§ 6.1 p.m.
§ The Chairman
I have received a manuscript Amendment from the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. 1240 Callaghan), which I propose to accept. It is most unusual to do so, but I allow it in this case.
§ Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)
I beg to move, in page 1, line 5, to leave out subsection (1).
I thank you very much, Sir Charles, for allowing this Amendment to be moved. This is a technical matter, and I am sorry that we were not better advised. I am most grateful to you for accepting the Amendment.
The purpose of the Amendment is, quite simply, to enable the Colonial Development Corporation to operate in territories which become independent having formerly been Colonial Territories. We want to give the Government another opportunity this afternoon of thinking about this because we do not believe that they have as yet been fully seized of all the arguments. In his speech on Second Reading, the Colonial Secretary based himself on the White Paper, Cmd. 237, on the United Kingdom's rôle in Commonwealth development, which I thought a thoroughly bad Paper. The great point on which he relied was that the interests of the newly-emerging territories would be best served if they built up their own credit and made use of facilities for raising money on the London market and elsewhere. The whole concept of the White Paper, which I reject, is that private investment, not public investment, is going to do the job in the Commonwealth.
I have always taken the view that private investment has a substantial part to play overseas. It has played a substantial part in the past, and no doubt will continue to do so provided we save sufficient money in this country to make it possible to export the goods and services necessary for the development of overseas territories. That is a first condition, and I have never ceased to say so. Where the Government have gone wrong about this is that they assumed that this private investment, which will take the place of the Colonial Development Corporation in these newly-emerging territories, is likely to go to those new territories. I do not think that history bears that out. What seems true is that capital goes where capital is. On the whole, I should have thought it true to say that the capital from this country that has 1241 been invested overseas has not gone to the newer territories—by "newer" I mean newly-emerging territories—but, in the main, has gone to the older established Dominions, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
In repeating to us the fact that overseas investment was of the order of £200 million a year, the Colonial Secretary did not say how this sum was divided as between the Colonial Territories, the newly-emerging territories, and the older Commonwealth territories. Dr. Gunnar Myrdal, the Swedish economist, recently published a book in which he claimed that the gap between the richer countries and the poorer countries was getting wider instead of narrower. In fact, the rich were getting richer in international terms and the poor relatively poorer, because of the growth of population. However true that may be, it is undoubtedly true that any capital available in this country for export overseas is much more likely to go to a highly-developed territory like Canada or Australia than to territories like Ghana or Malaya.
Reviewing the history of the last ten years, it would be true to say, relatively speaking, that much less capital has gone to India than to Australia. This seems to be the gap which the Government are leaving. That is why I want the Government to think about the matter again this afternoon. Under the Bill we are to continue to provide for Colonial Territories which remain as Colonies and to rely on private investment to continue the job it has done in the older parts of the Commonwealth. In between we have the small group of territories which, at the moment they become independent, are to be left to the mercies of the London capital market. I do not believe that they will get the capital they need. There is a gap which should be filled.
We know that in those territories the Colonial Development Corporation already has substantial investments. There seems no reason, as a practical matter, why it should not continue to expand and extend those investments and operations—I use the word "investments" to cover operations—and embark on new ones. Under the Bill it is to be allowed to continue enterprises already started, and I agree with that. Under subsection (3) the Corporation is to be 1242 allowed to enter into managerial relationships with these territories in order that it might undertake operations in a managerial capacity. What it is not allowed to do under subsection (1) is to put money into these territories.
I hope I have demonstrated that such money as the Government are relying on to go overseas is unlikely—I put it no higher—to go to these territories. I also hope I have demonstrated that those territories are in great need. For the most part, they rely on a primary product, or two or three primary products. Expansion of their markets in primary products has been developed as much for our convenience as for their advantage. If they are to be saved from the vacillations of world price fluctuations they need diversified industry. If the Government could only show them that there was a reasonable prospect of another agency stepping in to help diversified industry in these newly-emerging territories, I should feel happier.
I do not think that the Colonial Secretary, even in his most sanguine moods, would pretend that the Commonwealth Development Finance Corporation is likely to fill this gap. Private capital, I swear, will not begin to fill the gap. Therefore, I do not see why he should cut off from these territories this small source of help. He is willing that they should have technical assistance and that the Colonial Development Corporation should operate on a managerial or advisory basis, but, apparently, he is not willing that they should have the money to help them to raise themselves by their own bootstraps. I beg the hon. Gentleman who is to reply to think about the matter again and to let us have his considered views, which I trust will be in line with what I have said.
§ Mr. Philip Goodhart (Beckenham)
When debates in the House end at a reasonable hour I sometimes go home to help to feed my young daughter. She takes her milk from a bottle, and she needs that milk. When she grows up she will continue to need it, and, certainly if she is a wise girl she will drink it, but it would be inappropriate for her then to take that milk from a bottle. Certainly when she went to school her school friends would think it a little odd if she drank the milk in that way.
1243 It seems to me that many of our Colonies have infant economies and need the nourishment of the milk of capital investment. When they are very young it seems right that we should use the Colonial Development Corporation as a kind of bottle for injecting that milk of capital investment into them. When they grow older, however, this form of feeding ceases to be appropriate.
There are two principal reasons why weaning from the bottle should take place when a Colony emerges into independence. The first is that a Colony which becomes independent has more access to funds for development than has a dependent Colony. There are the sterling balances. I do not want to go into the mechanism by which the sterling balances are controlled, but clearly a Colony such as Kenya has infinitely less chance of drawing on its sterling balances, extensive though they may be, than has an independent country such as Ghana or Malaya. We know that Ghana and Malaya have extremely extensive sterling balances which they are now able to use with greater freedom.
The second reason is that they have greater access to the international money market. They have access not only to London but to the money markets of the world. I know of one Colony which in the last few months considered going to America and Western Germany for this finance. It was unable to do so because it could not obtain the Treasury guarantee. Independent countries such as Ghana and Malaya can quite fairly go to the international money market. They can go to America if they wish or Western Germany to try to obtain the money there.
The writings of Sir Sydney Caine have already been mentioned in debate; they were mentioned by the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) on Second Reading. Sir Sydney Caine suggested in the article which has been quoted by the hon. Member that nearly half the £160 million which was devoted to Colonial development and welfare in the ten years 1946–56 could have been found by the resources of the Colonies themselves. That is a very substantial sum.
§ Mr. James Johnson (Rugby)
Is the hon. Member telling the House that in his view we could have released sterling 1244 balances in London which belonged to the Colonies in question and that they could have used that money, instead of using taxpayers' money through Colonial Development and Welfare and C.D.C. funds?
§ 6.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Goodhart
I suggest that certain of the then Colonies, Ghana and Malaya in particular, could have paid for certain developments for which the money was provided through the United Kingdom Government. I do not suggest that all the money used for colonial development by Ghana and Malaya would automatically have been diverted to other colonies, but it seems to me that if Ghana and Malaya had been able to draw on their own resources, a greater part of this money could have been diverted from this country to more needy Colonies.
Indeed, it seems to me that we have a special responsibility to the people who remain under our rule, however light that rule may be. I hope that as we to some extent control their access to the finance of the world, and as we do not control the access of Ghana and Malaya to the finance of the world, we shall be specially careful in providing the capital which they need for their development. Any Government at any time will have only a certain amount of money available for such a body as the Colonial Development Corporation for investment in the under-developed world.
It seems to me that the Amendment would enable funds which might otherwise be used in poor Colonies to be diverted to the relatively wealthier Ghana. The funds which might be used in the poor islands of the West Indies, which were mentioned on Second Reading, might be transferred for investment in wealthy Malaya. In other words, we should be taking money from the poor Colonies—and mostly it is the poor Colonies which remain with us—and transferring the funds to relatively wealthy countries which have become independent. That would be a distortion of the purposes of the Colonial Development Corporation. I therefore hope that the Amendment will be rejected.
§ Mrs. Eirene White (Flint, East)
It is unfortunate that the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) chose the 1245 metaphor about the feeding bottle, because I trust that his young daughter will not one day be fed with a bottle and the next day be put straight on solid food. That would be a very poor nursing practice. If the hon. Member pays close attention to his daughter's progress he will see that there is a period in which she will need both the bottle and solid food. Surely that is the correct analogy to the subject which we are discussing. We are discussing these territories which need a little of each. It is because we are anxious about the position of countries which are emerging into independence or have recently emerged into independence that my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) has moved the Amendment.
I do not think we should permit ourselves to be misled by concentrating exclusively on Ghana and Malaya, which for particular reasons—owing to tin and rubber in one case and to cocoa in another—may be favourably placed. We shall shortly have to consider Nigeria, which although it has great resources also has great territories and populations to sustain. Within a foreseeable time we may consider the Federation of West Indies. The fact that it became independent politically would not solve all its economic problems. It is misleading for the hon. Member for Beckenham to suggest that the particular instances to which he referred covered the whole problem before us today, and he should look at it in a wider aspect.
§ Mr. Goodhart
Would not the hon. Lady agree that Nigeria and the West Indies have extensive sterling balances?
§ Mrs. White
Nigeria has vast problems of communication and of other developments which are quite different in scale from those in Ghana. We cannot base the principle of a Bill too closely on two instances when Colonies of a somewhat different nature may have to be dealt with under it.
In the White Paper which preceded the Bill the Government set out their roles. In paragraph 59 the Government rejected the proposals which had been made in the House in an earlier debate that there should be a Commonwealth Development Agency and Bank. They said that they had discussed this idea with other members of the Commonwealth but that, on 1246 the whole, it had not met with favour. I can see that an idea like that, attractive though it may be, would, perhaps, be an over-elaborate machine to set up for the purposes that I am sure we ail have at heart, but surely the natural course of development is that which my hon. Friend is suggesting—to follow the good old British way of building up on existing institutions and allowing them to develop as circumstances permit.
Our real quarrel with the Government is over C.D.C. The Government's whole tendency is not to encourage C.D.C. to expand, but to crib, cabin and confine it whenever they can. It is true that in this Bill they are permitting some extension, but that is only as a result of the great protest there was on all sides of the House on the Ghana Bill. The Government's original intention was not as broad as that contained in this Bill.
That is why we feel that it is wrong, in a rapidly-changing and developing Commonwealth, not to give to the Colonial Development Corporation the broadest reasonable powers and functions that it may have. After all, those powers are only permissive—the Corporation is not obliged to undertake these things, but we should not make it impossible, by legislation, for it to do so.
Although we have had a number of these Overseas Resources Development Measures in the last few years, the fact remains that we might have to wait quite a while for further legislation and, as a result, miss certain opportunities. It is that kind of consideration that leads us to feel that the Bill as presented is too narrow; that we ought to enlarge the potential scope—not necessarily immediate in action at all, but to make it possible for the Colonial Development Corporation, which has done very valuable work in some of the very territories we are discussing, to have much greater freedom to continue that work.
Much play has been made with the idea that if we allow money to go into the territories in question we will thereby be depriving other territories of possible resources. No one, for example, could be more concerned than I with the needs of Kenya but, again, we are dealing not merely with money provided directly by Her Majesty's Government but, possibly, money raised from outside sources. There might very well be occasions when 1247 it would be impossible to raise money from outside sources for the other countries in the Commonwealth. It would not be available, and, therefore, not divertible for investment, say, in Kenya.
