§ 3.42 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd)
I beg to move,That this House takes note of Command Paper No. 530 relating to Proposals for Constitutional Change in Northern Rhodesia.The House will recall that at the end of last March the Government of Northern Rhodesia published a White Paper putting forward certain proposals for changes in that territory's Constitution. These proposals were the result of discussions which the Governor had here over a very long period. They were not agreed proposals in the sense that all members of the Northern Rhodesian Government had undertaken to support them exactly as they stood. Indeed, as the House will have realised, the White Paper made it clear that there was no member of the Government in full agreement with every detail of the proposals when considered in isolation and who would not like to see some of them changed. All members of the Government, however, agreed to put forward the proposals for public discussion in the belief that they constituted a good and honest scheme which merited the support and faith of all sections of the community.
In the following months, these proposals, which are reproduced as Appendix II to the White Paper, Cmd. No. 530, which I presented to Parliament in September, were exhaustively discussed by all kinds of bodies and organisations throughout the territory. These discussions culminated in a debate on a composite Motion in the Legislative Council which lasted, with breaks, for no less than 45 hours. In spite of the great and ever increasing interest which Members of this House are showing in these very important and difficult matters, I do not think that we can expect to challenge that record.
The debate in the Northern Rhodesian Council showed that there were certain features of the Government's proposals upon which all concerned were agreed. Agreement was also reached on one or two minor changes to the proposals. There remained, however, a measure of disagreement. I had hoped to go to 564 Northern Rhodesia myself, but, unfortunately, it was not possible for me to leave London at that time. At my suggestion and invitation, therefore, the Governor came to London with a representative delegation from the Legislative Council to discuss the proposals with me.
I had long discussions with the delegation. It did not, however, prove possible to resolve the differences of opinion which had revealed themselves in Northern Rhodesia. But these discussions enabled me to supplement the knowledge that I had already gained from studying the records of the debates and other discussions in Northern Rhodesia and enabled me to gain the kind of understanding of the various points of view which, I think, can only come from personal contacts.
I was greatly impressed, as were all my colleagues who met them, by the spirit of courtesy and mutual tolerance with which all members of the delegation put forward their views. By the end of July, it had become clear that it would be necessary for me to reach my own decisions about the advice to be tendered to Her Majesty. I would, of course, have greatly preferred, as I am sure would all Members of this House, that this should have proved unnecessary and that a fully agreed solution should have been found in Northern Rhodesia itself.
That this did not prove possible was certainly no fault of the Governor, Sir Arthur Benson. For three years or more, he has worked tirelessly to produce a scheme which would both fit the circumstances of the territory and be acceptable to those mainly concerned. No one who, like myself, has followed his efforts can have failed to admire the enthusiasm, skill and perseverence with which the Governor has pursued his objective. To anyone who knows all the difficulties of the problem and the situation, it comes as a surprise not that he failed, as, in a measure, he has, but that he came so near to success.
My discussions with the Northern Rhodesian delegation ended just as the House was about to rise for the Summer Recess, as I have been reminded this afternoon. There was a very natural desire, which I shared, that the House should have an opportunity to debate these matters before irrevocable decisions were taken. At the same time, as the House 565 generously recognised, there were considerations in Northern Rhodesia itself which, to some extent, restricted my freedom of manoeuvre as regards timing. If the, life of the present Legislative Council was not to have to be extended—and this and the inevitable period of uncertainty that that would have involved would have been highly undesirable—elections would have to be held in the spring next year. This meant that it would be necessary for work on the registration of voters to start in early autumn this year.
Accordingly, I made it clear to the House, at the end of July, that I intended to tender advice to Her Majesty during the Summer Recess that provision should be made at an early date to enable arrangements for the delimitation of constituencies and the registration of voters to be undertaken without delay. I undertook, however, at the same time, that provision for the holding of elections on the lines proposed would be left to a later Order in Council which would also give effect to such other decisions on the Constitution as I might take and which I would not advise Her Majesty to make until there had been an opportunity for debate in this House. I also undertook to publish my full proposals in good time so that hon. Members would be able to study them.
The first Order in Council was accordingly made on 11th September, as hon. Members who follow these matters know. It was entitled the Northern Rhodesian (Electoral Provisions) Order in Council, 1958, and was laid on 17th September. The conclusions which I reached after my discussions with the delegation from the Legislative Council in Northern Rhodesia are set out in my despatch of 10th September to the Governor, which appears as Appendix I to Cmd. 530. I recognise that these proposals may seem complicated, but so is the problem. It would be unrealistic, I think, to imagine that a simple solution is possible. Nor will these proposals, I think, be complicated for the individual who has to register and later to cast his vote.
I think that it may help the House if I stated briefly what the position of each qualified voter will be under the proposals. I am conscious that this appears to be the most complicated aspect of all. Every qualified voter, of whatever race, in Northern Rhodesia will have two 566 votes. In the area covered by the special constituencies, an ordinary voter will be able to cast one vote in the election for his special constituency and one vote in the election for one of the two seats reserved for Europeans. Neither of these votes will in any circumstances be devalued. In the area covered by the ordinary constituencies, each ordinary voter will be able to cast one vote in the election of the member for his ordinary constituency and one vote for the election for one of the two seats reserved for Africans. Neither of these votes will in any circumstances be devalued.
A specially qualified voter in the area covered by the six special constituencies will he able to cast one vote in the election for the member for his special constituency, which will not be devalued, and one vote in the election for one of the two seats reserved for European members, which in certain circumstances may he devalued. A specially qualified voter in the area of the ordinary constituencies will he able to cast one vote in the election for the member of his ordinary constituency, which, in certain circumstances, may be devalued, and one vote for the election to one of the seats reserved for African members, which will in no circumstances be devalued.
I recognise that even with a desire to give this explanation, I no doubt have left some Members still a little uncertain. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I can, however, assure hon. Members that if they carefully read what I have said—perhaps I have failed to put it in the simplest of language, although I do not think so—they will find that it is nothing like as complicated as it seems. For the individual who does not have to go through all this procedure, not being in all these various categories, the proposition is relatively simple.
§ Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)
I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman in the middle of this intricate discourse, but can he give an answer in principle to this question: why is it that certain African votes are to be devalued whereas others will not be devalued? If the right hon. Gentleman is explaining this, well and good.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
That is one of the great issues with which I intend to deal. I do not think that it will be difficult to explain.
567 For the rest, these proposals as they now stand may be summarised as follows. There would be a common voters' roll containing both ordinary and special voters in accordance with the qualification set out in Appendix A to my dispatch. The Legislative Council would consist of a Speaker and 30 members, of whom 22 would be elected, six officials and two nominated members. There would be 18 constituencies, 12 comprising the Crown Lands adjacent to the railway and certain adjoining areas of native reserve and native trust land, the other six being largely rural constituencies and including some smaller areas of Crown Land away from the railways.
Within the area of the ordinary constituencies, there would be two further seats reserved for Africans, and within the area of the six special constituencies there would be two further seats reserved for Europeans. In all the 22 constituencies, all votes would count in full provided that in each of the 12 ordinary constituencies and the two constituencies reserved for European candidates, special votes would not be permitted to count in total more than one-third of the total of ordinary votes cast. I hope that this is a little easier to understand than my earlier remarks.
Candidates standing in all constituencies would be required to hold ordinary qualifications, except in the six special constituencies, where special qualifications would suffice. Every candidate in a special constituency would be required to obtain a certificate from not less than two-thirds of the recognised chiefs in the constituency that they had no objection to his standing as a candidate. [HON. MEMBERS: "Shame".] I shall deal with this matter in greater detail later.
The Governor will preside over an Executive Council containing 10 Ministers, consisting of four officials and six others, of whom for the time being four would be Europeans and two Africans. The Governor would nominate the two members of the Legislative Council after the results of the election were known.
These proposals differ in a limited number of respects from the proposals put forward in the White Paper of the Government of Northern Rhodesia. The two most important changes were these. First, the Government of Northern 568 Rhodesia proposed that there should be nine Ministers, of whom five would be unofficials and two assistant Ministers, and that of these 11 not less than two should be Africans, of whom one should be a Minister. I have proposed that there should be 10 Ministers, of whom six will be unofficial Ministers, and that for the present it should be an instruction to the Governor that two of these should be Africans and four Europeans. [An HON. MEMBER: "More democracy."] I have not proposed that there should he any assistant Ministers.
Before any hon. Member shouts, "More democracy" or anything else, I wish he would hear the story as a whole. This is a genuine attempt to meet the particular problems of Northern Rhodesia, which cannot be solved by trotting out the slogans and clichés which, no doubt, are applicable to the United Kingdom in the twentieth century.
I know that there is a strong feeling in the Federation that appointment as Minister should be by merit only. I hope that the time will come when confidence between the races has so improved that race can be disregarded in Ministerial appointments. The constitutional instruments themselves will, therefore, not make provision for the allocation of unofficial Ministerial offices by race, but for the time being it will be an instruction to the Governor to allocate these offices as I have said.
Naturally, if the full number of members suitable for appointment to these Ministerial offices could not be found among the members of the Legislative Council, the composition of the Executive Council would still be considered complete even if the full number of unofficial members had not been appointed. Given the arrangements that it is proposed to make for filling the unofficial seats in the Legislative Council, however, I cannot believe that, in practice, such a situation would arise.
Under the original proposals of the Northern Rhodesian Government it had been intended that the African Minister sitting in the Executive Council should be permitted to discuss the business of the Executive Council with the African assistant minister. I felt, however, and I feel sure that a great many hon. Members will agree with me, that this was not an entirely satisfactory arrangement and that 569 it would be better to create one additional unofficial Ministerial post so that there can be two African ministers.
This, and, indeed, other aspects of the proposals, do not, I claim, make it impossible for normal party practices to function. Indeed, I believe that normal party politics can, and will, function in Northern Rhodesia under this scheme. It is certainly my wish and the wish of my colleagues that they should so function. The proposals provide, however, that until they function on a non-racial basis, African interests will be ensured representation.
The second main change was that the rotes of the ordinary voters should in certain circumstances be devalued. Under my proposal, this will not happen. The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) asked why.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I understood that that was what the hon. Member had in mind. I felt that it was wrong in principle that anyone who possesses the necessary qualifications to obtain an ordinary vote should have his vote devalued and that it would be particularly unfortunate if an African who had previously been on the special voters' roll then qualified for the ordinary voters' roll, only to find that his vote carried less value than before in elections for the six special seats or for the two African reserved seats. I do not believe that that would have been a happy development and that, to me, was the overriding consideration which led me to make the change.
There is not tune to go into all the details of all the other changes which are made, but I should like, however, to mention one. The proposals of the Government of Northern Rhodesia contain a provision that the qualifications required to be registered as a special voter should be progressively raised at certain stated intervals, until, after the expiry of ten years or more, no persons would be registered as special voters. I felt that it would be right to qualify this provision to the extent that the qualifications should not be raised at each stage unless and until there were as many persons registered as special voters as there were persons registered as ordinary voters. I was particularly anxious to link this change with an objective test and not 570 merely with the passage of time. Needless to say, under this revised proposal, special voters would remain on the Special Roll for the rest of their lives unless and until they qualified as ordinary voters; and there is no question of the roll being completely abolished at the end of ten years.
These were the proposals set out in my despatch. As the House well knows, they have not escaped criticism, any more than did the proposals of the Northern Rhodesian Government. I have received communications from the Federal Party members in the Northern Legislature, from the African members and from one of the European members representing African interests, all expressing disappointment either at the exclusion or at the inclusion of some feature or features in these proposals.
I also saw yesterday, at the Colonial Office, Paramount Chief Undi, Senior Chief Shakumbila, and Mr. Nkumbula, who had come to make representations to me on the subject of these constitutional changes, and I had discussions with them on the subject. Further, I and my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs have, during the last few days, been discussing with the Federal Prime Minister certain representations made by the Federal Government.
It was, of course, their absolute right to communicate their views to me, not only because of their natural interest in constitutional development in the territories which form part of the Federation but also because of the understanding reached at the time of the Conference on Federation in January, 1953, which, however, made it clear at the same time that the responsibility for advising Her Majesty on changes in the territorial constitution would continue to rest with Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom.
It has been a very great pleasure for me and my colleagues to welcome Sir Roy Welensky again to London so soon after his formidable triumph in the Federal elections. We are also very glad indeed to see again our old friend Mr. Julian Greenfield. The coming years will bring great opportunities to the Federation. There will be also, of course, as is inevitable in the early days of any federation, difficulties to meet as well. We wish the Prime Minister and his colleagues every success. How greatly we shall all value his understanding and 571 statesmanship in approaching not only the immediate problems before us, but also the issues on which, before long, it will be the duty of the five Governments to seek to find wise solutions together.
I should like to return for a moment or two to the Northern Rhodesian Constitution. I am considering with the greatest possible care all the representations which have been made to me. I shall also, naturally, consider with no less care any advice or suggestions which may be put forward during the course of the debate, and before we disperse for the Christmas Recess I shall inform the House whether I have decided to make any changes in the proposals as they now stand. I cannot mention this afternoon all the points on which representations have been made to me, but on one of them, however, I should like to say a few words. This is the proposal that candidates proposing to stand for election in the six special constituencies should be required to obtain a certificate of approval of their candidature from two-thirds of the chiefs in their constituency.
I should like to say a few words about the thought that lies behind this proposal. In the rural areas of the African territories for which we are responsible the traditional authorities have a very great part to play. The progress of Africa is likely to be more peaceful and more fruitful if the development of representative institutions can take place in a manner which ensures that these authorities continue to play an important rôle in this and other aspects of the life of their people.
Her Majesty's Government are not prepared to see the position of those on whom so many have relied so long as the sources of wisdom and authority suddenly undermined. It is of great importance that there should be a bridge between the old Africa and the new, for a sudden jump from traditional means to the mysteries of the ballot box is always very perplexing and often is very dangerous. Therefore, I think that it is desirable that there should be close association between the native authorities and the Government, and the risk of a cleavage between the Legislature and the 572 native authorities should be prevented as far as possible.
Without such a proposal it has been strongly argued that there will be no link that most Africans can recognise between the native authorities and official members of the Legislative Council. Again, it is said that many Africans whose lives are still concentrated in the tribe and around their chief, and who will not as yet be on the register, will feel more secure if they know that the representative of their area in the Legislative Council is considered by the traditional authorities to be a suitable person to hold that position.
I will not conceal from the House, and I know that I shall learn of it again this afternoon, that this proposal has many critics. I ask all who criticise to realise that all the critics are not against it for the same reason. But it is true to say that many of them doubt its wisdom not because they disagree with the objective, but because they think that this would have the opposite result of that intended. Their fear is that, as a result of this provision, the chiefs may become too involved in politics. They have also drawn my attention to certain practical difficulties which the provision might cause in the actual conduct of an election.
I am looking into certain points which have arisen out of the representations made to me. I will also consider carefully any views on this subject which may be expressed in the course of the debate. I say frankly that the conduct of the debate might perhaps have been easier if it had been deferred until I could announce the final conclusions of Her Majesty's Government. But, certainly, the debate then would have been far less valuable to me and my colleagues and the House as a whole. In any case, I know that right hon. and hon. Members opposite were anxious that the debate should not be too long delayed. I can say today that if any alterations are made in the scheme they will not be alterations which will affect the fundamental principles underlying it.
I should like to remind the House of those fundamental principles. The first is that the arrangements made should be, as far as possible, such that participation in the political life of the country will depend not on race but on other criteria 573 designed to measure capacity to make a useful contribution.
I say "as far as possible" because the scheme as it now stands provides for the reservation of two seats for Africans and two for Europeans, and also that for the time being there should be a certain allocation by race of the six unofficial portfolios. I am certain that at this stage of the territory's development it is not possible completely to ignore racial considerations. I am, however, no less certain that this principle is right, that it would be doing Northern Rhodesia a great disservice to provide for separate racial electorates and for the reservation by race of all or a majority of the Unofficial seats in the Legislative Council, and I have been asked to do both of these at different stages over the last year or so.
While I understand the thinking of those of my African friends who ask for parity between the two main races, I must say that I do not agree with it, because it seems to me to lead inevitably either to a dead-end or to a struggle for power fought out on a purely racial basis which could not have anything other than disastrous consequences for the territory's future. By contrast, I believe that our proposals are designed to provide all men in public life with an incentive to consider the interests of the country as a whole and of all its inhabitants irrespective of race.
It is, therefore, my hope and that of my colleagues that they will lead to considerations of race playing a far less important rôle in the politics of the territory than they do today. I hope and expect that our policy will have that result. However, I fully admit that this constitutes a great new experiment and that it is not possible to be certain that it will produce this result or how fast it will produce it.
Consequently, the second fundamental principle lying behind these proposals is that for the time being the Governor and his official advisers must remain in a position, in case of necessity, to hold the balance on issues which affect the interests of one community or another and are controversial. Subject to that, it is the view of Her Majesty's Government, which I am sure this House will endorse—and this is the third fundamental principle lying behind these proposals—that the people of Northern Rhodesia should be given increasing opportunity to take part in the conduct of the territory's affairs.
574 I know that some of my European friends feel that my proposals do not go far enough in that direction and that they would, for instance, like to see provision made now for a Chief Minister. If the great experiment of this new Constitution is successful, and the necessary confidence is established between ourselves, the time for changes such as this will come later. I do not feel that they would be generally acceptable, or indeed appropriate, today.
Let the House, however, not forget that in our proposals there is provision for six unofficial Ministers and, for the first time, for an unofficial majority in the Executive Council. Of course, it will fall to the Governor to appoint these six unofficial Ministers, but before making his appointments he will consult the leader who, in his opinion, is most likely to command a majority in Legislative Council, and will pay due regard to his views. He will no doubt also hold similar consultations before he appoints the two nominated members of the Legislative Council.
The Governor will continue to have reserve power so that, through him, Her Majesty's Government can in the last resort make sure of being able to discharge their ultimate responsibility for the good government of the territory, but if European and African unofficial Ministers can work together in the interests of the territory as a whole, as I am sure they can and will, then, with the help and advice of their official colleagues, they will be able under these proposals to take the major part in guiding and directing the progress of Northern Rhodesia.
Her Majesty's Government and this House will, of course, still be ultimately responsible for the territorial government of Northern Rhodesia, but now that all the elected members of the Legislative Council are to be responsible to mixed electorates, and now that the Executive Council is to include Africans as well as European unofficial members for the first time, I hope that hon. Members will agree that it would be appropriate for us all to encourage the Northern Rhodesian Government to exercise an increasing degree of responsibility.
I do not say that occasions will never arise when we ought to intervene, but I hope that we shall all, irrespective of party, feel it right to avoid continuing intervention on minor matters or on questions which are questions of judgment or degree rather than of major principle, and 575 so lend our support and encouragement to all those who are trying to build a new nation in Central Africa.
§ 4.14 p.m.
§ Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)
I beg to move, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:declines to approve the proposals for constitutional change contained in Command Paper No. 530, which leave the African people inadequately represented, fail to promote confidence and will worsen relations between the races throughout Central Africa".Having heard the concoction from the Colonial Secretary, I do not know how any hon. Member could vote against this Amendment. If there is one thing I have always admired about the Colonial Secretary it is his capacity to present to the House a lucid exposition of the particular cause he happens to believe in on the day that he is standing at the Dispatch Box.
§ Mr. Callaghan
The Under-Secretary need not get to peppery right at the beginning of my remarks; he will have much more to get peppery about as I go on.
I thought that the right hon. Gentleman's exposition of the system under which the African is supposed to vote must have led all of us who heard it into a maze of complete incomprehensibility. It is all very well for the Colonial Secretary to say that the African will not have to understand every aspect of this system because what he has to do is to put his cross on the paper. That is not the point. What the Colonial Secretary has to do is to convince the African that the system under which he is voting is a fair one, and the right hon. Gentleman cannot convince him of its fairness unless he can make him understand it.
If the right hon. Gentleman had seen the look of bewildered comprehension on the faces of his hon. Friends as well as on ours, who are, after all, sophisticated politicians, I do not know what he would do if he were faced with the responsibility of explaining this complex and intricate system to Africans overseas and trying to persuade them that this was a great 576 advance and a tremendous new experiment. I tell the right hon. Gentleman that in my view, having studied this Command Paper most carefully and, I hope, having understood it, it seems to me to be a compound of bureaucracy run mad plus prejudice.
What is it all about? What is it designed to do? It is designed to prevent the African from having too large a say in the affairs of Northern Rhodesia. That is all it is for. If it were not for that, we could have a simple system of voting such as exists in other territories According to my right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker), there has been only one previous experiment of anyone attempting to introduce a system of devaluing the vote, and that was the fancy franchise introduced by a Conservative Prime Minister, Mr. Disraeli. It was thrown out by this House very properly, and it has taken seventy or eighty years to creep back again into a colonial territory.
As I examine the proposal to devalue the vote, I think that hon. Gentlemen opposite will feel uneasy about what is being done in their name by Her Majesty's Government. I must say in extenuation, however, that they had considerable influence brought to bear upon them by the Federal Government.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
If the hon. Gentleman, by that remark, is seeking to suggest that the principle of devaluation, for example, was introduced because of pressure, I hope that he will not pursue the argument because it is untrue. All the principles I have enunciated are enshrined in the White Paper which emerged from the discussions of the Legislative Council and which was presented to me.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I think that the principle of devaluation is the result of Civil Service bureaucracy. I do not ascribe that to the Federal Prime Minister. As far as I can understand, it arose from the proposals of the Governor, and it should have been thrown out by the right hon. Gentleman if he had looked at it in the normal way and with the robust common sense that he usually exercises, even when I disagree with him.
It seems to me to be the fate of Britain, as it does not work under a written constitution itself, to prepare a mass of written constitutions for other territories, 577 none of which lasts very long; and this one will be no exception. I warrant there will not be a shred of this left in five years' time because it is almost unworkable, and in so far as it is found to be unworkable, if not impracticable, it will go the way of the other written constitutions which were devised with the object of preventing people from playing a full part in the affairs of their own nation. That is the basic reason for its weakness and why it will fail.
I must say right away that nothing would have pleased me more than to have been able to agree with the right hon. Gentleman about this Constitution. Nothing would have given me greater pleasure than to have been able to say to the people of Rhodesia that there was a united view in the House of Commons, and therefore in the United Kingdom, on this matter. We simply cannot afford to allow differences of opinion to carry over into Rhodesian or other African territories, unless they are based on deep-seated principles.
I hope to show the House later that there is a deep-seated difference of approach between the Government and their advisers and my hon. Friends. The country must be aware of that difference and must make up its mind about it, because the future, happiness and proper development of Europeans and Africans depend on a correct assessment of the proper way in which to treat the advance now taking place in the Constitution.
We know that the right hon. Gentleman does not think that this is a factious difference. It is a deep-seated difference which goes to the heart of the future development of these territories, and we cannot attempt to paper it over in the interests of a so-called unity which would be a mere façade. That is why we must expose the differences this afternoon. They are deep-seated and fundamental.
I want, first, to make some detailed criticisms of the proposals. In our Amendment, we say that the African is under-represented. I am not taking up the case of the African National Congress, which wants parity of representation. It is not the job of the Opposition at any time to associate themselves with one party or group in any of our Colonial Territories. It is our job to judge the situation as fairly as we can—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—and I hope 578 that those hon. Members who are so loud in their appreciation will apply that to their own relationships.
Let us consider the basis of representation. There are 65,000 Europeans who are to have 14 members in the Legislative Assembly. There are 2 million Africans who are to have eight members. There will thus be one member for every 5,000 Europeans and one member for every quarter of a million Africans. I do not know on what basis one can assume that that is adequate representation, but there is not a Member of Parliament who represents anything like 250,000 people in the United Kingdom, even though we are concentrated in a very narrow, urbanised community.
Rhodesia is three times the size of Britain and throughout the whole of that area there are to be only six African constituencies. I do not know what hon. Members opposite would say if they had to try to canvass that sort of constituency to secure election to the House of Commons. Perhaps there would be fewer candidates.
§ Mr. Callaghan
It is clear that the African member, who is supposed to he representative of the community, cannot hope to cover a constituency whose boundaries may be as far as 400 miles apart and which may contain a quarter of a million people.
Therefore, unless we hear anything better from the Government, I do not see how we can fail to dispute the argument that the African is properly represented. It does not matter what the alternative figure should be, nor what the African National Congress suggests. If we are to have representation, how can six people represent a territory three times the size of Britain? That is a simple question which warrants a simple answer, and, until I get it, I shall continue to assume that the Africans will be under-represented.
Because of the special physical difficulties, I was very glad to hear the Colonial Secretary say that he might reconsider the provision for the necessity of obtaining the consent of two-thirds of the chiefs in an area. I had a look at the map when I was preparing this speech, and, for the purposes of illustration, I chose, of course. 579 the largest constituency. In the North-West constituency, from Balovale to Solvezi is 250 miles. In Luapula, from Broken Hill to Abercorn is 400 miles. In such territories, there may be 50, 60 or 70 chiefs. According to the Colonial Secretary's proposal, a candidate would have to get the assent of at least two-thirds of that number of chiefs over a distance ranging from one end of Britain to the other, and a candidate has to get positive assent, in writing.
I ask the Under-Secretary to address himself to the practical administrative problem. How is it proposed that candidates should get positive assent from two-thirds of the chiefs? Do they have to see them? I know that some would like to do so, because they fear—I do not know how to judge this, but it is something that the House should know—that because the chiefs are civil servants, in effect, who are appointed and who can be removed, there will be at least some influence on them not to sign the nomination papers of certain possible candidates.
I do not know whether that is likely to happen, but it is a legitimate fear which the Government must remove, because there must be no implication that a chief is susceptible to influence by a district commissioner or anyone else able to prompt him not to sign a candidate's nomination papers. I can tell the Government from representations which I have received that such a fear exists.
In an area as large as this, where there are large groups of chiefs, some groups may be in opposition to each other. There is at least one constituency which I shall not name, because I do not wish to advertise it, where there are two large groups of chiefs who are opposed to each other. Supposing each group has in mind a rival candidate and that neither will give way, what happens if there is no agreement on the man whose name is to go forward? How can any candidate, in those circumstances, get the support of two-thirds of the total number of chiefs?
How does the Colonial Secretary propose to deal with that situation? These are merely practical difficulties and I shall deal with the larger issues later. If we are to try to devise a Constitution of some merit, we should have answers to those questions. There is none in the 580 White Paper and the right hon. Gentleman gave none in his speech.
