sincerely said that he approached these problems with a sense of humility. I can assure him that all of us who have played some small part in the study of this problem of race relations, and more, in the study of the problems of Africa, have learnt, in the course of time, to approach them all with the very greatest humility.
I hope that this spirit may be evidenced through our debate and may extend beyond this Committee to those who are, in a way, listening to us overseas in Africa itself. I hope that they will realise that it is not our intention here to lecture them, to preach at them, or to nag them. It is our hope and intent to try to make some constructive contribution to the solution of a major problem which faces the world as a whole, but ourselves, perhaps, in particular, which will need all the wisdom, good will and understanding of everyone if it is ever to be found.
It will not be easy, in the thirty minutes or so at my disposal, to sum up on the many points which have been raised by hon. Gentlemen on both sides, but I should like, if I may, to start by taking in detail three of the main problems which were put to me. The first was mentioned by the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) and the lion. Member for Cardiff, South-East, and was referred to in an interjection by the right hon. Member for Llanelly in the first place. This raised the question of the undertakings given with regard to 1202 constitutional progress in Kenya before 1960. I would draw the attention of hon. Members to Cmd. 9103, paragraph 10 of which says:If at that election the electorate returned members who are willing to serve as Members of the Government formed in accordance with these proposals, there will be no further changes in the proportion of members of either the Legislative Council or the Council of Ministers, either as between the main racial groups or as between officials and unofficials, before 1960.It goes on to say further thatHer Majesty's Government similarly will not initiate any changes in the communal basis of franchise to become effective before the election of 1960.Hon. Members can see from that that, while, no doubt, there would be preparatory discussion on these difficult problems, no changes would become effective before 1960.
§ Mr. Alport
These are very important problems for the future of Kenya, as the hon. and learned Member for Northampton will agree. The discussions will take some time. It is most important that they should not be hurried, and it is most important also that the stability which has returned so recently to the Colony should not be upset by the prospect of early and drastic change. Therefore, while there will be discussions, it does not necessarily follow that the formal negotiation, which the hon. and learned Gentleman perhaps has in mind, will take place before 1960.
To turn to the second point, which was raised by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly, that is his reference to Lord Malvern's speech and the commitments undertaken in relation to the future of the federation; I draw his attention to the third paragraph of the declaration which was made by my noble Friend and the Secretary of State for the Colonies and the Prime Minister of the Federation in April of this year. It was:the purpose of this conference"—that is, the conference in 1960—is to review the Constitution in the light of the experience gained since the inception of 1203 federation and in addition to agree on the constitutional advances which may be made. In this latter context the conference will consider a programme for the attainment of such a status as would enable the Federation to become eligible for full membership of the Commonwealth.The right hon. Gentleman will be aware that the word used is "consider". I can therefore assure him and the Committee that the undertakings enshrined in the Preamble to the Constitution Instrument still stand and still govern the future as far as Her Majesty's Government or their successor Governments are concerned.
The third point was that raised by the hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. R. Williams). He raised a number of important matters about the detention and restriction of certain trade union leaders in Northern Rhodesia. In the first place, he made a great deal of play—quite properly, I am not objecting to it in any way—with the principles of the rule of law. I can assure him that in the case which we have under consideration the rule of law is, as far as possible within the exigencies of an emergency, accepted by the authorities.
In the first place, the habeas corpus applications by the men concerned succeeded because of a technical fault in the delegation of power by the Government and did not signify an abuse of power by the authorities in respect of these men. Secondly, I assure the hon. Member that the enactment of the Emergency Powers (Transitional Provisions) Ordinance, that is the second of the ordinances governing the case of these men, was entirely unconnected with the results of the habeas corpus application and would have been necessary in any case to continue the operation of the initial regulations beyond the time at which they expired.
I point out to him that although there was detention initially, the position of these men at present is restriction to the areas of their native authorities and is therefore wrong for him to give the impression, which he probably did not mean to give, that at present they are being treated as criminals who are subject to any criminal law. It is unfortunate that he should have made a special plea that the commission to inquire into the industrial situation in Northern Rhodesia should contain an African judge. The inference of that sort of point, at any rate 1204 in the minds of the Africans themselves, is that a judge with a white skin, however distinguished and however great his capacity may be, cannot be expected to provide justice for an African.