It must be remembered that one cannot dictate to a possible lender where his money should be used. We might get it for one place where we could not get it for another. Are we, therefore, to deprive C.D.C. of powers to act as a possible agency for the provision of these funds? If so, what is the reason for the deprivation? I think it is that the Government have this strong preference for the other organisation that has been referred to. It is true that the Finance Corporation is sustained, among other bodies, by the Bank of England but it is, finally, a matter of private investment.
It is this apparent dislike of the Government—I put it quite strongly; one has only to read the last Annual Report to learn the clashes there really have been between C.D.C. and the Government—that makes us suspect the reasons for the limitations placed by the Bill upon the C.D.C. We have had a number of speeches from hon. Members on both sides on the need for a much more positive attitude towards Commonwealth development, and the kind of machinery that might be used for it. It is disappointing to have, again and again, a negative Government response or, at best, a reluctant one. We shall be discussing other points connected with the matter as we proceed, but this is my main reason for supporting the Amendment.
§ Mr. Brian Harrison (Maldon)
I find the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) extremely interesting, and I hope that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State will use it as an opportunity to think again about the Bill. The series of Overseas Resources Development Acts presents a fascinating exercise in how legislation can be modified to suit varying occasions and the growth and change of fortunes in the Commonwealth, and I feel that anything that would put a limitation on the permissive powers of the Secretary of State to allow the C.D.C. to use both its good offices and its funds as they may be required throughout the Commonwealth would be regrettable. I 1248 therefore think that the Amendment should be considered most carefully.
I appreciate the point that will no doubt be made about the very limited resources this country has for investment overseas. I can well understand that it might be regarded as impossible to use those resources other than in the Colonial Territories, or in the managerial capacities mentioned in the Bill, to anything except a very limited extent. But even if those resources, limited as we know them to be, should remain so, there is nothing to stop the Secretary of State, under this Bill, from canalising them and saying where they should go. If this subsection remains as it stands, it very much ties the Secretary of State of the day from using his imagination and effectively helping parts of the Commonwealth.
Personally, I should like to see a wider form of investment organisation for dealing with the whole of the Commonwealth, but I appreciate that, in present circumstances, that is not practical. Nevertheless, I would ask my hon. Friend very seriously to consider whether something can be done to widen the scope of the Bill and, in particular, to enable the managerial side to be used more extensively outside the Commonwealth. If this subsection were deleted, the prospect of technical help being available throughout the whole of the Commonwealth, and drawn from a pool set up in this country, would be one which must appeal to anybody who looks forward to complete development, for the benefit not only of ourselves but of the people in the various parts of the Commonwealth. I am not sure that, as it stands, the Amendment is completely practical, but, at least, it is one which should be considered very carefully before my hon. Friend decides whether or not it must be rejected.
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ Mr. George Chetwynd (Stockton-on-Tees)
I am grateful for the remarks of the hon. Member for Maldon (Mr. B. Harrison) and I hope that they will not fall on deaf ears on the Government Front Bench. Those remarks, coming from the hon. Member, with his Commonwealth connections, reinforce the plea that has been made by my hon. Friends for reconsideration of the scope of the Colonial Development Corporation.
I should feel much happier about the situation and less strongly about the 1249 Amendment if I were sure that private investment would go into these emergent territories. The whole reason for the setting up of the Corporation was the fact that private investment had not gone into these emergent territories and, therefore, this body had to be called in to redress the balance and do the job which private enterprise was either not competent or not willing to do.
It seems to me that the need for capital will be even greater in these emergent territories than it is at the moment. I feel that they should not be forced to go outside the Commonwealth to get that money if they can possibly get it from us. The hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) spoke of West Germany and the United States in this connection. I should be very sorry indeed if the newly emergent Ghana, Malaya or West Indies were forced to go to West Germany or to the United States for capital which we should provide from this country. It would not be in the best interests of this country or of those emergent territories.
We cannot suddenly break the link between the Colonies and the mother country the moment the Colonies get their political freedom. We must have a continuing interest in their welfare, their economic structure and so on. Political independence does not automatically mean that the new country is able at once to stand on its own feet financially and economically. In view of the fact that there is the possibility of the West Indies reaching that status in, perhaps, five years' time, it seems to me that we ought to accept the Amendment and extend the scope of the work of the C.D.C. so that it can continue to do the job which it is now doing so well in so many parts of the Commonwealth.
It has been proved—and the Government admit it—that the C.D.C. is an admirable agency to do this work. In fact, the Government have said that where schemes have already been in operation with success they should continue. The Government say that the C.D.C. can act as managers and advisers, provided a commercial return is obtained on such advice and management. It seems to me that no country will call in the C.D.C. on a managerial basis unless it can have some financial stake in the 1250 enterprise which it is called upon to manage.
The provision for managerial assistance will be academic unless the Amendment is accepted and the C.D.C. is allowed to continue to invest money as it does at present. It is an admirable agency to do the job, and our complaint is that the Government are automatically excluding it from further action once a Colony becomes independent. We do not think that it should be excluded automatically but that it should be permitted to go ahead and do the work for which it was originally set up, namely, to bring about an improved standard of living in those countries.
We cannot cut ourselves off from these countries once they are independent politically. It seems strange that the party opposite, which has for so long taken a pride in the Commonwealth and Empire, at this stage wishes to pull down the curtain between the Colonies and this country, while we on this side of the Committee, who have been chided by hon. Members opposite from time to time on throwing away the Empire, are striving so hard to foster the connection between the Colonies and the mother country. The hon. Member for Maldon pointed to that paradox, and I hope the Government will have second thoughts and permit the C.D.C. to continue to do what it is already doing and what it considers to be right.
§ Mr. John Tilney (Liverpool, Wavertree)
I wish to take up a point mentioned by the hon. Member for Stockton-on-Tees (Mr. Chetwynd) who, with the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), suggested that private enterprise would not produce the capital that was necessary for the underdeveloped countries. I think that is true if those under-developed countries keep their taxation as high as they do at present. Both in Ghana and Nigeria taxation is higher for companies than it is in this country and I believe, as many of their leaders believe, that that taxation will have to be reduced.
None of the so-called rich countries to which the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East referred started their economic development with taxation anything like as high as it is in Ghana and Nigeria. I am sure that some of the 1251 newly emergent territories and independent countries will have to think again if they are to attract private enterprise investment.
May I say a word about the Commonwealth Development Finance Corporation—
§ Mr. Callaghan
Before the hon. Gentleman leaves the point which he has just made, surely the money that those countries are raising by this relatively high level of taxation is being devoted to very necessary social expenditure such as communications, education, health and so on. How are they ever to hoist themselves up by their own bootstraps unless they have this revenue? How are they to attract enterprise from overseas?
§ Mr. Tilney
I think they will get a good deal of capital from private enterprise, especially after last year's Finance Act. The Overseas Trade Corporations ought to encourage private enterprise in this country to go where taxation is low. I see no reason why the money raised by taxing the increased economic output from private enterprises established for the future in those territories should not produce the revenue which hon. Members opposite say is so necessary, but that money must be borrowed either from private enterprise or from some other source.
I hope that the C.D.F.C. will be allowed to operate outside this country if necessary. At the moment it is backed by private enterprise and by the Bank of England. I can see no reason why that body should not be allowed to go to America and so channel the funds of America into territories which are not allowed to go in their own right and borrow. Many of those territories want British knowledge and technicians. They know our methods. Unfortunately, we have not got enough money to give them what they want for their capital development, but this difficulty could be overcome if the C.D.F.C., with the C.D.C., obtained that money. This Bill contains powers for the C.D.C. to do that. I hope that both bodies will do this in the interests of the expansion of the Commonwealth.
§ Mr. Charles Royle (Salford, West)
The hon. Member for Wavertree (Mr. Tilney) has not encouraged us quite so 1252 much as has the hon. Member for Maldon (Mr. B. Harrison). I am not so sure about the intentions of the hon. Member for Wavertree with regard to our Amendment, but I hope that my remarks will bring him round to supporting our point of view. I am sure that the persuasive eloquence of the hon. Member for Maldon will encourage the Government Front Bench to accept our Amendment. Certainly in the light of his great knowledge of these matters, we on these benches are encouraged.
If the Government Front Bench does not see fit to accept the deletion of the subsection, perhaps the Government can find a better way of achieving what we seek to do before we reach a later stage of the Bill.
I am drawn to my feet largely by the remarks of the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart). He is to be congratulated on being at a time of life when he goes home to help with the feeding of the babes. I would only say that by the time he reaches my age, if he uses the same analogy that he has already used this evening, he will have changed his mind completely on a matter of principle such as we are now discussing. By then, he will have discovered that his children, much later in life, will need assistance, and, while it may not be just a question of milk, I assure him that much stronger foods will need to be paid for out of his pocket before he has finished with his children.
That being so, I support the contention of my hon. Friends. Unfortunately, the only part of the Colonies which I have had the opportunity of visiting has been the West Indies, and while these islands are not yet an independent sovereign country, the time will come when they will be, as we all know and hope. Later this year, they are celebrating the establishment of the Federation.
I think in terms of the West Indies, and perhaps in these few remarks I may be able to illustrate the point from my own knowledge of that part of the world. Private enterprise there has certainly failed, but the need will go on for a long time for help from this Parliament, through the Colonial Development Corporation, to the West Indies, and even after they have become an independent sovereign country.
1253 I am thinking, for example, of transport. How long is it to be before there is an efficient and adequate means of transport between the various islands of the Leeward and Windward groups? Nothing has been done, though I had hoped that the C.D.C. might have started on that work quite a time ago. At any rate, they will be doing it, I hope, one day. I do not want it to be said, after the West Indies Federation has become an independent country, that we shall no longer, through the activities of the C.D.C., be able to help them in matters such as that.
May I give briefly a very simple, small illustration of what I mean? It may well be that in the West Indies, soon after federation, and, at all events, before independence is achieved, the two mainland territories of British Honduras and British Guiana will be in the Federation. I am thinking particularly of British Honduras, where there is an admirable hotel, which had just been opened after being built by the C.D.C. Ultimately, it had to be handed over to a private undertaking, but at that time we were told by the representatives of the Colonial Development Corporation that so much money had been spent on it that, for the time being, no more could be found.
Would they not attract more tourists to British Honduras if they had a swimming pool, and if they possessed a small fleet of motor boats to take people who stay at the hotel out to the Cays? Suppose that such an hotel were established out there and independence came, are we to say that the C.D.C. would have no power of extending its activities in these matters?
That is a very simple illustration, but one which contains the principle of what we are now discussing. I hope the hon. Gentleman will see his way to accept this Amendment, so that we shall look after our children, even though they have reached the adolescent stage, and not allow them to starve for want of our own efforts.
§ Mr. J. Johnson
As usual, the Government Front Bench seems to me to sit alone in these matters. It seems to have less support behind it on this occasion than it had on the Suez question. I have not found a single hon. Member behind the Government Front Bench speaking in its support.