I should like to hear what is happening about the preparation of registers. I will willingly give way if we can have an answer at once. I understand that the registers are to be closed on 31st December.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
The registers will remain open each month as new people come along to register, if they have not registered before 31st December. The list will be closed on that date, but those who register in that month will be able to vote in the subsequent month, if an election takes place.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I am glad that those who register after 31st December will have the right to vote. That is important, but it does not destroy my major argument, that there is inadequate time to prepare the registers. Even in this country it takes four months to prepare a register and I have heard—I do not think that this is private and I believe that I read it somewhere—that there is to be an election in February.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. C. J. M. Alport)
That is what Transport House thinks.
§ Mr. Callaghan
Transport House is very well informed about elections. I do not know whether the General Election will be in February. I know that Her Majesty's Government will hang on to the last possible moment, since they know that they are heading for inevitable defeat.
Let us take the analogy of Uganda. In Uganda, the procedure took about six months to complete. It is important that it should not be thought that there is inadequate time to prepare the registers and to enable people to put their names on them. I do not want a repetition of the farce which occurred in the Federal elections when the Under-Secretary told us on his own authority, or that of his advisers, that there would be about 20,000 African electors and when it turned out that there were fewer than 1,000.
§ Mr. Alport
I do not dispute the figures, but I was dealing with those who were eligible for the register and not those who would come on to it, which is quite a different matter.
§ Mr. Callaghan
That is exactly what I am saying. We were told that more than 20,000 people were eligible, but in fact fewer than 1,000 took part. I am surprised that the hon. Member did not tell me why. I will tell him.
It was, first, because of apathy—because no preparations had been made and the proposal had not been put across to them—and, secondly, because of the boycott of the African National Congress. Is there any dispute about that? [Interruption.] Cannot hon. Members opposite see what I am trying to get at without trying to score cheap points?
Unless there is confidence in these electoral arrangements we shall have once again the farce that we had in connection with the federal elections. That is what I fear, and hope that hon. Members will do me the honour of trying to understand my point, which is that there must be confidence that these arrangements are being carried out properly and fairly.
I wish to say this quite boldly, and as a separate sentence: I trust that the African National Congress will not boycott these elections. I want to see that Congress taking part in them. But there is equally a responsibility upon the Colonial Office to help them by convincing them and convincing the House that the arrangements are fair, proper and adequate, and that there is sufficient time to do the job. I do not think that that can be said at present.
I think that I have established some of the difficulties which will arise. First, the Africans have to register, and they have to do so in English. They cannot register in their own language. That in itself is a difficulty, because there must be literacy before there can be qualification for the vote. Those who know the difficulty which arises in connection with registration, even with electorates in this country, must, if he visits these territories, appreciate the difficulties involved, and the time that must elapse before anything like a complete register can be compiled, unless a tremendous administrative effort is put into the job.
I now turn to the question of constituency boundaries and the value of the vote. These boundaries have been drawn almost ostentatiously to give the Europeans a majority in 12 constituencies. Other boundaries have been drawn to give the Africans a majority in six con 582 stituencies. I do not see how anybody who looks at the list can possibly come to any other conclusion; indeed, paragraph 13 of the White Paper almost says so. It becomes a little difficult to tolerate hearing the Colonial Secretary say that he wants to get away from racial politics, because the whole purpose of this exercise is to entrench the Europeans in 12 seats.
But even with the best efforts in the world, it so happens that many Africans are qualified for the vote, even in those constituencies where the boundaries are so drawn as to get the Europeans in. If we look at the table in Appendix B we see that there will be 18,800 European voters and 17,200 African voters in the 12 ordinary constituencies. Those totals are very close; indeed, in five of those 12 constituencies the African voters will outnumber the Europeans. If any hon. Members want to know why the vote was devalued they need look no further than that table. Unless the votes were devalued there would he a risk that an African and not a European would be returned.
So, by a simple stroke of the bureaucratic pen, we divide every African vote by three, and, instead of there being 17,295 African votes, the number is reduced to 5,765. This is called democracy. It is a system which nobody can feel proud of, and I put it to the Colonial Secretary that it would be far more honest to have genuine communal elections than the jiggery-pokery of this procedure of having votes devalued and boundaries specially drawn, which does nothing to disguise the truth from any African who has the capacity to understand it and takes the trouble to master it. I would far sooner have an honest approach, by way of a communal vote, than this system.
I do not see how anybody can come to any other conclusion when he sees what is to be done in the case of the constituency where it seems that the Africans will outnumber the Europeans, and then realises that, having provided for that, we go on to say, "If, at any time in the future, the Africans look like outnumbering the Europeans we shall raise the financial status which qualifies for a vote." Is not that what the Colonial Secretary told us just now?
§ Sir Archer Baldwin (Leominster) rose—583
§ Mr. Callaghan
I do not know whether the hon. Member for Leominster (Sir A. Baldwin) wants to reply to my question for the Colonial Secretary, but the right hon. Gentleman said that as soon as the number of Africans in a constituency nears the number of Europeans the income qualification level will be raised from £150 to £300.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
What I said was that it seemed to be desirable to link the raising of the qualification to an objective test—such as the number of Africans on the special vote over the territory as a whole being near to the number on the ordinary register—rather than, as proposed by the Northern Rhodesia Government, by linking it solely to the question of timing.
§ Mr. Callaghan
The right hon. Gentleman is repeating what he said before. That is exactly what I am saying. At any moment when it looks as though the Africans on the roll will exceed the Europeans we shall raise the financial test, and say, "From now on you must have a higher income before you qualify for a vote." What has this to do with democracy?
§ Mr. Callaghan
That is exactly what I am talking about. In my view, there is no case for a special vote of this nature. I would far prefer an honest approach upon a basis of communal voting—because this is communal voting under the guise of democracy.
§ Sir A. Baldwin
Can the hon. Gentleman break down his figures for the African voters in these 12 constituencies? How many of the 17,000 Africans are ordinary voters and how many are special voters?
§ Mr. Callaghan
This information is to be found on page 34 of the White Paper. I do not think that I would be justified in taking up the time of the House on that matter.
It comes to this. In the European constituencies 17,000 African voters will have their votes written down to 5,700, and they will not have a single member to represent them, as Africans. On the other hand, 7,000 Africans will have six members in the six special constituencies. I 584 do not want to get too involved with these figures, because they are too intricate, but I hope that the House will accept from me that we are effectively disfranchising a larger majority of the ordinary people in the ordinary constituencies than we are enfranchising the people in the special constituencies—and this system is put before the Africans as an exercise in democracy.
I now come to the major objection of the Federal Government, who have taken several bites at this cherry. First, we had Mr. Caldicott here in August. The Colonial Secretary saw him, and he made his representations on behalf of the Federal Government. Then, "after long and anxious consideration", to use his own words, the Colonial Secretary published his proposals. We have now had Sir Roy Welensky here, and he has tried to undermine those proposals. The Federal Government are exercising an undue influence over British territories which are under the control of the Colonial Office, and they have had two bites at this cherry, one before the Government took their decision and the other afterwards.
According to statements I have read as being made by the Federal Prime Minister, a great issue of principle is involved here. It is said that, by proposing to have two African Ministers, we are introducing the colour bar in reverse; that this is racialism. In the light of all I have said, I do not think that any unprejudiced hon. Member would reach the conclusion that we have been talking about anything else but racialism. The whole scheme stinks of racialism from beginning to end.
Perhaps I ought not to remind the Federal Prime Minister, but it was his party—at any rate, it was the Northern Rhodesian Party, which is a wing of his party—which originally suggested one African Minister and was ready to accept one African Minister. What is the great issue of principle which divides one from two? I could understand had it been said that there should be no African Minister. The party was ready to agree to one, but once there was a proposition that there should be two, then a really great issue of principle arose; then we got into the field of racialism. I agree with Sir John Moffatt who, during the election, told the country that Sir Roy 585 Welensky was raising his usual constitutional scare of a crisis against the Colonial Office. That is exactly what happened in this case.
I am bound to say, though I do not much relish doing so, that the Federal Prime Minister whom we see on television is a very different person from the Prime Minister who speaks in Salisbury. One would hardly recognise him as the same man. Here we have a liberal, bluff man of honest common sense who is doing his best for everyone. The story is very different when one reads the speeches delivered in Africa.
In my view, the Federal Government are responsible for much of the dislike which attaches to the Colonial Secretary and his administrators in the Colonial Office. For years the Federal Government have been conducting a campaign against the Colonial Secretary and his administrators, to undermine the Colonial Office administration of these territories. It ought to be understood in this country that the Federal Government are trying to filch away British Colonies for which we have the final responsibility. The attacks made on the colonial administrators in these territories are extremely unfair to a loyal body of people who are trying to do their best in difficult circumstances.
Why do the Federal Government want to do that? It is because the whole object of the Federal Government is to obtain control of native policy in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, as they have done in Southern Rhodesia, and to get it away from the Colonial Office. That is the whole purpose of the campaign of denigration against Colonial Office administrators which has been going on for so long. There is a well-designed plan that, having discredited the Colonial Office, the Federal Government will take away control from the colonial police and put it into the hands of the federal police; they will take away the colonial civil servants and replace them with a federal civil service. In this way the responsibility of this House will be undermined. We shall be left with a shadow of responsibility and the reality will remain in Salisbury.
That is what is behind what is going on and is the reason for all these crises, and the scares which attack people from time to time. I hope that this will be 586 fully realised by people of this country. The purpose of it is one with which I suppose anybody ought to have some sympathy. It is to enforce white standards and European standards in a country where the Europeans are a tiny minority and the great bulk of the population is black. That is the purpose and it is one which we ought to try to understand.
I can understand the cry of the British settler who goes there not knowing the history, not knowing the background of these territories and the pledges we have given, and who says, "If Ghana and Nigeria are fit for self-government, are not we?" Any migrant who does not know the background is bound to raise that cry. But the true background is that the United Kingdom Parliament undertook the care of these Northern Territories as a trust and responsibility, and to advance them towards self-government when they were ready; not to divert or distort their development in the interests of a comparatively small number of European migrants whose numbers have grown substantially only in the last thirty years.
A few days ago I looked up one of the early Reports of the Commission. Only thirty years ago there were but 4,000 Europeans in Northern Rhodesia. Now their number has grown and we have 65,000 to 70,000 but relatively that is still a handful. This European problem has been created by recent immigration. I do not believe that many of the European migrants into these territories understand basically what development was proposed or understood by the Africans there.
The Hilton Young Report of 1929, which I studied when I was preparing for this debate, made clear that it was intended that Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland should follow the same pattern of development in their native policies. What is the cause of the tension now? It is simply that Uganda and Tanganyika have gone one way; Ghana and Nigeria have practically attained self-government; South Africa has gone completely the other way—there we have apartheid. Only in Kenya, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland does the battle still remain unresolved. This is the importance and significance of the decision that the British Parliament is having to take today and will have to take 587 in 1960, because there are these influences which are pulling the Africans the other way.
If, thirty years ago, you were told that your natural pattern of development was on the same lines as that of Uganda, and today you find that Uganda has universal suffrage, but that in Northern Rhodesia fewer than 20,000 are to get the vote and even then large numbers of votes are to be devalued to one-third of their real value, what are you to assume; except that your interests are being subordinated to those of the incoming Europeans who have been there for a comparatively short period of time? Let us face it; here is a real dilemma for the British Parliament. Of course, one can understand the natural cry of the European, but, on the other hand, is the British Parliament to betray the pledges that it gave freely and voluntarily to these people?
Here, in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland will be the real test of British policy, as to how far Africans will regard the Europeans as their friends and allies in the years that lie ahead, and how far there is to be affection between the European and the African races. My basic objection to these proposals—I have done my best to study them fairly and objectively—is that they will increase and not diminish the tension. If I may say so—I wish I could persuade some people to believe this—they will endanger the long-term future of the Europeans in these territories and not make it more safe.
I have taken a long time over this speech, but I consider that this is one of the most important problems in the colonial field that British people have to face, and I am grateful for the forbearance with which the House has listened to me. I say to the Federal Prime Minister that I think it unfortunate, having won an election, and against the background which I have painted, that his first step should have been to come to London to try to persuade the Colonial Secretary to change his mind about having two African Ministers and reduce it to one.
That is not the sort of partnership that Africans can be convinced was meant in the federation proposals. The tragedy is that federation need not have done this; and when I look at the federal scheme 588 and the way it is worked out it seems to me that all the time the Federal Government give the impression that they are trying to hold people back rather than to push them forward. Is that impression wrong? We shall be told, no doubt, that it is, but I can only say that that impression is shared by a great many people beside myself. There must be something in it if so many people reach the same conclusion.
I should like to put forward proposals. I do not suppose that they will be accepted, but I would like to go on record with them. If this partnership is to succeed, there are certain things that could be done which would have a profound effect on the people there. The first is to withdraw the demand for Dominion status. If that were done it would have a salutary and healing effect upon divisions that are becoming deeper as 1960 approaches.
The second proposal is one that I would ask not only the Colonial Secretary but the Federal Government to carry out. The Federal Government should help Africans in Nyasaland to obtain a majority in the Legislative Council before 1960. What a transformation might take place in Nyasaland if it were known that the Federal Government were pressing this point upon the Colonial Secretary; but I fear that the Federal Government will always be pulling back and trying to prevent the Colonial Secretary from going what they think is too far in that direction.
There are social discriminations. I know that we cannot force people to mix if they do not want to, but we must not make it legislatively impossible for people to meet together, as is the case at present. Every hon. Member who has been out there knows what I mean. Let us go for inter-racial development and education.
I conclude by saying that the whole future of Africa is at stake in this matter. We can have a group of African States in the Northern part which will be linked in friendly relations with each other and associated closely, I hope, with the Commonwealth. That is a development which I would like to see. On the other hand, some of these territories where there are European immigrants could become battle grounds between white and black. The desire, I am glad 589 to say, is to avoid that, and that is why, in all good faith, we have put forward these proposals. When we vote tonight we shall be voting not on the devaluation of the vote, or whether two-thirds of the chiefs must support a candidate, but whether Britain proposes to remain true to its pledges that the future development of Africans shall not be diverted in the interests of any other group of people. I am glad to think that when we cast that vote it will be on the side of constructiveness and harmony and of the long-term future, safety and welfare of Europeans as well as of Africans.
§ Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly)
I beg to second the Amendment.
My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) has made a constructive speech which will be noted with the greatest interest not only here, but in Africa.
§ 4.54 p.m.
§ Mr. Charles Fletcher-Cooke (Darwen)
When the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) was speaking, my mind went back to a year ago when we set off together on a hot and dusty morning to Barotseland. I would remind him that in those days, whatever he may say about the inadequacy of these proposals, no African had any vote at all. Certainly so far as I know, no African was in any position even of quasi-power in the political structure of Northern Rhodesia.
When the hon. Gentleman attacks these proposals and asks whether we call them democracy, I would reply that I do not call them democracy but one step towards democracy, which cannot be realised overnight, or even in one year. Again, when he was attacking the Federal Government, I thought rather irrelevantly, he asked that social barriers should be broken down. My mind went back to Salisbury where, unfortunately, I went into the wrong end of a post office and I had to be turned out. I am told that that sort of thing has gone and that rainy of these things have now been changed. The hon. Gentleman attacked the Federal Government, but I do not think he gave it sufficient credit.
§ Mr. Callaghan
This is no part of my case, but my name has been taken in vain pretty heavily in the elections in the Federation.
§ Mr. Fletcher-Cooke
I do not want to become involved in the politics of the Federation. We are discussing the franchise and the constitutional proposals for Northern Rhodesia. It is clear, on the hon. Gentleman's own admission, that my right hon. Friend listened perfectly properly to the proposals of the Federal Government, which they are entitled to press, and that my right hon. Friend has. I think quite rightly, in many cases resisted them.
In paragraph 24 of the White Paper there is a most important sentence:The Governor will preside over an Executive Council containing ten Ministers consisting of four officials and six others of whom, for the time being, four will be Europeans and two will be Africans.The importance of associating Africans at an early stage with executive responsibility is paramount. If I have a criticism to make of our colonial policy in the last 50 years, it is that we have concentrated overmuch on inducing Africans to busy themselves more with the Legislative Council rather than with the Executive Council.
The consequence has been that the able and ambitious African has too often felt that he would never get a position of power until his race got a majority and complete power in his territory. That is a wrong emphasis and one which our neighbours understand. The Belgians and the Portuguese have a policy of bringing forward able Africans into positions of responsibility, so that their ambitions can be fulfilled long before they get the vote. Social frustration is much less in evidence which makes for much happier relationships between the two communities. Even though it might be thought in some quarters that Africans are not the best people, looked at objectively, for this executive responsibility, I am delighted that my right hon. Friend has determined that they shall have it. There is, of course, no better way of learning a job than doing it, and it is only by doing it that they will equip themselves for it. Whenever a new law officer is appointed at the Bar there are great mumblings that so-and-so is not really up to the job. Yet after a year or two, by reason of doing the work, we find he is perfectly capable of doing it he has had that experience.
591 Even if they are not the best people for the job, who are we to say that the Front Bench of any Government is always stacked with those best-equipped to do the job? We know there are exceptions—like my right hon. Friend, who is the finest Colonial Secretary we have had since Joe Chamberlain—but, with few exceptions like that, there are bound to be appointments made on the basis of pressure groups, interests, or whatever it may be. They are none the worse for that. I do not myself adopt nor accept the theory that we have to carry what one might call anti-racialism so far that we cannot appoint any African to a position of power until we can say that he is absolutely the best man in the whole territory irrespective of his colour. That seems quite wrong.
I was interested to find that in the federal elections that was rather the attitude which was taken. I believe the Dominion Party had some posters in Buluwayo which sought to attack Sir Roy Welensky, saying he was going to appoint an African Minister. Sir Roy, or rather his party, replied with posters saying, "No African Minister except on merit". There was raised in bold relief this very interesting question, what is merit in that connection? Does merit mean that you have to be the best man in the whole of Southern Rhodesia or the whole of the Federation for that job? Or does it mean that you have sufficient merit to hold the job down even though there might be a white man, European or Asian, who is absolutely better than you are? Surely it must mean the second. Therefore, we must all welcome very warmly—I regard it as a great advance—the appointment of two African Ministers.
I hope this question will not stop at Ministers. One of the great successes of the transfer of power in India was the fact that, throughout the Civil Service structure, by the time the transfer took place there was a long tradition of Indian public servants. I do not believe it right to contemplate any sort of transfer of power until for a long time there has been a tradition of public service by the African population from the top to the bottom. This is really a start in that direction, and I hope it will be encouraged as much as possible. Provided that is done, the legislative aspect of the 592 matter will not be as dangerous as I fear it otherwise will be.
The mystique and magic of all these complicated voting arrangements in the various territories—I understand the reason for them and do not wish to criticise them—unfortunately has diverted everyone's attention, the Africans included, from the necessity of getting them to co-operate with government as it is rather than seeking the empty power of mere vocal opposition. The faster we can bring Africans into the civil public service the safer will be the balance in the constitutional arrangement. I hope that into the public service, and more officially into that service than at present, will be brought the chiefs. I fully understand the desire of my right hon. Friend to associate the chiefs with the new constitution. That must be clone one way or the other, but whether his present suggestion is quite the right way is open to question.
I was glad to hear my right hon. Friend say that he has an open mind on the difficult point of the meeting of the old and the new. I am glad to know that there is no question of any chiefs' veto on the Ministers who are to be appointed, nor on those appointed to the public service. I should like to see appointed as Ministers not necessarily the "good boys" who appeal to the "establishment". After all, those who have some spirit in them often make the best Ministers rather than those who are mere "yes" men.
Surely it is a function of government, and a quality of good government, to be able to spot among some perhaps unruly members those who once they have been given the responsibility of office will prove less unruly. I hope, therefore, that the Ministers who are appointed will not be those who have never shown any independence but those who deep down in them have gold, even though they appear from time to time to show a bit of dross. They are not the sort of men who, perhaps, will be so likely to appeal to the chiefs. That is why I hope the chiefs' approval will not necessarily be a sine qua non of the appointment of Ministers.
On the question of Africans in the public service and responsibility of Africans in the Executive Council—which at the moment is most important—it seems that in Northern Rhodesia we can go further than we might otherwise 593 be able lo go in other Colonies because there is a very valuable long-stop in the Federal Constitution. I am sure the right development for this Federation, which must continue, is for the two Northern Territories to give to their African populations greater executive power, and that rapidly.
On the legislative side, I am not equipped to discuss the various details of the franchise, and I do not propose to try to do so because I think that has been raised into some extraordinary idol. Everyone's mind is so concentrated on it that the real point and great advance in this White Paper in the giving of real responsibility to Africans has been missed. I hope the advance will continue, because it is safer to do it for Northern Rhodesia than in a totally independent Colony. It is safer to do it because there is the long-stop of a Federal Government with its great powers. If that policy should be pursued it seems we should be following the line which offers the greatest hope of a harmonious conclusion to this very tense situation.
There are many hon. Members who want to speak and many who no doubt will defend, as I think should be defended, the great advance contained in this White Paper. I appeal to hon. Members opposite, even though it does not appear to them to move as fast or as far as they would like, to give this proposal a chance and not to crab it. If it goes out from this House that the Opposition thinks this is going to make matters worse than the status quo—that is what would go out if they voted against it—it would not be given the chance it deserves.
It is a great advance. We had much the same argument in the debate on the federal constitutional arrangements six months or perhaps more ago. Although it is true, as the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East pointed out, that very few Africans registered, nevertheless out of the results of the election which resulted from the constitution there came arrangements which he would not be anxious to deplore or disparage. So far as one could see, the elections were conducted in an admirable atmosphere, and the forces which I think on the whole he would regard as the forces of light triumphed, whilst none of the disasters 594 some hon. Members opposite predicted in fact occurred.
I know that it is only one small chapter in a long story, but there it is. Cannot we do the same for Northern Rhodesia, even if some hon. Members do not like the devalued vote? There are one or two things about it which I do not like very much. Nevertheless, it seems to me a thousand pities if, in the name of some extraordinary theory, this is not a complete or even a substantial democracy—and it is indeed neither of those things—we should nevertheless somehow crab what is a very great advance.
§ 5.10 p.m.
§ Mr. James Johnson (Rugby)
I am glad to follow the hon. and learned Member for Darwen (Mr. Fletcher-Cooke) and to take up two things which he said. The first was that he would be delighted—I hope I am quoting him correctly—to see some "naughty boys" as Ministers in the resulting Parliament. I could not agree more. I should be happy to see soon a man called Harry Nkumbula sitting in the Executive Council. This would be a good thing.
I had the pleasure of taking Mr. Nkumbula a year ago to see, for the first time, the Chief Secretary, Mr. Hone. If we can get the so-called "naughty boys" into a position in which they can do something for their own side instead of being ostracised and put beyond the pale for so long, that would have a good effect.
Another thing the hon. Member for Darwen said, almost in terms of psychophantic admiration, was that the Colonial Secretary was the finest Colonial Secretary we have had since Joe Chamberlain.
§ Mr. Johnson
In some parts of the world, like Ghana and elsewhere, the Colonial Secretary has done a good job, but in this matter I am bound to point out to the House that the Colonial Secretary has had a most difficult time. He has been hit from all quarters, and I do not think that anyone has patted him on the back, from the editor of East Africa and Rhodesia to Sir Roy Welensky, a most unholy combination.
These proposals and this constitution are very complex and fearfully important, because I believe that Rhodesia is the 595 key to Africa. The liberalisation which we carry on before 1960 in the two Northern Territories of Rhodesia and Nyasaland will be some token of the way in which we wish to go. Whether we have the confidence of Africa and the Commonwealth as a whole, this is the path on which we have to go.
My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) made a most admirable speech. He asked: "What is all this about? What is the object of this exercise?" May I, because I think that this is fearfully important, quote the Colonial Secretary's two aims set out in the White Paper, so that he cannot think that I am being unfair in what I shall say later in a factual sense. In page 20, paragraph 19, the Minister says this:All parties are agreed that the new constitution must win the confidence of all the peoples of Northern Rhodesia…That is the first basic point. The other is on page 18, paragraph 14, in which he says…the Territory of Northern Rhodesia itself and the Federation as a whole have each become unified and indivisible and are pledged to a policy of partnership of the races.Let us look at these two things. We are pledged to partnership, and we must have behind this constitution the support of the peoples in the territories. Certainly he has not the support of the Africans in this matter, unless he thinks that Godwin Lewanika is the spokesman for 2 million African people, which of course he is not. The right hon. Gentleman has only to look to Harry Nkumbula, President of Congress, and Kenneth Kaunda, Secretary of Congress, who has split away at the moment, and again responsible people like Mr. Chileshe and Mr. Ngandu, who have been members in the Lusaka Legislative Council.
The second thing is that not only is partnership making little headway but, and this is the distressing thing to me, it is quite obvious that the white people there have not attempted to work out what is meant by the word "partnership". Those Rhodesians who endeavour to attempt this, like Dr. Alexander Scott came an awful thump in the last federal elections, with the Constitution Party.
This is a matter of winning the support of the Africans. In October the African Representative Council met at a place called Serenje. Twenty-nine delegates 596 spent six-and-a-half hours debating and discussing this constitution. They were happy about the appointment of two African Ministers, but they insisted that there should be a parity of African and non-official European membership in the Legislative Council. As my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East said, we are not arguing about numbers and about whether we want parity or 75 per cent., but the Africans themselves say that they are not content with the eight representatives which they have at the moment.
Secondly, the franchise qualifications are quite inadequate. This two-tier franchise is a hyprocrisy. Mr. Sokota, M.L.C., and others say that along the Copperbelt there are thousands of Africans who deserved the vote but who will not get it under this franchise—with its property qualification.
What is the point of increasing European respresentation in legislative councils in a State which is predominantly African, when the Government will be governing millions of Africans and will be mainly concerned with territorial African affairs. It will be African affairs which are debated. European agriculture and health have been taken out of their jurisdiction lately. What is the point in adding more and more Europeans to debate specifically African affairs?
Hon. Members on this side of the House hope, like such African members as Mr. Chileshe, M.L.C., and Mr. Katilungu, leader of the African mineworkers, that there will be no boycott of this election. They have said, "Vote, if you have a vote, and attempt to work this election constitutionally. Let us see how we get on. Although we do not like it, let us see whether we can work it." I could go on quoting these sensible men who have been in the Legislative Councils who do not like this Constitution but who have, nevertheless, said that they will look at it and try to work it.