§ Mr. R. Williams
Is not the Under-Secretary overlooking the fact that I made it perfectly clear that not only was there an opportunity for multi-racialism to show itself in practice in this way, but that since an industrial matter was being considered there should be a trade unionist as well?
§ Mr. Alport
The hon. Gentleman certainly made that point, but the object of the Government in this matter was to obtain the services for a particularly difficult inquiry of men who could he expected to be best qualified for the industrial investigation which was to be undertaken. The appointment of this Commission was decided a month before the emergency began, and, therefore, was quite unconnected with the conditions of the emergency itself. Of the three members of the Commission, Sir Patrick Branigan, Q.C., is a member of the United Kingdom Industrial Disputes Tribunal. He also has experience of labour conditions in Northern Rhodesia. Surely, nobody could be better qualified for that purpose. The other two members were Mr. Justice Hoffman and Major Donnelly, who has had great experience of arbitration and industrial conditions in Northern Rhodesia.
I think it a pity, therefore, that the hon. Gentleman used, or appeared to use—I know he is not unfair in these matters—the appointment of a commission of this sort to create prejudice against the fairness and justice of the handling of industrial relations in Northern Rhodesia. The hon. Gentleman has had great experience of this, and has been extremely successful in his representation of the interests of the African trade unions. I pay full tribute to him. Surely he knows, because of his very success, that the way in which industrial relations there are handled by the Government is a way and at a level which must commend itself to every fair-minded person.
I would say one other thing to him. I mentioned earlier that he made great play with the rule of law, with the importance as a landmark in our great legal 1205 position of Magna Charta. The hon. Gentleman and I went out not so long ago to see the effect of a situation in Africa where the rule of law had failed completely, where an emergency had broken out, where the situation had got out of hand. He and I saw with our own eyes the devastation and the horrors of it all.
There are occasions in Africa when it is the duty of the Government to undertake emergency powers. They do that to prevent a situation from getting out of hand in a way which would result in much greater bloodshed, much greater injustice, much greater devastation than anything that is likely to happen provided the emergency is brought under control by a responsible government. So I think it was a pity that the hon. Gentleman should have prejudiced or at any rate spoken against policies of the acting Governor and the Government of Northern Rhodesia in handling that situation, which, undoubtedly, by their speedy and determined action, was prevented from deteriorating into something which might have been very serious indeed.
After all, in the long run the future of trade unionism in Northern Rhodesia and of trade unionism everywhere will depend upon the responsibility of the leadership of the unions, and in the long run, perhaps, it will be no bad thing for the unions there that the lesson of responsible leadership should have been brought home as soon as possible to the African unions of the Copperbelt and of Northern Rhodesia generally.
I turn to some of the matters which are major matters for us in dealing with the future of race relations in Central Africa and in Kenya and in Tanganyika, and because they fall to the responsibility of my Department I want particularly to address my attention to the problems of the Federation, and most of all to the significance of the declaration made recently as the result of the visit of the Prime Minister of the Federation to this country. I think it is the policy of both sides of this Committee, certainly it is the policy of the Government, that we should do all that we can to help the leaders of the people of the Federation to make the Federation a success. We do so because we believe profoundly, and I do not think that there is a serious 1206 division between us in this matter, that if the Federation can be a success it may provide a solution to the problems of a plural society in Africa which we are all seeking.
I would remind the right hon. Member for Llanelly that during the many debates in the House prior to the passage of the Bill the main issue which divided the two sides was not the desirability in the long run of Federation or, for that matter, its importance to the political and economic future of Central Africa. It was largely a matter of timing and of safeguards. The right hon. Gentleman and his right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) was responsible for starting the ball rolling at the Victoria Falls Conference. In the report of that conference it was said that… the Conference, with the exception of the African representatives, showed itself favourable to the principle of federation.I hope that we can establish in our debate that we on both sides of the Committee are anxious to see Federation a success, and that Federation must continue to be the pattern of development of Central Africa. Our job here is to give what help we can to ensure that on both the European and African side that pattern works out in a way that is acceptable to the people of that country.