1254 I want to take up what the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) said about the Colonial Territories doing something for themselves. The hon. Member was hinting at the fact that we in the mother country had been, to put it bluntly, living on "tick" for a number of years on the colonial balances, mainly from Malaya and Ghana. I agree with him. I think the hon. Gentleman hinted that if we had allowed them to use more of their colonial balances for their own internal development, we should be in a happier position today. These lands are rather like the Soviet Union was twenty or thirty years ago, or is even now, and like China is today.
These new communities just cannot find the savings, by abstinence in their own territories, to provide the assets for their own development unless they have a totalitarian system, tighten their belts and actually live in a police State. A democratic State must depend on outside help, and we must help them in this way. I agree with the hon. Gentleman that we should have helped them much more in the past.
We are in this plight at the moment because we have not allowed Ghana and these other territories to develop through the use of their balances. We brought down the chopper and stopped them having any United Kingdom money to invest in these capital development schemes. I hope the Minister is listening to some of the hon. Members who sit behind him, and I hope he will also listen to what Lenin said about good Bolsheviks. One cannot hope that the Members of the present Government will be Bolsheviks, but at least they might remember that Lenin said that a good Bolshevik makes mistakes—and this Government make many mistakes—but that the good Bolshevik never makes the same mistake twice. I hope they will study that, and change their mind before the end of the debate.
I now want to take up something which the Under-Secretary of State said in the last debate. He criticised the party on these benches, and said:What I find difficult to understand in the point of view put forward by the Opposition is that they should be anxious to divert the resources of the C.D.C. from the Colonies to the Commonwealth—a proposition which in 1255 certain cases is not particularly attractive to ordinary investment; into areas in, for instance, Australia and South Africa, which are normally very attractive to investment."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th January, 1958; Vol. 581, c. 269.]I challenged him in that debate and asked if he could tell us of any occasion on which we had said that we would do this—take money earmarked for, say, Tanganyika or Nyasaland and use it for investment in South Africa or Australia. Of course, the hon. Gentleman dodged it, or was evasive, as are all hon. Members on the benches opposite.
I hope the hon. Gentleman has a copy of the pamphlet from which I am now going to quote, for it states to what the Labour Party is committed. On page 72 of the pamphlet, we say:…the Government"—that is, the next Labour Government, which will be within a short while—would therefore at once announce plans to expand Britain's aid by allocating an average of 1 per cent. of our national income over a period of years as Britain's contribution to the development of backward and Colonial territories through the existing Government, the United Nations and other appropriate agencies.Let us be fair about this. We have just had a two days' debate in which the word "smear" was used a great deal, a word which has become one of our current dirty words—dirty in a double sense—like the word "peace." Let us have our quotations correct. The Labour Party says that we can allocate something like £160 million, which is 1 per cent. of the overall, geographical national income, to help develop the dependent territories. Of course, this obviously does not mean countries with highly developed economies like South Africa, with her gold, textile and other industries, or Australia with her motor car industry. Of course it does not. As we know, the Prime Minister himself has just been inspecting the motor car industry at Melbourne.
In this context we are talking of helping those territories which the Bill is to deprive of present aid. That is what we say quite openly and honestly. Mr. Sam Watson said it for us at our party conference two years ago at Blackpool. If we are to live up to our moral obligations to the peoples overseas and make up for some of the things we did in the past in the way of lack of development, 1256 we must have some self-denial and abstinence among the 50 million people at home in order that those people may be helped.
We said this quite openly, and we are sorry, though not really disappointed, for we did not expect better, that the Government are taking the attitude they are. We can but hope that they will listen to our arguments and attempt to give some explanation of what they are doing. We do not think it ought to be done, and hon. Members behind them also are convinced that they are pursuing a completely wrong course in cutting off aid, in the shape of capital investment, to territories like Ghana, Malaya and others which are to become independent Dominions in the next year or two.
§ Mr. Archer Baldwin (Leominster)
I approach this Amendment from a purely practical point of view. We have a very limited sum of money to deal with, and it is suggested that we should spread that sum of money throughout the Commonwealth to such an extent that, in effect, there will be too many infants and not enough money to provide milk for the bottles to raise them at all. Therefore, I suggest we should keep the sum we are talking about to raise those we can to a certain level.
I am all in favour of investment in the Commonwealth, but let that be left to the C.D.F.C. or similar bodies or private enterprise. Let us not try to spread this £150 million too far, but let us keep it for the Colonial Territories.
§ Mr. Callaghan
As this argument has now been raised twice, and it is so fallacious, will the hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. Baldwin) deal with this question? If his objection and the objection of the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) is to spreading the additional £50 million over a wider area because it will then be too thinly spread, why not do the same job by increasing the borrowing power of the Colonial Development Corporation so that any money it borrows may be used in these newly emergent territories? We do not really mind in what way, financially, the job is done. What we complain about is the difficulty these territories enumerated by my hon. Friends will have in finding the investment necessary once this particular form of it is cut off.
§ Mr. Baldwin
That simply means that we ought to increase the £150 million available in the Bill. I am all in favour of increasing that, but I do not want to see the £150 million spread over too wide an area. I do not want the Colonial Territories which are entitled to look to us for money to be deprived of what is necessary for their development. Let the emergent territories obtain their money in the world market, from the C.D.F.C. or some other source; but let us not touch the £150 million we have to spend in the Colonial Territories.
§ Mr. F. H. Hayman (Falmouth and Camborne)
I wish to remind the hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. Baldwin) of what was said by his hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, South (Sir R. Robinson) in the debate on 28th January:I feel we should go beyond that, because as a nation we must have a very real sense of responsibility towards the new territories which are now becoming full members of the British Commonwealth."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th January, 1958; Vol. 581, c. 262.]It seems to me that that is the kernel of the whole discussion.
The hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) gave us an illustration. To him I would say that when he becomes as old as I am he will, perhaps, think himself lucky if he is clear of responsibility for his children when they are twenty-five. We are considering here emergent territories which are not able to stand on their own feet financially. The world being what it is, the British constitution being what it is, and the things said in this House being what they were—that we would bring these people to a sense of nationhood—we had to grant them full political responsibility as soon as they were entitled to it. Also, as it seems to me, because, in the past, the private finance which did begin to develop these countries drew such fat profits from them, at the expense of a low standard of life for the people, they are now in a difficult financial position.
I suggest that we are not really looking at a mere £50 million extra which is being given to these territories over a period of years through the C.D.C. We have a national income of about £18,000 million a year. We are thinking here of the British Commonwealth as it has developed, something of which, as has been said, we are very proud. We are 1258 very proud that we have brought these countries to emergence, to full national status. If they cannot obtain their financial aid from this country, they will get it, I suggest, where they can; and we know one country which will be very willing to give it.
Democracy today is on trial. Think what we may, there is no surety that, in the end, democracy will prevail. I suggest that the Committee should take a big view of this matter, as so many hon. Gentlemen opposite have done. I hope that the Minister will give way on it and think again. He did try to ride away last time on an argument about moneys invested in profitable enterprises in Australia, Canada and elsewhere, whereas here there is some financial risk. There is a financial risk and, in the circumstances, a private investor will probably think twice; I do not blame him for that. We, on the other hand, want to see the Commonwealth grow in prestige greater than it is today, and this is a way in which some small assistance could be given to that end.
§ Sir Albert Braithwaite (Harrow, West)
I hope that the Minister will not accept the Amendment. This is an extending Bill for the Colonial Development Corporation. The Corporation is quite inadequate to carry out the vast schemes which the emergent territories require, and the Government will have to think again, on much broader lines than these, if they are to do any successful financing of the bigger undertakings which are visualised.
Reference has been made to Ghana. The great Volta River scheme there involves £250 million. The Bill before us now could not venture anywhere near it. There must be an entirely different conception of finance in dealing with these great projects.
I welcome the Bill because it extends the operation of the C.D.C., for the work of which I have nothing but praise. I think that the Corporation deserves the commendation of everyone for the work it has done.
§ Sir A. Braithwaite
We are trying to do two things at the same time. The work of the C.D.C. must continue on 1259 the scale envisaged. After all, it never had more than £100 million, and now we are giving it £50 million more to help in carrying on its activities. Meanwhile, it is high time that the Government, the colonial Powers, and the Dominions got together on a sound financial scheme in order properly to finance these countries which require development commensurate with their national resources. There are very big problems here.
I hope, therefore, that my hon. Friend who is, I know, very interested in this subject, will say that it is a wrong conception to impose the C.D.C. on all our capital development in all these territories; it is something not within its scope and capacity and certainly not within the finances which we can at this moment raise in this country.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Creech Jones (Wakefield)
No one would wish to circumscribe the development of our territories overseas by saying that only through the Colonial Development Corporation should loans and grants of capital be secured. On the other hand, the time has come for much more comprehensive consideration of the needs of the Commonwealth and the establishment of the requisite machinery for assisting the Commonwealth in obtaining the capital it requires in the development which is so urgently necessary.
I gather from the last debate that the Government are giving further consideration to the financial arrangements as between the Colonial Development Corporation and the Government. I hope that that consideration will be speeded up so that the Corporation is not required to wait unduly long before it is aware of what further facilities can be made available to it in pursuit of its excellent work. I would not put the interpretation that has been put on the Amendment, for the simple reason that one is trying to secure the services of the Corporation, not for vast schemes like the Volta scheme, which are obviously outside the scope of the Corporation, but for legitimate, economic development to increase various economic activities inside the territories which have now emerged.
1260 I must claim some responsibility for the Act which we are seeking to amend, and also for the inauguration of the Colonial Development Corporation. It may be that it went through a period of considerable difficulty, and it must be said that what the Labour Government of those days and I had in mind was an organisation which could come to the assistance of colonial Governments as well as private enterprise in dealing with necessary economic work which otherwise would not be done in the territory because of the likely risks involved. I must confess that in those days we did not visualise such a rapid, dynamic urge for nationalism in the respective territories with which we were concerned. Political development has gone on at such a terrific pace that, whether we like it or not, independence had to be conceded. Unfortunately, economic development has not kept pace with the requirements of political development. It is no good hoping that independence can be assured or a democratic Government established unless the economic basis of its territories is right and unless a variety of economic activities can be pursued in the territory concerned.
That is what is happening and what has happened in regard to the emergent territories. Let us take Ghana. I want to correct the view of one hon. Member that Ghana herself was in receipt of a substantial sum from us under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act. The extraordinary thing about Ghana is that she was extraordinarily reluctant to receive any money whatsoever under colonial development and welfare. Indeed, frequently the persuasive powers of the Colonial Office had to be used so that necessary developments should go forward because of the reluctance of the Ghana Government to take money from the British taxpayer under the colonial development and welfare funds.
Therefore, it cannot be argued that they have done fairly well under the Act. In more recent years, they possibly received more generous treatment than they demanded. We are now faced with emerging territories where there is very great danger, unless the economic basis is consolidated that the work which Britain has been doing over the last fifty years may be undone, certainly 1261 weakened, because of instability arising from the inadequacy of the economic arrangements. If these territories have reached political independence at a pace which could not have been foreseen only a few years ago, if the economic basis is not as solid as one would have wished, and if we had left very heavy liabilities in these territories to which we were already committed before independence, it seems to me very necessary that those institutions and facilities that we created when we thought these territories would develop over quite a long period should continue to be made available to these emerging States.