Mr. Katilungu pleaded for more constituencies, as did my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East. He wanted smaller geographical constituencies and more black African members, particularly on the Copperbelt. There is no doubt of the need for this. It sticks out a mile. Six members are quite inadequate. It is a farce to expect a member here, as in Nyasaland or Kenya, to look after these enormously 597 wide open spaces. There are no communications, the country is difficult, there are swamps—it is not like a closely knit urban constituency in the United Kingdom—and these African members have an impossible task in such constituencies.
We have heard a lot about the franchise, but I think it is hypocritical. The Africans boycotted the two-tier franchise in the federal election. Kenneth de Courcy, who sends out international affairs notes to enlighten the Members of the House of Commons, said that in tie last General Election the Africans did not vote because they were too lazy, because of inertia and because they could not be bothered. That is complete nonsense. The reason is that their own chosen leaders said, "We do not wish you to vote." If they do vote in these territorial elections it will be a different kettle of fish.
The chiefs had been mentioned. I had the honour of meeting some of these gentlemen last year. We have had the Paramount Chief of the Chewa Undi here and also Shakumbila of the Salla peoples.
What are these men saying on behalf of their own people? They are saying that if we ask chiefs like them to endorse the character of African candidates, we are setting them an unfair and indeed an impossible task. This is what they have written:We very much regret that [in this plan] all candidates…should gain the endorsement of two-thirds of the chiefs of their areas…In doing this we feel that you have given way to the prejudices of the Europeans. We are Chiefs and are not likely to think of our fellow-Chiefs as unworthy of responsibility or unconcerned with the welfare of their people, but we see this plan as a means of dividing the Chiefs from their people and forcing them to take sides for and against candidates the people wish to nominate. This is an intolerable position for Chiefs who have always and by tradition ruled with the consent of their people.It is much more insidious than that. I think we should look at the whole setup of the position of chiefs vis-à-vis these political organisations.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
Would the hon. Gentleman say whether he himself shares the belief that the insertion of this provision of vetting by chiefs, if I may call it that, was in response to European or Federal Government pressure? If he does not, perhaps he would say so.
§ Mr. Johnson
I was quoting verbatim. Nevertheless, I think this is a most dangerous game which we have been playing for some years whereby we use people like Chitamakula of the Bemba and the chiefs whom I have just quoted to outlaw and to prescribe Congress movements inside their own areas. If we think that such people in Congress are subversive politically and we do not like what they are doing, we should put them on a charge and let the district commissioners take action against them, not shield behind chiefs. We pay £20 a month to a chief and £60 a month to a paramount chief and we expect the chiefs to do our work for us. This is a most dangerous situation in which we are using the old traditional chiefs to do this job of banning the political leaders of their own tribesmen.
A paper constitution like this is completely meaningless unless it has the confidence of the people behind it. There must be the will to work it. The Africans must feel that the dominant community, the Europeans, are willing to make concessions and to give the indigenous people more and more power to shape their own future. I have been reading a book by Philip Mason, "The Birth of a Dilemma," which deals with the conquest and settlement of Rhodesia. This is what he said about the settlers:The settlers, that part of the community which is in power, is faced with the dilemma that confronts every conqueror; maintain the position by force and make certain of hatred in the end, or aim from the start at an equality which involves an immediate sacrifice of power.This is Philip Mason of Chatham House, not Harry Nkmbula of the Illa, who is speaking.
Where are the signs of many of these things occurring? There is the University College, which is a bold and heartening experiment; I have every admiration for what is happening in the university in Salisbury and I wish it good luck. I firmly believe that segregation is disappearing there, if it has not already disappeared. Men of both races share the same dormitory.
What of the hotels? I think that my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) shook Meikles a little when she was in Salisbury, but I nevertheless think that the Ridgway is the only hotel in North Rhodesia open to all races. But 599 what of the coloured people? The African Congress leaders go to the hotel, and so do some of the wealthy business community, but that is all, and we need a much more modest hotel in which people can mix at the middle levels.
We need much more of this progress if we are to convince the Africans of these Protectorates and Colonies that behind the written constitution something physical has happened. We have no D.Os. and no assistant D.Os. at all in Northern Rhodesia and we are beginning to have just one or two assistant D.Os. in Nyasaland. What about appointments as postmasters? I am told that since the Government took over the post offices it has become more and more difficult for Africans to become postmasters. When is the colour bar on the footplate to end? This concerns Sir Roy Welensky's own union. We can have black men on the footplate in Mozambique and the Belgian Congo but not in our own colonies. When is Sir Gilbert Rennie's school, named after the High Commissioner, going to play Munali High School in Lusaka at soccer?
These are the facts of life. It is no good giving people a vote once every five years if we do not see that the races begin to integrate and live together. Much to our shame, it is no good blaming Sir Roy Welensky for some of these things, because they have happened under our own Governors in our own Protectorates. Much has been done in housing. Colonel Hartley has done a wonderful job in Salisbury. But in local government what are we doing to put some meaning into this White Paper? If one goes to Lusaka one sees an African township, which some Europeans call the native location. One finds no lights, many potholes but no pavements. Why cannot better amenities be provided in these African townships to convince the black Africans that the so-called white Africans mean to partner them in this wonderful venture which is to work out a plural society? Instead of that, we see the white settlers in the centre and on the periphery we see the Africans in their native townships.
The African Advisory Council, of course, receives the beer taxes from the beer halls, but why cannot these black African wards be integrated into the town itself? People from this side of the House are often warned, "Do not bother 600 your head so much about these wonderful national constitutions. Start the Africans in the localities. Give them an apprenticeship in local government." We have heard that often. We are told that the Africans should go into local government to learn to govern before they aspire to the dizzy heights of being Ministers of State. But what are we doing about this? I talked to John Roberts, leader of the Europeans in Lusaka, about this question. There is no indication of when or how there is to be any intention of having Africans upon town councils in these two Protectorates in the Federation. We shall never convince the Africans that we mean partnership unless we do it in our day-by-day conduct. It is no good giving them a paper constitution without having some of these arrangements behind it.
I have just been to the U.S.A. and I was very fortunate to spend a little time in the deep South. I had the good fortune—and I mean that—to spend two-and-a-half hours talking to Governor Faubus in Arkansas. If I had closed my eyes when I was talking to him I could have imagined that I was in Lusaka or Salisbury or Bulawayo; it was the same atmosphere of gradualism. In Arkansas they say, "Let Arkansas men look after the negroes. Washington should not bother." What do we say in Central Africa? We say the same thing. We say, "Rhodesians know their own Africans. Let London mind its own business." It is almost the same atmosphere.
I will say this about Sir Roy Welensky; I have much respect and admiration for him and he has won a landslide victory at the election. I wish him luck in his task of governing the Federation. Nevertheless, I am bound to say that the mentality of people like Sir Roy is not unlike that of the deep South: "Give us time. We will go on. We are liberal. Give us time and let us advance gradually."
This, of course, is the question mark—the unknown factor. Welensky has won the elections—here is his big chance. No longer can federal politicians tell us in the United Kingdom that if they are not elected others will get in whom we may like less. For a long time we have had this almost political blackmail: "If you don't support us Liberals you will let in those reactionaries." We now have the Welensky Government, with an overwhelming majority, instead of a Dominion 601 Party believing in apartheid and looking south to the Union.
Only this weekend there appeared in the Observer a "profile" of Sir Roy Welensky, but in it many questions were left unanswered to which I myself have yet no answer. Sir Roy has always protested that he is a Liberal at heart. Here is his chance to show it before 1960. He has a unique part to play in the modern history of Africa, and, indeed, of the Commonwealth. People like Viscount Malvern talk about a "Boston tea party" in 1960. Is this possible?
I have looked again at the speeches made during the last election, and I note that Welensky attacked Winston Field, the Leader of the Dominion Party, because he talked of this kind of thing in 1960. Sir Roy said, "This man Field talks of a 'tea party', but how can he do this when in our two Northern Territories we have Governors appointed by the Queen; two police forces owing allegiance to London? We have, of course, two secretariats, and two civil services, also appointed out of London. Therefore, it is sheer nonsense to talk like this." I am glad to hear him say that in 1960 there is no hope of Rhodesian people behaving in this way.
I should like to finish by commending to Sir Roy Welensky, and, indeed, to the Colonial Secretary himself, what is said in paragraph 21 of the White Paper. It quotes the Tredgold Commission on the Federal Elections, and says that the members of that Commission are…fully conscious that 'no system that leaves any substantial section of the people labouring under a justifiable grievance can, in the end, prevail', because government must ultimately rest on the consent of the governed,It is my belief at the moment that the white minority, who number a little under 4 per cent. of the total, have not convinced 6½ million black Africans that they are justifying their trusteeship. Quite candidly, I do not think that this complex, obscure constitution will help a great deal. Many Africans do not understand English, yet in order to qualify for the vote they must fill in application forms in English. Many Africans will not be helped very much by that. I hope that before we come to federation constitutional talks in 1960 we shall get something more liberal for the Nyasaland Constitution than this. Time is getting perilously short.
§ 5.34 p.m.
§ Mr. F. M. Bennett (Torquay)
I am particularly grateful to be called on at this juncture because, as I said to the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) outside the Chamber only yesterday, in the last four or five debates of this nature I have been called immediately before him so that he has had the chance to come back at me afterwards. But despite the somewhat virulent comments he has made on my remarks in the past. I do not propose to follow his example but hope rather to make one or two constructive comments on his speech.
He was good enough to say something, about the rather statesmanlike remarks of Sir Roy Welensky during the recent Federal Elections in Central Africa. I know that we both have a genuine liking and respect for the gentleman in question, but I must point out that it is a little difficult to understand this tribute in view of the fact that his hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) earlier stated that Sir Roy is an angel over here in his speeches but an ogre when he speaks in his own country.
§ Mr. Callaghan
He says so many things, including the remark that he is quite sure that if they cannot have Dominion status in 1960 the Europeans there will not have any less guts than others have had in the past in the same situation, that we say that it will he deeds that prove what he believes in.
§ Mr. Bennett
The hon. Gentleman really should discuss this not with me but with his own hon. Friend so that they can pay their tributes to Sir Roy on the same plane. The hon. Member might also remember that what is said during elections here by members of the Socialist Party—and doubtless sometimes by members of my party—is not always what is said in this Chamber. I think we have all been guilty of saying things outside that we might not wish on reflection to repeat in the calm of debate here.
I do not think the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East is altogether innocent in that respect—and the hon. Member for Rugby certainly is not. For I once had the pleasure of debating with him, outside this House, where opportunities arose for criticising or approving the Government's colonial policy, before an 603 audience that was predominantly coloured. I certainly would not have recognised his present statesmanlike remarks today after hearing what he said then.
Generally speaking, I can only agree with one of the criticisms made by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East—that these proposals are remarkably complicated. In fact, they remind me of a rather gruesome moment in my military career when, having reached the dizzy rank of major, I had to take some soldiers through an A.B.C.A. intelligence test. I was horrified to think that they might ask their instructor to put the examination puzzle together, for I knew that I would not have done so in the required two minutes.
These proposals may be regarded as good, bad or indifferent, but, be that as it may, I do hope that locally they will be put out in more simple form than they are at present. We have all had difficulty in understanding the different sorts of constituencies there are to be, and the voting. It may well be, however, that, as my right hon. Friend pointed out, though we are here looking over the whole area, differing voters in particular areas will have to look only at that section that concerns them, and that may make it easier for them to understand than for us.
I particularly welcome these proposals, because, if I have one profound conviction at all about constitutional development in our overseas territories, it is that they should not proceed on communal, racial lines. I know that this may be crying for the moon, and that it is very difficult to put into practice because suspicions and prejudices do exist between different races, creeds and colours. But that does not seem any reason at all for not trying to continue on the lines of what may loosely be called the common roll—whatever our views may be on its speed and extent—rather than on communal rolls.
If we look further afield, to India, we find that it is certainly the fact that Mr. Nehru, who holds a wide measure of respect among hon. Members opposite, and in the House generally, has always set his face rigidly against any form of communal voting at all, because, as he has said on more than one occasion, this 604 can lead to the creation of increasing frictions between different communities.
The same thing has happened in Pakistan. Thus it is not simply a matter of European and African, but a problem which others have had to face all over the world. Right hon. and hon. Gentlement opposite who criticise these proposals have in the past certainly not criticised the solution along common roll lines in other territories now independent, even though a common roll might mean there, as it has meant, that certain religious and other minorities are in a state of permanent under-representation numerically, as they would call it.
§ Mr. John Stonehouse (Wednesbury)
Would the hon. Gentleman expand the point he was making about India, and tell us what are the franchise qualifications demanded there?
§ Mr. Bennett
The hon. Gentleman is off on another point. What I was dealing with was the point, which I think most hon. Members understood, whether on principle we should try to proceed on communal lines or on common roll lines. I was only trying to draw a rough parallel, in principle, between proceeding one way or on alternative lines, which, I think, was understandable to most of my colleagues.
In this case which we are looking at, there is another outstanding feature which no speaker in the debate so far, not even my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, has mentioned, but which I think should be noted in commending these proposals. It is that, for the first time, we are enfranchising scores of thousands of people, potentially and actually, who never had the vote before, and these are not British citizens, but British protected persons. That is an advance for the first time other than in the recent Federal proposals, which were not altogether dissimilar. I should have thought that that was of welcome concern to all hon. Members, and in view of the importance of these proposals we ought seriously to bear it in mind.
Before, however, I come to make a general review, I should like to state my own particular detailed reservations about these proposals. I must confess that I am not altogether happy about the two nominated African members in the Legislature on the Executive Council. 605 I am not going into the point whether there should be one, two or three Africans as such, but I envisage difficulties arising, under the system in which, if I am right, eight African members, too, will be elected under this franchise and this Constitution. It seems to me that their position will be a little difficult if the Governor has to decide, on whatever good grounds, that none is fit for higher appointment, and he has to go outside to pick two other members, other than the eight elected ones.
In that case, I think that the position of these eight members might be made extremely difficult as regards their colleagues and their voters. It might be, first, that their influence will lessen, or that, alternatively, the two members chosen by the Governor will not have the confidence of the Africans who, after all, will have largely chosen their own representatives. I quite realise the reasons which led my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary to do this, and it may be that, on balance, the advantage falls on what he is doing, but I think that we should seriously think of some way to get this result without involving these risks.
Now I wish to say a word about the chiefs' veto. Frankly, I quite understand the reasoning behind this, and do not by any means disapprove of it, although it might be called reactionary. Contrary to the popular belief, we are not talking about chiefs in the form of a handful or more of decadent African monarchs, but, instead, of a very substantial number of Africans chosen according to their own traditional methods by their own people to do day-to-day administrative work in each instance in these territories. Unless their way of life and work can proceed with some measure of confidence in the elected African members proceeding to the Northern Rhodesian Parliament, I can see that considerable difficulty, stress and strain could be caused.
It may well be that this is not necessarily the best way to proceed in this respect. In fact, the Secretary of State has hinted that he has not altogether closed his mind in this respect. Perhaps it might be possible to change it round the other way, to the extent that unless a given number of chiefs actively express disapproval of a candidate or candidates they should be allowed to stand. That, 606 I think, would be easier to obtain, from an administrative point of view, and also would mean that they would not normally do so on fractious grounds, or in trying to advance any particular candidates of their own.
It might be laid down that, unless the chiefs give some valid reasons and take the trouble to lodge objections by certain dates, the candidate should be allowed to go ahead. That is merely one suggestion. Certainly, as the proposals stand, I must confess, as I have said, that while I quite understand and appreciate the reasons behind the proposals, because I have been in that part of the world, the sheer mechanics of collecting a sufficient number of affirmative approvals will take the candidate so long that he will not have the time to do anything else before the election comes along. Particularly this would be so if it happens to be in Northern Rhodesia during the rainy season, as I know, when movement difficulties become even more formidable.
Now, if we are generally looking at what may happen in regard to these proposals and the resultant elections. I think it is worth while having regard in some detail to what has so far happened in the recent federal elections, because, although there are quite a variety of differences, I think that hon. Members on all sides would agree that, generally speaking, they are on the same lines as the Federal proposals. There are variations, but in general principle the ideas are on the same lines—the same slow steps towards a growing common roll to match advances in culture and education in the different racial sections of the community.
One of the things that was said during the recent debate here on this subject of the Federal Constitution, and which was repeated in Northern Rhodesia by the African Representative Council, was, in fact, that in Northern Rhodesia there was going to be a boycott of the whole idea of taking part in special elections for two specially elected candidates. It was said in this House and was repeated out there. When the time came, in actual fact—I do not know how generally this is known here—there were 15 candidates for the two seats, which does not sound to me to be an altogether effective boycott, so far as local candidates are concerned.
Another point is in regard generally to the registration of voters, and the 607 question whether or not there has been a boycott there. I have no doubt myself that, probably, more in Nyasaland than elsewhere, disapproval by the African Congress has had a bad effect in preventing registration. I do not know, but it is fair to accept that the African Congress played some part in it. In Southern Rhodesia, before any of these questions became as vivid and long before anybody spoke against registration, it was the fact that only a handful of Africans who were allowed to register for the vote ever took the trouble to do so. The answer is that they are not politically literate or ambitious enough to become politically literate, as we in this country are, and this apathy has contributed to the present situation.
§ Mr. J. Johnson
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Northern Rhodesian African Congress holds meetings of 4,000, 5,000, and even 6,000 and more of its members, that it has a membership of 100,000 paid up, with a women's section of 50,000? If their leaders tell these people to vote, I am quite sure that they would, but, in this case, they were told not to vote.
§ Mr. Bennett
I do not think that that is altogether a fair interruption. I have already conceded the fact that the African Congress has had an effect, but I was saying that it was by no means the only cause.
There is a very considerable difference from what might have been expected from telling the people not to vote, and, even if the Congress had not said anything, I doubt whether very many more would have registered. The hon. Gentleman may be right in saying that, if the African Congress had gone out of its way to make the people register, as a positive piece of advice, then a good many would have done so. I think that most of us would regret that the African Congress did not take that statesmanlike course.
In truth, it is not only apathy and the attempts of people to boycott registration which have had an effect. There is another most important factor which, I think, is too often overlooked. In this country, where we have the right to vote, irrespective of our means, we do not, as a matter of practice, come under the watchful eye of the Inland Revenue when 608 we register our vote. That is a factor to which far too little attention is paid, particularly by people who have not been to these countries and spoken to Africans. Many Africans are perfectly well entitled to register today and will say to one, if one gets to know them, that the reason that they do not register, either on the special roll or on the other roll, is that, immediately they do so, they believe their means become known and they become the object of watchful attention by the tax inspectors.
There are many Africans who would prefer not to have the vote and go on earning a higher income than appears on paper, because they would, otherwise, have to show a considerably higher figure. The hon. Member for Rugby, who is now laughing, knows perfectly well that that is right.
Even in our highly developed country, if it were the practice that the Income Tax inspector wrote to a person only if, or when, he registered for a vote, there would be many more people than either the hon. Gentleman or I might readily imagine who would willingly forgo the chance of voting—even for the hon. Member for Rugby—if they could thereby avoid paying their annual taxes.
§ Mr. J. Johnson rose—
§ Mr. Bennett
I will not give way to the hon. Gentleman again. He has had his fun on other occasions, and it is my turn now.
It has been said that the registration figures have gone up only to 1,000. I apologise in advance if my figures are wrong, but I have taken a great deal of trouble to find out how many African voters were on the general and the special roll in the Federal elections. According to my knowledge, it is a great deal nearer 2,000 than 1,000. It may, indeed, be over 2,000. I am not aware whether, in the figure of 1,700 or just over 1,800 that I have been able to elicit, according to the best information available to me, there are included the 400 to 500 former Southern Rhodesian voters on the old common roll who were allowed to carry on into the new one, from previous times.
Certainly, at the worst, the figure would be 1,700, and, at best, it might be over 2,000. Hon. Members may say that, out of a possible potential 30,000, that is not a very impressive figure. But this is the 609 first election after only a very few months, and I do not think that 2,000 or so, one way or another, is at all a bad start towards the awakening of political interest in the African population.
§ Mr. Arthur Creech Jones (Wakefield)
How can the hon. Gentleman really expect a large registration of Africans when there is also applied a literacy test? Tens of thousands of Africans, who might otherwise be eligible for registration, cannot register because of the imposition that they must fill in their forms in English and be able to talk the English language in their own country.
§ Mr. Bennett
It would take far too long to go into detail, but, in the various categories, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones) will be aware that the educational requirements vary to some extent in accordance with financial qualifications. If a man is on a certain level of financial qualification, the separate education qualication he has to have—speaking from memory. I think that this is right—is considerably lower. However, it may well be that, in detail, there are improvements which could be made in that respect.
Over all, none the less, I do not think that it stands in the way. If it did, that would run entirely contrary to what the hon. Member for Rugby said earlier, namely, that the lack of registration was not due to the fact that the people could not write English but was due to the fact that there was a rather effective boycott by the African Congress. Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite really must make up their minds which of the three horses they want to back.
§ Mr. J. Johnson
That is really not so. It is a combination of both. There is the test of English, and again, they have been told not to vote. In any case, since we are speaking of literacy and having money on this scale, I should like to say, in passing, that I met only one man in the whole of Northern Rhodesia, a glass cutter in Lusaka, who was earning the £60 a month which would qualify him on the top level, with no literacy qualification.
§ Mr. Bennett
I do not know whom the hon. Member for Rugby met or did not meet in Southern Rhodesia. I can assure him that there are many Africans in 610 different parts of the Federation now who are earning quite substantial salaries in businesses. That is a matter of fact, as some of the registrations go to prove.
Looking at this matter again in this light, another interesting feature of the federal elections is the number of Africans on the general roll who must have voted for Europeans. If there were strong racial discord and it were widely felt among all Africans that they were being put upon, one would not expect this to happen. In fact, Sir Roy and his colleagues in the Government undoubtedly received a substantial number of votes from Africans who were quite prepared to take part in the election on a strictly non-racial basis. Likewise, so far as Africans elected in the federal elections are concerned, a very substantial number of Europeans must have voted for Africans, too. That seems to me to be one of the most hopeful signs which has emerged, and it is a most hopeful sign for the future if, tonight, as I hope we shall, we adopt this Constitution.
In this country, if we are ever to reach stability and peace in our overseas territories, we must get away from the idea, which is always forthcoming from the benches opposite—the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cardiff, South-East, who opened the debate for the Opposition, made the point again and again—that Africans are under- or unrepresented because so many of them are to have only a certain small number of African members in their Parliament. If we proceed on that basis, saying always that the only people who are capable of looking after the interests of a substantial section of the population must belong to a particular racial section, we condemn Central Africa to permanent racial discord, and we shall forever prevent the partnership which it is our hope to establish.
Only when we accept that a European is just as capable of looking after African interests as an African is, and vice versa, shall we have any hope of reaching our goal. This business of counting heads and trying to show that one section of the population is badly treated as compared with another does nothing but harm to the concept of partnership we are trying to establish. If we followed that idea to its logical conclusion, we should reach the stage in this country where we should have to add up the number of coloured people we have here from 611 Jamaica, Pakistan and elsewhere, and then decide that there ought to be three or four Members in this House to represent their interests because none of us was capable of looking after them.
If we adopt the line which right hon. and hon. Gentlemen do about our kinsmen overseas, it would be just as logical to say that there should be four or five Members of this House, on a racial basis, to represent coloured people in this country. That must be so, unless hon. Members opposite are prepared to set themselves up as morally superior to their colleagues overseas in their capacity to represent the interests of overseas peoples.
§ Mr. Dingle Foot (Ipswich) rose—
§ Mr. Bennett
No; I am sorry, but I cannot give way any more. If the hon. and learned Gentleman or his hon. Friends do not agree with what I am trying to say, I think that, judging from the number of Members who want to speak, they will have a very good opportunity of developing the matter in their own speeches.
The other factor which I found singularly heartening was that, in one of the Salisbury constituencies, on the general roll, a coloured man defeated, by a considerable number of votes, the third candidate in the election which took place. The first was the successful Federal Party representative. I do not want to go into details of names and constituencies now. The second candidate in the result was a coloured man, and the third man was another European. Here again, we find a distinctly heartening circumstance. In a constituency where the roll must have been predominantly European, a majority of Europeans, in fact, preferred to vote for a coloured man rather than for a European. That is a matter of fact; there can be no argument about it.
Finally, I wish for a moment or two to look a little further into the past and consider the criticisms which have been made, and which doubtless will be made again, in the light of what has happened in this part of the world since the war. I know that hon. Gentlemen opposite will immediately say that this is digging into the past and that we are talking now only about the present and the future; but Northern Rhodesia has not just appeared on the scene in the last six or 612 seven years. Developments have been taking place there on the constitutional level steadily since the end of the last war. It is worth taking these points into account in deciding whether the Government are now moving too fast, too slowly, or not at all.
Another thing which Members opposite sometimes say to us on this side when we ask about what happened from 1945 to 1951 is, "What do you expect? That was just after a war and you cannot expect things to be right immediately after a war." That will not run with regard to Northern Rhodesia. Constitutional development was not affected by economic circumstances arising from the war, and if right hon. and hon. Members opposite believe in the criticisms that they are making tonight in a responsible way, I still cannot understand why, during their six or seven years of office, they did not make even a fractional move towards greater representation for the Africans than, in fact, they did.
Let us look at the record.
§ Mr. Creech Jones rose—
§ Mr. Creech Jones
As I was responsible at that time for Northern Rhodesia, as Secretary of State for the Colonies, I point out to the hon. Gentleman that his history is hopelessly wrong. For the first time, Africans were admitted to the Legislative Council. For the first time, not only district provincial councils were formed but there was a national council in order to secure African representation. Further, on the Governor's executive a European was appointed to represent African interests. A further convention was laid down that no decision should be taken affecting Africans without the consent of the representative of African interests. Those were major advances where no political progress on behalf of the African had previously been made.
§ Mr. Bennett
Now that the right hon. Gentleman has made his objections in advance, I would say that that is why I suggested that he might wait until I gave the facts. He said that my history is hopelessly wrong: but he does not even wait to hear my history. I will now give the history of the matter and he will, perhaps, be in a position to comment afterwards.
613 Of course, he is right in what he has said, but we are talking about constitutional proposals for advancement in the electoral field. That is what I am now contrasting naturally within the Order and within the debate that we are having.
