HC Deb 24 July 1958 vol 592 cc660-1
25. Mr. Brockway

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what official discussions took place between the High Commissioner and the Government of the Union of South Africa prior to the introduction of legislation requiring entry and work permits for all residents in Bechuanaland, Basutoland and Swaziland; and if the High Commissioner gave prior approval to this restriction on their movement and employment.

Mr. Alport

In March, 1957, the High Commissioner for Basutoland, the Bechuanaland Protectorate and Swaziland was given advance information by the Union Government of their intention to introduce the measure which was subsequently passed as the Native Laws (Further Amendment) Act, 1957. For the exact effect of this on Africans from the High Commission Territories I would refer the hon. Member to my Answer to his Question on 22nd May. There was no question of the High Commissioner's prior approval being necessary or being sought.

Mr. Brockway

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that Dr. Verwoerd in the Legislature of the Union of South Africa has definitely stated that the endorsement of the High Commissioner was secured in this matter? Is he further aware that although in a previous answer he said that this applies only to trouble makers, it has now been extended to all residents of Basutoland who are in the Union?

Mr. Alport

I cannot accept the hon. Gentleman's point about the statement made by the Minister of Native Affairs in the Union. I think the hon. Gentleman may be basing his Question on an article which appeared recently in the Press. Perhaps it would be helpful to him and to me if I were to send him a comment on the various allegations made in that article, many of which are quite incorrect.

Mr. Bottomley

May we have an assurance that British protected persons living in the High Commission Territories who go into the Union can return to those Territories without hindrance?

Mr. Alport

Those who belong to the Territories can certainly return there without hindrance.