Therefore, consideration should be urgently given by the Government as to whether something more than the creation of a private financial corporation can be done. Is it not possible to conceive the Colonial Development Corporation itself engaging in a group of activities in emergent territories with the assistance and good will of the British Government? I do not believe that the provision of technical knowledge and "know-how" which the Corporation has acquired through a vast accumulation of experience is sufficient. We know that some of these emergent territories would be very glad to have the additional assistance which might come through the Colonial Development Corporation by way of grants and the financing of certain activities which are so desperately needed.
I press this point all the more because Ghana, which is the obvious country—it is equally true of Malaya—built up a very substantial cocoa stabilisation fund. Cocoa is the major feature of their economy. If cocoa is the major feature, then one must appreciate that a time may come when that will prove very unsatisfactory and inadequate to sustain them. Already we know that the price of cocoa has dropped considerably and that there was a very real fear that Ghana would be sadly let down so far as their economic arrangements are concerned. Many development projects for the time being had to be abandoned. It is not enough to cushion this new country by dependence on cocoa. Something more is required. There should be a more mixed economy, the introduction of new industry and new economic activities so that, if cocoa is a casualty in the economic life of the Gold Coast, at least the 1262 country can prosper although the cocoa crop or the price may have dropped.
I therefore feel that, because political independence has come so rapidly, there is a case for continuing all the practical assistance that we can and helping these territories to raise the capital they desperately need for further activities. I do not think it is good enough for us to say, "Very well, you can go to the American money market or raise the funds that you need elsewhere", because for quite a long period to come confidence has to be built up. I do not think that that confidence will come while the need is so desperate.
I hope that in the immediate future we can find an institution which will make funds available. I think that for the moment the Colonial Development Corporation should be permitted to continue the fine work it has started in these territories, despite the fact that independence has been reached. It would be done with the consent of the independent Government itself. It would not be imposed upon it but would be merely the holding out of something which the independent country needs.
It has been suggested that our resources are not adequate for the purpose. The capital involved in the type of economic activities for which claims would be launched is not so terrific as to beggar the operations of the Colonial Development Corporation in raising capital from other sources than those now available to it. This larger problem of the financing of the Corporation should be kept in mind so that it can function in emerging territories. For these reasons, I hope that the Government will give serious consideration to my hon. Friend's Amendment.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. C. J. M. Alport)
I hope that the Committee will consider it appropriate that I should try at this stage to answer some of the many points which have been raised, from both sides of the Committee, in the course of what all hon. Members would agree has been a valuable and interesting debate.
I am glad that the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones) did something which it is important should be done when he tried to bring into perspective the real status of the economies of countries like Ghana and Malaya. We 1263 should be wrong if we considered these countries as still being required to have the crutch of United Kingdom economic assistance. They are independent countries, they are proud of their independence and they are perfectly capable of carrying forward their independence, not only politically but economically. I would go so far as to say that they would resent our giving an impression here in the United Kingdom that we thought they were incapable of that form of political maturity.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan)—and other hon. Members have asked the same question—expressed the hope that the Government would think again concerning the main principle underlying the Bill. The manuscript Amendment that the hon. Member has moved has, in fact, the same effect as the Amendment which was originally tabled but which, for one reason or another, is out of order. The Amendment strikes right at the heart of the Bill and of the policy put forward by Her Majesty's Government in the White Paper (Cmd. 237).
The legal position at present is that all territories which were designated Colonies under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act, 1940, are within the scope of the Colonial Development Corporation even if they have become independent or, for that matter, I understand, even though they have left the Commonwealth—that is, apart from Ghana, which was dealt with separately in the Ghana Independence Act.
We have felt it proper, therefore, not only to set out a definite policy for the future operations of the Colonial Development Corporation in respect of independent Commonwealth countries, but also to establish it clearly in the form of legislation. It is the Government's policy that the Colonial Development Corporation should be retained for the purpose for which it was originally created. That purpose was to procure investment and to bring about development in those territories with which the United Kingdom had a special relationship and for which it had a special responsibility.
After all, in the case of the Colonies, we are not only the metropolitan power but we have control ultimately over both their political and their economic policies. 1264 Therefore, special responsibilities fall on us to ensure that, as far as possible, their standard of living is improved and the development of their economic resources is properly carried out.
We believe—this is our central principle—that it would be wrong to divert the Colonial Development Corporation from that central purpose to a much wider field of activity, the other instruments for dealing with which are, in our view, more appropriate to the successful development of the independent Commonwealth than development taking place as a result of the initiative of a State Corporation.
Turning from that general proposition to deal with some of the points raised by hon. Members, on both sides, I should like to make this next point clear. It is not a question of whether the Government are reluctant to pursue and encourage Commonwealth development. In the Bill, we are concerned with making certain that, not the most important instrument, but one of the instruments, for procuring Commonwealth development is used in the most appropriate way. The controversy between the two sides of the Committee is that we have different views of how that instrument can best be used. There is, however, no issue on the general subject of wishing to bring about as wide an extent of economic development in the Commonwealth, in the interests of its own people and of the world in general, as is possible within the resources at our disposal.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East referred to the diversification of industry in the under-developed countries of the independent Commonwealth. Bearing in mind the immense needs which, I fully admit, exist and with, for example, the immense programme of the second Five-Year Plan in India, I should like the hon. Member to consider how far the money which could be made available through the Colonial Development Corporation, without taking away from any of the dependent territories, would contribute in any way effectively to the diversification of industry in India, Malaya, Pakistan, Ghana and Ceylon, which were the sort of members of the commonwealth that, I think, the hon. Member had in mind.
1265 There is a danger—the point was made by at least two of my hon. Friends—of spreading such jam as we have too thinly. Where we have a special obligation, as we have with our Colonial Territories, surely it is right that this instrument should be used to ensure that the jam gets to the places for which it is intended.
The hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) drew my attention to my efforts on an earlier occasion to help Members in his party to understand the policy which had been put forward earlier on their behalf. The hon. Member and the Labour Party pamphlet mentioned a figure of 1 per cent. of the gross national product or national income. At the moment, we are employing through various channels 1¼ per cent. This is pointed out in the White Paper. My impression, therefore, is that the hon. Member and his colleagues, instead of forecasting that they will be able to put greater resources at the disposal of the dependent Commonwealth, would, in fact, make smaller resources available.
Let me take the point further. If I have read the Labour Party document correctly, the 1 per cent. would cover not only contributions to be made to the Commonwealth, but also contributions to be made through the various international organisations.
§ Mr. J. Johnson
I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman for giving way, but surely he has not read the pamphlet, despite the hours of study in the evening about which he told me. I gave him a quotation from the pamphlet, which he can check, in which he said that we would allocate 1 per cent., or £160 million, via agencies like the United Nations, whereas at the moment this country is allocating about £50 or £60 million. The hon. Gentleman does not appreciate that the per cent. to which he refers includes money in the City of London and all investment, both public and otherwise. Surely that is the difference.
§ Mr. Alport
The hon. Member will realise that there is only a definite total of resources available for this purpose and, in so far as he diverts investment from one channel to another, he is not increasing the total available. He is merely producing a different tap, as it were, as a means of running the resources 1266 out of a reservoir the level of which remains stable all the time. He is merely producing a façade which appears to promise to the independent territories additonal economic support but which makes no difference, if in fact it does not act even to their detriment.
§ Mr. Alport
I agree that the conclusions which I have arrived at are not to the hon. Member's satisfaction, but perhaps I can conic to other points raised in the debate.
My hon. Friend the Member for Wavertree (Mr. Tilney) referred to the C.D.F.C. and said that he hoped it would be possible for it to find resources and obtain money and capital from abroad. As far as I know, there is nothing to prevent the C.D.F.C. doing that at present, subject to C.I.C. agreement. I have no doubt that it is one of the things which, in accordance with the policy set out in the White Paper, would be extremely acceptable if such a case should arise in practice.
§ Mr. Tilney
I am sure that my hon. Friend will agree that in the case of the World Bank there would have to be a Government guarantee.
§ Mr. Alport
I believe that my hon. Friend is quite right, but I was dealing with obtaining funds from overseas generally, which seems perhaps more practicable in this case.
I turn to another point which was raised by the hon. Member for Salford. West (Mr. Royle), who said that private enterprise had made no contribution in the West Indies. At the root of our controversy over the Amendment is the fact that we on this side of the Committee believe that private enterprise has made, is making, and can make a major and overwhelming contribution to Commonwealth development, whereas hon. Members opposite say that that is not the case.
§ Mr. Alport
If I may continue to address myself to the hon. Member for Salford, West, he quoted the example of the West Indies. Perhaps I may take the figures which appear in Cmd. 195, "The Colonial Territories, 1956–57", which set out the position quite clearly. Loans between Colonial Governments 1267 and Her Majesty's Government, that is loans from the United Kingdom to Colonial Governments, amounted to £1 million in the years 1954–56. Net capital raised, that is from private sources by the Colonial Governments in the London market, amounted to £8 million. Estimates of varying degrees of reliability, and I accept that it is not easy to secure a final estimate, show that capital represented by private investment in the Colonial Territories amounted to £65 million. Therefore, for these years the balance is £1 million of Government-provided funds for development and, on the other side, £65 million plus £8 million, making a total of £73 million from private enterprise.
§ Mr. Alport
But the hon. Member said that private enterprise had failed in its task in the West Indies, and all that I was doing was to show the disproportionate contribution made by private investment there.
§ Mr. Royle
That is not quite right, the hon. Gentleman will find from the OFFICIAL REPORT that the word I used was "inadequate". I did not say that there had been no investment, and I should not like to say that the position was anything like what the hon. Gentleman suggested that I described it to be. The point is that investment has not been sufficient to meet the demand, and I was using the West Indies as an example.
§ Mr. Alport
If the hon. Member is supporting the Amendment, then the policy which he advocates will probably lead to less public investment being available for the West Indies than has been the case previously.
§ Mr. Alport
Because the whole field of investment for the C.D.C. is to be extended. I accept the view that over a substantial part of the independent Commonwealth total resources will always remain limited.
I should like to give the reasons which have prompted us in putting forward the policy which we advocate. We believe that there is no difficulty in finding plenty 1268 of scope for the finance which is being made available under the Bill in the Colonial Territories themselves. We also believe that the provisions which we have made in respect of managing agencies, and of the C.D.C. acting in an advisory capacity, will ensure that full use is made of the experience of its manpower and of the managerial experience which the C.D.C. has accumulated over the past ten years or so. We feel, therefore, that there is no danger of any of the resources which are being made available to the C.D.C. after the passing of the Bill in any way not being used effectively.
I should like to draw the attention of the Committee to another matter on which our policy is based. There are political objections to the extension of the activities of a United Kingdom Government agency in the economic field in an independent Commonwealth country. The objections do not come from our side. They come from the point of view of the Commonwealth country concerned. It is always possible that a United Kingdom statutory corporation operating in an independent Commonwealth country will come into conflict with the policy of that country, and this would mean that the United Kingdom Government automatically would be drawn into the arena.