What was the situation when the party opposite was elected in 1945? Admittedly, there was not then a single African member of any sort in the Northern Rhodesian Legislative Council. Hon. Members opposite say that we are holding back the African today in giving him eight representatives in the Legislative Council and two members of the Executive Council as ministers. They think that that is far too slow; but I would point out that they did not even give the vote to British-protected persons in that country.
As regards African members of the Legislative Council, the party opposite did nothing at all until finally, in 1948, it settled on the grandiose total of two. The right hon. Gentleman said today that 10 members or eight members between 2 million is grossly insufficient. Would the right hon. Member for Wakefield like readily to explain, when his turn comes to speak, how it is, then, that he thought two constituencies of 1 million, if we are to use the same sort of arithmetic, were any more suitable than what we are proposing now? The Socialist Government, unfortunately, did not go out in 1948, but stayed on until 1951. I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman was in office at that time, so we can excuse him for the latter stages. Nevertheless, it was not until a Conservative Government came in that the African figure in the Legislative Council was doubled from two to four, and today we are seeing another very great advance.
It may be that we are still proceeding too slowly. There are those who have the right, perhaps, to criticise. I think that we are proceeding at just about the right pace, taking into account the fact that on the one hand it is no good thinking that we can work without European co-operation in that part of the world any more than we can work without African co-operation, and, therefore, everything has to be a compromise.
One must be extremely careful too, not to create racial discord by more sorties 614 into communal voting than are absolutely necessary and thus stress discord between the races. Criticisms could possibly be made against us, but I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman, despite his spirited defence, which did not go to the heart of the matter, that a party which, In six or seven years of office, managed to get up to two African members for the whole of Northern Rhodesia and is slashing us tonight because we propose to have a Parliament in which Africans can not only have their own members in six constituencies and can not only have two others as well in amalgamated constituencies, and, in addition, two nominated members, but, in addition to that, British-protected persons will be in a franchise in a way never done before, is a classic example of those in a glasshouse throwing stones.
In addition, thousands of Africans will now, as never before, be entitled to vote for Europeans as well and thus help to secure the most moderate form of European. So, when we are considering the great advance which is now being made, and compare how the party opposite produced the tiny mouse I have recalled, I find myself completely at a loss to know how it has the insolence to criticise us.
§ Mr. Creech Jones
When the Labour Government took office in 1945 there was no representation of Africans and the political development of Africans was then in its very elementary stages. This was a Protectorate.
§ Mr. Creech Jones
The responsibilities of Government were with the Government here in London and there was no suggestion of a transfer to a European minority. Moreover, the African had the right to vote. There was a common franchise in Northern Rhodesia and that common franchise, to a large extent, has been whittled away by the transfer of political power into the hands of a European minority.
§ Mr. Bennett
I do not think that I need add anything to my remarks, because I think that the record will show clearly what the history is.
§ 6.8 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)
I must start by expressing my regret that I missed part of the Secretary 615 of State's speech because I was called away. I speak with some diffidence, because I think that I am the first hon. Member to speak in this debate who has never been to Northern Rhodesia. I have, however, done my best to study the question under consideration without going there, and it will be generally agreed, I think, that this Constitution raises matters of the widest principle and will have effects far outside the territory concerned.
The advance of Africa and the African is one of the most important matters for the British people and possibly for the Western world, and it will become more important as the Communist countries, and Cairo, take more interest in what is going on in that continent. We are all bound to form the best judgment that we can of the development of these territories and particularly of those countries in which there are several races. This is a quite different matter from Ghana, where the inter-racial difficulty does not arise, or at any rate does not arise so acutely.
I listened with great interest to the speeches of the hon. and learned Member for Darwen (Mr. Fletcher-Cooke) and the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett). I think that the hon. and learned Member for Darwen made a very skilful speech. He expressed doubt about whether we were right to concentrate so much on the proposals for the Legislature and wondered whether the vote itself was so important. That was a very interesting line of thought. I had a great deal of sympathy with him when he said that he was glad that Africans were being brought into executive positions to take an actual part in Government. But after all, these proposals are very much about the franchise and are concerned very much with the Legislature. I noticed that the hon. and learned Member did not make a very enthusiastic defence of the qualification of voters nor, indeed, of the proposals for representation of Africans.
The hon. Member for Torquay, like the hon. and learned Member for Darwen, came down on the side of the White Paper; but he, too, tried to justify it rather by an interesting historical discourse of what had been going on in the Federation in general than by defending 616 the proposals before us. When the hon. Member suggests that we should not say that only Africans can represent Africans, or Europeans represent Europeans, I entirely sympathise with him. The hon. Member is, however, well aware that under these proposals it is a very small number of Europeans who will exercise the dominant power and that if the principle of one man, one vote were applied, it would be Africans who would be looking after European interests. In this case, we are not concerned with a situation in which the majority of Europeans are threatened by a few Africans but with a situation in which a very small number of Europeans are seeking power over a great number of Africans.
Apart from the intrinsic importance of these proposals, the way in which we handle constitutional change in Northern Rhodesia would be very closely watched by African opinion as an indication of the future pattern of development in Africa and particularly in the Federation. One of the things that concerns Africans to whom I have spoken is the effect that these proposals will have on the conversations which take place in 1960 and with the representations of Africans when 1960 comes. I know of nothing which has lessened the need for this country to remain, at least for a considerable time, responsible for ensuring that the rights of the Africans in Northern Rhodesia are protected. I believe that the Government would be well advised to turn their face firmly against Dominion status and that if they were to make a statement to this effect, it would have a reassuring effect.
I agreed very much with the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) when he referred to page 20 of the White Paper. In fact, I had already marked the two passages which he read out. Surely, the whole crux of the debate is that these proposals are not acceptable to African opinion. In the White Paper, we have these categorical statements which have already been read to us—in paragraph 19:All parties are agreed that the new constitution must win the confidence of all the peoples of Northern Rhodesia.In paragraph 21:The Government of Northern Rhodesia…are…fully conscious that 'no system that leaves any substantial section of the people 617 labouring under a justifiable grievance can, in the end, prevail', because government must ultimately rest on the consent of the governed.I regard that as conclusive argument against the White Paper from the White Paper itself.
In face of that, I do not believe it to be necessary to criticise in detail the proposals for the franchise, but I reiterate very much what has been said about their complication. I cannot believe that it is an advantage for people who are being led along a gentle course towards self-government to have to start on this very advanced paper in mathematics. This is, however, probably a lesser point, the main point being that under these proposals the qualifications, both in language and in property, are too high and will exclude far too many Africans and give Africans too small a representation.
I might be asked what I would suggest. Like others who have spoken today, I do not know that for the purposes of this debate one needs to state exactly what one wants as a franchise. The fact is that we must carry the Africans with us. One African body has said that it wants parity on the unofficial side and another has said that it wants parity taking the official side into account. At least, I should have thought that we must carry a substantial number of Africans with us and certainly give them parity on the unofficial side or, possibly, take into account the official side as well.
I cannot believe that there is very much much to be said against going this far. I know that the Government have had a tough time with Sir Roy Welensky, who wants to whittle down what is contained in the White Paper. Certainly, I believe that the Government have put up a stout resistance, but they are not likely to convince Sir Roy Welensky that they are right and I do not believe that they would lose very much by going rather further than they have been prepared to do in the White Paper.
I also concede that the Colonial Office has a genuine desire to break down racialism in all its forms. I am sure that there is just as much desire within the Colonial Office as outside it to see the colour bar disappear. Here again, however, the fact must sooner or later be faced that there is a reactionary viewpoint on this matter with which conciliation is not possible.
618 Like the hon. Member for Rugby, I have been to Little Rock. The fact about Little Rock is that there is one section of opinion there with which nothing can be done and which must simply be written off. What the Government must do is to give a firm lead to the people who want to break down racial discrimination. Those are the people in whom we are interested. If we fail to give a firm lead on this, we shall be faced with irreconcilable African hostility.
The only other detailed point about which I should like to ask a question is that of African candidates receiving the approval of two-thirds of the chiefs. I may be wrong, but there is, I believe, a provision that the district officer must be present. I do not follow the need for that, unless he is required as a sort of a returning officer. Possibly it is no more than a procedural matter. It would be useful for us to be told more about this. Certainly, the Africans to whom I have spoken feel that this procedure will drag the chiefs into politics and, very likely, impair their standing with their own people. As the Government have shown willingness to reconsider this matter, I should like to press them to do so.
I do not think that the Constitution meets the paramount need of assuring the Africans that we are sincere about their future and the partnership to which it must lead by definite stages. I do not believe that it will work in the face of the African opposition which now exists. There have been numerous letters, in The Times and the Manchester Guardian, which I will not bother to quote, criticising the Constitution severely from the African point of view and pointing out that if moderate African opinion is not met on this sort of matter, we can expect only that the more extreme African opinion will gain a bigger hold in Northern Rhodesia.
Nat only is it of the greatest importance that all Africans should not be split on the question of black versus white, but it is of great importance that we in this country should not be split on these lines. It would be a great pity if it came to be considered that there were two factions in British politics, one of which always took the line of the white Africans and the other the line of the black Africans. 619 I am sure that that would not be true. We should be able to devise constitutional proposals and to map out ahead a programme of ever-widening franchise and ever-growing executive responsibility for Africans with a considerable amount of agreement between all parties here.
Unless we can achieve that, however, the future in Africa will be extremely difficult. But while I say that, and while I pay tribute to the sincere efforts of the Colonial Office to pursue a liberal policy in Africa, all the advice which I have received leads me to the conclusion that the White Paper does not represent a sufficient step forward in Africa. As far as I can see, it will not reduce racial tension. I do not think that it will create confidence for the conversations in the 1960s or, indeed, for the future development of the Continent.
§ 6.18 p.m.
§ Mr. Patrick Wall (Haltemprice)
The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) has pointed out the importance of this debate upon the future of Central Africa. We all agree that partnership in Central Africa is of vital importance, not only to that part of the Continent, but to the Commonwealth as a whole. Where we disagree is on the question of speed. The hon. Member has come down on the side of those who say that we are not going fast enough. My view is that there is considerable danger in exceeding the speed limit. If we do so, we run the risk of increasing the racial tension and of a loss of confidence in Rhodesia and, therefore, suffering a loss in investment. A loss of that nature would mean that there would not be the money available to pay for the education of the African. Education and economic advance is of vital importance to the African in bringing him to his full status and the exercise of full responsibility in his own country.
I would say only one other thing about speed. The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), who opened the debate for the Opposition, said that 40 years ago there were only 4,000 Europeans in Northern Rhodesia. He forgot to point out, however, that 30 years before that, there was nothing in Northern Rhodesia. A visitor 70 years ago would have found no difference if he had previously visited the country 700 620 years ago. We must always judge these issues from the background of the country that we are discussing and not from the background of Great Britain.
During my service in the Royal Marines I was always taught to tackle problems by first trying to define what our aim or object was to be. As the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) has also pointed out, we must have an aim in Central Africa and I believe that our aim surely is partnership without a lowering of standards. I think that the vast majority of hon. Members opposite would agree with me over the first part of the aim—partnership. I do not think that all would agree about the second part. They are no doubt sincere in their belief that we should go faster and so create greater confidence in the Africans, but I am sure that they ought to be aware of the danger of going too fast and thus losing the economic stability which is so very important. A lowering of standards will just do that.
Looking at the proposed Constitution from the standpoint of whether it helps to achieve our aim of partnership without a lowering of standards, I would say that it does so, for the following reasons—it enfranchises British-protected persons and it gives, for the first time, a direct African vote not only for the election of the African's own representative but also for the election of Europeans. In other words, it starts a common roll and cross-voting. It increases the number of Africans in the Legislative Council from four to eight, and it introduces Africans for the first time not only into the Executive Council but to Ministerial responsibility, which is of great importance, as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Darwen (Mr. Fletcher-Cooke) has already pointed out. I submit, therefore, that these proposals go a long way towards achieving our aim.
As the hon. Member for Cardiff, South East, who was with me in Northern Rhodesia last year, will know, we were always faced with two bodies of opinion. There were those who said that we were going too fast, and others who said that we were going too slow. We have exactly the same division of opinion in this Chamber.
There are two main arguments about these proposed constitutional changes put forward by those who say that we are 621 going too fast. First, a large number of Europeans in Northern Rhodesia say that the devaluation of the special roll vote is not enough. They say that there is a great danger in the value of the special roll vote being even one-third of the ordinary vote. They say that there is a great danger that even the devalued African vote could outweigh the European vote in European constituencies in future. I do not say that I agree with that opinion or that if it is correct it means that this is a retrograde constitutional enactment. I do not say that the fears of certain Europeans that this constitutes a great danger to Europeans are justified, but it is interesting to note that those fears are to be found among reasonable, normal European opinion in that country and it shows that many people consider these proposals to be too great a step ahead.
I am delighted that my right hon. Friend has not decided to devalue the ordinary vote in the special constituencies. It is of the utmost importance that the people who have the responsibility of a full vote and therefore require to have certain educational and earning qualifications should have the full value of that vote. I should like to read to the House one paragraph from a leading article in the Central African Examiner, which is a very liberal paper, on this subject. It says:Very wisely, Mr. Lennox-Boyd agreed not to devalue the ordinary vote so that it counted for only a third in special constituency elections—the absurdity of this was shown in the fact that the Paramount Chief of Barotseland's vote could have been valued at a mere third of his herd-boy's.The second point made by those who say that we are going too fast concerns the fact that there are to be two Africans on the Executive Council. We must be fair to Mr. John Roberts and his colleagues in Northern Rhodesia. They have been at great pains to point out that they do not object to two Africans sitting in the Executive Council, but they object to their being there merely because they are Africans. They would like to see two Africans on the Executive Council, but only provided that two Africans can be found who are willing and able to fill the rôle. However, I believe that my right hon. Friend was quite right in insisting upon this point. Many of us have seen the difficulties experienced by a single African Minister in Kenya who 622 was unable to consult with another man of his own race and was compelled to be the sole repository of State secrets. It is an intolerable burden to put upon a single African Minister, and I support this change.
Now for those who say that we are going too slow. They suggest, first, that the Africans should have more elected members in the Legislative Council. I sympathise with them to a considerable degree. At the moment there are eight Africans, compared with fourteen Europeans. Personally, I should like to see two more Africans if that were possible, but we must understand that, though perhaps it would not he correct to describe this as an agreed Constitution, there has had to be a certain amount of give-and-take to obtain a balance. What the Africans really want, and they have said it repeatedly, is parity, or even a majority of elected members immediately and, in five years' time, a complete majority. That is a very dangerous step to take or even to contemplate. If we tackle this question on the basis of counting of heads on a racial basis in the Legislative Council, we shall make the whole idea of partnership a complete absurdity.
The next criticism made by those who say that we are going too slow is that the franchise qualifications are too high. The franchise qualifications correspond broadly to the federal qualifications, but were not the financial qualifications worked out when the price of copper was high and it was supposed, therefore, that African development both economically and educationally would proceed at the same rate as it has done during the past year or two? But will that economic development proceed at the same rate now that the price of copper has fallen? If not, can we expect the African to cross the hurdle of a fairly high financial qualification for the franchise if his standard of living is not continually improving? That is a point which might well merit being looked at again.
The same argument applies to the fading out of the special roll in ten years' time. If the copper revenue of the Federation falls, and African economic and educational advancement falls with it, should not we therefore consider extending that period perhaps to fifteen years? I hope that these two points, which I think have substance, will be 623 dealt with when the Minister replies to the debate.
As to the question of two-thirds of the chiefs having to approve an African candidate in his constituency, the fundamental point, which I am sorry is not made clear in the White Paper, is that the requirement is for the approval of the chief in council, not the chief himself. I submit that there is a very great difference between the two. If it requires the approval of one man, the chief himself, it is anti-democratic. If, on the other hand, it requires the approval of the chief in council, that is, surrounded by his advisers, it is not anti-democratic. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Darwen will remember the great impression which the Paramount Chief of Barotseland made upon us when he sat in council with his Katiko.
This is not an anti-democratic idea. Indeed, it ties the old tribal system which has worked well for many generations in Africa with the modern idea of local government and Parliamentary democracy. I hope, therefore, that my right hon. Friend will underline this provision and, if I am right, that he will not only say so but it will be clearly provided in the Constitution when published that the chief in council is meant and not just the chief by himself.
I am glad to see that my right hon. Friend has allowed not only civil servants but also teachers to stand as candidates in Northern Rhodesia. This is a move which is to be commended.
Now I turn to some other criticisms of what I might term the nuts and bolts part of the Constitution. I will not weary the House with a lengthy description of my first criticism that the Constitution is too complicated, or the second, namely, that the Governor nominates two members to the Legislative Council. It is said that this is undemocratic but I think it will prove of use not only to the Africans but also to the Europeans.
The real point at issue, which has not been raised in any great detail in the House today, is the composition of the Executive Council and the power of the Governor to appoint to the Executive Council. As I understand it, the Executive Council will consist of two Africans, four Europeans and four officials and, according to the White 624 Paper, the Governor appoints them. I think my right hon. Friend said that it would be appointment after consultation, but it does not say so in the White Paper, and I submit that we can discuss only what is stated there.
I hope that my right hon. Friend will clear up this point, because apparently we could get the position where two Africans have to be on the Executive Council because they are Africans, and two of the Europeans on the Executive Council could, as far as I understand it, be taken from those whom the Governor has nominated to the Legislative Council and therefore not be subject to an election; two of the other Europeans presumably must be elected members, and then there are the four officials. In other words, though no Governor would do it, he could choose a Cabinet completely unrepresentative of the majority party in the Legislative Council. I hope that my hon. Friend will be able to clear up any anxiety there may be on that point.
§ Mr. Alport
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies referred specifically and very carefully to this point. Perhaps it would help the later stages of the debate if I say that if my hon. Friend will look at my right hon. Friend's speech tomorrow he will find that point dealt with.
§ Mr. Wall
I thank my hon. Friend for that intervention. I remember the Minister referring to it, but I was not clear whether he was referring to two nominated members of the Legislative Council and also to the Executive Council, or one or the other, or both, but undoubtedly it will be reported in HANSARD. I make no apology for underlining this point, which is a most important one for Northern Rhodesians, who want to be able to exercise more control of their own affairs.
I understand that there is a convention which presumably is swept away by these new proposals, and that is that at present the nominated members of the Governor's Council are chosen by a two-thirds majority of the elected members of the Legislative Council, which gives them some control over their Cabinet Ministers. That does not follow in the new proposals. This underlines the importance of the point I have just referred to.
The last of my criticisms is a question that has been brought up frequently in 625 the Northern Rhodesian Legislature, but not touched on in the White Paper, and that is whether it is possible to transfer certain local issues to the sole competence of the local Legislative Assembly rather than exercising complete control from the House of Commons here. It would be utterly wrong to suggest that, at this stage, the House of Commons should give up responsibility for African affairs, agriculture, and so on, but it might be a start to give to the Legislative Assembly the right to take full responsibility for local affairs, such as roads, public works, forestry, and surveys. I believe I am right in saying that this matter has not been touched on in the White Paper. Again, it is a matter of considerable interest to Northern Rhodesians and I hope that my hon. Friend will deal with it at the end of the debate.
This is a balanced scheme. Every member of every party in Northern Rhodesia, and right hon. and hon. Members of all three parties in this House, have criticised certain aspects of it. It may be that this shows that it is a reasonably fair one, since everybody can pick holes in it and everybody is pleased with certain parts. The whole House will, I hope, wish it success, but, if not, we must consider carefully what is the alternative. The only real alternative is to leave the issue until 1960, which would mean leaving Africans without any direct vote in their own representation. It would mean only four Africans on the Legislative Council and no Africans on the Executive Council. That surely underlines how far and how great a step in advancement these proposals represent.
There is one other issue I should like to deal with—that is the question of the numbers of voters in recent elections and the effect on the future. I understand that in the recent federal elections throughout the Federation 72 per cent. of those on the general roll voted. I am also told, though exact figures are not available, that about the same figure, certainly between 70 per cent. and 80 per cent., of those on the special roll voted. This is of interest and it shows that Africans who bothered to register took the same interest in voting as did the Europeans.
The figures for Northern Rhodesia are still more interesting. I understand that of the Africans on the general roll 65 per cent. voted, and of the Africans on 626 the special roll 68 per cent. voted. This seems to bear out the fact that there was considerable apathy. We know about the Congress boycott, but surely these figures show that it was chiefly apathy. If a man disobeyed the Congress boycott and registered, that was a considerable thing to do for an African, but then only 65 per cent. on the general roll and 68 per cent. on the mainly African roll bothered to exercise the vote. This indicates that Africans do not attach quite the importance to the vote that we do in this House.
There is an important conclusion to be drawn from the Congress boycott because the apathy, or the boycott, or both has meant that there are now eight elected Africans in the Federal Parliament, seven of whom belong to the United Federal Party and one other to the Dominion Party. In other words it illustrates that the example for Northern Rhodesia to follow is that it pays in the long run to make a Constitution work. I hope that Africans in Northern Rhodesia, particularly leaders of Congress, will listen to the advice given to them by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East and the hon. Member for Rugby, both of whom advised them, even if they dislike this Constitution, to use it, because in that way they will greatly increase African authority and representation.
Finally, because of the recent elections and the overwhelming win of the United Federal Party, Sir Roy Welensky and his party are in a strong position. They do not have to look over their shoulders any more at European reaction. Sir Roy has got eight Africans elected, seven of whom are members of his own party, in his own House, and he can now prove to the world that he listens to their advice. In other words, the seven Africans of the United Federal Party have an influence on the affairs of the federal Cabinet which is at the moment wholly white, and may I add that I hope there will be an African minister in that Cabinet in due course. Co-operation is a far better course for the Africans in Northern Rhodesia to follow than the one followed by Congress in the federal elections, which resulted in not one of their members being now in the Federal Parliament.
In conclusion, I would say that any weakening of the Federation would be a great disservice to all. I 627 believe that the federal elections, and the debates we have had over the last two years on the various constitutions for Central Africa, can now be shown to prove that the Africans are being given an increasing say in their country's affairs—perhaps hon. Gentlemen opposite would say not enough, but at least an increasing say in their affairs—and a greater opportunity of influencing the affairs of the Federation.
We all hope that they will use the opportunity offered, and use it sensibly, and that it will result in the fruition of a far more equal and true partnership in the near future. What happens in Central Africa will affect not only Central Africa, which, in some ways may be of relatively minor importance, but it will also have a very great and lasting affect on the future of our great Commonwealth.
§ 6.40 p.m.
§ Mr. Malcolm MacPherson (Stirling and Falkirk Burghs)
It is with much diffidence that I speak in a debate of this sort. Like the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) the Leader of the Liberal Party, I have not been to Northern Rhodesia. Unlike him, I have not even been to Little Rock. I find myself in discussion with many people with an enormous amount of on-the-spot knowledge, so I do not expect to lay down the law. I want to make one or two points very diffidently, indeed.
The hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) referred to the pace of African advance, and most hon. Members have considered that one of the most important aspects of this matter. I agreed with the hon. Member when he said that there was a danger of tension in going too fast. There are all sorts of dangers in going too fast, but there are dangers in the opposite sense in going too slow. None of us is able to say exactly what is the right speed, although one hon. Member opposite said that he felt that the present pace of advance was exactly right.
I am not sure how he reached such a precise conclusion. I tried to measure the speed by the standards which I could find, and it seemed to me that we were going too slowly. The first criterion which I took is difficult to define, but I think, sound for all that. The speed of advance is too slow by comparison with the sheer pace of African aspirations and African 628 advance in recent years. That is especially the case not so much since the war, but since the granting of independence to India and other formerly dependent territories.
Such things suggest that the speed of African aspirations and achievement is far greater and stronger than many hon. Members are inclined to assume. In that situation, I deprecate references to the last 700 years in the history of Northern Rhodesia. In that sort of situation, there is no point in comparing the last ten years with the last 700 years.
Another criterion is the speed which is being achieved in other African territories. In discussing Northern Rhodesia, one must consider what has been achieved in places like Ghana and Nigeria. In the East and West Regions of Nigeria there is complete adult suffrage, and in the Northern Region there is adult male suffrage. That is far ahead of the sort of Constitution we are discussing, although that may be due to the different kinds of society.
In Northern Rhodesia, there is the complication of the considerable number of Europeans who live there, but ultimately the problem is one of fair dealing and equality between races and between the Government and those who are governed. In the long run, we will have to consider how to deal with the Africans fairly in comparison with the Europeans.
The Africans themselves recognise the difficulty in Northern Rhodesia as compared with the difficulties of other communities, as is shown by the moderation of their demands. I disagree with the hon. Member for Haltemprice, who thought that the demands of the Africans were immoderate. Their immediate demand is simply for parity with the Europeans. I regard that as an expression of their realisation that, because of the large number of Europeans, their problems are rather more complex than those of Ghana and Nigeria. We should be able to agree to a demand of that sort.
A third criterion is supplied by the year 1960. I am reminded on this point, if one needed reminding, by an organisation called the Scottish Council for African questions, which includes a number of people with a strong African connection. As hon. Members know, Scotland has had a long connection with African problems through missionary and other work.
629 I am reminded of the great importance which that Council attached to the promises given in the preamble to the Constitution. I will not read them, because hen. Members are familiar with them. If, in the spring of 1959, when the next election takes place, out of the 2 million Africans of Northern Rhodesia oily 10,000 or 20,000 are able to vote—and the maximum figure I have seen is 24,000—how, in 1960, if it becomes necessary, will it be possible to get an expression of the opinion of the inhabitants of the territory?
We have to keep in mind what may be needed in 1960, and we have to try to speed up the mechanism of enabling the inhabitants of Northern Rhodesia to express themselves on major political questions. For those reasons, it seems to me that the pace of advance is much too slow and that the African people of Northern Rhodesia are greatly underrepresented.
Another criticism has been directed to the complexities of the proposals. The Secretary of State dealt with this question very lucidly, but not very comprehensively. It is all very well to say that the voter will know what he intends to do. He will not vote in all the arrangements of the criss-cross system at once. He will have two votes to cast and he will know how to cast them. However, he ought to be able to understand whether the outcome of the election is fair and whether it fully represents the opinions of the electorate, or of the people of whom the electorate is a small fraction. He will not be able to follow the rights and wrongs of the case through all the intricacies of this complex system.
The charge of complexity is a very serious charge to make against any Constitution which is being considered as a step towards a reasonably democratic ultimate Constitution. Complexity is not one of the characteristics which has proved helpful to democratic systems, air own system has been greatly simplified one way and another. We have eliminated plural voting, yet we are now about to introduce it into this Constitution. We have eliminated the difference in the status of voters. Men and women are now on the same basis.