My hon. Friends, and indeed hon. Members opposite, are perfectly right in saying that the responsibility for this in the long run, and in the short run, rests with the people of Central Africa themselves. I would say to the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East, that it was agreed in both Houses, both here and in another place, after the Federation debate was over, that it was then the duty of both parties to make the Federation a success and to do our best to ensure that it achieved the results that we hoped for it. I have emphasised this, because it would be very wrong indeed if the impression got out from the debate that in the event of some change of political fortune here there would be any change in the attitude of the Government towards playing our part in bringing Federation to a successful conclusion.
If I may turn to some of the matters included in the joint announcement and the joint declaration, I would point out that first of all it renews the pledge, which had already been given, that 1207 amalgamation cannot be regarded as a possible future pattern for Central Africa. It states clearly that the three territories of the Federation will remain part of the Federation. I cannot conceive any circumstances that are likely to arise in the foreseeable future when there will be any change in that. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies has pointed out, this announcement, while having a number of important features, does not involve any amendment to the Constitution. I do not think that the provisions with regard to external affairs or for direct access to the Sovereign, or the proposal to give rights to legislate extra-territorially to the Federation, are matters which will involve any controversy.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
I gathered from what the Secretary of State for the Colonies said earlier that it was proposed to introduce a Bill into the House. If there is to be no change in the Constitution, what is the purpose of that legislation?
§ Mr. Alport
My right hon. Friend did not say that. He was referring to the franchise Bill being introduced into the Federal Parliament.
§ Mr. Callaghan
Has not the Under-Secretary of State just said, or certainly was it not said in the communiqué, that legislation would be needed for the extraterritorial rights that the Federal Government themselves will want to implement? Will not that legislation be necessary here too?
§ Mr. Alport
No, that is not a question of amending legislation. That is devolving powers from this Parliament in a very special category to the Federal Parliament. Certainly that will require legislation, but not an amendment of the Constitution. Perhaps I should explain to the Committee that the reason for it is that the lack of power to legislate extra-territorially was felt particularly by the Federal Government when a fine battalion of the Rhodesian African Rifles was serving in Malaya. I am certain that in this matter both sides of this Parliament would wish to see it put right as soon as practicable.
As regards the reference in the announcement to Article 29 (7) of the Federal Constitution and the legislative powers 4 the Federation in this matter, the announcement clears up doubts which have 1208 arisen, not here in the United Kingdom, but in the Federation itself, about the meaning of that Article. I merely say to the Committee that the Convention referred to in the announcement is one which has existed, and been recognised, for something like forty years. I cannot believe that any Government would wish to go back on a Convention which has become an accepted, if unwritten, part of the Commonwealth constitution, if I may use that phrase.
§ Mr. Callaghan
This is rather an important point to get clear. Whilst accepting what the Under-Secretary of State says, it is still true that in 1960 it will be open to the conference of the five authorities concerned in it to review anything which has taken place, or which had been undertaken by the Federal Assembly, whatever its nature.
§ Mr. Alport
It is true that the conference, when it takes place, will review widely the progress which has taken place in the Federation since its inauguration seven years previously, and I am not aware that there will be any particular subject which it is likely to exclude, if it is the wish of the parties to discuss it.
As regards the next section of the announcement, it is of special significance to the Federal authorities, and it is one which I hope will command the sympathy of both sides of the Committee. It is the wish of the Federal Government that there should be Civil Services which are locally based rather than expatriate. Anyone who has experience of constitutional development in the Commonwealth will realise that the absence of a fully developed, locally based Civil Service has been in many cases the greatest handicap facing newly emerging Commonwealth Governments, when additional responsibilities are being given to them as a result of the policy of the United Kingdom. Indeed, any prudent Government of any Commonwealth country, which looks forward one of these days to assuming full Commonwealth membership, realises that it cannot start too soon to build up a locally based Civil Service, whose members will not disappear to other employment at the very moment when their experience and capacities are most urgently needed.