If this danger were to be effectively avoided it would be necessary for the United Kingdom Government to exercise a much closer control over the development of the day-to-day policy of the C.D.C. and its operations in the independent Commonwealth countries than is desirable from the point of view of the United Kingdom Government or of the C.D.C. itself. Alternatively, Her Majesty's Government would always be exposed to the possibility that they might find themselves implicated in a serious controversy which arose not through any fault of the Board of the C.D.C. but simply because it had run into that controversy with the Government of the independent Commonwealth country by approaching the problem from a purely commercial point of view and necessarily being perhaps unaware of its political implications.
§ Mr. Callaghan
The hon. Gentleman has made a most important and serious 1269 statement—that objection to the operation of C.D.C. in some of the emerging countries would not necessarily come from this country but from territories that have become independent. This is quite removed from the understanding which we on this side of the Committee have of this situation. Our view is, and our information is, that these countries would welcome the C.D.C. Has the hon. Gentleman any backing at all for the point which he has just made? Is there any single country that has become independent which has expressed the objections which the hon. Gentleman has now put into their mouths?
§ 7.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Alport
I am always interested in speeches by hon. Members opposite when they are related to the problems of an independent Commonwealth country. They always tend to provide that nostalgic whiff of Victorian paternalism when dealing with the problems of an independent country which has been brought to its independence and is determined to stand on its own two feet.
§ Mr. Alport
I propose to refer to the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White), and perhaps she would like to intervene immediately afterwards. She said it was wrong for two independent countries, Ghana and Malaya, to be compelled to go elsewhere for capital investment.
§ Mr. Alport
I understood the hon. Lady to say that and she can correct me in a moment if I am wrong.
That statement is contrary to the realities. Immediately after independence it is natural that a Government enjoying full sovereignty and full control over its own economic policy would wish to have full freedom to go where, in the interests of its country, it will obtain the kind of financial support which it requires.
§ Mrs. White
On what does the hon. Member base these statements. If he 1270 reads the last Annual Report of the Colonial Development Corporation he will see the position stated in so many words in page 8, paragraph 15 (6) and in page 9, paragraph 16. Is he saying that Lord Reith, who was responsible for this Report, is a liar? He can hardly be saying that. If he is not saying that, will he explain to us—we are entitled to know what he is saying—why Lord Reith says:Disappointment and protest reported from Ghana and Malaya at prospect of losing CDC help…CDC has been assured on behalf of both Ghana and Malaya Governments that it would be a great pity if emerging members of Commonwealth were, at a critical stage, to be deprived of help of the experienced CDC personnel".There then follows another matter about the term "Colonial", which we shall mention later.
§ Mr. Alport
None of those things will happen and it is to prevent them from happening that we are passing the Bill.
§ Mr. Alport
I must go on. I fully accept the point. Let me make it quite clear that I am not trying to argue in any way with the point of view expressed by Lord Reith in his Report, which I fully accept. All I am saying is that it is our experience and it is the common sense of the Committee that after independence there could quite easily be a political feeling of not wishing, from a political point of view, the Government of an independent country to appear to rely too closely upon the organ of another independent country, that organ having been specially created in order to secure the development of a dependent territory. That is the only point I intended to make.
§ Mr. Callaghan
The hon. Member is now getting close to clearing it up, but I hope he will be quite clear and explicit with us. He said two diametrically opposed things. First, he said that objections to the continuation of the operation of C.D.C. would come from these emerging territories. Secondly, he said that he fully accepts Lord Reith's statement that these territories expressed disappointment that the C.D.C. was not to carry on there. Is he merely expressing an ideological prejudice or a personal view or a theory? Which of the two statements does he now say is correct?
§ Mr. Alport
I am not saying that Lord Reith's statement is not obsolutely correct. Obviously it is. I am still expressing the point of view which I have expressed, and which I hope I have explained to the hon. Member's satisfaction. This point of view is also extremely important in these circumstances, because it not only has validity but it is the experience of anybody who knows the changing point of view of independent Commonwealth Governments immediately after independence has been achieved.
I regret that I have taken some time to deal with the many points which have been raised. I hope that hon. Members opposite will not press their Amendment. The Government believe firmly that private enterprise is and remains the most satisfactory instrument for the development of the independent Commonwealth and that it can make a greater contribution because of its greater resources, its experience, and its flexibility. We believe that it would be wrong and against the interests of dependent territories to divert the C.D.C. from the purpose for which it was founded.
We believe that it is most important, from the point of view of the C.D.C. itself, that it should continue to have additional opportunities to carry on the existing schemes in independent countries and to undertake management agency business and advisory business. That is provided in the Bill. But we believe that to go further than that would be against the interests of the principle of policy which we have tried to establish. In those circumstances. I hope that hon. Members opposite will not press the Amendment.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I try hard to be fond of the Under-Secretary of State. I always find him very agreeable and I am sure that in his personal life he is a most pleasant companion, but I am bound to say that in the House he makes a great deal of trouble for himself, in my view quite unnecessarily. I am sure that he does not misrepresent our arguments intentionally, but I hope that now and again he will try to understand what we are saying, because if he is constantly off-beat and destroying arguments which no one has used, it not only ruffles tempers on this side of the Committee— 1272 because we are apt in the heat of debate to think that he is doing it deliberately in order to win a point instead of realising that it is a question of the natural limitations within which he is operating—but it also delays our proceedings.
His last speech is almost a classic example of the manner in which the Under-Secretary can hold up the proceedings of the Committee quite unnecessarily by failing to deal with the points that have been made in the manner in which they were intended.
Let me deal first with the point which he raised on Second Reading, which was echoed by the Colonial Secretary and which the hon. Member raised again this afternoon. It concerns the Labour Party's statement of policy in Labour's Colonial Policy. I should like to read the reference fully. The important part is only five lines and I think it will be the first time that the Committee has heard this fully. We have heard expurgated and garbled versions from the Under-Secretary. Let us go to Holy Writ and see what it contains.The government would therefore at once announce plans to expand Britain's aid by allocating an average of 1 per cent. of our national income over a period of years as Britain's contribution"—I ask the hon. Member to note the next words—to the development of backward and colonial territories through the existing government, United Nations and other appropriate agencies.I hope the hon. Member is now clear about what is intended. He tried to score what he thinks is a party point. He failed lamentably. He said that this means that we should decrease the amount invested overseas. He said on Second Reading and again today that 1¼ per cent. is at the moment being sent overseas. He taunts us with this miserable White Paper, "The United Kingdom's Rôle in Commonwealth Development", which says in paragraph 40:Set against the average of our gross national product in that period this represents some 1¼ per cent.But the hon. Gentleman should look at what comes before in the White Paper.
In arriving at this figure of 1¼ per cent., what has been added up? I do not complain about it being added up for this purpose, but there is our assistance to the 1273 Colonial Development and Welfare Fund, our assistance to the Colonial Development Corporation and our assistance in the repayment of sterling balances. Even the export-credit guarantees are included. That has nothing to do with the development of backward territories and Colonial Territories. The investment in Canada is included in this figure of 1¼ per cent. The investment in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa is included.
What the Government have done in order to arrive at the figure of 1¼ per cent.—if the hon. Member read his White Paper as well as he misrepresents our arguments he would come to the same conclusion—is to take everything that Britain is investing abroad in any part of the Commonwealth and say that it amounts to 1¼ per cent. I wonder whether I have at last destroyed this canard in the mind of the hon. Member? I shall consider my job well done if I have achieved only that.
We do not include Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. This does not include the export-credit guarantees or the repayment of sterling balances to the self-governing territories, or anything like that. Perhaps now the hon. Gentleman has understood me. I am sorry to have elaborated the point, but perhaps it has been necessary to do so on this occasion. I do not think that he hon. Gentleman deliberately misunderstands. I will never accuse him of that.
The hon. Gentleman says, "Look here, if you are going to spread this £50 million over all the territories, then the jam will be spread too thinly." I dealt with that point with the hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. Baldwin). We are asking that the jam should be spread to the same extent as it has been up to the present moment. The debate has ranged widely, and quite rightly so, but I wish to remind the Committee what we are asking hon. Members not to vote for. The subsection we are concerned with says:…the expression 'colonial territory' shall not include any country or territory which becomes or has become an independent sovereign country…It is clear that the Government are referring to Ghana, to Malaya, to Nigeria, to the West Indies. They are 1274 saying—we all remember that this Clause arises out of our discussions on the Ghana Independence Bill—that when a country becomes independent, it shall not have the benefit, if benefit it be, of the operations of the Colonial Development Corporation. We are not asking the Government to spread the jam any more widely than it has been spread up to the moment. The Government are going to spread it more thickly. That is what it means, though they are setting aside £50 million against the £100 million already set aside. That is why I disagreed with the hon. Member for Harrow, West (Sir A. Braithwaite) when he said it was an extension of the Colonial Development Corporation activities. This is nothing of the sort; it is a restriction of those activities.
The Corporation is to be allowed to function in an ever-narrowing field. There is no extension of activities. Not only is the sum voted less, but the territories in which it can operate are fewer because the territories are becoming independent. Here is a threat, if we like to call it that—though I do not think it is intended to be—hanging over any territory which wishes to become independent. The Government are saying that as soon as independence is achieved this subsection of this Clause will apply and the territory may look no longer to the C.D.C. for any investment in the territory to diversify is economy.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones) dealt adequately with the point that no one is asking or expecting that the Corporation should finance a Volta River project. We are asking that the Corporation should have the same opportunities in these territories, for the sake of the territories, that it has had up to the present. We are not asking that it should go to Australia, but only that it may be allowed to carry on in the areas in which it has been functioning. What is wrong with that? I cannot understand the narrow and confined approach of the Government to this problem.
The Under-Secretary withdrew his statement that objections had come from the newly-emerging territories, and I do not wish to pursue that. Had the hon. Gentleman been able to sustain that 1275 statement it might have formed an argument, but he has withdrawn it. The plain truth is that we need every agency that we can get. The world is capital-hungry. These territories, in particular, are poor because they are poor. I am sorry to put it in that way, but that is the fact. Because they are poor, they do not attract capital. Because they do not attract capital, they remain poor. It is the old story:For whosoever hath, to him shall be given…but whosoever hath not from him shall be taken away even that he hath.That is true of these territories.
I beg the Government to think again about the position. We are not asking for any expansion. We are asking merely that the Colonial Development Corporation
§ should be allowed to continue to operate in territories in which it has been operating during the last ten years. For that reason I cannot advise my hon. Friends to withdraw the Amendment. We should be untrue to our principles and to these territories which need all the assist-they can get if we did not press the matter. I hope that even at this point the hon. Gentleman may say that he is prepared to reconsider the matter between now and the Report stage. Were that assurance given I would ask that the Amendment be withdrawn. But if it is not, then we must record our votes.