I have no doubt that one of the reasons why our political system has been so successful is that it is extra- 630 ordinarily simple. Most of us react in a hostile way to proposals made to amend our system, not because we think that they are unreasonable in themselves, but simply because we feel in our bones that they would add an element of complexity which would to some extent befog the minds of the voters.
§ Mr. Fletcher-Cooke
Does not the hon. Gentleman consider that in a primitive society, as ours was in centuries past, it is, paradoxically enough, often essential to have a rather more complicated voting system, and only in a more sophisticated and well-educated society is it possible to have a simple "one man, one vote" system—because that is a very delicate instrument?
§ Mr. MacPherson
I am not sure whether the hon. Member would address that argument to the present state of Ghana, but it does not seem particularly relevant here. I do not recall a stage in our Parliamentary history when we could have been described as primitive.
§ Mr. MacPherson
I do not think so. The faults that we have to find with our earlier system of voting are not essentially faults of complexity, but of another kind—the influence of land and privilege, and such things as the rotten boroughs. The analogy with this country's history is not a good one. What we can say is that our system is extremely simple. It works, we have great confidence in it, and it is a reasonable, if not logically essential, assumption to conclude from that that simplicity helps. I think that it would help in this situation, but a study of the mechanics of the scheme shows that it is extremely complex and open to question upon the ground of equity and fairness.
The division of the two groups of constituencies is described in the White Paper as a geographical one, but my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) pointed out that a good deal of this system was really based upon racial considerations. The geographical description seems to be masking the reality of a division not completely but largely upon racial lines. No justification is put forward in the White Paper for the numbers involved in these groups. There are 12 constituencies in one group 631 and six in the other. Although a great number of points put forward in the White Paper are argued, there is no argument explaining why those proportions were arrived at. It does not say why the proportions should not be 12 and 12, or 12 and 18.
The Secretary of State and the Under-Secretary cannot be particularly happy about the criticism levelled at that aspect of the proposals which deals with the approval of the chiefs. I do not think that anyone has said any more than a tentative or hypothetical good word for that proposal, and I do not think that it deserves one. My hon. Friend has damned it thoroughly from the point of view of the practical difficulties involved.
My first reaction was that in a scheme which was put forward in the hope that the people could be led gradually along—as fast as possible but still gradually—to full democracy, in spite of our efforts to make the way as clear as possible, we were here adding additional complexity and trying deliberately, through the person of the candidate, to tie central Government to local government. I have no doubt that the principle of linking the two together is a good one, but I do not think it is necessarily desirable that they should be linked together by the candidate for the Legislative Council. Even if it were, can it be said that that complexity should be introduced into The legislative system at this stage?
The hon. Member for Haltemprice repeated a point that he made in the debate held just before the Recess. He thought that the consent required was not the consent of the chiefs individually, but the chiefs in council. I see no sign, either in the Northern Rhodesia White Paper or the Secretary of State's statement, that that is what is meant, and the Governmen have given no sign that it is meant. The hon. Member for Haltemprice put the question very bluntly to his Front Bench, and I hope that he will get a clear answer. The hon. Member for Haltemprice made no bones about the fact that if the answer is that it is a matter for the individual concerned he would consider it to be an anti-democratic system; indeed, I believe he used a fairly strong qualifying adjective before the word "anti-democratic."
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
It is intended to mean the chief in council—in foro publico. It is the chief, and the councillors with him.
§ Mr. MacPherson
In that case, the argument put forward by the hon. Member for Haltemprice, on the grounds of democracy, is weakened; the system is not so anti-democratic. But the argument which my hon. Friend put forward on the ground of practicability is greatly strengthened. In the case of 50 or 60 chiefs, in a constituency spread over an area of about 400 miles, it will be necessary for the candidate to get the consent not of two-thirds of the chiefs, but of two-thirds of the chiefs in council.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
If the chief were prepared to give his approval he could give it as an individual, but if he were not prepared to do so, and was proposing to dissent, he would have to take the matter to the council, and the decision would then be that of the chief in council.
§ Mr. MacPherson
That appears to be adding still further to the complexity of the system. If that is how it will work, the principle of the chief in council might have been mentioned in the right hon. Gentleman's statement, especially as the question was raised in the debate which took place before the Recess. I am glad that the point has been cleared up, but it is plain that its clearing up has not diminished the force of the attack upon the practicability of the system which was made by my hon. Friend.
I also want to comment upon paragraph 67 of the White Paper, which talks about having the major principles of the system entrenched. That seems to be a thoroughly objectionable procedure, and I hope that the Under-Secretary will state the Government's attitude towards it. The paragraph lists a number of points which it is considered ought to be entrenched, including some which seem to me to be among the most objectionable parts of the proposal. In any case, as one of my hon. Friends has pointed out, the recent history of Africa has been one of Constitutions which have lasted for a very short time and have then been replaced. There is no argument for trying to entrench the principles of what I hope will be a temporary Constitution.
The Labour Party has taken a clear stand on the question of the Federation. 633 We on this side have decided, and have said publicly on many occasions, that we shall help to make the Federation work, so far as and when it is our responsibility. But we have always added two provisos; first, that it should be with the consent of the Africans—"with the voluntary adherence of the Africans"— which is the phrase used in the last official Labour Party statement—and, secondly, that there should be a genuine racial partnership.
I do not intend to argue either of those points this evening, but it does not seem to me that the history of the Federation since its inception has been working out n such a way as to meet these two provisos. It does not seem to me that the partnership has been a true one, or that we have anything like the voluntary adherence of the African peoples. Indeed, the partnership seems to have been whittled down in a great many ways and the opposition of the African peoples to, have been increasing.
I greatly fear that these proposals will increase rather than diminish the opposition from the African peoples and thus increase the tension between the two peoples. I hope that the Minister will have second thoughts. at least on some of the specific practical points which have been criticised.
§ 7.1 p.m.
§ Mr. Bernard Braine (Essex, South-East)
I thought it a pity that the hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Malcolm MacPherson) should start his interesting speech with a false argument. He said that the pace was too slow in Central Africa and in Northern Rhodesia in relation to what was happening elsewhere on the African Continent, and he mentioned West Africa. One cannot equate the sophisticated, educated Ghanaian and Nigerian leaders, whom most of us have had the pleasure of meeting over the years, with the unsophisticated and backward people dwelling in Central Africa; any more than one can equate an adult with a child—
§ Mr. Stonehouse rose—
§ Mr. Braine
I have scarcely got out a complete sentence, but I will give way in a moment if the hon. Gentleman wishes.
634 The point I wish to make is that the whole course of events in West Africa has been totally different. The West Coast has been exposed to contacts from the outside world, from Islam across the desert, or from the West, for long centuries. Challenges have brought response. Moreover, the capacity of any people to attain self-government is dependent on their capacity and experience. Indeed, there are people who would say that, far from being too slow in Northern Rhodesia and Central Africa, the pace has been too fast. After all, we are dealing with people who in their youth—I am speaking now of the people of Northern Rhodesia—did not know that the spoken word could be written down that there were such simple aids to living as the wheel, the loom or the plough. Bearing this is mind, what has been achieved in recent years is quite fantastic. I think, therefore, that these proposals represent just about the right pace for the conditions which obtain in that part of Africa.
I would allow only one point to the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan). It is that any qualitative franchise must of necessity be complicated, and that which we are discussing here is more complicated than most. I observed, however, that the hon. Gentleman did not condemn the principle of a qualitative franchise. The Amendment refers solely to the proposals leaving the African people inadequately represented. He did not tell the House whether in his view and that of his right hon. and hon. Friends the kind of representation should be one man, one vote. Had he really believed that, I am sure that he would have said so and been honest with the House. If he believes, as I am sure the party opposite believes, in a qualitative franchise, what is the first and obvious point to make about these proposals? It is that they represent a very considerable advance on the constitutional and political position of Northern Rhodesia since the party opposite left office in 1951.
Then there were only two African members of the Legislative Council out of a total of 24. Now, at the moment, there are four African members out of a total of 26, and these are selected for appointment by the African Representative Council. Under these proposals 635 there is likely to be a minimum of eight out of 30 from the outset. But—and this is the important point which I wish to emphasise—as the African electorate increases in size and influence, the number may increase.
In 1951 there were no African unofficial members of the Executive Council. Under the new proposals there are to be four ex officio Ministers and six other Ministers, of whom four must be elected and two must be African. That represents a very considerable advance, not only for Africans, but for Europeans, too. In 1951 the vote was restricted to British subjects. Then, as now, the Africans were virtually excluded from the franchise. I would not criticise the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones) in going so slowly in making constitutional advances in Northern Rhodesia. When he was in office he was a realist. He knew the situation. He was leading the territory forward step by step, and I think it unfair that anybody should criticise him for not going faster. But it is equally unfair, in fact it is grossly unfair, for right hon. and hon. Members opposite to cast stones at us now for laying before this House proposals designed to enable the Africans and Europeans in this territory to take a great step forward. As the Northern Rhodesia White Paper says in paragraph 10,The present franchise law, in practice, excludes Africans.The proposals now laid before this House ensure that a large number of Africans are to be enfranchised. Their aim is to broaden the franchise and to do so in a way which will ensure that members of the Legislative Council feel responsible to an electorate composed not merely of members of their own race but of all races. That is a very important step forward.
Paragraph 26 of the White Paper says that the present representation in the Legislative Council—a representation which we inherited from the party opposite—is by racial divisions: and the tendency is, therefore, naturally for European members to feel themselves Primarily responsible only to a non-African electorate, and for the African members to feel that they have no responsibility for interests other than African interests. In a system where members are politically responsible to one section of the community alone 636 there must be the danger that a member will from time to time feel himself precluded from advocating in public what he believes to be sound and right, for fear of causing offence to at least a section of the racial group he represents.This goes absolutely to the heart of the matter. The proposals of my right hon. Friend remove that danger and difficulty by providing a new loyalty for both Europeans and Africans in Northern Rhodesia, a new goal which it is possible for them both to achieve. This is the only basis on which it is possible for a modern state to exist. Of course, at the moment this means a qualitative franchise for the Africans. But I repeat that the proposals taken together represent a substantial and imaginative leap forward. They increase the number of Africans who can vote. They increase the number of Africans on the Legislative Council, and they ensure that the Africans elected are broadly representative of the African people who are not yet qualified to vote. They give Africans a say in the election not merely of African representatives but of Europeans as well; and to this extent, for the first time in the history of Northern Rhodesia, these proposals will put political power into the hands of an African electorate which will provide them with a powerful instrument for helping to shape the destiny of their own country.
I am delighted that in his despatch of 10th September the Secretary of State agrees with the Northern Rhodesian Government in rejecting the idea of separate representation of European and African interests in favour of arrangements which will make it possible for the political parties to develop on non-racial lines and for politics to cut right across racial divisions. I heartily endorse the view and I am sure that everyone in this House will endorse the view expressed in paragraph 6 of this despatch, which says:…the changes to be made now must not be such as to perpetuate the present system of racial representation, but such as may make possible and encourage 'the return of men and women who are prepared and indeed disposed to consider and balance the interests of all racial groups'.That is the crux of the whole problem. Either one accepts the idea of federation or one rejects it. If one accepts the idea of federation, it follows as inexorably as day follows night that advance must be along the lines proposed by my right hon. Friend. I allow that there are serious divisions of conscience on this. In fact, 637 the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cardiff, South-East was commendably frank with the House when he said that there were serious fundamental differences between us. All I would say is that these differences make strange allies.
We have been told that the African National Congress rejects the idea of federation. The right-wing Dominion Party throughout the Federation rejects the idea. There are individual right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House who also reject it.
The assumption all these people make is that it is not only morally right to think in terms of separateness but it is also practical to do so. This assumption is wholly false. The interests of the races in Central Africa are now so closely interwoven that it is impossible to separate them without grave damage to both races. It is still insufficiently realised—I do not say that it is in this Rouse because we are all keen students of these things, but in this country—what enormous benefits have flowed from federation since its establishment.
In six years the national income has risen by 40 per cent., and I know of no other country that has registered a rise of that order in that time. In the last Budget the Federal Finance Minister, Mr. McIntyre, reported that investment had reached the level of 43 per cent. of the gross national product. That must also be a record since it compares with a figure of 18 per cent. in the United States and about 24 per cent. in neighbouring South Africa.
It is relevant to ask in the context of this debate why figures like these are so high. The answer is clearly because of people's faith, both inside the Federation and outside, in Central Africa's economic potentialities. Those potentialities cannot be realised unless the three territories are treated as one. Secondly—and this is perhaps a great imponderable, but it is enormously important—because of people's faith in the wisdom and leadership of those who have been governing tile Federation since its beginning and in their belief that the will exists to make the system work.
We might ask why anyone should think in terms of separateness. The majority of the federal voters have shown very recently that they accept the idea of federation. Sir Roy Welensky himself is completely dedicated to the concept. But 638 we are told from the other side of the House that the Africans in this part of the world are opposed to it. Are they? On what grounds?
A few months ago the African Representative Council in Northern Rhodesia debated a motion:This Council is of the strong opinion that there is no need to elect African members to go to the Federal Parliament.That Motion was carried with one vote against, and a number of people abstained. Earlier, the same Council had voted in favour of the secession of Northern Rhodesia from the Federation There was the prospect of federal elections coming off very shortly, and a Motion like this, might deprive the Africans of the right under the federal constitution to send representatives to the federal Parliament. Quite rightly, the Governor of Northern Rhodesia acted. What did he do? Instead of the African Representative Council numbering 34 members functioning as an electoral college, he called together all the members of that Council and of the African provincial councils, 19 members of the superior authority of the Barotseland Protectorate and all Africans registered on either the general or special federal electoral rolls, numbering altogether about 250 persons. This truly democratic and representative Assembly reversed the previous decision. It is significant that 15 nominations were made and five of them were of people who, in the original debate in the African Representative Council, had voted in favour of not sending representatives to the federal Parliament.
Of course, no one has said so so far in this debate, but there is an element of intimidation in this situation. We all know that it exists. Most of us have had the privilege at some time or another of meeting Mr. Godwin Lewanika, who is the founding father of the African Congress and the president of the Northern Rhodesian Mines African Staff Association. Addressing the Royal African Society here in this country last July, he had this to say on that subject:What I know is that there are groups of Africans—they may be Congress or not—who through lack of political knowledge and understanding, are trying to discourage other Africans from co-operating with liberal-minded Europeans by ridiculing and jeering at them—branding them as traitors or informers. This is a real stumbling block and hinders less courageous moderate Africans from 639 demonstrating openly their firm belief in racial harmony and co-operation for fear of being hated and becoming unpopular with other Africans.When one bears in mind the number of people who, no doubt from the noblest motives, many thousands of miles away, have encouraged the idea that cooperation with liberal-minded Europeans is a bad thing and who think in terms of Northern Rhodesia on the lines of Uganda or Ghana, it is not surprising that such African opinion as has been expressed takes this strangely unconstructive and unco-operative form. Behind all this is the belief—I have heard it often from some of my African friends—that if there were a change in the Government of this country federation would be undone. I do not believe that would be the case, and I believe that there is a duty on the part of all of us in this House to dispel that illusion. After all, the party opposite launched the idea of federation in the first place.
§ Mr. Speaker
I do not want to interrupt, but I should remind the House that we are not really debating federation. In so far as it is relevant to the White Paper it was in order, and I think that it is the proposals in the White Paper that the House ought to consider.
§ Mr. Braine
I accept your Ruling entirely, Mr. Speaker. What I was about to say was that, in so far as these proposals provide the framework within which it is possible for more Africans in Northern Rhodesia to take an effective part in the direction of their government as citizens of a multi-racial community and in the sense that this is also a step forward for Europeans in that territory in responsibility, these proposals ought to command the support of the House.
I know that these proposals have been criticised here on the Floor of the House and by Africans in Northern Rhodesia who want parity in the Legislative and Executive Councils, who have described the proposals as a betrayal of African interests and who have even alleged that they could perhaps provide better Government than the present European Administration. The proposals have been criticised in Northern Rhodesia too by Europeans who view the appointment of two African Ministers on the basis of race as being somewhat incompatible with the 640 policy of establishing a political system on a multi-racial basis.
These criticisms lead me to think that, on balance, my right hon. Friend's proposals are just about right. I think we ought to face the facts. Only a small proportion—and this is the answer to the arguments of the hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Malcolm MacPherson)—of the African population of about two million is literate. Out of that population there are only two qualified doctors, only two registered state nurses, and only one barrister-at-law. It is interesting to note that in the provisions to enable Africans to stand as candidates it has been necessary to make a special dispensation for civil servants. Civil servants, by the nature of their jobs, are viewed as qualified and responsible people, and that provision has had to be made because there are so few who can be so described. Thus there is difficulty enough in finding the right kind of candidate for the Legislative Council, let alone finding Ministerial material.
I have the greatest sympathy with the argument of Sir Roy Welensky that the Africans appointed to Ministerial posts ought to be chosen from the majority party in the Legislature and chosen for their personal qualities and their abilities and I have no doubt that this will happen, and will happen quite soon. But it is essential—and here I agree with what has been said on this score from the other side of the House—that we carry moderate African opinion with us.
If we are to deny Africans a place in Government at this stage until one of the right quality and experience emerges, we may have to wait for a considerable time, and in the meantime we may lose the confidence of those moderate Africans who are willing now to accept partnership because there is no tangible sign that we mean what we say. I recognise that there is a dilemma here, but I think that my right hon. Friend is right at this stage to tackle it in the way in which he has done.
I agree with a great deal said by the hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs about the trials and difficulties of democracy. Surely, experience has shown that democracy cannot be superimposed. Where the instinct for democratic self-government has never existed, it cannot be developed overnight. One has only 641 to look at Pakistan and the Sudan, where only yesterday there were Parliaments on our model. It is said by those who swept hem away that the Parliamentary system in those countries made for weak, ineffective and corrupt Governments. I make no comment on that; indeed, it would be improper to do so. All I k now is that the Mother of Parliaments in the last few months has lost two of her children. I feel that that reminds us that there is a great obligation upon us to gear the pace of constitutional advance in emerging countries to the capacity and the sense of responsibility of the people concerned. If we go too fast we may well ruin the chance of ever developing parliamentary democracy at all.
The ideal, of course, is full Parliamentary democracy as we understand it in this country, but I am convinced that the road to it in the territories of Central Africa, and indeed in certain other territories in the Colonial Empire, must be by way of the qualitative franchise, based on literacy and a real stake in the country. We may argue between ourselves what should constitute the stake we may argue between ourselves about the pace. But I feel that we must never lose sight of what is really at stake in Central Africa.
The Central African Examiner of 13th September put this whole matter in a nutshell. Discussing the territorial election results in Southern Rhodesia, it wrote that theseshould have proved conclusively to liberals both in the Federation and overseas that the choice before the country is not Welensky or someone roughly equivalent to Todd. It is not really even Welensky or Field. Ultimately it is Welensky or Verwoerd.The federal electors, including those of Northern Rhodesia, have since given their answer to that question. Although 50,000 European voters in the Federation voted for African candidates for the first time. In the two Northern Territories, no European had ever before voted for an African. I was most interested to see that during the campaign in Northern Rhodesia, and elsewhere in the Federation, Europeans flocked to meetings addressed by the most outstanding African candidates. They went to hear what the candidates had to say and they stayed to listen. This is quite unprecedented, and could not happen south of the Limpopo. Today there are nine African 642 members of Parliament sitting in Roy Welensky's party in Parliament—members of a political party, not sitting there as Africans but as citizens of the Federation who think in a certain way.
The hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) asked where was the evidence that federation is working. In matters of this kind one must preserve a sense of proportion. If one considers what has been happening in the Federation in the last few years, and in Northern Rhodesia in particular, against the background of history, if one considers it in relation to the views so strongly held in other parts of Africa, then the pace is not slow. The pace is rapid. It is encouraging. It is exhilarating. After all, it is less than 60 or 70 years since the first pioneer column reached into the heart of what was then very largely an empty country and came into contact with a primitive people whose way of life had been completely unchanged not just for centuries but for thousands and thousands of years.
The achievement since then, particularly in the economic field but also in the political field, has been phenomenal. For myself—and I think I speak here for a good many hon. Members on both sides of the House—it is no small comfort to know that the fortunes of this young and exciting country are in the hands of so dynamic and far-sighted, so courageous, tough and liberal-minded a man as Sir Roy Welensky. For in my view, the past achievements of the Federation, and of course of Northern Rhodesia, and the present confidence which the Federal Government inspire, call for a demonstration of trust from us. It is for that reason that I shall warmly support my right hon. Friend's proposals in the Lobby tonight if that becomes necessary.
§ 7.28 p.m.
§ Mr. John Stonehouse (Wednesbury)
I always enjoy the speeches of the hon. Member for Essex, South-East (Mr. Braine) He speaks with much enthusiasm, and when he has a weak case he speaks with much more enthusiasm than when he has a strong case. He has a weak case today, and we have had a very energetic and enthusiastic speech from him, but I am afraid that occasionally he took us up a number of dead ends. He led us to a number of perorations but, when we were all waiting anxiously—at 643 least those on this side of the House—for the point which he seemed about to reach, he switched us somewhere else.
The hon. Member said that there has been much economic advance in Rhodesia since the three countries have been associated in the Federation, but he did not go on to say what advantage the mass of the people living in those countries have received from those economic advances.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
That may well be so. I agree that it is so in certain parts of Nyasaland. Some advance has been made. But in Northern Rhodesia thousands of Africans are still denied the opportunities which they should have of going into the skilled occupations. Even on the federal railways, of which Roy Welensky is so proud, Africans are not allowed to drive trains, although just across the border, in the Belgian Congo, they are driving main-line trains—
§ Mr. Patrick Maitland (Lanark)
Would the hon. Gentleman explain—I think that he has knowledge of this—whether or not there is a trade union facet to that; that the trade union of European workers is responsible?
§ Mr. Stonehouse
I am grateful for that intervention. It is absolutely true. The European trade union in the Federation has made conditions about the employment of African train drivers. Personally, I think that it is most regrettable indeed, but it is the responsibility of the federal authorities to do something about it, just as it is the responsibility of our own colonial Administration in Northern Rhodesia to make sure that the African mineworkers there have the same opportunities to take skilled jobs as have their fellows across the border in the Belgian Congo.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
Would the hon. Gentleman apply the same lesson to the relations between trade unions in the United Kingdom as he suggests should now apply within the Federation?
§ Mr. Stonehouse
In Rhodesia, there is discrimination against citizens on the ground of colour. Where that applies, I—and, I think, all my right hon. and hon. Friends—will certainly agree that Government action should be taken to 644 eliminate it. I am proud that my own party has gone on record in this respect; and that we are determined, after the next election, to eliminate colour discrimination—
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I can say, with a good deal of knowledge of the subject, having long watched it, that during the years that I have been Colonial Secretary more progress has been made in the Copperbelt than ever before in this field.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
I do not dispute that there may have been some progress and that there is now a happier relationship between the African and the European trade unions, but there should be much more progress, and I submit that one of the causes of the Africans in Rhodesia being so suspicious of these moves to give the small white minority so much political power is that the Africans feel that, as a result, they will still be denied economic advancement.
It has been my privilege to meet a great many people who come over here from Rhodesia. I also meet great numbers of them from Kenya, Tanganyika and Uganda. These people are very suspicious about the move to give independence to Rhodesia, because they feel that a genuine attempt has not so far been made to bring Africans into the contract; that the Africans are being squeezed out. They suspect that if Rhodesia gets independence after 1960 without the Africans in Rhodesia and Nyasaland being given their constitutional rights Rhodesia will be a white-dominated country with the Africans unable to have the rights to which they are entitled.
They are very suspicious indeed. So far, they have limited themselves to protesting in a constitutional way. I am sure that all hon. Members appreciate that restraint, and the statesmanlike way in which their point of view has been put, but, in all seriousness, can we expect this restraint to continue if we do not do something to retain their confidence? If we press ahead with the giving of more political rights to the small European minority, the Africans' confidence may eventually snap altogether, and then it will be the extremists who will control the course of events in those countries, and there may be no way by which we can stop the events that flow from that.
645 Like my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson), I had the opportunity of considering the representations made by the African chiefs, Undi, Paramount Chief of the Crewa, and Shakumbila, Senior Chief of the Sala, to the Colonial Secretary. I should like the Under-Secretary of State to give us the details of his right hon. Friend's reply. For instance, how did he reply to the point about two-thirds of the chiefs in an area being required to endorse candidatures? Is it not also the case that not only is that endorsement required, but that the chiefs' signatures cannot be given unless there is present a witness appointed by the authorities? Who is to be the witness? Will he be a district commissioner, or some other official appointed by the authorities? Is there not a danger of the official bringing some pressure to hear on the chief if the authorities do not approve of a candidate?
The chiefs also reject absolutely the proposal for two electoral rolls, based on different qualifications. They ask that there should be no status of a sub-citizen, as a result of rolls based on wealth and education. When I read this memorandum, it does not seem to me that there is much difference in the points of view that the Secretary of State had to consider. He gave the impression this afternoon that the representations that he had had were not very strongly against his proposals, but these representations are very serious indeed and wholly reject the idea of two electoral rolls.
Furthermore, I understand that there is to be some discrimination between various headmen. Only the headman who has 25 taxpayers in his village will be allowed a vote on the special roll, but in Northern Rhodesia headmen have been recognised even when villages have had only 10 taxpayers. This has been known for a long time, and has been generally accepted. Why should there now be this discrimination between headmen with 25 taxpayers and those with fewer? It can only lead to some feeling of embarrassment on the part of the headmen with the smaller numbers of taxpayers, and make their job even harder.
The memorandum also submits that to give a man a vote because he has had 646 long service with an employer is absolutely wrong. The chiefs say that it is part of the European settler's way of thinking—the way in which they think of the Europeans as masters and of the Africans as servants. What is the reason for allowing a vote to a man who has had this long employment against a man who may have been in similarly important work, but who has moved from one job to another?
Then they go on to put the point, which has already been taken up by some of my hon. Friends in the debate, that it is absolutely outrageous to ask that all the voters should fill up a registration form in English. There are many Africans in Northern Rhodesia who are perfectly literate in their own vernacular. There are even four official languages other than English. Why is it that these other languages, which are used in the official broadcasting service, are not recognised as valid for the filling up of the forms for registration?
