HC Deb 22 May 1958 vol 588 cc1484-5
24. Mr. Brockway

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations when the post of liaison officer between the Paramount Chief of Basutoland and the Rand Agencies of the Government of the Union of South Africa was terminated; and what representations the High Commissioner has made to the Union Government on the matter.

The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. C. J. M. Alport)

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the Agency in Johannesburg of the High Commission Territories of Basutoland, the Bechuanaland Protectorate and Swaziland. The Agency represents all three Administrations and has no connection with the Union Government. In 1950, a representative of the Paramount Chief of Basutoland was attached to the Agency. When this representative died, in April, 1957, it was decided that the appointment had not proved of sufficient value to require the appointment of a successor.

Mr. Brockway

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is considerable feeling about this matter among the native authorities in Basutoland? They felt that it was a recognition of their status. Will the hon. Gentleman consider the matter again?

Mr. Alport

I am aware that the matter was discussed in the Basutoland Council in February of this year when a recommendation was made on this point which will, I am sure, be discussed between the Resident Commissioner and the Paramount Chief when opportunity arises.

Mr. Bottomley

May we wish the new High Commissioner to South Africa every success and hope that his appointment will lead to harmonious relationships between these Territories, and also that his appointment as representative of the United Kingdom Government will continue harmoniously?

Mr. Alport

I would thank the right hon. Gentleman for his reference to the High Commissioner, who will take up his appointment in due course. I will ensure that his attention is called to what the right hon. Gentleman has said.