§ Question put That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause:—
§ Committee divided: Ayes 159, Noes 130.1277
|Division No. 36.]||AYES||[7.50 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||George, J. C. (Pollok)||Mawby, R. L.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Gibson-Watt, D.||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr, S. L. C.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Glyn, Col. Richard H.||Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Alan||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Goodhart, Philip||Neave, Airey|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Gower, H. R.||Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William||Graham, Sir Fergus||Oakshott, H. D.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Grant, W. (Woodside)||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)||Page, R. G.|
|Atkins, H. E.||Green, A.||Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Gresham Cooke, R.||Partridge, E.|
|Barlow, Sir John||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Peel, W.J.|
|Barter, John||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Biggs-Davison, J. A.||Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)||Pitman, I. J.|
|Bingham, R. M.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Pitt, Miss E. M.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macolesf'd)||Pott, H. P.|
|Bossom, Sir Alfred||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.||Profumo, J. D.|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.||Ramsden, J. E.|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Bryan, P.||Hirst, Geoffrey||Redmayne, M.|
|Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Campbell, Sir David||Hornby, R. P.||Remnant, Hon. P.|
|Carr, Robert||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Channon, Sir Henry||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence||Sharples, R. C.|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.||Shepherd, William|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Hulbert, Sir Norman||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Cole, Norman||Hutchison, Michael Clark (E'b'gh, S.)||Speir, R. M.|
|Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.)||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Cooke, Robert||Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry||Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Corfield, Capt. F. V.||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Joseph, Sir Keith||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Cunningham, Knox||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Kershaw, J. A.||Temple, John M.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Lambert, Hon. G.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Deedes, W. F.||Leavey, J. A.||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, S.)|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|du Cann, E. D. L.||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)||Longden, Gilbert||Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.|
|Duncan, Sir James||McKibbin, Alan||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Elliott, R. W. (N'castle upon Tyne, N.)||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Wall, Major Patrick|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)||Whitelaw, W. S. I.|
|Errington, Sir Eric||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Wills, G. (Bridgwater)|
|Fisher, Nigel||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Fraser, Sir Ian (M'cmbe & Lonsdale)||Maddan, Martin||Woollam, John Victor|
|Freeth, Denzil||Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E.|
|Gammans, Lady||Marshall, Douglas||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Garner-Evans, E. H.||Mathew, R.||Mr. Barber and Mr. Hughes-Young|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Holman, P.||Parker, J.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Houghton, Douglas||Pearson, A.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Howell, Denis (All Saints)||Peart, T. F.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Hoy, J. H.||Pentland, N.|
|Beswick, Frank||Hubbard, T. F.||Popplewell, E.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Prentice, R. E.|
|Blackburn, F.||Hunter, A. E.||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Probert, A. R.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Randall, H. E.|
|Boardman, H.||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Rankin, John|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Rhodes, H.|
|Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Ross, William|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech (Wakefield)||Royle, C.|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)|
|Carmichael, J.||Kenyon, C.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Lawson, G. M.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Clunie, J.||Lipton, Marcus||Steele, T.|
|Coldrick, W.||Logan, D. G.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Stones, W. (Consett)|
|Cove, W. G.||MacColl, J. E.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||McGhee, H. G.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||McGovern, J.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||McInnes, J.||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Deer, G.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Usborne, H. C.|
|Delargy, H. J.||McLeavy, Frank||Viant, S. P.|
|Diamond, John||Mahon, Simon||Wade, D. W.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Walkins, T. E.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Mason, Roy||Weitzman, D.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Mellish, R. J.||Wells, Peroy (Faversham)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mikardo, Ian||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mitchison, G. R.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Car'then)||Monslow, W.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Moody, A. S.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Willey, Frederick|
|Grey, C. F.||Mort, D. L.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)|
|Grimond, J.||Oram, A. E.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Hannan, W.||Oswald, T.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.)||Owen, W. J.||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Hastings, S.||Padley, W. E.||Woof, R. E.|
|Hayman, F. H.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)|
|Harbison, Miss M.||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mr. Holmes and Mr. J. T. Price.|
§ Mr. Creech Jones
I beg to move, in page 1, line 14, to leave out "Colonial" and to insert "Commonwealth".
§ The Chairman
It might be for the convenience of the Committee if we also took the identical Amendments in page 2, line 6, and Clause 2, page 1 lines 1 and 10.
§ Mr. Creech Jones
The purpose of this group of Amendments is obvious. They are designed to ensure that we fall into line with the general practice, now that the term "colonial" has become almost a term of opprobrium, by omitting the word "Colonial" and using the word "Commonwealth" in its place.
It will be noticed that the Government themselves are proposing that the functions of the Corporation may extend to certain of the independent territoriesto act as managing agents or perform advisory functions for any purpose for which they could do so in a colonial territory
§ as set out in subsection (3) of this Clause. It means that henceforward the Colonial Development Corporation may continue certain functions in territories which have ceased to be colonial. It will be for the convenience of, and more satisfactory to, the Governments of those independent territories if the title of the Corporation is changed as we suggest.
§ Almost all over the world the term "colonial" has had to withstand a pretty vicious attack. In the eyes of colonial peoples it stands for the tutelage and domination with which they have been associated in the past, and therefore it has become a decidedly unpopular and most unlikeable term. That is true not only of Colonies but of dependent territories and independent territories.
§ Already the Government have been seized of the importance of retreating from the term "colonial". They have renamed the Colonial Service the "Overseas Civil Service". They have altered the name of the Crown Agents 1279 for the Colonies to "Crown Agents for Overseas Governments". The Colonial Audit Department now becomes the "Overseas Audit Department", and the Colonial Income Tax Office becomes the "Overseas Territory Income Tax Office". The Colonial Products Laboratory now becomes the "Tropical Products Institute". A Bill which is before us and which may be taken next week seeks to alter the name of the Imperial Institute to the Commonwealth Institute.
§ In view of all these tendencies, the change in the climate of opinion and the completely different views now entertained throughout the world, it is very necessary that we should amend the name of the Colonial Development Corporation and call it the Commonwealth Development Corporation.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ This is not the thin edge of the wedge; the alteration has not been designed for the purpose of the wider function which we hope at some time or other the Colonial Development Corporation may exercise. In view of the changed climate of opinion, it is important that the name of the Corporation should be restyled as we suggest. After all, the Colonies are members of the Commonwealth. They might not be in full membership, but they are in membership. I hope, therefore, that the Government will accept the change proposed in these Amendments.
§ Mr. Nigel Fisher (Surbiton)
I do not agree with a single word said by the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones). As the first Amendment to this Bill has now been rejected by the Committee, I hope this and other similar Amendments will not be pressed, because they are totally inconsistent with the main objects of the Bill, and with Clause 1 in particular.
If the purpose of the Bill, as confirmed by our discussion on and rejection of the last Amendment, is that the Colonial Development Corporation should continue to help the Colonial Territories but should not continue to help the independent Commonwealth territories, then in my view there can be no possible point in changing the name of the Corporation from the Colonial Development Corporation to that of Commonwealth Development Corporation. It would be a complete misnomer, and a confusing and 1280 misleading misnomer as well. If desired, it would be possible to rename the Corporation, "The Overseas Development Corporation", or something of that sort. I should be against that, but it would not be inaccurate nor actually misleading; but to call it the Commonwealth Development Corporation in the circumstances of the rejection of the last Amendment would make no sense at all.
I was glad to hear my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary reject the suggestion in his Second Reading speech, and I hope the Committee will reject it on this occasion. In the debate on Second Reading, I gave my reasons for being against this change. I will not give them again now, because that would be a waste of the time of the Committee. But I feel very strongly that if we here seem to give the impression that we are ashamed of the word "colonial" and, by inference, of our colonial record, we simply give ammunition to those in other countries, notably in Russia—but also sometimes in America—whose whole propaganda is directed towards the denigration and abuse of the great work we have done, and for which, I believe, we deserve credit, in the discharge of our responsibilities as an Imperial Power. I believe no empire the world has known has been more enlightened in its policy towards those whom it has governed or more ready and anxious to hand over the reins of government as fully and quickly as possible to the people concerned. I am very proud of what we have done and of what we are doing, and I see no reason whatever to change the name of the Corporation.
§ Mrs. White
I am very sorry the hon. Member for Surbiton (Mr. Fisher) has taken that line. He has introduced a note which I think is inappropriate. If we followed his argument we would be discussing the Imperial Resources Development Bill; but there has been a change in the nomenclature.
The Bill envisages circumstances in which it would be very much more appropriate to have the title "Commonwealth Development Corporation" than "Colonial Development Corporation". For example, in subsection (3) the hon. Member will see that apparently the policy of the Government is that while they debar investment—which may mean that the subsection will become a dead 1281 letter, as I think the Corporation itself believes—the Corporation, if it wishes, may undertake certain functions as managerial agents, or in an advisory capacity, riot merely in a territory which has been a Colony, but in a Commonwealth territory. It is not even confined to a territory which has recently been a Colonial Territory.
In subsection (2), the Corporation can continue and expand particular enterprises, and that expansion may be over a long period of years. It would be continuing in a territory which was no longer a Colony. Therefore, it seems to us that, if this provision is made, the whole purpose of the Bill is to extend the operations of the Corporation in parts of the Commonwealth which are not covered by the word "colonial". Therefore, what is inappropriate in suggesting that now we should resort to the wider nomenclature? As my right hon. Friend properly said, the Colonies are in fact part of the Commonwealth, so it would not be inappropriate for such countries as are Colonies and it would be very much more appropriate for countries which are no longer Colonies, or, if my reading of subsection (3) is correct, never have been Colonies.
I would strengthen the argument by saying that if one looks at the last Annual Report and reads paragraph 16, on page 9, one sees it is perfectly clear that in referring to the suggestion that C.D.C. might continue to offer the services of its experienced staff and personnel to emerging parts of the Commonwealth, it is strongly of the opinion that it would be an embarrassment if the name "colonial" remained. There is no doubt whatever that that is the opinion of the Corporation and it is put down in the Annual Report. Using the telegraphese of Lord Reith:'Colonial' would have to come out of C.D.C. title".Are we to be told today that Lord Reith has changed his mind? This is a Report for which he is responsible, and he has put this in quite categorically. This is just one more instance in which clearly the Colonial Development Corporation has an idea of how it can best fulfil its functions, but it is overruled by Her Majesty's Government. I suggest that is not the best way of encouraging the Corporation in its work. I see nothing whatever inconsistent with the purpose of 1282 the Bill, which is an extension of the functions of the Corporation and, in one particular respect, essentially even of the area, in suggesting that the time has come for a change of title.
The hon. Member for Blackpool, South (Sir R. Robinson) made a very eloquent speech on this point during the Second Reading debate. He is clearly of the same opinion as we on this side. He urged most strongly in favour of it, and was refreshed in his opinion by his recent visit to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in New Delhi. He was very clearly of the opinion that the change would be in line with the wishes of our partners in the Commonwealth.
This does not mean, as the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations seems to infer, that by this change we want it to be one of the functions of the Commonwealth Development Corporation—I have made a slip, but, I think, a most natural slip, which shows how desirable and natural the change would be—to be one of the functions of the Colonial Development Corporation, as it still is, to rush off and invest its meagre resources in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
That is a very large red herring drawn across the trail. Anything that the Corporation does has to be done with the general sanction of the Secretary of State. I should like to ask the hon. Gentleman, as I should like to ask the hon. Member for Surbiton (Mr. Fisher), this question. If it is so inappropriate, may we know why the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations is here at all participating as an official speaker in this debate? It is perfectly clear from the Second Reading debate and from this one that he is regarded as one of the responsible Ministers.