The chiefs also say that it is wrong that a person who registers for the vote has to make an oath of allegiance to the Queen, and puts this point, not in any disrespect, but merely asking that the legal constitutional position should he checked. I hope that when the Under-Secretary replies he will clarify this point, because it is a serious one. Most of the people in Northern Rhodesia are British-protected persons, and I am told by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. Foot) that, when the Buganda Agreement was being negotiated, and the arrangements were being made for the return of the Kabaka to Buganda, it was made quite clear that British-protected persons in Uganda owed no allegiance to the Queen as British subjects. If that applies in Buganda, it certainly must be the case in Northern Rhodesia. It seems to be regrettable that on all the forms that have to be signed by voters they have also to sign an oath of allegiance to the Queen.
The hon. and learned Member for Darwen (Mr. Fletcher-Cooke) made one of the most interesting speeches from the Government side of the House. He said that in the Belgian Congo the African advance has been faster than it has been in Rhodesia, and that there have been happier relationships between the races as a result. Although we have a lot to 647 teach the Belgian Congo in political advance I believe that we can learn a great deal from the Congo in economic advance. I suggest that one of the key factors in this whole background of suspicion that we find in relation to these constitutional proposals and to federation as a whole is the fact that the economic opportunities for Africans to advance in Rhodesia are much less than those in the Belgian Congo.
The hon. and learned Member also said that we must give these constitutional proposals the chance they deserve. Do they deserve any chance to succeed unless we recognise at this time—in 1958—that our aim and object is universal adult suffrage, with everybody allowed the exercise of the vote? We have not had the acceptance of that idea either from Ministers or from hon. Members an the other side of the House, nor have we had acceptance of that idea from the white politicians in Rhodesia itself. We have, however, people like Mr. Malcomson, from Northern Rhodesia, saying that he does not believe in this business of "one man, one vote," and we have Sir Roy Welensky himself making similar comments.
How can these people expect us in the Labour Party to have any trust in them when they criticise the basic political ideals which we strive to serve? We cannot possibly give more political power to a small minority in the midst of a mass of Africans for whom we are still responsible. We cannot afford to give them more political power unless they are prepared to accept wholeheartedly the political ideals which we want to see applied there, and which many of our forefathers fought to have applied here.
Therefore, we do not have the confidence in the Europeans in Northern Rhodesia, and in the Federation as a whole, which many hon. Members on the other side of the House have. They have not shown by their actions that we can have confidence in them, and, in these circumstances, it would be absolutely wrong of us to move further along the road to giving more political power to the tiny white minority in Northern Rhodesia.
When we strip down these White Paper proposals, we see that that is what they mean, and, though we have had all 648 this talk about partnership, about cross-voting and about the non-communal electorate, what the proposals really mean is that 72,000 Europeans in Northern Rhodesia are to get a tremendous amount of political power at the expense of the 2,100,000 Africans who live in Northern Rhodesia. That is what the proposals mean, and for hon. Members on the other side of the House to engage in progressive hypocrisy is wholly undignified of them.
§ Mr. Braine
Can the hon. Gentleman clarify one point? Surely he is aware that, under these proposals, from now on. European members will have an African electorate? Does it not follow that only those Europeans who think in terms of a multi-racial state are likely to succeed in getting in?
§ Mr. Stonehouse
That would be true if there were any number of Africans being included in the special roll, but if we accept the figures given in the White Paper the total number to get on the special roll would be about 20,000, which is only 2 per cent. of the total adult population in Northern Rhodesia. There is another figure which has been produced by two investigators of the Rhodesian Selection Trust, which gives an estimate of 10,000, which is only about 1 per cent. of the total adult population. I would agree with the hon. Member if any number of Africans were to get these political rights, but they are such a tiny minority that they cannot have any possible influence on the result of an election in their constituencies.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) illustrated so well in his speech, even the constituencies have been drawn in a particular way so that Europeans will be able to maintain their political power. We have all this paraphernalia of two-thirds of the chiefs having to sign forms before candidates can go forward in particular constituencies, which is still further designed to prevent anybody of real ability who can speak for his people coming forward to the Legislative Council.
The whole thing is an absolute fraud and we in this House should admit it to be so. To claim that the White Paper is an exercise in partnership is sheer dishonesty. It is an exercise in European 649 domination. If we agree to the White Paper, and to the constitutional proposals contained in it, going through we shall be asking the Africans in Northern Rhodesia to lose confidence in us. We shall also be asking Africans in many other countries in Africa to believe that we are now allowing this tiny white minority in Rhodesia to exercise more dictatorial power at the expense of the masses of the African people. As the hon. Gentleman the Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) said at the outset of his speech, this will be a gift to the Communists, enabling them to engage in propaganda in Africa.
If we are to keep the confidence of the Africans in Northern Rhodesia, Nyasaland and Southern Rhodesia, or in any other African territory, we must show not only by our words but by our deeds that we aim to give them the political rights which they deserve.
§ 7.50 p.m.
§ Mr. Patrick Maitland (Lanark)
The hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) did better in his first speech. The little extra speech we have just had was marked by some exaggerations of phrase which went ill with the thoughtful words preceding it. We were told about dictatorial powers in the hands of a tiny European minority. He said that this was European domination. The whole thing, he said—I have his words—is an absolute fraud. Just before that, we were told by the hon. Gentleman that hon. Members on this side of the House were guilty of—I think his phrase was—arrant hypocrisy; at any rate, we were guilty of some kind of hypocrisy. I do not believe that the hon. Gentleman, whose usual contributions to these debates are thoughtful as well as well informed, will really be very happy when he reads HANSARD tomorrow and sees what he said at that stage.
I wish to go back to some of the things the hon. Gentleman said in the earlier part of his speech which contributed usefully to the level of our debate. He acknowledged, for example, that there had been at least some educational advance in Nyasaland as a result of the economic expansion which followed Nyasaland's pant in the Federation. That is a point I shall return to. Although we are not tonight debating federation, we are debating something fundamental to the survival of 650 the Federation, and it is the post-1960 situation which we all have in our minds at the present time.
The hon. Member for Wednesbury was entirely frank, and we respect him for it, when he acknowledged that at least an element in the practice of the colour bar in Northern Rhodesia derives from the restrictive practices of European trade unionists. His remedy for that was not only a strong central Executive, but one which would interfere in the kind of terms that trade unions lay down to protect the interests of their members. I do not quarrel with that, but I believe that there Is an implication flowing from it which is germane to the theme of this debate.
If the hon. Gentleman says, as I think he does, that at the end of the day we want a strong and effective Federation—I do not say a dictatorial one—in order that these things can be dealt with by a strong central Executive, he is surely saying that, when the time comes and we have to look at the implementation of the pledges given by this House, we must be quite sure that the system of consulting the people of the Central African. Federation is one that accords with our intentions in this House when those pledges were given and accepted and is, at the same time, a procedure which will be practicable. This is why I believe that tonight's debate is really a debate about the implications of a quantitative or, alternatively, a qualitative interpretation of the franchise.
I was much interested, as I always am when he speaks, in the comments of the hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Malcolm MacPherson). He is not now in his place. His contributions on these matters are always thoughtful. He made the point that in democratic government—he cited this country as a most obvious example—it is the very simplicity of the system which leads to what one might call an authentic and real result. He did not, I thought, take full account of the fact that the simplest system of all is one where there is no choice of candidates, which, of course, is the system of the other side of the Iron Curtain.
I felt that the hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs over-laboured the point about franchise simplicity. It is quite true that we have graduated in these islands towards a system of election 651 which is increasingly simple. The university seats were abolished. I believe that that was a mistake, and I should like to see them restored; but they were abolished, and I fear that, to a very large extent, the public as a whole accepted their abolition without demur and there were very few tears shed. For better or for worse, we have moved towards a very simple franchise. It is complicated, no doubt, by considerations as to how many automobiles ought to be used, and other such questions, but the principle is very simple.
But, as one of my hon. Friends pointed out, the very simplicity of our system is made possible, and the system is made to work, only because ours is a country which is politically mature. The population is, at least, literate, and everyone has had some primary education and, in very many cases, secondary education, too. Also, we have a tradition of judging political events.
I was very interested, as were others of my hon. Friends, when the hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs replied to interjections on this very point. It was put to him, "What about Ghana?", and he said "Yes; what about it?". It is because in Ghana a simple system has been produced, perhaps, too rapidly, that one sees the spectre of Cromwellian rule stalking through the council chamber in Accra. It is because of what I think may well have been the premature and precipitate establishment of a simple system that we see those things happening in Ghana. Speaking for myself, it is the fear that we might have the same sort of thing occurring in Central Africa which causes me and, I believe, some of my hon. Friends who are not illiberal in our sentiments to pause and take stock.
It is very important to think carefully of what we mean when we say, "One man, one vote." It is important to bear that in mind when we think of the pledges which were given in this House before federation was introduced. When Lord Chandos, as he now is, gave those pledges, he made it clear that he had no very precise idea about how the desires of the majority of the people would be ascertained. I wonder whether any hon. Member here now is very clear about the answer to that question.
652 When the hon. Member for Wednesbury speaks of universal adult suffrage being our goal, he is speaking of something about which we agree. What we do not agree about is how quickly and how safely the goal can be reached. Some of us look with great apprehension and anxiety at the course of events in Ghana. We wonder whether universal adult suffrage in Central Africa can be a wise thing just yet. But of course I do not for a moment deny that it is the ultimate objective.
§ Mr. A. Fenner Brockway (Eton and Slough)
The hon. Gentleman is giving the illustration of Ghana. Is he not aware that nearly all the things of which he complains in Ghana have been simultaneously taking place in Colonies for which the British Government are responsible? Deportations without trial, detentions without trial, the crushing of oppositions— these are common features of the British colonial system. When it happens in Ghana, all is denunciation. When it happens in British Colonies, all is support.
§ Mr. Maitland
I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman for his intervention, because it brings up a very important point. The question is: why denounce deportations in Ghana but not, for example, in Cyprus?
§ Mr. Maitland
Or wherever it is. Let us pick any territory. I think the answer is that we know jolly well that an authoritarian colonialism, paternal if one likes, but call it dictatorial if you will, something which does not yet govern through a fully representative legislature, does resort to these means. We know that. Nor are they agreeable to me; but when a Parliament is established with total sovereignty upon universal suffrage and proceeds to deport people, that, I think, is something different in kind. I am sure hon. Members will agree that if we started in this House to rig a majority and then used that majority to deport people we should all be shocked and ashamed.
§ Mr. Maitland
Let us skip the word "rig" and just say that if this House used its elected majority at any time to deport political opponents I am sure we would all agree that we were going back 653 to the sixteenth or the seventeenth century. It is that Cromwellian spectacle of the seventeenth century which worries me and which, I believe, is made possible by the premature—or precipitate—grant of universal suffrage, coupled with a fully sovereign Parliament, before the electorate is fully mature and able to sustain its responsibilities.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
Does not the hon. Member agree that the same dangers arise if political power is transferred to a European minority?
§ Mr. Maitland
That is a fair point, and it is helpful to elucidate the issue. One point that emerged from the speech of the hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs was this. We are talking about a progress towards, shall we say, full democracy. We have before us a project for what one might call a weighted democracy and a weighted franchise. It is, of course, evident that the small literate European minority has a very much greater power than the mass of the Africans around it. I imagine it is also true that they pay more taxes, but I do not know positively. But to say that they are using or are going to use that pawn or, indeed, have up to now used that pawn in a dictatorial fashion is a little ungenerous.
§ Several Hon. Members rose—
§ Mr. Maitland
I will gladly give way presently, but I should like to make the central point that I have in mind.
My difficulty in this subject is that it is to me largely an abstract one, because I do not have any close knowledge at first hand of the situation. Of course, we in Scotland have a very considerable and widespread book knowledge of Central Africa, because, as everybody knows, the kirk of Scotland is deeply involved in missionary work in Nyasaland. My own family was somewhat involved in the Universities' Mission to Central Africa, but my knowledge of these matters is, I must confess, secondhand, and that is why I would gladly give way to experts at the appropriate times.
But looking at the matter in a rather abstract and distant fashion, and studying the problem of the kind of franchise that we can or should approve, having regard to the problems that will arise after 1960 about pledges and so on several things 654 stand out in my mind, looking at the scene from this distance. There seem to be three or four different poles of political activity in the African continent, or at any rate in the territories within the Commonwealth of Nations.
There is West Africa's progress in building up a series of virtually all-black African States. That is a progress which in general, from a distance and without close personal knowledge, I hail. Although I have made some allusions to events in Ghana and have likened the Prime Minister of Ghana to Cromwell and have talked about a Cromwellian attitude, I still would like to counter-balance that by saying that I am very glad that the great State of Ghana is going forward, according to the reports I receive from there, and I am very glad, for example, about the imaginative approach to international relations that Mr. Nkrumah is showing, and I am much stimulated about the project for a West African Federation and for a Ghana-Guinea Union. I believe that these are positive, constructive and valuable things and represent, speaking broadly, one pole of affairs in Africa.
Another pole is the whole approach to separateness on Apartheid in the Union of South Africa, which I am certain all of us as individuals from a distance tend, in principle, to deplore or at any rate dislike. I do. Never having been there and never having had to live alongside Africans, it does not lie in my mouth to preach to them, but we find it disagreeable to read about these things. The South African situation represents another quite distinct pole of political activity in the African continent.
There seems to be a third pole which, I believe, can be distinguished from the other two, namely, what I choose to call the somewhat paternalistic attitude in East Africa—a white paternalism. Before hon. Members jump up and interrupt me, as I am sure they are itching to do, may I say that a number of my family spent a great part of their working lives as civil servants in East Africa and, therefore, although I am speaking at second hand, I am rather impressed by their integrity and their genuine fatherly attitude to Africans around them. Whether it is enlightened is another matter, but I think that their motives are sound.
655 If there are those three poles—the West African States heading towards West African federation, the separateness in the Union of South Africa which many of us find disagreeable, and the white paternalism in East Africa—we find in Central Africa something different—a self-conscious effort at partnership. I believe that challenges about sincerity or insincerity, of hypocrisy and the like do not belong to our debates in this House and normally we forswear them. One of the features of our Parliamentary life is that we do not challenge each other's motives, although we may tear each other apart on matters of judgment. Therefore, when one speaks of the effort toward partnership in the Central African Federation, I do not believe that it lies in our mouths here to challenge the sincerity of purpose of the people who speak about partnership. We must take it as it stands and see how it works out.
It is with regard to those four distinct poles of political activity in Africa that I find myself entirely in sympathy with the point made by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan). He said, in effect, that the decision about Africa will probably be made in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. I believe that he is quite right, and I believe that that is fundamentally why we are so concerned about the matter and why our debates perhaps lack a good deal of passion. We do not want to stir each other up; we want instead to give the best thought we can to it and to operate as a real council of State. If that is the case, if the reconciliation, if one likes, of these four poles of political activity in Africa has to be in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, then I take it that essentially the pledges given in this House, endorsed and accepted by this House and which this House has resolved on both sides to see honoured, mean that we have to be sure that there is real fairness for the African. I do not mean fairness in quantitative terms, but in real terms. Secondly, we mean by those pledges that we require a sense of balance at what seems to be the fulcrum of the African tension.
That is why I ask this question. Is Parliament—are we on both sides of the House and both sides of the Gangway—making sure that our own Executive is holding this balance or at least doing 656 its best to hold this balance truly and wisely?
In asking that question, I am again looking at the scene from a distance and concerned about two opposite dangers. One of these is the danger of pressing the Europeans too far and too brutally from Whitehall. There is a long story of European settlers and of colonists from the United Kingdom going overseas, feeling that they are up against tough jobs, perhaps not showing great political wisdom, but developing a country and bitterly resenting the pressures and the preachments that come from Whitehall—as we in Scotland can know how to resent them. None of us will deny that that mood exists among some of our colonists oversea. If we have it up in my country in Scotland, let us think how much more our people have it out in Nyasaland, Tanganyika or elsewhere.
Therefore, I am alarmed at the prospect of the white people getting pressed to exasperation. There is plenty of talk going on, I understand, about secession from the Federation to join the Union. It may be that that is wild talk and premature, but I felt that there was more than a whiff of it in a letter I read only the other day in the Daily Telegraph, which I take leave to quote briefly. It said:If British opinion is to allow the settlers alone"—we have not said that—to decide how Africans should live and whether they should receive the vote, we may as well say goodbye now to the ideal of a multi-racial Commonwealth.But we are not saying that—at least, I hope not. I am not aware of anybody responsible saying it. We are not wanting the white settlers alone to decide it. If we talk in that way, however, it merely stirs up tension and possibly provokes the very thing we want to avoid.
§ Mr. Maitland
It is being reciprocated here and it bounces back like a tennis ball, as the hon. Member well knows.
I thought that some of the points made by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East were perhaps not entirely correct. I am alluding to his arguments against the new franchise as being inadequate on a whole number of points. The hon. 657 Member made what I will call the broad quantitative point about one man, one vote. He did it very well and at length, but it can be summed up in that phrase. It is a point which must be countered by the other question of whether to recognise the principle of one man, one vote when many of the people have not the least idea what they are voting about.
When the hon. Member says, as he did in his speech, that these people are apathetic, that they do not want federation and that was why they did not register, that is not an altogether sound counter-argument either. I can only thaw the analogy—but it is a useful one because the people concerned are largely Africans by origin—of the West Indies Federation. I was in the West Indies Federation at the time of the first federal elections. There was certainly no white domination. Yet the proportion of the electorate to go to the poll was something like 35 per cent. There was all the apparatus of publicity and the rest to build it up. The people all knew what it was about. At least, they had had primary education. The standards are relatively higher in the West Indies Federation than in Central Africa, but nevertheless there was this apparent apathy. The reason was that it was something they could not understand. If that is the case in a country which has had rather more extensive education than, say, Nyasaland or Northern Rhodesia, it is a little false to suggest that the principle of one man, one vote should apply there and that the apathy at the federal elections was due to a positive desire to boycott or a positive mistrust of the whole operation. It was if known.
§ Mr. Callaghan
We do not need to go as far as the West Indian Federation. In Uganda, where there have recently been elections and the boundaries are much closer to Northern Rhodesia, there was a poll of 85 per cent. because the people felt that they were participating in something which really belonged to them and in which they had confidence.
§ Mr. Maitland
The only answer I can make is that all generalisations are wrong, including this one, and Africa is not the same in one place as in another. Perhaps, however, we are both making debating points and I had better let it go at that. I am obliged to the hon. Member for 658 correcting me, as I am always willing to be corrected, in good faith.
Another point which the hon. Member made and to some extent laboured was the question of the size of the constituencies. We can understand that it does not take the hon. Member long to get round his constituency in Cardiff, but some of my hon. Friends who represent great tracts of ground in Scotland find that it takes a lot of time to get round. The argument upon size and area is not altogther valid anyway, and less still if we have regard to the tempo of Parliamentary life in Central Africa and the tempo of Parliamentary life here. Does the hon. Member suggest that members out there have to attend the same number of bunfights that we do or that they have to hold "surgeries" and the rest? No, of course not. This business about the enormous area to be represented is not a sound argument.
The point that the hon. Member made about the chiefs has already been answered, although he may not have been present at the time, by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, who pointed out that it is a matter of consulting the chiefs in council. It is not a question of going round and trying to collect a lot of signatures from people dispersed all, over the country. It is a matter, of the chiefs in council, and that was made clear by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State while the hon. Member was out of the Chamber.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
The hon. Member has got it quite wrong. The chiefs will be allowed to give their signatures in the presence of a witness officially appointed In the case of there being any dispute according to an intervention by the Secretary of State during an earlier speech, there will be an appeal to the chiefs in council. Initially, however, authority will be given by a chief with a witness officially appointed.
§ Mr. Maitland
I am obliged to the hon. Member. The point remains, however, that even though a number of motor cars may be required to go around and get the signatures, ultimately it is a question of an appeal to the chiefs in council.
What fortifies me in my attitude to this question is a document I received the other day from the Scottish Council 659 for African Questions. It is a knowledge-able body with a considerable membership of people who have had personal experience of work in Africa. The Council sent me a resolution saying:The Council welcomes…the introduction of at least two Africans in the Executive Council and the first step towards a common roll in Northern Rhodesia…".In fairness, I must say that the resolution goes on to join hon. Members opposite in regrettingthat the Secretary of State has thought it necessary to include ratification of candidates by chiefs…It seems to me, however, that we are really only arguing about the mechanics, whether it will be physically possible to get the chiefs together, and so on, and not about the principle. Surely, in a society which has recently been patriarchal, there is something to be said for making sure that the man who is to be a spokesman publicly under the new regime should have some kind of endorsement from the traditional leaders of his country.
But rather than take up much more of the time of the House, I should like to go back to a point made by the hon. Member for Wednesbury when he spoke about Nyasaland and we were thinking of the advanve that has come from it. My hon. Friend the Member for Essex, South-East (Mr. Braine) made the point that under federation Nyasaland had progressed very considerably. The answer was, "Yes, but how much of that has gone to the people?" It is not very easy to sort out, but I notice that the national income of the Federation as a whole has risen from £236 million in 1957 to £326 million in 1958. On current account alone, Nyasaland is £3 million a year better off as a result of federation. About £4½ million were spent out of revenue and capital accounts on Government service in 1952, whereas in the current year the figure is £12 million.
Nyasaland has benefited by, as it were, contracting out or being contracted out from the Congo Basin Treaties, and other economic advantages have sprung from federation as well. When we come back, as we must in this debate, to the democracy which we want to see in Central Africa, we must take account of 660 the fact that it is one thing to erect a Parliamentary façade but it is quite another to build a modern State with all the apparatus of economic development that goes with it.
When we consider this matter we are surely not looking at a single debate about the slogan of one man, one vote. We are looking at the whole complex that builds up and is the fabric of modern democracy. It is not simply the £, or voting; it is also trade unions and many other things which are part and parcel of a modern State and which are possible only on a fairly wide economic basis.
One reason why we have to go carefully about this is that if we say in the House things which have the effect of dividing opinion in Northern Rhodesia, instead of uniting it, of encouraging criticism of the federal project rather than encouraging people to rally behind it, we may well tend to scare away capital and the means of development, upon which in the end the full universal franchise which we all want will depend for its stability and success.
I am equally worried when I see some of the Europeans who likewise take an unduly negative line. I was disappointed to read that Mr. Garfield Todd, as well as Sir Roy Welensky, were talking about the two Africans in the Executive Council as being a kind of "colour bar in reverse". I am worried just as much that unwise things will be said incautiously by the Europeans out there as by ourselves in respect of Africans.
If we do not seek in the House to reach the highest common factor of agreement, we shall be helping to set aside and to weaken a Federation which I believe is indeed not the last but the best hope in Africa. That is why I believe that we are wise and responsible if we give our support to Her Majesty's Government now in their proposals.
I am not arguing, and I would not claim the knowledge with which to argue, that these proposals are perfect, or even that they are very good, but they are the product of very considerable thought and discussion with the best people on the spot. I do not believe that they correspond to some evil white ambition simply to establish a sort of dictatorship. I believe, rather, that they represent a courageous effort to hold the balance, 661 without which there is indeed the danger that these four poles of Africa will fly apart.
§ 8.25 p.m.
§ Mr. G. A. Pargiter (Southall)
The hon. Member for Lanark (Mr. Patrick Maitland) said that this was a simple system of suffrage. If it is, God save me from a simple system.
§ Mr. Patrick Maitland
I said that the British system, to which my hon. Friend the Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Malcolm MacPherson) referred, was simple. No, by contrast this African system is very complicated.
§ Mr. Pargiter
I am sorry if I misunderstood the hon. Member, because I would regard universal adult suffrage as the only simple system that I know. Whether this is the appropriate time to introduce such a system in this case is a matter for discussion, but let us get out of our minds any idea that there is anything simple about this proposed system.
It is unfortunate that these or any other proposals will be judged by the Africans on the basis of whether or not they will mean that ultimately power will rest with the majority of the people, whereas the white minority will judge the proposals by reference to whether power will be taken away from them. As I understand it, neither side in Northern Rhodesia is agreed on these proposals, and the Secretary of State, therefore, has decided that the proposals must go through. He says, "I do not agree with either side, but this is what it will be, because I consider that the proposals are reasonable."
Politically, that may be the right thing to do, but the important and underlying fact in connection with this or any other system of suffrage in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland is not whether there will be five or six Africans or more sitting in the Legislative Assembly, or a certain number of Africans sitting in the Federal Parliament. These proposals will he judged by the ultimate effect upon the people themselves.
The Africans want proposals, not in terms of the number of people in the Legislative Assembly or elsewhere, but in terms of where the real power rests. When we think in those terms we must turn our minds to some statements made not many weeks ago in connection with 662 the election, when the Government Party were outdoing the Dominion Party in demands that they would make on this Parliament in 1960. No proposals of any value at all will be acceptable to the African population under this umbrella, as they see it at present, if there is a possibility of power being handed over in terms of full Dominion status to the Federation in 1960, I think it would give federation a much greater chance to survive—and it is becoming now a question of survival—if the Government said emphatically that there can be no question of Dominion status in 1960.
Even if these proposals were to lead to a much wider franchise, the African population would ask what guarantee they would have about what would happen under Dominion status. We would say. of course, that we would include entrenched clauses. Well, we all know what happened to the entrenched clauses in South Africa. They have gone with the wind, and, in exactly the same way, if a party in power in that Dominion though: fit, any entrenched clauses would also go the same way. We must have regard to that basic factor in considering African opinion about any proposals we put forward. These proposals can be offered as an advance because they start from virtually nothing, and so anything is an advance for African suffrage; but does I represent any advance from the point of view of real power?
When we think in these terms, I am reminded of two Questions I had down for today, the Answers to which I have here. They are significant. In one Question I asked what was the position with regard to African apprenticeship in the mining industry in Northern Rhodesia, and also what opportunities there were on a multiracial basis. The Answer I received was that since June there have been opportunities for African apprenticeship in the mining industry, but to date no African has been appointed. When I went on to ask what opportunities for multi-racial training there are, I was told that there are no opportunities for the multi-racial training of apprentices.
Can one imagine Africans being trained for the mining industry unless there is multi-racial apprenticeship? How can they be trained? The answer is that they will not be trained. The Africans know 663 it. Basically they know these things will not happen, and basically they will always be suspicious of everything we do. It is not what we put on paper that matters, it is how we behave—how the white people who are in Africa behave—that really matters. I cannot help thinking that this is one of the things that make them believe that, when we talk here about the advancement of Africans, we are talking with our tongues in our cheeks.