I will not refer to the franchise proposal because my right hon. Friend has 1209 already dealt with that, but I want to say that in the final declaration, to which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly has drawn the attention of the Committee, it is agreed that the conference to reconsider the progress of the Federation and the future of the constitution should be convened in 1960.
After all, the Federal Constitution is a highly complicated affair, and it was clear from the beginning that it would be necessary to make adjustments not only in matters outside the constitution, as we have done in the recent communiqué, but also in the constitution itself, as soon as the experimental period of seven years has been completed. I believe we can say, even at this time, that the progress which the Federation has made is one of marked success. I think it right to say unreservedly that the credit for this is due both to Lord Malvern and to the present Prime Minister and leader, Sir Roy Welensky.
As The Times leader said today, Sir Roy, in the proposals he put forward in April, has shown himself to be extremely moderate. The task he undertook then was simply to expand the bounds of the possible. It is surely a great virtue in all politicians that they should be concerned not necessarily with the ideal, with what pressure groups within their countries try to make them obtain, but what is possible in the realm of practical possibility. That he should take up such an attitude despite these pressures, pressures coming from events both to the north and to the south, is surely evidence that the Federation has in its present political leadership precisely those qualities which evoke the confidence of all people of common sense and good will.
I accept that the matters which are dealt with in the declaration and in the announcement are matters of importance, but I must at the same time emphasise that they are the logical outcome of the decisions taken by Parliament and of the successful progress of the Federation during the last four years. Hon. Members on both sides of the Committee have drawn attention to the material progress which the Federation has entailed, not least in respect of the Protectorate of Nyasaland. I think that if we take account of the policy developments which 1210 are taking place in Southern Rhodesia we can conclude with perfect justice that there, as everywhere else, in the attitude which exists towards race relations considerable progress is being made.
I would remind the Committee that not only have we established—perhaps I ought to say "they have established", because it is mainly the achievement of Dr. Adams and the people of the Central African Federation themselves—a multi-racial university, which has run its first term very successfully, but we have African Members of Parliament in the Federation, which, as Lord Malvern has said, would not have been conceived possible a few years ago.
We have in the Federal Public Services opportunities in all the four branches for African promotion. Indeed, the first African is now being considered for promotion into the top grade, which, until recently, was reserved for Europeans. In the Federal Armed Services a decision has been taken to appoint African officers when there are qualified applicants. In respect of the railways, there has been a change in the attitude towards some of the regulations which amounted to a colour bar.
In Southern Rhodesia itself, the Industrial Conciliation Bill, which is now being considered by the Parliament, provides for multi-racial trade unions and opens the whole field of industrial conciliation to Africans. The Registration and Identification Bill and the Townships Bill—this refers to a point mentioned by the right hon. Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Dugdale)—relax the previous pass laws in respect of qualified Africans and enable all Africans to visit towns in daylight without passes and travel anywhere in rural areas without passes.
Surely, all these things constitute evidence that partnership is working in practice. Surely this is the sort of evidence of practical partnership for which the Africans, who had their reservations when the right hon. Member for Llanelly and his colleagues met them at Victoria Falls, were looking. Surely it is out of this that confidence will come in the future of the Federation.
I have no doubt that one of the reasons why the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues chose this subject, which was perfectly justifiable, for debate today was that they wished to draw attention to their 1211 new policy of the Plural Society. If they did so—the right hon. Member for Llanelly did so with great eloquence—that is perfectly justifiable, but the fact of the matter is that the problem of the Plural Society is not the problem of providing power and votes for majorities but fundamentally the problem of safeguarding the interests of minorities.
The right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues make a great mistake in thinking that the problem of race is the problem between black and white or between white and colour. Fundamentally, it is the problem between people who have different institutions and different values and who, although living in a single community, wish to retain their identity. It is a problem which has to be faced in Ghana just as much as in the rest of Africa, in Canada and in Europe. I believe that, provided we can get this into its correct perspective, we on our side will be able to give the problem the treatment and understanding which it would otherwise not get. Nothing is more explosive than the problems of race relations.
§ It being Ten o'clock, The CHAIRMAN left the Chair to report Progress and ask leave to sit again.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again Tomorrow.