Surely, the greater should include the lesser—and I am not now referring to the hon. Gentleman but to the term "Commonwealth" as including the term "Colonies". It seems quite inappropriate for the Government, for reasons best known to themselves, to resist the normal process of change, and to show the wrong kind of conservatism, if I may say so, on such a point as this. They are going against the general trend of opinion in the territories concerned.
As was said on Second Reading, many of us would like to feel that the Development 1283 Corporation could, in the future, at least become a Commonwealth Corporation, not in the sense that it should invest in Canada, Australia or New Zealand, but that it should itself participate and invest in some of those other territories, and the change in name would be a preliminary step to that kind of development. Many of us are at one in wishing to see some sort of development in that direction, as again was shown during the Second Reading debate.
I think, therefore, there is every reason why this proposal should be accepted. After all, we have the word "overseas" in the Bill. That indicates that it is not merely colonial or Commonwealth but that the Government think we should go into other territories outside the Commonwealth. "Commonwealth" is a much better word than "Overseas". It has more overtones and undertones, which most of us think are of value. Instead, we are given this rather negative word, "overseas"—
§ The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. John Profumo)
Of course, what we are doing is to use the same words as the Labour Government used when they produced the 1948 Bill.
§ Mrs. White
What is now being resisted by the Government is something that we consider to be a forward step, and I think that the reasons I have given, and those put forward so very cogently by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones), demonstrate that if the Government resist this suggestion they are adopting a very negative attitude.
§ 8.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Harrison
I regret that I cannot follow any of the previous speakers. They have tried to be logical, and this is not a logical, but an emotional matter. There is no strict reason for saying why something should be called a Colonial Development Corporation, or a British Development Corporation, or a Commonwealth Development Corporation. I am second to none in my admiration of the work done throughout the Empire, or Commonwealth, by people from this 1284 country, and of the job they have done in settling, developing and bringing on various nations to self-government, but the term "colonial", or any reference to it, does, in many areas, make people's hackles rise.
That applies even to a country that has been self-governing for as long as Australia has. Someone said to me the other day, "I have just come back from Australia. They are a very funny crowd out there. I said that they were descended from a set of convicts and they just laughed, but when I turned to another chap and said 'You are a colonial, aren't you?' I was flat on my back." That is an absolutely true indication of the feeling of people towards this word "colonial".
My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations showed great statesmanship once before in this House, when a Bill came before the House as the Empire Settlement Bill and left it as the Commonwealth Settlement Bill. For the very same reason, I think that it would be an equal act of statesmanship were he very carefully to consider, and not just consider, but do something about, altering the words used in this Measure.
I do not agree that we seek to do this just because we object to anti-colonial criticism in the United Nations or anything like that. It is not that. The point is that this is something that really does get people's backs up, and there is no real reason for going out of our way to get people's backs up in the Commonwealth or anywhere else.
I think that subsection (3) is just an airy-fairy dream if the thought is that any of the emergent territories will come back to the Colonial Development Corporation in order to get it to perform advisory functions, or act as managing agents, but there is a very real desire that this organisation should be used, and it could be of the greatest use throughout the Commonwealth. Nevertheless, we have to have some alteration in the name, not, as I say, for logical reasons, but purely and simply because this is an extremely emotional issue, particularly in the newly emergent territories.
§ Mr. Profumo
I do not like to disappoint hon. Members, and especially my 1285 hon. Friends, but I must tell the Committee that I cannot accept this Amendment, or those that we are considering with it, and I will do my best to give the Committee my reasons.
It seems to me that there can really be only two reasons for hon. Members wanting to change the name of the Corporation. Of the first, I detected a hint in hon. Members' speeches in our exhaustive discussion earlier; namely, that we should enlarge the scope of the Corporation. The hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) quoted from page 9 of the last Annual Report of the Colonial Development Corporation, and said that even Lord Reith would like to change the word "colonial" for something else.
I do not wish to appear to be in controversy with Lord Reith but he was making that comment against the background in which he was asking that the Corporation should be permitted to invest in emergent and emerging territories. He was saying, consequentially, that if that were allowed it would be necessary for the word "colonial" to be removed from the title of the Colonial Development Corporation. Lord Reith was not saying in any way that he disliked the term "colonial"; he made the remark against the background of that part of the Report to which I referred.
§ Mrs. White
Lord Reith goes on to refer to thehelp of the experienced C.D.C. personnel.That is surely what is covered in subsection (3); it is the whole point of the subsection that experienced C.D.C. personnel should be allowed to operate not merely in Ghana and Malaya but in other parts of the Commonwealth. I have very good reason for saying that Lord Reith meant the last phrase of that paragraph to refer to both situations.
§ Mr. Profumo
I must disagree with the hon. Lady. It is perfectly clear to anyone who reads paragraph 16. I only want to put it in its right perspective, because it would be a mistake if we had on record that the hon. Lady was right when, in one of her arguments, she said that even Lord Reith would like this change to be made.
§ Mrs. White
Has the hon. Member had an assurance from Lord Reith or the 1286 C.D.C. that in the circumstances envisaged by the Bill they are agreeable that the name should not be altered? Have they discussed this subsection with him and have they given him a positive assurance on the point?
§ Mr. Profumo
I certainly cannot give that assurance. Let us keep the argument fair. I have not a positive assurance from Lord Reith about this. I know that in time past he expressed the view that it might be considered that we should change the name, but I can assure hon. Members that he has not lately made representations about it.
The only point I am seeking to make now is that when the hon. Lady quotes the paragraph of that official Report by Lord Reith, I must put it in proper perspective and point out that Lord Reith was making the comment against the background of a perfectly proper suggestion, but one which the Committee has already turned down, by voting, on an earlier Amendment. This reason for wanting to change the name is therefore not valid.
The Government have declared that their aim is not to turn the Colonial Development Corporation into a major instrument of Commonwealth development but to retain it primarily as an instrument of Colonial development. This is made perfectly clear in the White Paper which the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) does not like. I am sorry that he does not like it, but the limitations on the Colonial Development Corporation are made perfectly clear in paragraphs 31 and 33 of the White Paper. My right hon. Friend made clear on Second Reading that what this Bill seeks to do is to carry out the policy which is laid down in the White Paper.
The idea of changing the name of the Colonial Development Corporation to the Commonwealth Development Corporation is not new. The Government have given this matter very careful consideration, but we are satisfied that the present title most appropriately describes the primary function of the Corporation—namely, to assist Colonial Territories in the development of their economy. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Surbiton (Mr. Fisher) that any alteration in the title would be misleading.
1287 I was sorry to hear the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones) use the phrase "retreat from the use of the word colonial". He talked about the change in the name of the Crown Agents and other organisations, and I should like to assure him that in all those cases there were reasons for making the change. He knows only too well that the Crown Agents are not solely Crown Agents for the Colonies; they act in the Commonwealth and even in foreign territories. It is not a very valid argument to say that we are retreating down the line from the use of the word "colonial". There were reasons for changing the titles which he mentioned.
§ Mr. Creech Jones
I used the word "retreat" quite deliberately. In any case, why has the Colonial Office itself withdrawn from the use of the term? No longer is it the Colonial Service; it is now the Overseas Service. I thought it was common knowledge that the Colonies were part of the Commonwealth and had long been accepted as part of the Commonwealth. I do not understand why we should cling to so narrow a definition which has incurred a great deal of very strong resentment in all parts of the Commonwealth.
§ Mr. Profumo
I am coming to the part of my remarks where I shall have to disagree with the right hon. Gentleman; I do not believe this is resented all over the Commonwealth. I fully accept that he is entitled to his views but I must state mine on behalf of the Government. He made a perfectly valid point that the Colonies are part of the Commonwealth. On the other hand, the Bill seeks to help the Colonies—only that part of the Commonwealth which is called the Colonies.
§ Mr. Profumo
It seeks primarily to help the Colonies; that is in the White Paper. Its primary function is to seek to help the Colonies. I must also remind the right hon. Gentleman that my right hon. Friend is still called the Colonial Secretary; he is not called the Overseas Secretary.
§ Mr. Profumo
My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State is, of course, interested in the Bill because of emergent territories. I think it is clear that it would be confusing if we were to call this the Commonwealth Development Corporation when its primary function is to help the Colonies.
I want to turn to what was said by the right hon. Member for Wakefield and also by my hon. Friend the Member for Maldon (Mr. B. Harrison). I do not accept that the word "colonial" will deter those who want to seek assistance from the C.D.C. I do not think there is any need for us to be ashamed of the word "colonial" in this respect and I can see absolutely no evidence to the effect that Colonial Territories have found it embarrassing in any way to go to the C.D.C. for help.
Let me give two or three examples. Malaya benefited to the extent of nearly £12 million right up to the time of independence. Malaya was longing for independence. The C.D.C. is even now negotiating many schemes in Nigeria. The Committee may like to know that British Guiana is most anxious to obtain further assistance from the C.D.C. I do not think that even Dr. Jagan's best friend could claim that he is a wild protagonist of Colonialism, but that has in no way prevented that Territory and indeed other territories, from seeking help from the Corporation, which we know, quite rightly, as the Colonial Development Corporation.
On the question whether it might be difficult, under the name "colonial", to borrow from outside sources, and the problem of these emergent territories which, according to an hon. Member, would find it awkward after they had emerged to seek help from the Colonial Development Corporation, one ought to remember that it is always open to the C.D.C. if it wishes to conduct its operations in a particular territory or country through a subsidiary company under whatever name is considered appropriate. We know that the Corporation is alive to this. [Interruption.] I did not say that it would have to do so; I said that it was open to the C.D.C. to do so if it wished.
1289 8.30 p.m.
I have made a perfectly logical argument. First of all, this word properly describes the Bill that we are discussing. Secondly, there are no valid reasons why this should not continue to be called a Colonial Corporation. Thirdly, if at any moment it looked like becoming embarrassing to any territory to continue to use the word "colonial", there is a way out. We have not changed the name of the Colonial Development and Welfare Act; yet, as every hon. Member knows, there is no reticence on the part of the Colonial Territories in asking for more help under that Act. This demolishes the argument that the use of the word "colonial" acts as a deterrent.
§ Mrs. White
Are we to extend the scope of the Colonial Development and Welfare Act to the countries that we have been discussing?
§ Mr. Profumo
No. I am not sure that the hon. Lady has been listening very well. Perhaps she would do me the courtesy of following the argument. My argument is that there is no evidence anywhere that the use of the word "colonial" in this respect prevents the Corporation from doing its job, any more than it discourages people from asking for development and welfare aid.
I am not ashamed of the word "colonial". I accept that it has become controversial. I accept that there are places all over the world—ill-wishers to the British Commonwealth—people who do dirty work, who try to do the British Commonwealth down and who have done their very best to use every opportunity to draw attention to the idea that colonialism is out of date and that it stands for bad things.
Do not let us always link the word "colonial" with controversy. Let us use the word in this case as meaning
§ something which can be admired, even by those who hate Britain—something which is bringing succour and assistance to the Colonial Territories. If we do that we shall be doing a very good service. I can see no reason for accepting this Amendment, and I have done my best to explain to the Committee why Her Majesty's Government feel they must reject it.