There are proposals to federalise European agriculture in Nyasaland. I do not know whether there are any powers under the Constitution to do that, but I find that the Governor is to discuss this question with the federal authorities. How does this appear to Africans in Nyasaland? What is the object behind federalising agriculture if it is not eventually to strengthen the position of the white minority in Nyasaland? It might be a good thing to do, but it does not appear so to the average African. These are important factors and, for these reasons, these constitutional changes are unlikely to be acceptable.
Again, for the first time this year the federal forces undertook their manœuvres not any longer in Southern Rhodesia but in Nyasaland. There is nothing much in this. They are in the Federation, but Nyasaland is regarded as a possible trouble spot and there might be a certain prescience in exercising the troops in that country. At least, that is how it would appear to the African people. The intention may have been innocent, but I should have thought that, with the tension there is, the last thing the Federal Government ought to he doing is to create any additional suspicions.
The fact remains that the suspicions are there. We were all asked at the time of our visit, "If Ghana can have self-government, why cannot Rhodesia, with its long record of progressive government?" It depends what is meant by the phrase "progressive government". It is difficult to get these people to see that there is a great difference between an area with a white dominant minority in a vast African country, and another area which has never been subject to white dominion.
There were troubles in Ghana. It was said that certain of the Europeans were inclined to give derisory smiles and to 664 say, "This is what you get for handing power over to the native people", and not being particularly sorry because those troubles were occurring. These are the people who are seeking power in Central Africa. One cannot wonder that the Africans are suspicious. One cannot wonder that, whatever methods of franchise are adopted, they will be suspicious until they are certain that a great measure of progress has been made about African franchise and that there can be no question of more power being handed over to the white people who at present rule in the Federation.
If it were not bedevilled with talk of possible Dominion status in 1960, federation would still stand a chance of success. Provided that it is multi-racial, federation is the right course. It is not right that Nyasaland should be hived oft as the poor relation with few resources, nor that that should happen to Northern Rhodesia. As a conception, federation is a good idea. It should be encouraged, but it can be encouraged only by a much greater and more progressive movement towards handing over more power to the African people and a clear understanding that they will not be subject to the domination of a white minority, and that by the time it is appropriate to discuss Dominion status, there will be at least a sufficient number of Africans to exercise a dominant vote on whether Dominion status should be attained.
The Government should regard these proposals as merely an interim in the context of the present troubles in Central Africa. In that context, the proposals do not matter so much and they can be seen as some progress on the lines along which development takes place. Whatever Sir Roy Welensky said to the Secretary of State during his recent visit, when he discussed the future of the Federation, we should make it perfectly clear that no more power will be handed over to the Federation until we are satisfied that there is more progress towards equality between white and coloured—and I mean "coloured" in every sense.
If we can do that, the Africans may see themselves progressing faster than is now the case and they might then be prepared to play a much more active par than they are likely to do with the present proposals. It must be appreciated that from time to time we shall be faced with the fact that the Africans have found the 665 power of the boycott. They have not always used it wisely, but they have recognised its power.
We can all agree that there will be no ultimate solution to these problems unless the Africans are brought into it. If they use the power of the boycott, decisions reached as a result of elections in which Africans have not taken part will have no validity whatever. It is highly desirable that we should give some stability to this country, and that will be obtained only if the Africans can move forward with a degree of security in the future, ultimately to take their proper place in the government of their own country.
§ 8.38 p.m.
§ Sir Archer Baldwin (Leominster)
The hon. Member for Southall (Mr. Pargiter) compared South Africa with what we are now proposing for the newly formed Constitution of Northern Rhodesia.
§ Mr. Pargiter
I am sorry if I did not make myself clear. I said that if there were any question of handing over Dominion status, whatever might be said about entrenched clauses and things of that kind, entrenched clauses would possibly go the same way in this case as they had in South Africa.
§ Sir A. Baldwin
I am sorry that I did not follow what the hon. Member was saying.
I want to emphasise a point made in a letter to The Times this morning. It is signed by Laura Grimond—I do not know whether she is Miss, or Mrs., or whether the lady has any connection with the Leader of the Liberal Party. She said:The obligations of Protectorate status and trusteeship necessitate the specific inclusion of Africans in the Legislature until the franchise is broadened to give them a more equal share in the choice of all representatives.The letter comes from the Africa Bureau.
That is exactly what we are proposing in this Constitution. We do not agree with what was done in South Africa. In that case, instead of waiting for a steady evolution control was handed over too rapidly—I believe by the Liberal Party—with the result that we had apartheid. It is to avoid any chance of apartheid in Central Africa that we are taking these steady and slow steps in this Constitution. To say that the suggestions being made for a reform of the Constitution are not 666 improving the position of the African is just nonsense. At present, there are four Africans in the Legislature, and we are proposing that there shall be eight. That is an immediate advance of 100 per cent., and that is making a very great contribution to the improvement of the position of the African in Northern Rhodesia.
During the last century Britain and other European countries went in for colonialism. In the twentieth century colonialism is quietly going out, and in the early part of the century Canada, New Zealand and Australia have evolved from Colonial Territories into great independent countries. That was done by a steady evolution, and we want to do the same thing for the countries that we are talking about today.
What the House must decide is the pace at which we shall give the African more representation in his own country. It is no good trying to give illiterate and uneducated Africans a universal vote. Of all the nonsense that I have heard today the idea that we should give them universal suffrage is the greatest, and I am sorry that any hon. Member can be so unrealistic—
§ Mr. A. G. Bottomley (Rochester and Chatham)
I always listen with interest to what the hon. Member says. Would he apply his remarks to Jamaica, to whom we gave universal suffrage although the inhabitants were illiterate?
§ Sir A. Baldwin
The difference between Ghana, Jamaica and some other countries to whom we have given a greater or lesser degree of self-determination is that they are not multi-racial societies. We are now talking about a country which we want to build up on a multi-racial basis, and if we attempt to drive the Europeans out of Northern Rhodesia it will be a sad day not only for them but even more so for the Africans.
I am sorry that certain statements have been made tonight, particularly by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), whose vicious attack upon a liberal-minded man, Sir Roy Welensky, drove him away from the House, where he had been listening to the debate. I am sorry about that because we all have a great respect for Sir Roy Welensky, and we know what he has done in following in the footsteps of that other great Rhodesian, Lord Malvern I fear 667 that Sir Roy will go back with a very poor opinion of this House.
Much criticism has been made of the common roll. A decision had to be made between a common roll and a communal roll, and I am sure that the Government's decision for a common roll was the right one. The idea of a qualified vote is an excellent way of giving the vote eventually to many more Africans. At present, we have two standards, and it is right that there should be two standards. It will create in the man with the qualified vote today the ambition to get on to the ordinary voters' list, and he will do all he can to reach that status.
I was surprised when the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East quoted a figure of about 7,000 Africans on the qualified voting roll as against about 8,000 on the ordinary roll. When I asked how many of the voters on that roll were special and how many were ordinary he said that I ought to read the White Paper. I wanted the hon. Member to say that all the 7,000 voters were, in fact, not fully qualified voters. Therefore, it is quite right that their vote should be devalued to make it fair compared with the European vote. Obviously, it is unfair to make a European pass certain standards before he can obtain a vote and do something less in the case of the Africans.
Until all the Africans can qualify as ordinary voters, as they will do eventually, this arrangement of a qualified and an ordinary vote is an excellent way of achieving fairness.
§ Sir A. Baldwin
If the present practice continues, there will be a good chance of bloodshed in Central Africa. Let us go on quietly in the way we are proposing and as we have been doing for many years. The difference between hon. Members on this side of the House and hon. Members opposite is that hon. Members opposite think that the only advance which Africans desire is political advance. I agree with Lord Malvern who, some years ago, when he was Sir Godfrey Huggins, said, "I am bringing my Africans to understand"—
§ Sir A. Baldwin
—to understand that they must prove themselves economically before they advanced politically. That he did, and when I visited the country before federation, the relationship between the Africans and Europeans in Southern Rhodesia was excellent. Today, we are trying to disturb the whole arrangement which has been built up among those people.
There is one way in which the African will qualify for an ordinary vote and that is by an improvement in his education. We have made great strides in that direction. I do not know the present figures for Northern Rhodesia, but the figures for Nyasaland and Southern Rhodesia are outstanding. In Southern Rhodesia there are 10,500 African teachers. How many were there twenty-five years ago? They reach a maximum salary of over £1,000 a year and that must be a great advance. There are three African education officers in Nyasaland who receive a salary of £1,300 a year and that is the sort of thing which we consider should be encouraged.
The ordinary African in Central Africa should receive his education in that country. I do not agree with the idea of a few Africans being brought to this country to spend three years in a university and then for them to go back to Africa with the sole idea of dominating their fellow Africans. To me, education means a universal education, particularly for the women.
I am sorry that we were unable today to hear a speech from Mr. Stanley Evans, who was the former Member of Parliament for Wednesbury. He would have made a valuable contribution to this debate because he had a robust, sensible and common-sense outlook. He was a fellow delegate with me on a visit to the territories before federation was agreed to, and I should have been glad to listen to what he would have had to say had he been able to take part in this debate.
A great deal has been said about holding back the African workers in the mines and on the railways. I agree that that is happening, but it is the fault of the European Mineworkers' Union. It has been suggested that we should interfere with 669 the union in that country. I wonder what would be said if we started to interfere with trade unions in this country. It is a matter which must be dealt with, but it must be dealt with by the trade unions in Africa.
Times were rather bad when I was in Africa and I remember a meeting of mine owners who told us about the difficulties which mine owners were experiencing with their unions. He said that if they continued to try to hold down the Africans there would be bloodshed in the Copperbelt. That is what was happening there. It was not the European settlers who were holding these people down; it was the trade unions. The same applies to the railways. They will not allow the ordinary Africans to advance on the railways. We have to give the African a greater chance in life, a chance not based on the colour of his skin.
When I was out there I said to some of the Europeans, "If you have no confidence in being able to compete with the Africans, then you ought to leave the country and go to England, where there is a Welfare State and you can get something for nothing." This is something which has to be tackled promptly, otherwise there will be a great deal of trouble in Central Africa. I speak as one with a great affection for the African and the European in Central and East Africa. I know quite well that if we do not interfere with them and we let them advance to equality they will remain a happy country because they have made great advances in education and other ways during the last forty or fifty years. If we in this country interfere too much I shall be very sorry to think of what the eventual outcome will be.
§ 8.51 p.m.
§ Mr. A. G. Bottomley (Rochester and Chatham)
I understand that the hon. Member for Leominster (Sir A. Baldwin) said that Sir Roy Welensky had left the House offended by what had been said during the course of the debate. I should have thought that Sir Roy would hardly be offended by anything that had been said today, they being so gentlemanly compared with his own remarks. I should like to quote what was reported in the Observer on Sunday, 9th November. The report referred to a meeting which Sir Roy was addressing and he is reported as saying: 670'…'the fairly large proportion of the people of the Federation who look over the shoulders of the Federal Government to a certain element that sits in the House of Commons—an element that always has been prepared to give comfort to Britain's enemies. If we are going to build up a great State in Africa, that cannot continue—I am going to stop it.'The report goes on to say that he was cheered by 700 white settlers, but thata hundred curious Africans at the back of the hall were silent.I say to Sir Roy that we shall do all possible to stop Dominion status if this is the kind of rule to be carried out at the expense of the overwhelming masses of these British subjects and British-protected persons for whom we have a responsibility.
§ Mr. Bottomley
My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) began his speech by putting, clearly and concisely, many searching questions and I hope that the Under-Secretary will reply to them. For the sake of brevity and to give him more time, because I understand that he wants a litle longer time tonight, I will not repeat those questions but leave him to answer them.
I think that the Colonial Secretary lacked his usual zest and confidence this afternoon. I know that he was suffering from a slight infection of the throat, but I think that if the truth wore told he and his Department had not their hearts in the proposals contained in the Command Paper now before us. All are agreed that this Constitution determines the make-up of the Northern Rhodesian delegation to attend the Federal Conference in 1960. I do not think that any independently-minded person will say that the Africans have fair representation in the Legislative Council under these proposals. There are to be 22 elected members, six official and two nominated; and yet of this number, only eight are to be Africans. There are to be two African ministers.
I took careful note of what the Secretary of State said. These Ministers are to be appointed by the Governor after consultation with the leader of the majority party. Does this mean that an African 671 cannot be appointed without the white political majority agreeing to his appointment?
§ Mr. Bottomley
I know, but after the leader of the majority party has had his say it will be a very brave Governor who flouts his wishes completely. Time will tell.
The Colonial Secretary said that if the claim to parity were conceded this would mean a greater struggle for power. Does he think that the struggle for power would be so intense under those conditions as it will be now, when the majority of Africans—the moderate Africans and those who do not share the more moderate opinions of their colleagues—are to combine? They will put on the pressure, and the struggle for power will be much greater than it would have been if there had been parity and if many Africans had been given responsibility, jobs to do and a share in the administration.
I understand that no group of any race supports the proposals contained in the White Paper. The African Congress certainly opposes it, as do the other African organisations they are unanimous in this respect. I think that the proposals are made to ensure a European domination. Of course, they are made to appear as an inter-racial democracy, but I make the accusation that there has been some gerrymandering. I prove that by quoting the way in which the constituencies have been arranged. They have been arranged to ensure that the African elected representatives come from the rural areas.
Two-thirds of the chiefs must give their support before a candidate can stand for election. Most of the progressive chiefs have been removed, and we cannot lose sight of the fact that the chiefs now in power are civil servants, and to this extent there is not the same freedom to give opportunities to a candidate to stand for election as if they were completely traditional chiefs in the accepted sense which the Colonial Secretary mentioned in his speech. The Constitution gives less opportunity for the vocal and more politically conscious African in the townships to stand for election, and to this 672 extent I think that there has been gerry-mandering even in providing for the election of candidates to the Legislative Council.
The Governor of Rhodesia said that he wants a system of government which will give confidence, which will rest on consent, which does not imply domination of any one race over another and which, in the light of events, will remain durable. These are admirable sentiments which we can all share, but the Government does not rest on consent. The vast majority of the African population will not be represented on the Executive or the Legislative Council. Both of them will be dominated by Europeans. The system perpetuates European domination in the Assembly.
Many Europeans in the territory are only temporary settlers, but both they and those of a more permanent character were aware when they entered Northern Rhodesia, or should have been aware, of the solemn promises made to the Africans that under no circumstances would they be transferred to the political control of a European minority. There are restrictions on the potential African voter, and we have been told this afternoon how complicated these proposals are.
My hon. Friends—and hon. Members opposite—have admitted how complicated the proposals are. If it is difficult for hon. Members to understand, how much more difficult is it for Africans to understand a White Paper which, I am told, is very difficult to translate into an African language? So these poor souls have presented to them a document difficult for them to understand for that reason, and there are other restrictions that make it difficult for them to get the vote.
These restrictions go further than anything that we have ever done in this House. In the whole of our political history we have never said that it would be necessary for a person to be able to complete in English, without assistance, a form making application to vote, yet this is what we are putting on the Africans in Northern Rhodesia.
For the following particulars I am indebted to my right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand). He told me that Professor Douglas Cole once said that a Fabian meeting, about forty years ago, was contemplating electing the executive by proportional representation. One delegate 673 failed to fill in his paper correctly. He went up a second time and, again, was wrong. That gentleman was Lord Pass-field, then Sidney Webb, if such a matter was difficult for him to comprehend, we can well imagine the position of the poor African faced with this necessity of writing in English, and of being able to fill in all the necessary details in order to have the right to vote.
I intervened when the hon. Member for Leominster said that the Africans were illiterate and uneducated, and should not, therefore, have the vote. Let us learn from experience. In the last war, we gave the Jamaicans universal adult suffrage, even though they were illiterate, and even though they were ignorant. That experiment worked, and we now have a plural society, and a community that really belongs to the British Commonwealth of Nations—something that we all desire.
We want to give to the Central Africans the same advantage that we gave to the Jamaicans, but the Governor of Northern Rhodesia has said that he does not want the vote to be given to those who have not given to the country its wealth and welfare and cannot exercise the vote with judgment and public spirit.
What does the White Paper do? What it does not do is to make provision for an African miner or for an African agricultural worker, but would anybody deny that those workers contribute to the wealth of the country? They do, and many of those Africans whom we have met here exercise a judgment and a public spirit equal to that of any European.
The constitutional proposals blow cold wind on the hopes of African moderate opinion. I believe that, as presented, the Constitution strengthens federalisation, the policy followed by the Government since the Central African Council was ended. My right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones) had that Council in mind as a means of bringing about economic federation, with great benefits to the community.
Southern Rhodesia saw the dangers of this. That Council was destroyed and, from them on, there was a political federation moving forward more strongly than other causes that were justified, such as economic development. As a result 674 of federation, the Federal Government wanted still further to strengthen their position, and, therefore, introduced amending legislation resulting in the Constitutional Amendment Act and the Franchise Act.
The African Affairs Board came into being to safeguard the interests of Africans. It had one European and one African representative from each of the three territories, with Sir John Moffatt, whom we all accept as an able and impartial person, as chairman. He was disgusted at the action of the Government. saying thatThe African peoples were told at meeting after meeting of the safeguards which the Constitution contained for them. We pledged our word.Then we let the Africans down by going against not only their wishes, but the wishes of those responsible for their protection. In my opinion, the Government sold the pass as far back as April. 1957 It was then that they told the Federal Prime Minister that the United Kingdom would agree to entrust the Federation with greater responsibility, and certain other powers were given to it, such as direct access to the Sovereign on particular matters.
It was agreed that the Civil Service in the Federation should be recruited and locally based. What was the most dangerous thing? It was to suggest a review in 1960 as a further means of constitutional advance, saying that it would enable the Federation to become eligible for membership of the Commonwealth. The Federal Prime Minister has just been here, fortified, as he says, in that demand to obtain full membership of the Commonwealth, and I quote his words:I regard the Election result as a clear indication by the voters of the Federation that they wish to see more progress towards early independence.Who are the voters? There is a population of 7 million Africans and 300,000 Europeans. On the general roll of voters, only 4 per cent. are non-Europeans. The mass of the Africans refused even to register to vote. Only 692 of them, in fact, took the trouble to do so, although I do not think that they all voted. The Africans say that they are opposed to federation because of the political power that is concentrated in the hands of the small European population before the Africans have reached a stage of political 675 experience to hold their own. Now we make it more or less impossible for them to be adequately represented.
I ask whether we can leave the destiny of the Africans to this small minority? Let us not forget that the total European population in the Federation is less than that of a large-sized English town. As a matter of fact, on looking at the voting records, I find that the Prime Minister received fewer votes than I received when was first elected for a town council nearly thirty years ago. Is this the formidable victory? Is this the man who demands the leadership to which the Colonial Secretary referred this afternoon? We should be failing in our duty if we regarded this as a formidable election victory. It is far from it. He is the leader of a very small minority in a large country.
It is my belief—and it has been said on both sides of the House—that Sir Roy Welensky is a liberal-minded person, but not as liberal-minded as he used to be. I am sure that he would not take it amiss if I place him in the same category as the late Field Marshal Smuts. I remember going to the United Nations, where I was privileged to become friendly with him. He once said to me, "I want the advice of my revolutionary friend. I think that the Indians in South Africa ought to be represented in our Parliament. It would be very difficult to get an Indian to represent the Indians, because the white people would not stand for that, but I want to establish the principle, and, once the principle is established, from then on we could go ahead with an Indian to represent the Indians. But what has been the result? I have had an election in Natal and have lost votes, and the Indians say they will not have a white man to represent them at any cost. There have been riots, and some have been killed and many wounded."
I remember that I said to him that there are no degrees of a principle. I said, Stand on the principle," and, if he were alive today, he would, I am sure, be the first to admit that it was as a result of not following that principle that the Nationalists got into power and made it possible for them to continue doing the disservice which they are doing to the British Commonwealth and probably to the whole of the Western world.
676 As a matter of fact, there is no difference indeed between the Dominion Party and the Federal Party. The reactionaries are getting control. They destroyed Garfield Todd, a liberal-minded man. Let Sir Roy Welensky reflect that he has taken over the leadership where a man of greater liberal outlook was pushed out because he wanted to advance too quickly. It is to the Garfield Todds and the liberal-minded men that we ought to give our support. They are there, and 600 voted for the Constitutional Party. I agree that is not a lot, but there is a hope in this reactionary area when, all told, 650 of these white colleagues of ours know that we must advance at the right rate if we are to save that part of the world for the kind of life in which we believe.
The Africans dislike intensely the way in which they are treated. Only last week, I met a clergyman home on leave from the territories. He said he was distressed at the way Europeans—not all, of course, but just the rather so-called hard-headed, reactionary few—treated the Africans. Before he left his last church service, he told me, one of his staunchest church members came to him and said, "I hate white men." The clergyman told me that in all the years he had been in the territory never had that been said to him before. He looked at the African and said, "I am a white man", but the African, he told me, just smiled.
That is the kind of atmosphere which is developing in this part of the world. Africans hate being called "boys" and "natives", or, to take the words the hon. Member for Leominster just now used in a possessive sense, "my Africans" and "our Africans". They are, after all, individuals in their own right. Many of them may be ignorant and illiterate, but that is no fault of theirs.
It would be wrong to dismiss the Africans as being without culture or tradition. Ancient civilisations existed in Africa long before our own. I suggest that Africans ought to be regarded as of a different culture rather than of an inferior culture. Moreover, there is the impact of Western civilisation upon them. There are African bishops, judges, doctors, journalists, craftsmen, technicians, and an African Prime Minister. Who will deny that all of these can hold their own with any holding similar positions in any other race?
677 Good relations must be established, and this depends upon mutual respect. In this country, we have our class differences. The professor and the dustman seldom meet. They have not much in common. But their sons may become doctors together, in which case they will discuss common problems. They may even become friends. They will live in the same kind of district and the same kind of house. Their children will go to the same kind of school. But if an African becomes a member of a profession or a craftsman, it is not only human nastiness which puts up the colour bar. The colour bar is used as a political and economical weapon.
Racialism can become a boomerang. There is a fear among white people of meeting racial equality, but I say to my friends in the Federation that the longer they go on not recognising the need for racial equality, the more will they ensure that a premium is put on rabble-rousing. Of course, racial equality does not mean equal pay for all. It does mean equal pay for equal work. It does not mean government by voodoo, but it does mean the sharing of leadership in politics among intelligent men regardless of pigmentation. We have a responsibility for these Africans in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. They are protected persons, and we cannot ignore our responsibilities.
The time has come for us to pause and think deeply on the trends now developing throughout the African continent. Africa has been the sleeping giant over the ages. During this century, the giant has begun to stir, chafing against the chains. He is now on the verge of full awakening. We in Britain may be treated as his friends or his enemies. This is still to be decided. Our actions tonight will greatly influence that decision.
The lifeline of democracy and Parliamentary forms is dangerously stretched in Asia and in Africa. I need hardly emphasise the importance of these two continents in our twentieth century world. We have seen quite recently in Pakistan, Burma, Indonesia and the Sudan—we hope only temporarily—the ending of Parliamentary democracy. We shall betray our responsibility as a world influence if we just shrug our shoulders at this development, telling ourselves that we have no responsibility.
678 Tonight, we have to consider our responsibilities to Central Africa in this wider context. What we really have to do is to discuss and decide in this House the character of the society which we aim to produce in the Central African Territories. We are by no means the only determining factor. Nevertheless, we have a major responsibility which we cannot shirk. After all, well over 6 million of the inhabitants of Central Africa are still in one degree or another under our protection. Do we want to see a Central African society recognising the individual rights and responsibilities regardless of race; or are we content to assist in creating an aristocratic society in which a small minority dominates the majority?
The decisions that we make on the Constitution which we are discussing will, in fact, determine this issue. We no longer have much direct influence on the policies of the Federal Government. We have, however, an unlimited responsibility for the political affairs of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. What we are determining tonight is not simply how those political affairs are to be ordered for the next few years; we are deciding two vital points.
First, as I said earlier, the character of the Northern Rhodesian delegation which will attend the 1960 conference on the future of the Federation. The apologists for federation, both here and in Central Africa, have always claimed that there was no way of measuring African opinion. Here is our opportunity to put the matter right. But are we to ensure that the views of the 2 million Africans are heard, or shall we allow them to be whittled down to a minimum? This is what will happen if we accept the Northern Rhodesian constitution tonight.
It is ridiculous to suggest that the 2 million African inhabitants of Northern Rhodesia can be adequately represented by only eight members. Even these members, as I have tried to show, will be in varying degrees subject to European influence. I emphasise once again that so long as there is the situation where the chiefs, two-thirds of whom must be responsible for allowing a candidate to go forward, are not free men in the accepted sense, it is obvious that there will not be a free and independent candidate. This is not, in my judgment, the way to ensure that the wishes of the inhabitants are met 679 so that their views will be fully represented at the federal conference which is to be held in 1960.
The second point to which I should like to refer is perhaps of even greater importance. Since the Federation was first mooted in 1951, there has been a steady loss of trust by the Africans of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland both in their white neighbours and, perhaps more important, in British faith. We must stem this trend and again take the initiative in leading those who trust in us towards a healthy friendly society. To do this, we have to show them that we believe in their right and capability to become full and equal citizens, taking a fully responsible position in the conduct of their own affairs.
There are already dangerous trends that can be seen in both territories and, indeed, throughout the whole of multiracial Africa. White racialism inevitably provokes black racialism. Some sections of the African communities have already despaired of the white man and are turning their faces against him. In South Africa for instance, in Tanganyika, in Kenya and in Uganda, which the Under-Secretary of State and I know so well, having been together on a Parliamentary mission to Kenya, as well as in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, people who call themselves Africanists have begun to agitate against those Africans who, like us, believe in the democratic way of life.
These Africans declare that Africa is for the Africans and that they want to get rid of the white man. This is understandable in places like South Africa, where the white man has imposed an absolute tyranny on the African population. But the danger which we have to face is that it is now spreading to other places where the final authority rests with us.
I suggest to the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations that this is an extremely dangerous development. It is caused when the white communities appear to try to hold on to their dominant power instead of holding out a genuine hand of friendship to the African and encouraging him to enter fully the political scene. When the Colonial Office seems to be supporting such a white policy, faith in Britain inevit 680 ably suffers. The African masses inevitably turn impatiently against those leaders who continue to preach democratic evolution.
We on this side condemn this racialist trend as completely among black racialists as among white. Condemnation, however, is not enough. We have to use our influence to ensure that the pace of African progress is sufficiently fast to convince the African that there is a future for him in the world of democracy. We on this side believe that we have made that case and that if the Government were doing their duty towards democracy they would support our Amendment.
§ 9.21 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. C. J. M. Alport)
I am sure my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary would wish me to start by saying that this debate has been not only of great interest but of great value to him in making the final decisions which he must make with regard to this problem.
I wish, however, to correct the impression given by the right hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mr. Bottomley) when he alleged that my right hon. Friend's heart was not in the contents of the White Paper. I assure all right hon. and hon. Members opposite that this proposal for Northern Rhodesia has, from the very beginning, received the closest and most careful personal consideration by my right hon. Friend. It is a matter to which he attaches the greatest importance, not only in its general principles but in its detail also.
We have had a number of speeches which have brought forward points of inquiry and criticism, and with many of which, even with the additional time which the right hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham has so courteously allowed me, I may not be able to deal; but I should like to try to cover as much ground as possible.
My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Darwen (Mr. Fletcher-Cooke) drew attention to the importance of framing our policy for territories in process of constitutional change in such a way as to ensure that all effort and attention is not paid to constitutional mechanism and franchises alone, but so that we may also develop within those 681 territories an adequate, informed, skilful civil service, drawn from the peoples of the territories themselves, which maintains the high standard of integrity we have always wished to obtain and have obtained from our public services overseas.
One of the first things which has happened, for instance, in the case of the Federation has been the reorganisation of the federal public service and the opening of its various ranks to Africans who, as a result, will be able to assist not only in the detailed work of the Administration but will also be able to develop full opportunities for rising to most responsible positions in that territory. That seems to me to he full evidence of the importance which not only my right hon. Friend in his responsibilities but the federal authorities also pay to the particular point which my hon. and learned Friend mentioned. I am sure that he is right in saying that in our experience of the Indian Empire the greatest of all the legacies we left behind at the time of the transference of power were those skilled men of great experience and high integrity who formed part of the Indian Civil Service during the latter days of the Raj.
My hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) asked me, among other things, whether it would be the duty of the Governor to consult the leaders of the majority party not only in the selection of the Executive Council members, but in deciding upon the selection for nomination of the two nominated members. The Secretary of State has confirmed that while it will be incumbent upon the Governor that he should undertake these consultations, discretion remains, as is always the case, with the Governor as to the eventual decision at which he will arrive.
My hon. Friend the Member for Essex, South-East (Mr. Braine), in what, if I may say so with respect, was a most excellent speech, drew attention to a point which is too often overlooked in our debates here, and particularly in speeches from hon. Members opposite, and that is the very real material advantages, economically and socially, which have already resulted from federation. In the circumstances of a country which has really a very long way to go in its political and economic development, we 682 would be totally wrong to leave out of account the important economic progress which the Federation has made since federation and which in the long run will provide the only firm basis for the political future of the country as a whole.
The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond), the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson), my hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice, the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) and, indeed, many other hon. Members questioned me about various aspects of the plan for a veto by the chiefs. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State—and I mention this in order to clear up a misunderstanding which I think is in the mind of the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse)—when asked if he would give his ideas as to what would be the relationship of the chiefs to their councils in this matter, gave this explanation: be said that if there were to be an affirmative decision by the chief in respect of a candidate, that would be signed and witnessed in the way set out in paragraph 52 of the Report. If it were to be a negative decision it was my right hon. Friend's view that the probability was that the chief, in those circumstances, would carry out his functions in what ho referred to as in foro publico, with the assistance of his councillors and advisers.
I was asked about the process of signing by the witnesses of the chief's decision. That is set out clearly in the paragraph to which I have already referred. The certificate needs to be signed in the presence of witnesses duly appointed by the Governor, and the character and nature of the witnesses will be, naturally, for his decision.
In reply to various other points raised in the debate, the best that I can do is to repeat the words which my right hon. Friend used in his speech when he said:I am looking into certain points which have arisen out of the representations which have been made to me and I will consider carefully any views on this subject which may be expressed in the course of this debate.My right hon. Friend has firmly undertaken to consider all the points raised. I know the importance which he attaches to this aspect of the proposals and in due course, having done so, he will make up his mind.
The hon. Member for Wednesbury repeated, if I may say so, the outrageous 683 speech—and I use "outrageous", which is a popular word with him—which he made on the last occasion that we debated these matters. He asked why British-protected persons should swear an oath of allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen. But it is incumbent upon British-protected persons to owe allegiance to the Queen. Therefore, there should be neither any difficulty nor any degree of reserve on their part in carrying through that profession.
I should like now to mention one or two other points. I am sorry this should be a catalogue of replies, but I have been asked a large number of questions. One was included by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East in his speech. He criticised the fact that there might not be sufficient time, despite the additional months for registration, to get the register in existence before the forthcoming election was held. It was precisely to give enough time for that register to be completed that my right hon. Friend felt it was necessary for him to advise Her Majesty the Queen on the issue of the first Order-in-Council. That would give a lapse of time of some five to six months which, although it may not be as much as those concerned with preparing the register would wish, I think would be adequate in the circumstances of Northern Rhodesia, realising that the numbers concerned are not as colossal as they are in the United Kingdom, for the purpose of compiling a register adequate for an election in February or March of next year.
Now I will turn to the main body of the remarks of the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East. I will quote his words as exactly as I can and as I put them down. The hon. Gentleman said there was a deep-seated difference between his party and our party which goes right to the heart of the problem. He added that the difference of principle this represents is fundamental. This is the second time we have debated these proposals. On the previous occasion when we discussed them we were bitterly assailed, perhaps more bitterly than today, by the party opposite. All sort of tough words were used, such as hypocrisy, scandalous, humbug, outrageous—[An HON. MEMBER: "And today."] We had most of them today, but they seemed to come from different quarters.
684 At the previous debate hon. Gentlemen opposite made it clear that it was a curtain-raiser for this one. The hon. Member for Rugby was frank enough to say that this was the beginning of a great campaign against Her Majesty's Government's policies in Central Africa. I think we can take it that what was said then, what has been said this afternoon, and no doubt what will be said if the campaign materialises, will arouse great expectations in the breasts of those African politicians who regard the party opposite as their spokesman here. They will assume that all the things which are said and promised and hinted at in the speeches from the other side of the House will be carried into practice immediately a Labour Government is returned to power.
I do not want in any way to discourage hon. Gentlemen opposite, but I think I would be right in saying that many of them are beginning to feel deep down in their hearts that there may not be a majority Labour Government for a very long time, if at all. But let us suppose, for the sake of argument here, that there was one next year or the year after.
I wonder what makes hon. Members think that in handling the constitutional development of the territories of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland they will be able to advance the African community at a quicker pace than my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and the present Administration. Let us consider what happened when hon. Members opposite were in power during those six long years of 1945–51.
The most significant constitutional advance in the eyes of the European community in Northern Rhodesia was made at the time of the so-called "gentlemen's agreement" negotiated by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield and Mr. Welensky, as he then was. By that agreement, the then Secretary of State accepted the principle that if the four unofficial members of the Executive Council of Northern Rhodesia were agreed upon an issue, the Governor would accept their advice, unless the matter were so grave as to warrant the use of his reserve powers, even against the numerically preponderant official element.
685 At that time, there was no African member of the Northern Rhodesian Executive Council, although one of the European members was entrusted with the representation of African interests. While we have listened to speech after speech from hon. Members opposite devoted to the importance of having Africans as representatives of the African community in both the Legislative and Executive Councils, I wonder whether hon. Members opposite realise that when their party was in power they were perfectly happy to allow the official majority to be overridden in all matters going before the Executive Council by a body of four unofficial members, all of whom were Europeans.
§ Mr. Creech Jones
The Under-Secretary has repeated a quite fallacious statement which he made in the hook which he wrote on this problem. I have corrected him before, and he should know better than to repeat the legend which he has just stated. He knows perfectly well that there was appointed a person who had the confidence of the Africans to represent African interests—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]— on the Executive Council. He did not tell the House that the convention which was reached was that any decision taken by the unofficial European members would be valid only in so far as the representative of African opinion endorsed it.
§ Mr. Alport
I said precisely that in the remarks I made before the right hon. Gentleman rose The point I am making is that hon. Members have been talking in terms of the representation of Africans by Africans, but that the right hon. Gentleman and the Government of which he was a member and the party opposite were perfectly prepared, seven years ago or thereabouts, to have the representation of Africans on the Executive Council undertaken by an unofficial European member, and were prepared to allow four Europeans to override the official majority, that is, the Colonial Office representatives.
§ Mr. Creech Jones rose—
§ Mr. Creech Jones
The Under-Secretary knows full well that the reserve powers of the Governor in respect of the decisions of the Executive were never 686 modified and therefore decisions reached by the Executive Council were subject to the Governor's consent.
§ Mr. Alport
I have said all that. It does not detract in any way from the point I made—and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will be good enough to read my speech—that European representation was good enough for the Africans when hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite were in power, but that it is not now.
The moral which I hope will be drawn from this in Africa is that the attitude of the party opposite in these matters, when in Opposition, is very different from their attitude when in power. In 1951, when the Socialist Government left office, the political development of Northern Rhodesia had reached the stage where there were only two Africans in the Legislative Council and none in the Executive Council of the territory. Yet, only seven years later they are complaining that a proposal which makes it probable that there will be ten Africans in the Legislative Council, and certain that there will be two in the Executive Council, does not represent sufficient constitutional progress for the African peoples of Northern Rhodesia.
It would be fair to say that when the right hon. Member for Wakefield and the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) resided at the Colonial Office and had to tackle these matters in their stark reality they realised that the true issue of statesmanship in dealing with a plural society was not the simple matter of providing one man with one vote, but the twin problems of assuring that the constitutional development of the territory proceeded in such a way as to ensure the emergence of effective Parliamentary institutions and, at the same time, maintaining a Government of stability and law and order.
The transference of power by the provision of a constitution based upon universal suffrage is the easiest exercise that any Government can undertake. What is difficult is to ensure that the constitution is worked and provides stable Government, with the ability to maintain law and order and to promote the progress of that country subsequently.
687 I want to quote from what Sir John Moffat said in the Federal Assembly in July of this year. Sir John Moffat has been referred to by the right hon. Gentleman as an able and impartial person. Let me make it clear that I do not necessarily endorse Sir John Moffat's views; nor, indeed, do I share his pessimism, because I believe that in the foreseeable future to which he refers—however far ahead it may be—we shall see success for the policy of partnership and the emergence of moderate and democratic influences among the African people, without which franchises and Parliamentary constitutions can have no meaning at all. Sir John Moffat referred tothe mathematical certainty that within a period which can be calculated with sufficient accuracy for all practical purposes the African peoples under our present electoral law"—that is, the franchise law—will be in a majority on the voters roll.He went on:It appears to me to be just plain stupid to try to brush this off by saying that it cannot happen in the foreseeable future because in the future which in general cannot be foreseen there are a few factors which can be told with absolute certainty, and this is one of them. Now it is possible that when that situation has been reached the African majority may be ardent and devoted democrats. It is possible, Mr. Speaker, but I do not believe it. It is possible, but the only evidence which I have available to me on which to base any judgment at present confirms my doubts in this matter. Until our African people cease to demonstrate that they are wholly subject to the extremist elements within their own society, any swing of power would be in effect a transfer of power to these extremist elements. As I have already indicated, that would mean the immediate death of democracy.The conclusion which I wish to draw from all this, and to which I hope my arguments have brought me, clearly is this: that if the party opposite were returned to power tomorrow—which they will not be—the speed at which they would wish to press forward with the political advancement of these two territories will at best be no greater than that which has been followed by my right hon. Friend, and, from the form which they have shown when they were in power, it might very well be considerably less.
§ Mr. Callaghan
The last thing which the hon. Gentleman or anyone else should try to do is to make this debate a competition between the parties as to 688 who is giving advance to which quickest. What we should like to do—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Not one hon. Gentleman opposite who is shouting has been listening to the debate or has heard my speech—not one.
I want to say to the Under-Secretary of State that we would like to hear from him whether the Government stand by the pledges given to the African people, and whether they will firmly resist any attempt to whittle away the powers of the Colonial Office in favour of Dominion status?
§ Mr. Alport
I hope that the hon. Gentleman will do me the courtesy of listening to the rest of my speech, during which I shall deal with those subjects, among others.
When the hon. Gentleman says that there has been no indication, no attempt or hint, by the party opposite that they are more in favour of African constitutional political progress than we are, it is frankly one of those statements which, when he reads it in cold print in HANSARD tomorrow, will make the hon. Gentleman believe that he must be dreaming—or that he was dreaming when he said it. We have not listened to the speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite during the five years in which this matter has been debated in this House without knowing perfectly well that they have put themselves forward as the champions of the African people, and the campaign to which the hon. Member for Rugby was referring—
§ Mr. J. Johnson rose—
§ Mr. Johnson
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it right for the hon. Gentleman to say that I said something when I have not even opened my mouth? I challenge the hon. Gentleman to produce the quotation from HANSARD to which he refers.
§ Mr. Alport
I am willing to show it to the hon. Gentleman. I looked it up carefully, and I can promise him that will show it to him. I will produce it.
§ Mr. Alport
On the last occasion when we debated federal franchise I remember perfectly well making a speech in which I said that I hoped hon. Gentlemen opposite would not vote against us on the Motion which was then being debated, because I believed that it was so much to the advantage of Africa and the United Kingdom that there should be some form of bipartisanship in colonial politics. What happened? Everyone laughed as though I was so naive that I did not understand the party opposite. The trouble is that I gave them too much credit for having a responsible attitude to colonial affairs, and I do not intend to make that mistake again.
Hon. Gentlemen have put forward criticisms regarding the proposals of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies and, as I said earlier, some of these criticisms have been constructive. They will be considered very carefully by my right hon. Friend. One point was raised by the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland. He said that the whole of the criticisms of my right hon. Friend's proposals would amount to the fact that they were not agreed by the Africans. I assume that he concluded from that that no constitutional progress could be justified or would be justifiable in this House unless it had been agreed by the Africans. But these proposals have not been agreed by the Europeans either. Therefore, I assume the hon. Gentleman would say that unless these proposals were agreed by the Africans and by the Europeans no constitutional progress could be made. The answer to that is simple: there would be no constitutional progress at all.
§ Mr. Grimond
In the right hon. Gentleman's White Paper it says that for general purposes it is essential that even if there is not agreement by the Africans at least it is necessary to carry the Africans with him. That, so far as I know, is just what this scheme has failed to do.
§ Mr. Alport
That is perfectly true; that was said in the White Paper. But what is vitally important, so far as the particular proposal which my right hon. Friend has put forward, is that they 690 should be practical, and there is no evidence that the hon. Gentleman can produce that the majority of those who are to take part in the election, when they have registered and cast their votes, are not in favour of these constitutional proposals as they stand.
I have no doubt at all that in Rhodesia there are Africans who are in favour of constitutional progress and development of this kind. This will not produce all that the Africans want, any more than it will produce all that the Europeans want, but it is a step in the direction which it is the policy of this Government to take, and I would have thought that in those circumstances there would have been no other way of ensuring that step was taken.
Turning to the question of franchise, the proposals of my right hon. Friend are based upon those which were accepted for the Federation as a result of the legislation passed earlier this year, although it is perfectly true that they are applied to the constituencies in a rather different way. It has been suggested that this form of qualitative franchise is unfair to the African community. We have had an opportunity of testing this in the light of practical experience.
In the federal election, which has just been completed, so far as my figures go, I think that about 1,700 Africans registered for a vote. It is alleged—and I put it no higher than that—that in Nyasaland at any rate strong pressures were brought to bear upon the African to boycott the election. If that is true, I think that most reasonable people would infer that the most influential Africans in Nyasaland are not interested in exercising their democratic rights and are concerned only with power. If it is not true, the only inference that a reasonable observer can draw is that only a handful of the most educated and the most responsible Africans are as yet prepared to undertake the obligations which fall in a Parliamentary democracy to the enfranchised citizen.
I have been challenged from time to time with regard to the estimates which gave in the House when we were discussing the Franchise Bill. The figure that I gave was 48,000. Frankly, I see no reason to depart from that figure, but I am prepared for the sake of the argument we have been hearing to accept the 691 figure in The Times and the Economist of 40,000.
Despite the energetic efforts made by the Federal Government—I have plenty of evidence of it—to encourage qualified Africans to register, only 1,700 of this total were prepared to take the trouble to do so. Parliamentary democracy does not spring ready born into full maturity like an Athene from the brain of Zeus. Indeed, we have seen that Parliamentary democracies, unless firmly rooted in the consciousness of the people, wither like desert flowers under the tropical sun.
As far as the Northern Rhodesian Constitution is concerned, we are, I think the whole House will agree, at an early stage in its constitutional development. It is a testing time not only for our ingenuity as constitution makers and for our statesmanship, it is equally a test for the potential African electorate. It is no good pretending, in our view at any rate, that a different or more extensive franchise might solve the political problems either of Northern Rhodesia or of the Federation if, as a result of unwillingness or intimidation, there is as yet so little indication that the general body of African voters are prepared to exercise the normal responsibilities inherent for the average citizen in a Parliamentary democracy there.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East asked me about 1960 and all that. The object of Article 99 of the Federal Constitution was to ensure that the five Governments concerned had an opportunity of considering such technical changes as from experience might appear to be desirable in order to ensure smooth working and to enable the Federation to go forward along the road towards full membership of the Commonwealth.
It was summed up in an announcement made on behalf of the United Kingdom and Federal Governments as a result of discussions held in London in 1957. We referred in the first place to the future conference and, secondly, we said:The purpose of this conference is to review the Constitution in the light of the
§ experience gained since the inception of federation and in addition to agree on the constitutional advances which may be made. In this latter context the conference will consider a programme for the attainment of such a status as would enable the Federation to become eligible for full membership of the Commonwealth."
§ These words represent the only two commitments into which the United Kingdom Government have entered. The United Kingdom Government will be but one of the five Governments represented at the Conference, the others being the Federal Government and the three territorial Governments.
§ The truth of the matter is that the experience of this Federation since it was formed has more than justified the expectations which we had before 1953 of this bold political experiment. In the history of all federations there has always been a period of adjustment in the relationship between the new central Government and its component parts. There have been such occasions, for instance, in Australia and elsewhere. Such controversies and friction have in some places reached a climax of bitterness, but in the end all this has been resolved in a way which has enabled these countries to achieve great status and to maintain the integrity of the federation.
§ I should like to make this clear: what we regard as being most remarkable about the Federation during the last five years has been not the extent and the seriousness of the friction which has been aroused but much more the smoothness with which the Federation has been able to embark on its career as a State, which we believe to have a tremendous future. Her Majesty's Government do not contemplate any possibility of amalgamation or secession in the future. We believe that the Federation has come to stay.
§ Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 296, Noes 238.697
|Division No.13]||AYES||[9.59 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William||Atkins, H. E.|
|Altken, W. T.||Arbuthnot, John||Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S)||Armstrong, C. W.||Baldwin, Sir Archer|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Ashton, H||Balniel, Lord|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Astor, Hon. J. J.||Barber, Anthony|
|Barlow, Sir John||Green, A.||McLean, Neil (Inverness)|
|Barter, John||Gresham Cooke, R.||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)|
|Batsford, Brian||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Macmillan, Maurice (Hallfax)|
|Beamish, Col. Tufton||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G..||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Gurden, Harold||Maddan, Martin|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W.(Horncastle)|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H.||Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Markham, Major Sir Frank|
|Bidgood, J. C.||Harrison, A. B. C (Maldon)||Marlowe, A. A. H.|
|Biggs-Davison, J. A.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E.|
|Bingham, R. M.||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)||Marshall, Douglas|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Mathew, R.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Harvie-Watt, Sir George||Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.|
|Black, C. W.||Hay, John||Mawby, R. L.|
|Body, R. F.||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.|
|Bosom, Sir Alfred||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Medlicott, Sir Frank|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.||Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Morrison, John (Salisbury)|
|Braine, B. R.||Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Nairn, D. L. S.|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Hill, John (S. Norfolk)||Neave, Airey|
|Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)||Hirst, Geoffrey||Nicholls, Harmar|
|Bryan, P.||Hobson, John (Warwick &Leam'gt'n)||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Hope, Lord John||Noble, Michael (Argyll)|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Hornby, R. P.||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A.(Saffron Walden)||Horobin, Sir Ian||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)|
|Campbell, Sir David||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. D.|
|Carry, Robert||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Howard, John (Teat)||Osborne, C.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hulf, N.)||Page, R. G.|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmith, W.)||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.||Partridge, E.|
|Cole, Norman||Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||Peel, W. J.|
|Cooke, Robert||Hulbert, Sir Norman||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Cooper, A. E.||Hurd, A. R.||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Hutchison, Michael Clark(E'b'gh, S.)||Pitman, I. J.|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E' b' gh, W.)||Pitt, Miss E. M.|
|Corfield, Capt. F. V.||Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun)||Pott, H. P.|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hyde, Montgomery||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Crosthwalte-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Price, Henry (Lewisham. W.)|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finshley)||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Prior-Palmer, Brig, O. L.|
|Crowder, Petra (Ruislip—Northwood)||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Profumo, J. D.|
|Cunningham, Knox||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Ramsden, J. E.|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Dance, J. C. G.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Redmayne, M.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Deedes, W. F.||Joseph, Sir Keith||Ridsdale, J. E.|
|de Ferranti, Basil||Kaberry, D||Rippon, A. G. F|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Keegan, D||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Ken, Sir Hamilton||Robertson, Sir David|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Kershaw, J. A.||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Kimball, M.||Robson Brown, Sir William|
|Drayson, G. B.||Kirk, P. M.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|du Cann, E. D. L.||Lagden, G. W.||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Duncan, Sir James||Lambton, Viscount||Russell, R. S.|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Sharples, R. C.|
|Elliott, R.W.(Ne' castle upon Tyne, N.)||Leather, E. H. C.||Shepherd, William|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Leavey, J. A.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Leburn, W. G.||Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)|
|Erroll, F. J.||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Fell, A.||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Speir, R. M.|
|Finlay, Gramme||Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)||Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Fort, R.||Llewellyn, D. T.||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Foster, John||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (Sutton Coldfleid)||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)|
|Freeth, Denzil||Loveys, Walter H.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby||Storey, S.|
|Gammons, Lady||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Gibson-Watt, D.||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Glyn, Col. Richard H.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Godber, J. B.||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Gough, C. F. H.||Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Gower, H. R.||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Teeling, W.|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||McLaughlin, Mrs. P.||Temple, John M.|
|Grant, Rt. Hon. W. (Woodside)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Grant Ferris, Wg Cdr. R (Nantwich)||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.)||Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Tilney, John (Wavertree)||Wall, Patrick||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Turner, H. F. L.||Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)||Woollam, John Victor|
|Tweedsmuir, Lady||Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Vane, W. M. F.||Webbe, Sir H.|
|Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.||Webster, David||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Vickers, Miss Joan||Whitelaw, W. S. I.||Mr. Oakshott and Mr. E. Wakefield.|
|Abse, Leo||Greenwood, Anthony||Moody, A. S.|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)|
|Albu, A. H.||Grey, C. F.||Morrison, Rt. Hn. Herbert(Lewle'm.S.)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mort, D. L.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Lianelly)||Moss, R.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Grimond, J.||Moyle, A.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Hale, Leslie||Mulley, F. W.|
|Baird, J.||Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Hamilton, W. W.||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)|
|Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Hannan, W.||Oliver, G. H.|
|Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.)||Hastings, S.||Oram, A. E.|
|Benson, Sir George||Hayman, F. H.||Orbach, M.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Healey, Denis||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Blackburn, F.||Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Herbison, Miss M.||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Parker, J.|
|Boardman, H.||Holman, P.||Parkin, B. T.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Holmes, Horace||Paton, John|
|Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)||Holt, A. F.||Peart, T. F.|
|Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan)||Houghton, Douglas||Pentland, N.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)||Prentice, R. E.|
|Boyd, T. C.||Hoy, J. H.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Probert A. R.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Hunter, A. E.||Pursey, Cmdr. H.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Rankin, John|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Redhead, E. C.|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Reeves, J.|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Reid, William|
|Carmichael, J.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Janner, B.||Rhodes, H.|
|Champion, A. J.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Robens, Rt Hon. A.|
|Chapman, W. D.||Jeger, George (Goole)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Chetwynd, G. R||Jeger, Mr. Lena(Holbn & St.Pncs,S.)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Clunle, J.||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Robinson Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Coldrick, W.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N)|
|Collick P. H. (Birkenhead)||Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech(Wakefield)||Royle, C.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Shinwell Rt. Hon. E.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Short, E. W.|
|Cronin, J. D.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Kenyon, C.||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||King, Dr. H. M.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Lawson, G. M.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Slater, J. (Sedgefield)|
|Deer, G.||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Delargy, H. J.||Lipton, Marcus||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Diamond, John||Logan, D.G.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Dodds, N. N.||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Steel, T.|
|Donnelly, D. L.||McCann, J.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W.Brmwch)||MacColl, J. E.||Stonehouse, John|
|Dye, S.||MacDermot, Niall||Stones, W. (Consett)|
|Edelman, M.||McGhee, H. G.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||McInnes, J.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Stross, Dr. Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||McLeavy, Frank||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Swingler, S. T.|
|Fernyhough, E.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Finch, H. J.||Mahon, Simon||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Fitch, Alan||Mallalleu, E. L. (Brigg)||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Fletcher, Eric||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Foot, D. M.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H.A.||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W)|
|Forman,. J. C.||Mason, Roy||Thomas George (Dundee, E)|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mayhew C. P.||Timmons, J.|
|George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Car'then)||Mellish R. J||Tomney, F.|
|Gibson, C. W||Messer, Sir F||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Gooch, E. G.||Mikardo, Ian||Usborne, H.C.|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Mitchison, G. R.||Viant, S. P.|
|Warbey, W. N.||Wilkins, W. A.||Winterbottom, Richard|
|Watkins, T. E.||Willey, Frederick||Woof, R. E.|
|Weitzman, D.||Williams, David (Neath)||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Wells, Percy (Faversham)||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Wells, William (Walsall, N.)||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)||Zilliacus, K.|
|Wheeldon, W. E.||Williams, Richard (Openshaw)|
|White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Wigg, George||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)||Mr. Popplewell and Mr. Pearson|
|Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
§ Main Question put and agreed to.
That this House takes note of Command Paper No. 530 relating to Proposals for Constitutional Change in Northern Rhodesia.