§ Mr. Callaghan
The vigour—I almost said the heat—with which the Under-Secretary of State has defended this change of name is to me an indication that he feels that he has a very bad case. He did not produce any argument. If I may use the old phrase, there was much more heat than light in what he said.
We had the fresh breezes from Australia blowing across the Government Front Bench, thank goodness. We had the Commonwealth coming to the aid of the Government. The hon. Member for Maldon (Mr. B. Harrison) always makes me feel that there is some hope for the Government yet, so long as he can bring himself to sit on the Government side of the Committee. Even he disagreed with his hon. Friend. He told us of the views which he heard during, his journeys. We have all heard the same views. The Under-Secretary has not begun to convince anybody. His hon. Friends are not here to listen to him. If they were, and if there were a free vote, his arguments would be rejected.
I ask my hon. Friends to vote in favour of the Amendment and against the Government to mark what we believe is their woodenness, their obtuseness, their obstinacy and their pigheadedness.
§ Question put, That "Colonial" stand part of the Clause:—
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 145, Noes 120.1291
|Division No. 37.)||AYES||[8.35 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Barlow, Sir John||Channon, Sir Henry|
|Aitken, W. T.||Barter, John||Chichester-Clark, R.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Bingham, R. M.||Conant, Maj. Sir Roger|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Bishop, F. P.||Cooke, Robert|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Bossom, Sir Alfred||Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.|
|Anstruther-Cray, Major Sir William||Boyle, Sir Edward||Corfield, Capt. F. V.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Brooman-White, R. C.||Cunningham, Knox|
|Atkins, H. E.||Bryan, P.||Currie, G. B. H.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Davidson, Viscountess|
|Barber, Anthony||Campbell, Sir David||Deedes, W. F.|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Hutchison, Michael Clark (E'b'gh, S.)||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh.W.)||Pitman, I. J.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry||Pitt, Miss E. M.|
|du Cann, E. D. L.||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Profumo, J. D.|
|Duncan, Sir James||Joseph, Sir Keith||Ramsden, J. E.|
|Elliott, R. W. (N'castle upon Tyne, N.)||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Kaberry, D.||Redmayne, M.|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Kershaw, J. A.||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Leavey, J. A.||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Fraser, Sir Ian (M'cmbe & Lonsdale)||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Sharples, R. C.|
|Freeth, Denzil||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Shepherd, William|
|Gammans, Lady||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Garner-Evans, E. H.||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Speir, R. M.|
|George, J. C. (Pollok)||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Glyn, Col. Richard H.||Longden, Gilbert||Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir AIan||McKibbin, AIan||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Goodhart, Philip||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Gower, H. R.||Macmillan, Maurice (Hallfax)||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Maddan, Martin||Temple, John M.|
|Grant, W. (Woodside)||Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Green, A.||Marshall, Douglas||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, S.)|
|Gresham Cooke, R.||Mathew, R.||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)|
|Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Mawby, R. L.||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr, S. L. C.||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)||Neave, Airey||Wall, Major Patrick|
|Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.||Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)||Whitelaw, W. S. I.|
|Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.||Oakshott, H. D.||Wills, G. (Bridgwater)|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Holland-Martin, C. J.||Page, R. G.||Woollam, John Victor|
|Hornby, R. P.||Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)|
|Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Partridge, E.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.||Peel, W. J.||Mr. Edward Wakefield and|
|Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Mr. Gibson-Watt.|
|Hulbert, Sir Norman||Pike, Mitt Mervyn|
|Alnsley, J. W.||Holman, P.||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Holmes, Horace||Parker, J.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Holt, A. F.||Peart, T. F.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Houghton, Douglas||Pentland, N.|
|Beswick, Frank||Howell, Denis (All Saints)||Popplewell, E.|
|Blackburn, F.||Hoy, J. H.||Prentice, R. E.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Hubbard, T. F.||Price, J. T. (Westnoughton)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Boardman, H.||Hunter, A. E.||Probert, A. R.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Randall, H. E.|
|Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Rhodes, H.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Ross, William|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Royle, C.|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech (Wakefield)||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)|
|Carmichael, J.||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Clunie, J.||Kenyon, C.||Steele, T.|
|Coldrick, W.||Lawton, G. M.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)||Lipton, Marous||Stones, W. (Consett)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Logan, D. C.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||MacColl, J. E.||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Deer, G.||McGhee, H. G.||Usborne, H. C.|
|Delargy, H. J.||McGovern, J.||Viant, S. P.|
|Diamond, John||McInnes, J.||Wade, D. W.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Wa kins, T. E.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||McLeavy, Frank||Weitzman, D.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Mahon, Simon||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mason, Roy||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Car'then)||Mellish, R. J.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Mikardo, Ian||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Mitchison, G. R.||Willey, Frederick|
|Grey, C. F.||Moody, A. S.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Grimond, J.||Mort, D. L.||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Woof, R. E.|
|Hannan, W.||Oram, A. E.||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.)||Oswald, T.|
|Hayman, F. H.||Padley, W. E.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Mr. Pearson and Mr. Simmons.|
§ The Deputy-Chairman (Sir Gordon Touche)
I think that it will be for the convenience of the Committee if the Amendments in page 1, lines 17 and 22, are discussed together.
§ Mr. J. Johnson
I beg to move, in page 1, line 17, to leave out from "territory" to the end of line 21.
We have had two somewhat sensational votes. We have got the score down to 29 and 25, I think. If we stay long enough, we shall beat this Government, it seems. During the last debate, my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) used some euphemistic and some opprobrious terms such as "blockhead" and "wooden-head". There are other Anglo-Saxon terms, but I shall not need to talk about those.
The first Amendment means merely that if say, in Ghana or Malaya, there is a particular scheme going on under the C.D.C., then the Government will allow the C.D.C. to spend extra money to finish it off. The second one means, very shortly, that the Government will allow the C.D.C. to widen its scope and enlarge its operations on a particular scheme if the Secretary of State thinks it advisable.
When I looked at the Clause, I said to myself, why stop half-way? What is the matter with these people who are now advising and in charge of the Colonial Development Corporation? Why not go the whole way and allow them to stay in the territories and do other jobs? This is the dilemma of the Conservative Party. I will not call the hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench opposite the names mentioned a few moments ago, but I will say this very kindly to them: they are schizophrenic. This is what is the matter with the Conservatives when they endeavour to work a public corporation of this kind. I will not say that they are unfit to govern. They are unfitted to administer instruments of this kind, governing what has been termed "the Empire". That is the difficulty with hon. Gentlemen on the benches opposite.
In the debates last week and today, the only honest man on the benches opposite who has spoken his mind has been the hon. Member for Liverpool, 1294 Kirkdale (Mr. N. Pannell). He is, at least, an honest Tory and has the "guts" to say what he thinks about the financial set-up and this particular operation. I say, good luck to him. I wish other hon. Gentlemen opposite would be as forthcoming as he has been.
The two Under-Secretaries, and, of course, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, have had a baby left them by the Labour Government. Whether one talks about bottles of milk or, indeed, gin—anything one cares to mention—they do not like to feed it at all, whatever is the element inside the bottle. They will be glad, in my view—I say this seriously—to shelve their obligations. Wherever there is an emerging Colony, they then say, "Thank you very much. We are quite happy to let them stand on their own feet." They are not on their own feet, but on their knees and are just getting up off their knees and beginning to become a modern State.
We get the glib answer time and time again on these Amendments that these States, like Malaya and Ghana, are politically independent. Of course, they are in the sense that they have, with us, signed their names to a new constitution. But are they economically dependent? This is a very old one. A country can be politically independent but still be an economic Colony in the financial sense and in the sense of developing its internal economics.
Lord Chandos, who used to speak at the Dispatch Box in debates like this, was perfectly correct when he said that we need to have a firm economic basis before we can call a place independent—independent with a capital "I". Of course, they are not independent at all. They need all the help that they can get and even more than they have had in the past. Yet here we are, in Clauses like this, cutting off what they have been having. All that is said is, "You can go on with the schemes that you have. You can continue them, and perhaps spend another £½ million if you are lucky. You can go out of this town and set up another ancillary activity in a town twenty miles away." That is all this means, nothing more nor less. But when these schemes are finished, Ghana is finished.
1295 The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations often thinks that he is talking at a Conservative Party meeting and not in the House of Commons. He was talking about the objections of these States to the C.D.C. It is incorrect to say there are objections, and never yet today has he quoted either Mr. Kwame Nkrumah or any other statesmen—Tenku Abdul Rahman, or anyone in Malaya—who has said that he does not want continuing help by the Government. Therefore, I say that it is economic, political and ideological nonsense to talk in that way. I beg the Minister to forget some of these things that he has been saying. Here are these young peoples, these so-called—I do not like the word and they do not like it either—"backward" peoples, these dependent peoples, who need all the help they can get and here we are, cutting them off in this way.
One often speaks in these debates about paving Amendments at the beginning. This one is, perhaps, the opposite. It is in some ways a flooring Amendment and, in view of the two goes that we have already had, I hope that this one may even floor the Government if we take them into the Lobby on this issue.
§ Mr. Alport
As I understand the purpose of the two Amendments, they amount to an attempt by the Opposition to procure through them precisely the same result as hon. Members opposite were attempting to procure through the Amendment which we discussed at some length earlier. Having failed to get in at the front door, they decide to go round to the back and see whether they can get in there. All the arguments which I deployed, and which were deployed on this side of the Committee, against the earlier proposal are equally relevant to the Amendment.
The hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) made one point that interested me. He said that the Government had shown themselves incapable of administering a State corporation. What is fascinating about that is that the £8 million that the Colonial Development Corporation is sc anxious to write off results from the losses which were incurred during a period when that Corporation was, if not 1296 being administered directly by the previous Government, at least operating under its auspices. Therefore, if there is any question of incapability of administering a State corporation, on the whole the evidence goes against the hon. Member and the party to which he belongs.
§ Mr. J. Johnson
I did not say "incapable". Had the hon. Gentleman been listening, he would have heard me say that the Government were unfitted—not unfit, but unfitted—to administer the affairs of a public corporation for these young peoples. I did not use the word "incapable" and I hope that the hon. Gentleman will withdraw it.
§ Mr. Alport
I beg the hon. Member's pardon. In the point I am making, there is not the slightest difference whether the hon. Member used the word "incapable" or "unfitted".
The hon. Member has accused the party on this side of the Committee of being concerned with ideological matters. The truth is that if we had been concerned supremely with our own particular point of view, we should not be giving, as we are through the Bill, increased opportunities—they may not be as much as the hon. Member would like, but they are increased opportunities—for the Colonial Development Corporation to play its part in accordance with certain definite limitations in a wider sphere. Indeed, had we followed the ideological line to which the hon. Member has referred, we should not at present be providing the Colonial Development Corporation, as we are under the Bill, with an additional £50 million. Therefore, the allegations made by the hon. Member are not substantiated.
I do not wish to repeat the many arguments that were advanced during the earlier debate. I hope, however, that the arguments which have already been advanced will be remembered by the Committee, for they are the reason why the Government cannot, on this occasion, support or accept the hon. Member's Amendment.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.